Audio is often overlooked when talking about how amazing the latest and greatest video games are. And it is more than just booming explosions or accurate engine or city sounds, as it is the component that makes the video game world seem alive.
Ghost of Tsushima
And there are few games that manage to use audio to its advantage like Ghost of Tsushima. The way audio cues are given and integrated into the gameplay experience, whether it is an enemy archer yelling at his allies to duck the incoming arrow during combat, or a little golden bird telling you about something interesting while exploring. It all feels so organic and alive and that is what made it so incredible. The sound of the guiding wind, the ocean waves or a fox calling out to you to show you to a shrine. All of it is just amazing.
Sucker Punch did some incredible work with the audio of Ghost of Tsushima, and hopefully other developers take note and copy some of their tricks going forward.
Runner-up: The Last of Us Part II
Honourable Mentions: Spiritfarer, Immortals: Fenix Rising, Flight Simulator 2020