The Biggest Nintendo Switch Games Of 2020 And Beyond

The Biggest PS4 Games To Play In 2020 And Beyond

2019: The Year Of 2020

A whole lot happened in 2019. The year saw some major games finally come to fruition, like the long-awaited Death Stranding from Kojima Productions, as well as some forward motion in new services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia. But looming over most of 2019 was something even larger: 2020. This year was full of forward-looking developments in gaming, setting up a year that has the potential to be littered with major moments and sweeping changes to the industry’s landscape.

Of course, there are major games on the horizon, like The Last Of Us Part II or Cyberpunk 2077. More than that, though, are the moves developers, publishers, and major tech companies are making that could recontextualize the entire industry. New hardware is set to bring another technical leap forward in the console games we play. Major players are getting in on streaming and subscription services. Long-dormant franchises could see resurgences. And more and more companies are looking at new business models for their games–and trying to save games they’ve already released from rocky starts.

We got our first look at what 2020 holds throughout 2019, and there’s a lot that could bring major changes to the gaming industry in the very near future. Here’s a rundown of everything that turned 2019 into the Year of 2020.

Next-Gen Consoles Are Coming

Nothing has quite an impact on the gaming landscape as new console hardware, and in 2019, we started getting details about what Sony and Microsoft have planned for the next console generation. Both the PlayStation 5 and the next Xbox, codenamed “Project Scarlett,” are slated for release in 2020 during the holiday season, which means the current console generation is quickly coming to an end. And that means we’ll soon start to see a crop of games that show off the capabilities of the new hardware.

Both consoles will feature solid-state drives for storage, as opposed to the current hard disk standard, although neither has a price point yet. The PS5 is confirmed to include a disc drive and to support 4K Blu-ray discs, while reports on Microsoft’s new Xbox suggest it has two versions, one of which may focus on streaming and forego a disc drive altogether, like the Xbox One S All-Digital. The PS5 is also confirmed to support backward compatibility with PS4 games and PlayStation VR. Scarlett looks slated for release during the 2020 holiday season, while the PS5 is confirmed to hit shelves in Holiday 2020.

We’re sure to get more information about the future of PS5 and Project Scarlett throughout 2020, as well as some of the games that’ll show up on them. The big question is what the new hardware will allow developers to do with their games that they couldn’t before–something we’re sure to see in the coming months.

The Year Of Streaming And Subscriptions

Apart from new Xbox hardware, Microsoft is making another big move in gaming in the form of its xCloud streaming technology. The service looks to make console-quality games playable on a variety of hardware, including on on PCs and Macs through their internet browsers and mobile devices, through online streaming. Given the robust library of Microsoft’s Game Pass offerings, which make all first-party games and a variety of other titles available to subscribers on Xbox One and PC for a monthly fee, xCloud could be a formidable entrant into the widening field of streaming services–especially since Microsoft is packaging it with Xbox Game Pass in 2020.

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Google also recently launched its Stadia streaming service, which offers a lot of the same capabilities as what Microsoft is bringing with xCloud. While the service launched in 2019, Stadia saw something of a rocky launch, with a small library of games and a thin install base that made multiplayer games tough to enjoy. But while it might have struggled at launch, Google has invested in Stadia with a new studio headed up by Motive Studios and Ubisoft Toronto founder Jade Raymond. It seems likely we’ll see Google continue to push Stadia’s offerings and shore up its capabilities.

With Microsoft mounting a streaming service and a heavy hitter like Google now on the gaming stage, it seems likely we’ll see an uptick of emphasis on streaming from other players as well. Sony’s PS Now service has existed for quite a while, though the publisher doesn’t release first-party games on the service at launch. Sony recently dropped its price in a move that seems aimed to keep it competitive with Microsoft and Google’s offerings. Ubisoft also recently announced a PC subscription service for its game catalog, called Uplay Plus, and there’s Electronic Arts’ Access subscriptions–EA Access on console and Origin Access on PC. We’ve also got the newly launched Apple Arcade service, a subscription for mobile games that works on iPhones, Macs, and Apple TV, and services such as Nvidia’s GeForce Now, which lets you stream PC games you’ve purchased on various devices, including PCs, Macs, and Nvidia Shield.

Though the new consoles’ support for disc drives suggests we won’t see the elimination of physical media in the next generation, 2020 looks to be a year in which many of us will have the option to get our games primarily through subscriptions, rather than buying discs or even digital purchases.

At Long Last: More Half-Life

Possibly the least-expected announcement of 2019 came from Valve: 2020 will see a new entry in the beloved Half-Life franchise. It also wasn’t the game anyone expected. Valve isn’t bringing a traditional Half-Life game to PC, in which you play as series protagonist Gordon Freeman. Instead, the next title will be Half-Life: Alyx, a virtual reality game that puts you in the shoes of Half-Life 2 character Alyx Vance.

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Valve’s also not advancing the story beyond where it left it with Half-Life 2: Episode 2 way back in 2007. Instead, Half-Life: Alyx takes place between the first two Half-Life games and looks like it’ll focus on Alyx’s relationship with her father, Eli Vance. Half-Life: Alyx will work with any VR platform that’s compatible with SteamVR–meaning HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, Windows Mixed Media, and Valve’s VR setup, Valve Index.

There’s not a ton of other information about the game just yet apart from Valve’s announcement trailer. But if you’ve got VR equipment, we do know when you can play it: March 2020.

Blizzard’s Resurgence

BlizzCon 2019 was a huge one for the developer, full of announcements. Three of its franchises are seeing major continuations in the future (to say nothing of new content coming to Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm), and while we’re not sure if they’ll all come out in 2020, it’s very possible we’ll see some new Blizzard games in the coming year.

After seven years since the release of Diablo 3, Blizzard dropped the bomb of Diablo 4 at the convention, showing off not just a new trailer for the game but a playable slice of the game. It makes some big changes to the franchise, taking some influences from live games. Instead of just playing cooperatively with other players in your party, Diablo 4’s overworld is public, throwing you in with other players to meet, work with, or ignore, and adding elements like world bosses and public events to take part in as you explore.

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Blizzard also announced a sequel to its multiplayer hero shooter, Overwatch. Up to now, Overwatch has largely been a competitive multiplayer experience, with its broader story relegated to supplementary material like trailers and videos. Overwatch 2 will feature a story campaign and single-player activities, as well as cooperative missions–expanding on the story side of Overwatch and giving you new options to play. But the competitive part is still a huge part of the game, and Blizzard intends to avoid fracturing the current Overwatch community by making Overwatch and Overwatch 2 competitive gameplay compatible with each other. All new characters and maps will also be available in both games, so even if you choose not to buy Overwatch 2, you’ll still be able to keep playing the game as you know it.

The third of the big announcements is a new expansion for World of Warcraft. Shadowlands expands on Blizzard’s 15-year-old MMO by taking players into Azeroth’s afterlife, opening up a whole new area to explore, as well as expanding on lore that Blizzard has never really explored before. The expansion is also putting a big emphasis on player choice, allowing you to choose from a variety of factions to join in the Shadowlands, and providing specific endgame story campaigns based on your choices.

We don’t know when exactly Blizzard will release any of those titles–and with Blizzard, it might be a while. A big showing at BlizzCon was welcome for the company, which was facing still-lingering controversy over its ruling against a Hearthstone player who expressed support for the Hong Kong protests. But BlizzCon 2019 set up the possibility for continuations of Blizzard’s major franchises in 2020, and even if those games aren’t actually playable next year, they’re sure to be on a lot of minds.

More Long-Awaited Releases

While we haven’t been waiting for them as long as we have for a new Half-Life game, there are a few other well-loved franchises finally getting their sequels (and remakes) in 2020. Square Enix is releasing the first episode of its Final Fantasy VII Remake in March, bringing the game back to the fore after 22 years. The first part of the remake covers the portion of Final Fantasy VII that takes place in Midgar, but we’re still not sure how many episodes the game will span, how long it’ll be in total, or when it’ll all be released.

The Last of Us Part II is finally poised for release in 2020 as well. The second part of Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic action-adventure game returns to the story of Joel and Ellie, but this time, Ellie is the player character throughout the game. Ellie has become a capable warrior in the years since The Last of Us, and she embarks on a revenge quest after a vicious attack on her friend and love interest Dina. We know she’ll also work with other characters, including Joel, and that the game will be as bleak and story-focused as its predecessor.

We’re also about to see the wait for CD Projekt Red’s follow-up to The Witcher franchise, Cyberpunk 2077, come to an end. CD Projekt revealed a bunch of new details about the upcoming action-RPG in 2019, including the addition of actor Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand, a major character in the franchise. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be about as expansive and detailed as The Witcher games, as players have come to expect, with plenty of options that let you alter your path through the game based on your choices, how you build your character, how you interact with the people you meet in the game, and how you approach its various combat encounters.

Microsoft is set to continue the Halo franchise in 2020 as well, with Halo: Infinite, just in time for the launch of Project Scarlett. The game puts you back in the role of series protagonist Master Chief, though we don’t know much else. The game is set for release on Xbox One and PC in Holiday 2020, while also serving as a launch title for Project Scarlett, with a beta coming before its launch that’ll likely give a pretty strong look at the new Halo’s multiplayer offerings.

Every 10/10 Game In GameSpot’s History

Since 1996, GameSpot has only ever awarded 10/10 review scores to 16 games. In the video above, we take a trip down memory lane to showcase all 16–from 1998’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to 2019’s Disco Elysium.

At GameSpot, we don’t believe that any game is perfect. No game, no matter how good it is, can be said to have absolutely zero flaws. So a game that receives a 10/10 review score on GameSpot is described as “essential,” not “perfect.” A 10/10 score is given to a game that is so good that–at the time the game was released–it’s an experience that is essential to play, likely because the game does something that will have a long-standing and positive effect on the gaming industry.

A recent example of this is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which delivered an open-world RPG experience filled with engaging battles, well-written storytelling, compelling choices and in-game romances, and incredible side missions–all on a level that had never been seen prior to the game’s release. Considering the state of most of the open-world RPGs that have come out after it, ranging from Mass Effect: Andromeda to GreedFall, you could argue that we still haven’t. So, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a testament to what open-world RPGs can be, a golden standard for the genre until something even better comes along.

Though 2019 saw GameSpot assign two 10/10 review scores, only one was to a game: Disco Elysium. The other was given to Joker, the first 10/10 score GameSpot has ever given to a movie.

Audica Review – Electronic Gun Music

Before it made games that just dropped the pretense altogether and used plastic instruments, Harmonix was already the master at turning your average, run-of-the-mill controller into an instrument of musical chaos in Frequency and Amplitude. That same ethos is the engine driving Audica, which seeks to do the same for VR motion controllers. It’s a game with a killer idea, but the execution is just short of the mark.

At its core, Audica is a VR shooting gallery that makes music. In a world where stylishly slicing boxes with lightsabers is the current gold standard for rhythm games, stylishly making music with blasters was pretty much the logical–even welcome–next step on paper. Your instruments are two neon laser tag guns. Colored targets fly toward you to line up with a circle on a specific beat in a song, and your job is to shoot that target on the beat with the correct colored gun for the maximum amount of points. The game does throw curveballs at you–some targets require you to hold your gun sideways, for example. But, by and large, Audica’s premise is simple: make music with laser pistols. Despite this simplicity, though, making beats with bullets feels great in Audica.

Your lasers feel appropriately futuristic; by default, they’re cool, reflective cannons with mirrored blades attached to the barrel that convey a sense of power. That feeling of power is all the more pronounced once you start firing away at targets and get in sync with the ebb and flow of a song’s note pattern. Every successful hit generates a slick, track-specific “thwap!” that punctuates every note.

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If, for whatever reason, the default sound on a track doesn’t work for you, you do get the option to customize the effect. That same level of customization carries over to the calibration options, with some extremely user-friendly settings to account for your sense of rhythm or lack thereof. That’s even more crucial in virtual reality, and Audica aces it, weaving the calibration tools in with the beat and targeting tutorials rather elegantly before you even start the game proper. Even with the calibration, the game is extremely forgiving when it comes to perfectly hitting a target dead center, though perfect aim does help achieve the best possible scores on a song. Still, just jumping into a track and firing at will is a blast because Audica is so approachable.

Audica’s big, pervasive caveat, however, is that you better like fast-paced, thumping EDM from the last five years, because there’s really nothing else in the game. Constricting the pool of music causes all of the tracks to bleed together after long sessions. The DLC helps, bringing some bigger star power and at least some element of chill to the soundtrack with songs like Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” and Billie Eilish’s “bad guy,” but these are also some of the trickiest songs in the game, even at lower difficulties. More than anything, those tracks are a perfect showcase of how versatile the note charting and game design can be given a bigger musical palette to work from, and highlight just how much less of that creativity gets a spotlight in the main tracklist.

Also, even by rhythm game standards, Audica is too tricky for its own good. Far too often, notes are there to taunt, trip up, and challenge instead of letting you revel in the music being played. Audica’s challenges often come from deliberately destroying your groove, creating off moments that don’t feel like you’re supposed to get in sync with the music being created by your shots and swipes. It feels like trying to win a dance competition, and every few seconds, someone tosses an orange at your head.

In this case, that orange can take the form of frequent errant notes, targets outside your field of view, or modifiers that you can’t turn off, many of which ask the unnatural–a certain modifier that requires you move your arms an arbitrary amount during the song is probably the most egregious of them. On Advanced and Expert modes, you still get a wide berth to hit the targets anywhere, but it doesn’t matter if those targets appear off the beat and ask more of you than responding to the rhythm. When the game isn’t getting in its own way–and the note patterns are complex, but follow a certain rhythmic logic–it does feel empowering, like you’re in a breezy, futuristic version of Baby Driver. In particular, tracks like KD/A’s “Pop Stars” that flit back and forth between poppy melodies and impactful hip-hop line deliveries lend themselves extremely well to punctuating every note with a pull of the trigger. But this isn’t sustained across all of Audica’s tracks. Obstacles are far too arbitrary too often for that.

Mostly, though, you just can’t help but get the feeling of playing a grand experiment, and it’s a shame that Audica doesn’t land as well as Harmonix’s other rhythm games. There’s a lot that’s simply, innately cool about Audica’s concept, the very idea of using weapons to make music, but once you reach a certain level of proficiency, the enjoyment dries up faster than it should.

Pokemon Go December 2019 Community Day Guide: Featured Pokemon, Start Times, And More

2019 may be winding down, but Pokemon Go developer Niantic is closing out the year with one final Community Day event. Just like last year, this month’s Community Day will actually be spread across two days–December 14 and 15–and will give players another chance to catch rare Pokemon, learn exclusive moves, and earn some extra bonuses.

There’s a lot happening during this month’s big Pokemon Go event, so to help get you prepared, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about December 2019’s Community Day weekend below, from what Pokemon you’ll be able to find again to all the different bonuses and special moves that will be available.

What Is December’s Featured Pokemon?

While each Pokemon Go Community Day typically stars only one “featured” Pokemon, this month’s event brings back every previous featured Pokemon, giving you another chance to catch them. On December 14 and 15, all of the featured Pokemon from each of 2019’s Community Days will appear more often again in the wild. The full list includes:

  • Totodile
  • Swinub
  • Treecko
  • Torchic
  • Mudkip
  • Ralts
  • Slakoth
  • Trapinch
  • Bagon
  • Turtwig
  • Chimchar

On top of that, you’ll have another chance to encounter the featured Pokemon from 2018’s Community Days as well. During both days of the event, the following Pokemon will appear in Gyms as Raid bosses:

  • Bulbasaur
  • Charmander
  • Squirtle
  • Pikachu
  • Eevee
  • Dratini
  • Chikorita
  • Cyndaquil
  • Mareep
  • Larvitar
  • Beldum

You will also be more likely to hatch the following Pokemon from eggs on each day of the event:

December 14

  • Bulbasaur
  • Charmander
  • Pikachu
  • Dratini
  • Totodile
  • Mareep
  • Swinub
  • Larvitar
  • Treecko
  • Torchic
  • Slakoth
  • Bagon

December 15

  • Squirtle
  • Eevee
  • Chikorita
  • Cyndaquil
  • Mudkip
  • Ralts
  • Trapinch
  • Beldum
  • Turtwig
  • Chimchar

What Is December’s Special Community Day Move?

All of them! In addition to bringing back every previous featured Pokemon, you’ll have another chance to get each monster’s special Community Day move, which they normally cannot learn in Pokemon Go through other means. To get these attacks, you’ll need to evolve the Pokemon all the way into their final forms before the event ends on December 15 (although any Pikachu or Eevee you catch during the event should already know their Community Day moves). As a refresher, here is each Pokemon’s Community Day move:

Featured Pokemon Community Day Move
Bulbasaur Frenzy Plant
Charmander Blast Burn
Squirtle Hydro Cannon
Pikachu Surf
Eevee Last Resort
Dratini Draco Meteor
Chikorita Frenzy Plant
Cyndaquil Blast Burn
Totodile Hydro Cannon
Mareep Dragon Pulse
Swinub Ancient Power
Larvitar Smack Down
Beldum Meteor Mash
Treecko Frenzy Plant
Torchic Blast Burn
Mudkip Hydro Cannon
Ralts Synchronoise
Slakoth Body Slam
Trapinch Earth Power
Bagon Outrage
Turtwig Frenzy Plant
Chimchar Blast Burn

What Time Does December’s Community Day Start?

While Community Days typically only run for three hours, December’s big event will take place over two 12-hour periods, running from 9 AM to 9 PM local time on December 14 and 15. You’ll be able to encounter all of the aforementioned Pokemon throughout that time, although certain monsters will be more common each day during a three-hour window. Here are the monsters you’re more likely to see from 11 AM to 2 PM local time each day:

December 14

  • Totodile
  • Swinub
  • Treecko
  • Torchic
  • Slakoth
  • Bagon

December 15

  • Mudkip
  • Ralts
  • Trapinch
  • Turtwig
  • Chimchar

What Other Bonuses Are Available?

On top of bringing back every previous featured Pokemon, Niantic is offering a handful of other bonuses during December’s Community Day weekend. From 11 AM to 2 PM local time each day, you’ll earn twice the normal amount of Stardust and XP for catching Pokemon. Eggs will also hatch at half the distance they normally require during that window of time.

The Mandalorian Episode 5 – All The Star Wars Easter Eggs in Chapter 5 “The Gunslinger”

Episode 5 of The Mandalorian brings us back to the sands of Tatooine. Going back to Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine, first seen in A New Hope, means there are bound to be a few familiar Star Wars references. Check out all the best Easter eggs we found in the video above.

In Chapter 5, “The Gunslinger,” Mando and Baby Yoda land on Tatooine, where they get their ship repaired at Mos Eisley Spaceport by an operator/mechanic named Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris). Looking for work, Mando meets an aspiring bounty hunter trying to join the Guild, and decides to help him track down an assassin named Fennec Shand, played by the original Mulan herself, Ming-Na Wen.

If you can’t get enough of Baby Yoda, read about Jon Favreau discussing why everyone loves Baby Yoda, and check out the best Baby Yoda toys, Funko Pops, shirts and more.