The Best Tabletop Games Of 2019

about X hours ago from
The Best Tabletop Games Of 2019

The board-gaming hobby continued its steady rise this year, fueled by a bevy of stellar releases, featuring captivating options for everyone, from families looking for a new shared hobby, to longtime veterans hoping to flex their strategic muscles.

This year it was especially challenging to narrow down to just ten individual releases, but several rose to the top through the combination of stellar presentation, thoughtful design, and overall playability. The games on the final list run the gamut between competitive and cooperative options, accessible lighter-weight games to complex strategy affairs, and a surprising array of genres, settings, and themes. But they all share the quality of being incredibly fun to pull out onto the table for game night.

Make sure and check back tomorrow, when we’ll have a second article looking specifically at some of the best tabletop role-playing releases of the year. And as always, feel free to email me directly if you’d like additional thoughts about any of the games described here, or if you just want some personalized recommendations.

The New Systems Won’t Solve Old Problems

about X hours ago from
The New Systems Won’t Solve Old Problems

The new generation of home systems comes out next year, bringing with them promises of a better video game future. Juxtapose this, however, with the current state of sports games. The titles from 2019 had their share of problems, but worse yet is the overall feeling that this isn’t just a case of a bum year, that that sports games as a whole have fundamental problems that won’t be solved simply by the release of new systems.

Like them or hate them, but fantasy card modes like EA’s Ultimate Team mode are here to stay. Even with the political scrutiny of their in-game marketing and flirtation with the specter of gambling, I believe these modes, loot boxes, and the ties to real money may be tweaked, but they are too lucrative for companies to just walk away from. I expect the industry to address the situation itself by making changes before it comes to the need to pass actual laws – which is what Congress likely wants in the first place.

Of course, the existence of these modes and the way it forces developers to allocate their time and resources towards them at the potential expense of other modes, is not related to, nor solved by, the mere existence of a new, more powerful console. If anything, the more connected and seamless our game experiences become, we should only expect microtransactions and the modes around them to become more in our faces. 

The New Systems Won’t Solve Old Problems

about X hours ago from
The New Systems Won’t Solve Old Problems

The new generation of home systems comes out next year, bringing with them promises of a better video game future. Juxtapose this, however, with the current state of sports games. The titles from 2019 had their share of problems, but worse yet is the overall feeling that this isn’t just a case of a bum year, that that sports games as a whole have fundamental problems that won’t be solved simply by the release of new systems.

Like them or hate them, but fantasy card modes like EA’s Ultimate Team mode are here to stay. Even with the political scrutiny of their in-game marketing and flirtation with the specter of gambling, I believe these modes, loot boxes, and the ties to real money may be tweaked, but they are too lucrative for companies to just walk away from. I expect the industry to address the situation itself by making changes before it comes to the need to pass actual laws – which is what Congress likely wants in the first place.

Of course, the existence of these modes and the way it forces developers to allocate their time and resources towards them at the potential expense of other modes, is not related to, nor solved by, the mere existence of a new, more powerful console. If anything, the more connected and seamless our game experiences become, we should only expect microtransactions and the modes around them to become more in our faces. 

20 Games You Should Check Out On Xbox Game Pass

about X hours ago from
20 Games You Should Check Out On Xbox Game Pass

Gaming is an expensive habit any way you look at it. Even after you get a TV or monitor and your system of choice, you still need to drop a ton of money to build you collection of games. In 2018, Xbox introduced Game Pass, a subscription service that grants you access to an ever-expanding library of games for a single recurring fee.

Since its inception, Game Pass has added hundreds of titles to its library. While many players treat it like a curation service in itself, sifting through hundreds of games to find the gems is a daunting task. Thankfully, we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

This list won’t contain the games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Batman: Arkham Asylum; we assume that anyone remotely keyed into the games industry already knows those are great to check out. Instead, this list focuses on some games you may have missed, regardless of if they were created by a small indie studio or one of the largest developers in the industry. Check out 20 games we think you shouldn’t miss if you’re a Game Pass subscriber.

20 Games You Should Check Out On Xbox Game Pass

about X hours ago from
20 Games You Should Check Out On Xbox Game Pass

Gaming is an expensive habit any way you look at it. Even after you get a TV or monitor and your system of choice, you still need to drop a ton of money to build you collection of games. In 2018, Xbox introduced Game Pass, a subscription service that grants you access to an ever-expanding library of games for a single recurring fee.

Since its inception, Game Pass has added hundreds of titles to its library. While many players treat it like a curation service in itself, sifting through hundreds of games to find the gems is a daunting task. Thankfully, we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

This list won’t contain the games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Batman: Arkham Asylum; we assume that anyone remotely keyed into the games industry already knows those are great to check out. Instead, this list focuses on some games you may have missed, regardless of if they were created by a small indie studio or one of the largest developers in the industry. Check out 20 games we think you shouldn’t miss if you’re a Game Pass subscriber.

Top 10 Worst Best Games Of 2019

about X hours ago from
Top 10 Worst Best Games Of 2019

The holiday season is traditionally when gamers look back on the amazing and wonderful experiences that defined the year. However, looking back on 2019 feels like surveying a landfill; all of the games that everyone told you were good were, in fact, not good. From bloated, big-budget blockbusters to desperation-fueled indie darlings, this was another year of universal disappointment. You are free to disagree with me – but you’d be wrong, and I’m going to explain why. Here are the many ways in which this year’s popular games were bad, removing the factual basis for your enjoyment.

10. Resident Evil 2 Resident Evil 2 is a reimagining of an old PlayStation game, but with major changes and innovations. For example, the bad guy wears a hat now. However, fans will still find beloved elements intact, like clunky controls and cheap scares. Those legacy “features” aren’t diluted by the gritty atmosphere or gameplay strides that helped Resident Evil 7 revitalize the franchise and renew fans’ interest. Naturally, Capcom scrapped that approach and went back to the formula that made Resident Evil stagnate in the first place.

Top 10 Worst Best Games Of 2019

about X hours ago from
Top 10 Worst Best Games Of 2019

The holiday season is traditionally when gamers look back on the amazing and wonderful experiences that defined the year. However, looking back on 2019 feels like surveying a landfill; all of the games that everyone told you were good were, in fact, not good. From bloated, big-budget blockbusters to desperation-fueled indie darlings, this was another year of universal disappointment. You are free to disagree with me – but you’d be wrong, and I’m going to explain why. Here are the many ways in which this year’s popular games were bad, removing the factual basis for your enjoyment.

10. Resident Evil 2 Resident Evil 2 is a reimagining of an old PlayStation game, but with major changes and innovations. For example, the bad guy wears a hat now. However, fans will still find beloved elements intact, like clunky controls and cheap scares. Those legacy “features” aren’t diluted by the gritty atmosphere or gameplay strides that helped Resident Evil 7 revitalize the franchise and renew fans’ interest. Naturally, Capcom scrapped that approach and went back to the formula that made Resident Evil stagnate in the first place.

10 Games You Can't Miss In 2020

about X hours ago from
10 Games You Can't Miss In 2020

Each year introduces a number of games that we consider "must plays" even before we weigh in on them critically. These are the games that are hyped up, come from legendary developers, or innovate in ways that just reading about them isn't enough. These games may not end up being the best of the year, but they do enough to warrant a playthrough or at least a look.

For 2019, Death Stranding was one of those titles. Leading up to release, no one really knew what to expect from it. When it eventually hit, it was one of the most polarizing games in recent memory, making it a game most people needed to see for themselves. Given how secretive game companies are, we likely don't know of most of the games that will be hitting in 2020, especially those for PlayStation 5 and Xbox. Of those secret games, we will undoubtedly see another Call of Duty next year, and after a year off, Assassin's Creed should be coming back too. Both of those games will likely deserve a spot on this "must play" list, but I can't say for certain until we know more about both of them. Here are the titles that we know plenty about and are eager to get our hands on:

10 Games You Can't Miss In 2020

about X hours ago from
10 Games You Can't Miss In 2020

Each year introduces a number of games that we consider "must plays" even before we weigh in on them critically. These are the games that are hyped up, come from legendary developers, or innovate in ways that just reading about them isn't enough. These games may not end up being the best of the year, but they do enough to warrant a playthrough or at least a look.

For 2019, Death Stranding was one of those titles. Leading up to release, no one really knew what to expect from it. When it eventually hit, it was one of the most polarizing games in recent memory, making it a game most people needed to see for themselves. Given how secretive game companies are, we likely don't know of most of the games that will be hitting in 2020, especially those for PlayStation 5 and Xbox. Of those secret games, we will undoubtedly see another Call of Duty next year, and after a year off, Assassin's Creed should be coming back too. Both of those games will likely deserve a spot on this "must play" list, but I can't say for certain until we know more about both of them. Here are the titles that we know plenty about and are eager to get our hands on:

Game Informer's 10th Annual Glitchie Awards

about X hours ago from
Game Informer's 10th Annual Glitchie Awards

Most of 2019’s best gaming moments were the result of careful craftsmanship, storytelling, and design. However, some of this year’s memorable experiences had nothing to do with what players were intended to see; they were the inexplicable events and goofy glitches that occur when things don’t go according to plan.

Our Glitchie Awards honor the most interesting and hilarious bugs that impacted the major releases of the year. So, without further ado, here you can find our 2019 round-up of 10 glitches – with one lucky winner being awarded our coveted Glitch of the Year award.

Warning: Game Informer is not responsible for content in video links.