Editor Top 10 Picks Of 2020

about X hours ago from
Editor Top 10 Picks Of 2020

You already know our staff-wide Top 10 Games of 2020, but that list doesn't paint the whole picture. As you might imagine, these lists are often hard-fought battles over many hours as members of our staff struggle to squeeze their favorites onto our official list. Unfortunately, not every game we played and loved over the course of the year can be represented in the official Game Informer list, which is why we put together these editor-specific top 10s.

Below you'll see the top 10 games of the year for each editor, so check out our personal favorites and see which staff members' tastes most align with yours. Also, while you're here, feel free to drop your own top 10 in the comments section!

Want to read more about the best games that 2020 had to offer? We're counting down our Top 10 for the year, so navigate to another entry using the links below!

Diablo Immortal: Why Fans Should Give It A Chance

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A few years back when Diablo Immortal was unveiled, I was less than enthused. Headlining Blizzcon with a mobile game when the Diablo community was desperate for anything related to Diablo 3 or 4 was a rough reveal, and what’s more the game didn’t look or feel anything like I was hoping it would. I’ve been playing Diablo games since the original game. I remember being eaten by the Butcher, picking up the oddly-boxed Hellfire expansion (Yeah did you know Sierra made and published a Diablo expansion? What wild times those were...) at CompUSA and going hard in the very Zerg-inspired Hive, and that was just a taste of how important the franchise would become in the annals of gaming. Diablo II set the standard for the ARPG genre when it was revealed, and it’s still the title that all others are measured against. I still have an awesome hardcore-mode ear collection out there somewhere. I’ll never forget my level 80 necromancer dying to Izual when my dorm room ethernet blinked out for a few moments during a Diablo II LAN party. Yeah, we did those.

Kids In Cyberpunk And Valhalla Should Be Seen And Heard

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Kids In Cyberpunk And Valhalla Should Be Seen And Heard

I’ve been bouncing between Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 recently, and something has stood out during that time: These two games have broken from genre tradition by introducing children into their open worlds. I’m so used to seeing entire cities devoid of young people that the first time I saw one walking around the streets of Night City it stopped me dead in my tracks. What the heck are you doing here, anyway? And then I made the mistake of talking to the kid. Yuck.

While their appearance was a surprise, their voice acting wasn’t. Like just about all games before it, Cyberpunk 2077’s kids speak with what I can only call a very specific voice quality. Almost without exception, young people sound like a voice actor scrunching up her pipes and doing her best to carve a few decades off her age. And I can’t think of a time where it wasn’t awful to listen to.

I understand that it’s probably impossible to cast and record young people for extensive roles – and that employment law probably makes the process a logistical nightmare. Young characters who have gotten a lot of screen time in games, such as The Walking Dead’s Clementine and Sarah and Ellie from The Last of Us, were voiced by actors who were older than their characters, and they did phenomenal work. But those aren’t the types of characters I’m talking about.

Top 10 Worst Best Games Of 2020

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Top 10 Worst Best Games Of 2020

Games at the end of a console generation are supposed to demonstrate the outgoing systems’ true power – the culmination of developers’ years of practice and technical expertise. But I guess sometimes that doesn’t work out, and studios just need to push whatever they have out the door so they can start working on better things. That was clearly the case in 2020, which gave us a truly disappointing barrage of mediocre titles. Of course, that doesn’t stop some people from wrongly saying they are great – which is why I’m here to correctly call out the worst so-called “best” games of the year.

The Best Board Games Of 2020

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The Best Board Games Of 2020

2020 was a challenging year to enjoy the full breadth of the tabletop hobby. Many players were unable to gather with friends and gaming groups to play in person, but it didn’t stop publishers from continuing to pump out some remarkable and incredibly fun games. And many players responded by finding ways to play games remotely, sharing the hobby with partners, family, and roommates, as well as buying and learning new games solo, with the hope of playing again with bigger groups in the coming months and years.

Amid an extraordinary mix of game styles and settings, these were 10 of the very best new releases, each promising the potential for many hours of shared fun.

On the eve of your magical exam, you have a lot of spells to study, but you can’t forget to re-shelve the books before you’re done. Atheneum is filled with charm and lovely components (including individually named book chips), but it’s the solid card-drafting system that really makes the magic work.

IO Interactive On Walking Away From The Hitman Series

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IO Interactive On Walking Away From The Hitman Series

At this point in the studio's history, the Hitman series has been with IO Interactive longer than anyone working in its office; no one at the company has worked on every single entry in the franchise. For 20 years, the name IO has been synonymous with Hitman and its protagonist Agent 47. While the developer has made other games, such as the Kane & Lynch, Freedom Fighters, and Mini Ninjas games, the vast majority of its releases have been Hitman games. But Hitman 3 is the end of an era. Capping off the World of Assassination trilogy it started in 2016 with its episodic Hitman reboot, IO is walking away from its most iconic franchise – at least for the time being. And there are a lot of emotions tied up in that fact.

In a lot of ways, the story of Hitman is the story of IO Interactive – especially considering the company's last few years. Always a niche, cult series, when 2016's Hitman didn't make the return IO's then-publisher and parent company Square Enix wanted, as CEO and co-owner Hakan Abrik puts it, the company "lost faith" in the franchise – though, admittedly, he seems to understand Square's decision.

The Games That Helped Me Cope With Quarantine

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The Games That Helped Me Cope With Quarantine

This wasn’t the type of year any of us could have anticipated and we were all forced to make changes in our lives due to COVID-19. We had to get creative about how we worked, socialized, and met other daily needs. The quarantine is necessary to stop the spread of the virus, but that doesn’t mean feeling confined to the walls of our home isn’t difficult to deal with day in and day out. I’ve often turned to video games as a way to unwind and socialize, but this year, they became essential in battling the isolation of not being able to interact with others on a daily basis. It wasn’t a normal year, and therefore I wanted to end 2020 by sharing a special appreciation for the games that got me and many others through these past few months of quarantine.

When the quarantine first started, I really didn’t want to deal with what was going on around me. The world suddenly became frightening; COVID-19’s reach was growing, killing more and more people and we still didn’t know much about it. As someone with a chronic illness, I had to strictly quarantine, and this meant that I couldn’t even do simple things like go to the grocery store. It was all too risky, and my anxiety was growing. I hated just sitting in the uncertainty of it all. 

Five Great Comic Book Series From 2020

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Five Great Comic Book Series From 2020

Every Wednesday, I travel to my local comic book shop to pick up nearly a dozen books, most coming from Marvel and DC. I'm a big fan of the classic superhero formula, and have been reading about capes and masks every week since I was eight years old. My first ongoing series was Captain America, which was soon followed by Batman, and then I got my hands on everything. I wanted to read as much as I could, and I haven't stopped doing that in the decades that followed.

Like most things happening in 2020, the comic book industry had a strange year. When the pandemic took hold, comics ceased to be. New releases racks had nothing on them. For a few months, physical comic books were no longer being released, and digital distribution hardly had a footprint. The industry just shut down, and there was a fear that it wouldn't come back the same.

Not getting my weekly fix of stories was one of the hardest things for me to adapt to during the pandemic. I can shelter in place with the best of them, but not having a book on hand to read during lunch or any time gap was a habit I struggled to alter. I didn't realize how huge of a role comics played in my life until they were stripped from me.

Bringing Hitman TO VR

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Bringing Hitman TO VR

When it comes to Hitman VR, IO Interactive owes a lot to the game Firewall: Zero Hour, the PlayStation VR game from First Contact Entertainment.

As Eksil Møhl, a senior game designer at IO, tells it, the studio's interest in VR started two years ago with his coworker Oliver Winding, a senior writer at the company. One day, Winding approached Møhl, asking him to come over. He wanted Møhl to try out his new PlayStation VR. Møhl was taken with the system, going out and buying his own as a Christmas present to himself. And that's when he played Firewall. Like Winding, Møhl wanted to show off the PlayStation VR headset. He took it to the IO office, showing his coworkers, and having them play Firewall. As luck would have it, people at IO Interactive shared his enthusiasm, including lead game designer Sidsel Hermansen, who recalls that people at the office "couldn’t stop playing."

"We just had to play, play, play," Hermansen says.

A Story From The Development Of Rockstar’s Agent

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A Story From The Development Of Rockstar’s Agent

During the development of Rocsktar’s now long-missing spy game Agent, Rockstar San Diego project leader Luis Gigliotti had to do something far outside his typical job description: Call the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. But he needed help. A small team of artists – his fellow coworkers at Rockstar – were being held under house arrest in Cairo. Not only that, but the Egyptian authorities were also trying to pin the group with false charges of shooting pornography – a crime in the country. He needed assistance in getting them home safe.

"And I'll never forget, whoever it was on the call from the Embassy just literally said, 'Are you guys stupid?'" Gigliotti tells me in a recent interview. "'Whatever possessed you to think this was a good idea?'"