Each year, thousands of new games are released across consoles, PC, and mobile devices. While there are a great many duds, a ton of good games launch in any given calendar. But some games eclipse good, skip past great, and land squarely in the category of “amazing.” We set out to compile a list of the best games from the current console generation, sorted by genre.
Given that wealth of games to choose from, many truly great games did not make the cut. From joyful Switch games to moving PS4 exclusives to game-changing indies to addictive free-to-play games, these are our picks for the 30 best games of this generation. We think many of these will be talked about and remembered fondly for years to come.
From Software really outdid itself with Bloodborne, the spiritual successor to the ridiculously popular Dark Souls series. To put it simply, Bloodborne took the slow, methodical combat of Dark Souls and ratcheted it up several notches. The result is a faster, more fluid experience that, rather critically, retains the supreme challenge and depth that made From Software (in)famous.
Couple the deeply satisfying combat with a chilling gothic setting and a story inspired by the king of gothic horror himself (Lovecraft), and you’ve also got yourself a recipe for one of the best action games ever made. Even more than four years removed from its launch, Bloodborne remains a special, unique game. It’s perhaps a tad easier to get into than Dark Souls or From Software’s latest game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but that’s merely a testament to the world design. It invites you in and holds on tight long after you’ve died 100 times against Father Gascoigne.
Read our full Bloodborne review
Grand Theft Auto V
It’s difficult to overstate just how big of a hit Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V remains even today, six years after its launch. Grand Theft Auto V routinely finds itself in the top-10 monthly software sales all these years later. GTA V has sold well over 100 million copies, which places it behind only Minecraft and Tetris in total game sales. It’s the premier Grand Theft Auto experience, featuring a lavishly realized open world filled with interesting characters and dynamic missions and activities. The gunplay is superb and the driving feels as great as dedicated racing games.
Millions of players still regularly visit Los Santos thanks to GTA Online, the packed in online version where you can complete missions with friends and make your own fun. Rockstar continues to update GTA Online weekly, adding new events, vehicles, and buildings such as the remarkable Diamond Casino, complete with a variety of mini games.
Grand Theft Auto V is on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Read our full Grand Theft Auto V review
PlatinumGames is known for its innovative and stylish action games, from the Bayonetta series to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and others. But the Japanese developer’s greatest feat is Nier: Automata, led by renowned director Yoko Taro. Nier: Automata features some of the best action gameplay of this console generation, along with expert twin-stick shooting sequences and a world as bizarre as it is brilliant.
Nier: Automata isn’t just extremely fun to play, though. It also happens to tell one of the most well-realized, philosophical stories, revolving around existentialism. In a bold move, it takes three full playthroughs to watch the entire story unfold. While that may sound annoying, we promise it’s a devilishly smart tactic. Video games often get lambasted for their weak stories, but Nier: Automata delivers on its vision in a way that very few games do.
Nier: Automata is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Read our full Nier: Automata review
StudioMDHR’s Cuphead was a long time in the making, but it delivered on its promise. Rendered like a 1930s cartoon, Cuphead is easily one of the most gorgeous games ever made. There’s nothing quite like it, as the painstaking hand-drawn animations are miraculously authentic. Couple Cuphead‘s staggeringly impressive look in motion with the jazzy soundtrack, fizzing pops, and crackling signal in the background mimicking a film reel, and it transports you into a cartoon (a Cuphead cartoon is actually in the works).
Cuphead is essentially a sidescrolling boss rush that can be played solo or with a friend who controls Cuphead’s brother, Mugman. Throughout your journey across Inkwell Isle, you square off against clowns, angry vegetables, delirious bees, ship captains, mad scientists and more en route to a final showdown with the Devil himself. All of the bosses are memorable and unique. Cuphead is quite the challenge, relying on both fast fingers and memorization. A handful of run and gun levels are scattered throughout to break up the boss battles, all of which will test your fortitude. Cuphead is an astounding achievement, and the Delicious Last Course expansion will add more challenges to the adventure in 2020.
Cuphead is one of the best indie games to play on the Switch. It’s also available on Xbox One and PC.
God of War
Marking a new beginning for one of Sony’s flagship franchises, God of War for PS4 was as surprising as it was (expectedly) awesome. Trading Greek Mythology for Norse mythology, Kratos is a father now to a young boy named Atreus. The storyline follows their quest to scatter Atreus’ mother’s ashes atop the highest peak. Using a single-camera view, God of War‘s action feels as close to the player as humanly possible. That’s a great thing, considering Kratos’ new axe happens to be one of the coolest weapons in modern action games. Atreus assists Kratos in combat with a bow, but God of War stood out for far more than its gameplay.
Somehow, Sony Santa Monica created a moving, intimate story that was both true to the anti-hero Kratos while opening a chapter for the future. An intimate tale of father and son like no other we’ve seen in games, God of War has more heart than the vast majority of AAA games. Toss in excellent writing paired with beautiful performances, and God of War suddenly changed the entire tone of the series. Kratos is still a brutal warrior capable of slaying monsters and men with extreme force, but God of War showed him in a different light. Progress is what makes God of War so stunning, and that’s something we can all relate to.
Read our full God of War review
Playing Marvel’s Spider-Man is the closest any of us will become to being real superheroes. While there have been great superhero games before — even Spider-Man games — nothing compares to Insomniac’s take on Spidey. Insomniac took a different approach to its comic book tale. Rather than retelling an origin story, you play as early-20s Peter Parker, a seasoned Spider-Man who is trying to get his normal life together. Things quickly go awry, and you’re forced to curb threats throughout the city from a number of well-known Spidey villains.
The action gameplay is fast and incredibly satisfying thanks to great controls and a variety of awesome gadgets. Even just swinging around the Big Apple seeking out collectibles is a joy. The story takes many twists and turns, but it’s easily the most heartfelt comic book story told in a game. And even when the main adventure comes to an emotional end, the three pieces of story DLC can be purchased to keep the web-slinging good times zipping along for a while longer. Marvel’s Spider-Man is available exclusively on PS4.
Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man review
Red Dead Redemption 2
While GTA V is by far Rockstar’s most profitable game, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the studio’s magnum opus. A prequel to the original RDR, Red Dead Redemption 2 follows Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang. It’s an outlaw story for the ages, with fantastic photo-realistic visuals and unparalleled attention to detail.
The story shines, with a seamless transition between the third-person gameplay and the many wonderfully directed cutscenes. The lengthy 50-plus hour main campaign is full of dynamic events and missions that always feel different than the last. The gorgeous set pieces and delightful story beats are accompanied by one of the greatest soundtracks in modern gaming.
Like GTA V, there’s also an online mode in Red Dead Redemption 2. Red Dead Online is still in its relative infancy, but it already has some great multiplayer modes and engaging co-op missions. Buy it for the main campaign, stick around for the online fun that will continue to evolve in the years to come.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is available on PS4 and Xbox One.
Read our full Red Dead Redemption 2 review
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Nathan Drake’s swan song, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a captivating and utterly brilliant end to one of the most beloved adventure franchises of all-time. Developed by the incredibly talented team at Naughty Dog, Uncharted 4 offers both a beginning and an end for Drake’s deeply rooted interest in ancient mysteries. In A Thief’s End, you learn about Drake’s childhood, his rambunctious brother, and watch as Drake and Elena’s relationship is put to the test once again. The gang heads off on a quest to find infamous pirate Henry Avery’s treasure.
Though still a linear adventure game, Uncharted 4‘s environments are much larger in scope, which gives you more ways to approach combat and more freedom to explore. In this sense, it’s the grandest adventure in series history and is a perfect ending to the saga of Nathan Drake. Big, bold, and full of Indiana Jones-esque action and plot, A Thief’s End is one of the best adventure games on PS4.
Read our full Uncharted 4 review
A lot has happened to Destiny 2 launched in 2017. Three expansions have arrived, with a fourth coming this Fall. Bungie and Activision’s publishing partnership ended earlier than expected, leaving Bungie as the sole owner and publisher of the intergalactic shooter. And through it all, Destiny 2 has evolved to become a better version of itself. It hasn’t always been an easy road for Destiny 2, much like its predecessor, but today it stands as one of the best live service games around.
Destiny 2 accommodates all types of players. You can solo through the missions for the story, grind for gear and complete challenging raids with friends, or dedicate your attention to always fun Crucible multiplayer mode. Bungie is always tinkering with the formula, and the result is one of the most polished and endlessly interesting games available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Read our full Destiny 2 review
Before Fortnite took over the collective conscious of gaming, Overwatch was king. The class-based first-person shooter from Blizzard features some of the best strategic shooter gameplay around. An ever-evolving list of heroes, now tallying at 31, and frequent adjustments to the meta keeps the team-based gameplay fresh. Seasonal events such as the Summer Games, Halloween Terror, Winter Wonderland, and Lunar New Year have kept the community engaged with the hero shooter for more than three years.
While Overwatch has lost some of its thunder in the past year or so, it’s still one of the most popular esports games to watch today. You can dive in on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Be careful, though, you’ll log 1,000 hours before you know it.
Read our full Overwatch review
Titanfall 2 is the greatest first-person shooter ever made. No, that isn’t hyperbole. Though both Titanfall games were criminally overlooked by consumers (some of the blame falls on EA), Respawn’s second game in series represents a pinnacle for modern shooters, particularly when it comes to campaigns. Titanfall 2‘s campaign, which places you in the role of a new Pilot, is so well-designed from start to finish that it’s remarkable that it even exists.
Titanfall 2 has also been incredibly influential. The fast and fluid movement speeds of Pilots, complete with addictive wall-running, has found its way in other first-person shooters since launch. Even Call of Duty has tried to up the speed, though Activision will probably never attribute it to Titanfall.
Whether you’re hopping around as a Pilot or in your giant mech, Titanfall 2 is an absolute delight to play. While the online servers are a ghost town now, you can still play the best campaign in first-person shooter history. Really, you should play it. Like right now.
Read our full Titanfall 2 review
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Developed by Valve, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most popular eSports and PC shooters ever made. For good reason, too. CS:GO offers a blueprint for tactical gameplay that is virtually unmatched. In Counter-Strike, team coordination and forethought are essential, which makes it a tough game to enter as a newcomer now seven years removed from its launch.
Now free-to-play, you should certainly check out Global Offensive if you have somehow missed out. While the more rigid gameplay and quicker time-to-kill make it tough at first, Global Offensive can be extremely rewarding for those who take the time to really learn the ins and outs.
There’s not much more to say about Fortnite that hasn’t already been said. Chances are your grandfather who can’t use a mouse has heard of Fortnite. Fortnite has become synonymous with video games to the point where whenever I tell someone I write about games they say, “Oh yeah, my [son, daughter, whatever] loves Fortnite.” To be clear, though, the adoration is warranted. We’ve never seen a game quite like Fortnite, particularly when it comes to the ever-changing map and modes.
As a free-to-play game, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try Fortnite. It’s available on every current-generation console, PC, and mobile device. The cartoonish visuals are inviting and it never takes itself too seriously. While the shooting mechanics aren’t top-notch, the on-the-fly building feature is a marvel. Plus, it’s fun to see what changes will come next to the map, as Epic continues to tell a long-running story of sorts with each major change.
Read our full Fortnite review
Created by the team behind Titanfall 2, it’s no surprise that Apex Legends has the best gunplay of any of the major battle royale games available today. Apex Legends drops teams of three on a large map to duke it out to the death while the playable area gradually shrinks. Standard stuff, right? Well, Apex Legends also has a class-based system similar to Overwatch which spices things up in much-appreciated ways.
An interesting roster of heroes with unique abilities, fast and satisfying gunplay, and a map that is littered with cool details make Apex Legends a free-to-play game that feels like it should be full-priced. With a new limited-time solos mode on the horizon, Apex Legends is only just beginning its quest to battle royale dominance. It’ll never outshine Fortnite, but it’s a different kind of battle royale experience. There’s room for more than one excellent battle royale game. Apex Legends is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Read our full Apex Legends review
A lovely little game with a universal premise, Florence is one of the best mobile games ever made. In the span of a couple hours, you experience the story of a young woman falling in and out of love. Florence and Krish’s love story is miraculously told without dialogue. In place of dialogue are jigsaw puzzle bubbles that you fill in with pieces. The tone of the conversation is reflected in shapes and size of the pieces. Simplistic but clever, Florence‘s gameplay interactions are minimal. Instead, it plays out like a visual novel, letting you tap the screen to perform small tasks.
Florence is one of the most moving love stories to be told in video game form. Romance is hard to execute in games, but Florence deftly navigates the space, delivering a story that you can finish in an afternoon. It’ll stay with you long after the credits roll, though. Florence is one of the most interactive iOS and Android games around.
Who said gamers hated sunlight? 2016’s Pokémon Go captivated the entire world, compelling wannabe Pokémon trainers to go on long walks to catch Pocket Monsters using augmented reality technology. Pokémon Go‘s loop was and still is so satisfying because it’s largely a passive game that is best enjoyed in the company of friends and family. People have gone on cross-country road trips to catch Pokémon, met lifelong friends on the hunt, and we’re sure some romantic relationships have developed from a mutual love of filling out the Pokédex.
Since launch, Pokémon Go has added a number of features, most notably trainer battles. You can also trade Pokémon with friends. In many ways, Pokémon Go is a game that connects gamers and those who wouldn’t consider themselves to be gamers. It’s that universal and that influential of an experience. Pokémon Go is one of the most popular free-to-play games on mobile.
Valve likes making multiplayer games with steep learning curves. Case in point: Dota 2. The MOBA features the most complex gameplay available in the genre. At the same time, complexity means if you stick with it, you’ll be rewarded immensely for those growing pains. What’s great about Dota 2 is that all of its 100-plus heroes are accessible without spending a dime.
Dota 2 is also one of the premier eSports. To get good enough to compete on the big stage, you’ll probably have to log thousands of hours in the game. Even then, you never know. Dota 2 isn’t the best for casual play, but if you want something to sink your teeth into for the long haul, it’s one of the most engaging and popular free-to-play games ever made.
League of Legends
League of Legends has been around for a decade, and it remains the best combination of hardcore and casual. Basically, you can dive as little or as deep you want into Riot’s spin on the MOBA genre. League of Legends has gotten better with age. There’s a learning curve from the jump, but it’s more forgiving than Dota 2.
Without spending any money, you can play as a rotating collection of Champions. If you want the whole roster, though, you’ll have to spend real money or in-game currency earned by logging hours in battle. With multiple maps and game modes, League of Legends offers enough variety to keep you engaged for hundreds of hours (or more). While the MOBA genre seems to be on the decline, League of Legends will forever be an important PC game.
Super Mario Maker 2
Create-your-own-Mario-levels, what a concept! Super Mario Maker 2 for Nintendo Switch improves on the Wii U original in every way, offering more tools, styles, and themes to choose from when designing your diabolical sidescrolling levels. Designing levels with a controller or touchscreen is an intuitive process that, for some, may be more enjoyable than actually playing the community creations in Course World. The thing about Super Mario Maker 2 is that it really is an endless amount of content. New levels are added to the vast library of community creation all the time. Whether you run through them solo, cooperatively, or competitively, there’s a staggering amount of fun to be had. There are so many unbelievable user creations that push the boundaries of what you think a Mario game can be.
The story mode is the icing on the cake. Nintendo included a robust campaign with 100 levels designed in Super Mario Maker 2. We cannot stress this enough: Nintendo’s levels are bonkers cool. In some ways, Super Mario Maker 2 is the most impressive Mario sidescroller ever made. Even cooler: Much of that impressiveness can be attributed to fans. Super Mario Maker 2 is one of the best Switch games you can play your friends to date.
Read our full Super Mario Maker 2 review
One of the greatest platformers of all time, Celeste is a masterclass in design and the joys of minimalistic mechanics. You play as Madeline, a young woman struggling with anxiety and depression, on her quest to climb to the summit of the snow-capped Celeste Mountain. The journey has many obstacles, all of which you must avoid and conquer by jumping, climbing, and dashing. Celeste‘s chapters are broken up into small levels, each of which seamlessly flows into the last.
While Celeste starts simple enough, the minimalistic mechanics gradually become deeper as areas become more dangerous. Celeste has no traditional enemies to speak of. It’s all purely platforming, reminiscent of Super Meat Boy. On top of the superb platforming gameplay, Celeste‘s story about persevering through mental illness is deftly written and incredibly important. Celeste is one of the best indie games and is available on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.
Read our full Celeste review
An unlikely entrant in the battle royale genre, Tetris 99 for Nintendo Switch is pure chaos. It’s the Tetris you know and love, but you face off against 98 other players at once. While there are command options that let you designate where to send your Garbage blocks, it’s largely just Tetris with a much higher player count. But until you try it, you have no idea what that actually means. Tetris 99 is one of the tensest, most exhilarating games we’ve ever played. Winning a round in Tetris 99 feels like winning the video game lottery.
Tetris 99 is exclusively available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers as a free-to-play game. It’s one of the numerous spins on the greatest puzzle game of all time to launch in recent years. For a polar opposite Tetris experience, check out Tetris Effect, the most chill way to experience Tetris in VR on the PlayStation and PC, thanks to soothing animations and a catchy electronic soundtrack.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The Mario Kart franchise is the greatest arcade racing series ever made, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sits at the top of the Mario Kart rankings. An enhanced port of the Wii U original, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has more racers, battle modes, and unlockables on Switch. Like other Mario Kart games, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe combines old with new. Tracks from the series’ illustrious history are included, as are many new courses. In terms of feel, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is unrivaled in the arcade racing department.
While we cannot promise that you won’t get into huge arguments with family and friends while playing (those blue shells), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the one of the greatest multiplayer games on Switch and one of the most delightful racing games of all time.
Read our full Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review
Shin Megami Tensei has been wildly popular in Japan for years, but the series has only recently become a huge hit in the west. Persona 5, the latest entry in the brilliant series, is Atlus’ best effort yet. Part turn-based RPG, part dating sim, Persona 5 wears many hats. And it wears each of them incredibly well.
The nameless protagonist gets cast aside to a new city and then finds himself in an alternate reality thanks to a peculiar phone app. Both the alternate reality and real-life offer their own thrills, with the turn-based battling taking place in the other dimension and the characterization developing back home.
Persona 5 is a slow burn that takes upwards of 100 hours to explore in all of its glory. The time investment is worth it, though. Japanese turn-based RPGs have become something of a rarity in modern gaming, and Persona 5 is the very best Japanese RPG on PS4.
Read our full Persona 5 review
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
While the first two Witcher games were good, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is exceptional. CD Projekt Red refined the combat mechanics to make it a much more pleasant experience, filled with tons of RPG customization. The stars of the show are the world and story, though. The vast, detailed fantasy world is full of interesting characters and side stories. The main storyline itself, which is the conclusion to Geralt of Rivia’s tale, delivers in every way.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt remarkably got even better post-launch, due to some of the best expansions we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. The Witcher 3 is an epic western RPG that shines every step of the way. If you haven’t played it yet, you’re in for a real treat. It’s available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and arrives on Switch later this year. A TV show based on The Witcher novels is coming to Netflix, starring Superman himself, Henry Cavill.
Read our full The Witcher 3 review
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
A once in a generation game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild redefined what open world games could be when it launched on Switch and Wii U in 2017. Nintendo had never made an open world game before. Somehow, the iconic studio outmatched all of its competitors. Breath of the Wild captured the indescribable magic of the series while significantly altering the formula. It’s a feat that’s truly astonishing to think about.
Breath of the Wild‘s open world of Hyrule is filled with empty space. Rather than cluttering the world with needless tasks, Breath of the Wild gives players the freedom to explore at their own pace, to create their own adventures. Featuring breakable weapons and combat that is by far the most strategic and dynamic in series history, playing Breath of the Wild feels like discovering the timeless series for the first time. Breath of the Wild even replaced the traditional dungeons with 120 small-scale dungeons called Shrines, each of which had its own unique puzzle.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Final Fantasy XIV wasn’t good. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, which arrived three years later, is one of the greatest MMOs of all time. It also happens to be one of the most inviting MMOs for newcomers thanks to its fairly easy to pick up play style and wonderful community.
A Realm Reborn has seen three major expansions, including the excellent Shadowbringers, that have helped tell its epic story that rivals any game in the franchise. That’s particularly impressive since MMOs are known more for the grind for better and better gear than their stories.
A Realm Reborn has tons of engaging story content, as well as challenging raids, PvP battles, and yes, a myriad of awesome loot. A Realm Reborn is available now on PS4, PC, and Mac. It’s best played with friends, so convince your buddies to dive in with you. Fair warning: FFXIV can be addictive.
Read our full Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers review
Monster Hunter: World
The Monster Hunter series has had a dedicated cult following for many years, but it wasn’t until Monster Hunter: World that it became a huge mainstream hit. Monster Hunter: World is Capcom’s best-selling game…ever. Monster Hunter: World features far better combat mechanics than previous entries, which certainly makes it easier to get into than its predecessors.
But Monster Hunter: World is all about the thrill of the hunt. The power of current generation consoles allows the larger-than-life beasts to really stand out. After all, Monster Hunter really is the only franchise to make you feel that you are actually outmatched. In this regard, World offers a constantly enjoyable and epic experience.
World has a ton of depth, too. If you dive really deep into builds and the robust item system, you can remain enthralled with the loop for hundreds of hours. There’s so much in World that reveals slowly, which makes it all the more rewarding when things really start to click. Capcom has supported World since launch with limited-time events and crossovers.
Monster Hunter: World is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A major expansion, titled Iceborne, lands on PS4 and Xbox One September 6, with a PC version to follow this Winter.
Read our full Monster Hunter: World review
No game has sold more copies than Minecraft. Like Fortnite, the sandbox game really doesn’t need an introduction at this point. Minecraft has given players across the world the tools to create and play in their own worlds since 2011. Minecraft is what you make of it.
The limit to its depth is your imagination. Games become popular and then drift away. Minecraft isn’t an ordinary game, though. Like Tetris, the second best-selling game of all time, Minecraft feels like it will be around for generations to come. That very rarely happens with games.
Minecraft is available on every modern console,, PC, and mobile device and features cross-play support (but not for PS4). It’s especially great for creative-minded kids. Minecraft is a phenomenon worthy of its immense adoration. It continues to evolve because the community remains dedicated to building it up, one block at a time.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses combines the excellent turn-based strategy gameplay the series is known for with visual novel elements seen in games like Persona 5. Three Houses winds up being the deepest game in franchise history thanks to how well everything gels together. In Three Houses, you pledge your allegiance to one of three houses. From there, you teach students and partake in relationship building exercises such as everyone’s favorite “Tea Time.”
Three Houses was definitely a risky play, considering fans were used to hopping from battle to battle. This time around, it builds much slower. And it’s better for it. Three Houses still has superb gameplay; it’s just dressed up with a ton of welcome additions that make it one of the best games and exclusives on Switch. In terms of turn-based strategy games, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of the best we’ve ever played.
A shining example of how VR can really change the game, Beat Saber is one of the best rhythm games ever made. Your job is to slash blocks as they zip by you with two Lightsaber-esque swords. It’s a simple premise that quickly turns into pure, thrilling chaos. Beat Saber is propelled by a wonderful soundtrack that will keep you bobbing your head to the beat as your hands move frantically to keep your combo going. You’ll get a good workout while playing. Best of all: You’ll have a ton of fun even as sweat is dripping down your face.
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- The best Nintendo Switch games (February 2020)
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