The best games to play over Christmas

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Christmas, in essence, is a time for catching up. Each year, people spend time with family and get all the latest updates on the lives of friends. We PC gamers on the other hand have something much more vital to do in the process of whiling away those many hours of light intoxication: we have a pile of shame to tackle.

Gobbled up all the delightful experiences on this list? There are even more on our PCGN awards list 2017.

It grows ever more insurmountable each year: saddled by the existential need to eat, sleep, and work, promising games inevitably slip by the wayside. As games get longer and more become fully-fledged ‘services’, we are increasingly encouraged to play fewer games, but each of them for longer.

Christmas, then, is an important time for gamers. Each year, on Jesus’s special day, we can pretend to our royally-soused selves that we can conquer the heap of games we picked up in many a Steam sale, only to remain untouched. The following games are the ones you should think about releasing from their digital purgatory this holiday season:

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Ubisoft had some catching up to do when October 2017 rolled around, it being the month that Assassin’s Creed Origins arrived.. There had been no main entry in the series for two years – a first for the first the previously annual series – and so Ubisoft had to prove the time off was worth it.

We were getting an itchy wrist where our hidden blade should have been by the time Assassin’s Creed Origins came to take us back in time to Ancient Egypt, then. Fortunately, we were not disappointed: Ubisoft transformed the series into an RPG, and an excellent one at that.

The game’s rendition of Ancient Egypt is almost impossibly vast, and we have plenty of its glorious world to explore during the Christmas break ourselves. From its lavishly recreated pyramids, bustling towns, and water sources reminding us of the stellar Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Origins’ world is a sumptuous one to get lost in.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Torment: Tides of Numenera

There is nothing quite like relaxing by the fire at Christmas with a good book. Unless you choose to play Torment: Tides of Numenera, of course. The spiritual sequel to RPG masterwork Planescape: Torment, Tides of Numenera might feature as many words to read as it does people to fight, with the story unfolding in your mind as much as it does on the screen.

And what a great story it is, too. As ‘The Last Castoff’ – once the vessel housing the body-hopping immortal called the Changing God – you must defend yourself and the binned bodies of others from “The Sorrow,” a terrifying being that seeks to destroy this god and its creations.

Without the action present in many of 2017’s heavy hitters, Torment: Tides of Numenera might be a game that passed you by. But with its fantasy trappings in a futuristic world, and its philosophical intrigue, make sure you tick this one off your ‘to-play’ list this Christmas.

Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata has without doubt been one of the biggest surprises of the year. You might have ignored it yourself after a dodgy demo sapped the game of all hype before its release in February. At that point, it was considered a game for Japanese diehards only, but it proved to be anything but.

If this RPG is not a game you have ticked off this year, be sure to rectify that this Christmas. As combat android 2B you are placed in the midst of a proxy war between machines and humans, culminating in a story that is just as inventive as its mixed-genre gameplay.

Prey

 Prey

Bethesda have had a bad 2017 for overlooked releases. The Evil Within 2, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus hardly reaped the sales the games deserved. Then you have immersive sim Prey, which is a spiritual sequel to System Shock replete with elements of BioShock art-deco, and another example of this unfortunate trend for the publisher.

Playing as Morgan Yu aboard the space station Talos I you are part of the team researching the hostile alien collective known as the Typhon. Of course, it all goes wrong, and that is when the wrench comes out a-swinging. Prey is as inventive as the likes of Dishonored – not surprising given it is made by the same studio – it letting you discover a unique ensemble of items and abilities to interact with the intergalactic environment and in endlessly creative ways.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

mass effect AndromedaMass Effect: Andromeda got a bad rap when it came out in early 2017. It might not match the sweeping space operas that Mass Effect 2 and 3 proved to be, but there are still plenty of reasons to pack your bags for a trip to the Andromeda system.

Kicking off between the events of Mass Effect 2 and 3, you play as a Pathfinder, the leader of a team sent to discover safe spaces for life to expand into. This interesting premise promises a space romp of similar scale and wonder as the other games in the series but, on the whole, Andromeda is simply not alien enough.

The game is also plagued by facial animations and the astronomical hype from fans led to the game being branded a disappointment, but there is still a lot to like about Andromeda. Fingers crossed that a follow-up will exist one day, but just to make sure, we had better shut ourselves away this holiday and get on with some good ol’ fashioned space tourism.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

pubg

OK, so you might have to settle for chicken rather than turkey in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – or, let’s be honest, nothing at all for the most part – but there is still no finer way to celebrate Christmas than by hiding in the shadows until the bitter end. Add some sherry to the equation and that’s our Christmas day sorted, frankly.

Now that PUBG is out of Early Access, obviously the best way to celebrate is to indulge on as many rounds of battle royale action as your stress levels can manage. With the genre not going anywhere in 2018, and given all the plans Brendan Greene has for the game post-launch, you should be getting some practice in.

These are the games we will be catching up on this Christmas, but what will you be tucking into? Let us know in the comments below.