It’s fair to say that gaming has long been a popular pastime to while away the hours, but never has there been a better time – or excuse – to get plugged into a video game.
From unearthing nostalgic favourites to embracing new releases, there are just so many options out there. You can keep it solo or join multiplayer games, meaning although you can’t physically catch up with friends, you can band together on an adventure, or alternatively you can battle it out virtually. Whichever floats your boat.
Here’s our mix of the best video games to get stuck into at home on Playstation 4, X Box and Nintendo Switch – whether it’s entertainment, escapism or a pure challenge you’re after.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Device: Nintendo Switch
Could there have been a better moment to release this calming, soothing escape from reality than during this time of panic and uncertainty? Sail away to a peaceful island where you can pitch up a tent, learn crafts and enjoy nature in all its seasonal variations, from mushroom picking in autumn to building snowmen in winter. It’s very cutesy and utterly delightful. With the ability to visit other islands, invite friends over to yours or send a postcard, it also offers the opportunity to connect with pals. Tasks such as a spot of fishing, going to the local island store for some goodies and chasing bugs provide the perfect escapism in this little slice of paradise. As a bonus, it captivates both adults and children.
Devices: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Released at the end of March, this apocalyptic first person shooter is loud, frantic and unrelenting. One of the most anticipated games of the year, Doom: Eternal, is the sequel to the award-winning 2016 Doom. Once you’ve picked up your weapons, don’t expect to have a rest until you hit pause. This game requires all your focus, energy and attention just to stay alive. Not for the faint-hearted, it’s aggressive, gory and packed full of demons. If you don’t mind slicing a zombie in half with a chainsaw and relish a challenge then this may be the game for you.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Device: Nintendo Switch
Mario Kart is an absolute classic, and in times of uncertainty there’s a real sense of comfort in reaching for an old favourite. Not only is it a perfect nugget of nostalgia, it’s a great multiplayer game to have in a household and can also be played with friends online if you’re feeling a bit more sociable. In this version, released in 2017, all the best ingredients of Mario Kart are visible: a mix of fun race tracks, plenty of characters to switch between and accessible gameplay for a range of ages.
Devices: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
If the suspension of the Premier League – not to mention all other football – has left you pining for an 11-a-side fix, then why not crack out an old favourite and take charge? Fifa 20 hardly needs an introduction for football fans, but there’s been a renewed interest in the game given the lack of actual live footie on our screens. See it as an opportunity to take control and see if you really could do better.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Another hotly tipped game of the year is the Final Fantasy VII Remake, out on PS4 on 10th April. It’s been a long time coming and according to reviews, it doesn’t disappoint. If you’re already a Final Fantasy fan then this release will have been on your radar for years, but you don’t need to have played the original to be excited about this one. So settle down, get that PS4 fired up and lose yourself in hours of nostalgia and in discovering new gems.
Persona 5 Royal
If you are a fan of a good story then this recently released update to the much loved 2016 Persona 5 is a great choice. Follow the protagonist, a student referred to as Joker, as he transfers to a new school, Shujin Academy, after an incident in his hometown saw him suspended from his previous school. There’s a mystical place called the Metaverse, injustices to fight and hidden abilities to uncover, meaning there’s plenty to get stuck into. Just don’t expect anything too fast or furious. This is a slow-burner that demands your time.
This 2018 release takes you underwater on a quest for survival as you explore an alien ocean planet after your spaceship crashes. It’s subtly terrifying as you soon discover that those beautiful underwater surroundings are also home to a variety of hidden dangers. Certainly if you’ve ever paddled in the sea and been scared of what may be lurking beneath then this won’t go any way towards reducing those fears. It’s atmospheric, nerve jangling and gives you plenty of opportunity to test out your DIY skills.
If you’re not already aware of Minecraft, where have you been? Love it or hate it, this game available across PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and smartphone has legions of fans. As well as allowing for socialising – groups of eight players can meet online – it also teaches players construction skills as they engineer the world around them, one block at a time. Be warned though, it’s a real time swamp.
Another nostalgic throwback, Tekken was my teenage game of choice. If you want to lose some hours pretending to be a right badass, delve into this game. Whilst fans patiently await news of a Tekken 8, get your teeth stuck into this edition released in 2017. Packed full of combat, storylines full of drama and epic battles, there’s a reason why this fighting franchise has had such longevity.
Ring Fit Adventure
Device: Nintendo Switch
If you want to combine gaming with some full body movement, Nintendo’s latest fitness offering Ring Fit Adventure, is a fun way to combine a bit of fun with some exercise. The game comes with a Ring-Con and Leg Strap to track your movements and sends you off on an adventure to defeat enemies, with some squats and crunches thrown in for good measure. It allows you to target specific body areas if you wish.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Praised for its incredible cinematic visuals, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare released in 2019, is the latest main title, and 16th in the popular first person shooter series. It’s available on PS4, Xbox One and on PC, with the option to play as a single player or in multiplayer. It’s still a popular choice and one that will keep you engrossed for hours.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Device: Nintendo Switch
This is the latest, biggest and best selling title of the Zelda franchise and when it was released in 2017, it won plaudits for its great game design. It mixes some of the best ingredients of an absorbing game: scope for exploration, battles, puzzle solving and escapism. Not a bad game to be cooped up with at home.
While there is comfort and nostalgic fun to be had in bringing out an old console favourite, the perfectly timed release of Animal Crossing: New Horizon with its desert island vibes, simple joys and stress-free escape from reality proves to be an enchanting tonic for these times. £49.99 from Nintendo or Argos.
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