It’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in video games right now. With pandemic restrictions, you can not physically hang out with friends; you might be off work, cashing federal CRB cheques, and looking to unwind during this stressful time. With services like Steam, GOG, and PSN, the video game store is right on your computer or console, so there is no need to worry about masking up to venture out to your local games store. Just stay home and binge some video games. Here are the top games to play in lockdown that you can immerse yourself in or play with friends.
- Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium is a detective RPG developed by ZA/UM, with many depth levels. It’s part role-playing, part police procedural, part psychodrama. You play as a detective that wakes up fatally hungover. Your first task is to peel yourself off the carpet and begin the laboursome process of piecing your broken mind back together while simultaneously attempting to solve a gruesome murder on the wrong side of the tracks. Disco Elysium’s main gameplay comes from conversations you have with Non-Player Characters (NPCs). With a selection of ways to respond to people. Through these dialogue choices, your personality and how people react to you become your reality. The things you say, decisions you make, and your character’s thoughts in Disco Elysium matter, affecting the result of the game and the inner workings of your mind in a meaningful way.
Disco Elysium is highly recommended if you are looking to escape into an excellent story, large open-world, and a unique fantasy/science-fiction universe with political parallels to our own.
Purchase on GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/disco_elysium
with upcoming releases on PS4, PS5, and XboxOne.
2. Cyberpunk Bartender Action VA-11 Hall-A
Do you miss going to the bar? Having a drink with your friends over FaceTime is just not the same. In VA-11 Hall-A, developed by Sukeban Games, you play Jill, a 27-year-old bartender, as she operates a dive bar in the heart of a dystopian Cyberpunk city. Barely making ends meet, you spend your days making science-fiction-themed cocktails and conversing with your patrons about their personal lives or various political issues that citizens of the city face. However, the gameplay is very minimal and more of a visual novel. The game is well written, witty, and cleverly presented through the interaction you have with your patrons of the bar. The patrons are convincingly portrayed as multidimensional and worth getting to know. Their variety is impressive – you get a cat-woman, a trash-news website editor, a virtual idol, a 24/7 video streamer, to list a few.
For visual novel fans, VA-11 HALL-A is a refreshing take on the genre and unique enough to be worth your time.
Available for purchase on
Nintendo Switch store: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/va-11-hall-a-cyberpunk-bartender-action-switch/
In a lockdown, days can seemingly blur together, and time can standstill. So when is a better time to take a look back at an old genre going through a revival? HROT is a new retro First Person Shooter (FPS) that looks like Quake set the mid-80s Soviet Union. Made by a solo developer, Spytihněv, who built the game in a custom engine, that imitates 1990s software rendering “with unfiltered textures and polygon jitter.” There’s an unmistakable Quake aesthetic given that the game’s colour palette is various shades of brown. In gameplay terms, it perfectly encapsulates the retro-FPS genre. The movement is smooth and swift while the gunplay packs a hefty punch. The game is currently in Early Access and includes one episode, called “Kiss Me Gustav,” with eight levels, a wide variety of weapons, 17 enemies, four boss fights, a new game+ mode, and a horde map.
Available for purchase on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/824600/HROT/
4. Unfortunate Spacemen
Unfortunate Spacemen, by New Blood Interactive, is a social game on the list. At its essence, this game is John Carpenter’s The Thing, presented in an FPS. You play as a spaceman working for a shady organization known only as The Company and are required to complete various tasks around an out-of-service spaceship. Or you can play as a shapeshifting monster hunting down, eliminating, and preventing the spacemen from completing their assignments. At the end of each round, you gather together and try to figure out which spaceman is secretly the monster. It’s a great game to play with friends that quickly devolves into chaos as everyone begins to blame each other for acting suspiciously. It’s also free to play!
Available on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/408900/Unfortunate_Spacemen/
5. Pillars of Eternity
In lockdown, you may not be able to get your group together and Pillars of Eternity will fill your need to play some tabletop RPGs. Pillars of Eternity presents to you a solo Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) experience. It gives you the freedom to cheat, steal, kill, or persuade your way through the campaign just like in D&D. In this game create your character and role-play as them, but control an entire party led by your character. The combat is a detailed real-time strategy where you can pause time to organize and set up your strategy then unpause time to let your party execute your strategy. Pillars of Eternity is set in a unique high-fantasy world with a long and detailed story that will guarantee hundreds of hours of adventurous gameplay. I’ve recommended Pillars of Eternity to everyone I’ve played D&D with, and they’ve all agreed, this is the best D&D experience you can get from a video game.
Xbox and PS4
Have another recommendation for a fun filled day of gaming? Leave us a comment with your suggestions.