Christmas is almost upon us, and with it time for us to finally spend time gaming. During the course of the year, heavy careers and overly long responsibilities can tear us away from the consoles and computers we use to experience incredible digital worlds. For this reason, it’s important to make the most of this time, and catch up on the best titles of the year.
2017 has been a wonderful year for gaming, especially if you’re interested in PC gaming. More and more titles are making the transition to the PC, allowing us to game in glorious 4k, or 60fps and beyond. Excellent monitors are helping us view some amazing worlds in crisp quality. It’s easy to pity those who don’t play video games thanks to the sheer wonder of experiences we are afforded these days.
If you’re a PC gamer, with a functioning steam account and the funds to make use of the sales, we have some incredible suggestions for titles you might enjoy. These, coupled with the best gaming websites, are sure to give you a memorable and cozy winter playing experience.
Divinity Original Sin II
Divinity Original Sin II, likely to be crowned game of the year by many PC gaming journalists, is one of the best games released in recent times. Not since the time of The Witcher III have we been treated to such a beautiful, vast and complex fantasy world. Larian Studios, the developers who have now ran two successful Kickstarter games to fund their crafting goals, have made good on their promises. Divinity is an isometric RPG, one with an incredibly complex set of internal rules which affords the player some excellent and intriguing player freedom.
The reason these game are so celebrated is because they employ novelty as a virtue. The battle system is elemental based, meaning that all water can be electrified, all oil can be set alight, and all flesh characters can be poisoned (avoid this by playing a skeleton character, yes really.) This affords some organic and purely hysterical gaming moments. The story in these games is relatively tongue in cheek but has gravity where needed, and the entire world is so beautifully rendered with layers of complexity it can be hard to look away. The game world features gated zone for battle, but often you needn’t even fight, as the game has a complex and intriguing dialogue system, allowing you to talk your way out of situations.
Hardcore RPG fans will be happy to see the inclusion of several races and classes to occupy – at least 40 different variants exist. Add to that some truly ingenious writing, an engaging and silly plot, and one of the most competently designed game worlds of recent memory, and you have a world you could spend hundreds of hours in through repeat playthroughs.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
The recently released Assassin’s Creed Origins has taken everyone by surprise. While the series has been flagging under its over-systematized design in recent years, Origin’s has taken an Egyptian torch to the formula and has made improvements where necessary. While Assassin’s Creed is often considered a console-friendly game – it often requires a controller to play well – the glorious rendering of ancient Egypt is truly something to be witnessed in high settings. This will take a decent degree of computing power, and you should expect to play it with no less than a 1070 or 1080 graphics card.
If you have the rig for it, you’ll find that this is one of the most stunning and vast game worlds ever created. Not only is the world rendered in stunning detail, but the environments are varied and continually engaging. The protagonist Bayek handles wonderfully too, and the level design is a dream. Sneaking in bushes and taking out targets with your silent blade and bow is just as satisfying and marking those targets with Senu the eagle beforehand.
If you’ve been at all on the fence about picking this title up thanks to the relative notoriety the series has received in recent years, we hope this has persuaded you. This entry was developed by the team behind Black Flag, one of the most celebrated AC games to date. Not only did they add another year to their development to polish the game (it shows,) but all the best parts of those games have been added, while all the fluff has been taken away, creating a game world we only wish we could visit in real life. In the interest of being contemporary, Cleopatra is given a pronounced English accent. Hey, not every game is perfect.
If you’re interested in experiencing this phenomenal world, Ubisoft are soon to release an ‘educational’ mode or version, where combat and quests are turned off, and you are able to experience the beautiful world in a no-pressure environment. If you’re a history teacher, this could prove a vital and elegant resource to show your students. Even if you’re not, you can surely glean some wonderful insight from experiencing this beautiful civilization first hand.
If you fancy more visual stimulation, consider picking up the bosh-rush game Cuphead. Cuphead has made waves around the gaming world in recent months, thanks to its highly unique art style, which perfectly recreates the feeling of cartoons from the 1930’s and 40’s. The art team have painstakingly crafted hand-drawn animations which look absolutely stunning, even if the game is brutally hard.
If you enjoy a challenge, stellar visual and sound design, and only have time for a game maybe five to six hours in length, Cuphead could be for you. It’s truly one of the most engaging, innovative and celebrated titles this year. We’d recommend a controller for the best experience.
In an effort to avoid writing that ugly title again, we’re going to refer to this game as PUBG. If you haven’t heard of this title, you’ve likely been living under a rock. Bursting onto the scene in March 2017, PUBG has gone from strength to strength, and has sold 20 million copies in the meantime. It is currently the most played game on Steam, and the most watched game on Twitch. This is an incredible development, because it means it has knocked Counter-Strike and Dota from the top spots, two of the biggest titans of the video gaming world.
For those who aren’t sure of what PUBG actually is, let us explain. One hundred players are selected and then dropped by parachute onto a massive island. Players must gather weapons and armour, and attempt to survive until the very last man. The white ‘circle’ slowly shrinks during the course of the match, and players must enter that location to avoid their health being drained by the ever-shrinking blue wall of death. In that time they must engage in firefights, avoid being spotted, and generally use the best of their wit to become the last man standing.
Players who win are greeted with the message ‘winner winner chicken dinner!’ which is a badge of pride in the PUBG community. Due to the map being so varied, and the naturally occurring circumstances of battle changing from game to game, PUBG is a game with endless replayability, and excellent Esports potential. It’s relatively low price (currently sitting at $35,) offers plenty of engaging content, and could melt hours of your life away this winter.
Be sure you have a solid internet connection to play. The game is also much better playing in squads or duo’s with a friend, so convince one of your friends to pick it up for the best results, or approach a PUBG community for the best experience.
Resident Evil 7
If you feel that your overall need for horror was not satiated during Halloween, this could be the perfect time to pick up the de facto horror title of the year. Resident Evil 7 is a new direction for the franchise, returning to its survival horror roots after a sequential order of action-oriented titles being released. Resident Evil 7 puts you in the first person shoes of Ethan, a guy simply looking for his missing girlfriend after an unexpected email in his inbox directs him to a house in Louisiana. This house is of course absolutely terrifying, and the Baker family soon big him welcome. The catch? The Bakers are an insane collection of psychopathic and aggressive semi-monsters, but no spoilers here.
Over the course of the game players are subject to some truly terrifying set pieces which can make even the most strong-hearted of you shudder. This is a great game to play among friends, but certainly not family. The thing which truly makes Resident Evil 7 stand out is its tight design, the fact that nothing outstays its welcome, and the strength of the character writing and performance. For true horror fans, this is a no-brainer, and it certainly makes for an alternative festive experience.
With these games, hours are sure to melt away in fun and interest. They can make the perfect Christmas gifts too. We hope our buying guide has helped you, and wish you the most fun possible.