The winter months are upon us and with them comes the ever-fruitful influx of new games to enjoy whilst we keep ourselves warm and cosy during these chilly times. With quite a variety to choose from this year, here is a list of ten of the best games which you could be enjoying in your central-heated retreat!
10-Town of Salem
Town of Salem isn’t a new release, but with the option to play for free in your browser it is certainly an option which is open to everyone. Focussing loosely on the historic setting of the Salem Witch Trials, the game combines a Cluedo-like gameplay system with a humorous and highly competitive overture.
The aim of the game is to survive until the end in a randomly-selected role, by either convincing the town folk that you are trustworthy or fooling them into letting your dark wrongdoings slip by unnoticed. With different roles being capable of different actions in the game, no two matches are the same, and the game certainly never has a dull moment.
The developers of Town of Salem are frequently upgrading the game with new modes, game styles and paid content to enjoy. You can even pick up a copy on Steam if you want a little more than what the browser-based experience can offer. Whatever your preference, Town of Salem is a great option for filling those quiet evenings in.
9-The Jackbox Party Pack 2
With winter comes good times spent with family and friends, and few titles if any this year can suit such gatherings as perfectly as The Jackbox Party Pack 2. Filled with a variety of different party games designed for any number of players to enjoy, this is the perfect companion for any social event coming to your home this winter.
Players join one of the five comedic games via their own mobile devices, rather than using a controller. The simple interface played out on a familiar device means that even the less gaming-proficient members of your family can join in on the fun.
From quirky quizzes and crazy sound mixing to selling hand-drawn artworks and disarming bombs, there is plenty of fun to be had with The Jackbox Party Pack 2, and at a very reasonable price at that (£24.99 at the time of writing). Hilarity will inevitably ensue in this laugh-a-second bundle that is truly hours of enjoyment waiting to happen.
8-Xenoblade Chronicals X
Xenoblade Chronicals X the next evolution in west meets east, in a massive true Open World RPG from Monolith Soft for the Nintendo Wii.
A terrible intergalactic war leaves just a handful of Earth survivors trying to live in a beautiful yet hostile environment. Players engage in battles against powerful creatures of all forms and sizes using the deep battle system that builds on the triumphs of Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii. Available Exclusively on the Nintendo Wii U.
7-Rainbow Six Siege
This is where we start getting into the big name games of this year, starting with Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Ubisoft is looking to reinvigorate the popular franchise with this new style of squad-based action, and if the beta is anything to go buy this one is going to be a killer!
Rainbow Sis Siege tests your ability to work as a closely knit team alongside a group of variously-talent operatives who must either defend or attack a target. Making good use of modern military and tactical technologies, Siege has already proven to be a very competent and enjoyable game to play with friends, or even with the right group of strangers.
From bomb disposal to hostage rescue, all the way up to terrorist hunting, this game has plenty of variety to keep you and your squad interested in the action. With loads more content to look forward to following the game’s full release, this shooter with a difference should certainly be on your list.
6-Call of Duty: Black Ops IIICall of Duty is always a favourite year upon year, and with the highly anticipated release of Black Ops III seeing a wealth of positive reviews, this year’s offering is no exception. Treyarch return to the helm of this title, meaning even if the action of futuristic warfare doesn’t quite suit your tastes, there are plenty of Zombies around to keep you occupied too.
The Black Ops variants of the Call of Duty series have always been some of the favourites, and there is plenty of new content in this game which makes it the perfect balance between the former games in its lineage and the more recent Advanced Warfare. The latter’s futuristic setting has been maintained, but with tweaks to gameplay having been made by the arguably more experienced team at Treyarch, gamers are already reporting marked improvements.
The Call of Duty games isn’t for everyone, but this title certainly deserves its place on the list. Being tipped as the year’s biggest game, it would be a sin to leave it off.
5-Halo 5: Guardians
Halo 5 is another returning shooter series, which has seen a largely positive response since its recent release. With the team at 343 Studios under the pressure of Microsoft’s increasing need to bring value to its flagship gaming system, Halo 5 needed to be another great episode in the series, and it certainly delivered.
Whether or not the game will make the Xbox One any cheeky favours is yet to be seen, but the game itself lives up to the fans’ high expectations of the next generation of the Halo franchise. A re-imagined multiplayer experience drawing inspiration from the popular FIFA or CS:GO models and a bigger story than the series has ever seen before, there is plenty for fans of the series to enjoy.
The game only hits number five on this list though, as despite its positive outlook in its own right, it has let go of some of the franchise’s core features. The lack of local multiplayer, a survival mode, or indeed many of the classic multiplayer game variants mean that this game has lost some of what fans would look to these games for. Nevertheless, the title itself is strong, is likely to bring a more epic winter experience to your living room than others.
4-Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate had an uphill battle to win upon its release, with its predecessor being the least popular entry in the series to date. Fortunately a great deal of care was taken this time around to ensure the fans got what they want, and the fans were pleased indeed.
The game is out now on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 so this should be kept in mind when you are looking to purchase a copy, but in terms of mechanics, storyline and general assassin-y enjoyment the game has struck the right chords on console. Developed by Ubisoft Quebec, who made their debut in the franchise with last year’s Assassin’s Creed Rogue, the new team has earned a thumbs up from the game’s community with the biggest title in the series thus far.
The London setting will of course only adds to the enjoyment of British fans, this winter too, and if you don’t want to get out and about in the cold, then what better way to spend your time than exploring the capital from the warm. Follow a rich story from the skies of the city to the depths of its darker roads, and enjoy yourself some traditional Assassin’s Creed-style action.
3-Rise of the Tomb Raider
If seeing London in Assassin’s Creed isn’t enough for you this winter, then why not travel the world in an action packed adventure which follows the growth of the premier video game heroine that is Lara Croft.
The follow-up to the hugely popular revamp of the classic video game series, Rise of the Tomb Raider sees Lara travelling the world in search of new secrets following her challenging experiences on the island of Yamutai. Disturbing though her journey was, Lara cannot resist putting her hard-learned skills into action in ever more dangerous environments, in pursuit of both history and adventure.
Early reviews of this game point to an equally strong experience to that of its predecessor, and if this is true, then there is truly no better time to jump into one of gaming’s biggest franchises. This title in only being released on Xbox One and Xbox 360 right now though and this is why it only makes number 3 on this list.
2-Star Wars BattlefrontPain me though it does, my impartiality forces me to put my most anticipated game of the year at number 2 on my list. Star Wars Battlefront revives my favourite ever game series, and a series which numerous video game and Star Wars fans around the world have been awaiting the return of for years. Developed by DICE, the team behind the Battlefield series, this game has expectations, but its beta suggested that it would indeed deliver.
Be a part of the greatest sci-fi universe of all time, fighting in the biggest battles that this galaxy far, far away has ever seen. Be you an Imperial Stormtrooper or a Rebel Alliance Soldier, the frontlines of the Star Wars universe are the scene for this game; the weapons of that universe your arsenal. What’s more, you can fly starships, control Imperial Walkers and even play as a Jedi in this epic title.
Battlefront looks, sounds and feels like Star Wars, so if you ever wanted to be a part of that universe or see for yourself its great battles playing out, then this game will be for you. You can even play with a friend in the game’s new survival modes, meaning that you can share in the glorious experience. The hype surrounding this title is real, and for very good reason too.
In case you hadn’t guessed or alternatively have been living in an underground vault devoid of outside communication for the past 200 years, Fallout 4 is top of this winter’s to-play list. Whether it sells the most copies or not, the new Fallout game is almost certainly the biggest game of the year in the eyes of avid gamers.
Taking a lot of what made Skyrim one of the best games we had ever played and bringing us back to the much-loved post-apocalyptic scenery of the Fallout universe, Bethesda inspired awe for this title before it even came to be released. From new features to an enhanced world, even down to the simple fact it was Fallout, gamers have hyped up this huge new title more than marketing materials ever could.
More importantly, there is enough to do in this game to potentially fill your entire winter period with hours of exciting, albeit grindy gameplay which will keep you interested for solid days on end. If anyone knows how to make a game big and interesting and with plenty to do and choices that matter, it is Bethesda, and Fallout 4 promises to do all of this and much more too.
These are not the only games coming this winter of course, and there are many, many more coming your way which may even be better than some of the huge titles I have mentioned. It is always worth keeping an eye out for surprising indie hits on Steam and watching for classics in the inevitable sales just over the snow covered hills.
These games however are some sure-fire hits that will certainly bring you great gaming pleasure until it is safe to leave the house again when the warmer weather returns. If you can think of any others that gamers might enjoy, however, feel free to mention them in the comments below. As much as I would like to recommend more, I have to get back to playing these ten, but I would love to hear what you think too!
Whatever you choose to play this winter, keep warm, be merry and don’t forget that there is even more to come in the new year too!
Guest Post: Nathan O’Grady from Invision