AH, Christmas, a time when we can finally kick back and relax for a while without the woes of college and work to bog us down. While some might see it as a time to socialise with family and make merry, gamers can instead see it as an opportunity to catch up on titles missed out on during the year.
“But what will I play first?” you ask. Fret not, we here at OTwo are here to run down the top 5 titles you won’t want to miss out on during your week-long gaming marathon.
#5 Firewatch – PS4/Xbox One/PC
Released back in February this year, Firewatch could have been just another indie title that fell by the wayside, but it turned into one of the most critically acclaimed indie releases of the last few years.
The game follows the main character, Henry, who takes up a position at a fire watch station based in the real-life Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. As the game’s title implies, your role as Henry is to remain at your post ready to report signs of fire. We won’t spoil what happens next, but the focus of the game isn’t as obvious as it appears to be.
The success of Firewatch lies in its unique format and gameplay, carried out in a well-structured, easy-to-explore world. Featuring some of the best writing and voice acting present in any video game released this year, play this if you get a chance, you won’t regret it.
#4 INSIDE – PS4/Xbox One/PC
Back in October’s edition of OTwo, we reviewed INSIDE following its multiplatform release, bringing it to PS4. But what wasn’t immediately obvious at the time, was just how thought provoking the game would become, inspiring multiple replays which still have my brain boggled (something that is certainly not helped by the revelation that the game has an alternate ending).
If you have yet to play INSIDE, you’re missing out. Essentially LIMBO 2.0, the game is presented in a format that completely does away with dialogue in favour of visual storytelling, something that the game’s side-scrolling element helps to convey via background imagery.
The game is unforgiving, and you are liable to be mutilated by dogs or blown apart by surrounding hazards without warning. We definitely recommend giving it a go, but be prepared to find yourself researching theories online after a detailed play-through.
#3 That Dragon, Cancer – PC
That Dragon, Cancer is probably one of the most difficult titles that a gamer could experience, but that’s only because of just how impactful and enthralling it is telling the story.
The game follows the Green family and their experience as their child is diagnosed with an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor shortly after his first birthday. As one would imagine, it’s a very personal experience, which challenges the player, putting you in the shoes of the baby’s parents as the game’s events play out.
While it may be a sensitive topic for some, the game provides a wealth of awareness and insight relative to the subject matter, told through a compelling narrative. The experience, as a result, makes it one of the best story-driven titles this year, making it essential playing.
#2 The Witness – PS4/Xbox One/PC
Have you ever been so caught up inside the world of a video game that you legitimately find it hard to think about anything else? It rarely happens, but The Witness has made the list.
Developed by Braid’s Jonathan Blow, The Witness is a puzzle game that truly goes beyond the realm of simply being a piece of interactive entertainment, and that’s saying something when the aim of the game is to essentially maneuver a bright dot around the game’s world through a sequence of square panels.
Yes, you read that right.
As you navigate to find the exit point, it’s the way by which the game teaches you how to beat it that makes it so addictive, featuring interactive puzzle solving on a level that I simply can’t convey through words. This won’t be a game for everyone, but we can’t recommend it enough. If you don’t believe so, give it a Google search. This is something you need to experience yourself.
#1 Virginia – PS4/Xbox One/PC
Rewinding the clock back to 2010, developer Quantic Dream changed the exploration genre with the release of Heavy Rain. Since then, there has been a lot more expected from that genre in terms of how much more of an experience it’s adhering titles were, flowing more along the lines of an interactive film as opposed to a game you could ‘beat’. Virginia is the culmination of all these elements, presented exactly as a film would by progressing from scene to scene via dissolves and featuring cinematic editing.
The game sees the player control FBI agent Anne Tarver as she investigates the disappearance of a boy in rural Virginia. While we don’t want to spoil the story, things begin to veer in on the supernatural as the story progresses, leading to very interesting developments that make it the best storyline you will see all year. You need to experience this one for yourself.