The best Christmas games - article

The best Christmas games - article
Glittering trees, burning fireplaces, hot chocolate, maybe snow outside the window. In this more Christmas atmosphere than ever, you are ready: slippers on your feet and joypad in hand. But what to play? It is not worth risking losing the magic due to a game that is not suitable for the occasion. Will it be time to play it safe and watch Una Armchair for Two on TV? Put it aside, they do it every year. Our excursus will be for you.

Batman: Arkham Origins

In this prequel to the successful saga written and launched by Paul Dini, Batman will roam the rooftops of a snowy and glacial Arkham City. The Dark Knight is not yet the undisputed protector of the night. He will become one during an atypical Christmas Eve, hunted by eight assassins unleashed by the Black Mask. The presence of the historical nemesis, the Joker, is here in its infancy but ready to wreak havoc and turn the cards upside down.

Developed by Warner Bros. Games Montreal, Arkham Origins is certainly not as refined as its predecessors of Rocksteady Studios, as well as being the one with the greatest debts towards the Nolan saga. But it is still a valid game for those who like to explore an open city, alternating stealth phases and fighting the latest gadget. An interesting experience not only for DC Comics fans, who will grasp the myriad of quotes, but for those who, more simply, want to live a very long eve in the company of Bruce Wayne and James Gordon.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Since that distant November 2011 Skyrim has come a long way. Bethesda's open world is today a magnet for mods, has been graphically updated to withstand the passage of time (complete with VR), and remains one of the longest-running and evocative RPGs on the market. After the prologue, you will travel freely in a cold and unique region, decorated with mammoth cliffs, Scots pines, fjords, huts and northern lights.

Skyrim is today the best portal to a Nordic and enchanted world. Whether you're in the mood for an expedition to the dragon-flying peaks, to study magic in Winterhold, to hunt under the auspices of Hircine, or to return to visit your cozy Whiterun mansion. The song of the fallen in the Sovngarde is certainly not the equivalent of a Christmas carol, but it surrounds an eternal banquet that will be enough to make you forget the dinner.

Saints Row 4: How the Saints Saved Christmas

Saints Row's cosmic and totally nonsense drift is one of the luckiest and most fun shark jumps in videogame history. The fourth chapter is an action that dates back to the beginning of last Gen, but not to be underestimated for this. For an atypical Christmas, we can only recommend a trip to its setting, made schizophrenic by the presence of aliens, virtual simulations, telekinetic powers.

If you want to discover the true meaning of Christmas and turn off the brain thanks to the succession of trash, sci-fi and caciarone shootings, the How the Saints Saved Christmas DLC is for you. It includes three missions, released in 2013, which mix everything, absolutely everything: from time travel to killer snowmen, from Christmas themed machine guns to Santa's evil doppelganger.

Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams

NiGHTS into Dreams, developed by the Sonic Team, first appeared on Sega Saturn. It has been available on Steam in an HD version since 2012 and includes the short Christmas expansion, Christmas NiGHTS, used to flesh out sales back in 1996. The game indulges in trip strobe lights and visual absurdity of environments. It is a dreamlike, hypnotic and magical atmosphere.

But that doesn't mean the gameplay is to be underestimated. NiGHTS is able to test players' reflexes, precision and cold blood, thanks to its time trials and its flight system. With Jingle Bells among the songs of the soundtrack, an a cappella version of the main theme and an adventure dedicated to the search for the Christmas star, NiGHTS will take you into a hushed and luminous world.

Parasite Eve

Parasite Eve is an alienating experience. A horror action RPG with casual encounters, survival elements and the famous ATB bars. Thanks to the release date, it has that timeless charm of the original Silent Hill, Koudelka and Shadow Hearts. It is the Square at its historical peak. Yoko Shimomura's music is like fog and snow on the Manhattan of the game, turned upside down by deaths, self-burns and metamorphosis. As with Resident Evil, bioengineering and body horror are always involved.

Directed by Takashi Tokita and co-written with Hideaki Sena, Parasite Eve is now a classic, one of the most important games for PlayStation and part, at present, of a trilogy. It should be noted that the events involving Aya Brea, the protagonist, take place at the turn of Christmas 1997. But it is a lonely Christmas, with snowy, empty, sad streets, in which footsteps echo. Melancholy can turn into a cauldron of horrifying suggestions, and perhaps it is the spirit of Christmas Present.

Dead Rising 4

An entire shopping center at your disposal. At Christmas. During a zombie invasion. Dead Rising 4 is a return to the origins of the Capcom and Keiji Inafune saga. As in 2006, you will control Frank West and visit the city of Willamette. In this action-packed survival horror, everything you find will be useful against the undead hordes. If you are looking for an explosive amusement park, a mechanism of pure fun and dark humor, in Dead Rising you will have plenty of them.

The bizarre moments are mixed with the urgency, all action, to save the unsavable. Frank West passes from improvised weapons to hi-tech military equipment, allowing himself, as a good photo-reporter, some strategic shots. More casual than its predecessors, without the heart-stopping timer to the main story, it remains a great wind chime. The Christmas background allows you to show a different zombie apocalypse.

Krampus is Home

The Krampus is a demon defeated and enslaved to St. Nicholas. He is part of our folklore and as a mythological figure he is found, in some horror films, as an alternative and evil version of the more good-natured Santa Claus. He is a goat-like monster with two huge horns and sharp claws. Obviously, a videogame version cannot be missing. In fact, here it is in Krampus is Home.

Trackers, hide and seek mechanics, stealth phases and avalanche jump scare. You will not only have to fear the Krampus, but also reindeer and elves in his service. Krampus is Home is a modern horror, one that works in company. It is heavily focused on the Christmas theme, it is in the first person and with a decent longevity. Despite some funny collisions and graphics with obvious limitations, it has a good ability to catch the player by surprise.

Mom, I missed the plane

A multiplatform from the past. Home Alone was released in 1991, a year after the success of Chris Columbus' film of the same name, known as Mom, I missed my plane. It is a sliding platformer in which the unfortunate Kevin will have to defend himself, setting traps, from the invasion of the two (if possible more unfortunate) apartment thieves. If the anxiety of the film were not enough, in the game you will have only twenty minutes to prepare for the onslaught of the villains.

It is certainly not a game that bears the weight of the years, but if you love delving into videogame history it can be interesting to try the gameplay, painful but unique due to the reference source. The sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, is a more classic platformer, with sequential levels. Precisely for this reason it is difficult to ignore its flaws, but at Christmas we are all better.

The Grinch

Ten years after Home Alone, here is The Grinch. Another cinematic success in a videogame version, for those who just can't stand Christmas. Publisher? Nothing less than Konami. We all know the 2000 film: based on a book by Dr. Seuss, directed by Ron Howard and starring Jim Carrey as the Grinch, the creature that hates parties. It goes without saying that the gaming Grinch draws a lot from the atmosphere recreated on the big screen.

For Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation and Microsoft Windows, The Grinch is a three-dimensional platformer with gadgets to unlock and items to collect. It is certainly not a timeless masterpiece, because the rudimentary gameplay and empty scenarios stand out particularly. But today as then, it remains a nice product, along the lines of Spyro, Muppet Monster Adventure and other collect.a-thon of the time.

Animal Crossing: New Horizon

This year Animal Crossing was Nintendo's workhorse, Best Family Game at the recent The Game Awards 2020 and Game of the Year at the Japan Game Awards . It is a simulation that thanks to the wealth of collectibles guarantees hours of relaxation and a lot of customization. Its Zen rhythm is the key to its success: when everyone is chasing speed, New Horizon creates an island of peace and slowness.

With the winter the scenario adapts. If in the previous months the protagonist was a tropical island, with coconuts and large bonfires, now snow, sweaters and Christmas trees dominate. Animal Crossing is more interesting than ever during the planned holidays, thanks to thematic events. Snowmen, toys and Christmas ornaments are among the most recent novelties. Animal Crossing is the perfect scenario enclosed in a glass ball, it's like a nativity scene to be organized to the millimeter.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, it was possible to turn the game into an ode to Christmas. By setting "Merry" as the player's name, the soundtrack changed and the collectible bananas became gifts, giving a festive aura to the adventures of our dear monkeys. In the most recent Tropical Freeze, re-launched on Switch in 2018, you don't need to force your desire for a holiday in any way.

The entire setting of the latest Donkey Kong Country is indeed an interesting winter-themed reinterpretation of the typical jungles of the saga. With walruses, Vikings and polar bears ready for the assault, you will wander through deep ice caves in the company of one of the most precious soundtracks in the Nintendo catalog. A journey that is full of mystery, in a platform that is not at all easy and deserves to be played, why not, taking advantage of the holidays.

Die Hard Trilogy

It's an established fact: not only is Die Hard a Christmas movie, but it's also one of the most popular around. It's a cinematic meme, like Christmas in every Shane Black action movie (from Lethal Weapon to Iron Man 3). We bring you the Crystal Trap in the guise of a classic collection for PlayStation, Sega Saturn and PC. Fun and dynamic despite the passing of the years, the Die Hard Trilogy contains the eponymous Die Hard, a third-person shooter that will take you back to the iconic Nakatomi Plaza.

Die Harder, a rail-based shooter follows. Finally, the third game in the collection is With a Vengeance, a driving simulator corresponding to the third film, our Duri a Die. And if that's not enough, check out Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas. In a completely original storyline, you will still control John Maclane / Bruce Willis, struggling with different styles of gameplay, obviously purely action.

Yakuza Kiwami

But the Die Hard of gamers is the Yakuza saga, almost always set in December. The Christmas side dish is a habit born to match the atmosphere of the game with the current release date. Precisely for this reason, it is now difficult to imagine the events of Kazuma Kiryu, the dragon of Dojima, without Christmas trees, sellers dressed as Santa Claus, lights and decorations to smash on the heads of the opponents.

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Yakuza is one of the most engaging and prolific series, it mixes fighting gameplay with immersive mechanics of various kinds, from management to roleplaying. There are sports mini-games that bring scenarios to life, endless side missions, 1: 1 rendering of real places. All seasoned with an ironic and exaggerated narrative in pure Japanese style, with a lot of pathos and a lot of epicity. Kiwami is the best way to approach the franchise. But if you are looking for the most Christmas of the Yakuza, you can start from the fifth chapter, from January also on PC.

But it doesn't end here! As always, many GaaS offer something unique to accompany you during the holidays. The most interesting offer, at the moment, is linked to the pagan roots of Christmas. The Yule festival of Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, free content active until January 7, in fact offers rites and festivals based on alcohol and archery. An experience possible only in the historical setting recreated by Ubisoft.

What about you? Do you have any Christmas rituals? Any game suitable for the occasion that must never be missing? Let us know in the comments!

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