The Best Video Games To Play Through The Winter Doldrums

As our own Nathan Birch noted yesterday, as of today, Gran Turismo 6 will be the last notable release until February. The one-two punch of developing for new consoles and the delay of a major title means that the entire gaming industry essentially goes to sleep for two months.

Fortunately, a total lack of new releases worth playing doesn’t mean there aren’t new games worth playing. If you’re done being a pirate and are sick of pulling heists with Trevor, here are a few to try out.

For The Twitch Gamer Or ’90s Nostalgist: Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (for PC and consoles)

The original Painkiller was a justly beloved throwback to the best of ’90s FPS gaming, and the remake/sequel, which cherry-picks the best levels, is just as wonderful a throwback. This is a game that starts you off with a buzzsaw-flinging pistol that can suck out the souls of your enemies, and the weapons just get more gloriously absurd from there. Plus, the transition to consoles actually went well; the weapons have a nice feel to them. The enemies are dumb, but you’ll be having too much fun to notice.

For The Arty And Experimental: Gone Home and The Stanley Parable (both for PC)

Both of these games are experiments in storytelling in gaming. Gone Home is essentially a mystery game; you come home to a note warning you not to try and find your sister, and then explore a disturbingly empty house, trying to piece together what happened, and why. It’s as notable for its tightly researched sense of place as its subtly experimental gameplay.

The Stanley Parable, on the other hand, is an HD remake of a whip-smart and disturbing game that lingers on the illusion of choice. It’s all about how video games manipulate you into doing what the game wants… and what might happen if you anger the forces controlling your existence. Weird, wild, and highly recommended.

For The Sneaky: Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs (PC) and Metro: Last Light (PC and consoles)

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is a game best played in a bright room and well away from any headphones. Just trust us on this one. As for Metro, while it undeniably has FPS setpieces, it’s a far more thoughtful and strategic game than it was sold as, and the “make every shot count” nature of the game makes it a lot smarter than many FPS games.

For The Button-Masher: Diablo III for consoles and DMC: Devil May Cry (PC and consoles)

OK, so DMC is a bit more strategic than ATTACKATTACKATTACK, but it’s still a very fun brawler with a vivid art scheme and a good script. Diablo III, for consoles, was the game that we all wanted from the PC version and didn’t get.

For Puzzle Fanatics And People Who Like A Good Cry: Papo & Yo (PS3)

It’s a platforming puzzle game about a boy struggling to comprehend his abusive father and why he drinks. It will make you cry. A lot. It also happens to be a really good puzzle game.

Any suggestions from the last year you feel were underrated? Let us know below.