Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
Why This Game? In addition to having a great narrative about a petulant yet charming son of the titular God of the Underworld and his father issues, this title features tight controls and a ton of replayability. You have a slew of weapons to pick from, boons and power-ups to form your off-the-cuff playstyle, and random events and bosses to keep you on your toes. You’ll no doubt die over and over again escaping Tartarus, but at least it moves the plot forward and opens up more bonuses and discoverables to help make your future attempts all the more fruitful.
Assuming you’ve made it through the first time killing the final boss, which should take you about an hour or so, you still have the need to unlock other secrets with even more playthroughs. Hades also offers a Heat mode that buffs up the challenge in exchange for better rewards per region. Not only do you get to test out your skills in higher difficulties featuring crazy modifiers like higher enemy health and stricter time limits, but you are also encouraged to play through each escape attempt with different weapons, each with different aspects.
Estimated Time to Complete: Close to 30 hours. The 10 hours are for the times you need to get the true ending via 10 playthroughs. The other 20 or so are most likely your failed escape attempts. – Mr Toffee
Genre: Tactical Turn-based Strategy
Platform: PC, PS4
XCOM 2 is a turn-based tactical strategy game developed by Firaxis Games, the very same developer responsible for the iconic Civilization franchise. You know, the one with Gandhi threatening nuclear annihilation. XCOM 2 is the Dark Souls/Bloodborne of turn-based tactical strategy games.
It even technically spawned its own subgenre of games, with games like Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and the upcoming Phoenix Point being referred to as XCOM-like. The XCOM franchise features some of the most frustratingly difficult gameplay, but it also provides some of the most intense and satisfying gameplay ever.
You can literally miss a shot even if its probability of hitting is stated to be 99 percent, and your characters will die with permadeath (unless you save scum, that is). Fancy killing aliens with laser swords, X-Men mind blasts, and pew pew blasters? Then XCOM 2 is the game for you. I especially recommend getting the War Of The Chosen expansion, as it becomes an entirely new game.
Estimated Time To Complete: You can probably finish XCOM 2 in 40 to 50 hours, but seeing as you’ll probably be dying and retrying a couple of times, it’ll take a while before you can fully beat the game.
Due to permadeath and the unpredictable RNG nature of the game, the potential playtime is virtually unlimited. -Comicslord
Genre: Tactical RPG with turn-based tactics combat
Why This Game? In Shadowrun, fantasy creatures live among humans in a cyberpunk world. In addition, there are warriors who fight with their firsts, those who use drones to take out enemies, spellcasters of various sorts, and deckers who venture into the Matrix where virtual battles are fought. It’s an interesting universe, to say the least, and this game’s neon-lit Hong Kong and its culture of superstition and feng shui (there’s actually a sabotage mission involving feng shui) makes for a memorable and unique location to visit.
You’ll usually wander around levels in real-time, but combat takes the form turn-based tactics affairs with cover and hit percentages, with the Matrix being presented as a separate level that you fight in simultaneously. There are various ways to build your character thanks to the different races and skill trees (improving your conversation skills is handy), and you can also improve your party – including potential recruits – with new abilities when they level up. You can hire other shadowrunners in lieu of bringing your party members for missions too.
The story, which involves corporations and a sinister supernatural force, provides an engaging journey with mysteries to uncover, and the atmospheric setting makes the experience all the better. The main campaign has a nice length, especially if you speak to party members and unlock their respective side quests, and there’s also a bonus campaign included in the extended edition.
Estimated Time To Complete: It took me slightly over 20 hours to finish the main campaign and the companion quests, while the bonus campaign took about six to eight hours to complete if memory serves. So, 26 to 30? -Melvyn Tan
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Genre: Big-Ass RPG
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
I was never a believer in the Witcher trilogy. I felt that it was an overhyped, clunky game with a glitchy horse companion set in a confusing world. So, I never had a reason to touch the game. However, when the Netflix series dropped, it prompted me to give it a try.
Witcher 3 blew my expectations out of the water, the beautifully designed world is rich with lore and tales for you to discover. The gameplay is admittedly clunky by today’s standards, but the main attraction point is the story. The rich story compels you to keep playing as you discover more and more of Geralt’s adventures while pursuing your main love interest.
Estimated Time To Complete: Completing the game without straying from the Main Story takes about 20 – 30 hours, while a thorough exploration of the world is worth 100 – 200 hours. Naturally, that’s how you should play it. -Syazwan
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Genre: Action RPG
Platform: PSP, Emulator on iOS, Android, PC
While the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VIII Remake looms over the horizon, it’s worth revisiting the prequel to further appreciate the story and homages in the Remake when it drops on 10 April.
You play as First Class SOLDIER Zack Fair, who is a mentor of sorts to our emo hero Cloud Strife, as he’s assigned to look for another missing SOLDIER member by the name of Genesis Rhapsodos. You will also learn the backstory to our silver-haired villain, Sephiroth.
The game will definitely tug your heartstrings, thanks to its outstanding storytelling backed by Takeharu Ishimoto-san’s magical musical pieces. If you’re hyped for FFVIIR, then this is a no brainer.
There’s only one catch, it’s on the PlayStation Portable, quite an ancient device and considered a rarity these days. Well, good thing there are emulators on smartphones and PC.
Estimated Time To Complete: It will take about 17 hours to complete without getting sidetracked. However, the side quests are always where the juicy bits are. A 100% completion will take 30 to 40 hours. -Syazwan
Sid Meier’s Civilization V
Genre: 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate)
Platform: PC, MacOS, Linux
Sid Meier’s Civilization V is a marvellous game capable of running on potato hardware of today’s era.
The premise is simple, it’s a turn-based game where you find a good plot of land to build your civilization upon. Once you’ve built the necessary buildings and farmed proper resources, you can expand and conquer, or be a pacifist and negotiate your way to a victory. Research technology faster than your rivals and step into a Golden Age, accelerating your gains for a strategic advantage.
What makes this game addicting is the plotting and execution of a flawless plan, and to react to your opponents’ plans as well. To make matters interesting, the game can go awry putting your crisis management skills to the test.
Estimated Time To Complete: Start the game on a nice Friday evening, the next thing you know it’s bloody Sunday. #WhatHappenedToMyWeekend? -Syazwan
Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Why This Game? Because this is as good as it gets if you want the best PS2-style long-as-hell RPG experience coupled with this generation’s tweaks and nuances. You play as young salvager Rex as he gets embroiled in a world filled with Blades and Drivers in a steampunk-esque world where continents are atop dying titans.
Xenoblade 2 is as unabashedly anime as it gets, from its well-endowed Blades to its melodramatic storyline peppered with some comedic bits or two. You’ll get a nifty real-time tag-team-like battle system that gets better over time while also falling in love with your party members like Pyra, Nia, Zeke, and Mòrag (my personal favourite).
And then when you’re done with Xenoblade 2, you should jump straight to the expansion Torna ~ The Golden Country where you find out what the heck happened to Torna, how life was before all this Titan-dying nonsense happened, and how a seemingly-bland Tetsuya Nomura-drawn archetype gets fleshed out exponentially. The feels and emotion you get just playing this after getting all the context you need from part 2 is just staggering.
You will miss this particular group of adventurers just like Red Dead Redemption 2 players missed Dutch’s gang. Hell, if you didn’t even cry a little once this song hits and the curtains close, you are officially a soulless human being.
Estimated Time To Complete: Xenoblade 2 takes about a 100 or so hours with its main quest and Blade/Driver side quests. Its expansion will take you 30 hours. Have fun! – Mr Toffee
Cities – Skylines
Genre: City-building game, Construction and management simulation
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
If you think your local government is inefficient in handling the crisis, now’s your chance to experience what it’s like to build a city and handle one!
In Cities: Skylines, you can build a city from scratch and handle the population in terms of its energy, water supply, sanitation, economy, health, happiness, traffic, job opportunities, potential natural disasters and more. It’s like having your own terrarium but instead of ants, you have a living and bustling city to take care of.
If the vanilla game seems too normal, the Steam Workshop has a buttload of mods that you can apply to tweak your game or add quality-of-life upgrades.
I personally enjoy the ton of intersection options that I could integrate into my current city.
Estimated Time To Complete: Provided that you enjoy a city-building simulation, you will get lost in it. Give or take 30 hours before you exhaust all ideas and get bored. – Syazwan
Far Cry 2
Genre: Open World FPS
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Past the original Far Cry, all of the series’ entries have been open-world games, and the post-Far Cry 2 ones are all bigger than it too. Far Cry 2’s the only one I’ve played though, so it’s the only one I can wholeheartedly recommend.
You’re a mercenary in Africa, and it’s not long before you’re down with malaria, which requires your character to ingest pills to fend off malaria attacks. Your guns jam frequently, and there are also outposts that repopulate.
Fast travel is limited to a few bus stations, and there’s no minimap; instead, your character pulls out an actual map that you refer to. I remember stealth being somewhat of an option, but the tools for this aren’t as varied as its sequels and other games, and I pretty much gave up on it.
All this sounds annoying, but they result in a memorable FPS. The gun jamming and need to ingest Malaria medication every now and then make your journey feel gruelling, and then there’s the fire. Battles are already fairly tense with the jamming and the Malaria, but with the game’s fire system you can accidentally set the entire battlefield ablaze with a single explosion or with a flamethrower.
Estimated Time To Complete: It took me 23 hours to finish the main storyline as well as a bunch of sidequests. -Melvyn Tan
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Genre: Open-world Action RPG
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is exactly what its name implies. You can literally explore almost the entirety of Greece with its picturesque islands and sail the beautiful mediterranean sea with your ship. It’s probably the biggest game in the franchise yet and is essentially an improvement over its predecessor, 2017’s Origins, in almost every way.
You can actually accommodate your own playstyles with the many weapons available in the game, though the absence of shields will definitely feel weird in Ancient Greece (whose armies heavily rely on heavy Phalanx troops back then).
If you’re a history buff like me, you’ll be able to appreciate the game even further.
Estimated Time To Complete: I spent more than 100 hours to fully complete Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and its massive DLC expansions. Even without the DLC, you’ll still be able to spend a good 40 to 50 hours to finish the base game, and that’s not counting completing all the side quests and extra content in the game. -Comicslord
Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Genre: Episodic Narrative Adventure
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
Move over, The Walking Dead TV series, Telltale’s The Walking Dead has always been the best adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s popular comic book since 2012 when we first met Lee and Clementine. Across four seasons, you’ll grow with Clementine and become invested with her journey in the zombie-infested world.
The climax of the first season alone will leave you crying and curled up in a ball, but this is the perfect game for even non-gamers (since it can feel like watching a TV series for backseat gamers, albeit in a more interactive and engaging way). Playing this with your family or housemates together will make for a great indoor experience, and you’ll come out of it a different person.
Making choices in games has never been more intense than this, and that’s why Telltale’s Walking Dead remains a classic even after the original developers shuttered.
Estimated Time To Complete: In order to finish all four seasons of The Walking Dead and its additional episodes/content, it’ll probably take you around 40 hours to complete everything. Instead of watching hours of TV shows and movies on end, this would make for a great alternative for you to spend time with your non-gamer family members and housemates. -Comicslord
Fire Emblem – Three Houses
Genre: Strategy RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch
In this Nintendo RPG that was part of our Best 30 Games of 2019 year-end extravaganza, you play a teacher in a military-addled monastery that has students from three houses being taught the ways of combat and spellcasting. Being a JRPG, the plot spins off from there and will shift narratives depending on which house you pick at the start.
This Fire Emblem game also took the social elements of a 2000-era Persona game/dating sim and fills its roster with the most charming and endearing students and teachers you’ll ever meet. You’re sure to find your favourite to either be pals with or hook up with, be it the singer Dorothea or the cunning leader Claude.
There’s also a turn-based combat sim somewhere in there too, which is wholly improved and allows for a lot of customization. But part of the battle is also planning your school calendar to teach, mingle, train, and even seduce other students/teachers to your chosen faction because you’re just that goshdarn charming.
Estimated Time To Complete: 30 hours or so for one House. See, there are three Houses and one extra faction to take into account if you want to see ALL the branching plotlines and endings. And then there’s the expansion Cindered Shadows with its own side missions & students. I’d wager it’ll take you a 100+ to see everything. -Mr Toffee