The 2020 holiday season is quite different, and since traveling during COVID-19 is largely advised against, we're going to be seeing the same sights in our homes and cities as we do the rest of the year. To that end, we could all use some escapism this holiday.
For those looking to spend time in fictional worlds, there are plenty of video games that offer places to explore, tasks to complete, and friendly faces to talk to. Here are nine games to help you pass the time.
- Boxing Day sales: where to buy PS5 this Christmas
- Gift guide: the Xbox Series X is THE Christmas gift to thrill gamers in 2020
- Gift guide: Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite are the consoles kids want this Christmas
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The latest in the Animal Crossing series sends you to your own personal island. There you can grow flowers, go fishing, catch bugs, interact with your animal neighbors, and so much more. New Horizons launched near the start of the pandemic, and its promise of giving you a relaxing time on a lovely little island is still just as relevant now as it was then.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla
For something a little more action-heavy, you can check out Assassin's Creed Valhalla. This particular entry in the Assassin's Creed series is set during the Viking era, so you'll be sailing the seas in your long boat, and raiding villages along the coast of Britannia. There are plenty of quests to complete on the mainland too.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Speaking of quests, you can't beat the Elder Scrolls series when it comes to giving you lots to do. Skyrim, set in the province of the same name, has hundreds of hours of adventures to undertake. You'll do everything from slaying dragons, to fighting undead wizards, to journeying beyond this mortal plane into the realm of the gods.
Ghost of Tsushima
Like Assassin's Creed with Britannia, Ghost of Tsushima is also set in a real place, but if you're reading this, you're definitely not a samurai from feudal Japan. This action game will let you don some samurai armor, gallop through beautiful scenery, fight intense duels, and liberate Tsushima Island from the invading Mongols.
What could be a better escape than a world you build yourself? Minecraft is an old standby for a reason: you can drop into a randomly generated world and craft to your heart's content. You can explore beneath the surface as you mine, and use your collected resources to build anything you set your mind to.
My Time At Portia
Like Animal Crossing, My Time At Portia gives you a whole list of zen-inducing activities to complete, from growing crops to interacting with the townsfolk. Unlike Animal Crossing, you can explore beneath the town and battle creatures in the dungeons below. You can get in some meditative farming, as well as some action-packed combat.
No Man's Sky
If getting out is what you need this holiday season, why not explore an entire universe? No Man's Sky starts you on one randomly generated planet, but when you take off in your spaceship, you can fly to a literal galaxy full of other planets to explore. You can cruise around and investigate the flora and fauna on all types of worlds as you make your way to the center of the universe, and you can play with your friends to boot!
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Not every holiday getaway has to be set at some tropical destination – sometimes you want to visit the big city too. Miles Morales lets you zip and swing all throughout New York City in a hugely freeing manner. And of course there are plenty of comic book villains and criminals to pummel along the way.
Of all the games on this list that let you live that small-town life and run your own farm, Stardew Valley is the most in-depth. You can raise cattle and crops, spend time with townspeople, mine for supplies and craft goods, and even get married and start a family. Life might be on pause right now, but you can live out a full one in Stardew Valley.
All of these games ought to help you get away. The world has changed a lot over the past year, but video games are still here, offering entertainment and escapism. So whether you're looking to slay dragons or plant tomatoes, there's something for you this holiday season.