Gamers have been around for decades, and vast number of them have always enjoyed the peace, tranquility and sense of exploration that the world of video games have provided, in comparison to actual life outside our gaming rigs. Nevertheless, we were still not prepared for the pandemic that has forced us to stick to our rigs and the worlds we virtually enjoy. But there comes a time when with all the pressure building around us, we want to take a break from the virtual work and want something different. That’s where we thought we should be a little bit of help to you. Here are some of the best games that you can play during the COVID-19 lockdown.
We care about our gamers, our brothers in arms, and our companion explorers. And we believe that even though it seems the pandemic is slowing down, it is still not the time to quit gaming and go outside, but rather stay inside and find new worlds to explore that most have missed.
With global economic factors playing a merciless role, most of the major releases this year have been pushed ahead, and have inclined us to look back to some of the video games missed because of the reasons stated hereafter.
We have compiled here a list of games, which mostly did not get much love from the user base, and offer deeply immersive worlds and enough perils to keep your interest at a peak. These games either got in conflict with some other major title upon release or were panned during the launch because of lackluster gameplay or buggy performance issues.
However, most of these games did improve over time and we believe, they deserve a chance from gamers around the world. The sequence of the list given below does not express any relevance, neither in descending nor in ascending order. All of these games are gems in one way or the other, with a bit of salty element which can be overlooked for the sake of genuine entertainment.
Best Games To Play During COVID-19 And Lockdown
The following are the games that we recommend you play during COVID-19 and the lockdown:
Dishonored 2 (2016)
Dishonored 2 is the first of the games that we recommend you playing during COVID-19 and lockdown. A first-person action game, set in a dystopian fictional world, with elements of steampunk tech mixed with dark magical fantastical themes, Dishonored 2 builds upon the critically acclaimed first game and extends deeper in the lore of the world.
This time around, however, you have a choice to either play as Corvo the master assassin from the first game, or Emily, the princess you rescued from the first game. Without going deeper into the story, the game opens up with a critical plot twist and throws you deep into the alleys of the very city you were destined to rule.
What I love most about this game, is the radical and dynamic element of choices. From the use of supernatural powers (of your own choice), to mastering the various types of silent or noisy, but overall deadly weapons at your disposal; or from the use of your bare hands on the neck of your enemies to navigating without shedding a single drop of blood and remaining invisible to your enemies, as if you were a ghost.
This game is truly a marvel of game craftsmanship. And although the game in terms of story and chapters might seem small, but the complex level design, the verticality in exploration, and the need to unravel every secret hidden within every new area, makes it a much larger experience than it suggests on the surface.
Another major element is choosing the character you want to play as, and might I add that you must play as both. The story element might not deliver any drastic changes, but the powers of both characters are definitely different, at least in the first playthrough. Once you are done with the game, you can choose the New Game+ Mode, crank up the difficulty and explore the unlockables which you were not able to utilize in your first time.
There are two levels in this game which are a monumental achievement by design and execution. One lets you explore a mansion of technical prowess, while the other lets you switch between past and present, and makes changes necessary to ensure progress in your quest.
A negative element is most definitely the short range of enemy types, although they are challenging especially as you progress deeper into the story. And not to mention, the more brutal you are, the more unforgiving the world around you becomes. Dishonored 2 will immerse you deep into its shadows and dark corners, and once you have started this journey, you won’t turn back until you have exposed every secret it hides.
Dishonored has a Metacritic score of 88% (Xbox One and PS4) and 86% on PC.
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016)
Next on our list of games that you should play during COVID-19 and lockdown is Deus Ex Mankind Divided. Deus Ex has been a landmark for cyberpunk-themed RPGs, for a good long time. And no title in the series has ever disappointed (well at least in my opinion).
Although Deus Ex Human Revolution, the first Deus Ex with Adam Jensen as the lead, was a critical hit and also loved by fans, the same love was not found for Deus Ex Mankind Divided, perhaps because of the many performance issues at launch. I played through it twice though, enjoying every bit of it.
Adam Jensen returns as the enhanced detective we have come to know and kind of admire, this time with an even better and wider variety of skills to unlock. Just like the first game, some elements remained intact. Such as, each game level offers a complex area with multiple elements to explore apart from the main questline, but nothing as close to open world scenarios.
The game does offer multiple means to approach a situation, thus offering several paths to uncover, many of which cannot be explored in a single playthrough and require using the quite entertaining new game+ option (once you have completed the main game once).
Adam is once again in pursuit of terrorists looking for means to overthrow mankind and deliver their own version of justice, and once again it is up to us to stop them. Unlike the first game, this time the game does offer multiple ways to subdue the enemies and even the bosses.
You have a choice to remain stealthy or go in guns blazing, or you can simply utilize the many upgrades you unlock to overcome the challenges almost without using any lethal weapons.
A negative element in this game might be its seemingly deeper connection with the previous outing, Human Revolution. Not in terms of the story, which is actually a positive angle. But rather looking like a major expansion rather than a true advancement. I did not consider this element during my gameplay sessions, but I believe those who have played the previous game, might consider it a slight degrade from the first game.
Nevertheless, the game is still quite unenjoyable and you can definitely give it a shot.
Deus Ex Mankind Divided is at 84% (PS4), and 83% (Xbox One and PC) based on Metacritic score.
Next on our list of games that you should play during COVID-19 and lockdown is Prey. I love Arcane Studios for making games with choices that define our gameplay style and not just enjoy the many game elements they bring to the table.
Prey was first rumored to be a sequel to a criticality acclaimed title of the same name by 3D Realms, and Bethesda (the publisher behind new Prey) even released a cinematic showcase which felt quite far from the first game and did not seem like a true sequel at all.
The showcase was received with mixed reviews and perhaps lead to a decision for good. A change was warranted and Arcane had to build it from the ground up.
Prey was finally released in 2017, with critical acclaim and was recommended by most of the critics. But it did not sell well and was not really considered a hit. And as the years passed, people actually forgot about it and moved on to other titles. We believe now is the absolute right time to engage back into this unique exploration action adventure unlike any.
For me, Prey is a landmark achievement as was Half-Life 2 when it was released back in 2004. Prey does not hold your hand, it simply gives you tools and lets you decide on your own.
The game is originally stealth-based, with enemies having abilities equally as dodgy as your own (well, technically you do get many abilities from them); but as you elevate above the rest and your roster of powers improves with everything you unlock, you can either turn into an almost invisible assassin or a violent master of weapons, with abilities to slow down time and knocking your enemies off the floor with a single gesture.
Prey boasts the most varied types of powers to unlock, and these powers decide how you play the game. You might invest more on weapons, making your firepower stronger, while ignoring powers to mimic almost any moveable object you see. You may decide to invest more on stealth and powers to send shock waves to your enemies while ignoring the need to invest in scientific or engineering elements.
These choices not only change the way you play the game and encounter enemies, but some of them even make some paths either available to you or disable them altogether. So it was a sigh of relief for us when an update introduced New Game+ mode in Prey, giving us the choice to unlock everything on a single character, which is impossible on a single first playthrough of the game.
We do not want to address the story here, but we can surely add that it might crawl like a snail’s pace (and not really the game’s strongest element), but does offer a unique twist especially in the end. It truly deserves a sequel someday.
Prey is scored at 78% PS4, 84% Xbox One, and 82% PC on Metacritic.
Mass Effect Andromeda (2017)
Next on our list of games that you should play during COVID-19 and lockdown is Mass Effect Andromeda. Mass Effect trilogy was a massive hit, the fan following alone was enough to ensure that EA and Bioware won’t sit ideally and there will be a new Mass Effect game sooner rather than later. And therefore, Mass Effect Andromeda was released, and the moment it got out, it had to face a hailstorm of critiques and fans alike, attacking with lit torches and crowbars at its uninspiring monotonous gameplay elements, post-launch bugs with performance issues, and of course, the unforgettable facial animation dilemmas.
Mass Effect trilogy was a revolutionary breakthrough for its amazing facial animations, with detailed facial expressions, unlike anything the gaming community had witnessed before. So it was a massive disappointment, that apart from much better and polished textures, the game looked blander than even the first Mass Effect.
But through all this mess, some of the positive elements were entirely missed by most. The game had improved its combat by leaps and bounds (quite literally), and there were multiple options to create your own mix of powers, instead of following a fixed structure of various classes.
In our own playthrough, we used the option to reset skills and try different combinations multiple times, and thus, never actually got bored of the adrenaline-filled action. From close range shotgun kills to warping enemies into biotic attacks, the action never slowed down.
The game also brings back the iconic squad of quite useful NPCs, who are pretty useful even when you are not commanding them yourself. I also like the fact that their powers and abilities bring quite useful changes in gameplay elements, from faster recharge of shields to weapon damage boosts, all depending on the selection of upgrades you decide to make.
And that’s not all! Mass Effect Andromeda also features a robust crafting system where you can explore, research and build your armor and weapons, and customize your character as per your playstyle. What we enjoyed, even more, was the fact that every new mix of skill sets required a different set of armor to boost your abilities, and I have not even mentioned the inclusion and radical use of Mods yet.
Although such a huge pile of mixes may lead to slight similarities in between different sets of abilities, one of the few downsides of this epic journey, you can still find your true calling among them.
Mass Effect Andromeda’s main story is not as strong as Mass Effect Trilogy, but it is good nevertheless. The quests to gain the trust of squadmates are much more polished and organic this time around. Some of them bring significant changes in the way you play the game, and even effecting core story elements.
Your choices create changes within the story, but not really create drastic changes in the end. But you might not even care by the time you reach the conclusion of this long journey.
Mass Effect Andromeda is 71% on PS4, 76% on Xbox One, and 72% on PC, at Metacritic.
Mad Max (2018)
Next on our list of games that you should play during COVID-19 and lockdown is Mad Max. Avalanche Studios gained popularity from Just Cause series, but Mad Max game is not really something you can compare with the aforementioned series.
Mad Max uses the base created by the Mad Max films and actually came out alongside Mad Max Fury Road. The film received a massive positive reception and it is still considered a masterpiece of modern cinema, the game, however, not so much.
Mad Max is an open-world 3rd Person Action game, with the combat style quite close to Batman Arkham Series (punch, counter, block, dodge), a free-form fighting system with multiple aspects to upgrade Max as we progress the game.
But what keeps it apart from Batman Arkham series, is the intense vehicular combat and chases, with a cool roster of cars to unlock and multiple upgrades to enhance your playstyle. The game’s fluid transition from combating using a car and then jumping straight into hand-to-hand combat might be monotonous for some, but it is still fun nevertheless.
There are additional elements to explore as well. For example, not only you have to worry about your health bar, but also the health bar of your car, and manage fuel consumption as well. These dynamics bring a positive mix of challenges throughout the game as you keep exploring further into more challenging territories and face new forms of enemies.
Most enemy types are quite similar to Batman Arkham series (without any guns), with occasional mini-bosses or bosses, bringing in a bigger health bar and somewhat different maneuvers, but everything becomes strategically easier once you get a hold of the basic control scheme. The game is highly recommended to be played with a controller if you are playing on a PC.
Exploration is one of the key factors of this game, as you will need Scraps and experience points, to raise the bar of your character and vehicle. The game’s core mechanic is to unlock access to story elements after achieving necessary upgrades, but we did not find this negative, as there is a lot to explore in all regions, and gave us a lot of options to upgrade before we ventured further.
Mad Max has scored 69% on PS4, 72% on Xbox One, and 73% on PC, at Metacritic.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (2019)
Next on our list of games that you should play during COVID-19 and lockdown is The Division 2. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a lot like its predecessor (the first game), except that this time we are situated mainly in Washington DC rather than New York.
The game overall feels more polished in terms of weapons and special abilities, but in the end, it is more of the same. Being a live service game, the game requires a constant internet connection and obviously delivers more entertainment when you are playing with friends.
The game can be played as a solo, in most cases, you will find other players to support you in your exploration. But just like the first game, the Dark Zone can be quite unforgiving without any friends to play with. This element alone decides whether you won’t play this game or not.
If you are the only one player among your friends in this game, you might not find the grind fun at all and might succumb to negativity and leave the game halfway through. But if you are playing with friends, you will surely have some fun moments, especially considering the 8-player Raid mode.
The Division 2’s major lacking element is the enemy types, it does not bring much of a challenge in terms of strategic elements, rather just buffs enemy health, and gives most of the heavy weapons, which can be easily avoided through the use of game’s fluid cover system. You can change your playstyle by adopting different sets of weapons, either close range or long distance, but the core elements still remain the same.
But if you like third-person shooters, and like to grind for better gears and loots, while you pierce through hordes of enemies with your friends, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 might be a game you will enjoy. And with Ubisoft’s constant support through free updates as well as DLCs, you will find this ever-expanding game to be better than what word of mouth might make you believe.
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is scored 82% on both PS4 and Xbox One, and 84% on PC, at Metacritic.
Rage 2 (2019)
Next on our list of games that you should play during COVID-19 and lockdown is Rage 2. Another title by Avalanche Studios, closer to what they do best, considering their Just Cause games. The original Rage was an entertaining experiment by ID (the creators of Doom), but received a mixed reception due to its many bugs and repetitive gameplay elements.
Rage 2 is quite an upgrade in terms of the first game, and brings multiple array of abilities and weapons, to make the combat fluid and extremely fast (reminisce to Bulletstorm). Rage 2 is purely a single-player experience, which enhances the core elements of first game, and makes the overall experience simply more fun and tireless.
Rage 2 is filled with multiple options to upgrade and customize your weapons, abilities and vehicle, to choose your own playstyle and plunder your enemies the way you see fit. The enemy variety is not much, but they do bring lots of challenges to overcome, making upgrading a necessity.
From a pistol which fire bullets that can be lit an enemy on fire with a snap of a finger (literally), to creating a gravitational whirlpool to pull your enemies from the ground, the game relies on your skill to create combos without holding your hands.
Rage 2 encourages explorations and completing regional challenges, to collect upgrade points find new abilities, to not only overcome challenges but also to make gameplay more fun and entertaining. Therefore, once the prologue ends, we would highly encourage you to explore the region and not follow where the marker is pointing.
There is a downside to this strategy however. Once we had explored most of the regions and we decided to explore the main enemy’s region, the game became a bit too easy. But playing at higher difficulty can easily resolve this matter.
The controls and vehicular combat is fluid, in fact, the transition from vehicle to ground and back is exceptionally fluid, with no time wasted in any animation, making the combat as fast as Doom games. And yes, the weapons also bring a much-needed punch in the gut, again very close to Doom’s weapons, with enemies exploding left and right, and reacting to every bullet you dig into them.
Rage 2 is currently at 67% on PS4, 72% on Xbox One, and 73% on PC, at Metacritic.
Honorable Mention: Anthem (2018)
Next on our list of games that you should play during COVID-19 and lockdown is Anthem. Yes. Yes. Yes. We know this game has been such a huge mess that even making into this list might not be accepted by most. But hear us out. Please.
Anthem at launch faced numerous issues, from monotonous and repetitive gameplay to an extremely grinding path towards upgrades and better loot. Not only it failed to meet the hype of its first major event, Cataclysm, but also failed to meet its committed roadmap.
Apart from such massive failures, it also had severe connectivity issues, a necessary component for a live service game, which requires an always-online status. The community outcry led to game being abandoned by players, with almost no players to be found during matchmaking, and Bioware losing its exceptional repute built upon great games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age Series.
But, here is the thing, which made us keep checking back at Anthem. Bioware never gave up. They manned up and decided to listen to the community and began to patch the game, slowly but with stability. Let’s just keep one thing quite clear though, Anthem has one of the most fun gameplay elements in recent games, especially the flying mechanic gives the game something that is simply untouched even today, 2 years later.
Your Javelin can swoop into the air, and come crashing down on enemies, while shooting rockets or hailstorm of snow, and create combos unlike any game ever, quite literally. The gunplay, the mods, the customization options, everything is polished according to the javelin you select, and all four classes play differently, making it almost a negligence at our part if we don’t try them all out.
We recently started playing Anthem again and realized that Bioware has made drastic changes in the core gameplay, making extremely positive changes in the mix, and not only making the game and its connectivity more stable but also making earning of in-game currencies a lot easier.
Some of the major changes are better loot, regular seasonal events with lots of secret elements within, easier access to in-game currency leading to access to almost all type of store items (yes, we have not to spend a single real-world payment and we are still collecting most of the weekly items offered).
Apart from that, Bioware is hell-bent on developing a massive overhaul of the game, named Anthem 2.0, which not only brings drastic changes to game’s UI and loot system (you can check details on their official blog posts), but also bringing new game modes and perhaps even story-based missions.
We believe, supporting this game at this stage will only encourage Bioware to bring these changes in a more robust form. Meanwhile, even without this massive update, there is a good player base still playing Anthem, and even if we join a game mode without friends, we are always able to find other players.
Anthem is scored 59% on PC, 54% on PS4, and 65% on Xbox One, at Metacritic.
These are some of the best games that we recommend that you check out during COVID-19 and lockdown.