During the Unbox pandemic, Forza Horizon and more have helped many people overcome stress
Posted on 12.20.21, 03:37 AM
Unpacking (Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox)
The words “I’m moving” can be stressful for parents, children, and pets, but every move makes us re-evaluate the meaning of attachments. What do you leave behind and what’s left – that old picture frame, that table lamp, that basketball, that box of marbles, or those books. Moving in a certain way has to do with what’s holding you back. It also provides an opportunity to downsize, like Marie Kondo does in her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is all about reducing your possessions to the most valuable items. Imagine playing around this concept through a video game, this is what happens on Unpacking where you try to build a story by going through someone’s stuff.
Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox, Windows)
Left to the vagaries of the pandemic, we all want to escape with an unforgettable vacation and Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 5 has arrived to deliver just that. It’s not only the best open world racing game you can buy, the Xbox / Microsoft Windows version makes you feel alive once the rubber meets the road in Mexico. The Escape Fantasy celebrates the freedom to drive, letting you speed up over 500 cars that respond to the slightest touch on the controller, with a soundtrack that can only be described as breathtaking. Every vroom, every cry, every brush of trees is felt through a booming soundtrack.
You need two (Windows, PlayStation, Xbox)
A digital therapy session for couples, the cooperative play follows May and her husband Cody who have become dolls as they enter through the pillow fort built for their daughter Rose. But it’s a fort that looks like a labyrinth and it seems to go on forever. They disagree, but they have to find a happy medium to be able to join their daughter. Playable in pairs, online or together in the same room, the title was declared Game of the Year at the coveted The Game Awards. Love is a perfect vehicle for intrigue in a year of uncertainties.
Fantastic (Apple Arcade)
Hironobu Sakaguchi is a man known for his groundbreaking video game titles like Final Fantasy, Blue Dragon and Terra Battle series. Everything he creates is always equal parts art and cutting edge technology, which makes him deserve the word “legendary”. The latest addition to the Japanese RPG Godfather is the Apple Arcade Exclusive Fantasian (Apple Arcade Game of the Year), developed by Mistwalker, the studio he set up after leaving Square. Fantasian’s backgrounds and settings are real-world 3D dioramas, and the attention to detail is something we’ve never seen before.
Deathloop (Windows, PlayStation)
On an island named Blackreef, the space-time rift caused the same day’s continuous reset. Do you remember the movie Groundhog Day? The assassin Colt Vahn is again opposed to Julianna Blake, at the head of a secret organization. Colt wants to come full circle by assassinating all eight Blackreef leaders in one day, but Julianna wants to stop him. Excellent shooter and wild storytelling make this a top ten entry.
Hitman III (Windows, Switch, PlayStation, Xbox)
The latest game in the “World of Assassination” trilogy welcomes you as Agent 47 and once again infiltrates the hallowed halls to eliminate targets. The degree of freedom offered in navigating each assassination is excellent and there is meticulous planning involved. On each level, you are challenged to kill a specific target (sometimes more than one), in addition to collecting additional objectives, such as accessing a secret file. It is a game that James Bond will be proud of.
You play as Selene, who crashes on a hostile planet and as she crosses it slaughtering multi-tentacle monsters, she discovers old corpses of her own accord. Taking several hours for a single run, there are several innovations in the gameplay, like the click of the controller when the rain hits Selene’s helmet. The Challenge: Every time the player dies and starts over, the planet mysteriously rearranges the settings.
Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch)
There is an oppressive environment, and Samus is stalked by artificially intelligent killer robots on the mysterious planet ZDR. She speeds up through the game with unique moves that have been replicated often and at the end of it all, she is characterized as the most dangerous being in the galaxy.