Pandemic Play: 6 videogames to help get you through the COVID lockdown

By Richard Liddle

We’re now into the fifth week of the coronavirus lockdown, and doubtless for many the boredom is beginning to set in. But with the entire nation being asked to stay inside all day every day, what better time to be a gamer? Whether you’re missing socialising with your friends, longing to explore the great outdoors, or just need something to kill all that free time you now have, videogames can be the ideal tonic for the quarantine blues. Here are six games guaranteed to help you forget the stresses of pandemic life.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

 

The latest entry in the long-running Zelda franchise received rapturous praise when it launched in 2017, re-inventing the series in a huge open world. If you’re itching with wanderlust, Breath of the Wild’s abandoned kingdom of Hyrule offers rolling hills, searing deserts, snowy mountains and mysterious ruins for you to explore. Who needs the real outside, anyway?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

 

Like Breath of the Wild, Skyrim offers a huge fantasy world to explore. Unlike the abandoned Hyrule, though, Skyrim has more to offer in the way of story, and is populated with thousands of characters, countless quests and all manner of items and abilities to collect. With a game this big, to get through everything  you’d need all the time in the world – and luckily, the lockdown is giving you just that.

Fallout: New Vegas

 

Not keen on fantasy? Then check out Bethesda’s other big open-world franchise. Fallout’s post-apocalyptic world is every bit as immersive as those of Skyrim and Breath of the Wild, and New Vegas is possibly the series’ best entry. Exploring the nuclear wastes of Nevada while either fighting or befriending Californian soldiers, Roman Empire wannabes and casino-dwelling supercomputers is an absolute riot. And even better than New Vegas’ brilliant storytelling, scavenging through irradiated ruins is the perfect practice for hunting down the last packs of pasta and toilet paper in your ransacked local supermarket.

Dr Mario World

Want to get your own back at the coronavirus for trapping you inside, with only your office Zoom calls for company? Then try out Dr Mario, where you’re tasked with eliminating oodles of pesky viruses that are mucking up the Mushroom Kingdom. This free-to-play match-three puzzle game has a Candy Crush-like single player mode as well as a fast paced online competitive option, giving you plenty of opportunity for some cathartic virus-slaying.

 

 

 

Fortnite

Speaking of free-to-play, there’s no better time to get into the biggest gaming craze since 90s kids obsessed over trading Pokemon outside school (remember that? Outside, not Pokemon.) There’s a reason Fortnite has dominated the gaming world for nearly three years now – it’s fun and addictive in equal measure, and there’s a steady stream of new content always being added. It’s also great fun to play with friends, so if you’re missing socialising with your mates, get them into a squad and dive into this vibrant and intense battle royale.

Dungeons and Dragons

Okay, so this one isn’t technically a videogame. But since real-life gatherings are off the table at the minute, people have flocked to sites like roll20.net which allow you to play out tabletop RPGs on your PC. D&D has a reputation for geeky number crunching, but the 5th edition of the game has hugely streamlined the rules to make it much more accessible, and it’s the perfect way to get a bunch of friends around the (virtual) table to catch up, have a laugh, and maybe slay an orc or two.

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