There are games of a special kind in the world – those where you want to spend long hours, days and even months. And it doesn’t matter what to do: lead humanity into a brighter future, collect a collection of elite sports cars or hunt monsters with strange names. The main thing is that it is simply impossible to break away from the process. We remember in which projects we killed the most time in the past year – and we didn’t regret it a bit!
Third place – Humankind
Perhaps no genre consumes free time as persistently, methodically and effectively as 4X turn-based strategies. Any Civilization fan who ever slept through work due to last move syndrome would agree with this . And Humankind in this regard is in no way inferior to the best creations of Sid Meier: in fact, from the outside, the new Amplitude Studios game is easy to confuse with Civilization VI . Several multi-colored empires fight for control of the world, pass through different historical eras, erect wonders of the world … Does it look like anything? But in fact, sitting down at Humankind, you very quickly understand: this is not a clone, but a completely original game in which there is much more of our own than someone else’s.
The central idea here is that civilization cannot arise from scratch, exist for a couple of thousand years, and then simply melt into thin air. Civilization is not only about colored borders, a dozen cities and a cartoon leader. Civilization is, first of all, people. And she herself, as a person, is born, grows and fades away, interacts with her contemporaries – in a word, she lives. Therefore, in order for any people to realize themselves, say, Russians or Phoenicians, they need to do something great: shoot their first deer, build a city, or wipe out a neighbor from the face of the earth.
More achievements – more fame points. It is they that mean victory in the party, and are awarded not only for war and territorial expansion, but also for science, research and other achievements. This means that you can leave the deepest mark in the history of mankind without firing a single shot. Just like losing to a long-destroyed rival, who suddenly turned out to be the most influential in the eyes of history. The system turns out to be flexible, full of nuances and unpredictable in a good way. As a bonus, there are full-fledged tactical battles, a long technology tree and the ability to change culture when changing a formation – and all the bonuses are preserved! The chance to start the game with some Nubians, continue with the Persians, and finish with the proud Soviet people is in itself worth a lot.
So be sure to check out Humankind if you haven’t done so for some reason. Just do not forget to take a vacation before that: she kills time only in this way.
Second Place – Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5 didn’t turn the racing world upside down, but it didn’t need to. Developers from Playground Games just made the most beautiful and intense arcade race since Horizon 4 – and it can gobble up hundreds of hours of our time with you.
Horizon bypasses even the latest Assassin’s Creed in terms of the level of senseless burning of life . Just like Ubisoft’s sandbox , it does not require any skills from you, does not make you think, and even allows you to watch TV shows and listen to audiobooks in parallel. And at the same time, Horizon 5 offers a huge list of ways to kill time: close points of interest, buy all cars, win competitions, jump long, climb into inaccessible places, learn to drift, tune cars, dress your doll character, participate in online races, invent original liveries and get bans of 8000 years for them… In addition, the game does not require you to flirt with it to the holes: you can devote to it fifteen minutes a day, and two hours, and ten hours. And every time you will achieve something.
To fit into the annals of history and get the conditional “Game of the Year” Horizon prevented only one detail: it is secondary. Unfortunately, the new “five” is the same “four”, only in a different location and with tighter graphics. Yes, time-killing options were added here, but not so many that the game should be recognized as something unusual. It’s a pity: Horizon has enough inclinations to become a hit of all time.
Worthy of a Mention
There were a lot of cool and truly cruel time killers in 2021, and some of them were just a little short of them to climb the podium.
Football Manager is a series that, in fact, does not change from year to year, remaining something between a football team manager simulator and a giant MS Excel spreadsheet . However, this does not prevent fans from devoting some fantastic amount of time to her. Football Manager 2022 continues the tradition: there are minimal changes here, but it certainly does not make the game worse.
Farming Simulator 22 continues another line of games in which one part differs from the other except for the graphics and a set of licensed combines. But this is the case when changing is only spoiling. Perhaps there is no more calm, measured and meditative activity than virtual farming. A great way to relieve stress and kill a couple hundred hours watching the digital corn grow.
But Gloomhaven made entirely from another test: an adaptation of the desktop tactics about the misadventures of mercenaries in the dungeons of fantasy, with almost verbatim. Almost a hundred missions, dozens of skills and unthinkable cruelty will not let true fans of hardcore get bored for a very, very long time.
First Place – Monster Hunter Rise
Monster hunter rise, according to the good tradition of the series, manages the player’s free time in a completely paradoxical way. At first glance, it seems that she absolutely does not respect him, but in fact the game will require from you exactly as much time as you are ready to devote to hunting monsters. Someone will limit themselves to the passage of the plot, someone will set themselves the goal at least once to defeat every monster in the bestiary or collect sets of equipment from the remains of certain creatures, and someone will rush in pursuit of personal records and other achievements. This is the whole charm of Monster Hunter Rise: it perfectly understands the key features and main disadvantages of its own gameplay formula, and therefore carefully takes care of the user’s comfort. It allows the player to set a task and work on it at any convenient pace: at least an hour before bedtime, at least all weekend long. In an era of online services, seasonal skips and lost-profits syndrome, this approach feels like a breath of fresh air.
However, even if you ignore the philosophical nuances of game design, Monster Hunter Rise remains incredibly high quality and frighteningly addicting game – all thanks to the excellent study of the basic gameplay. The project borrowed from the early releases of Monster Hunter a few dozen wayward monsters, a couple of mechanics and basic principles of the gameplay, and from the recent World – many small but very pleasant improvements that increase the ease of passage. If you have long wanted to get acquainted with the series, then you can’t imagine a more opportune moment: the PC version will be released in January, and a large story addition will be released in the summer that will add a ton of new content.