What are we all playing this holiday?

Ho ho hooooo that’s us done for another year. As you’ll have seen, we’re turning on the automated broadcasting system until January 4th in the year THE FUTURE. Do enjoy what we’ve got lined up – except for the Horacemas cracker jokes, please don’t encourage them – but do also tell us what you’re playing over the holiday.

Adam: My holiday gaming will be as predictable as a meal of sprouts and turkey followed by crackers, booze and a blurry Boxing Day with the in-laws. If you were to guess what would Adam play over the holidays, you’d probably go with Civ VI, Stellaris, Crusader Kings II and Football Manager. You’d be right. It’s important to introduce something strange into the mix though, and in an innovation on a par with “custard instead of gravy”, I’m also playing Final Fantasy XV. It’s like a shit version of The Witcher 3 or Dragon Age: Inquisition, but it’s a perfect late night game that engages around half of my brain and then shows me funny photos of what I’ve been up to. And the food looks delicious.
Alec: I’m going away for Christmas and plan to have a PC-free time of it. (I see monitor bezels when I close my eyes). I couldn’t entirely resist the siren calling of flashing pixels however, and will be taking a Vita with me, freshly hacked to run a dizzying array of emulators. Including a PSOne one, with the express intention of thus making it into a portable X-COM machine. Once I’m back, I’m going to check out Shadow Tactics, a game which several of us are increasingly feeling should have gotten a spot on the ol’ advent calendar. STOP RELEASING GAMES IN DECEMBER PEOPLE.
Alice: I had been on course to 1001% The Binding of Isaac in time for its new expansion due on January 3rd but… oh, there’s that whopping great new mod, Antibirth just out. Flip. Well, that then. I also fancy diving back into Devil Daggers (my current best is a disappointing 283 seconds, not even enough to see The Really Good Stuff) and plan to finish Virginia and Firewatch. Beyond that, yeesh, this year has so many great games I’ve barely touched. Might just go find fun places to swim along the coast.
Brendan: Between shivering and eating turkey with ten different type of potato in the Old Country and getting a flight back to the New Country where I will eat pizza in the sun, I’ll probably be shooting punks in Overwatch. But I’ve also been meaning to try Astroneer, since everyone seems to like its purplish space and cartoony cosmonauts. Or maybe just Reigns on my phone for a week.
Graham: This Christmas if I play anything it will be Dishonored 2. I keep telling myself this, but the truth is that it might still not happen because I’m intimidated by what feels like a large time investment. More likely is that I’ll keep pottering in Astroneer, which feels – if only because it’s now familiar – like it rewards smaller investments of time more quickly than something big and narrative-led will.
John: Christmas used to be the best break, because it was when I could unabashedly play lots of games, old and new, and remind myself a bit of the normality of gaming. But now I’ve got a stupid idiot family, and that wonderful week of freedom is taken up by ghastly things like seeing them and spending time with them. Apparently, for some reason, my wife doesn’t think it’s reasonable for her to continue to take care of him during my usual work hours while I just goof off and have a nice relaxing time, because she is SELFISH AND MEAN. So yeah, holidays now mean less time for gaming that work time, so I have little hope of getting anything much played.
Philippa: These Christmas holidays I’m fairly certain I’ll be playing a lot more Astroneer. It’s a good game for filling in gaps of any length of time, plus I can listen to podcasts and TV shows while I potter around in space. In terms of other candidates for gaming, I”m not sure. There’s a book I’ve started and which I’m really loving, I have a new bird identification guide so nature walks are calling me, and I want to spend time with friends and family I don’t get to see very often so this is likely to be a thin year in terms of holiday gaming. Not like previous years where I was using stuff like Dota to keep in touch with people. Oh, actually, I might also bung in a few hidden object games to keep me occupied in the evenings! Now I think I’m good to go!

But you, dearest reader, what are you playing?


  1. Spacewalk says:

    Binge and purge. Gotta beat last year’s high score.

  2. SuicideKing says:

    As usual, I’ll be playing/making missions in Arma 3, and hopefully some Wargame: Red Dragon too.

    HOWEVER I recently played and quite enjoyed Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun’s demo. I wish the default controls kept the traditional RTS mousing behaviour, or that the RTS controls kept the Shadow Tactics keybinds (manually changing them around seemed to cause some conflicts). Other than that, really fun game, and I’ll pick it up…when it’s on sale :P

    Played the Running With Rifles demo too, wasn’t my type of game really.

    I plan to pick up a few games in the Steam sale, namely Jagged Alliance 2, Mount and Blade Warband, Atlantic Fleet, In Verbis Virtus and maybe Rainbow 6 vegas 2.

    I’ll finally try figuring out how to play Ironclads 2: American Civil War, too.

    But then again I’m meeting a friend in Switzerland for the new year so really just have a week before classes start again!

  3. Lacessit says:

    Blood and Wine mostly I think. No such thing as too much Witcher. Maybe try out Endless Legend once I cave and buy it in the Sale.

    • SaintAn says:

      Should look into Age of Wonders 3 and its Necromancer DLC instead of Endless Legend. It’s much better.

  4. SuperDion says:

    I will be playing with my girlfriend the Last Door part 2. The first one was a blast.
    It is an eldritch pixel art game with point and click story telling.
    The pixels are great because it makes it possihllbe to fantasie more about what is happening

  5. SaintAn says:

    I bought around $260 worth of games and DLC on sale and may buy more games and DLC, but I’m probably still going to mostly be playing Overwatch for Christmas.

  6. klops says:

    After a rather busy month at work and the compulsory (but still nice) social events of Christmas eve I’ll close in to my apartment and play Crusader Kings II and read for 0,5-1,5 days until I crave human company again. Aaah, an introvert’s dream holiday.

    King Kristian II The Good, a possessed cannibal lunatic is thriving and I really want to see how his cruel Varangian guard heir will come back from Byzantium. Will he have his eyes and genitals left or will he return with a success? Or will the father and the son meet as enemies at the battlefields of Asia Minor if the emperor of Byzantium wants Anatolia back from Denmark?

  7. Kitsunin says:

    I just got Double S+ in Dustforce at long last, and am looking forward to trying out the other Difficult levels now that the pressure of the achievement is gone.

    Also finally decided to give Oneshot a go, seeing as it’s within one of my favorite genres. It’s been really lovely and I’m very curious to see where it will go now that I’ve…done stuff.

    I really prefer when games either nail their narrative or cast it away completely, and these are each perfect examples of that.

    Oh, and I discovered The Metronomicon thanks to Super Bunnyhop. As a lover of rhythm games, this deserves a spot up there with s…Before the Echo. Doesn’t have an interesting plot, but the gameplay and music are great.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Having played it more and more, Metronomicon is amazing, the best rhythm game I’ve played, no doubt.
      The soundtrack is chock full of excellent music, and the gameplay actually has the feel of a party-based RPG while keeping the core DDR style basics (unlike, say, Theatrhythm which basically just has a tat metagame surrounding a very good rhythm game that fundamentally isn’t an RPG)

  8. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Some more ATS (then waiting for more states to release) then maybe Vive La France content or one of the dozen games I picked up during the sale or Minecraft if Caigan comes out of Beta with his latest modpack release.
    I’m also half in AC:Rogue but it’s not that compelling.

  9. Ejia says:

    I am away from home, alas, and have only my phone to keep me sane for the next two days. So it will be mostly Downwell.

  10. robertlepervers says:

    Final Fantasy XV is a shit version of Witcher or Dragon Age ? Welp, I’m butthurt. I don’t think you can compare these games. There’s a reason why Final Fantasy is in the genre “JRPG” opposed to “Action RPG” : the focus is elsewhere, be it in terms of story, player implication or game mechanics. But whatever, eh.

    • SaintAn says:

      Final Fantasy XV is also a bad Final Fantasy. They just made some JRPG, threw in some FF references and slapped the branding on it. I don’t think that game has anything worthwhile going for it. It has no soul.

  11. Captain Narol says:

    Planning to try Warbands Bushido, thanks to Tim Stone’s convincing article on it.

    Apart from that, Crusader Kings II, Football Manager 2017, Tyto Ecology and No Man’s Sky, as usual.

  12. Horg says:

    Shadow Tactics is very good. Mostly the same old Commandos mechanics, but with slick new Edo era presentation, a proper 3D engine that allows for full camera rotation and improved environmental interaction. The best addition has to be ‘Shadow Mode’, allowing you to program 1 action per agent to be performed simultaneously. I will be playing lots of this, and maybe some DotA2.

    • Turkey says:

      I’ve been meaning to give the demo a shot ever since RPS first covered it. Maybe I’ll boot it up tomorrow.

      • CptPlanet says:

        Well, I don’t agree. I think it’s spectacular everything.

  13. TheAngriestHobo says:

    I don’t get a holiday, unfortunately. I’ll be working the 25th. And the 26th. And the 1st. And a lot of the days in between.

    However, during my (limited) free time, I’ll be plugging away at my current HoI IV campaign. For the first time ever, I’ve managed to run a successful Miedzymorze campaign – mostly through sheer luck more than any strategic brilliance on my part.

    Basically, Romania refused to cede territory to Reichtangle and got invaded. Significant Romanian resistance lasted about a week, but to my delight, Hitler used his newly-shared border with the USSR to tear up the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and attack the reds (the Allies joined in Moscow’s defense for some reason).

    Meanwhile, I had spent all game building military factories, and turning my infantry into infantry/artillery hybrids with a full suite of support staff. When Hitler demanded Gdansk, I refused, immediately took East Prussia, and started pushing him back in Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine. I also secured a non-aggression pact from the USSR, and they didn’t break it after I refused to cede eastern Poland to them.

    German territory has now been reduced to a thin strip of land between Frankfurt (in French hands) and Vienna (in mine), as well as conquered Ukraine (because apparently the Soviets suck at war). I’ve achieved 80% of my wargoals. Best of all, I’m the only major power in the war on my side (I’m fighting a different war from the Allies and Comintern), so the bulk of the winnings will go to me.

    Poland stronk.

  14. Premium User Badge

    zinzan says:

    NOTHING :(
    Leaving for family Christmas :) , No PC/Internet access until very late Boxing Day.

    Have a great holiday break all at RPS and thanks for another great year.

  15. Andy_Panthro says:

    Away from my PC and PS4, I’m reduced to the selection available for my PixelC tablet. So I’ve been playing a bit of Xcom: enemy within and baldurs gate EE.

  16. CartonofMilk says:

    nothing as i will be away from home from now until the 3rd with no gaming pc. That’s always the annoying sacrifice to make every holiday…

  17. Stellar Duck says:

    I’ll be playing Getting Pished With Other Ex-pats today and Hangover Part 45742574 tomorrow. After that I’ll be playing Work All Week and Hitman in the evenings.

  18. Mi-24 says:

    Like many others I am away from my main pc, but since discovering my laptop is capable of running rimworld I will no doubt be playing that non stop, with a bit of resi 1 thrown in the mix.

  19. Hawke says:

    I’ve just finished the 3rd playthrough of Tyranny. The game is amazing, though the most enjoyable playstyle (dual-wielding and relying on the party) isn’t the most effective.

    I’m going to purchase something from my Steam wishlist for the holidays. Furi seems like a good choice.

  20. Asterium says:

    Picked up Far Cry Primal (finally) so I’ve been sinking my teeth into that. I’ll be throwing in some Shadow Tactics and FFVII for good measure.

  21. jimjim19681968 says:

    Picked up 8 bit Invaders cos folks are raving about it. but I have been playing Witcher 3 heart of stone and Overwatch, some Starbound.

  22. Styxie says:

    Some sort of internet wizard has somehow turned all three of the Stalker games into one behemoth of a sandbox game. I’ve already put a week into it, and I’ve barely ventured beyond the areas around Cordon.

    I was looking for a reason to go back to Stalker after a two year break, and this is exactly what I needed. Modding continues to be the best thing about PC gaming.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      What is the name of this mod, pray tell? I’m hoping to FINALLY get a replacement for my aging rig soon and when I do I fully intend to try out some STALKER mods, so I’m compiling something of a mental list. This one in particular sounds right up my alley.

      • Mi-24 says:

        I seem to remember it coming up in a piece about the best mods this year, also another one to check out is Misery, its quite a hardcore survival one but it’s really great.

      • Styxie says:

        Apologies for not saying, Call of Chernobyl is its name.

        Good luck with the new build!

        • sege says:

          Yes loving it here also. SoC was my re-entry into gaming around 2007. My fav game of all time. CoC is like a trip down memory lane but still has the same effect on me. I just love it.

  23. AutonomyLost says:

    I just began a new playthrough of Skyrim. This time it’s the Special Edition, which I am almost positive I shouldn’t have received for free because I cannot remember purchasing all the DLC way back when, but who knows. Bottom line: saw it in my library last night, felt nostalgic, installed it, messed around and got everything displaying properly in 21:9 (!), and am really loving it again.

    And perhaps some Dishonored 2 or more Shadow Tactics.

  24. Lars Westergren says:

    I have two weeks off, so I’m planning on playing Tyranny, Shadow Tactics and maybe Owlboy. Currently though, all my time is spent in “Predynastic Egypt”.

    link to store.steampowered.com

    It’s like a simplified Civilization with a single civ and a single scenario based on real history, and a hand-drawn map. Drag workers to the places that give the most resources (workers aren’t expended like in Civ), build improvements, conquer or unite other tribes. I find it less stressful than civ for some reason. You are unlikely to get conquered on easier levels, but you may fail the endgame unless you manage to unify all the 15 tribes along the Nile, build a new capital city, unify the religions and hold a great feast (each subgoal requiring several thousands of one the 4 basic resources) by turn 220. You can play through it once in one evening, and then try a harder difficulty next time.

    Highly recommended. It made me long for the old Ceasar and Pharao games through.

  25. Vandelay says:

    Picked up DOOM the other day, along with Hitman. Unfortunately, looks like I can’t fit both on my SSD without spending hours figuring out where all my space has gone. When did games decide to multiply their size by 3 or 4 times?!

    So, DOOM is my first pick. Really enjoying it so far. The second I started moving I was thrilled with the speed of it. I really hope that we are seeing a resurgence of the pace of old FPS games as they are just so much more satisfying. I also really like the maze like level design that they have gone with again, but I know that isn’t to everyone’s taste.

    Also going to be finishing off Shadow Tactics. Great game, although I had forgotten that these games could get a tad frustrating.

    • aoanla says:

      The “giant games” problem is also hitting me right now – I blame Xbox One/Playstation 4 releases, meaning that (unlike the last gen consoles) developers no longer have to think about fitting stuff on a BluRay.
      It’s… annoying.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Mostly, much more higher-quality textures. AAA high-spectacle games can come with 4K textures these days, which for us IQ fans is great (and means modders don’t have to do these on their own).

    • Ckrauser says:

      Massive game installs really have become an issue as of late; I’m the paranoid type to keep a copy of all of my steam games on local storage and it seems lately all the big releases are upwards of 50GB a piece. I suppose the upside is the ever decreasing cost of storage solutions, in just the 16 months since I built my PC a 1TB hard drive has dropped 50$ CAD, and can probably be purchased insanely cheap with holiday sales.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      For the figuring out where all the space went side of the equation, WinDirStat does a pretty good job of visualising where the space has gone.

  26. Ineptie says:

    Ill be playing atlas reactor and probably Tastee.

  27. Unsheep says:

    Sid Meier’s Beyond Earth. There’s still not enough games like this around, and this is a really good one. I’m going for a more militaristic approach with this playthrough.

    Dungeon Rats. An awesome tactical game with a focus on combat, very challenging and grim. Made by the guys who made Age of Decadence.

    Homeworld Remastered. I got it recently at GOG. I’m only playing the original/classic versions though, I don’t like the cartoony gloss of the remasters.

    Anno 2070. Great stuff.

  28. Kitty says:

    I just discovered Atlas Reactor a few days ago and I’ve been playing that on overdrive with a few of my friends, so I’m definitely covered for the holiday season, it seems! It’s incredible, and I can’t believe I haven’t heard anything about it.

  29. keefybabe says:

    I’m off work for 3 weeks so I’m going to be doing some backlog chewin’ . I don’t reckon I’ll make it through all 880 unplayed games though.

  30. aoanla says:

    I… still don’t know what I’m playing this winter hols (and I even started a thread in the forums to get people to recommend things for me).
    At the moment, it looks most likely that I’ll play some Stellaris, maybe some Devil Daggers… maaybeee get Firewatch in the Steam sale, and possibly Pony Island since I never got around to playing that, or Burly Men At Sea. Basically catch up with the interesting things I didn’t have the time or energy to experience during the rest of the year.

    My Christmas tradition used to be catching up with FPSen and the more role-playing-ish descendants like the Deus Ex games and Dishonored series, but I suspect that half of this years’ won’t run on my aging PC, or fit on its hard disk (that said, the discounts on Doom and HX:MD are tempting on Steam…), so Devil Daggers is probably going to substitute here :)

  31. Vurogj says:

    I think last week I mentioned I was getting back into Crusader Kings II, but having seen how much DLC I want for it, and what a horrendous mess I’ve made of the (now former) Kingdom of Croatia, I’m trying something else this week.

    The 2D mode recently added to Motorsport Manager has just brought it within range of my trusty laptop, and I’m already a season and a half in. It gets SO many things right, and with mod support imminent, it’s going to get better. If I’d had it a few weeks earlier, it would have been on my own GOTY list.

  32. noodlecake says:

    Probably Ultimate Chicken Horse or Gang Beasts combined with copious amounts of smoking and podcasts. That does seem to be the pattern at the moment.

  33. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    About to enter a week of being away, argh, but luckily had a few days off week just gone. I have been mostly playing the Long Dark, picked up in the Steam sale, and it’s been a perfect seasonal hideaway ferretting around in the lonely Canadian wilderness looking for sticks and cursing at fires that don’t light. It’s a really great game. Had one of those ‘moments’ on my 3rd attempt where I’d lucked out and found a hunting rifle but only one bullet. All set then for one of the most hair raising wolf encounters I’ve had in a game ever. Accidently crept up on it and the damn thing went for me, FPS instincts kicked in and I managed to nail a headshot with my one bullet. Wolf steak for tea! And still alive! Great. Hoping there are more DIY stories to be uncovered yet.

  34. caff says:

    Scrabble and other such boardgames.

  35. fish99 says:

    Got the lurgees, so probably won’t be playing much, but if I do get chance I’ll be carrying on with Dishonored 2 like last week. Just finished the Dust District, including solving the Jindosh puzzle myself (you can solve it, and then still do the whole level by not going through the door).

  36. Reefpirate says:

    I finally got around to buying in to Space Pirates and Zombies 2 and am more than a little bit pleasantly surprised that it’s already an excellent game.

    I also bought TW: Rome II Emperor Edition, so I’ll most likely take a crack at that.

  37. RobbieTrout says:

    Lately I’ve been alternating between Spelunky (when I want a fast action challenge), Terraria (when I want something more quiet and thoughtful), and Elder Scrolls 1: Arena (when I want something meatier).

    However, I’ll mostly be playing “catch up with work” and the traditional “income tax return”. Hooray.

  38. MithrilWomble says:

    Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth 1. I bought that and Morrowind on the Steam sale because balance is important.

  39. sillythings says:

    I’m staying with my wife’s family over Christmas, and since her sister has a PS4 and the Uncharted Collection, I played the first game in the series. But man, is it ever dreadfully dull. Way too much unexciting, samey baddy shooting. I remember people complaining about that in new Tomb Raider, and although one section in particular was definitely guilty of it (Shanty Town or whatever), that game and its menshooting overall was a hell of a lot more exciting than Uncharted. So, honestly, I stopped playing it.

    Instead, I started Kathy Rain. So far I’m really liking it (feels very much in the same vein as Wadjet Eye games), even if one puzzle had me stumped with a nonsensical solution.

    Oh, and Jackbox Party Pack 3, but we only managed to get three players together so far, so we haven’t really gotten to play it yet, you know?

  40. Xipheas says:

    I don’t know holiday you’re on about, but Pulsar got an update so that requires close examination on Christmas Day.

  41. pertusaria says:

    I will probably log in to Discworld MUD at some point to enjoy the Hogswatch cheer, and other than that I might show the in-laws Botanicula or some such nice thing on the iPad if the mood seems right, in a misguided attempt to get them excited about what’s Out There.

    I’ve brought Arboretum along on the visit, and I know there are some nice board/card games here too, so there will be some table gaming (apart from Exploding Kittens, which has already happened) and very likely some jigsaw puzzling.

    Happy Horacemas, all!

  42. second_hand_virgin says:

    Replaying Oxenfree (trying to rescue all of them), banging my head on Her Story, having solo fun in Duskers, engaging my wife as a gun operator in a Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, and probably few hours in Mad Max (84h pumped in a game, still fun, and I have opened just half of the map)

  43. defunct says:

    Astroneer, because Pip posted a video of it and it was right up my alley. That happened with Subnautica, as well. Love both games.

  44. Grobmotoriker says:

    Max Payne 1 and 2 like every year between the years.
    And Air Missions HIND because I love to fly around in Helicopters

  45. tsff22 says:

    I got a veritable treasure trove of games that will last me a LONG time, including:

    Slime Rancher
    Neptunia Rebirth 2 and 3
    Transformers Devastation
    Space Hulk Ascension Ultimate Pack
    City Quest
    Shadow Warrior 2
    Metal Gear Solid V
    Shantae: Half Genie Hero
    RWBY: Grimm Eclipse and JNPR DLC
    Last Word
    Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless Kingdom

    And that’s just PC. I also got a bunch of 3DS games:
    Pokemon Sun
    Yokai Watch
    Project X Zone 1 and 2
    7th Dragon III

  46. hfm says:

    Installed Diablo 2 of all things. Might also dip into Dark Souls III.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      There is never a bad time to replay Diablo 2, you have to admit.

      • hfm says:

        Definitely not! I just arrived in Kurast and finished the first quest. I haven’t played it since I originally blasted through it with a Necromancer when it was released 16 years ago. It actually all seems so fresh again. I’m kind of glad I didn’t burn out on it.

        Admittedly I only played through it once and then moved on. 99% of my gaming is SP.

  47. geldonyetich says:

    Earth Defense Force 4.1.

    It is just the greatest little thing.

  48. Viral Frog says:

    After spending yesterday morning with my kids opening presents, I took them and their mom to their grandma’s house. Then I played 2 hours of Enter the Gungeon, took a 2 hour nap, and then went and picked them up to take them home.

    I’ll probably play some American Truck Simulator when I get home tonight. Or more Enter the Gungeon. Or probably both. But I’m currently working. Blah. At least it’s double time and a half today.