The best games to play during the Coronavirus lockdown

When it comes to self-isolation, no normal game will do. Here are the best games at a decent price, with the longevity to make those hours melt away.

Welcome to the lockdown, we’ve got fun and games. 

...not sure that’s how that Guns N’ Roses song goes but luckily, we’re not talking about them. We’re talking video games, and at a time like this, they are more important than ever. 

With the stay at home rules in place, everybody has a lot more time to sink their teeth into some new experiences, so we’ve collated this list of the best games worth your hard-earned money to make those hours pass by like a breeze. 

Criteria – the game has changed

Now, normally there would be plenty of great games we could recommend here, but in the age of COVID-19, not every “great game” is the same. That’s why we’ve put some key criteria in place, which are: 

  1. Longevity – following the news, you’ve probably seen we’re going to be doing this for a while, so you need a game that can stand up to the test of time, whether that’s through a deep 40+ hour story or a seriously addictive multiplayer mode. 
  2. Value – some of us are incredibly lucky enough to be able to work from home and still get the full pay, whereas others are set to be living on not that much until the end of the lockdown.

PlayStation 4

Flying your flag from the PlayStation camp? Here are the best games with serious longevity – perfect for those long days at home. 

Dreams

Rather counter-productively to the idea of listing the best games, we start with something that can’t really be described as a game. 

Dreams is an ever-expanding platform of creativity, as more and more users flock to use the amazing tools and build some stellar experiences for you to play. Whether you’re looking to muck in and realise your idea for a game to be shared with the world, or you just want a never-ending tap of games to jump into, this is a great place to go.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Anxious about the real world? Let’s go be cowboys instead! Red Dead Redemption 2 is a masterpiece, which we kind of expected after the team at Rockstar spent eight years making it. 

As we say in our review, there’s a world of incredible characters and scenery to lose yourself in via single-player – paired with a multiplayer universe that just keeps on expanding with modes and missions. This will last you a good long while. 

Two Point Hospital

Remember Theme Hospital? Remember how much fun that was? Chances are many of you are raising your eyebrows with confusion. Chances are some of you may not have even been born by the time it was around! 

Two Point Hospital brings the addictive admin and world building mechanics of that along with some seriously addictive gameplay, interspersed with challenges throughout your hospital that keep you going for hours at a time. 

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Insomniac’s web slinging adventure became a true summer blockbuster for the PS4, and rightly so! The gameplay was perfectly crafted to make you really feel like Spider-Man, the orchestral soundtrack is everything you’d expect from a superhero movie, and the visuals are still seriously impressive nearly two years on from its release. 

Plus, the version we’ve found at this amazing price comes with all the story and mission DLC – providing more bang for your buck. 

The Witcher 3

Toss a coin... 

Before we get to enjoy CD Projekt Red’s super-hyped Cyberpunk 2077, go back to The Wither 3 – owner of over 800 awards. 

This is a seriously meaty RPG – packed to the gills with missions, side missions and everything in between, all within a fantastical open world, purpose built for endless adventure. 

Xbox One

Find yourself getting called an Xbox fanboy by people on Twitter? Ignore those immature sods and just tuck into a one of these delectable titles, to make those days in lockdown go that much faster. 

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Yep, we’ve heard all the jokes – Skyrim is basically available on literally every platform right now. But the special edition here comes with all the DLC releases, the ability to play all the hilarious PC mods and did we mention it looks really good after the full remaster? 

The Outer Worlds

We call it a worthy space romp however you choose to play it, and being able to sink your teeth into this beasty adventure across the galaxy from some of the team behind Fallout: New Vegas is a great experience for any gamer out there! 

Travel through space and spend many many hours getting lost in this amazingly detailed world. 

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

After Assassin’s Creed pivoted towards a more RPG-esque style of gameplay, we’ve had some cracking games. Odyssey takes you to an incredible rendition of Ancient Greece (that comes with a history lesson mode to just explore) to live out your live as a warrior. 

This game has some serious depth, sure to help those days melt away. 

Sea of Thieves

Let’s just all be pirates instead of worrying about this pandemic. This shared-world multiplayer adventure game from the team at Rare gives you a chance to explore a huge world of unspoiled islands, slay mythical monsters and fight other pirates for a whole tonne of loot. 

Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered

Now I know this isn’t the latest Modern Warfare, but this is your chance to go back to probably one of our favourite games in the Call of Duty series. 

The maps perfectly balanced for a good offence and defence. A super active community of players ready to push you to the limit. Look past the super quick story and you’ve got an online multiplayer mode that continues to be a gold standard for FPS. 

Plus, you can get the Battle Royale mode from the new Modern Warfare for free anyway! 

Nintendo Switch

The switch is an absolute goldmine for games that can last you for months and months (including one that has just released), and we've picked the best of the bunch for you right here!

Animal Crossing New Horizons

Okay, so this price kind of stretches that “value” criteria on the list, but as far as a game to take you through these testing times goes, this is up there as one of (probably the) best on this list. 

From grinding for hours to perfect your island, to dropping in for an hour or two every day to tend to your patch of land, Animal Crossing is the amazing getaway that we all need right now. An essential escape. 

Super Mario Maker 2

Much like Dreams on PS4, the universe of Super Mario Maker 2 is ever-expanding. From the more pleasant, laid back experiences, to the torturously near-impossible levels of brain-bending complexity. 

Mario Maker 2 is a lively community of gamers and creators and new levels are created on a daily basis! 

Super Mario Odyssey

The Italian plumber makes another feature on this list with one of the original gems of the system. Mario Odyssey is a vast adventure platformer – giving us serious Mario 64 vibes with its insanely addictive gameplay and strong challenges. 

Get ready to waste so many days trying to nail those hat jumping techniques! 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

And from one giant adventure to another, Breath of the Wild is arguably one of the best Zelda games out there (don’t @ me).     

The game world is gorgeous and just waiting for you to dive in and find your own way round. The freedom is truly insane, and you will love every second of this epic journey. 

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Finally, we turn to Dragon Quest. This lengthy RPG brings the best of the turn-based mechanics with some gorgeous Dragonball Z-esque visuals. 

When it comes to passing the time on the cheap, this is a really good option.