With more and more people around the world self-isolating and practicing social distancing to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus, a lot of us are spending much more time at home. We can all use a little escapism right now, and the extra time indoors means we have more time than usual to spend playing PC games.
What are you doing with that extra time at your computer? Getting into a new game or starting to chip away at your backlog? Finding some comfort by replaying an old favorite?
What are you playing while you're stuck indoors? We've got our writers weighing in below, as well as some answers from the PC Gamer forums (opens in new tab). We'd love you hear from you in the comments, too.
Slay the Spire
Jarred Walton: I've gotten a bit sucked into Slay the Spire (opens in new tab) of late. I blame Evan. I haven't done any custom runs yet, which makes me wonder if that's the preferred way to play? I've just been doing the four character presets, and some of them are proving more difficult to figure out than others. Also, the Time Lord as the final boss has been kicking my butt HARD. Like, I've never come close to beating him I don't think. I managed to get him down to less than 100 health one time, and then he fully healed and killed me off. Ugh. In my defense, I have not been reading any guides on the game, choosing to figure it out on my own.
Sea of Thieves
Lauren Morton: Despite really really wanting to enjoy Sea Of Thieves, I kept bouncing off it after playing it exhaustively in beta. I knew they'd added so many new factions, quests, and stories but I just never quite stayed engaged. I've picked it back up again to crossplay with a buddy of mine on Xbox and we're playing through all the Tall Tales we've missed. Although we didn't explicitly intend to play because of self isolation, our renewed interest was well-timed with staying home and we're having a grand time in lieu of meeting up for dinner. There are still the occasional frustrations, but we've definitely stepped off the seas each night with just as many, if not more, to talk about than going home from a movie.
Evan Lahti: Like Jarred, I'm playing a Seattle-produced roguelike: Roundguard (opens in new tab), aka Peggle as a fantasy RPG. It's surprising how much more difficult and deep this sort of game can be: in later stages timing your abilities (which draw from a mana pool) is critical to grabbing a health potion, shielding yourself from a dark elf energy blast, or defeating a giant Beholder. But it's also an otherwise chill game about bouncing a ball-shaped hero off of pots of gold, exactly the kind of cheerful-but-challenging thing I'm looking for amid global worry.
Rachel Watts: I've been playing as many wholesome games as I can with my main go-to being Stardew Valley. There's always work to be done on my farm, and with the hefty expansion release and a neverending supply of mods, I have plenty to get on with. I've also been playing some smaller games like the rom-com Half Past Fate (opens in new tab) and I'm still working my way through The Longing (opens in new tab) (I'm on day 376 out of 400).
The Half-Life series
James Davenport: Doom Eternal for review, obviously. But I've also been running through the entire Half-Life series, starting with Black Mesa (opens in new tab). What a bonkers remake. Xen is incredible now, the perfect lore runway for Half-Life 2, which I've also finished up. Water Hazard is just long enough, in my opinion. The episodes still stand up as focused playgrounds for Alyx as an AI partner and marginally improved combat (the hunters are still intimidating!), but I dig them most for the narrative. Portal stands up the only game that is exactly the right length, and Portal 2 stands up as the funniest game ever made. Bring on Half-Life: Alyx. But also bring on Animal Crossing. I need something to cancel out my anxiety.
Morgan Park: I swear I didn't mean to play a game with a deadly, hidden enemy. I've just been meaning to replay Prey on PC after going through it on PS4 at launch. Oh man, does that game not get the prey-se it deserves. Such a perfect, compact box of design decisions that cater to my every desire for immersive sims. Hunting mimics and opening doors with a foam dart crossbow never gets old. Though it is a Morgan game, so maybe I'm biased.
Steven Messner: Though I started this at the beginning of the year, Planescape: Torment (opens in new tab) has been an excellent way to forget the stress and anxiety of what's happening outside. I'd never played this iconic RPG before, but after getting the Switch version on sale I decided I wanted to find out what all the fuss is about. Let me tell you: Planescape: Torment is absolutely fantastic. I was a tad worried that playing such an old game would be a trying experience, but I haven't been nearly as put off by its decades-old designs as I thought I would be, and the writing and worldbuilding is so enthralling that it easily still rivals RPGs from the past few years.
My only real gripe is that the combat system isn't that great and the Switch version has a nasty bug that makes selling items at a vendor all but impossible. You'd think that'd be a pretty major hurdle, but I've been able to get around it well enough that it hasn't impeded my progress. I've enjoyed it so much that I've decided next on my list I want to beat Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 before the third installment releases, which is a significantly bigger investment of time than Planescape's mere 30-hour story. But revisiting these classic RPGs has been such a positive experience I just want more.
Wes Fenlon: Fashionably late, I'm finally playing XCOM 2 for the first time. I know, I know! It's one of the best games of the decade, yada yada. I was finally in the mood for a monster of a strategy game, which has a little to do with being stuck in the house for the forseeable future, and a lot to do with having finished Monster Hunter: Iceborne's campaign and being out of new monsters to hunt. So it's time to hunt some aliens!
I loved the first XCOM, in spite of the fact that weapon accuracy is a mechanic I really don't like much in strategy games. I prefer systems that place positioning and attack types over accuracy, but XCOM has so many layers to it, the full package is hard to beat. The first few hours of XCOM 2: War of the Chosen sure are overwhelming, though. Every time I try to go pick up some supplies on the world map, it throws a new system at me. Listen, Central, I'll get to that mission after I finish turning all my soldiers into legendary comedians. You would not believe how good Mary Tyler Moore is with that sword.
Chris Livingston: I've been in the mood for something beautiful and relatively stress-free, so I've gone back to Early Access medieval city builder Foundation (opens in new tab), which I played for a bit last year. Something about watching my citizens create their own footpaths as they walk back and forth through the tall grass is soothing, and while there are occasional crises to solve in terms of resources and cash, it's a mostly mellow experience. Just what I need right now.
MaddMann: I personally will be continuing Division 2, but I think I might have to spend a few days just playing Disco Elysium. Past there I would love to see if I can finally play all the way through Metro Exodus, although I also just got a sweet new giant beanbag chair for my office at home, so more book reading is in my future (although my cat believes it to be the biggest and best cat bed ever)
Johnway: Since its business as usual (working from home), my gaming will be business as usual. So lots of Path of Exile (need to get those 24 challenges!), Doki Doki Literature Club (its currently installed on my pc) and when i can't stomach any more visual novels, i'll play Doom 2 wads.
Frindis: Call Of Duty: Warzone for playing with friends and also a couple of rounds solo since the solo mode just came out 😊 I should also get my hands on Disco Elysium now, it has been long overdue!
Alm: Probably a bit of Vader Immortal. Had a go at the lightsabre practise and it was a lot of fun.
mazz0: Stellaris, with Federations!