Slide into alien worlds: the best escape video games

Escape does not have to be passive. Sometimes, the reality of your life can be so confusing that stepping out into the realm of fantasy can help. Computer games are an option.

War almost on the doorstep, Damocles’ sword of inflation, Corona’s rising numbers – there are currently enough reasons to escape from reality. In order not to despair of the news situation, it is important to provide a distraction. It’s good if the video game world provides a way out – at least temporarily – to take your mind off things. Because even the hottest Netflix series or the best crime series has had its day two years into the pandemic. And the latest coups of game manufacturers are now in no way inferior in quality to the novels. The title “Hades” was the first video game to win the famous “Hugo Award” for its excellent story.

Current numbers show that lockdowns and work from home have made video games socially acceptable. More and more people are now reaching for the console to relax or slip temporarily into strange worlds. A total of 14 percent of Austrians played computer games for the first time during the pandemic — and the trend is on the rise. 42 percent of users said they found a distraction in video games that helped them during the pandemic. Having been relegated to a nerd’s corner for decades and convicted for its alleged glorification of violence, computer gamers are now battling for a position as a “serious” entertainment medium. Die Presse put together a selection of games with the best stories, for daydreaming, immersion or just ‘addictive’.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Perhaps no list of games with the best fantasy worlds of your dreams would be complete without one of the legendary Elder Scrolls titles. The last part of the main series “Skyrim” has become a little outdated, but despite the eleventh anniversary in 2022, it is still convincing. Skyrim is and remains an absolute classic among open-world role-playing games. The world is huge, the possibilities for action are so great, and the list of potential side quests seems never-ending. The side story of the popular Dark Brotherhood is more rewarding on its own than the plot of many other games. But the main story of “Sykrim” convinces not only fans of “Game of Thrones”: players find themselves in the empire of “Tamriel”, which threatens to plunge into chaos shortly after the assassination of the Supreme King. To make matters worse, long-forgotten dragons return to the kingdom. Only “Dragonborn” can conquer magical beings and bring peace to the world.

Release: from 16 years old
available for me: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows
price: €39.99

Final Fantasy X | X2 – Remastered

A thriving and futuristic civilization is on the verge of collapse. The formidable threat known as “Sin” returns in an endless cycle to destroy the planet Spira. Only a select few, the so-called “media” have a chance to stop the fall. By chance (or fate?) the trajectories of young blitzker Tidus and newly minted mean crosser Yona. An epic journey to save the world begins, but Tidus has no idea what price Yuna must pay for her ability to summon monsters as magical helpers. The captivating story of Final Fantasy X and its sequel X2 alone is enough reason to lose yourself in the fantasy world of Spira for hours. A loving game world, original characters and exciting turn-based battles. The redesigned version takes the gaming experience of the Playstation 2 title from 2001 to a new graphic level. Over 100 hours of role-playing fun guaranteed.

Release: from 12 years old
available for me: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
price: €29.99

Rogue Galaxy

Although not the latest example, Rogue Galaxy is a master of Square Enix role-playing. Players take on the role of a greedy space pirate who is aboard a spaceship (“Dorgenark” is actually a flying ship). Travel through world history. It is important to explore new planets and make as much loot as possible. At the center of the story is the young orphan Gaster Rogue, who must first find his place in the world and in the pirate league. But so are the others. Seven colorful gang characters can be played, and the “Hack and Slay” combat system is still fun even after several hours of gameplay. PS2 title graphics taken to a new level thanks to the porting to PS4. This makes the cartoon world twice as colorful as more fun.

Release: from 12 years old
available for me: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 2
price: 14.99 €

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Anyone who has already liked Geralt the “Witcher” on Netflix might also enjoy the proper video game. The title of the most amazing fantasy game has already been awarded, but “The Witcher 3” is close. Graphically speaking, it is clear that the third part of the witcher saga “Skyrim” is ahead. Wyvern, bruxa and other mythical creatures look much nicer than those of classic Bethesda. In terms of story, “Wild Hunt” approaches the “Elder Scrolls” series, especially with side quests, where a lot is offered. Players sneak into the role of wizard Geralt, who wants to find his lost wing Cirilla. Along the way, he has to fight a number of monsters, complete quests, but also solve his personal affairs – which mostly include beautiful women. The main story is gripping and can quickly add up to hundreds of hours of gameplay. The decisions of the players influence the course of the story, and depending on the method, the ending can completely squeeze the lacrimal gland. Particularly enjoyable: for a basic understanding of the Witcher world, it is not necessary that you have played the previous parts, watch the series or read books.

Release: from 18 years old
available for me: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
price: €29.99

Hades

As mentioned earlier, “Hades” was recently the first video game to win a Hugo Award. And not without reason: Hades is a fantastic comedic masterpiece that takes players into the underworld of Greek mythology. Players hatch into the role of Zagreus, son of the god of the underworld of the same name, who aims to escape his life underground and fight his way to the surface. Zag learns more about his origins and gets to know his family, the Greek gods. Hades is an exceptional award, but it has also built a good fanbase for the title. However, this takes stamina: in order to reveal the true end of the game, players have to defeat the final boss a full ten times.

Release: from 12 years old
available for me: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series
price: €20.99

far point

What would be an article about slipping into alien worlds untitled or another in VR format. After all, rarely any other technology offers such an authentic gaming experience when it comes to experiencing as realistic as possible. Farpoint takes users into an environment that feels tangibly real through virtual reality goggles, but is refreshingly unrelated to reality. After a failed space mission, players are stranded on a strange and hostile planet. Using only basic equipment from the rescue capsule, you must then explore foreign terrain and find the crash site of the space station. In search of other survivors, players encounter spider-like creatures in search of fresh meat. VR mode makes opponents’ attacks more realistic and can sometimes raise your heart rate a bit. A aiming console, which mimics the shape of the rifle, completes the experience. Those who find normal shooter games too boring, will surely find the necessary part of the excitement in “Farpoint”.

Release: from 16 years old
available for me: Playstation 4 VR
price: €19.99

Kingdom Hearts 3

More childhood memories and fan service in one almost impossible game: The “Kingdom Hearts” series regularly brings the most famous Disney and Pixar characters to life and brings them to gamers’ consoles around the world. In the third part of the Saga, fans are waiting for a new adventure about the hero Sora. To protect the world from the evil Heartless, he sets out with his animal friends Donald Duck and Goofy to save humans and mythical creatures. Their search for the rescued “Key of the Heart” takes you to some famous worlds, including “Monstropolis”, the city from the movie “Monster AG”, Mount Olympus from “Hercules” or “Arendelle”, and Queen Elsa’s kingdom from the movie “Frozen”. The three friends even saw Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew again. The numerous interactions with Disney and Pixar characters make this action game a fun pastime that almost feels like an interactive feature film. However, if the burden of saving the illusory world is too great, funny mini-games can provide variety in between.

Release: from 12 years old
available for me: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
price: €69.99

Maine Craft

If there was a land of opportunity, it would be the world of Minecraft. Based on Pippi Longstocking’s tagline, the tagline here is “I’m building my world, at scale I love it.” Players can choose from a variety of biomes to create their own world according to their ideas. Then there are almost no limits to the imagination and it can be extracted, harvested, hunted, built and destroyed according to the mood. Whether you’re building mega cities, recreating your own McDonald’s, or just trying to survive, with a little imagination and hard work, almost anything is possible in Minecraft. You can also play with friends on online multiplayer servers. If you are smart and successfully repel the enemy “reptiles”, you can create your own empire – without the influence of any worldly problems.

Release: from 7 years old
available for me: Java, Java Applet, iOS, Android, Fire OS, Samsung Gear VR, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (VR), Windows Phone, Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Amazon Fire TV, Nintendo Switch
price: 18.99 €

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