With Christmas just around the corner and gaming’s seasonal releases well underway here we have a rundown of the best new games for December 2019.
Video gaming’s AAA seasonal releases are all but underway as we have recently seen the likes of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Death Stranding.
However, even though we are close to the end of the year, the steady release of excellent games is far from over with more great games yet to be released.
While a lot of titles scheduled for December are either re-releases for more platforms, remasters or sequels to indie developments, there are still some gems to be found in the list.
This month we will see an amazing new strategy title named Phoenix Point from the creator of the original X-Com game which is considered by game developers as one of the best games ever made.
There’s also some Hollywood horror on the table as we see re-releases of two iconic titles for more platforms with Blair Witch and Alien: Isolation for PS4 and Nintendo Switch respectively.
Plus Halo: Reach, one of the most iconic video games ever made makes its way to current-generation Xbox and Windows PC for the first time.
Pheonix Point – Strategy Evolved
For strategy game fans the name X-Com needs no introduction and was a cult hit back in the late 80s and early 90s.
Once regarded as the best game ever made, the title has also enjoyed a recent resurgence with Sid Meier’s excellent remake.
After a long hiatus away from the X-Com franchise, Julian Gollop the game’s original creator is back with a new strategy game to rival Meier’s remake of his legendary game.
Phoenix Point still retains Gollop’s well-respected X-Com style while poaching some influence from the recent remakes such as action cams when something interesting is happening.
The game is set on a near-future Earth where an alien virus has been released from the planet’s Permafrost which has begun to melt because of rising global temperatures.
This has resulted in the virus transforming the oceans and mutating the life the dwells within which eventually moved onto land and eventually destroyed most of humanity.
To combat the alien threat, a secret organization called the Phoenix Project have begun a plan of action to rid the world of the menace and protect what is left of the planet’s population.
Aside from the alien threat, various human-led factions are also an enemy of Phoenix and must be dealt with accordingly.
Phoenix point offers the same deep strategy that Gollop is known for and the famous Geoscape makes a return from where you can build bases, manage your strategy and keep up diplomatic relations.
The game also incorporates Boss Battles with huge enemy creatures, something very rare for a strategy game and the game’s enemies are also constantly evolving and changing due to the nature of the Pandoravirus.
An interesting feature of the mutation is that your own soldiers can be allowed to mutate which will give them better abilities at the cost of their original identity.
Phoenix Point is an absolute must-have title for fans of strategy and is available now for Windows PC and MacOS.
Blair Witch – Back in the Woods
The Blair Witch game has been one of the year’s surprise hits and has been critically acclaimed and well-received since its release for Xbox One and PC back in August.
While the developer was silent about a PlayStation release, PS4 gamers were left in the cold around whether or not the console would see a release.
Then a couple of weeks back it was announced that the game would indeed be getting a December release so PlayStation owners can also venture into the Black Hills Forest.
Blair Witch is based on the super smash hit horror movie The Blair Witch Project and centers around the search for a missing boy who has gone missing in the same area as the missing hikers two years previously.
The three student film-makers were creating a documentary about the infamous Blair Witch whose spirit supposedly haunts the woods surrounding the town of Burkittsville, Maryland formerly known as Blair.
A lot of violence and mysterious disappearances have occurred in and around the town and the locals have historically attributed this to the legend of the Blair Witch.
A young woman named Elly Kedward was accused of witchcraft and subsequently murdered by the townsfolk prompting some to believe that her malevolent spirit periodically takes revenge in the woods where she was killed.
The most notorious of these cases are the legend of Coffin Rock and the strange case of Rustin Parr.
When a boy went missing a search team was sent out and never returned, only to be found days later stripped naked, brutally murdered and bound together in the shape of a pentagram at Coffin Rock.
Rustin Parr was a hermit who lived in the woods and when some local children disappeared they were found murdered in Parr’s home, who is recorded as stating the witch made him do it.
Blair Witch is described by the developer as a “story-driven psychological horror game that studies your reactions to fear and stress”.
The game plays similar to Layers of Fear, also from the same developer and relies heavily on a strong sense of foreboding, occasional jump scares and creepy occurrences.
The story of the game has been excellently woven into the fabric of the Blair Witch legend and provides a fresh narrative while also leading you through iconic locations in the Blair Witch lore.
Blair Witch is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Alien: Isolation – Hand-Held Horror
There’s some more horror-action coming this month as Nintendo Switch players are set to get a nightmare of a space trip in Alien: Isolation, a survival horror game based on the Alien franchise.
Not the first, but probably the best game based on the iconic movie franchise, Alien: Isolation was released in 2014 for consoles and PC.
While there have been other Alien based games they usually tried to adapt the movie franchise into an action-based shooter and borrowed heavily from James Cameron’s sequel Aliens.
In a stroke of genius, the developers of Isolation took a different approach and made the game from the ground up as a survival-based title in which you have to outrun and outsmart the malevolent Alien that is hunting you.
This takes the game back to its original roots similar to the 1979 classic in which Ripley more or less has to hide from the predator while setting up traps and taking control of the starship.
This tense and intriguing drama has been applied to the game, in which there are no weapons with which to defend yourself and you have only your brain and bravery to help you.
Such an example would be when hiding from the Alien in a room where there is a switch to disable the gravity plates.
While the Alien is right in front of you and looking for its prey, you can wait for it to move away and take your chances or you can make a run for the gravity switch and then head for an air vent while the hapless monster is trying to swim in the air.
Taking place on board the Sevastopol, an isolated space station you play as Amanda Ripley, Ellen Ripley’s daughter.
Amanda heads to the Sevastopol after learning of a data recorder from the Nostromo (her mother’s ship) which is still missing has been recovered.
Upon reaching the station Ripley soon learns that something has gone terribly wrong and almost as soon as she arrives she is confronted with the knowledge of a horrible Alien presence, as made evident by the state of the place.
As in the original movie, the Alien isn’t the only thing to be concerned about as the station’s android has also been taking extreme measures to secure the station.
The game is part survival action and part puzzle, where actions have consequences and there is usually more than one way to approach a scenario.
Also, as with most first-person horror games these days, the story of the game and what has unfolded is explained by finding snippets of information lying around in the form of personal journals and data logs.
Alien: Isolation was highly critically acclaimed and was a commercial success, however the game received mixed reviews from respected gaming outlets.
The game is available now for last-gen and current-gen consoles as well as Windows PC and Nintendo Switch.
Halo: Reach – A Noble Soldier
The long-awaited remaster of 2010’s critically acclaimed fifth installment in the massive Halo series is here and PC and Xbox One gamers can finally step into the shoes of a super soldier and defend humanity’s last colony from The Covenant.
A prequel to the iconic Halo: Combat Evolved, Reach tells the story of Six, an elite supersoldier part of Noble Team sent to Reach in order to help defend the human-controlled world from the relentless Covenant army.
As Noble Team arrives on Reach, the world has been all but destroyed in a sudden attack by Covenant and after many battles, the team ends up being tasked with taking Cortana to the Pillar of Autumn starship.
Cortana reportedly holds information that may be the key to defeating the Covenant.
The game was praised for its strong story and supporting cast as the many twists, turns and tragedies plague Noble Team throughout the entire saga.
As well as a genuinely intriguing story, Halo: Reach also has more of the excellent multiplayer aspects that the series is known for.
Although the game did not feature the franchise’s primary character Master Chief, Halo: Reach went on to become the best selling installment in the series with over $200 million in first-day sales.
The title was also heavily praised by critics, gamers and review sites scoring mostly 9 out of ten or equivalent across the board.
Halo: Reach has been released as the final part of The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One and the first part for PC.
The game is available now for Xbox One and Windows PC.
Even though we are in December there are still some great games scheduled for release up until the year’s end. Get the full list here: https://www.gamesradar.com/uk/video-game-release-dates/
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Michael is the sole writer and owner at chartxgames.com.
Many thought that his youth (and adulthood) playing video games was a waste of time but here he is writing about them for a living.
Michael has a background in IT and enjoys (apart from video games) building and repairing PC’s, digital artwork (Photoshop, 3DS Max) and has interests in too many subjects to mention.