8 Video Games to Play Next

8 Video Games to Play Next

Wondering what video game to play next? Get some inspiration from the games — long and short, new and old — that New York Times journalists have been enjoying. (Unless otherwise noted, these are available on the PC and all major consoles.)

Balatro at first appears to be an ordinary poker game. But after every round, rife with new earnings, you come upon a shop with cards that augment your deck or the gameplay. One converts any three cards to clubs. Another, the “Fibonacci Joker,” multiplies the value of the ace, 2, 3, 5 or 8. Soon you’re thinking less about the game and more about its constantly changing rules.

Play if you liked: Inscryption or Slay the Spire.

What to know: Like any roguelike, no two playthroughs are the same and strategies can vary. (I’ve tended to rely on flushes by beefing up one suit.)

— Rumsey Taylor, assistant editor, Digital News Design

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night pays homage to the Castlevania series with its art style, environment, mechanics and music. This game puts you in the shoes of Miriam, who battles her way through a fantastical castle filled with magical monsters that drop shards she can use to mimic their powers.

Play if you liked: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night or Hollow Knight.

What to know: My first playthrough took about 12 hours, but the game includes multiple characters and modes.

— Lance Booth, photo editor

Can you hear the planet crying? The protagonists of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth can in this cinematic adventure that folds a narrative about lost identity into a grander tale of environmental destruction by a ravenous corporation. Along with lush environments and refined combat, the willingness to get weird elevates this entry.

Play if you liked: Super Mario Odyssey or Kingdom Hearts.

What to know: The main story of this PlayStation 5 exclusive can be finished in 40 hours, but completing the side content will take you past the 100-hour mark.

— Zachary Small, reporter, Culture

The jingoist war cries and hints of fascism would be worrisome if Helldivers 2, available on the PC and the PlayStation 5, took itself even the slightest bit seriously. This third-person extraction shooter sends players throughout the galaxy to deliver “managed democracy” to the enemies of Super Earth. Players battle waves of insect horrors or robots straight out of James Cameron’s brain.

Play if you liked: Deep Rock Galactic or Aliens: Fireteam Elite.

What to know: Helldivers 2 is most fun with a squad. Oh, and watch where you shoot. Friendly fire is a thing.

— Justin Porter, senior staff editor, Newsletters

In this stylish rhythm-based action game, the beat is king. Your attacks in combat sync up to the soundtrack, as does the smoke billowing from a faraway vent. Do not fret if you struggle to play to the music — Hi-Fi Rush’s timing windows are reasonably forgiving and there are many helpful visual cues. Plug in those headphones and let yourself enter the zone.

Play if you liked: Crypt of the NecroDancer or Sunset Overdrive.

What to know: The game will no longer be an Xbox exclusive when it releases on the PlayStation 5 on March 19.

— Axel Boada, video journalist

In the turn-based strategy game Inkulinati, you face opponents on a medieval manuscript with an army of characters drawn to match their environs, including rabbits whose farts are set to stun and holy cats whose meows kill. A scribe who creates fighters with ink collected from the battlefield also confers blessings.

Play if you liked: The movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

What to know: Success lies in maneuvering, of course, but in this 10-hour game, victory may also involve a well-placed killer snail.

— Danielle Dowling, senior staff editor, Features Print Hub

Lies of P is a faithful reproduction of the “souls-like” formula that happens to feature Pinocchio, his creator Geppetto and a talking cricket named Gemini. Any comparisons to Disney’s 1940 animated classic end there. The tone is dour, the combat is brutally precise and there are dozens of weapon combinations to use against mobs of murderous puppets and monsters.

Play if you liked: Elden Ring or Bloodborne.

What to know: Lies of P is at its most souls-like in New Game Plus, where the difficulty spikes and only a mastery of dodging and blocking will help you survive.

— Renan Borelli, deputy audience director, The New York Times Magazine

Long before Persona 5 became hailed as one of the greatest role-playing games, Persona 3, which was released in 2006, introduced the part-dungeon-crawler, part-social-simulator formula that made the latter title so addictive. This ambitious remake revamps the cult classic with Persona 5’s eye-popping, anime-inspired graphics.

Play if you liked: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth or Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

What to know: Persona 3 Reload, which I have played for 70 hours, is not available for the Switch. But you get to recruit a shiba inu, which rules.

— Brian X. Chen, personal tech columnist, Business

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