You might think it foolish to jump into the fifth game in a series cold. Wouldn’t you be missing out on context? As someone who has seen the context, I can tell you: not really! Metal Gear Solid V is deliberately confounding, a story with opening hours completely different from the many that follow it. You play as Snake, a disillusioned soldier building a mercenary army of his own in the 1980s, as a twisted conspiracy to bring about world peace through nuclear proliferation and cultural domination begins to take shape. The Phantom Pain has much to say and, despite being many hours long, not enough time to say it. The result is a game that ironically has so much room for you, it sets you loose as a single soldier on a battlefield full of enemies and lets you decide how to strategically take them apart. The confusion you create reflects the confusion you feel as the story unfolds and you find out why everyone is fighting a war where there are an astonishing number of new ways to be a villain, and none to be a hero. There’s no real resolution, and that’s the point.
For a chill experience: Outer Wilds
Like Groundhog Day but without the nihilism, Outer Wilds is about being stuck in a time loop. You’re a little blue alien from a race of friendly explorers, and after rocketing off on your first trip to see the solar system, you discover something is wrong: It’s all going to blow up in 22 minutes. You learn that because it happens to you again, and again, and again. But instead of being frustrated, it’s enlightening. Outer Wilds is about the love of exploration, about how beautiful it is to open your eyes and learn something new. Every 22-minute loop is a new opportunity to see something you didn’t see last time, to figure out how another piece in the clockwork of your beautiful little solar system works. Gather enough pieces, and maybe you can close the loop—and leave the universe a little better than how you found it.
For something more social: Sea of Thieves