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    These gaming hits belong under the Christmas tree


    The contemplative days are just around the corner, but what should you give your loved ones for Christmas? Socks, sweaters or vouchers are the standard, with video games there are dozens of hours of cinematic entertainment under the Christmas tree. presents five of the best titles of the year that guarantee lots of fun over the holidays.

    “Hogwarts Legacy” (PS/Xbox/PC/Nintendo Switch)

    Harry Potter films are popular in the Christmas program (can be seen on RTL+, among others), and with “Hogwarts Legacy” there is now, for the first time, a comprehensive video game adaptation that skilfully captures the magic of the stories. As part of an open world, the school for sorcerer's apprentices is recreated down to the last detail, but the story takes place before Harry Potter, Dumbledore and Co. Allusions to the films can be found on every corner. The main story involves a conspiracy of dark magicians and rebellious goblins, and there are all sorts of side quests to complete. Learning new spells, solving puzzles about the magician Merlin, magical duels with other students, collecting resources and objects.

    The game even does a few things better than the films, such as the fights. While the big highlight in the blockbuster films was two energy beams colliding, in “Hogwarts Legacy” you are equipped with a basic range of magic spells that can be used in battle. From the levitation spell “Wingardium Leviosa” to the disarming “Expelliarmus” to curses like “Crucio”, the player can place a set of four spells on the speed selection buttons. This ensures dynamic battles with sometimes dozens of opponents. The graphic presentation of the world, the characters, the musical background and the great attention to detail make the hearts of fans of books and films soar. Because “Hogwarts Legacy” is so open to creating your very own character, the game is a great experience for more than just hardcore fans.

    “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor” (Playstation 5/Xbox X/S/PC)

    The Force is strong in this game: We're talking about “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor”, a spectacular adaptation of the lightsaber saga, because pretty much every moment feels like it was created by George Lucas himself. The player takes on the role of Jedi Knight Cal Castis wants to rebuild the Jedi Order and is looking for a safe home planet to do so. As one of the last Jedi, he is still hunted by the Empire. The inquisitors are always close on his heels. For Cal, a journey begins into unexplored worlds across the galaxy.

    In “Jedi Survivor” the balance is right. It is always possible to set fresh accents through new gameplay elements that are unlocked as the game progresses. New types of movement open up new areas. New fighting techniques help with opponents who are initially too strong. There is also a combat system that ensures incredibly dynamic lightsaber action. With well-timed parries you reduce the opponent's defense and can then deal powerfully yourself. At the end there is usually a finisher sequence that ends individual duels spectacularly. When it comes to storytelling, including sound effects and music, the developers give you goosebumps in many moments – especially for fans of the Star Wars universe. In this area, the game performs significantly better than many expensively produced series.

    “Marvel's Spider-Man 2” (Playstation 5)

    A genre that is always exploited in films and series is Marvel's superhero cosmos. And here too there are light and shadows in the video game sector. “Marvel's Spider-Man 2” is a real gem and the story really packs a punch. The tension, action, drama and emotions are well coordinated by the developers; after completing a chapter, you actually want to jump straight into the next. As already immortalized in the title, it's about Spider-Man, or rather two Spider-Men. Because with Peter Parker and Miles Morales, the player has two main characters who he controls alternately through the story.

    The fact that two super spiders are needed is due to the new super villain Kraven the Hunter. The big game hunter with superhuman strength and an army of followers in the Crocodile Dundee look is targeting other supervillains in the city. Scorpion, Lizard or Sandman – no one is safe from him. Venom also gets involved. The alien symbiote is initially part of Peter's best friend Harry Osborn, later it infects the original Spider-Man and develops a life of its own. You can now explore the great New York backdrop using a wingsuit; the fights are like the predecessor: fast and peppered with cracking cutscenes. The end result is a firework of spider action that will keep you entertained for countless hours.

    Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Nintendo Switch)

    If Nintendo has done anything right this year, this is it “Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom”. The puzzle-action-adventure overcomes the already high bar set by its predecessor effortlessly. The Japanese developer once again impresses with its ingenuity in the story about Link, who sets out to find Princess Zelda. Link gets completely new abilities to solve puzzles and tasks in Hyrule. Particularly interesting: the ultra hand. It allows things to move and merge. This allows players to build vehicles, boats and even rockets. How the player crosses obstacles, such as raging rivers, deep ravines or boiling lava lakes, is up to him.

    A large part of the game world is in the sky, in the form of small floating islands. This alone increases the scope for exploration significantly. But it doesn't stop there. Deep underground lies the underworld, a huge, beautifully designed cave labyrinth. “Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” is for gamers who want to break new ground. While the industry continues to stick to checklists, Nintendo is showing here what else is out there beyond the familiar.

    “Under the Waves” (PS/Xbox/PC)

    Aside from the big titles, there are of course also gaming gems to be found – in the case of “Under the Waves” You can even go to a diving station. The story about the diving engineer Stan includes elements such as environmental pollution, coping with grief and escapism in a thrilling underwater world. “Under the Waves” does what many developers dream of: it captivates players. Anyone sitting at the controller is constantly wondering whether what is happening in the game is the protagonist's imagination or whether supernatural things are happening.

    “Under the Waves” is absolutely non-violent, but still not light fare. Anyone who likes quiet and atmospheric stories in an underwater setting will get their money's worth here.

    “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” (Nintendo Switch)

    It's not an epoch-making story, credited characters, or even a cinematic production that makes the “Mario” games so charming. It's the creative game mechanics, the brightly colored worlds and of course the iconic main character that make every single spin-off outstanding in its own way. And as usual, Nintendo combines series tradition with refreshing ideas in “Super Mario Bros. Wonder”. In the Flower Kingdom, a wonderfully colorful idyll dotted with sunflowers, lilies of the valley and many other plants, arch-villain Bowser, this time as a fortress made flesh, has to stop, well, drive away.

    Several characters are available for this, such as Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi. Each equipped with individual special abilities, two of which even significantly reduce the level of difficulty. Child friendly. Players roam across flower fields, glide over ice blocks, float on clouds and can use tried-and-tested power-ups (new: the elephant suit). To take the whole thing to the extreme in terms of creativity, there are always miracle flowers to discover that give each level a little makeover (keyword: piranha concert). So why reinvent the wheel when the cart is moving? Fresh paint and new parts do the trick too.

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