Video Game Heroes vs. Santa – The Top Ten Christmas-Themed Games

TOP TEN – It’s rare to find video games completely immersed in the Christmas spirit, but there are a few gems out there. Shenmue, for example brilliantly evokes the holiday mood with its masterful depiction of the festive season, even though the game isn’t entirely Christmas-centric. Titles such as Saints Row 4 and Batman: Arkham Origins offer festive DLCs or Christmas-themed settings, adding a charming and unique atmosphere to the gaming experience.



While TV specials and movies offer a plethora of choices for Christmas enthusiasts, the same can’t be said for video games. There aren’t many games that focus on Christmas or even take place during the holiday season. Most Christmas-themed games feature only selected levels. Kingdom Hearts 2 is a prime example, with Sora and crew visiting Christmas Town – a perfect spot to soak up the holiday cheer, but the whole world can be explored in just a few hours. Other games with fun Christmas levels include Hitman: Blood Money, Bully, and Persona 5.

Today being Christmas, it’s the perfect time to dive into some Christmas games before or after your holiday feast. In the grand scheme of things, not too many titles tie their stories to this time of year, and those that do might not emphasize it much, but there are still some solid picks out there.

Besides a game’s reputation, its Christmas spirit also influences its ranking in our article.



  1. Shenmue (SEGA – 2000)


Shenmue, as one of the most influential games, made a splash with its release on the Sega Dreamcast and was a costly endeavor. This impressive attempt at an open-world game, where players can truly live out Ryo’s life, is a lot of fun once you get used to its unique nature.

While Shenmue isn’t set entirely around Christmas, the holiday is captured so brilliantly that it’s worth experiencing on its own. Just don’t spend too much time getting to this holiday part, as the game forces a bad ending if you dawdle until mid-April.



  1. Saints Row 4: How the Saints Save Christmas (Volition – 2013)


Saints Row 4 is an explosively fun open-world game. Playing around with superpowers in the base game is a blast, and the “How the Saints Save Christmas” DLC adds an extra layer of festive flair to the gameplay loop. The idea of rescuing Santa from a simulation while reviving the Christmas spirit to make the holiday fun again is a crazy concept that only Saints Row 4 could pull off. The DLC is a short yet memorable adventure filled with unforgettable moments.


Úgyhogy hiába a Scalebound, amely jövőre jelenik meg Xbox One-ra és Windows 10-re, Hideki Kamiya már nagyobb távlatokban gondolkodik.


  1. Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games – 2014)


Bayonetta 2 takes place around the Christmas season, though no specific dates are given. The game starts with Bayonetta buying a bunch of presents and forcing her servant, Enzo, to carry them all. It’s a humorous introduction to Bayonetta 2, but that’s where the game’s Christmas spirit ends.

Players might find the theme of fighting angels around Christmas intriguing. However, most Christmas stories tend to portray angels as benevolent beings. In this sense, Bayonetta 2 deserves credit for subverting expectations. More importantly, this Nintendo exclusive is a stylish and great hack-and-slash game that builds on the fundamentals of its predecessor while adding a touch of accessibility to the action.



  1. Dead Rising 4 (Capcom Vancouver – 2016)


Dead Rising 4 is technically set after Christmas. However, as the city was abandoned around the holiday, all the decorations are still up, giving the game an unmistakable Christmas feel.

The juxtaposition between the jolly holiday spirit and Frank West tearing through zombies is fantastic. Overall, this is generally regarded as the weakest entry in Capcom’s Dead Rising series, and it may well be the last, given the lack of discussion surrounding a fifth installment. That said, the game is still mindless fun, and while this version of Frank is a far cry from his previous incarnation, he still manages to deliver a few funny lines.


1943-ban készült először Batman-film Lewis Wilson főszereplésével, ám igen gyenge volt és elég gyorsan feledésbe merült.


  1. Batman: Arkham Origins (WB Games Montreal – 2013)


Batman: Arkham Origins uses the same map as Arkham City, albeit with a Christmas-themed makeover and a few tweaks to suit the setting of the prequel. These seemingly minor changes actually make a noticeable difference, giving the spin-off a charming and eerie atmosphere that sets it apart from the mainline entries. On Christmas Eve, Gotham City becomes a war zone as eight assassins are hired by Black Mask to take out Batman, who is still a novice hero at this point in his career.

Generally regarded as the black sheep of the true console entries, Arkham Origins is still a very good action-ad venture game by most standards, even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Arkham Asylum or Arkham City. The story is engaging, and Gotham City looks even more stunning in Arkham Knight.


S bár nem tudni, hogy a PS4-exkluzív Yakuza 6, amely japánul 2016 végén jelenik meg, mikor fog egyáltalán kijutni onnét, ha valaha ki is fog. A SEGA összeszedhetné magát.


  1. Yakuza 0 (Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio – 2017)


Although it’s not always emphasized, several Yakuza games are set around Christmas, a time period that oddly suits the franchise’s slightly cheesy but always great storytelling style. The holiday season is little more than a backdrop in games like Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami, but this isn’t the case in every entry.

Yakuza 5 features a subplot where Saejima dresses up as Santa Claus to take on a group of thugs who specialize in hunting the jolly character, and this is hardly the only side quest that directly references Christmas. Sega’s franchise may not be synonymous with Christmas, with the games never actually mentioning it in their central plots, but Yakuza is still a great fit for the festive season.



  1. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (Konami – 1990)


One of the more forgotten entries in Konami’s series, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake was never released in the West during its original run. Nowadays, the game is available thanks to a few collections, but it is still completely overshadowed by its predecessor and the far more popular Metal Gear Solid projects.

It sees the titular Solid Snake traveling to Zanzibarland on Christmas Eve to stop another nuclear mech attack. Zanzibarland may sound familiar, as it is referenced quite often in Metal Gear Solid. Although clearly showing its age, Metal Gear 2 was still a notable release for the stealth genre, and has very similar gameplay to the first MGS.


Ami az egyik legelképesztőbb a játékban, hogy döntéseink hatással vannak az egész városra, és minden, azonos szerveren tartózkodó játékosra.


  1. Tom Clancy’s The Division (Massive Entertainment – 2016)


Tom Clancy’s The Division has a similar setting to Dead Rising 4. Everyone was getting ready for the holidays after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, when a virus broke out in New York City. The government tried to contain it as best they could, but the city eventually became a lawless zone.

Players are sent in as an elite special ops force, The Division, to restore order around the holidays. It may not technically be Christmas, but the decorations are still up and the snow-covered city is as inviting as ever, even if it is infested with a deadly disease. The Division is hard to recommend these days due to the existence of its superior sequel, but the game holds up well enough as a third-person shooter with a cool setting.


Yoshinori Kitase nem felejtette el Aya Breát. (Meg azért mi sem.) Az első Parasite Eve még 1998-ban jött ki az első PlayStationre.


  1. Parasite Eve (Square – 1998)


Parasite Eve is set around Christmas Eve. It’s one of the best RPGs of the 90s, combining the best parts of Final Fantasy and Resident Evil. Players take on the role of detective Aya Brea.

She attends the opera one night only to find that everyone but her has gone up in flames. Now she must find the source, kill the mutants and save Christmas. It takes place in New York City, which is a classic location for a Christmas setting, even for a horror roleplaying game.


Az év végén megjelenő, teljesen különálló játékban Miles Morales bújik a pókgúnyába.


  1. Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac Games – 2020)


Spider-Man: Miles Morales is another superhero game set around Christmas. It’s also set in New York City, just like Parasite Eve. The story revolves around Miles, who is on his way home from school to spend time with friends and family over the holidays. Unfortunately, evil has another plan for the new spider hero.

Miles is left to protect his home turf alone, with Peter away dealing with other matters. This game serves as a good introduction to Miles in general, not only establishing his backstory but also differentiating him from Peter Parker. It’s a shorter campaign than Marvel’s Spider-Man, and it recycles a lot of assets, but it’s still an excellent experience. The spin-off also improves the combat and traversal mechanics ever so slightly, to the point where it eclipses its meatier predecessor in some key areas. Anyone looking to play Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 should not miss out on this spin-off.”

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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