8 things to watch out for this festive season

1. Celebrate Kiefer Sutherland's 51st birthday by watching Designated Survivor on Netflix

Kiefer Sutherland already had an incredible career that started with him playing a bit part in Max Dugan Returns along side his dad at 17. That’s not a recommendation by the way, it’s a classic 6 out of 10. But what better way to celebrate his birthday and journey through Hollywood than watching him in one of his best roles yet.

If you’re not sure what Designated Survivor is think of it as the natural progression of 24 (and if you haven’t seen 24 we can’t be friends) except now Jack Bauer is President of the United States and he’s called Tom Kirkman Of course being President means he can’t really go out in the field and start shooting up the bad guys so while there’s still plenty of sneaking around abandoned warehouses, hacking computers and running about the place with guns that’s all handled by FBI Agent Hannah Wells (Maggie Q). He still manages to say dammit a few times though, usually while stomping through corridors or watching video feeds of black ops operations.

Season 2 dives even deeper into political side of things with Jack Tom navigating the minefield that comes with passing sanctions, deploying military troops to foreign soil and monitoring approval ratings. Of course that last one means that it also touches on a number of very real topics in the current political landscape, but there’s also plenty of action to balance that out. The second half of season 2 due March 1st 2018 so now’s the perfect time to get caught up. James Jarvis

What: Designated Survivor
Where: Netflix
When: Now

2. Annapurna’s new puzzler Gorogoa is the perfect game for playing while your Christmas dinner digests 

You might know Annapurna for its work on the excellent What Remains of Edith Finch (which just happened to get fifth place in our ultimate Game of the Year Awards), but now it’s released a fantastically unique puzzler called Gorogoa. It’s available on PC too, but it’s best played on a touchscreen as the gameplay involves rearranging picture titles to solve puzzles and move between scenes (and it’s about half the price on mobile devices too). That might sound fairly basic, but it’s actually one of the most inventive and beautiful puzzle games ever created. Figuring out what exactly you have to do to progress can often leave you stumped, but when you finally work it out and the solution reveals itself you’ll feel like a genius and be regularly left simultaneously stunned and impressed. You owe it to yourself and your bulging Christmas tummy to treat yourself to this one. Sam Loveridge

What: Gorogoa
iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch and PC

3. Bright is Netflix’s exclusive movie that finally makes fantasy relatable 

Orcs. Magic. Elves. And police sirens, a powerful wand, and shoot-outs in an exotic dancing bar. This might sound like someone’s put Lord of the Rings and The Wire in a blender and blitzed it together, but Neflix’s original movie Bright is exactly what the fantasy genre needs right now. We’ve got Game of Thrones’ high fantasy, with dragons and prophecies and zombie ice kings, but it’s a bit hard to relate to feuding nobles, and battles for the throne. This fantasy world, however, will hopefully prove that fantasy is just as easy to relate to as any award-winning drama. Bright is about a world where orcs, elves, fairies, and all manners of magic co-exist in the 21st century. It follows Will Smith as a police officer Ward who’s been partnered with Jakoby, the first orc cop to ever exist, and things go incredibly smoothly for the both of them. Kidding. During their patrol they discover a darkness that’ll consume the world if they don’t stop it. Judging from the trailer, it looks like Bright has hit the nail on the head with its social commentary already. Let’s hope it lives up to expectations. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: Movie
Where: Netflix
When: December 22

4. Enjoy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as a video game adaptation, not a sequel to the original

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is out in cinemas now and let me warn you from the get-go, if you’re going into it thinking about it as a sequel to the 1995 original, you’re in for a hell of a disappointment. There’s none of the heart-warming lessons or scary moral moments which make the Robin Williams’ original such an iconic film, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing of value here. In fact, Welcome to the Jungle does something which many movies have failed to achieve before it - it’s actually a pretty decent video game movie. The idea to change the Jumanji board game into an old console is inspired and allows for something which most video game movie adaptations are denied. It’s aware of its video game elements, which means it can have fun with all the mechanics of extra lives, levelling up, and class systems without having to pretend there’s a real life storyline reason for it. Oscar-winning, this movie is never going to be, but if you’re looking for some good-hearted fun to see out the new year, go watch Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle this week. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Where: Cinemas worldwide
When: Out now

5. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in GTA Online and that's awesome

It's the most wonderful time of the year to enjoy Rockstar's online world, as the annual Festive Surprise has kicked off to give all budding criminals a Christmas treat. The Elves have already visited to sneak Christmas trees and presents into every apartment, executive office, clubhouse, and military bunker, plus seasonal outfits including pyjamas, Gingerbread masks, and not-at-all-creepy reindeer bodysuits and now available for players to wear. Log on every day for additional bonus items, and you too could be driving around in a tank with full blown wrapping paper livery! As always, the highlight of the Festive Surprise is when snow falls across GTA Online - Rockstar hasn't given exact details of when this will happen yet, but Weazel News' weathermen are "already calling for a frosty forecast this coming weekend" so you can bet your bottom GTA$ that it'll be a White Christmas across San Andreas and Blaine County. Make sure you visit during this time to swap your shotguns for snowballs, complete some icy heists, and snap your best frosty photographs for a chance to win a cool GTA$1,000,000 in the #FESTIVESURPRISE2017 Snapmatic competition. Iain Wilson

What: Festive Surprise 2017
Where: GTA Online
When: Now

6. Introduce your loved ones to virtual reality with the best - and sweariest - game on PSVR, courtesy of Rick & Morty creator Justin Roiland

It's not Christmas with the family until a small, cloud faced creature has popped out of a tree and told you to fuck off. Or you've been involved in a massacre of a car chase with cuddly animals bleeding out around you. Or been a defendant in a trial that makes OJ Simpson's proceedings look totally above board. This magical trip into virtual lunacy is the work of Justin Roiland, the man behind Rick & Morty, and Crows Crows Crows, the studio that brought us indie masterpiece the Stanley Parable. 

If your PSVR has been gathering dust since the first wave of games this is the reason to dust it off again. Once you've experienced it for yourself you'll have the insane urge to jam the headset on your nearest and dearest and watch them completely freak out. The game moves from one improbable experience to another so boredom is basically impossible, are there are all sorts of Easter Eggs to uncover. And if you've already experienced the PC version of this, this game has a +, which means lots of new content. Totally batshit content. Rachel Weber

What: Accounting+
Where: PSVR
When: Now

7. For Honor’s first Christmas event looks to nail the festive video game formula 

Because what’s more festive than tactical beheadings, right? While other games are having seasonal events this year, For Honor’s inaugural frozen throw-down, the Frost Wind Festival - which runs until January 4 - sounds like a particular stand-out offering. For starters, there’s a whole new gameplay mode, Ice Brawlers, a 2v2 Brawl battle which pits both teams against the thin, crack-ready surface of a frozen lake, as well as each other. Seasonal, smart, and also rather silly, it sounds a perfect, knockabout gimmick mode to help the community let off a bit of steam over the holidays. With a stack of new outfits, weapons, and emotes to be earned through play as well, alongside a discounted new Mask outfit, and player-bespoke bundles of winter items letting you buy any gear that doesn’t drop as loot – account tailored offerings promise to avoid doubles - it sounds like a rather healthy and well thought-out party indeed. In fact it sound like a great example is exactly what video game Christmas events really should be about. Loads of opportunities for fun, special ‘presents’, and the ability to enjoy the game in a silly new, ‘party game’ fashion abound. David Houghton 

What: For Honor’s Frost Wind Festival
Where: PS4, Xbox One, and PC
When: December 21 - January 4 

8. Catch up on all the great 2017 content you missed, from movies and TV to games

There’s no better time of year than the Christmas season to catch up on all the amazing content that’s been released this year. All you’ve got to do is kick back, eat some food and hang with your family, and why not gather all that together to watch some of the best TV and movie content that made 2017 awesome. Of course, if you get some time to grab a pad, there are plenty of fantastic Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch games that demand some attention. Settle in, stay cosy and catch up with all our top picks for 2017. 

And Happy Christmas from all of us here at GamesRadar+!

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