Holiday Shopping 2016 – Video Games

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It’s almost the holiday season, which means it’s time to figure out what the hell kind of gifts you’re going to buy people. Fortunately for you, I’m here to give you all the gaming information you could possibly need. Whether it’s your boyfriend, brother, husband, cousin, sister, aunt, grandmother or whoever, it’s all the same. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about some of the major game releases of the past year or so available to you.

Just a note before we start, these are games I’ve experienced in some capacity and feel confident in recommending to anyone. I’ve provided basic descriptions of the games and I would highly recommend that you look up more information on anything that might be of interest to you.

Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition

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30 Pre-Loaded Games including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, PAC-MAN, Mega Man, Final Fantasy and more.

This is a bit of a tack on to my previous blog about shopping for consoles. This year, Nintendo released what is effectively a mini NES with a bunch of old NES games on it. These old school games are a perfect gift for gamers of all ages. Problem is, I have no idea how much it is or where you could even buy it because they basically sold out everywhere before I even remembered that this thing existed.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

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Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Microsoft Studios, Square Enix
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Genre: Action-Adventure
Price: $40 (PC, Xbox One), $60 (PS4)

I cannot recommend this game enough. The newest reboot of the Tomb Raider series has been terrific and Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of my favorite games of the past year. The PS4 version of the game is the 20th anniversary edition that just released in October and includes all of the game’s DLC, which is why there is a price difference. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a great action-adventure game in a series that has become one of my favorites. The game is a sequel to Tomb Raider (2013), which is fairly easy to come by and is highly recommended if there is interest in the series.

XCOM 2

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Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

XCOM 2 is a challenging turn-based strategy game where Earth has been attacked by aliens and you command a resistance force in the fight back for the planet. Strategy games are a bit of a niche interest but XCOM 2 is a high quality strategy game that is worth playing. While this game is a sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is a vastly different game and the two are loosely connected in many elements so playing it by itself is a great experience with or without playing the first game. I would highly recommend the PC version of the game for both better controls and mod support.

Street Fighter V

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Developer: Capcom, Dimps
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Fighting
Platforms: PC, PS4
Price: $30

Not much to say here, really. The latest entry of the Street Fighter series is your traditional fighting game. Fighting games are another niche area and if you’re into fighting games, you probably already own it. If not, it’s probably not a bad pick up for someone into these kinds of games.

Rocket League

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Developer: Psyonix
Publisher: Psyonix
Genre: Sports
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Price: $20

It’s soccer with cars and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Rocket League is an insanely fun arcade style game that has received quite of a bit of free content since its release. It’s an easy game to pick up and have a blast with whenever you need something to spice up your gaming. It’s definitely a great game to pick up for someone who might not have it yet.

Stardew Valley

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Developer: ConcernedApe
Publisher: Chucklefish Games
Genre: Indie, Simulator
Platforms: PC, Coming soon to PS4 & Xbox One
Price: $15

Stardew Valley was an indie game that took the scene by storm earlier this year. Made entirely by one person, Stardew Valley is a reincarnation of Harvest Moon and it’s just as fun. It makes a nice little stocking stuffer or maybe something to look forward to for the console release early next year.

Tom Clancy’s The Division

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Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Online Open World, Third Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

The Division is kinda sorta Ubisoft’s version of Destiny. The Division is a big open world game with different RPG and PvP elements blended together that holds massive potential. While the game sputtered on launch, recent updates have significantly improved the base game to one that many players now recommend. The Division is a great game to play with a group of friends but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to someone who would probably be playing it alone as the game stresses co-operation with other players.

Dark Souls III

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Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: FromSoftware, Bandai Namco
Genre: Action Role-Playing
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

The Dark Souls/Bloodborne series is not one that is easy to get into. These games are made to be incredibly challenging and, at times, frustrating to play. However, if you are into these games, I cannot recommend Dark Souls 3 enough. Dark Souls 3 takes all of the good elements of Dark Souls and Bloodborne and builds onto them, while removing all of the nonsense that was in Dark Souls 2. This is another game with a niche interest but, as my early pick for Game of the Year, it would make a great gift to anyone into the series who hasn’t gotten a chance to play it yet.

Ratchet & Clank (2016)

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Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action Platformer, Shooter
Platforms: PS4
Price: $20

If you need to a gift for someone who owns of PS4 but doesn’t own this game, buy it. Ratchet & Clank (2016) is a remastered game done right. Insomniac Games took the original Ratchet & Clank from 2002, rebuilt it from the ground up and added even more to it. The Ratchet & Clank series is humorous, incredibly fun and has immense replayability and at $20 (or less), this is an absolute steal of a pickup. Buy it for anyone; you can thank me later.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

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Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-Adventure
Platforms: PS4
Price: $60

This is my Game of the Year for 2016, so I’m just going to tell you now that you should buy both Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for anyone that doesn’t already have them. The Uncharted series is a modern version of the classic Tomb Raider series and you can see where they’ve both inspired each other in recent games. Uncharted 4 is the conclusion to the series and was absolutely beautiful. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which contains the first three games in the series for a whopping $20, can be found just about anywhere. All four games are worth playing and would serve as a great gift to both newcomers and veterans of the series.

Doom (2016)

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Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $40 (PS4, Xbox One), $60 (PC)

Doom (2016) is yet another reboot of a classic series. I think everyone pretty much knows what Doom is all about at this point; run around and violently kill disgusting creatures to make blood gush everywhere. Not my kind of game, but I know there’s a lot of interest out there for it and Doom (2016) received a lot of positive attention when it was released earlier this year.

Overwatch

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Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Multiplayer, First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $40 (PC), $60 (PS4, Xbox One)

Overwatch is my choice for best multiplayer game of the year. Overwatch is an arena shooter with a bunch of unique characters that each serve a specific role in helping their team win the game. It’s a multiplayer only game where everyone is on an even playing field all the time, making it easy for new players to jump right in. As someone who hasn’t been able to get into multiplayer games very often anymore, I absolutely love Overwatch. You can jump in and out of the game whenever you want and not skip a beat. Overwatch receives constant updates, is balanced separately between PC and consoles and is a really enjoyable game to sit down and play.

BioShock: The Collection

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Developer: Blind Squirrel Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

Maximizing value is always a key consideration when you’re buying a gift for someone so these remastered collections are the perfect kind of thing to look for. BioShock is a well-received first person shooter that has been around for quite some time now. BioShock: The Collection consists of all three games in the series; BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite. BioShock is a bit of a steampunk-fantasy game that takes place in both a sunken city and a city in the clouds. It’s a pretty cool series and something that most fans of singleplayer shooters would enjoy.

Gears of War 4

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Developer: The Coalition
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Platforms: Xbox One
Price: $60

Battlefield 1

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Developer: EA DICE
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

Titanfall 2

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Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

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Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60, $80 (Legacy Edition w/ Modern Warfare Remastered)

Look, I’m just going to throw all of the major shooters of the year in one group here. If you’re buying one of them for someone, just get whichever series it is that they’re a fan of. It’s all pretty much the same as any other year.

Shadow Warrior 2

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Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platforms: PC, Coming soon to PS4 and Xbox One
Price: $40

Shadow Warrior 2 is basically a ninja warrior version of Doom. You hack and slash through hordes of demons with all sorts of modern and ninja weaponry to rack up points in each level. It’s one of those games that, if you can find it at a good price, is a fun little pickup. Like Doom, this is the kind of game I would get for someone who plays a lot of games and sneaks in a bit of a less serious game to play every once in a while.

Civilization VI

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Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC
Price: $60

If you noticed the similarities here with XCOM 2, you know exactly where I’m going with this. Strategy games are a niche interest and fans of the series likely already have the game. However, the Civilization series has been well-liked for a long time and would be a great pickup for a newcomer to the series who has an interest in these kinds of games. Civilization is about building up your own civilization to combat other civilizations and, more or less, take over the world.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition

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Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Open World, Action-Role Playing
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

The Elder Scrolls is a massively popular open world RPG series and Skyrim was the latest installment that released back in 2011 where you’re a legendary hero that gains all sorts of crazy dragon powers, magic and whatever else you can think of. Skyrim is the kind of game where you can pretty much do whatever you want whenever you want which makes it a unique experience for just about everyone who plays it. Not surprisingly, it has now received a remastered version with upgraded graphics for the new consoles. This is a great gift for anyone who was super into Skyrim back when it released or anyone who has never had a chance to play it. Skyrim is a game that you can easily sink 100 hours into without even trying and it’s another great value game.

Dishonored 2

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Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Action-Adventure, Stealth
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60

Dishonored is a really cool game because it offers completely different ways to play through the game. You can play through the game completely stealthy and perfecting the art of not being detected, you can play through the game like a pacifist and never kill a single person or you can just do really cool shit. The second game in the series is more of the same, which isn’t a bad thing. You play as an assassin with all sorts of different abilities and weapons to accomplish your mission with all kinds of different tactics available to you. This is another one of those games that I would recommend to someone who plays a lot of games and wants to mix things up with something a little different every now and then.

Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon

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Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: The Pokemon Company
Genre: Role-Playing
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Price: $40

I just wrote a spoiler free review about how much I love these games, so check that out and buy them because they’re excellent gifts for gamers of all ages.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition

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Developer: CD Projekt RED
Publisher: CD Projekt
Genre: Open World, Action Role-Playing
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $50

The runaway Game of the Year in 2015, The Witcher 3 might be the best game I’ve ever played and is one of the best games of the last decade plus. I seriously cannot explain just how incredible this game is. The recently released complete edition contains both of the game’s DLCs, which are basically the size of actual retail games. Seriously, buy this game for anyone that doesn’t have it. CD Projekt RED is always putting the damn thing on sale too; I own the entire three game series for all of $5. Just buy it.

Final Fantasy XV

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Developer: Square Enix Business Division 2
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Open World, Action Role-Playing
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Price: $60
Release Date: November 29, 2016

Super Mario Maker (3DS)

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Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Side-Scrolling Platformer
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Price: $40
Release Date: December 2, 2016

The Last Guardian

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Developer: genDESIGN, SIE Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-Adventure
Platforms: PS4
Price: $60
Release Date: December 6, 2016

These last few games are the remaining major releases for 2016 that will be out within the next couple weeks. Super Mario Maker was a hit on the WiiU and will be a great pickup for gamers of all ages on the 3DS, Final Fantasy XV is the latest edition in the Final Fantasy series and The Last Guardian is the heavily anticipated spiritual successor to Shadow of the Colossus. Just by nature of releasing during the holiday season, all three of these games are great pickups for a timely holiday gift.

These are just some of the bigger name games that have been released in 2016. There are so many other good games, particularly Indie titles, that released this year but it would be impossible for me to list them all. Another great option is to just pick up digital gift cards for Steam, Xbox Live or the Playstation Store so that the giftee can just buy whatever it is that they don’t already own because a lot of these smaller titles are available digitally.

Just keep in mind that you’re shopping for someone else, so try and find something that you think that the giftee will not only appreciate but get a proper reward for the time they’re going to invest in the game. Figure out what kind of games the person enjoys and then do some more research on particular titles. You can find all different kinds of reviews for every game you can think of on YouTube. And the options aren’t limited to just this year, look up some of the major titles released in 2015 or even years earlier than that. The field of games to choose from is endless.

I think I’ve given ample descriptions of some of my favorite titles from all different genres this year and there’s more than enough to choose from. Keep an eye out for sales because they’re going to be all over the place for the next few weeks. Just please god don’t buy anyone No Man’s Sky. It’s worse than giving someone coal for Christmas.

Got any questions? Leave a comment or shoot me a tweet and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.

 

@Sixchr

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