The Christmas Guide to Game Giving
Reviewed by Darkphoenix
With the season of communal giving rapidly approaching, you may find your shopping list a little wanting when it comes to the gamer in your life. Maybe that gamer is you, lost in a sea of choices, uncertain of what to buy. Fear not, for Iíve compiled here a list of this yearís must-haves, and a few overlooked favorites. Before making any purchases, however, make sure you know what platform (console, handheld, PC) you need to be buying for. A general idea of your intendedís favorite genres will also go a long way to a look of joyous relief whence your gift is received.
Because the holidays are a time of generous giving, and warm-fuzzy familial feelings, let us begin with a few shooters:
Halo 4: Starting off with a heavy hitter, this is a must have for any shooter fan with an Xbox 360 and even a mild interest in science fiction. Polished gameplay, an engrossing story, and some of the best multiplayer on the system makes this an instant win. (Xbox 360)
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2: Military shooters more to your taste? Black Ops 2 will serve a gamer well, and is available on all current-gen consoles (even the Wii U). Gift givers beware, though, that if your recipient is a fan of the series, they probably have this already. (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC)
Borderlands 2: For something a little comedic, this third-person gem is one of the most hysterical games I have played in a long while. It has an unapologetically warped sense of humor, with plenty of cooperative fun, and loads of loot to collect and horde. (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Escapism is one of the great things that gaming has to offer, and role playing games are perhaps the more accommodating when it comes to pretending to be someone else. A few of my favorites include:
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: An underrated and often overlooked RPG. Stealing heavily from the mechanics of Dragon Age and Oblivion, it might not be the most unique game to take the stage, but it is a great deal of fun, and a great value at about $10. (Xbox 360, PS3)
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: I admit, this game actually came out in late 2011, but with a plethora of recent DLC offerings, this game is an absolutely relevant must-buy for any RPG fan that doesnít already have it. Youíll play as the Dragonborn, trying to find your place in a massive open world full of choice, and plenty of challenge should you choose to look for it. This is a great choice for the family member you wish to avoid, as the 200+ hours of content is sure to keep them busy for a long, long while. (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Final Fantasy XIII-2: A great choice for a Final Fantasy fan with somewhat of an open mind. While this is technically a sequel, there is no need to have played the first game. Essentially revolving around a time-travel game mechanic, this game is a refreshing slap in the face to those who worried that the series had become far too linear.
Welcome to the family Ėfriendly aisle. These titles can be purchased with the assurance that younglings of your homestead wonít be burdened with the offensive or overtly violent:
Rocksmith: Know an aspiring guitarist? This game succeeds where Rock Band failed, which is making a game that really does teach one how to play the guitar. While it doesnít provide the guitar, it does include the cable to hook it up to your console. I doubt this will turn anyone into the next Jimi Hendrix, but it provides a fun entry point for those who are interested. For those who can play, thereís fun to be had as well, with the ability to freely play while using a large mix of amp and pedal options. (Xbox 360, PS3)
Lego Lord of the Rings: Honestly, you really canít go wrong with any of the Lego games. This newest installment comes at the perfect time, with the release of the first Hobbit movie lurking just around the corner. (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)
LittleBigPlanet 2: If you tossed a few squishy pillows into a blender with a platformer, a level designer, and a healthy dose of character, youíd get LittleBigPlanet 2. Thereís plenty of fun for kids and adults alike, and is a steal at around $20. (PS3)
And so endeth this list. May your yuletide gifts be received with boundless gratitude! Happy shopping!