We all need a little help during the holidays, especially when it comes time to finding that special gift for someone. From games to accessories to everything in between, our holiday gift guide has plenty of great ideas to help guide you in the right direction.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Great for: anyone who likes action games and exploration
Set in picturesque Greece, this impressive title lets you play as one of two siblings and discover a slew of family turmoil. Far more of a role-playing game than its predecessors, the game lets you outfit yourself and upgrade your weapons and armor, resolve certain tasks the way you see fit, and even romance certain characters. In addition to a fluid combat system on land, naval battles also make a return and provide an additional layer of depth when not exploring the vast land of Greece and its beautiful towns and countryside.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch)
Great for: anyone who loves Nintendo and fighting games
Just when you thought the Wii U version of Smash was crammed with a lot of stuff, in comes Ultimate to take its place the biggest and most action-packed brawler you’re bound to play. From its roster of 72 fighters to its music library spanning over 800 songs, the amount of Nintendo nostalgia in this hefty title will keep you playing for hours. Whether you’re a competitive smasher or like keeping items on, Ultimate will take your Switch hostage for all the right reasons.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Great for: fans of shooters, multiplayer online games
Call of Duty games need no introduction, but this year’s entry removes its familiar single-player campaign more in favor of a more robust multiplayer featuring the return of specialist classes and manual healing. You can now further customize your weapons and load-outs to better suit your play-style and what your team needs. A cooperative Zombie mode is also included as well as Blackout, which is a lot like Fortnite where being the last player standing means you win.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, 3DS)
Great for: fans of Japanese RPGs, rich story-based games
Dragon Quest XI is a joy to play for anyone new or experienced with the series. Its engaging narrative follows the protagonist who turns out to be the legendary Luminary of legend fated to save the world from destruction. True to any RPG, battles will reward you with experience and skills and bosses will put your experience to the test. As you play through the game and engage in countless battles, you will bond with your companions, craft and discover a plethora of items, and explore richly colorful worlds full of character and life.
Super Mario Party (Switch)
Great for: families and friends who like to play together
Mario Party games are all about bringing friends over and having fun on the couch, and this first installment on the Switch is no different. What’s great about this game is that it brings the series to its roots and re-introduces classic board games where getting stars is key. Of course, you can also play some zany modes like River Survival and Sound Stage where winning mini-games and following the rhythm are keys to victory. You are bound to have a blast any way you play it.
Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4)
Great for: open-world players and Spider-Man fans
Take the lore that makes Spider-Man so awesome and turn it into an open-world game that lets you live it out in full glory. Web-swinging your way around the beautiful New York infrastructure is an experience in itself as is discovering various tasks and quick missions spread throughout the map. The game features an impressive narrative that follows both Spider-Man and Peter Parker as they take on familiar foes all while balancing their personal life too.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, Xbox One)
Great for: open-world players who love action, violence, and the Wild West
Red Dead Redemption 2 took everything about the first game and made it bigger and better. Playing as the outlaw Arthur Morgan, you’ll complete a variety of missions and decide the fate of many characters you come across. Having control over your decisions and even your appearance and weight, truly make this sequel a more full-fledged open-world title that lets you invest so much of your time in all the hours you’ll be playing exploring the great American Wild West.
Kirby Star Allies (Switch)
Great for: friends who want to play the next Kirby game
Grab some friends and go on this colorful adventure featuring Kirby and a slew of allies who have unique abilities you can combine to create even more special attacks and moves. In fact, much of the beauty of this simplistic platformer is uncovering secret areas in a level that require the combination of specific abilities. Your friends can easily hop in and out of a game, or you can rely on the game’s sharp AI partners to lead you in the right direction during puzzles and action-packed boss battles.
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight/Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
Great for: Fans of Persona and rhythm games
Fans of Person 3 and 5 are in for a treat as these titles bring everyone’s favorite characters back for a rhythm game that lets you relive all the catchy music you battled it out to. Each one features a simple to learn but difficult to master rhythm mechanic that involve pressing buttons or flicking the control stick in tune to the wonderful soundtrack of each game. You can unlock plenty of costumes for everyone as well as play through a casual story mode giving these games more life than meets the eye.
Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox One, PC)
Great for: car and racing aficionados
Forza Horizon 4 feels more like entering a world than it does entering a race. Sure, you’ll participate in a lot of them as well as some fun stunt races and non-traditional diversions, but as soon as you log in you’ll realize there are other players around you living and racing in your world too. What’s more, your world will change every few days and with the coming and going of the seasons. Winter will freeze lakes opening new paths and spring will make your races a lot more treacherous thanks to wet roads.
Shadow of the Colossus (PS4)
Great for: fans of the original and those who have never played it
Yes, this game made its PlayStation 2 debut in 2005, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t play this gorgeous remake. More than just an HD version of the original, Shadow of the Colossus follows the story of a mysterious youth who travels through an almost barren land hunting for giant colossi to defeat. The gameplay itself is mesmerizing and its updated visuals make it easier to be engrossed in its philosophical narrative and climactic battles.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PS4, Xbox One)
Great for: anyone who grew up with the original PlayStation
The original Spyro the Dragon was a charming platformer that introduced us to its iconic star, a catchy soundtrack, and a series that made an impact on the PlayStation console. Decades later, this revamped trilogy brings nostalgia (and the first three Spyro the Dragon games) wrapped in a picturesque package with plenty of extras. Each level is just as you remembered it, except with more personality. Its soundtrack has also been redone but you can always play the original whenever you want. How’s that for fan service?
Mario Tennis Aces (Switch)
Great for: casual and competitive tennis fans
Mario Tennis makes its Switch debut with a colorful cast of players each with his or her own unique talents and skills. This time around special “zone shots” can give you the edge in a match, and if you catch your opponent off-guard, these powerful lobs can actually break their rackets giving you a quick victory. A game of skill, speed, and power, Aces includes classic game modes, but you can relax and play through some of its more casual modes like Swing Mode and online mini-games that reward you with a bevy of unlockables.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Great for: action fans following Lara’s next adventure
Wrapping up the modern Tomb Raider trilogy, Shadow brings Laura back to her roots and finds her exploring ancients crypts and temples in South America. The game features plenty of action and thrilling moments that put Laura’s new actions and weapons to the test. Stealth is of the utmost importance as is customizing your gear and crafting supplies to help you survive all the traps and environmental dangers you’ll encounter too. It wouldn’t be a Tomb Raider game without plenty of brain-busting puzzles, and this one features some of the toughest and most rewarding in the series.
Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu/Let’s Go Eevee (Switch)
Great for: anyone who loves Pokémon games
Take a trip back to Kanto but with a twist in this cheerful Switch title. Like the original, the game follows your journey as you train your team of Pokémon and collect enough gym badges to vie for the title of Elite Four Champion. The difference is that catching Pokémon is like that in Pokémon Go and requires just a tap of a button or a flick of your wrist. Battles are also generally more casual but still require some strategy and a formidable team to win. Oh, and there are 151 Pokémon for you to catch all over again.
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