The holidays are a hectic time, especially when it comes to shopping for those significant people in your life. While certain people will make lists of all the various items they want for the holidays, more often than not some will infuriatingly say, “You don’t have to get me anything.” If the person you are shopping for is a gamer then there is always a video game out they’ll love. However, shopping for them is always tricky and causes anxiety to those unfamiliar with video games. Well, here at Gaming Illustrated, we are going to give you some suggestions for those who do and do not give you a list of what video games that any gamer would love as a present. For a non-video game holiday shopping guide, check out Gamer Gift Guide 2012 – Part 1.
Kalvin’s Handheld Picks
Gravity Rush (PlayStation Vita) – Gravity Rush may be the finest game for Sony’s newest handheld and one of the better games to come out in 2012. It makes smart and intuitive uses of the PlayStation Vita’s unique touch screen features and system specs to make for fun and inventive gameplay. The story is charming and Kat is a great character that hopefully will gain in popularity once she appears in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale in 2013. Graphically it is beautiful to look at and is an impressive example of the PS Vita’s power. For anyone who picked up a PlayStation Vita for the holidays, this game would be a great choice (For anyone who wants to go above and beyond then pick up the special person a 12 month subscription to the PlayStation Plus service where Gravity Rush among other titles is currently free for the Vita. Not only are you giving them one spectacular game for the holidays, you are giving them great games throughout the following year).
Ryan’s Games Players Might Have Missed
Sleeping Dogs (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – Sleeping Dogs came out during a slow time for video games and has been lost in the AAA title holiday rush. The open world action game from United Front Games and Square Enix took over the former True Crime franchise and delivered a polished experience. It takes place in Hong Kong, a place rarely explored in video games, as gamers take on the role of an undercover cop. Elements from other sandbox games and RPGs are combined to make Sleeping Dogs a unique experience. Driving through Hong Kong and exploring the open world is extremely satisfying but the best part of the game is the combat. Sleeping Dogs takes a combat system similar to Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham City and improves on it with awesome martial arts skills and the ability to use the environment. The best thing about Sleeping Dogs is it released in August so prices are lower than recently released hits.
Forza Horizon (Xbox 360) – Forza Horizon is perfect for any gamer who likes cars that go fast. The game is a spin-off of the Forza franchise that moves it into an open world setting. While casual racers will enjoy the more arcade-style gameplay, hardcore fans of the series can tweak the settings to make for a more realistic feel. Forza Horizon does not have a great single-player storyline but the cars and environment are beautiful. The open-world setting of Colorado features various race styles that will take players to windy mountain roads, busy city streets and wide open spaces. Plus, where else can you race a plane? The game has been sold at discount prices recently and will continue to throughout the holidays. Check out our review of Forza Horizon here.
Sean’s Stuff That He Actually Liked
NBA 2K13 (For PC specifically. Also available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, PSP, iOS and Android) - If you missed the review of NBA 2K13 for PC, then definitely check it out. The game is part of what might be a revival of sports games on a Windows PC platform and performed incredibly well when played with an Xbox 360 controller plugged in. Great graphics, great gameplay, and a totally sweet deal at under $30 on the Steam store.
Torchlight II (PC) - Max Schaefer and his team should be applauded for frankly out-doing what Blizzard‘s unlimited spending couldn’t do on Diablo III – make a great game. It’s akin to the small market team with hungry young players led by a grizzled old veteran taking out and sweeping the supposed-dominant big-city big-spending team in the playoffs. The game usually runs under $20 but a sale here and there occasionally means it drops to under $15. It also just came out with a free DLC! No brainer.
Rachel’s Popular Picks
Far Cry 3 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) - Far Cry 3 has the potential to be a huge hit for your first-person shooter (FPS) fans. If you’re unsure of what gamer type you’re buying for, this shooter is a “safe” video game buy because it appeals to a wide audience with its diverse gameplay. Far Cry 3 has role-playing game (RPG) elements, an elaborate story line, fun co-op and multiplayer options, and great graphics. Far Cry 3 is available on 2 major consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) and PC. This massive, open world shooter will be a superb gift for your gamer; they’ll be riding sea-doos, skinning tigers, shooting pirates, and saving hot virtual girlfriends. While your gamers are thanking you all Christmas morning they’ll wonder where you got such laudable taste in video games. Far Cry 3 will cost you around $60 but is worth the purchase. (Disclaimer: Far Cry 3 does include profanity, violent and sexual content). Happy Shooting and Merry Christmas!
The Sims 3: Seasons (Mac, PC) - The Sims is a well known franchise among PC and Mac owners and is the best selling franchise in PC history. This strategic life simulation game is popular among younger gamers and seems particularly popular with young women. The Sims 3: Seasons is the eighth expansion pack in the franchise and is guaranteed to give your Sims gamers (I affectionately call them “Simmers”) hours and hours of entertainment. There are now seasons, so your Simmers will need to prepare for all types of weather – from suntans to snowstorms, your Simmers will experience a whole new way of Sim life. Simmers will attend festivals, enjoy holidays, decorate homes and design Sims with new content. This expansion pack is rated “Teen” and will cost around $40 but offers well beyond $40 dollars worth of gameplay. If you’re unsure whether or not your gamers play The Sims, just check out their PC or Mac gaming shelf. If they’re fans, they’re likely to have any of the previous 7 expansions or numerous “stuff” packs. The Sims 3: Seasons will require the original The Sims 3 in order to operate, so do some investigative work to see whether you need to purchase both games. Happy Simming and Merry Christmas!
Ben’s Why Did No One Mention These Picks?
Journey Collector’s Edition (PS3) - For those of you wanting to have a special “moment” with the gamer in your family I would highly recommend picking up the Journey Collector’s Edition. Not only does this package have one of the best downloadable titles of the year with Journey but it also includes thatgamecompany‘s other acclaimed titles Flow and Flower. As a bonus, the package also includes a small collection of mini-games by thatgamecompany and a free 1-month trial of Playstation Plus. How could you resist that kind of offer?
Mass Effect Trilogy (Xbox 360, PS3 and PC) - If you really want to wait out the cold weather during the holidays (not to mention get another package deal) then the Mass Effect Trilogy is a must buy. Though it’s hard to pick just one amazing game that came out in 2012, Mass Effect 3 is certainly one of the best. Despite some questionable DLC tactics, this set packages one of the best gaming series of all time in one box. Anyone who missed out on the saga of Commander Shephard would do well to pick up the Mass Effect Trilogy and play through all three games back-to-back. And then play them again. The snow might have melted by the time you are done.