Game on!: A holiday gift guide for the gamer on your listWritten by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Video games on various consoles offer several entertainment options for the holidays.
Offered this year are expanded game series and even more active and inventive options. “Rocksmith” is a special music game that lets players use real guitars and bass guitars to learn and entertain. Gamers of all ages and skill levels can take the leap for some practical music knowledge with this impressive game strengthened by a large song list, great sound, split screen multiplayer mode and appealing go-at-your-own-pace format.
The “Assassin’s Creed” series expands with the third installment on PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360. “Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation” will feature the series’ first female lead character and be released exclusively on the PlayStation Vita. “Assassin’s Creed III” features epic sea battles with captain control of navigation and weapons. This game will be available in a special PlayStation 3 bundle that includes exclusive downloadable content (DLC).
The next generation Nintendo Wii U game console released Nov. 18 in two versions: a white basic set (8 GB internal storage) and black deluxe set (32 GB with Nintendo Land game). The Wii U has a special game pad controller that users can play games on while others watch TV and is backward compatible for Wii games (sorry, not GameCube games levels. You can also use the Wii controllers.
The action Wii U game “Tank! Tank! Tank!” has cooperative and competitive modes for up to four players. Other Wii U exclusive games include “SiNG Party,” “ZombiU,” “Funky Barn,” “Rayman Legends,” “Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper,” “Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge,” “Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition,” “New Super Mario Bros. U” and “Scribblenauts Unlimited.”
Popular games that expand into specialized gaming experiences include “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” “Madden NFL 13,” “ESPN Sports Connection,” “Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition” and “FIFA Soccer 13” with club manager career for as many as four players in the new co-op mode.
“Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth” is available on the Wii U and the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 exclusive “Halo 4” follows Master Chief in single and multiplayer gameplay that redefined the industry while “Forza Horizon” takes a different approach by offering an expansive open-world action racer game.
“Top Hand Rodeo Tour” is the first authentic interactive rodeo experience on Kinect for Xbox 360 while other Kinect games include “Harry Potter” and “Just Dance 4.” Role playing game “Fable: The Journey” for Kinect features more than 50 playable characters with about 100 action moves.
On Xbox Live (XBLA), stealth is your most powerful tool in the indie side-scrolling game “Mark of the Ninja” while “Dust: An Elysian Tail” is a beautifully hand-drawn 2D world representing an expansive platform adventure that commands exploration.
PlayStation 3 exclusive games include “Book of Wonders” and “Ratchet & Clank Full Frontal Assault” while the PlayStation Home experience expands with “Home Tycoon,” a free, fully customizable 3-D city-building game. Quality PlayStation Network games include “Papa & Yo,” “The Unfinished Swan” and the unique platformer “Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit.”
Nintendo 3DS offerings include “Mario Tennis Open,” “Professional Layton and the Miracle Mask,” “Code of Princess,” “Heroes of Ruin,” “Monster 4×4 3D,” “Imagine Fashion Life,” “Imagine Babyz,” “Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy” and “New Super Mario Bros. 2” with downloadable content from the game’s in-game store.
“Paper Mario: Sticker Star” features familiar platform action as well as turn-based battles with special chances to eliminate multiple foes.
PlayStation Vita games include “Lumines: Electronic Symphony,” “Touch My Katamari,” “Rayman Origins” and “Spy Hunter,” which features endless action with long- and short-range weapons updating the classic game series. “Foosball 2012,” “MLB 12: The Show” and “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” feature cross play options with the PlayStation 3.
All-ages games available on different consoles include “Midway Arcade Origins,” “Rayman Origins,” “F1 Race Stars,” “LEGO Lord of the Rings,” “Ben 10 Omniverse,” “Angry Birds Trilogy,” “NCAA Football 13” and “Mario Party 9,” which is exclusively on Nintendo Wii, plus puzzlers like “Cradle of Egypt 2” and “Quantum Conundrum.”
The engrossing first-person shooter game “Dishonored” has great originality, a stellar voice character cast and various ways to victory including several nonlethal options.
“Hitman: Absolution,” also available in a professional edition, reinvigorates the game series with expanded new modes centering on contracts and instincts amid open-world scenarios, including an engrossing plot/AI system and several helpful disguises.
Other multiconsole games include “F1 2012,” “Asura’s Wrath,” “Skylanders Giants,” “Borderlands 2,” “Batman: Arkham City,” “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,” “Sleeping Dogs,” “Tekken Tag Tournament 2” and “Need for Speed Most Wanted.”
Sherlock Holmes debuts on high-definition consoles for the first time ever as “The Testament of Sherlock Holmes” lets you play as both Holmes and Watson in a third-person perspective.
The action adventure game “Far Cry 3” includes a map editor, open-world gameplay and four player cooperative support.
“LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes” is a solid pick-up-and-play game featuring other DC heroes and their respective powers, including Superman (heat vision) and The Flash (fast running speed) plus many others and some surprise characters.
The “Game of Thrones” role-playing action game has recently released downloadable content with familiar elements from George R.R. Martin’s originating “Song of Ice adn Fire” novels and the upcoming third season of the TV series.
Need active party game options? Try “Wipeout 3,” “Dance Central 3,” “Just Dance 4” and “Just Dance: Disney Party” for Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. “Adidas Micoach” gives players an interactive training game that includes five sports: football, soccer, basketball, tennis and running plus add-on content, custom soundtrack and guidance from several world-class athletes.
Action fans can get “Medal of Honor War-fighter,” “Mass Effect 3,” “Transformers: Fall of Cybertron,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” and “007 Legends” (also coming to the Wii U on Dec. 4).
“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” continues the long-running game series with a stealthy installment featuring special optical camouflage, augmented reality, drone control and a huge weapons customizer.
Wouldn’t it be great to have something to remember your experiences? “Roxio Game Capture” grabs pictures and video from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 gameplay using a laptop computer and included box/cords.
Always check the game rating (ranging from E for everyone, T for teen, M for Mature) of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (www.esrb.org).
Good shopping and happy holidays!
–Sagar Sharma contributed to this report.
Tags: Video games