A holiday gift guide for the gamer on your listWritten by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Michael Siebenaler & Sagar Sharma
Toledo Free Press
This holiday season you can make informed choices about which video games to purchase (remember to check the ESRB ratings) — it’s going to be a big field this year! NOTE: All items and release dates are subject to change.
First, some important console updates for those “gotta be the first to have it” people. Sony has the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console with more than 25 game titles at launch. For $399, PS4 players get the 500 GB console, one DualShock 4 controller, an HDMI cable and a USB cable. The PlayStation 4 also offers a special remote play feature (using Wi-Fi) with the handheld PlayStation Vita console.
PS4 games include “Contrast” from Complusion Games, which is set in the 1920s and centers on a girl’s imaginary friend with visual format experiences switching among 2D and 3D scenarios. The puzzle solving and adventure elements uncover an engaging story about family. Other PS4 games include the platformers “Knack”, and “Killzone Shadow Fall” plus free downloadable exclusives like “Resogun” and “Blacklight: Retribution”.
Microsoft is countering with the Xbox One including exclusive game like “Xbox Fitness”, “Zoo Tycoon”, “Crimson Dragon”, “Powerstar Golf”, “LocoCycle”, “Ryse”, “Forza Motorsport 5”, “Dead Rising 3”, and “Fighter Within”, which uses top to bottom body movements so players really develop their fighting skills. Microsoft has the Xbox One priced at $499, which includes black 500 GB console, wireless controller, Kinect sensor, and wired chat communicator.
The Xbox One and PS4 join Nintendo’s Wii U “next generation” console group. “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD” is re-mastered and takes full advantage of the gamepad exclusively on Wii U. Other new Wii U games include “Super Mario 3D World”, “Pikmin 3”, and the superhero action game “The Wonderful 101”
“Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games” and “Wii Party U” will both include a Wii Remote Plus controller. The Wii U exclusive “F1 Race Stars: Powered Up Edition” (download through Nintendo eShop only), uses the GamePad as a steering wheel. The Tritton headset is a great audio option for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U users.
Nintendo also expands the handheld console field further with the economical, flat formed Nintendo 2DS available in electric blue and crimson red. The 2DS can play all Nintendo 3DS games and most Nintendo DS games.
Nintendo 3DS exclusives include “Mario Party: Island Tour”, “Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D”, “The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds”, “Farm Sim 3DS”, and “Regular Show: Mordecai & Rigby in 8-Bit Land” and “Project X Zone”, which features numerous character from game series stalwarts NAMCO BANDAI, SEGA, and CAPCOM. Check out the CAPCOM 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia from BradyGames and DK Publishing while you play.
“Pokemon X/Pokemon Y” are the latest installments in the popular game series adds more excitement and eclectic characters. Brady Games and DK Publishing also team up for an outstanding “Pokemon Visual Companion” hardbound book so Pokemon players can keep up with the long running game series.
The handheld PlayStation Vita has exclusive games like “Tearaway”, “KillZone Mercenary”, “Rocketbirds HBC”, and “FIFA 14 Legacy Edition” – the only handheld version for the latest soccer sports game. PS Vita players can get some great audio options using the Nyko speaker stand that also serves as a handy battery charger.
“Just Dance 2014” releases on multiple console and offers PlayStation Move control or “hands-free” dancing gameplay thanks to the new PS4 camera. Players also get a free download song – Katy Perry’s “Roar” with plenty more available in the in-game store.
Kids can get their groove on with “Zumba Kids” (Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360) with over 20 different dance styles, multiplayer modes, and creative mini games.
Majesco also has amazing gameplay and exercise opportunities with “Zumba Fitness World Party” on Nintendo Wii U and Wii plus Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Move to over 40 new songs amid seven worldwide locations that anchor 45 classes and 14 outstanding celebrity instructors. It’s the perfect time to get into the groove with additional expanded tutorials and a four player mode.
More fitness game options include “adidas micoach”, “Get Fit With Mel B”, the upcoming “Wii Fit U” (with meter), “Nike + Kinect Training”, “Dance Central 3”, and “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013”.
“Rocksmith 2014” lets players have fun while actually learning how to play various guitars and is available with or without the special connecting cable and even with a guitar. You can even add the songs from the previous “Rocksmith” installment for an affordable fee.
Inspired by Disney and Pixar films, “Disney Infinity” features several popular character figures, set pieces, and power discs on a special pad that puts them right in the game any time with expanding unlockable content and multiplayer/online options for all ages. Other fun family games include “Turbo: Super Stunt Squad” and “The Croods: Prehistoric Party”.
The popular PC game “Farming Simulator” releases on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with special crops, livestock and over 100 authentic vehicles plus new content exclusive to these console versions. Want more farming fun?
UbiSoft’s “Tom Clancy Splinter Cell: Blacklist” features new exciting gameplay elements including “kill in motion” and an all-new snake cam. “Armored Core: Verdict Day” (PS3 and Xbox 360) lets players form squads of up to 20 members or try co-op, single or multiplayer modes.
“Battlefield 4” takes on “Call of Duty: Ghosts” while this year’s professional basketball sports showdown features EA’s “NBA Live 2014” and 2K Sports’ “NBA 2K14”. NBA Live 2014 syncs up with the real NBA while introducing the BounceTek physics system for dribbling.
Sports fans also feast on in-depth games like “NCAA Football 14”, “Madden NFL 25”, “FIFA 14”, “NHL 14” and “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14: The Masters Historic Edition”, the 16th release in this game series, features improved graphics, PlayStation Move controller capability, real-time weather system, and Legends of the Majors mode. Players can now create their own unique experience facing Tiger Woods or his fellow golfers, past and present like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Bubba Watson.
Lara Croft’s beginnings feature into amazing gameplay scenarios in “Tomb Raider”, which includes a multiplayer campaign for the first time in the popular game series
“Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut” offers visual improvements, overhauled boss fights, reinforced combat mechanics from the original high powered action game released in August 2011.
“Deadfall Adventures”, is an action-driven first-person shooter full of adventure with James Lee Quatermain amid exotic worldwide locations.
“Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag” continues the action popular series features a central pirate character in 18th century Caribbean environments. Players take out enemies as well as hunt treasure…and animals along with hidden retreat areas and underwater scavenging.
“Batman: Arkham Origins” features an open world created Gotham City double the size of Batman: A
rkham City as this final chapter of the series returns with 3 vs. 3 vs. 2 fighting scenarios. Also available in collector’s edition.
In “Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate”, the Dark Knight takes on several villains two years into his crime fighting career including Solomon Grundy, Killer Croc, Bane, and Deathstroke. This companion game to “Batman: Arkham Origins”, keeps the fluid combat fighting system from previous installments intact.
Warner Brothers also has “Scribblenauts Unmasked” and the DC superhero fighting epic “Injustice: Gods Among Us” along with the “Ultimate Edition” to offer players original storylines and open showdowns on several consoles while Little Orbit releases “Young Justice: Legacy”, based on WB’s animated Cartoon Network series.
“LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” offers 100 heroic characters ready for action amid classic setting like Asgard and X Mansion while “Angry Bird Star Wars” has competitive and co-operative modes with 20 new levels.
“PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures”, based on the new television series, eats his way through the 3DS, PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U.
More adaptation games include “The Croods: Prehistoric Party!”, “Turbo: Super Stunt Squad” and “Disney’s Planes”, which takes flight on every current Nintendo console and handheld system.
Exciting platform games include “LEGO Friends”, “Rayman Legends”, “Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus”, and “SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge”.
“Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Storm 3” Full Burst includes reimagined visuals, a new playable character and an additional chapter plus 100 new missions.
Racing fanatics can try “F1 2013” and “GRID 2”, which just added a free demolition derby mode. “Need for Speed Rivals” has no lobbies and no waiting in the new AllDrive mode that seamlessly blend single player and multiplayer experiences. “Gran Turismo 6” (Dec. 6) offers an authentic racing experience with over 1200 cars in 33 locations. Players can also get some off-road action in “WRC 3 – FIA World Rally Championship 2012” and “MUD – FIM Motorcross World Championship”.
“Dragon’s Crown” can cross play with the PS3. Eclectic characters, chaotic boss challenges, simplified level design, and a great online multiplayer mode add strong appeal amid a nostalgic look and feel with retrospective designs.
Other role playing/fighting games include “Persona 4 Golden”, “Muramasa Rebirth”, “Carnage Heart EXA”, “Sweet Fuse: At Your Side (visual novel)”, “Mystic Chronicles”, and “Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God” – also available in limited edition.
“Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn” (PC and PS3; also in a collector’s edition packed with extras) has endless adventures among eighteen different classes – it’s the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in the famous fantasy game series that will also eventually release on the PS4.
“Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers” features three original story arcs (Sanctuary, Poseidon, and Hades) from the manga and anime series. Players can take a customized Saint online for the first time ever to challenge players worldwide.
Mature action games include “Metal Gear Solid Revengeance”, “Deadpool”, “Bioshock Infinite”, “FUSE”, “Grand Theft V”, and “Killer is Dead”, a relentless experience with comic cell-shaded style graphics and unique gameplay situations from creator SUDA51 centering on Mondo Zappa, a uniquely gifted assassin/”executioner” who uses a sword in his right hand and switches among several weapons in his left artificial arm.
“Remember Me”, which features outstanding graphics, futuristic action, interactive video segments (memory remixes) and an extensive Combo Lab where players to customize their own combination combat moves.
Special editions include “Duck Tales: Remastered”, “Dishonored Game of the Year”, “The Elder Scrolls Anthology”, “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition”, “Castlevania Lords of Shadow Collection”, and the new “Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix”, which debuts this popular game series on the PlayStation 3 with “Kingdom Hearts”, “Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories” and “358/2 Days”.
Electronic Arts is giving action fans special ultimate editions filled with extra content at a reduced price for “Crysis 3”, “Dead Space 3”, and “Need For Speed: Most Wanted”. Another “Jak & Daxter Collection” (PS Vita) provides a nice set of the popular PlayStation 2 platformers “Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy”, “Jak II”, and “Jak 3”. 2K’s Power Pack Collection includes the sequels “Bioshock 2”, “Darkness II”, and “Mafia II” while the 2K Essentials Collection offers “Borderlands”, “XCOM: Enemy Unknown”, and “Bioshock”.
PlayStation 3 owners still can enjoy a great bounty with exclusive games that include “The Last of Us”, “BEYOND: Two Souls” and “Puppeteer” where players use their head to strategize which head the hero character will use on stage with dynamic backgrounds and audience reactions tied to player performance.
Need a variety? Try the “Best of PlayStation Network, Vol. 1”, which includes “Sound Shapes”, “Fat Princess”, “Tokyo Jungle”, and “When Vikings Attack”. “Soul Caliber II HD Online”, features an all-new competitive online mode.
“Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Premium Edition” includes additional add-on content “Pigsy’s Perfect 10? and various character skins. The original edition was released in 2010 and has an engaging futuristic survival story that pairs mysterious female named Trip with tough male Monkey, played by Andy Serkis. It is also available in a collector’s edition.
PlayStation Network exclusive games for the PS3 include “Beer Pong!” and “How to Survive” puts players on an isolated island to use challenging strategy and surviving with over 100 handmade weapons and tools.
Mobile gamers can get a better experience by using the Moga Hero Power controller, Moga Pro Power Android controller and several others to give users that console gaming experience on the go.
PC/Mac gamers can enjoy “Total War: Rome 2” several new “The Sims 3” expansion packs (“Into the Future”, “Island Paradise”) and stuff packs (“Movie”). “In the Future” lets player go hundreds of years into the future full of special robots (a.k.a. Plumbots), new technology, and family descendants.
Save those gift cards for games coming after the holidays including “Titanfall” (Spring 2014), “The Lego Movie Videogame” (February 2014), “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z” (download only; Jan. 28), unique cleaning adventure “Dustforce” (download only, January), “Ragnarok Odyssey ACE” (Feb. 18), “Thief” (Feb. 25), “Earth Defense Force 2025” (February), “Tales of Symphonia Chronicles: Standard Edition” (Feb. 25)/Collector’s Edition (March 31), and the very unique and likely controversial “DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc” (Feb. 18).
Happy Holidays and enjoy your special shopping!