Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2015 edition of the Geeks of Doom Holiday Geek Gift Guide: Video Games!
Below you’ll find a collection of gaming-related goodies that would make great gifts to give (or get for yourself if you were given a gift card!) this holiday season, highlighted by a bunch of the year’s best game releases. Whether you’re shopping for someone who wants to explore the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Boston; someone who wants to see what it’s like to go to battle in a galaxy far, far away; or someone who just wants to create their own Super Mario levels, you’ll find options below!
As always, there’s plenty of consoles deals going on this year. And if someone you’re buying a gift for doesn’t have one of the consoles and wants one, now’s the best time to buy them—especially when talking about the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Both consoles are finally rolling out their 1 terabyte models, which deliver very useful additional space. Anyone who bought one of the earlier 500GB models, such as myself, likely needs to find other options for holding all of their content. You’ll find some gift suggestions for those who face this problem below as well!
As usual, bundles are the best bang for your buck. Why just buy the console when you can get it with some games? Here’s some of the console options out there.
FAIR WARNING: Some of the comments on Amazon say that some of these Wii U bundles are exclusive to other retail outlets and might be priced higher at these links. Be cautious of such things if thinking about purchasing!
For those who prefer doing their gaming on PC the Steam Machines might also be an option but those a little more complicated. There’s many options when it comes to them, and it’d be tough to get one for someone who wants one without knowing specifically what they want.
Good gifts for someone who does their gaming through Steam include Steam Link, a device that will let them play their PC games on their TV, and the Steam Controller for playing those games.
Rise of the Tomb Raider — The big sequel to 2013’s massively popular reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise sees Lara Croft off on a brand new adventure. From what we’ve seen of the game, it looks like they haven’t changed much from the first game and are running with what worked so well for them. Available for Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate — The latest release in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the new game takes us to 1900s England and follows twin siblings Jacob and Evie Frye. A game fans of the franchise will no doubt be itching to play if they don’t already have it. Available for Xbox One, PS4, or PC.
The Elder Scrolls Online — I had never played an MMO before I got my hands onThe Elder Scrolls Online, and I may never play another one (unless they make a Fallout Online!). For someone like me—someone who loves the open-world adventuring and exploration of Bethesda-type games—it made me sad to see it receive as much hate as it has, though some of that came from its rocky start on PC before a lot of its problems have been ironed out. It’s not for everyone, but if you know someone who loves games with massive worlds they can escape to and have some fun in, this one offers that while also allowing them to connect with friends and explore the world together if they want to. Available for Xbox One, PS4, PC.
Halo 5: Guardians — The next title in the Halo franchise doesn’t appear to bring much new to the table. But for those who passionately play these games, it’s an essential one to add to their library. Available for Xbox One.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III — Just like with Assassin’s Creed you know a year is not complete without the release of a new game in the Call of Duty franchise. The next game in the popular military first-person shooter is also the trilogy-maker of the Black Ops series by developer Treyarch. Available for PS4, PC, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Just Cause 3 — If you’re looking to buy a game for someone who loves to jump into a huge open world and wreak pure, unadulterated havoc as they run, drive, fly, and sail around the map, look no further than this one. As you can see here, havoc can most certainly be wreaked. Available for Xbox One and PS4.
Skylanders — Most of the games listed here are rated M for Mature or T for Teen for the older gamers out there, but there’s some great options for kids as well. Skylanders is one such option, a game that also involves toy figures that the player puts on a device that reads the character and transports it into the game. You can start with the Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack (Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360) or Skylanders SuperChargers Dark Edition Starter Pack (Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360) and the options from there are seemingly endless. I’m not at all familiar with these games but it sounds like something that requires plenty of additional future purchases to keep it fun and entertaining (individual characters and vehicles and such appear to cost around $13 to $15), which could be a big drawback.
Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series — The first season of The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us developer Telltale Games’ episodic take on Game of Thrones just wrapped up, and a retail version has been released. A second season of the game has already been confirmed. Available for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Evolve — It doesn’t feel like Evolve was as popular as those who made it hoped it would be. This is partly because it it’s only a four-versus-one co-op game with no campaign, but still has a full $60 price tag attached to it anyway. On top of that, exciting content was offered only to those who pre-ordered the game and was withheld from others unless they paid an additional $15 after already dropping $60 on the no-campaign game. But now the game has been out for a little while and you can get it for a much more acceptable price these days, so it just might be worth picking up this holiday season for someone. Available for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
Star Wars: Battlefront — A game made for Star Wars fans who love online multiplayer shooters. Unfortunately, it’s not for anyone else. There is no single-player campaign, just multiplayer. And it still costs full price (unless you can hopefully get it for a big discount this holiday season). Which makes this one a tricky buy. What they do well—creating a true and faithful Star Wars universe to play in—they do really well, but it’s definitely not worth the full $60 price tag. Only buy if you can get a great deal! Available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
The Order: 1886 — Another game that faced a lot of criticism, but unlike games like Battlefront and Evolve, this one is because of the single-player campaign. The game looks absolutely incredible, but it only lasts a handful of hours—a little under 10 if you’re in no rush. But thankfully these days you can get it for a great price, making it a solid gift option. Available for PS4.
The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes — A new game in the Zelda franchise was released this year. It’s not a main entry in the franchise, but allows players to join up with friends for so co-op adventuring, solving puzzles and battling enemies together. Available for Nintendo 3DS.
Homeworld Remastered Collection — A remastered HD re-release of the 1999 real-time strategy computer game Homeworld and its 2003 sequel Homeworld 2. There’s a collector’s edition for the game available that includes a digital download code for the games and a 13-inch Pride of Hiigara Mothership replica statue, or you can just grab the download code if you’re someone who likes to skip giftwrapping.
Helldivers Super-Earth Edition — Helldivers is a top-down stick-shooter best played with one to three friends. In it the player and friends must work cooperatively in order to fight off waves of enemies and complete objectives during an intergalactic war in an effort to save Super-Earth. The Super-Earth Edition can be purchased for PS4, and features over 70 overpowered weapons and vehicle options and comes with both the PS3 and PS Vita editions and 11 DLC packs and all expansions as well.
Ori and the Blind Forest — This is a an absolutely stunning side-scrolling platform adventure game in which you play as a white guardian spirit who’s trying to restore the forest of Nibel after a powerful storm leads to devastation. Unfortunately it’s only available in digital code form, so it would be one of those quick gifts to e-mail someone you’re not going to see, but still worth a mention! Available for Xbox One.
Rare Replay — If you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your gift-giving buck this might be the best option out there. This game is actually a collection of games, offering up 30 previously released titles all on one little disc. Available exclusively for Xbox One.
Battlefield Hardline — The latest release in the Battlefield first-person shooter franchise departs from its usual military theme and instead offers some cops and criminals action. Available for PC, Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PS3.
Bloodborne — Developer From Software keeps the hits coming, with a game very similar to their Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls games, but set in a much different Victorian-era style fictional world inspired in some ways by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Available for PS4.
Dark Souls II Scholar of the First Sin — Sticking with From Software, this re-release of Dark Souls II plus all of its DLC is a good option for anyone who you might’ve wanted to buy Bloodborne for that doesn’t have a PS4. Or it’s a great companion game to grab for those who do have a PS4 along with Bloodborne. Available for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PS3.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — A strong contender for the top game of the year, the third game in developer CD Projekt Red’s Witcher franchise offers the biggest world players will navigate as Geralt of Rivia, the White Wolf, as he embarks on yet another unforgettable journey. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Forza 6 — The latest release in the hit driving series offers over 450 cars each with customization, cockpits, and damage, as well as the options for two-player split-screen action, 24-player online races, and more. Available for Xbox One.
Mortal Kombat X — If you have no problems giving out ultra violent games as gifts, the latest in the Mortal Kombat series delivers in a big and brutal way. And why should you have a problem? It is just a game, after all. Unless you’re buying for children. The mother of the kid you buy this for might not be a big fan of yours in the coming year. Available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Shovel Knight — Another side-scrolling platformer, Shovel Knight is inspired by the 8-bit games of the past many of us grew up playing that ignited the love and passion we have for games to this very day. Available for PS4, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS.
Splatoon — Make a delightful mess as you shoot ink everywhere in this all-ages game where you play as characters called Inklings who can change between human and squid form, able to travel through and hide in the color of your team and yourself in either online multiplayer or single-player action. Available for Wii U.
Batman: Arkham Knight — The latest in the popular Batman: Arkham series, as well as the final installment by developer Rocksteady Games, who made Arkham Asylum and Arkham City before this. The previous game, Arkham Origins, was made by WB Games. Available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Godzilla — Not the best game you’ll find in this gift guide. In fact, it was pretty universally panned by critics. As a game, it doesn’t have much to offer. But if you know someone who loves Godzilla, monster movies, or the old arcade game Rampage, this one does let you wreak some havoc and destroy lots of stuff. If you can get it on the cheap it could be a fun stocking stuffer game. Available for PS4.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection — Developer Naughty Dog’s incredibly fun trilogy of games—Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception—are basically like playing your favorite action-adventure movies, and now all three are available in this remastered collection with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End set to arrive next year. Available for PS4.
Gears of War Ultimate — Another collection of games remastered and re-released for the current generation of consoles, this time it’s Epic Games incredible Gears of Wars games. Great to play on your own, even better to play with a friend or family member. Available for Xbox One.
Until Dawn — Not many people expected much from Until Dawn, but when the game came out and was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews, everyone took notice. A horror movie-style game, where you play as the characters trying to avoid being deleted from existence by a killer. The game is choice based, and the choices made will determine who lives and who meets their maker. Available for PS4.
Mad Max — Another surprise hit, the game was released along with the Blu-ray release of Mad Max: Fury Road and is very much inspired by the movie universe it’s based on. So if you’re buying for someone obsessed with post-apocalyptic entertainment, this paired with the above mentioned Fallout 4 and the below mentioned Wasteland 2 will lead to many, many hours of joy. Available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain — The next entry in the legendary Konami franchise is a bittersweet one, as it appears to be the last made by the man himself, Hideo Kojima. But even so, the game has received the high praise it was expected to get, making it a top gift choice. Available for PS4, PC, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Dragon Age: Inquisition GOTY Edition — Dragon Age: Inquisition came out last year, but if you know someone who missed out on the BioWare title, a Game of the Year edition has now been release that includes all DLC for the game. Getting a game with all of its content available is always a wonderful thing. Available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Super Mario Maker — Super Mario Maker lets fans of the video game icon actually create their own levels in the styles of previous games such as the Nintendo classic Super Mario Bros. and then upload their creations for others to play. Available for Wii U.
Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut — The long-awaited sequel to the 1988 game that the Fallout series is a spiritual successor of, Wasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic tactical turn-based role-playing game that was actually crowdfunded via Kickstarter. Now the Director’s Cut has been released for consoles, and is available on Xbox One and PS4.
Yoshi’s Wooly World — Another side-scrolling platformer with a very cool hand-sewn look to it, starring the popular Mario character Yoshi. This is the seventh game centered around the character. Available for Wii U.
Back to the Future: The Game 30th Anniversary Edition — Telltale’s five-episode point-and-click take on the classic movie franchise was re-released recently in celebration of the original movie’s 30th anniversary, with original Biff Tannen actor Tom Wilson re-recording the character’s (who was voiced in the original release by Kid Beyond) lines. Available for PS4 and Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
Just Dance 2016 — A new entry in the hit dancing series was also released this year for those who might not be into gaming but love to dance. Also those who love both dancing and gaming! Available for Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3.
Yo-Kai Watch — The Japanese sensation Yo-Kai Watch came to the United States recently. In the Pokemon-like game you find and befriend or battle Yo-Kai, beings that cannot be seen by the human eye but are everywhere, using your special watch. Available for Nintendo 3DS. Oh, and if you’d rather get someone a Pokemon game, one of those was released this year as well.
Rainbow Six Siege — The Tom Clancy first-person shooter series continues with a multiplayer co-op game that sees you and your friends strategizing and working together to accomplish your mission in each match. Unfortunately the game, like Star Wars: Battlefront above, only offers multiplayer gameplay and no single-player campaign but still will cost you full price. For someone who only likes online multiplayer gaming, it could be a good gift option. For everyone else it might be better to wait until you can grab it for cheaper. Available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Disney Infinity 3.0 — One more suggestion for you, and it joins Skylanders and LEGO Dimensions as a game you buy a starter pack for and add to later. This one is set in Disney’s universe, which of course includes Star Wars and Marvel. You can get starter packs for Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
Remember, if all else fails, there’s also the Amazon.com Gift Card, you can have emailed to the recipient (arrives immediately) or you can print out the gift card at home and give it to the intended that way. If you order in enough time, you can get the physical gift card sent to you.