When it comes to buying gifts for the video game lovers in your life, there’s always a variety of options to choose from. The only real difficulty, if they haven’t given you a list of things they want, is figuring out whether or not they already own something you’re thinking about getting them.
Before you go hiring a private investigator to find out what they already have, allow me to present to you the Geeks of Doom Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2016: Video Games edition. Below you’ll find a selection of some of the best game titles 2016 had to offer, as well as some other gaming goodies, to help you zero in on some gift buying ideas.
This year, we’ll kick things off with the bigger games of the year—the ones available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and sometimes other consoles as well. After that will be items exclusively available to the various platforms.
BIOSHOCK: THE COLLECTION — Remasters are big in the realms of gaming, and it’s understandable why. They give fans of the games the chance to dive back into the worlds that they love and experience them again with an updated look and feel, and they give those who have never played them before the chance to do so without the dated graphics.
One of the top video gift options out there this year is BioShock: The Collection. It includes remastered versions of two of the very best games of the past decade, 2007’s BioShock and 2013’s BioShock Infinite, along with the solid 2010 sequel BioShock 2. It’s a must-own for fans of the games, and a must-play for those who haven’t experienced the joys (and terrors) of these incredible games. Watch a trailer and comparison video for the collection right here, and find much more on BioShockright here. Available for PS4 and Xbox One.
BATTLEFIELD 1 — The big two first-person shooter war game franchises, Battlefield and Call of Duty, head in polar opposite directions with this year’s releases. We’ll get to the latter in a moment, but with Battlefield 1 developer DICE and publisher EA head back to World War I. A move that appears to be paying off, as the response to the game has been quite positive. You can find trailers and gameplay for the game right here. Available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. An Early Enlister Deluxe Edition and Collector’s Editions (Standard l Deluxe) are also available.
DOOM — Nothing overly complicated about this one. DOOM came back big this year with this new game, and it is all about ending the lives of demons as quickly and as brutally as possible. It’s loud and bad ass and a whole lot of fun. You can find much more on DOOM, including a review and trailers and gameplay previews, right here. Available for Xbox One, PC, and PS4. A Collector’s Edition is also available.
MAFIA III — A game definitely not recommended for those younger gamers is Mafia III. A third-person game set in a fictionalized version of 1960s New Orleans, it follows Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam vet who is betrayed and is seeking vengeance. One of the key features of this one is a huge soundtrack, filled with familiar songs from that time period to listen to while driving around the massive map to your next objective. You can find plenty of trailers and gameplay previews right here. Available for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. A Deluxe Edition and Collector’s Edition are also available.
DISHONORED 2 — Developer Arkane Studios’ sequel to their 2012 hit Dishonored, Dishonored 2 is a first-person game in which you’ll make your way through the beautiful fictional city of Karnaca, taking out targets as you go. You can do this loudly and violently, using weapons like your sword and crossbow, or unseen and unheard if you prefer a less lethal approach. The game gives you the choice of playing as Corvo Attano, the character you play as in the original, or a grown up and much more dangerous Emily Kaldwin, who was a young girl in the original. Click right here to find our review along with trailers and gameplay previews for the game. Available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. A Premium Collector’s Edition is also available.
RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER 20 YEAR CELEBRATION — When the latest Tomb Raider game was released last year, it was a timed Xbox exclusive. Something PlayStation players weren’t so fond of, understandably. The game finally made its way to the PS4 this year with the special Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration edition, which includes new story content, modes, and PlayStation VR support. You can find trailers and gameplay right here. Available for PS4. If you’re buying for someone who doesn’t have a PS4, the original version is also available.
FAR CRY PRIMAL — The latest game in the Far Cry franchise, Far Cry Primal, takes players back in time. Way back in time. The game is an open world first-person action-adventure game set in 10,000 BC, during the Stone Age, and follows a hunter who helps to establish and protect a village from cannibals. Watch some trailers for the game right here. Available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. A SteelBook Deluxe Edition is also available for Xbox One.
LIFE IS STRANGE — An episodic title originally released digitally in 2015, all five episodes of Life is Strange have been combined for this physical release. The game is a third-person point-and-click adventure following a girl who discovers that she has the ability to rewind time. Find a couple of trailers for the game right here. Available for PS4 and Xbox One.
DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED — Much like Dishonored 2, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is another first-person title (with a third-person cover system) which allows you to choose whether you want to approach situations lethally or stealthily. But while the former takes place in a fictional world inspired by the 19th century past, Deus Ex is set in a cyberpunk-inspired dystopian future vision of the real world. Check out trailers and gameplay previews right here. Available for PS4 and Xbox One. A Collector’s Edition is also available.
CALL OF DUTY: INFINITE WARFARE — The next game in the previously mentioned other big first-person shooter war franchise, Call of Duty, is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. But unlike Battlefield 1‘s World War I setting, this game takes players to the future and even into space. Available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Also available is a Legacy Edition, which includes a copy of the remastered original Modern Warfare.
XCOM 2 — A turn-based tactical game, XCOM 2 is a sequel to 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The game is set 20 years after the events of the first game, when aliens now control our planet with promises of a bright future for humankind, but are actually up to much more sinister plots. Available for PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE: GOLD EDITION — The Elder Scrolls Online continues to be an excellent MMO world to play in, especially for fans of Bethesda’s open world fantasy RPG series. This year The Elder Scrolls Online Gold Edition was released, which includes the game and four DLC game packs that have been released the game’s launch, “Imperial City,” “Orsinium,” “Thieves Guild,” and “Dark Brotherhood.” A recent free update to the game called “One Tamriel” was also released, opening the entire world up to explore with members of any faction at any level instead of being restricted to adventuring with members of your own alliance. Find more on The Elder Scrolls Onlineright here. Available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE 2 — Another great option for gamers of all ages is Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. The series began as a simple tower defense game, but has since evolved into the third-person multiplayer shooter found here. Available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A Deluxe Edition is also available.
DARK SOULS III — The next title in developer FromSoftware’s Souls series, Dark Souls III promises what fans of the games expect from them: harsh, merciless, brutally difficult gameplay which will see their characters dying countless times as they try to figure out how to get where they want to go, and how to fight through all of the nightmarish beasties of all shapes and sizes standing in their way. You can find some trailers and gameplay for the game right here. Available for Xbox One and PS4. A Collector’s Edition is also available.
WATCH DOGS 2 — Things didn’t go quite as well for 2014’s Watch Dogs as everyone hoped it was going to go, but Ubisoft is back with another go of the third-person hacking series in Watch Dogs 2. The setting shifts from Chicago to San Francisco for the sequel, in which you play as a young hacker working with a group to take down the operating system connecting the city and the company behind it. Watch trailers and gameplay previews right here. Available for PS4 and Xbox One. Both a Deluxe Edition and Gold Edition are also available.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANTS IN MANHATTAN — 2016 saw the release of a new Ninja Turtles game, titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. The game offers a cel-shaded art design and the option to take on the Foot Clan and bosses like Bebop, Rocksteady, and Shredder with up to three other people, or all alone if someone prefers to play solo. Check out a trailer for the game right here. Available for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PS3.
OVERWATCH — The latest from Blizzard Entertainment, the creator of the World of Warcraft and Diablo series, Overwatch is a first-person multiplayer shooter in which two teams of six face off against each other. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT COMPLETE EDITION — One of the best games of 2015, The Witcher 3, gets a new edition in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition. Not only does it come with the main game, which is a must-play, but also all additional content released after launch. This includes the expansion “Blood and Wine,” a DLC release which is longer and, as many would argue, better than a lot of full games. You can find more on The Witcherright here. Available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
LEGO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS — A great option for those younger gamers—or those older gamers who just love Star Wars and LEGO games—LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens offers a fun, lighthearted video game take on the juggernaut that was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You can watch a trailers for the game right here. Available for PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, and Xbox 360. A Deluxe Edition of the game is also available.
MIRROR’S EDGE CATALYST — The much-anticipated sequel (err prequel, or reboot…one of them, take your pick!) to DICE’s first-person freerunner hit Mirror’s Edge, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst takes a closer look at the origins of the main protagonist Faith. Check out trailers and more from Catalystright here. Available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC
BATMAN: RETURN TO ARKHAM — Another remastered classics release, the Batman: Return to Arkham collection includes the first two games in the hit game series, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, remastered in Unreal Engine 4, and all DLC that was released for the games. Available for PS4 and Xbox One.
FINAL FANTASY XV — The long-awaited next game in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XV finally arrives just in time for the holidays this year. The game is a third-person action RPG following Prince Noctis, the heir to the throne in the kingdom of Lucis, who must reclaim his homeland when it is taken over on the eve of peace talks. Available for PS4 and Xbox One.
SKYRIM SPECIAL EDITION — Yet another classic from years past, polished up for a re-release with all DLC. The all-time great first-person RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is back and better looking than ever in the Skyrim Special Edition. The perfect excuse to escape boring reality, set off on an epic adventure, and hang out with dragons who may or may not try to eat you. You can find much more on Skyrimright here. Available for Xbox One and PS4.
QUANTUM BREAK — The excellent third-person time travel action-adventure game from the creator of Max Payne and Alan Wake, Remedy Entertainment, Quantum Break features an impressive cast and a live-action series that changes depending on the choices the player makes built right into the game. You can read our full review right here, and find trailers and gameplay right here.
GEARS OF WAR 4 — The hit third-person shooter series continues with Gears of War 4, which is set 25 years after the events of the original trilogy and follows JD Fenix, the son of original protagonist Marcus Fenix, as he fights a deadly new enemy. Check out trailers, gameplay, and more for the game right here. An Ultimate Edition, Collector’s Edition, and 1TB and 2TB console bundles are also available.
RECORE — ReCore is a third-person action-adventure platformer, based on a concept from Dead Rising creator and Mega Man, Resident Evil, and Onimusha producer Keiji Inafune. It follows a girl named Joule, one of the first colonists on the planet Far Eden, who wakes up after hundreds of years in cryo sleep to discover something has gone wrong and, with the help of some robot companions, must find answers. A Collector’s Edition is also available.
DEAD RISING 4 — The best game series for those just looking for wild and crazy ways to kills lots and lots and lots of zombies is back for another round in Dead Rising 4. Better yet, this time around the zombie apocalypse has a Christmas theme to it! You can watch a trailer for the game right here.
FORZA HORIZON 3 — For the Xbox gamers in your life who love a good driving game, Forza Horizon 3 delivers open world driving, over 350 vehicles to choose from, and lots of customization. Ultimate Edition also available.
THE LAST GUARDIAN — A game that’s been known about for a very long time now but many feared might never actually become real, The Last Guardian finally hits store shelves this holiday season. The game follows a boy and his giant mythical dogbird friend, and it comes from the makers of classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus (both of which can be purchased together for PS3). You can find more on the game right here. A Collector’s Edition is also available.
HEAVY RAIN AND BEYOND: TWO SOULS COLLECTION — One last remastered re-release. This one combines two of developer Quantic Dream’s games, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. The games aren’t for everyone, because they’re more interactive dramas than actual games. Basically you’re dropped into other people’s lives while extraordinary and/or highly emotional events unfold, and you take control of what they do. For those who appreciate these types of games, this collection is a must-own. Watch a trailer for the two games right here and find more on Two Soulsright here.
NO MAN’S SKY — Ahh, No Man’s Sky. So many were so excited for it. And unfortunately, it didn’t perform as everyone had hoped. Still, because of this it’s now much closer to the price it should have cost at launch. So if you know someone who wants it or someone who might enjoy a little space exploration, it could make a good gift. Find lots of trailers and gameplay right here.
RATCHET & CLANK — A brand new Ratchet & Clank game arrived this year. The game is based on the animated movie of the same name. Which was based on the video game series of the same name! The games began back in 2002 on the PlayStation 2, and looks better than ever, naturally, on the PS4.
NES CLASSIC EDITION — The current hot holiday gift, seemingly impossible to get your hands on, the NES Classic Edition. While other console makers are releasing shiny new consoles, Nintendo reached back in time to resurrect a legend. This bad boy fits in the palm of your hand and includes 30 top Nintendo classic games pre-loaded and ready to play. Just plug it in. It’s one that will be on every kid of the ’80s’ list to Santa. You can read more about it right here.
If you’re looking for more current Nintendo games and such, you can find lots of Wii U and 3DS titles here.
CIVILIZATION VI — Another sixth was released just last month, Civilization VI is the latest entry in the Sid Meier’s Civilization series.
HTC VIVE — Virtual reality is big this year as well, with the release of fancy new high-tech headsets. The HTC Vive is the first of the big three, and perhaps the best as it will allow people to play Fallout 4 in VR, and that’s pretty amazing.
OCULUS RIFT — Perhaps the best known of the VR headsets, the Oculus Rift. Also available in a bundle with Oculus Touch controllers.
PS4 VR — Motion gaming didn’t become the future like some had predicted. Who would’ve thought that “Your BODY is the joystick!” wouldn’t stick with gamers. So Microsoft was understandably skeptical about the whole VR thing. Sony, on the other hand, dove right in with the PS4 VR headset. Whether it will pay off for them or not is to be determined. Also available in a Starter Bundle. You can find lots of games to go with the headset right here, and the consoles to make it work in the PS4 section above.
You can also check out many more virtual reality products right here if interested.
Sports games are all multi-platform, but also pretty self-explanatory. Here’s this year’s offerings:
STEEP — Open world extreme sports game with multiplayer. There’s also a Gold Edition available.
There’s also a ton of games, especially PC games and indie games, that aren’t available on a physical disc and are purchased digitally on Amazon, the console’s own store, Steam, and so on. So if you can’t zero in on a game mentioned here, your best bet might be to buy your gaming family and/or friends a card to buy whatever they want or need. Or you can always get them months or even a year of either Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus, each of which necessary to play games online but also coming with the added bonus of free games every month. You can find links to those below followed by some gaming gear. There’s always the option of picking up some of last year’s games as stocking stuffers or for much cheaper than they were, too!
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.