Posted Wed Nov 25, 2015 at 09:30 PM PST by Brian Hoss
Lots of holiday releases.
This guide focuses on the video game software primarily for the PS4 and Xbox One. The hardware-focused High-Def Digest's Video Game Hardware & Accessories Holiday Gift Guide 2015 can be found here.
Amazingly, in spite of the myriad of games that slipped from a 2015 release window to 2016 (and beyond), there are still tons of great games (recent releases even) to give this holiday.
'Guitar Hero Live' is easily the game that I found to be the most fun in 2015, and I think everyone should try the six button guitar design, the live sets, and the ever-growing GH TV. With the Black Friday sale prices, this is a must-have. (Check out the 2 guitar review here.)
'Fallout 4' is just massive, and the player can pour in hour after hour doing quests, modding weapons, learning little stories, causing trouble, or even farming. For the consummate single player, this may be even more attractive than the excellent 'The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.' (Check out the review here)
It's been far too long since a 'Star Wars' game was exciting in a non-toy figure way, and that's why 'Star Wars: Battlefront' works so well. This is a big year to be a fan of 'Star Wars' and every video game-playing Star Wars fan needs to get their fix in the sights and sounds of 'Battlefront.' In classic 'Battlefield 1942 style,' this is an online-only affair. (The standard edition is my recommendation.)
Not only is 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' the best 'Call of Duty' of its kind, it's also incredibly packed with different modes. There's fun and crazy, competitive and co-operative, and even split-screen. (Check out the review here.) I think the season pass is going to be worth it as well, so the Digital Deluxe is a smart option (since it includes the season pass).
Anyone who has really enjoyed 'Game of Thrones' can expect to get into the saga of House Forrestor in 'Game of Thrones: A Telltale Series.' ( Check out the first episode, 'Iron From Ice' review here.) The whole six episode season has concluded, so make it a War of the Five Kings holiday.
'Minecraft' has been and continues to be a world-wide phenomenon, but what if it had a hilarious story? That's where 'Minecraft: Story Mode' comes in. (Check the first episode, 'The Order of the Stone' review here.) The season pass disc will include the entire season.
Anyone who likes the classic 'Transformers' cartoon, movie, and toys needs to play 'Transformers: Devastation.' The visuals are wonderful, but the combat is the secret gem. (Check out the review here.)
I'm an ex-'Destiny' addict, and for better or for worse, I can confirm that 'Destiny: The Taken King' is an even more addicting take on the online shooter RPG. 'The Taken King' is a game that just about gamer could enjoy. (Check out the review here.)
For former 'Rock Band' players, 'Rock Band 4' is a great way to get access to that old DLC. It's also a good party game, and one that is getting some new features come December 8th. (Check out the review here.)
Toys to life? How about toys-to-life with vehicles, skystones, co-op, and kart racing? The console versions are great, and I think the iPad version is even more remarkable. (See the iOS review here, the Xbox One review here, and the amiibo laden Wii U version here.)
'Just Cause 3' is another single-player gem, and is especially good for those that like to leave off the missions and roam around making trouble. With a December 1st release date, this is also one of the newest releases in terms of the holidays. Also, worth considering is 'Mad Max' which does vaguely tie-into the 'Fury Road' movie. (Check out the review here.)
Amazingly, on the Wii U there is a game that is vintage (a Mario platformer), but also cutting edge as it's all about making, sharing, and playing Mario levels. This is 'Super Mario Maker.'
The massive RPG, 'Xenoblade Chronicles X' is a Wii U exclusive with giant robots, and with a December 4th release date, this is almost an automatic gift for Wii U owners.
The timed Xbox One exclusive, 'Rise of the Tomb Raider,' is the top shelf third-person shooter, platformer, Indiana Jones/Uncharted entry from Crystal Dynamics, and it's likely to not only be a top game this year but also next year. This is a great single-player game for Xbox One owners.
There's a co-op campaign, player versus player online, and there is the team versus team and AI Warzone. In all, 'Halo 5: Guardians' is a game for 'Halo' fans, shooter fans' and those who like to collect/unlock while playing online. (Check out the review here.)
For the horror fan, 'Until Dawn' is for too good to miss. This is a PS4 exclusive that suits Halloween, but will be fun to revisit for years to come. (Check out the review here.)
The challenging and dark 'Bloodborne' was released early this year, but the game's one and only DLC, 'The Old Hunter' is now available (see here), and along with some free updates, this is an exclusive that every PS4 owner needs. (Check out the main game review here.)
For the Japanese role-playing game fan who also likes to play a grid-based strategy game, 'Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance' is exactly what is needed. (Check out the review here.)
The truth about PC gaming is that there are certain games that can only really be executed well on the PC. 'Satellite Reign' is such a game. For the plotting mind with an OK computer, this is one. (Check out the review here.)
For 'ARK: Survival Evolved,' the sky is the limit (see why here). This is a game with an endless stream of dinosaur and prehistoric type creatures, for forming tribes, and for a very sandbox online experience. Those younger players that seek freedom in their games will be drawn to the possibilities in 'ARK.'
In 2015, digital versions of console games became hugely important as publishers are embracing digital first and customer demand continues to rise. Even for those that stick to discs there are all kinds of add-ons (like Call of Duty maps) that require PSN or Xbox Live digital credit. These cards are perfect for any PS4/PS3/Vita or Xbox One/360 player.
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