Chances are you have at least one child or adult video game aficionado in your family. With the holidays fast approaching, how do you buy them something great without giving the surprise away?
Let The Gazette’s gaming gift guide point you in the right direction. With a little something for every type of gamer, the excellent titles listed here are sure to bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces.
For hardcore gamers
“Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) — In “Valhalla” you play as Eivor, a fierce Viking raider. Take on enemies in a huge and stunning open world set against the backdrop of England’s Dark Ages.
“Star Wars: Squadrons” (PC, PS4, Xbox One) — Jump into multiplayer dogfights, and fleet battles, and enjoy an original story set during the final days of the Galactic Empire and after the events of “Return of the Jedi.”
“Watchdogs: Legion” (PC, PS4, Stadia, Xbox One) — An unknown entity named Zero- Day has framed secret underground resistance DedSec for bombings across London. As a member of the resistance, it is up to you to recruit members and discover Zero-Day’s identity.
“Cyberpunk 2077” (PC, PS4, Xbox One) — This action RPG is one of the most anticipated games of the year. Set in Night City, in this retro-futuristic game you play as a mercenary named V. A character voiced by Keanu Reeves has a major role in the game.
“Marvel’s Avengers” (PC, PS4, Stadia, Xbox One) — This third-person action-adventure game featuring the Avengers and newcomer Ms. Marvel offers a fun single-player campaign, enjoyable online play and a fantastic original story.
“Mafia: Trilogy” (PC, PS4, Xbox One) — Enjoy three great, yet distinctive, organized crime dramas set in three different eras in this excellent remaster. You can buy each game individually, but the full set is well worth the price of admission.
“Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time” (PS4, Xbox One) — The first original Crash game in more than a decade brings back everyone’s favorite Bandicoot for more platforming fun and a host of new challenges.
“Super Mario 3D All-Stars” (Switch) — This game wraps three remastered Nintendo classics into one great package. With “Super Mario 64,” “Super Mario Sunshine” and “Super Mario Galaxy,” this a must own collection for Mario fans. But you better hurry, this game is only available until March.
“Spider-Man: Miles Morales” (PS4) — In the sequel to the hit 2018 title “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” gamers leave Peter Parker behind and become the beloved Miles Morales version of the web slinger.
“NBA 2K21” (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One), “FIFA 21” (PC, PS4, Xbox One) and “NHL 21” (PS4, Xbox One) are annual releases that are always great fun. I also recommend “PGA Tour 2K21” (PS4, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One), which picks up where the defunct Tiger Woods video game franchise left off five years ago, and “Tony Hawks’s Pro Skater 1 and 2” (PC, PS4, Xbox One), a bundled remake of two great titles.
More bang for your buck
Titles released earlier this year and now available at a discounted price are sure to make your favorite gamer happy. “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” (Switch), “Doom Eternal” (PC, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One), “The Last of Us Part II” (PS4) and “Ori and the Will of the Wisps” (PC, Switch, Xbox One) can be had for $30-$50 — or less if you find a good Black Friday deal.
PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X?
With the recent releases of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the next generation of gaming consoles is finally here. But which one should you get? Unless you’re an early adopter with a lot of cash in your pocket, it’s best to be patient. Both consoles are extremely light on next-gen exclusives and console launches are notoriously sloppy. Because of that, I’d wait at least six months to grab a PS5 or Xbox Series X, when the benefits of the new consoles will be more pronounced.
However, if you just can’t wait and desire a next generation console but can’t decide which to get, I’d pick up an Xbox Series X. It features Xbox Game Pass, the video game version of Netflix, which offers hundreds of games right at your fingertips for the low monthly rate of $10. This gives the console a distinct advantage. Xbox Ultimate Game Pass, which is $5 more, also includes Xbox Live and EA Play, which is a steal. Microsoft’s recent acquisition of developer Bethesda, one of the industry’s best game studios, gives the Xbox Series X serious momentum heading into the next console generation.
Gazette media columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.