Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 Holiday Buyer's Guide for Gamers

Christmas gamingThe holidays are fast approaching and if someone in your family calls themselves a gamer then you are probably, once again, freaking out over what to get them for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any of the other gift-giving holidays that are knocking at your door. The average consumer honestly doesn't know what to get their gamer for the holidays. While you could randomly go into GameStop or Best Buy and "attempt" to pick up something you "think" your gamer would like, I would highly advise against it. The last thing any gamer needs is their grandma getting them Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster.

I'm not gonna lie; this holiday season is going to be one of the best for both gamers and shoppers, as gamers have a lot of incredible games to look forward to and shoppers have a lot of options to pick from. So let's start off with the top games for my personal favorite, the Xbox 360.

Gears of War 3Gears of War 3

If your gamer plays on the Xbox 360 and is into those graphic games with guns and chainsaws, then he/she will definitely be interested in Gears of War 3. Gears 3 (as we gamers call it on the streets) is the final chapter to Epic Games' trifecta of awesomness. It finishes the story of Marcus Fenix and his fight to save humanity from the Locust horde. A gripping campaign story mode, which now offers four-player co-op, a new and highly improved Horde mode, completely revamped multiplayer and some other new game features make Gears of War 3 a must have for any gamer this holiday season.

Halo: Combat Evolved AnniversaryHalo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is an update to the game that put multiplayer gaming on the map, Halo: Combat Evolved. 343 Studios has given this original Xbox classic a complete graphics overhaul for the next generation, recreating all the textures and graphics from scratch while simultaneously keeping all the elements that made the original game such a hit intact. A must have for any Xbox enthusiast. The original Halo on Xbox Live, people, need I say more?

Battlefield 3Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 is EA's next installment in the highly acclaimed Battlefield series. The game takes first-person battlefield multiplayer to a whole new level, bringing in unique classes, each with its own advantages and skills. In addition to that there are also fully operational vehicles. I'm talking tanks, jeeps, armored trucks, boats, helicopters and, last but definitely not least, jets! That's right, take to the skies in all new jet combat in this beautiful modern war shooter. But remember, unlike some other modern shooters, teamwork is vital to success, so stick together!

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

The next installment in the series that took the tired Call of Duty series to new heights is finally here. Aside from having an intense and gripping story, Modern Warfare 3 has revamped its award-winning multiplayer system. New guns, new perks, new abilities, same 'ol bag of fun! It may be tough deciding between this and Battlefield 3 so if your gamer can't decide then do the responsible thing, get him both!

Assassin's Creed: RevelationsAssassin's Creed: Revelations

Ezio is back for his third and, sadly, last adventure in the Assassin's Creed series. Picking up quite a few years after the events of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio is now much older, wiser (and grayer) and on a mission to retake Masyaf, the Assassin headquarters that was once the home of Altair, the main character from the original game. The game promises to let you take on missions as both Ezio and Altair, further developing the complex plot from the first three games. In addition to that, the groundbreaking multiplayer from Brotherhood is back and better than ever. I just hope they have dedicated servers this time. If your gamer has stuck by Desmond, Altair and Ezio for the previous journeys, this is definitely one he won't want to miss.

The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (or simply Skyrim) is the latest chapter in the highly acclaimed Elder Scrolls series and even though it is the fifth game in the series (as the title suggests) you don't have to play one of the other four to know what's going on. The single-player game space is completely open world, meaning you can go anywhere you want whenever you want. You will use a variety of weapons, from swords, axes and maces to bows, magical staffs and even your bare hands to fight of any type of crazy creature and enemy you can think of. Oh and did I mention you get to fight dragons in this game? That's right, the story has your character centered as a dragon slayer, 'nuff said. A revamped combat system and absolutely gorgeous graphics make this the perfect gift for anyone who likes to play a single game for months.

Batman: Arkham CityBatman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham Asylum ushered in a new wave of superhero games, an by that I mean actually made a superhero game that didn't suck worse than being that kid from Captain Planet with the power of "heart". Arkham Asylum brought us free-flow combat, allowing us to beat up 30 of the Joker's henchmen in one fluid motion. It also brought a gritty realism to the character, much like Christopher Nolan's Batman movies. Rocksteady, the studio behind the game, has been blowing the minds of gamers and Batman fans alike with the second installment to the best superhero game of all time. This time around the world is more open, the stakes are higher and the villains are more abundant than ever. Only a true Dark Knight will be able to make it out of this nightmare in one piece.

Next up is the PlayStation 3. While I do not own the system myself, I can't deny that there are some pretty insane games coming out for it this holiday season. So let's get to it.

Uncharted 3: Drake's DeceptionUncharted 3: Drake's Deception

The Uncharted series has been one of the best PS3 exclusives since God of War. The game basically allows you to live out your fantasy of being Indiana Jones, though without the whip and awesome Chinese kid as a sidekick. If ever there was a title worthy of the claim of the PS3 exclusive of the year, it's this one. Fantastic visuals mixed with lovable characters and a story that will leave you slack-jawed, drooling and saying "wow" are just a few reasons that every PS3 owners needs to own this game.

God of War OriginsGod of War Origins

God of War Origins is every PS3 lover's dream come true, the two God of War games that left PSP owners tickled with delight, God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta are finally making their way to the console that started it all. Now your entire collection can be complete without the need of that crappy PSP thingy.

Ico & Shadow of the Colossus CollectionIco & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

I don't know much about Ico but what I do know is that there aren't many people who speak ill of the game. What's more is that I haven't found anybody on the face of the planet who doesn't like Shadow of the Colossus. These are two PS2 games that came from Sony's internal development teams in Japan and both games deliver incredible stories that are both haunting and epic. With an HD rendering, these games are fit for the here and now. A must have for any PS3 owner that remembers these games and any gamer who doesn't.

Infamous 2Infamous 2

Infamous 2 hurls gamers back into the shoes of Cole McGrath, your everyday bike messenger who received incredible superpowers thanks to a gigantic explosion. Third-person action in a giant sandbox environment that reminds you of New Orleans, complete with some parkour gameplay and intense decision making makes this sequel worthy of recognition. A must have for fans of the original.

Resistance 3Resistance 3

The year of "3s" continues with the PS3 exclusive Resistance 3 The game continues the story set forth by the first two games of an alien infestation on Earth. People are turning into creatures thanks to a virus dispatched by the evil Chimera, leaving the rare survivors immune to the virus left to clean everything up. A fantastic cast of characters, compelling and dark narrative and some pretty ingenious weapons make this first-person shooter one to keep in mind.

If you are what some consider to be "true gamers", you probably find yourself turning to your PC for all of your gaming needs. Not to be left out, PC developers are bringing out some pretty incredible games this holiday season.

The Witcher 2: Assassin of KingsThe Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings

One of the best RPGs to come out in a long time, The Witcher 2 is an incredibly deep game with lots of things to collect, craft and learn about. In addition to having some truly unique gameplay mechanics, the game itself is incredibly beautiful, provided that you have the hardware to max out the graphics. Great sound quality, incredible music and high-standard voice acting really bring battles to life. While the combat takes some getting used to, it is all worth it to have an incredibly unique experience.

Total War: Shogun 2Total War: Shogun 2

The Total War franchise has always been keen on keeping balance between depth and accessibility. The game itself allows you to take command of thousands of troops, all of which are onscreen, and engage in truly epic battles that take both skill and strategy to win. If you fancy yourself a true battlefield strategist, then this is one game you need to check out. Beautiful graphics make the battles that much more enjoyable and the ability to literally see every single one of your troops is something to be desired by other games.


Rage is a first-person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Visually the game is stunning. The open world is truly something to look at but the game mechanics are what really sets Rage apart from other, similar games. Enemies react intelligently by taking cover and instead of running directly at you, some enemies will scale walls, jump on poles, swing around, duck, dive, dodge and do anything they can to get out of the way of your bullets. If you want pulse-pounding action and a truly beautiful game, Rage is what you're looking for.

Star Wars: The Old RepublicStar Wars: The Old Republic

Probably the most anticipated game to be coming out this holiday season, Star Wars: The Old Republic, is a Star Wars-themed MMO from LucasArts and BioWare. The game is a fully-voiced, story-driven MMO and boasts more dialogue than any other game ever created. You take your place in the galaxy far, far away thousands of years before Obi-Wan, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, deciding on whether to fight for the Republic or the Empire. You get to choose from eight different classes, all based off of characters from films like Bounty Hunter (i.e. Bobba Fett) or Smuggler (i.e. Han Solo). Join up with thousands of players from all over the world to live out your Star Wars fantasy, whether it be dual-wielding blasters or cooking an enemy with force lightning.

So there you have it, the top games that are sure to be on any gamer's list this holiday season, regardless of which system they use. Many of the games listed are cross-platform games, meaning they come on two or more systems. These games include Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, Assassin's Creed: Revelations and Rage. Games like Battlefield 3, Rage, and Skyrim will definitely look 100x better on the PC so if you have the option, I suggest opting for these select titles on PC.

It's going to be a good holiday for gamers. I know I am excited and with all these games coming out, you might not see me again until next holiday season.

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