The Top 10 Crispy Holiday Gift Guide
To a lot of gamers, Call of Duty is just another first-person shooter, recycling the same formula used for years. However, a lot of gamers like the formula of leveling up guns in multiplayer and Modern Warfare 3 provides there once again. If you have any interest in shooters you can’t go wrong with picking up this game. The multiplayer provides endless hours of fun and provides some never before seen game modes for the franchise such as “Kill Confirmed,” which requires player to pick up the dog tags from defeated enemies on the battlefield.
The campaign is about 8 hours long providing just enough action-packed entertainment to challenge you and prepare you for multiplayer online. Modern Warfare 3 also has an addictive Special Ops co-op mode where you can play survival maps against hordes of endless enemies or play specific missions where you and a buddy (offline or online) have to complete pre-set objectives. Simply put, there is enough in this game to please anybody who likes a realistic shooter.
The newest gaming system on the market is a portable 3D powerhouse from Nintendo. This machine is sure to be a hit for gamers of all ages as it’s hard to imagine anyone disliking the first-party Nintendo exclusives of Super Mario 3D Land, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Mario Kart 7.
Due to poor initial sales, Nintendo dropped the initial launch price of $250 to $169.99 in July.With Christmas right around the corner most outlets are selling 3DS bundles for $200, which include a specially colored 3DS and a game in the package. By wary of purchasing this first-generation model however as Nintendo has a history of releasing a better designed version of their portable systems within two years of the initial release. Come this time next year, I would not be surprised to be talking about the 3DS Lite.
This fun little toy is guaranteed to be hit with kids who enjoy word games. Boggle flash takes little electronic cubes that contain random letters and when you line up the cubes to form words, the cubes will recognize what is adjacent to it and give you points for forming a word. Sounds strange and unbelievable but you have to see it to believe it.
Boggle Flash is the cheapest item on our list, coming in at $29.99. If boggle isn’t your thing, there is also Scrabble Flash and Simon Flash, each of which emulates their classic game counterparts into this flash cube form.
Think games today are too easy? Namco-Bandai’s Dark Souls for Xbox 360 and PS3 will make you think otherwise. This third-person action game with pit you against a litany of evil, formidable foes that will kill you. Dark Souls relies a lot on the player learning from trial and error but while the game is very difficult, it is rare that you will feel that the game is cheap.
Rather, if you are persistent and focused, you can succeed and when you do, the reward will be overcoming a battle that you know many have failed.
Dark souls is not for the faint of heart but once you start playing, you will be sucked into its unwelcoming world. The environments are a beauty to look at but you’ll be too busy watching your back to truly enjoy it. All in all, you will not find another experience quite like Dark Souls, paying homage to games from decades ago, that routinely challenged the player to not only play the game, but to master it. Good luck.
Just when you think humanity can’t possibly innovate on consumer cameras, in comes the Lytro camera. This sleek and sneakily simple camera captures all of the light available in every shot, which allows the user to focus on different aspects of the photo after the photo has already been taken. These changes can be made on the camera’s touch screen or on your computer through software that comes built into the camera.
All-in-all, the camera is small enough to fit into any handbag or backpack and take up limited space. The Lytro camera has only a power button, a shutter button and a zoom slider; simple enough that anybody can pick it up and use it right away. This stunning piece of hardware does not come cheap though at $399 for an 8GB model (holding approximately 350 pictures) and while you can order now, it will only start shipping in 2012.
Settlers of Catan is one of the world’s most popular board games. Focusing on collecting resources and building settlements, players will trade and race to obtain ten victory points before any other competitor. The rules and setup is very simple and straight forward but the strategy is complex. You are guaranteed to lose friends over this game, akin to forming partnerships in Risk.
For experienced players, most games last about an hour, making it a great family game. Due to the in-game discussions around trading, the game works best for kids 10 and up. Settlers of Catan oddly works for all different skill levels of play however. Casual players will enjoy rolling for resources and the constant discussion during the game. Veteran players will enjoy the intense atmosphere, trying to figure out who they can trust and who is close to winning the game. Settlers of Catan is a must-own item for any board game enthusiast.
Nathan Drake is the Indiana Jones of gaming. He’s a snarky, quick-witted treasure hunter who always ends up saving the world and getting the girl. The voice-acting in Uncharted 3, exclusively for the PS3, will make you believe that Drake and Sully are real people and the graphic detail is so life-like that anybody passing by the TV will ask you what movie you are watching.
The gameplay is solid as well, playing as a standard third-person cover shooter. Uncharted 3 also contains a hefty amount of platforming, as Drake will continuously make dastardly escapes, always managing to clench onto the one loose brick that he barely recovers from as he’s climbing some structure. This guy has a jumping ability that rivals Mario. Uncharted 3 is a great game to play or watch, guaranteed to be a hit for the girlfriend who wants to watch a story with interesting characters while you get your shooting and platforming game on.
The gamer’s perfect phone is finally here. Forget about a slide-out keyboard, the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY has a slide-out game controller, with the iconic Playstation buttons. I had the fortunate opportunity to test this phone out at E3 and there is a reason why Sony Ericsson went out of its way to say that this phone is “Playstation certified.” The buttons feel crisp, provide good feedback and the phone as a gaming device fits comfortably in your hand; similar to the classic Super Nintendo controller. More than 200 games are available and optimized for the Xperia PLAY including PES 12, Madden12, Minecraft and the upcoming Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Android exclusive. This is on top of a range of premium games that are available for free over for the holiday season including Dead Space, Battlefield Bad Company 2, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, and FIFA 12 as part of Sony Ericsson’s “Get in the Game” promotion with Electronic Arts.
The phone itself has lots of features, comparable to competitor phones on the market. The Xperia PLAY sports a 5 Megapixel camera and an additional front-facing camera. It runs on the Android platform, giving you access to thousands of Android apps. The microSD card included with the phone has 8GB of storage and can support up to a 32GB card, which is more than enough space to start hoarding some of those games. The phone itself ranges from free to $49.99 when you sign up for a two-year contract via AT&T or Verizon. Whichever version you choose, the Xperia PLAY is a great gift idea for that special gamer in your life. And if you really want to impress—how about covering the first month’s wireless payment, too?
Do you or your child have a Nintendo Wii? If so, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a must-buy this holiday season. Using the Wii Motion Plus accessory, Link’s sword now moves one-to-one with your hand, completely immersing you into the game. The dungeons are ripe with puzzles and monsters, all of which will challenge you as you try to prevent Ghirahim from reviving the Demon King and save Zelda, your childhood friend.
Zelda: Skyward Sword is a true action and adventure game, guaranteed to keep you busy for a minimum of 30 hours. The game itself sells for $50 and the collector’s edition sells for $70 and comes with a Wii Motion Plus controller and the soundtrack, which is fully orchestral. Even if you are not a fan of motion controls, you must play this game; it may just change your mind.
The annual Spike Video Games Awards show gave The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim their Game of The Year honor, and it will likely not be the last honor this game receives. If you have a PS3, Xbox 360 or a high end PC gaming rig then this is the must-buy holiday game of the season. Skyrim is a Western RPG from Bethesda that with have you slaying dragons at every turn.
Skyrim primarily plays in the first person, with you controlling traditional RPG weapons: swords, bows, magic, etc. The real allure of this game however is the sheer size of the world. After 500 hours of play time it’s unlikely that you will have seen every dungeon, landscape, or town. Almost every character has something to say and depending on who you talk to and your decisions, events may wildly change, ensuring that your experience will be wholly unique to someone else’s. Skyrim is a marvel to behold and will draw you in for weeks and months, if not years.