Here are 17 top titles for the video game fans on your Christmas list
Published Saturday December 3rd, 2011
BY DAVID WYLIE
No matter who you’re shopping for, there’s likely a video game out there that will make him or her smile.
From games that teach you to dance to games where kids can interact with a baby tiger or bear, here are 17 of the best video games you can give this holiday season.
Toe tapping titles
Rocksmith, $80 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
Rocksmith is the evolution in music games. Plug any real electric guitar into your video game console and learn to play notes and chords – rather than just hitting coloured buttons. The game teaches several dozen popular songs and a handful of mini-games teach specific guitar skills. If you need a guitar, a bundle that includes an instrument will set you back $200.
Dance Central 2, $50 (Xbox 360, only with Kinect)
Got groove? You will after playing Dance Central 2 – possibly the best dance game ever made. It works with the Xbox 360’s Kinect to pick up all of your body’s movements and teach you, over time, to dance like a pro.
Next best thing to actual sports
EA Sports NHL 12, $60 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
No Canadian video game collection is complete without the good ol’ hockey game. Sure there are the normal yearly gameplay tweaks and improvements – like hitting goalies – but the best part of this latest entry into the franchise is the ability to play as the newly-returned Winnipeg Jets. Woo!
FIFA 12, $60 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
While Canada is known as a hockey country, it may come as a surprise that soccer is the country’s most-played sport, with the highest number of registered players – both English- and French-speaking. So it’s hard to go wrong giving FIFA 12 as a Christmas gift. There are some major improvements in the 19th instalment to keep this series kicking.
Trip down memory lane
Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, $40 (Xbox 360)
Released in November 2001 as a key launch title for Microsoft’s spiffy new gaming console, Halo: Combat Evolved introduced the world to Master Chief. A decade later, Halo is one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world. The first-person shooter is celebrating with a glossy makeover of its inaugural title, giving players a chance to beat the campaign with others online for the first time.
Lego Harry Potter years 5-7, $50 (Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3)
Muggles, rejoice! Lego is continuing to build on the Harry Potter story with its usual charm and playfulness. This latest game focuses on the last four films based on the Harry Potter books: The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince and the two-part Deathly Hallows finale.
Rayman Origins, $50 (Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3)
Limbless hero Rayman goes back to his roots in Rayman Origins and must defeat an evil horde sent forth after his loud snoring disturbed the peace. The comical side-scrolling platformer, reminiscent of Super Mario Wii, lets up to four people work together to save the Glade of Dreams from bad guys.
Kirby’s return to Dreamland, $50 (Nintendo Wii)
He’s puffy. He’s pink. He’s back. An alien has crash-landed and it’s up to Kirby to help find pieces of his ship and save the day. Up to four players can work together to help the alien get home in this colourful adventure.
Just for kids
Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster, $40 (Xbox 360, only with Kinect)
Children will be tickled by Sesame Street’s video game. Once Upon a Monster is played in a storybook format, with Elmo and Cookie Monster solving different monsters’ problems through a series of mini-games. It’s directed at kids three years old and up.
Kinectimals Now With Bears, $50 (Xbox 360, only with Kinect)
Though Kinectimals was released about a year ago as one of the first games to launch with the Xbox 360’s Kinect motion sensor, it stands as one of the most beautiful and charming games for kids. Kids can name, befriend and play with their pet tigers. The game now has a second life, thanks to a new edition that includes baby bears. The bears can also be purchased as downloadable content on the Xbox Live marketplace.
Batman: Arkham City, $60 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Widely accepted as the best comic book video game ever made, Batman Arkham City is stylish and moody. The game is filled with classic characters and an arsenal of Batman’s famous gadgets. Set in the prison city of Arkham, Batman faces off mainly against his nemesis The Joker.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, $50 (Nintendo Wii)
Raise your sword and ready your shield. This latest instalment in the Legend of Zelda puts the weapons in the player’s hand, with players swinging the Wiimote to strike and holding up the nunchuk to block. The active gameplay in a gorgeous world will keep players on their feet – literally.
Super Mario 3D Land, $40 (Nintendo 3DS)
If there’s one word to describe Super Mario, it’s reliable. You can always count on Nintendo’s perennial plumber to star in great games. Super Mario 3D Land continues that trend in the series’ first game on the 3DS, combining the classic side-scrolling feel of the old-school games with three-dimensional exploration. The plot: Rescue Princess Peach who has been kidnapped by Bowser.
Mario Kart 7, $40 (Nintendo 3DS)
For those who love to throw turtle shells and banana peels at other drivers, Mario Kart is the racing game of choice. There are a few new tweaks added to make this hand-held game fresh again, including the ability to play as a Mii and racing under water for the first time in the series.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, $60 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
As far as massive games go, they don’t get much bigger that the fifth instalment of The Elder Scolls role-playing series – Skyrim. Set in the midst of a civil war, the hero can choose to make the world a better place, a worse place, or just walk around aimlessly and soak in the brilliant design in this massive open world.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, $60 (PlayStation 3)
This is the video game version of a big-production, blockbuster Hollywood movie. Protagonist Nathan Drake trots around the globe in search of a lost city (and its treasure). The adventure is punctuated by chases, gunfights and massive explosions.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations, $60 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
One could describe Assassin’s Creed as a history lesson … with concealed knives. Set in Constantinople during the Renaissance era, Assassin’s Creed Revelations follows three quiet killers from the past games in the series. The sneaking, stalking and pouncing are fun, but roaming through bona fide history-brought-to-life in a massive virtual world is what truly makes this game amazing.