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Holiday Gift Guide: Video Games

So, you’ve got a gamer on your holiday shopping list this year. That’s great news! There are dozens of new games coming out this holiday season, along with some brand-new consoles. In fact, there’s so much new stuff this year that it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where we come in.

We’ve put together a list of our top 12 games for this holiday season, and sorted them by their ESRB rating to help make sure that your gamer can enjoy everything on their screens this holiday season. Read on for our suggestions, and Happy Gaming to all!

E (content is approved for all ages)

  1. Pokemon Ultra Sun/ Pokemon Ultra Moon. Technically, our first entry is two separate games. Pokemon Sun and Moon hit shelves last November and were an instant hit among fans. The developers have since remastered both games and added additional content to create Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Both games are available for the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS, and will delight Pokemon fans of all ages.
  2. Madden 18. EA has been cranking out Madden football games since 1988, making the series 8 years older than Pokemon. This year’s entry comes with current professional team rosters, updated graphics and movement systems, and an all-new story mode called Longshot. It allows players to play as an NFL prospect and track his career all the way to the pros. The game is available for both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox 1.
  3. FIFA 18. If your gamer is the other kind of football fanatic, you’ll want to check out FIFA 18. Like Madden, FIFA 18 has updated team rosters (including the addition of new teams like Atlanta United) and updated graphics and movement systems. FIFA introduced their story mode last year, and The Journey: Hunter Returns is a direct sequel. While the story alone is spectacular, it’s the star-studded cast of players that really make this game stand out. It is available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

E10 (Content is approved for ages 10 and up. Parental guidance suggested.)

  1. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Crash Bandicoot first debuted in 1996 on the Sony PlayStation. A set of sequels followed, each garning solid reviews from gamers and critics alike. Now the first three games in the series have been remastered and put onto one disc. Fans of the original games will love the faithful remastering, while newcomers will learn just why Crash Bandicoot is the coolest guy in red sneakers that you’ll ever meet. This action-adventure game is only available for the PlayStation 4.
  2. NBA 2K18. For the basketball fan on your list, there’s NBA 2K18. Fan favorite modes such as MyGM, MyLeague, MyTeam, and MyCareer are back and will allow players to create and control the destinies of team members across every major franchise. It’s not just current teams that are playable, though. Blast from the past teams, such as the 95-96 Chicago Bulls, 85-86 Boston Celtics, and the 98-99 New York Knicks, add a unique spin and ensures that even older gamers will love this one. The game is available on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
  3. Super Mario Odyssey. Who doesn’t love a good Mario game? Nintendo’s newest Mario adventure is a 3D platformer game where everyone’s favorite plumber must save Princess Peach before she’s forced to marry Bowser. That story line may sound familiar, but Mario has some new tricks this time around. From his hat-shaped rocket ship, The Odyssey, to Cappy, a hat that lets him take control of all kinds of things in each world, this game is bound to entertain fans of all ages. It is available only on the Nintendo Switch.

T for Teen (Content may not be suitable for children under 13. Parental guidance suggested.)

  1. Star Wars Battlefront II. This is a direct sequel to 2015’s Star Wars Battlefront. It drops players right in the middle of the Star Wars universe. Gamers will play as Iden Versio, a leader of the Imperial Special Forces, as well as a host of other main characters from the movies. The game came under fire upon release for its use of microtransactions, but the single-player mode doesn’t require any extra investment. It’s available for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox 1.
  2. Destiny 2. A direct sequel to the 2014 smash-hit, the game is set in a mythic science fiction world where Guardians protect Earth’s last-surviving city. Players take on the role of a Guardian and play in online massive multiplayer battles to help save humanity. This game does require an internet connection as the game is only playable in online mode. You may want to grab an online membership for your gamer if they’re playing on Xbox 1 or PlayStation 4. The game is also available for the PC.
  3. The Sims 4. The fourth installment in EA’s hit simulation series is finally available on consoles! Players can create and control unique Sims, dictating everything from their appearance and clothing to their careers and relationships. The game offers a truly open world where the possibilities are endless. The game has been available for the PC since 2014, but is now also available for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox 1.

M for Mature (Content may not be suitable for children under 17. Parental guidance strongly suggested.)

  1. Middle Earth: Shadow of War. There are a lot of sequels on this list, and we’re not done yet. Shadow of War is a direct sequel to 2014’s Shadow of Mordor. Players once again assume the role of the Ranger Talion, and battle through armies of Orcs and other Middle Earth enemies in a quest to forge a new Ring of Power. The game uses the Nemesis engine, which means that every playthough of the game will feature a new combination of enemies and challenges. The game requires some serious strategy planning and effort, making this a great game for the older gamer on your list. It is available for the Xbox 1 and the PlayStation 4.
  2. Call of Duty WWII. The Call of Duty franchise adds a new game every year, and 2017’s addition is no disappointment. Set in World War II, players will battle through trench warfare across Europe as part of the 1st Infantry Division. Game development was extremely personal to the design team, as many of their relatives fought in the war. It shows in the game, which delivers hours of immersive gameplay both in the single-player campaign mode and in the online multiplayer battles. The game is available for the Xbox 1, PlayStation 4, and the PC.
  3. Assassin’s Creed Origins. The last game on our list is part of yet another long-running franchise. But this is no sequel. Instead, Origins takes the Assassin’s Creed series back to the very beginning. Players will explore the events that led to the creation of the Brotherhood of Assassins by playing their way through an immersive world set in Ancient Egypt. The game is available for the Xbox 1, PlayStation 4, and the PC.

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Katie Anderson
Katie Anderson is good with the term nerd. When not running disability services for FanFest events, she lives in Atlanta, GA and plays a lot of video games. Her work has most recently appeared in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. If you'd rather read more but in a shorter format, her Twitter handle is @kdidd.