Holiday Gift Guide – Videogames Part 1

For the gaming industry, the Christmas rush starts early. As far back as September the biggest players start hurling out their high-end titles.

To that end, if you’re looking for a gift for the gamer in your life, you have a great selection to pick from, since blockbusters have been filling up shop shelves for the last couple of months.

Between zombies, hackers, battle-mechs, magical powers and chainsaw bayonets, there’s something every player needs… and wants.

Mafia III
From R699
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Mafia III heads to Louisiana this time and looks at the organised crime syndicates of New Orleans (here called New Bordeaux).

Set in the late 60s, the game’s open world map is bursting with adventure that’ll take players from the slums of the city to the jazz-infused tourist quarter to the swamps and bayous. Imagine Grand Theft Auto with a Deep South flavour and you’re starting to get the idea.

Dishonored 2
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Dishonored 2 sees players land in the boots of not just one but two super-powered assassins. As was the case last time, players have a huge amount of choice in how they go about their death-dealing.

The game’s open-ended structure allows them to charge in guns blazing, or ghost every level leaving nary a trace they were ever there. Draped in gorgeous visuals and a spine-chilling atmosphere, Dishonored 2 is the perfect Christmas gift for any player who likes to be a creature that goes bump in the night.

Gears of War 4
Platform: Xbox One

The Xbox One’s other flagship shooter is every bit as loud, brash and visceral as its predecessors. The story takes place 25 years after the last game and if anything, the planet of Sera is in worse shape than before.

The COG soldiers have declared martial law, there are only a handful of survivors left and there are nasty new beasties roaming the wilds looking for a meal of human flesh. Combat is as in-your-face as before, and developer The Coalition has added a few new mechanics, such as shoulder charging and knife-fighting. Multiplayer and Horde modes should keep players hooked once the Campaign mode is clocked.

Watch Dogs 2
Price: From R799
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Take on the role of a hacker in San Francisco who suddenly finds himself at the centre of a manhunt when he’s framed by the autonomous central operating system (CtOS) that runs the city’s infrastructure. To clear his name, he joins up with the hacker collective, DedSec, and takes on the shadowy forces behind CtOS.

Like its predecessor, Watch Dogs 2 is an open world adventure offering car chases, gun battles and a ton of quests and side quests. This time around the series has added stealth play and the ability for players to parkour through the map’s urban environment. Beyond that, San Francisco offers myriad opportunities for players to hack into the CtOS system and cause widespread mayhem.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Price: From R799
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

This Call Of Duty takes its fragfest to space with jetpacks, grappling hooks and – yes – tons of guns. Players can expect the usual eye-popping action sequences, breakneck gunfights and a soundtrack guaranteed to annoy the neighbours if played at the correct volume.

The series’ multiplayer – complete with new weapons, maps and match types – is present and correct, with a co-op zombie mode and avatars customisable with war-rigs and accoutrements.

Titanfall 2
From R899
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Titanfall has always been about balancing nimble wall-running, jet-pack boosting and sprinting with blasting as many opponents away as possible. Now they have zip-lines, grappling hooks and double-jumping to help them navigate each firefight.

Oh, and mechs! On top of the game’s great multiplayer – unique in shooters at present – Titanfall 2 also promises a single-player campaign. We’re not sure how much stock to put in how good the plot will be, but since there was no single-player last time, we’ll take it!

Dead Rising 4
Price: From R699
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

Photo-journalist Frank West is back and documenting the undead uprising… for some reason. Players are tasked with kicking all manner of hell out of the seething mass, using everything they can get Frank’s hands on.

The draw here is the open world setting and the ridiculous vehicles players can use in their quest for zombie cadavers, including one that allows them to fire zombies at zombies. It’s all pretty gruesome fun and it boasts what so few other games have these days – a great sense of humour.

Price: From R627
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

For those who feel the annual cycle of military shooters has become stale and limp-wristed, may we present id Software’s reboot of its seminal shooter franchise? There’s not much in the way of narrative or nuance in DOOM’s visceral action; players are simply tossed some power armour, a shotgun and allowed to get on with the business of killing demons.

To be honest, story isn’t necessary here – not in a game that serves up one of the best FPS experiences of recent memory. Once the campaign is rinsed, there’s a multiplayer and a map builder to keep players occupied but we’re prepared to bet cold hard cash the single-player mode will keep players coming back for more. We’ll see you in hell.

Battlefield 1
Price: From R859
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC

DICE’s unexpected decision to plant its premier shooter franchise in the distant past paid dividends. First up, even though the game’s arsenal was back-dated to WWI, it lost none of its fun and punch. Second, the multiplayer could stand shoulder to shoulder with DICE’s best work on the Battlefield franchise.

But more than that, DICE finally displayed the decent storytelling chops that have evaded the developer’s Battlefield series for so long. Not only is the single player campaign in Battlefield 1 gripping, it treats its historical backdrop with the utmost respect. This is easily the best military shooter released all year.

Uncharted 4
Price: From R859
Platforms: PS4

It’s possible that if the gift recipient in your life already owns a PS4 that they own this game. On the off chance that they don’t, Uncharted 4 is unarguably an essential addition to their games library. Seriously, PS4 players need this game.

Uncharted 4 boasts a pretty decent multiplayer, but its single player campaign is the real draw. While it hits familiar beats from earlier entries in the franchise, they’ve never been as well presented as they are in this game. Developer Naughty Dog says this is the last Uncharted installment to star Nathan Drake, and if this is true, it’s great to see one of videogames’ iconic heroes check out on an unqualified high note.


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