Thursday, December 5, 2013

2013 Holiday Gift Guide - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of SuperPhillip Central's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. This is our third year in a row doing this special duo of articles, and we hope at least some of you out there find it useful. The final part of our gift guide focuses on multiplatform titles. From Grand Theft Auto to Call of Duty, there's plenty to stuff a loved one's stocking with. As always, if you feel we've neglected to mention a game that you think would make for a great holiday present, let us know in the comments.

Grand Theft Auto V

Sporting one of the most impressive open world settings in gaming history, Grand Theft Auto V does so much more right than the last numbered game in the series. Offering a fairly well put together story, well done acting, high production values, amazing mission variety, entertaining gameplay, and fun whether you're following along with the story or just cruising Los Santos and its surrounding areas. While Grand Theft Auto Online isn't the best it can be right now, just having the single player experience of Grand Theft Auto V is enough for the price of admission.

Call of Duty: Ghosts

We were going to also list Battlefield 4 on this second part of our Holiday Gift Guide. However, all of the problems with the game would have made us feel guilty to recommend it. Instead, the annualized franchise Call of Duty returns to consoles and PC with Call of Duty: Ghosts. Follow along an action-packed campaign that extends from jungles and clear into space. As always, the multiplayer component is where the real replay value of Call of Duty comes from, and Ghosts is no exception. Whether you're a gamer who plays all types of titles or if Call of Duty is your yearly game purchase, Ghosts is a suitable buy.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Aye, a pirate's life for someone special in your life! Take to the open seas with the improved naval activities of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Explore a vast ocean and surrounding territories, full of ruins, jungles, and villages to journey into. There is a greater emphasis on the open world of the game, allowing players to venture the sandbox setting much earlier in Black Flag compared to its predecessor last year. If a historical action-adventure game seems like just the gift to light up the face of someone on your holiday shopping list, plot a course for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

Batman: Arkham Origins

If you can get over the technological shortcomings of Batman: Arkham Origins (frame-rate issues and glitches), you get an admirable addition to the Batman: Arkham line of games from a new studio as opposed to Rocksteady. Take on a league of assassins who all want the Dark Knight eliminated at their own hands. Why? Pure and simple-- money. Soar over Gotham City, an expanded open world setting which trumps the size of Arkham City. With fast travel capabilities, there's no need to backtrack as much. While Arkham Origins doesn't improve that much on Rocksteady's formula or even beat their games, Batman's latest is definitely worthwhile.

Need for Speed: Rivals

Released on last generation platforms and later on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Need for Speed: Rivals is the landmark twentieth installment of the long running series. Rivals takes gameplay akin to Hot Pursuit and throws it into an open world setting similar to Most Wanted. A new dynamic weather system means racing conditions can change on the fly, and for the first time in eleven years, the full Ferrari line of cars is available to players. Since burning rubber, outracing cops, and going well above the legal speed limit are all against the law in the real world, Need for Speed: Rivals gives an escape for the lucky receiver of this game.

Saints Row IV

While the open world setting of Steelport may be recycled from the game's predecessor, Saints Row IV offers an entirely new set of skills for the player to unleash. With the superhuman abilities given to players, they can run up walls, leap over buildings, and slam down into the ground, creating an epic shockwave to destroy all nearby foes. Of course, if you had to choose between Saints Row IV and Grand Theft Auto V, the decision is rather simple-- go with GTAV. However, if the person you plan on giving a gift of game to wants an incredible amount of silliness in their open world game, Saints Row IV is a top pick.

Tomb Raider

In the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise, the developer obviously wanted to hit us in the head that Lara Croft went through hell to survive her stint on an island and let us know she is a hardened survivor by the end of her tale. That heavy-handedness notwithstanding, Tomb Raider is a very enjoyable action-adventure game with an interesting setting to explore, full of crazy cult members, hidden tombs to raid, and a fun story to follow along with. The multiplayer is even entertaining, which we were not expecting. Just know before you buy this game for a younger fan that unlike many of the past Tomb Raider games, this 2013 reboot is rated M for Mature.

Rayman Legends

One of those games that can be found for a relatively low price now, Rayman Legends is a shining example of an exquisite 2D platformer. The number of creative ideas in the level design and tight controls make for a game that is hard to resist. While the Wii U version is what we would call the definitive version, if you lack Nintendo's latest console, Rayman Legends is still a remarkable amount of fun. Everything from the pacing to the presentation is pure bliss. A great gift for families, Rayman Legends will be a great stocking stuffer come Christmastime.

Disney Infinity

Smartly capitalizing on the success of the Skylanders series, Disney decided to jump into the figurine-based video game market with Disney Infinity. Giving players a ridiculous amount of freedom, Disney Infinity presents players with a totally different experience compared to its inspiration. Players can create their own worlds and games using the Toy Box mode, and enjoy the various options the game gives. If you are any kind of fan of Disney, Disney Infinity is an essential purchase.

Skylanders: Swap Force

Speaking of Skylanders, Activision's series saw its third installment this year with Swap Force. Allowing players to mix and match upper and lower body parts of the various figurines, a plethora of different Skylander combinations could be created. Added to the series is more platforming elements, akin to the 3DS entries in the series. Just without the horrid slowdown. Between Disney Infinity and Skylanders: Swap Force, toy-lovers have a lot to be excited about this year.

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