The holiday season has come! Black Friday sales have already started at many retail and online stores, and now it’s time to find the perfect gift for the gamer in your life. While a brand new console is always a dream gift for any video game fanatic, no new consoles have been released this year. The console shortage issue that seemed to plague last year’s Christmas shopping also appears to have been resolved. Your favorite gamer probably has the latest available console of his choice. This makes one of the best gifts is a blockbuster new game! It felt like a year of continuation and there are many lists of most wanted players.
God of War Ragnarök turned out to be one of the most stunning sequels released this year. The latest installment of the God of War series, which is a continuation of the plot of the 2018 game God of War, in which Kratos began his adventures with his son Atreus after the death of his second wife. There is a brief summary of the story, but the plot of this action-adventure game will be best appreciated by those who have followed the series from the beginning, when Kratos was a Spartan warrior seeking revenge on the gods for the death of his first family.
In the latest game, Kratos and his son are forced to leave the frozen land of Midgard to travel the nine realms. Fimbulwinterhas is coming and Ragnarök is fast approaching. The game has a beautiful graphic design, emphasized by traveling around different lands. It features familiar gameplay, the return of Kratos’ double chained blades and axe, but has enough gameplay tweaks to make it a unique experience. The game uses both combo-based battles and rewarding puzzles to advance the storyline. Unfortunately, the only downside to the latest God of War is that it’s exclusive to PlayStation. Thankfully, it’s cross-gen, and it’s available for PS4 and PS5 at its original price of $69.99.
For a more versatile sequel, A Plague Tale: Requiem is a stunning option. This third-person action-adventure combines several genres, including survival, horror, and stealth. It has many improvements over its predecessor, including noticeable visual improvements. There is a reward progression that includes additional skills and abilities that can be unlocked, and upgrades to gear and equipment.
The story follows Amicia and her brother Hugo as they search for a cure for Hugo’s mysterious blood disease. During their adventures, they have to face not only the soldiers of the French Inquisition, but also hordes of plague-infected rats. Only recently released on October 18pA Plague Tale: Requiem is available on PC, Switch, Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 for $59.99 USD.
For fun lovers who are less serious about the past, Nintendo is releasing its Mario + Rabbids sequel Sparks of Hope on Switch. The gameplay is very similar to the original game with the addition of Sparks that can be equipped to characters to give them special abilities that will help them defeat the enemies they will face. There are nine playable characters this time around, with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Bowser joined by their Rabbid friends Mario, Luigi, Peach, Rosaline, and Edge. With so many players to build your dream team from, it’s nice that the game has relaxed the team requirements and teams are no longer forced to include Mario and at least one member of the Rabbids team. The updated action-adventure features turn-based gameplay and is the perfect choice for Switch gamers of all ages. Its original price was $59.99, but many retailers offer discounts for the holidays.
The latest sequel to the game that has been on many gamers’ wish lists is Rogue Legacy 2. The original Rogue Legacy game reinvented the roguelike game and launched the rogue-lite subgenre. Unlike standard dungeon crawl games, in Rogue Legacy 2 (and in the original) you can keep your loot after you die and purchase permanent upgrades. The game’s biggest advances are in its visuals, mechanics, and redesigned modern premise. However, the basics remain the same. You appear as a character with a random name, class, and quirky trait who explores and randomly generated world. You can fight fast and hard or slow and steady to build your character over time. Rogue Legacy 2 was surprisingly popular and may have even escaped your gaming fan’s attention. It’s available on PC, Switch, Xbox One, and Series X/S for a reasonable $24.99.
The final installment on this list has to be the gamer gift that keeps on giving: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Often referred to as “Netflix for gaming”, Game Pass Ultimate has an amazing list of benefits for both PC and console subscribers. New third-party games are added and updated frequently, creating a library of hundreds of games available to users. Strangely enough, first-party games like Halo Infinite are available as part of Game Pass Ultimate on the day they launch. It’s an all-inclusive membership, with the monthly price of $14.99 including Xbox Live Gold and EA Play memberships, as well as access to Xbox Cloud games. Cloud gaming is now also available on Android and iOS, allowing gamers who never dreamed of buying a console to access games and benefits. Availability is also increasing with the recent announcement that it will soon be available for the Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro VR systems. What’s even more exciting is that the Xbox Streaming Stick allows you to play in the cloud from any TV, without a console. While there is no release date for the Streaming Stick, new Samsung TVs are being released with the Xbox Streaming app, which gives you access to cloud games. If the price seems high, compare it to new games, which typically cost between $59.99 and $69.99. The amount of titles that Game Pass Ultimate provides makes the price seem quite reasonable in comparison.
In a year of sequels, there is nothing old about the enjoyment game fans will have with these titles. In a year with no new consoles released, there’s still plenty to find under the tree.