Written by The GN Staff on 12/3/2012 for
Let’s face the facts,: 2012 is almost over! Here we are, just over a month away from 2013 and in case you haven't noticed, the Holiday season is officially in full swing. If you are reading this, you likely have a gamer or two on your Holiday shopping list and will need to find something to stick under the tree for them this Christmas. We would like to help you out with that!
As we do every year, the staff of Gaming Nexus has compiled a list of the items we recommend giving your controller-holding loved ones. We’re going to offer you three categories of recommendations, which will be explained below. Without further ado, we present to you the 2012 Gaming Nexus Holiday Gift Guide!
Some things are just meant to go together: chocolate and peanut butter, milk and cookies, and guns and loot! Gearbox’s sequel has everything that made the original game great and then some. Addictive cooperative play, more guns than you can count, and the ability to truly make your character your own. In addition to all of that, there is a patented sense of humor present in the game that makes it unlike any other shooting experience available. Our own Nathaniel raved endlessly about the game when he reviewed it back in September, and a lot of other staff members have expressed the same sentiments behind the scenes. Borderlands 2 is definitely a game every gamer should have in their collection.
For years gamers have wanted change with the Call Of Duty series claiming its the same game every year. While you could argue that the Modern Warfare games feel like copy and paste jobs, Treyarch has done an amazing job freshening things up with Black Ops 2. Despite the constant criticism, it seems that more and more people are buying this game every year. There were over 800,000 people playing Black Ops 2 on launch night on the Xbox 360 alone! That speaks volumes to the power of this series. There is a pretty good chance you will find a gamer that will love this as a gift for the Holidays!
Few things go together as well as portability and music; why do you think iPods are so popular? Those two things come together well DJ Max Technika Tune on the Vita. The touch screen interface is a little tricky to get used to, but after getting used to it the game proves to be an absolute ton of fun. The game is now available through the PlayStation Store. The learning curve is just right, the game looks great, and the soundtrack offers a wide variety of tracks including some from overseas sensation Kara. What's not to love?
Gamers looking for something out of the ordinary will want to take a look at one of this year's best releases in the simulation genre with Euro Truck Simulator 2. The game tasks players with managing a freight business that involves transporting a variety of cargo to more than 60 European cities. As players progress, they'll gain the ability to manage a fleet of trucks, garages, and hired drivers in the pursuit of creating a successful business. The most impressive feature of the game is the thousands of miles of roads that are modeled after their real counterparts across Europe, which are also complemented with famous landmarks and other structures. Check out Travis’ review of the game for further details on its various features and gameplay.
Like the series or not, there is no denying how “”big” the Halo series has become. This year brought the return of not only the series, but its most beloved hero, Master Chief. As Jeremy pointed out in his review of the game, Halo 4 was a return to greatness for the series and is undoubtedly one of the games that is only just about every gamer’s wish list this year. We will undoubtedly be seeing this game at the top of the Xbox Live activity charts for a long, long time which means that this is a game with some serious longevity.
Games just don’t get any more addicting than Minecraft! If you don’t believe us, just do a search for the game on Youtube and you will see what we mean. Mojang’s indie masterpiece is the definition of a sandbox game and is truly a toybox for you to get lost in on your Xbox 360 (or PC). Many people were worried about how the game would translate to the home consoles, but as Jeremy explained in his review, it made the jump in style. While there were a lot of elements of the game that were simplified as it moved to the 360, it proved to be for the better and lets you get down to the business of creating your own world quickly. There is always something to do in Minecraft!
Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of us out there who are still thoroughly enjoying life with our PlayStation Vita(s). If you know someone who owns one of Sony’s under-appreciated portables, then the best thing you can do for them is to get them one of the best games available for the platform. Sure, it is a remake of a game from a few years ago, but Persona 4 still holds up today and does so in a major way. As Matt told readers in his review of the game a few weeks back, it's a fantastic JRPG with a social life by day, monster crushing by night play style. Few games offer the longevity of this game, which makes it perfect for the portable scene. This is one game that will keep gamers busy for 80-100 hours easily.
For Nintendo fans, the version of Scribblenauts Unlimited for Wii U is the definitive version to pick up. The Wii U port has exclusive content from the Mario and Zelda series, including characters and items, which will definitely set it apart from the other versions. However, you really can’t go wrong with the title on any of the platforms it is available for; there are also other good reasons to pick up Scribblenauts Unlimited. 5th Cell has perfected the item-spawning series they created, adding a richer backstory and a fully featured item editor so you can be even more creative.
This is the Oregon Trail video game on a tallboy of Red Bull. And a packet of bath salts. Weighing in at $1 on Xbox Indies, we would easily sink twice that much in quarters into this game if it were in an arcade. There's animal slaughter, river jumping, cliff diving (in a Conestoga wagon), and the barely explicable loss of your family members along the way. You probably won't survive either. The pacing will break your neck, the bubbled-out curvature of the CRT monitor will strain your eyes, and the alien weaponry will cook your pioneering 19th century rivals.
Torchlight II is probably one of the better action RPG games of the year and it's only $20. Heck you can buy four copies of the game for the same price as Diablo III for as much if not more content! Fans of hack and slash role-playing games and loot collection will find plenty to appreciate here. Did we mention the loot? Enthusiasts of loot will be busy well into the new year farming enemies for the next best sword or helmet. While the narrative is passable, the most entertainment is found in the highly-accessible and thrilling combat that incorporates the simple mouse clicking of hack and slash games with entertaining and powerful abilities. The variety of new content and the low asking price make Torchlight II a perfect stocking stuffer for this Holiday season.
Telltale games has revitalized the genre of the point and click adventure with their episodic series based on The Walking Dead. Up until now, the only way that you have been able to get your hands on the title is by downloading the individual episodes from your digital storefront of choice (Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, or Steam). However, that has all changed recently with the retail release of the game which contains all 5 episodes of the now-classic role-playing adventure. Our very own Cyril has reviewed each of the episodes thus far and raved about each and every one (you can read his reviews at the following links: A New Day, Starved for Help, Long Road Ahead, and Around Every Corner). Plus, if they are a big fan of the series, you can always seek out the Collector’s Edition of the game which includes the first 48 issues of the original comic book series!
For the wrestling fans out there, you can’t go wrong with WWE '13. It’s fun... incredibly fun. Sean gave the game a solid review when it launched and in Jeremy and Nathan’s opinion, it is best wrestling game released in a long, long time. You can sink hours upon hours into this game and barely scratch the surface of what it has to offer. The Attitude Era mode really takes things back to a different time and the addictive WWE Universe mode that lets you set up your own wrestling federations. The best part about WWE Universe is that everyone’s is different. We’ve seen people with TNA, ROH, Classic ECW, NXT creations and in their Universes; there really isn’t anything you can’t do with the game.
Gifts for those hard-to-buy-for gamers on your list, who already have everything we may have mentioned above:
Extra controllers Recommended by Nathaniel Cohen and Sean Colleli
Gamers can never have too many controllers! Especially during the Holidays, when you are likely to have friends and family over and around the console, you are going to need enough controllers to go around. In the past, most people would only recommend first party controllers but recently, some of the third party offerings like the those from Power A and Razer have really stepped up their game with incredible offerings.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, 690, or 660 Ti Video Card Recommended by Sean Cahill, Travis Huinker, and John Yan
Despite what you may have heard, PC gaming is far from dead. If you're looking to spruce up the visuals on someone's PC, look at getting them a NVIDIA based card. Kepler is the name of the latest architecture from NVIDIA and the GTX 680's the top end of the line while the 660Ti is a more affordable yet still powerful solution (which John reviewed back in September). Of course, in this category price is no option, so why not go with the GTX 690, which is the equivelent of two GTX 680‘s. Not only will the cards get you great graphics, you'll get PhysX support for games that offer up improved visuals via real time physics effects and 3D Vision should you decide to jump on the 3D train. You really can't go wrong with any OEM, but EVGA's one that we would recommend if you want great customer support.
Steam / XBL / PSN Gift Cards Recommended by Matt Mirkovich and John Yan
If you really don’t know what to buy the gamers in your life, you can’t go wrong with gaming-related gift cards. Nearly every service in the market today offers cards in most stores including Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network, and Steam. You can pick them up a few cards and let them pick their own games, especially considering how many quality digital titles made their way to these services this year. With titles like Okami HD, the Walking Dead series, and Minecraft 360 out there on the market, and Holiday sales happening on nearly every platform, any gamer would be happy to have access to them for no money out of their pocket(s).
Surround Sound Headset (Astro A50 / Tritton Warhead/Razer Tiamat 7.1 Headset) Recommended by Jeremy Duff, Charles Husemann, and John Yan
Gaming audio really jumped into the spotlight this year thanks to a variety of products from companies like Astro, Tritton, and Razer. All three of these companies release amazing products, including full 7.1 surround sound sets this year and every single one of them impressed our staff to no end. These are simply some of the best headphones out there and while they aren't cheap, they’re worth every dime. Regardless of which set you go with (Warheads for the 360, Tiamats for the PC, and the Astro’s for the gamer with multiple consoles), the resulting audio experience will give you a new appreciated for audio design in the world of gaming.
Vita Memory Cards Recommended by Jeremy Duff and Matt Mirkovich
With PlayStation Plus launching recently for the Vita, a lot of owners are going to find themselves lacking free memory on their current card(s). Thanks to the Instant Game Collection initiative that the program features, what space they do have is going to be eaten up rather quickly. The first wave of free Vita games offered through the service total roughly 8GB, which is a $30 card in itself. More games are coming and there are surely titles that they already own, so memory real estate would be greatly appreciated by any Vita owner. The larger memory cards are a bit on the expensive side, but the gamer in your life will appreciate it immensely.
Gifts that gamers dream about opening up but probably won't:
We dare you to find a gamer that isn’t entertained by the concept of a giant, mechanized robot. Mechs and gaming go hand in hand, so why not buy the gamer in your life their own hulking piece of mechanical destruction? The Kuratas Mech will only set you back a little over a million doallars, but wouldn’t the smile on their face be worth every dollar? We’re talking about a full-on boardable mech. this thing stands 13 feet tall and weighs 5 tons. FOrget about Mech Warrior Online or Hawken, gamers want the real thing! Oh, and the cupholder option is only $100 extra.
LED television set Recommended by Russell Archey, Sean Cahill, and Nathan Carter
We don’t even need to be specific on this one thanks to the plummeting prices across the board this Holiday season. If you want to get the most out of your consoles, performance wise, then you are going to need some top of the line video technology to go with them. When it comes to televisions, LED is pretty much the go-to technology of today; seriously, you would be hard pressed to find a type of television that makes your consoles look better. LED televisions are easily the most affordable of our big ticket items, as long as you have the cash to spare.
Metal Gear Rex Scale Model Recommended by Matt Mirkovich
Gamers love collecting game memorabilia! There is nothing better than to look over at your desk or wall and see an item from one of your favorite video games staring back at you in real life. We’ve all picked up a few statues and figures from some of our favorite games over the years, but few are as cool as this baby. ThreeA Toys finally released their Metal Gear Rex scale model and it is every bit as beautiful and detailed as fans could have hoped for. Costing over $500 dollars, it's a massive gift that the collector in your household will swoon over for years to come , and you likely will too. This thing is a monster that has to be seen to be believed. You can check out a review with photos of Rex over at Rad Toy Review, and if you are seriously thinking about picking up one of these for someone, please keep us in mind too when you go out shopping this year!
What gamer doesn’t love a good LAN party? We all do really, but it can be a pain in the you-know-what to lug around all of your equipment and games; that is unless you have one of the Sentry units from Project GAEMS! These small bundles of joy give gamers everything that they need to take their home console experience on the go. Featuring a 15.5 inch LED screnn capable of 720P resolutions and a harness compatible with most Xbox 360 models and PS3 slims, the Sentry is the perfect solution for mobile gamers. Best of all? The packages start at less than $300 and comply with all TSA regulations (so air travel is no problem). There are plenty of designs and options available and trust me, your gamer will love you for it!
For a measly $400, you can help your loved ones get hauled into the security office of your local airport and repeatedly explain why they have this beauty in their carry-on luggage. Project Triforce has made a serious name for their selves when it comes to replica game items and this is a perfect example why. Granted, you are going to have a hard time getting your hands on one of these limited edition items, but the Mass Effect fan in your life will love you forever if you managed to score on of these for them.