The Hardcore Gamer Holiday Gift Guide 2012

It’s that time of year again. Within the coming weeks, people all over the world will be rushing to buy their obligatory gifts for family and friends. Sometimes, though, it’s just darn hard to come up with something to give. If you’re stuck, don’t worry; Hardcore Gamer is here to help! Instead of getting another “I do my own stunts” T-shirt or $5 Red Lobster gift card for the important gamer in your life, take a look through the list below and find the perfect game that will make him or her happy enough to actually bother sending you a thank-you card. Happy Holidays!

For those who love guns:

Far Cry 3

Despite the main character’s initial reticence in taking human life, Far Cry 3 is a giant helping of gunplay. Also arrow-, animal-, knife-, flame-, and explosive-play. Basically, if you can think of a way to dispatch an enemy, it’s probably in there somewhere. There’s a huge amount of exploration, of course, but the heart of Far Cry 3 involves carefully scouting a situation and then deciding what kind of carnage you’re in the mood for today. Sneak attacks, guns blazing, or maybe a little recreational pyromania, this game has you covered with a tropical island vacation of pretty scenery and blood-drenched mayhem.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Max Payne 3

Max Payne does guns. Also revenge, booze, and pills, but mostly guns. Max Payne 3 catches up with Max years after the first two games, with his life gone to hell and working as a bodyguard in Brazil. Things rapidly spiral out of control, as they tend to do, and in the end the only recourse available is to gun down absolutely everything in the way with a dynamic and vicious expression of how deeply displeased Max is with all the crap he’s got to put up with. Would it be so hard for all these bastards so deeply deserving of a bullet in the face to screw with someone else for a while? Yes, apparently it would.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

For those who like a rousing game of chess:

Persona 4 Golden

There’s nothing like sitting down and playing a slow paced RPG, especially one as fantastic as Persona 4 Golden. While it may not be a chess game in the sense something like Final Fantasy Tactics was, this is still a game that requires a substantial amount of strategy to be put into each action, otherwise the battle will be lost in a matter of seconds. It incorporates both the drama that is well known in high school and the destruction of many monsters in another world in order to save innocent lives. I mean, what’s not to love about that? This is really the only reason you need to buy a Playstation Vita.
Available on: Vita

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Strategy is your friend. Strategy will keep you alive. Strategy is your only hope, until you out think yourself and it gets you killed. XCOM revived the classic series with a bang, bringing the alien invasion back to Earth and putting you in charge of the organization tasked with stopping it. Starting with a bunch of green recruits, you need to whip them into shape while turning your organization into the global protection force the planet needs. And then you need to hire a bunch of new guys when your initial team gets turned into alien food.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

For those who enjoy a good beating:

Persona 4 Arena

It’s like a dream that two Persona games would be released in the same year, yet here we are. While Persona 4 Arena may not be a traditional game in the sense of strategy, it retains its whacky and charismatic cast of characters. This is an over the top experience with an incredibly lengthy single player campaign that, while doesn’t rival its RPG counterpart, will destroy any other fighting game on the market. Throw in a ravishing competitive online gameplay and you have one of the best fighting games in a long time; just be sure that you enjoy anime style artwork.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Dead or Alive 5

There’s not many series that allow you to ogle beautiful, buxom women while pummeling men to within an inch of their lives. Unfortunately, after reading that sentence, there’s about a snowball’s chance in hell that any girl actually buys it for you — maybe herself for the whole “men pummeling” thing — but not you, no sir. Honestly, though, was that ever going to happen? No, Dead or Alive is a game dudes buy each other; warm-blooded american men who aren’t afraid to play as gorgeous women, no matter what it says about their sexuality. If you’re looking for a boy’s night in fighter, or simply haven’t virtually beaten up enough people this year, Dead or Alive is always a solid choice. Instead of relying on advanced mechanics that render it impossible for novices to compete with any of their advanced friends, it’s easy to get a hang of the “Rock Paper Scissors” combat system no matter the experience level. Need more of a reason to want this game? It has sweat and a ridiculous jiggle factor. Think about it. Yeah, thought so.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

For those who like competing against friends:

Halo 4

If there’s one franchise to compliment the online multiplayer component, it’s Halo. While the formula hasn’t changed drastically, the slight improvements and overall renovations of the gameplay mechanics and worlds have left gamers with much to do in Halo 4. It has an accessible multiplayer that even people who didn’t care for past games can jump on and have a lot fun – with the exception of some childish players. If you want a fun competitive game to play against your friends that will last many years, Halo 4 is it.
Available on: Xbox 360

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Yeah, there’s a single-player campaign in this years’ annual tribute to how much the entire world loves to play with the military’s toys, but it’s the online shooting that’s the real star of the show. Every year millions of fans migrate from the previous game to the new one, and Black Ops II is no different. The standard progression of unlocking new toys for use in battle makes its return, but tournament play throws out all earning restrictions and opens up the entire arsenal, at the cost of a very low exp payout. Whether you like to grind your way to success or play on a level field, Black Ops II has you covered, and you’ll never be lacking for competition.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC

For those who like cooperating with friends:

Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 closes out Commander Shepard’s story with more of everything that made the series great. It’s got a deep storyline that can be molded at times by the player, and great cover-based shooting. It’s also got something new to the franchise — multiplayer! Thanks to it, you can not only save time trying to get the best single-player ending, but also play as races and character types you’re unable to in the series’ main story. All of the races have their own pros and cons, and you’ll want to play as every possible type to get the richest multiplayer experience possible. In groups of up to four, you’ll kill waves of enemies while accomplishing a variety of objectives in the process. Since the structure largely mirrors that of the main game, only without a plot, it feels like an organic addition to the series and  something well-worth playing for series veterans and newcomers.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC

Borderlands 2

Like the original game, Borderlands 2 is a crazy combination of RPG leveling up and first-person shooting. It was also was made with co-op in mind. Sure, everything in it is playable solo, but it’s far more enjoyable playing with friends since you can create and trade some sick weapons and get some help with bosses in the process. Online play has been expanded and there are now three full sets of DLC to expand the experience with new weapons and levels. Folks just seeking fun offline will have a blast with a humorous campaign that brilliantly combines carnage and comedy. If you loved the original, Borderlands 2 takes what made it great and improves upon it.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

For those who like a stupid fun time:


There’s nothing like hitting the open slopes and outrunning an avalanche. SSX is back and better than ever by offering more insane features that define the world “fun”. Wild and over the top tricks mixed in with a remarkably addictive constant online multiplayer feature, this is the true evolution of the series that EA Sports have finally brought back. It certainly helps that the game is absolutely crazy! Defying all laws of physics by jumping off a cliff over one hundred feet high and pulling off 20 back flips in one trick will leave you spinning.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Asura’s Wrath

Asura is, as the title might indicate, not a happy deity. He’s been screwed over, his wife killed, and his daughter kidnapped, and you’d better believe he’s going to focus all his rage at those responsible. Asura’s Wrath plays like an anime, with each chapter of the story given its own credit sequence, story bits, and even a preview of the next episode. Once the story bits have done their part, though, the action kicks in and Asura tears through hordes of enemies until his anger grows so great that he unleashes destruction on everything around him, at which point a quick-time event breaks out. It’s a quick-time event of pure awesomeness, though, so is easily forgivable. Everything Asura does is steeped in awesome, actually. He’s a god, and you’d better believe that worlds get shaken to their core when he gets moving.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

For those looking forward to the zombie apocalypse:


You’d think that in a year where zombies usurped vampires from the inexplicable pop-culture killer monster throne, there’d be more zombie games then you could shake a stick at. Surprisingly, however, there were only three major-label entires into the genre, with The Walking Dead, Lollipop Chainsaw and ZombiU. As nobody will ever give Lollipop Chainsaw as a gift, ZombiU is really the only choice for fan’s of the genre who simply want to beat the crap out of zombies. Surprisingly, though, ZombiU is not a mindless FPS, but instead an insanely evil survival horror game. Its unforgiving difficulty may prove too much for impatient gamers, but its fantastic graphics, atmosphere, GamePad utilization and constant zombie-bashing should make it a must-buy for that zombie-obsessed person in your life.
Available on: Wii U

The Walking Dead

Right now, The Walking Dead franchise is ruling the world of fictional zombie-infested content. First there was a large following for the graphic novel, then a hit television show, and now a successful video game. Telltale does The Walking Dead’s universe proud in creating an exceedingly well written story that’s fit around the player. Who would have thought a zombie game would have only an underlining of violence and the main focus being the aspect of dealing with living, breathing humans? Regardless, if you love your zombies, Telltale’s The Walking Dead has your number.
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, iOS


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