Hardcore Gamer Holiday Gift Guide

I Like My Games To Focus On Story

I like mind-blowing stories that explore parallel universes, strange entities and demons, but also touching character development and tales of self-discovery. I don’t care if the gun-play isn’t as polished as it should be, or if it’s particularly prompt heavy; I’m in it for the ride, and I’d like for that ride to be as memorable as it is enjoyable.

The Last of Us

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The end of the world is never easy, especially when your companion is a young girl without a clue about the world outside the confines of “home.” A dangerous fungus that turns humans into bloodthirsty monstrosities, corrupt local-governments, food shortages and a touching, thrilling and genuinely heartwarming adventure across the country are what make The Last of Us one of the greatest examples of storytelling in video game history. Buy this game for someone that enjoys a story worth telling in a world worth exploring.

Available for: PS3

Bioshock Infinite

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When a religious cult is allowed to create a society in their vision, you have Columbia; a rich, twisted, slavery-condoning city that floats above the earth. Your task is to retrieve a young woman by the name of Elizabeth, but as with most mind-bending stories, nothing is what it seems. With an incredible truth that reveals itself gradually, Bioshock Infinite proves to be one of the greatest story’s told in video game history. Buy this game for someone that is both a fan of shooters and wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

Available for: PS3/Xbox 360/PC/OS X

Beyond Two Souls

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Science fiction in video games doesn’t always have a heart, but in the case of Jodie Holmes, it has both heart and soul. Beyond Two Souls follows Jodie across various milestones, slowly digging through the confusing layers that represent the life of a gifted young woman. While less of a video game and more of an interactive experience, there’s a touching story for those willing to accept its premise, characters and gameplay. Buy this game for someone that is a fan of both Memento and science fiction.

Available for: PS3

I Like My Games With Mountain Dew And Guns

I don’t care about storytelling, deep characters I can connect with on multiple and occasionally borderline creepy levels, or any semblance of real-world logic for that matter. I just want to shoot my friends and random strangers online in the face.

Call of Duty: Ghosts

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Call of Duty: Ghosts is not a thinkers game, but rather a mindless shooter with an occasionally powerful story moment. However, Call of Duty: Ghosts also happens to be the most polished shooter on the market, offering hundreds of hours full of shooting friends in the face and laughing at their inaccuracy. Of course, it also has the strongest online play and largest audience, so even you friendless folks can enjoy a bout of explosive fun. Buy this game for someone that likes keeping their social life on the screwed-side of a barrel.

Available for: PS4/Xbox One/PS3/Xbox 360/PC

Battlefield 4

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If shooting everything in sight isn’t your thing, and you’d rather be a part of a more calculating team when it comes to shooting friends in the face, Battlefield 4 might be the game for you. Like with most first-person shooters, the story can be ignored entirely unless you require a lesson on the fundamentals of running, shooting, flying and destroying stuff. Buy this game for someone that is a team player and also enjoys watching destruction as they smile and continue firing shots at flickering images in the distance. On second thought, call a therapist.

Available for: PS4/Xbox One/PS3/Xbox 360/PC

Killzone Shadow Fall

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When Killzone Shadow Fall was announced for the PlayStation 4, Sony marketed it as the selling point for their new console. Unfortunately, poor level design makes it difficult to appreciate the terrible FPS story. Fortunately, however, it is still an extremely fun experience both online and offline, and is likely the most beautiful game on the market, showcasing the power of next-gen hardware. Buy this game for someone that wants to take a dip in the “gorgeous showcase for powerful hardware” pool.

Available for: PS4

I Like My Games To Be Fun And Funny

I want to cause mayhem, create havoc and kick-ass in every sequence. I don’t want to save the world unless I’m saving it from Aliens, or any stereotypical 80’s villain. I want mindless fun that doesn’t force me to think, but a fun little story wouldn’t hurt.

Saints Row IV

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If being a superhero with a wide arsenal of powers and weapons ranging from alien death-rays to guns that inflate peoples heads sounds like a good time, Saints Row IV is your go-to for fun. When aliens invade the city, who better to fight them off than the president of the United States; you. Also, the entire games serves as a parody to classic titles such as Mass Effect, offering some ridiculously raunchy humor throughout. Buy this game for someone that wants to beat the crap out of aliens while dressed in a tight, pink and orange leotard.

Available for: PS3/Xbox 360/PC

Deadpool

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When the gameplay is so average but the game continues to receive praise across the board, you know something’s up. Well, luckily for you, High Moon Studios did not pay for every single positive review on the internet. The fact is: Deadpool is really funny, and its consistently amusing humor helps diminish the boredom brought by its bland, generic gameplay. If you’re a Deadpool fan, all the better, as they’ve nailed him perfectly [insert sex joke]. Buy this game for someone that has a good sense of humor and doesn’t mind mindless repetition.

Available for: PS3/Xbox 360/PC

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

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The 80’s were a time of German and Nazi terrorist groups taking over whatever companies or laboratories produced nuclear warheads, and as history so often reminds us, they’ve always been thwarted by a single solider with a taste for punishing evil. If you want to kick some ass 80’s style, look no further than Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, because anything else is settling. Buy this game for someone that either misses the 80’s, or would like to see a good example of what the 80’s would be like if Sylvester Stallone was in command.

Available for download: PS3/Xbox 360/PC

I Like My Games To Take Me On An Adventure

I want to explore. I really want to get up and start shifting gears, but I’m either too broke or too adult-like to simply abandon my responsibilities. That’s why I want games that will take me places, let me enjoy an adventure I could never experience in real life. Also, I want to blow things up, kill people, sail the seas and restore power to an ancient sword. Or something.

Grand Theft Auto V

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There’s nothing more appealing than violently stealing a truck, driving recklessly across a reimagining of LA, running over dozens of pedestrians and subsequently driving into a mountain, flipping over and lighting the truck on fire. Actually, heists are far more appealing, and Grand Theft Auto has a story that revolves around them entirely. Well, that and yoga. Lots and lots of yoga. Buy this game for someone that likes variety, is easily distracted and can handle extreme animated violence without microwaving the neighbors cat.

Available for: PS3/Xbox 360

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

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Exploring the seas is only fun if you’re on a cruise ship, stuffing your face with shrimp and scallops while dodging the advances of a middle aged divorceé. Well, other than being a bad-ass pirate, capturing British fleets while searching for gold and Aztecan ruins. Couple that with being an Assassin, free reign across a massive world and more content per-size than Bulma’s Capsule and you have yourself an amazing experience. Buy this game for someone that wants to grow a thick beard, doesn’t mind the taste of warm rum and appreciates a good splinter in the sole.

Available for: PS4/Xbox One/PS3/Xbox 360/PC

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

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The good don’t always die young; especially not when companies are willing to completely overhaul the good and make it abundantly better. Wind Waker was always a fantastic fantasy adventure, separating itself from the series by presenting a world of exploration and wonder in Cell Shaded glory. Now, thanks to some development magic it’s even more breathtaking than it was the first time you launched it on your GameCube. Buy this game for someone that is a fan of the simplest forms of gaming satisfaction. Don’t buy this for someone that thinks the person on the cover is Zelda.

Available for: Wii U

I Like My Games To Be Fast And Furious

I want realistic simulators that will allow me to experience a vehicle I’ll never afford, or even a fun arcade racer I can play with my friends. I just want to feel as fast as possible without collecting a glove-box full of tickets and potentially dying in a massive highway pile-up.

Gran Turismo 6

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Hailed as the most realistic racing simulator of all time, Gran Turismo has been wowing fans for years, which is why it’s unfortunate that Gran Turismo 6 launched on the PlayStation 3 rather than Sony’s latest console. Fortunately, it retains its predecessors high-caliber quality and features a massive car list, pinpoint driving and some of the crispest graphics available on the now dated PS3. If you can’t afford to test drive your dream car, this is likely a good choice. Buy this game for someone that is an obvious gear-head, or anyone that enjoys racing in its purest form.

Available for: PS3

Forza Motorsport 5

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While always crowned second best when it came to realistic racing, Forza has always been the funner of the two champions. With Forza 5, fans should expect a difference experience from previous entries, and not just due to the micro-transaction based progression. It’s clear that Forza is the Xbox One powerhouse title, as it’s certainly the prettiest game on display this generation. Buy this game for someone that wants to drive the fastest cars in the world in as gorgeously crafted a fashion as possible. With the exception of Death Track: Resurrection, that is. I’m kidding, of course, don’t buy Death Track: Resurrection for anyone ever.

Available for: Xbox One

Need For Speed Rivals

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Those who aren’t into realism and simply want to rush across the streets like Dominic Toretto are probably going to want to gran Need For Speed Rivals. It stands as the best entry in the Need For Speed series to date, offering the Most Wanted experienced without the needlessness. It’s surly the most thrilling racer this generation, and offers some online modes for even the loneliest drivers. Buy this game for someone that wants to drive freely; crashing into walls and other racers included.

Available for: PS4/Xbox One/PS3/Xbox 360

I Like My Games Classic

I grew up playing Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Sonic. I want a game that will remind me of my past, but bring enough newness to the table to occasionally blow my mind. If there’s one thing I love, it’s classic gameplay mechanics.

Super Mario 3D World

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Improving upon a franchise as long-standing as Mario isn’t easy, but somehow Nintendo has managed to inject originality into multiple releases in the series over the last few years. However, few Mario games have been as fun, adorable, colorful and creative as Super Mario 3D World. If you’re craving the classic Mario 3D platforming in a gorgeous, HD skin, this is a game that will likely occupy much of your free time. Buy this game for someone that either loves and appreciates Mario as a series, or doesn’t believe that the games can continue to deliver quality experiences. It’s also a good option for furry lovers, but you really shouldn’t be buying them gifts.

Available for: Wii U

New Super Luigi Bros

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Mario’s been enchanting players with polished platforming and crafty level design for years, so Nintendo decided to give his awkward brother a chance to shine. In New Super Luigi Bros, you don the green outfit and jump slightly higher towards an incredible platforming experience full of much of the same classic fun you’ve come to expect, and enough surprises to keep you coming back for more. Buy this game for someone that knows that Luigi is the real brains behind the castle-hopping rescues, and that it’s about damn time he’s receiving the recognition he deserves.

Available for: Wii U

Knack

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The PlayStation 4 doesn’t exactly offer much in the way of games for kids, but Knack is a fine family title that will either bring you closer or push you much farther away — depending on the turn-taking rivalry. It’s not just a game for the young ones, though. On higher difficulties, Knack is actually quite the challenge, with of those cheap deaths that will remind you of classic 3D platformers of yesteryear. Buy this game for someone that wants a taste of the next-generation platforming experience. Buying this game also supports Mark Cerny, who is a demigod.

Available for: PS4

I Like My Games With Quirky Monsters

I want something that isn’t extremely violent; something that doesn’t involve the dismembering of limbs, or shooting faces into a bloody pulp. I want a fun storyline, some silly characters and a colorful world to explore as I grind my way through hundreds of ridiculous enemies.

Pokemon X or Y

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Gather round, Pokemon Masters of all ages. For the first time on a handheld device, Pokemon is in 3D! There’s a laundry list of new features that make Pokemon X and Y one of the greatest entries in the series, but the crown has to go to the 3D battles. Of course, grinding for levels has always been a trademark of the Pocket Monster games, but now it’s much less exhausting — primarily because everything looks so cool. Buy this game for someone that is a fan of Pokemon, or would like to take advantage of the makeover and comfortably sample the craze. It’s worth it. Trust us, we write about games.

Available for: 3DS

Tales of Xillia

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In a year of less-than-stellar JRPG’s, it’s nice to find that the Tales series can be trusted to deliver an exemplary entry to the table. Sure, much of the typical JRPG gears are spinning and the story is not quite as absorbing as what we’ve come to expect from the series, but Tales of Xillia is a fine release, and one that should be experienced by any person seeking a fast-paced, fluid combat system, interesting characters and saving the world as either a clueless doctor-to-be or a strange, mysterious woman. Buy this game for someone that wants to be the hero they’ll never be in real life.

Available for: PS3

Ni No Kuni Wrath of The White Witch

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Studio Ghibli is a well known Japanese animation studio. The work they’ve produced has almost always been incredible, and often touching and lighthearted. Ni No Kuni is no different in its tone, animation and design. As a young boy that loses his mother quite unexpectedly, your journey begins with a doll, a promise and a world of dangerous opportunities that beg to be explored; all in a beautifully painted package. Buy this game for someone that wants a lovely story suitable for children and adults alike, as well as magic enthusiasts that failed their alliance exams.

Available for: PS3

I Like To Play Sports Without The Health Benefits

I love sports, but what I don’t love is having to physically be outside when playing them. Maybe that was cool in highschool, but I have a beer-gut now, and too much pride to let the neighbors watch me struggle with a ball. I’ll just stick to the controller and fake crowd cheering.

NHL 2014

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Hockey isn’t the most popular sport in the United States, nor does it make for the best selling console game. Thankfully, the risk of failure didn’t stop EA Canada from developing what is most likely the greatest professional hockey game ever released. With a classic mode for nostalgia seeking veterans, and plenty of depth for those searching for their stat-fix, NHL 14 is a must-buy title. Buy this game for someone that enjoys hockey. I hate to be captain obvious, but clearly that is the only factor.

Available for: PS3/Xbox 360

Madden 25

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Here at Hardcore Gamer, we’re not all football experts, but if there’s one thing we all know it’s what makes a game fun, and Madden 25 happens to have all of the necessary components. Sure, it’s almost identical to Madden NFL 13, but there’s enough content to help fans forgive its flaws. With its impressive, revamped physics engine and the “Run Free” feature, there’s no better place to get your football fix without breaking a sweat or burning a few calories. Buy this game for someone that likes to yell at their TV a lot during various sporting events, but has likely never tossed a football without a potato chip crumb-covered controller. Or a football fan, of course.

Available for: PS4/Xbox One/Ps3/Xbox 360

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