Gaming gift guide

A breakdown and review of the latest games for the holidays.

By Oliver Aston, Contributor

The holidays are upon us and the chances are there’s a gamer in your life. Whether they’re young or old, The Valley Star has got you covered with some great gifts for those who like to play.


For Xbox ONE MSRP $349.99

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s console has undergone sweeping changes since its 2013 introduction. Two years later and the Xbox ONE has matured into an amazing machine with a fantastic lineup and number of great features like the ability to play Xbox 360 games on the console. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite picks for the system.


“Rare Replay” MSRP $29.99

UK developer Rare is arguably one of the most storied studios in gaming history, and for its 30th anniversary comes Rare Replay, a superb collection of 30 of their greatest hits. Even if you’re not familiar with such titles as “Perfect Dark” or “Banjo-Kazooie”, with 30 games, chances are there’s something you’ll like on offer, and best of all its’ only $30.


“Halo 5: Guardians” MSRP $59.99

The Halo series has a history of excellence, but “Halo 5” brings the series to Microsoft’s latest box in top form. The game’s levels are the best in series history and the multiplayer is sure to keep shooter nuts busy for a long time to come. This is one of the best games you can purchase this year period. If you’re picking up an Xbox for the first time, you owe it to yourself to pickup “Halo 5”.


“Rock Band 4” (also available on PS4) MSRP $89.99

After a five-year absence, Harmonix’s once prominent music game returns to rock the living room once more. While the actual formula is very much unchanged from prior installments, there’s still nothing quite like getting together at at party and jamming along with a few friends. As a bonus, if you bought any music for prior Rock Band titles, you’re able import them here and enjoy eight years of downloadable content all over again.


For PlayStation 4 MSRP $349.99

There’s little doubt that the PS4 will be the console of choice for most people this holiday, with over 30 million units sold the PS4 has been a huge boon for Sony and shows no signs of slowing down. Admittedly the first-party lineup is a little sparse but, as the most powerful eighth generation console the PS4 often sees the superior versions of multiplatform titles.


“Bloodborne” MSRP $29.99

While there have been very few PS4 exclusives in the console’s first two years, and even fewer aces, “Bloodborne” is unquestionably the best card in Sony’s hand. This tough as nails action game shares it’s DNA with From Software’s “Dark Souls” but improves upon it in substantial ways to give the PS4 one of it’s most unique and hardcore experiences. The faint of heart need not apply for “Bloodborne’s” blend of horror and challenging gameplay, but everyone else should book their ticket to ‘Yharnam’ right away.


“Fallout 4” (also available on XB1 and PC) MSRP $59.99

As arguably the most anticipated game of the year “Fallout 4” stands as the 800-pound gorilla of the gaming industry. There is so much to do in Bethesda’s latest roleplaying game that it’s easy to lose hours and even days to defending or destroying Boston’s irradiated Commonwealth. As in previous Bethesda’s RPGs, the choice is yours as far as where to go and what to do. This remains an addictive formula and makes “Fallout 4” one of the best games of the year.


“Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection” msrp $49.99

While Naughty Dog’s fourth entry in the “Uncharted” series was originally slated to launch this year it’s delay to 2016. Luckily with the “Nathan Drake Collection” players can revisit the original three games in new, definitive versions. The rough edges have been smoothed out by Blue Point Games to give way to better looking, higher-resolution presentation. Whether you’ve played these games before, or are experiencing Drake’s “Indiana Jones” style action adventures for the first time, “The Nathan Drake Collection” is a great pickup.


For WiiU

The road for Nintendo’s WiiU has been rocky to say the least. Third-Party publishers have all but abandoned the system and even Nintendo’s own games have been MIA this year. While we were initially going to get new “Star Fox” and “Zelda” titles in 2015 their delays into the next calendar year have left the lineup a little dry. That said there are a number of great picks for Nintendo’s three-year-old system.


“Super Mario Maker” Msrp 59.99

Have you ever wanted to make your own Mario game? That’s the question posed by the plumber’s latest title. In “Mario Maker” players can make their own 2D Mario levels and tweak them to their hearts content. Want to remix the first “Super Mario bros”? Done. Want to build crazy multistage contraptions? Also done. Want to just kick back for a couple hours and see what the communities created? You can do it all! Without a doubt “Mario Maker” is the game anyone who grew up playing Mario has dreamed of and it’s among the most replayable games this year.


“Splatoon” Msrp 59.99

As the big N’s first all-new title in years “Splatoon” is a wild and creative multiplayer shooter that asks, “do you want to be a squid kid?” If that answer is “what the heck is a squid kid”, then hear us out. Splatoon has you playing as your own custom squid kids as you try to cover another team’s base in colorful goo. In order to accomplish this, you’ll swap between a squid that can move underneath said fluid and a kid who shoots it. While this seems a little odd on paper “Splatoon” is one of the most accessible and fun multiplayer shooters in years and a great pick for gamers of all ages, amphibian or otherwise.


“Yoshi’s Woolly World” Msrp $59.99

Though it’s a First-Party release for Nintendo “Yoshi” has flown largely under the radar. That’s a shame as “Yoshi’s Woolly World” is fantastic. Building on the style from “Kirby’s Epic Yarn”, Yoshi’s world is constructed entirely from wool and leads to some playful platforming that’s great for kids, albeit a little easy for most people. As a bonus, the game comes packaged with a yarn Yoshi amibo figure that the little ones’ are sure to adore.

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