Sunday, December 1, 2013

NGR Holiday Gift Guide - 2013

It is that time of year again! Christmas is just around the corner, and many of you may be wondering just what to buy your game loving loved ones. Well, look no farther. Here is a quick shopping guide which may just help you decide what to get them. For the following guide is broken down into sections, and we will also explain which age groups they will most appeal to. Just keep in mind that while shopping for younger kids, you always want to check the age rating to see which games are appropriate for them. It is up to you, the parent, to decide of your kids should play the game; so just use your best judgement. Now, with that being said, let us get on with the shopping guide.

Video Game Consoles:

This year there are quite a lot of choices when it comes to buying console for your loved one. Each console has its own pros and cons, but here's a generalization for each one of them.

Nintendo 3DS/2DS -

At this point in time, the Nintendo DS' life has come to an end. Most video game developers have moved onto making games for the newer Nintendo 3DS. Because of this fact alone, there is really no reason to pick up a Nintendo DS, DS Lite, or DSi at this time; they are all outdated consoles, and would be a waste of money.

The Nintendo 3DS is Nintendo's newest handheld, and it has a wide verity of features not seen in the Nintendo DS. It is a much stronger console (which allows it to play much larger games with better graphics), it has a much better online system, it features a full online shop which allows you to buy digital games rather than just buying hard copies, it has a glasses free 3D effect, and it even plays all Nintendo DS games (minus the very few rare DS games which required accessories, such as the many years old Guitar Hero). It is basically two consoles in one, but it also has access to older games such as NES games and Game Boy games via the online store.

Overall, the Nintendo 3DS is a great gift for kids, and older gamers alike. For the kids and older gamers alike, the console has a wide verity of family friendly games which they are sure to enjoy (such as Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda, Starfox 64, Pokemon X and Y, Animal Crossing, etc), and for the teens and mature players it has some major titles they will not want to miss out on (Fire Emblem, Resident Evil, Rune Factory, etc).

Really it doesn't matter how old you are, or if you are a gamer or not; the Nintendo 3DS is a must have handheld console, and it is filled with great games for everyone. Even those who have never played a game in their life will find at least one enjoyable game or two on this console.

As of right now, the 3DS comes in three models. You have the standard Nintendo 3DS for $169.99, a larger XL version for $199.99, and a brand new model called the "2DS" which is a smaller version of the 3DS without the 3D effect. This version only costs $99.99, and is perfect for younger players (under the age of 7) who cannot use the 3D effect. (Note: Prices may vary.)

PlayStation Vita -

Another handheld console, but this time it is one from Sony. Overall the Vita has had quite the rocky start, and it still does not have as many games at the Nintendo 3DS, but that does not make it a bad console. Although you may not see it in stores, the PlayStation Vita actually does have a wide verity of games, but most of them are digital download only; however most of these are aimed at older gamers.

The PlayStation Vita itself has access to hundreds of games. It can download older PlayStation One titles, it has access to a large library of PlayStation Portable games, it has PlayStation Network exclusive downloads, and it has a library of its own as well. Considering most of these games are rated either T or M, the PlayStation Vita really isn't a console you'll want to buy for a younger gamer, but it does have a few titles they may enjoy (such as LittleBigPlanet); however, for the most part the Vita is better left as a gift for the mature audience. Games such as Killzone, Virtue's Last Reward, Gravity Rush, Metal Gear Solid, Ninja Gaiden, The Walking Dead, Ragnarok, and Uncharted are what make the Vita worth owning, and chances are the younger audience will not be able to enjoy them.

On another note, the Vita also acts as a type of tablet as well. Besides just playing games, the Vita has access to a wide verity of apps. From Netflix and YouTube, to photo sharing apps such as Flickr, the Vita serves also as a media center, and can be used as one if you wish.

Another reason to think about buying a PlayStation Vita is if your loved one has a PlayStation 4. Most PlayStation 4 games make use of the Vita's "Remote Play" feature, which allows you to play games off of the TV screen, and on your handheld. This will prevent others from tying up the TV when you want to watch a TV show or movie; instead they can simply transfer the game to their Vita, and play without disturbing anyone. On top of that, the Vita has other connections with the PS4 as well, such as the ability to use the party feature to voice chat with friends and family members.

Wii U -

Nintendo's newest console. This console hit shelves late last year, and was one of the larger Christmas items on the list for a lot of gamers last year; however, sadly the console still hasn't taken off. Truthfully, the Wii U is lacking on games, and it will be quite some time before it really picks up. While it does have some great family games such as New Super Mario Bros U, The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD, Scribblenauts, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, Lego City, and party games like Wii Party U, that is really all the system has to offer at this moment.

A lot of the major Wii U titles will not be released until much later next year, and even into early 2015. The Wii U does have a virtual console service where you can download older games from the NES, SNES, etc, but older games can only carry a console so far; especially considering the much cheaper, and older, Wii also has access to many of these very same games. Now, the Wii U does double as a Wii as well, but by now most already own a Wii so this is not a reason to want to buy the console.

When it comes to the older gamers, the Wii U does have quite a few of the major titles as well; however these are not system sellers at all. Sure you can play games like the newly released Assassin's Creed IV, or Call of Duty on the Wii U, but these very same games are on other consoles as well; ones the gamer may already own. Some of these games, such as Assassin's Creed, are also on the other "Next Gen" consoles such as the Xbox One, and PlayStation 4; where some would argue they are much better. Due to the Wii U's hardware limitations, Assassin's Creed IV is actually missing content (DLC), and will always be behind the other versions of the game as a result.

Overall, at this time the Wii U is not worth owning, unless you are really looking forward to future releases (such as Super Smash Bros).

PlayStation 4 -

The PlayStation 4 is the newest console released by Sony, and it is one of the "next generation" consoles to hit the market this year. The console is a major improvement over its predecessor (the PlayStation 3), and because of that it is no longer held back by as many limitations. PlayStation 4 games take console gaming to new heights, and there really is no reason to skip out on it if your loved one is a console gamer. This is one of the two "must have" consoles to choose from, and it will not disappoint. Although the console only has a handful of games at this moment, a lot more will be released in the coming months; and it appeals to both the young and old alike. While kids can enjoy games like Knack, the mature audience will be able to dive right into some of the top games to be released this year; including games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed IV, and Killzone: Shadow Fall.

Xbox One -

The other "must have" console to come out this year. The Xbox One is the next in line console, after the Xbox 360, and it too takes a major jump forward. Although the console is a bit "weaker" than the PlayStation 4, that really should not be a deciding factor. The Xbox One features a lot of the same great "must have" titles (Dead Rising 3, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin's Creed, etc), and it also acts as a full fledged media center. Overall the console is aimed more toward the older audience at this time, but in the future more kid friendly games will be on the shelves. If your loved one is a Xbox fan, then this really should be your console of choice.

Recommended Games:

Although we went into detail about some of the games above, here is a quick list of some of the games you may want to think about picking up this holiday season.

Great Games for Kids -
  • Skylanders: Swap Force (3DS, Wii, Wii U, XB360, XBO, PS3, PS4)
  • Disney Infinity (3DS, Wii, Wii U, XB360, PS3, PC, iOS)
  • Minecraft (PC, XB360, iOS)
  • Angry Birds Trilogy (3DS, Wii, Wii U, XB360, PS3, Vita)
Great Games for Everyone -
  • Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
  • Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD (Wii U)
  • Mario and Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
  • Pokemon X or Pokemon Y (3DS)
  • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
  • Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Collection (PS3)
  • Knack (PS4)
  • Tearaway (Vita)
  • Need for speed Rivals (XB360, XBO, PS3, PS4)
 Great Games for Teens -
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U, 3DS)
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
  • Rune Factory 4 (3DS)
  • Tales of Xillia (PS3)
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita)
  • Gravity Rush (Vita)
  • Batman: Arkham Origins (Wii U, XB360, PS3, PC)
  Great Games for Mature Audience -
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies (3DS)
  • Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)
  • Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)
  • Persona 4 Golden (Vita)
  • Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (Vita)
  • Dead Rising 3 (XBO)
  • Tomb Raider (XB360, PS3, PC)
  • Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate (XB360, PS3)
  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (Wii U, XB360, XBO, PS3, PS4, PC)
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (Wii U, XB360, XBO, PS3, PS4, PC)
  • Battlefield 4 (XB360, XBO, PS3, PS4, PC)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut (Wii U, XB360, PS3, PC)
  • Mass Effect Trilogy (XB360, PS3, PC)
For more information concerning some of the games listed above, as well as other games not included; feel free to checkout our video game review section. Who knows, maybe you'll discover something new?