The 12 Games of Christmas (2016 Edition)

A house in the town of Dawnstar from 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'. A house in the town of Dawnstar from 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'. BETHESDA

With the countdown clock to Christmas quickly running out of time, we've assembled a list of a cool dozen games to consider for a gift for the gamers in your life.

Finding the right gift for the geeks in your life can sometimes pose quite the challenge, so we looked around and found some great suggestions for you and your geeky friends and family.


The Last Guardian

A PlayStation 4 exclusive, The Last Guardian, is a game that almost never saw publication thanks to numerous production delays and roadbumps along the way.  To say that the game was "long awaited" would be an understatement as it was first announced as a PlayStation 3 title way back in 2009.

It's made by the same team behind the iconic PlayStation games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus and tells the story of a young boy who befriends a giant feathered griffin-like creature.

The game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Battlefield 1

Published by Electronic Arts and available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Battlefield 1 takes the long-running Battlefield military first-person shooter video game series back in time.  Rather having a contemporary or futuristic setting, this latest entry into the series takes place during World War I.

Battlefield 1 features a single-player campaign that consists of a number of war stories as well as an assortment of multiplayer modes.

Like the above The Last GuardianBattlefield 1 has been very well received and currently boasts an overall rating of 88/100 on the review aggregate website Metacritic.

Final Fantasy XV

Perhaps one of the most well known series of role-playing games (and perhaps video game franchises in general) is the Final Fantasy series.  It dates all the way back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System and Final Fantasy XV is the latest entry into the series.

Development on the game reportedly began in 2006 and the amount of work the team put in on the game over the course of ten years really shows through as Final Fantasy XV is extremely well made with well-received mechanics and a likable cast of characters.

The game is widely considered to be one of the best Final Fantasy games to come out in years.  Critics tend to agree.  Final Fantasy XV has received numerous near-perfect review scores from a variety of publications and outlets.

Pokémon Sun/Moon

The popular mobile game Pokémon Go wouldn't exist if it weren't for the core Pokémon video game series that began on the original Game Boy all those years ago.  The newest entry into the franchise are the games Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.  The games are largely the same aside from a few differences in terms of the pokémon characters that can be captured and can be bought either separately or in a two-game bundle as can be seen in the image to the left.

The game is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive, but it's also compatible with Nintendo's lower price point portable gaming platform, the 2DS as well.


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

Beware, beware!  The Dragonborn comes!  At least, that's how the song goes.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is a revamped re-release of the 2011 award-winning video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  What makes it a "special edition" isn't only the inclusion of all of the original game's downloadable content and add-ons, but also the upping of its audio-visual presentation to modern standards.  That means crisper textures, better quality audio, and so on.

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and computer gamers all have this game as an option, so pick your favorite platform and have at it.  After all, Skyrim isn't going to save itself.

Gears of War 4

Aside from Halo, Gears of War might be the most popular Xbox-exclusive video game franchises available.  The latest in the series, Gears of War 4, takes place a quarter-century after the events of the previous game in the series (Gears of War 3) and includes two-player co-op playable friends locally via split-screen, on Xbox Live or over LAN.

The game, which is available on both Xbox One and Windows PC, has been extremely well received by most critics.  On the aggregate website Metacritic, Gears of War 4 is averaging an 88 out of 100 review score.

Civilization VI

Sid Meier's Civilization VI continues the long-running series of society and nation building video game simulators that's been around since the MS-DOS days.  25 years and a number of iterations later, and publisher 2K brings PC gamers the latest in the extremely well-received and well-made franchise.

Civilization VI is the fastest-selling edition of Civilization in the game's history thanks (in part) to a score of 89 out of 100 on Metacritic.  You shouldn't worry, however, about places selling out of the game.  It's available via digital download platforms such as Steam.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Force is strong with a new generation of digital mini-figures.  In LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, players get to experience the events of the film 'Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens' retold through with the bit of wit that the LEGO video games have become known for over the years.

The game also boasts exclusive playable content that takes players on adventures that take place between 'Star Wars:Episode VI: Return of the Jedi' and last year's 'Star Wars Episode VII'.  The extra content provides players and Star Wars fans with additional insight about the movie and its characters.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is available for PlayStation 4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U.

Sports games

Okay, so we're kind of cheating on this one.  Seeing as there are just so darn many sports and games based on those sports, we could have done an entire list on just the genre alone!

Topping the list are the "big four" team sports with NBA 2K17 from 2K Sports; Madden NFL 17 and NHL 17 from EA Sports, and the PlayStation-exclusive MLB The Show from Sony.  For soccer fans, there's Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 and EA Sports' market-leading FIFA 17.

Looking beyond team sports, racing fans would be interested in F1 2016 or Dirt Rally (both from Codemasters).  Furthermore, MMA fans have EA Sports' UFC 2.

Unfortunately for tennis, golf, and boxing fans, there weren't any notable video game releases for any of those sports this year.


Super Mario Maker

Two years ago Nintendo released Super Mario Maker for the Wii U and it was an instant hit.  This year they made an on-the-go version for the 3DS.

The game not only comes with 100 new 2D Super Mario maps and challenges for players to take on, but also the ability for users to make their own.  Once a player makes a Super Mario course, they're able to share their creation with others via both the 3DS' StreetPass feature and over local wireless.  Furthermore, a wide variety of levels made on the Wii U version can be downloaded and played on the 3DS version.

The Wii U version of Super Mario Maker achieved a 88 out of 100 score.  The newer 3DS version got close with an overall rating of 74 out of 100.


Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure

What's old is new yet again.  Published by Mastiff for the Nintendo 3DS, Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure is a 3D remastering of the extremely well-received PlayStation Portable game by almost exactly the same name from way back in 2004.

The game follows a young girl named Parin who discovers a distressed monster that only children can see.  She takes the little monster back to Monster Village only to find it under attack from vicious phantoms.  Weilding a magical drill, Parin decides to fight to defend and and restore Monster Village to its former, peaceful state.

A digital-only title for Nintendo 3DS, Gurumin 3D: A Monstrous Adventure can only be obtained via the Nintendo eShop (meaning it can't be found in stores).  What can be found in stores, however, are Nintendo eShop gift cards and this would be a great game to get with one.


Skylanders Imaginators

Skylanders Imaginators is the latest in Activision's series of Toys-To-Life video games.  For the uninitiated, Toys-To-Life refers to physical real-life figurines that spring to life within a video game.

Imaginators features an all-new storyline and comes with two new figurines.  For those who own older figurines or any of the previous games in the series, those toys are fully compatible with the new game.  Furthermore, via the game's affiliated smartphone app users can create their own custom-made Skylander figurine and play with it both in the game and in real life.

Also, retailers tend to put the Skylanders starter packs on sale prices during this time of year so there is a good chance you'll save a few bucks on it.  The game is available for Wii U, PS3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

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