Best Video Games for Christmas 2017
Video Games as Christmas Presents:
Video Game Rating System
Like movies and TV shows, video games all have a rating, so you can make sure your gift is age and sensitivity appropriate. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gives each game an abbreviated rating, which is found on game covers and in the product description online. The chart below shows the general breakdown.
Popular Types of Video Games:
Action-adventure games feature gorgeously crafted worlds and have the player focus on exploring, collecting, and fighting their way through them. These adventures blend intriguing stories with fun and exciting gameplay for an experience that appeals to many different kinds of gamers. Some action-adventure games even feature open worlds that require hundreds of hours to unlock every secret and collectible. Oftentimes, RPG elements are included to make the experience more rewarding, with characters able to level up skills, customize weapons and armor, and become more powerful. Hot titles this year are Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Middle-Earth: Shadow of War” for Xbox One and PS4.
Bullets fly and explosions rock the screen in these games that feature non-stop action and guns, lots of guns. Shooters are either 1st-person (camera is the character’s perspective) or 3rd-person (camera is behind the character). Shooters typically have a story-focused campaign that promises hours of entertainment, but the real draw is competitive multiplayer matches that pit your aim and reflexes against players from around the world. Cooperative modes also exist in many games that let players team up to complete missions or objectives. Many shooters are rated “Mature” and are not meant for young gamers. PS4 and Xbox One owners can sink their teeth into “Star Wars Battlefront II,” “Destiny 2,” and “Call of Duty: WWII” while Nintendo’s follow-up to the popular and kid-friendly “Splatoon” will be on the Switch by holiday this year.
Sports & Racing Games
Want something that’s fun for gamers and everyone else in the family? Sports and racing games are where it’s at. Nearly every major sport is covered by a successful franchise – “Madden” football, “FIFA” soccer, and “NBA” basketball, with an updated game every year. As for racing games, get behind the wheel of hundreds of cars with “Gran Turismo Sport” for PS4 or “Forza Motorport 7” for Xbox One. The more arcade style racer, “Need for Speed: Payback,” features more vehicle customization and is available for both gaming consoles. For the Nintendo fans, “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” was released earlier in 2017 for the Switch and is still the go-to kart-racing experience.
It used to be that anyone could beat a fighting game with a lot of button mashing and a little bit of luck, but today’s fighter games require skill, timing, and memory if you want to make it to the top. The most popular fighter games are installments in long-running series. “Mortal Kombat” and “Street Fighter” are still going strong with new characters, stories, and finishing moves that the latest games fresh and fun. If you want something new and inventive, Nintendo’s “Arms” for the Switch promises a more family-friendly fighting experience that still packs a punch.
Role-playing games, or RPGs, are games that require a real time commitment. Heavy on story and character development, these games embrace character customization, typically by gaining experience to unlock new skills and gameplay options. While RPG elements can be found in many games, traditional RPGs embrace imaginative fantasy worlds and encourage exploration. The RPG standouts of 2017 are “Final Fantasy XV” and “Mass Effect: Andromeda” for both PS4 and Xbox One. However, Nintendo also has bragging rights for its award-winning “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” which has been a best-seller of 2017. Switch owners can also expect a port of the immortal “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” to land by holiday this year.
Music & Party Games
Get the party started with music and party games that everyone can enjoy. These games play better with a group of people and are a great way to break the ice and have some fun. While get-up-and-move games aren’t as common now as they were during the reign of the Nintendo Wii, there are still a decent amount of multiplayer-focused music games to get into. “Just Dance 2017” is the latest in the popular dance series, while “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” let you jam with imitation instruments to classic and contemporary tunes. Bring the party home with these fun-for-all games!
Kids’ & Family Games
As a parent, it can be hard to find games that are age-appropriate for your kids but still give them the entertainment experience they’re looking for. Checking the ratings of the games you consider is one of the best ways to stay on the right track. However, there are a few games that are proven crowd-pleasers among young gamers. Chances are you’ve heard of “Minecraft,” the virtual building block game that fosters creativity and has taken the world by storm. Lego video games are another great place to start, with kid-friendly versions of everything from Harry Potter to The Avengers. Keep the kids happy this Christmas with games they’re sure to love.