Buying a Christmas present for a gamer can be a tricky proposition. With so many genres, franchises and sequels to pick from, making the right choice isn’t always easy.
We’ve taken the stress out of gift giving with our guide to 2017’s biggest console gaming releases. If you’re after a slice of family-friendly fun, thrilling action or outlandish humour, there’s a wide selection of titles with something for all tastes and ages.
Taking place in a far-flung post-apocalyptic future, giant mechanical creatures roam this open world and mankind has returned to a hunter-gatherer existence. Hunting, crafting and exploration are the order of the day.
Mixing up hack-and-slash combat with shoot-em-up style segments and platforming sections, Nier: Automata’s engaging story revolves around the consequences of a war between humans and aliens where robots did all the fighting.
Originally intended as an expansion for Unhcarted 4, this standalone spin-off of the action adventure franchise stands on its own two feet with thrilling cinematic set-pieces straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster.
A turn-based RPG sequel based on the adult animation series, it spoofs Hollywood’s current obsession with comic book movie franchises.
For players love a challenge, check out this tough but satisfying third-person action in the Dark Souls mould that has you battling ghosts and demons in feudal Japan.
With its long cold nights, winter is a perfect time for playing horror games. Lights off, headphones on and a duvet on the sofa to hide under when things get too tense. If you know a gamer who loves a good scare, The Evil Within 2 delivers in spades.
Returning main character Sebastian Castellanos must rescue his daughter by venturing into a terrifying Matrix-style simulation filled with grotesque monsters.
For a more precise and slower paced slice of WW2 action, Sniper Elite 4 a great choice. Head to sunny Italy and use your sharpshooting skills to thwart the Nazis as they attempt to develop a new type of missile.
The series’ trademark killcams return, with successful hits rewarded with gory slow motion x-ray cutscenes. You can also get a bit more up close and personal with stealth attacks.
This sci-fi thriller title is set on a space station that’s been infested by shape-shifting aliens. You’ll have to scrounge for weapons and resources in order to survive, and can discover upgrades to give yourself various powers derived from the aliens’ DNA. But be warned, injecting yourself with too many extra-terrestrial genes will cause the station’s automated defences to turn against you.
The classic fighting game series returns, with fresh gameplay mechanics and some new characters, including the villainous Akuma from the Street Fighter franchise. This edition adds the Power Crush ability, which lets you attack even while your opponent is hitting you. Perfect for hosting your own family fighting game tournament on Christmas Day, and it’s a bit more action-packed than Monopoly.
Any doubts about Nintendo’s new console seem to have been thoroughly allayed by this latest entry in the main series of Mario games. With high review scores across the board, the diminutive plumber’s new open world platforming adventure has been a critical and commercial hit.
The first must-have title for the Switch, Breath of the Wild takes the beloved Zelda franchise into true open-world territory. Taking place in a huge, wonderfully rendered environment, hero Link must once again defeat the evil Ganon and save the kingdom of Hyrule.
Splatoon is a kid-friendly shooting game that does away with bullets and killing. Instead, players use weapons that fire paint, with each team assigned a different colour. Whoever covers more of the level in their team’s hue at the end of a round wins.
Essentially ‘football with cars’, Rocket League has you driving a variety of vehicles around giant arenas and attempt to score goals. There are also basketball and ice hockey-style modes.
Definitely more Mario Kart than FIFA, it’s accessible and fun – perfect for some quick multiplayer action (either local or online) on Christmas Day while you wait for the turkey to finish cooking. The Switch version also supports cross-platform play, meaning you can compete against Xbox One and PC players online.
After putting their own spin on multiplayer shooters with Splatoon, Nintendo have also given fighting games a whirl with ARMS, a beat-em-up that’s simple enough for all the family to pick up and play.
More over-the-top arcade racing action with Mario and company in the latest Mario Kart game. This one adds anti-gravity sections on the tracks along with some new characters and power-ups.
Bethesda’s vast open world game has made its way to Nintendo’s console, and if you know a Switch gamer who loves massive fantasy RPGs, there are dozens – if not hundreds – of hours of gameplay to be found here. Fight dragons, explore dungeons and interact with the denizens of this sprawling land in a bid to
This version even includes a Link costume, Master Sword and Hylian Shield to make your character look just like the Legend of Zelda hero.
2017 has been a year of surprises. One of them being this crossover between Super Mario and Ubisoft’s adorably ugly Rabbids. However, rather than a platformer, this title is actually a turn-based strategy game.
Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle still manages to be highly accessible, meaning that even those new to the genre will be able to jump into the tactical action. Assemble a team made up of Mario characters and take on the Rabbids in pitched battles, using the specific skills of each member to whittle down your enemies.
With the slower and more deliberate pace of the older Resident Evil survival horror games, Revelations is a return to form, and now Switch owners are able to experience the terror. Taking control of the series’ stalwart heroine Jill Valentine on board a creaking ocean liner. it’s up to you to uncover the cause of a bioweapon attack.
The collection also includes Revelations 2, which follows the fortunes of iconic characters Barry Burton and Claire Redfield as they attempt to survive on an island populated by mutated creatures.
This polished-up version of the acclaimed 2011 adventure is a brilliant crime thriller that puts you in the shoes of a police detective in 1940s Los Angeles. While there’s the odd bit of action, the focus here is on examining crime scenes, collecting evidence and interrogating witnesses or suspects.
The facial animation – created using special motion capture techniques on real actors – has an uncannily real feel to it, which comes into play when trying to decide if the person you’re grilling has something to hide.
Dripping with atmosphere and style, if you know a gamer who loves a good mystery and didn’t get round to playing it first time round, then this is definitely worth considering.
This year’s newest instalment of the blockbuster first-person shooter series does away with futuristic settings of the last few games and goes right back to its World War 2 roots. Nazi Zombies mode makes a comeback, and the usual slew of multiplayer game types are also available.
Bungie’s sci-fi shooter / RPG hybrid series returned for a sequel this year, with a more fully-fleshed out story and new interplanetary environments to explore. Team-up with some friends and get ready to lose countless hours as you level up your character on an addictive search for ever-better weapons.
The FIFA franchise continues to dominate the football genre, with this year’s entry featuring improved AI and graphics.
Capcom’s survival horror franchise jumps to a first-person view for this terrifying instalment. One best played with the lights off and your headphones on.
Ubisoft’s action adventure franchise returns with its typical blend of parkour and stealth, but the addition of a loot system adds an RPG twist to proceedings. There’s also a Discovery mode that removes enemies and lets you freely explore the world to learn about Egyptian history.
Another real-time strategy spin-off of the Halo series, this sequel sees the spacefaring crew of the Spirit of Fire take on Atriox, a former member of the evil Covenant. Atriox has gone rogue, laying waste to everything in his path as he attempts to use powerful ancient technology in his quest for domination.
Set in the Lord of the Rings universe (and taking place between the events of The Hobbit and LOTR), you step back into the boots of warrior Talion who is bonded with the spirit of elf lord Celebrimbor.
Sharing your body with a ghost affords you a number of supernatural abilities to aid you in combat. You’ll take on a wide array of missions in a large open world, fighting orcs and recruiting an army as you try and defeat big baddie Sauron.
The latest in the life-simulation series has made its way to consoles. Build a house, start a family and manage the day-to-day existence of the game’s virtual inhabitants. This instalment has an improved character creation system and the building tools allow more versatility when designing your home.
Arcade racing action abounds in the most recent entry in the driving series. Burn rubber in an open world as you use your skills at the wheel to take on a criminal syndicate called The House. You’ll play as three different characters to defeat rival drivers and pull off explosive stunts in set-pieces straight out of a Fast and Furious movie.
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