Stumped about what to get the gamer on your list? Here are some ideas. If you’re buying for youngsters, look for the ESRB rating on the box to help you decide what’s appropriate for them.
The only new entertainment console to be released this fall is Nintendo’s Wii U, which includes the tabletlike GamePad controller. Insist on the black deluxe edition, which includes a 32-gigabyte hard drive and the game Nintendo Land. If you’re looking for the redesigned PlayStation 3, the only way to get it is bundled with Assassin’s Creed III. If Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is on your radar, check for the limited-edition Halo 4 console, which comes with the game and is decorated in similar colours. For the gamer on the go, the GAEMS Halo UNSC Vanguard, available exclusively at Amazon.com, is a rugged suitcase kitted out with a high-def, 19-inch display and a padded compartment for your PS3 or Xbox 360 (not included).
Collections The Mass Effect Trilogy (Electronic Arts; PS3, Windows, Xbox 360) collects the three games along with the solid multiplayer feature introduced in the third game last spring. Zone of the Enders HD (Konami; PS3, Xbox 360) includes remastered versions of the first two
Doom 3 BFG Edition (Bethesda; PS3, Windows, Xbox 360) has all the games in the first-person shooter series but with better graphics. The first five-episode season of the chilling adventure game is included in The Walking Dead: Collector’s Edition (Telltale; PS3, Xbox 360). Also included is a book collecting the first 48 issues of the Robert Kirkman comic book.
For older kids
Assassin’s Creed III (Ubisoft; PS3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360) gives players the chance to roam around 18th-century New England. The game follows a free-running assassin who fights to preserve free will in society. Dishonored (Bethesda; PS3, Windows, Xbox 360) also puts players in the role of an assassin, but in a steampunk version of Victorian London. The made-in-Vancouver Sleeping Dogs (Square Enix; PS3, Windows, Xbox 360) is set in a contemporary Hong Kong that looks amazingly authentic. This open-world game tells the story of an undercover cop caught up in an underworld of organized crime.
Borderlands 2 (2K; Mac, PS3, Windows, Xbox 360) is a third-person action game in which collecting badass weapons is the key to success. It’s best played with a friend. That’s also true of Halo 4 (Microsoft; Xbox 360), which marks the return of Master Chief. In addition to allowing you to play through the story with up to three others, the multiplayer feature includes competitive and cooperative modes.
Zombies appear in Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Activision; PS3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360) as a full-on second campaign that runs parallel to the primary story about the future of armed conflict. In ZombiU (Ubisoft; Wii U), if you die, your character becomes a zombie, part of the horde that comes after the next character you play.
Mario the mustachioed plumber stars in New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo), a standard platform game for the Wii U that you can play on a TV or the GamePad controller. He’s also in Paper Mario: Sticker Star (Nintendo), a turn-based action game for the 3DS portable system. Another notable pop-culture figure returns in Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Disney; PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360). In this sequel, the mouse teams up with his half-brother, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Skylanders Giants (Activision; 3DS, PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360) is a great gift. The video game is easy and fun for youngsters to play. There’s also a line of toys that become characters in the game.
Hockey fans can play their own games with NHL 13 (Electronic Arts; PS3, Xbox 360). Soccer fanatics can do the same with FIFA Soccer 13 (Electronic Arts; 3DS, PS3, PSP, PS Vita, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360). Those who want to become Steve Nash in Lakers purple and gold will go for NBA 2K13 (2K; PS3, PSP, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360).