Holiday Gift Guide: The Blockbusters

By James Hawkins in GearFest
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm
It is the time of year where we need to become constant shoppers. Whether we like it or not, we need to begin to take advantage of awesome holiday deals; price cuts that make the bagfuls of merchandise we purchase a little lighter on our wallets. We all have someone to dole out gifts to. Be it Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Significant Other -- each and every one of those people will have their loving hands outstretched as they await their wrapped up holiday present.

That's where your good friends at Joystick Division come in. If one of your beloved posse happens to play video games, you are most certainly in luck. Autumn 2011 is one of the most blockbuster-filled seasons of all time for video games, chock full of shooters, action titles, HD remakes, and the like. We're talking multi-multi-multi-million unit sellers, which means that there's likely something appealing for everyone. And we've got ten of them together to ensure that the gamer in your life is totally satisfied with their $59.99 gift. Or $49.99 if they have a Wii.

Read on for our ten blockbuster picks!

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Gears of War 3
Available on Xbox 360
The conclusion of Epic Games' beautiful Gears of War trilogy is the most banging title in the series -- maybe even of the year. Releasing four years after the first one, Epic spent each iteration fine-tuning the last. Gears of War 3 features a near-perfect multiplayer element, with a gripping story to boot and limitless gameplay options for a ton of replayability. This title represents a great alternative to the slew of first-person shooters that arrived this fall, and with a strong fanbase, you can hop into the densely populated servers in no time and enjoy ultraviolent stop-n-pop action for months.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac OS X
Multiple story arcs. Limitless decision-making and total control over your futuristic cyborg character. The ability to punch through walls. These are the qualities that Deus Ex: Human Revolution brings to the table: a bouquet of qualities that can't quite be found anywhere else on this list. If your nearest and dearest loves cyberpunk conspiracy stories centering around a monumental badass, well then please -- look no further.

Batman: Arkham City
Available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
The year's highest rated game snuck up and blew people out of their seats. Everyone knew that Batman: Arkham City was going to be wonderful, but I don't believe everyone could quite handle how wonderful it could be. It is adult, gritty, and brilliantly enjoyable -- three features that have been long missing from the storied Batman franchise. Mixing equal parts story, stealth, and gadgetry, the newest take on the Caped Crusader will be a knockout gift for anyone who has a life-long love of comics, nerdery, or just plain old video games. 

Battlefield 3
Available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
If real-looking war simulators is appealing to your gamer friend, I recommend gifting Battlefield 3 this time of year. The game released with some bugs and server issues, but this late in the game, most of those mishaps are patched up. Don't expect a deep single-player mode, but do expect an offering of thousands of hours of competitive multiplayer with a strong focus on teamwork. The game is built to look and feel like a war movie, and it does so with impressive visuals and tight, realistic physics. For the more hardcore gamers that want to play a thinking sport with guns.

NBA 2K12
Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PC, Wii
Sports games don't get much better than 2K's flagship basketball game. With the NBA lockout officially coming to a close, it might just be time to enjoy some quality sims with your homies by getting them NBA 2K12 for Christmas or Hanukkah and inviting yourself over for some one-on-one. It might even be the perfect gift for the older gamer -- especially sports aficionados -- due to the representation of classic athletes and teams in the game. That, and its incredible physics engine that makes it all feel realer than ever.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PC
You don't have to go the way of "hyper-realism" in your war game, if your friend is totally turned off by that idea. Modern Warfare 3 is an over-the-top blockbuster hit that capitalizes on explosions, not emotions, and offers up a very fast-paced style of multiplayer. It follows a couple of heroes as they battle terrorism and explode a lot of stuff. Some love it, others loathe it, but there's a reason that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the highest, fastest-selling video game ever.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC
Skyrim is currently delighting about seven million people. For an open world fantasy RPG that released at the height of first-person shooter season, that's pretty amazing. But we shouldn't be surprised -- the game is an incredible feat of video game creation. It is loaded with lovely scenery, limitless treasure, and a deep story that will keep your gamer friend hooked for months on end. They'll thank you at first. And then when their life falls apart and they lose their job and their girlfriend leaves them because they can't stop playing, they will hate you.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Available for Nintendo Wii
For Nintendo Wii owners, Skyward Sword is most certainly the game to pick this season.For long-time fans of the series, Skyward Sword breaks the mold of the prototypical Zelda game --and it succeeds on almost every level. For those new to the series, it is a warm title that exudes the rare feelings that can only be experienced when we're met with a rich Nintendo game. Be sure to package with a Wii Motion Plus to make this gift the best it can be.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Available for PlayStation 3
Sony's flagship adventure franchise is an accessible hit for PlayStation owners of all types. It features a rugged and handsome leading man, cinematic action, charismatic characters, and a well-told story. Drake's Deception puts the titular character in the middle of a vast Arabian desert, hunted by his enemies and constantly evading capture. It's the highest rated PS3 exclusive of the year, and one that will be weighted down with awards come the New Year.

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Portal 2
Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC
Here's a game unlike the rest. It is a first-person shooter that features one of the most devastating physics puzzlers in all of video game history. It is a masterful work of design and concept, one that puts intriguing gameplay up against a heavy, hilarious story and deadly clever characters. Valve is the best in the business. And they've made the best in the business with Portal 2. Simply can't go wrong. BUY IT.

Can't Miss With: LA Noire, Dead Space 2, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS, Fifa 12, Rayman Origins

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