Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Digital Video Games To Save You From The Mall

If the thought of braving shopping malls to grab some last minute presents gives you a bad stomach, the good news is, there are lot of gifts to give in the form of digital video games. Here’s a rundown of some solid choices you could give either in advance of or on Christmas Day, via the glory of digital purchases:

This year has been an outstanding one if you love WB LEGO video games (and honestly, I don’t want to meet the gamer who can’t find the fun in clobbering bricks while playing along with some of the most visible characters in pop culture). 2018 saw the release of the outstanding LEGO Incredibles game across multiple platforms, including the Nintendo Switch, which is how the Princess and I have been playing it. The game combines both films, starting with the second one, and puts all the recognizable characters from the franchise at your fingertips. While the original voices aren’t part of the title, the ones hired do an admirable job of replicating the familiar family. In fact, as far as adapting films go, LEGO knocked it out of the park with this title.

Also new this year that we spent some time with on the Switch was LEGO DC Super-Villains, which features characters like The Joker, Harley Quinn, Lex Luther, The Riddler and many others teaming up to take on the heroes of the DC Universe. LEGO has mastered the art of creating new and fun stories for their DC LEGO games, making them a fun and easy way to introduce younger gamers to that particular comic book world. There are always tweaks being made across all the LEGO games, but it’s really the familiarity combined with solid storytelling that I believe brings people back again and again to these titles.

Finally, it’s worth noting that The LEGO Harry Potter Collection was also released this year on Nintendo Switch. Essentially a port of the previously released set on PS4, there’s no real surprises in this version; however, if you or the HP fan in your life has never played this one, it’s an absolute must have, as you guide Harry and his pals through seven years at Hogwarts.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is now available for the Switch; the Princess had a chance to try this one out multiple times leading to its release a little over a week ago, and she loved it. You can read her thoughts here, and it’s safe to say that this is THE game for the holidays. Pick this up Christmas morning and their day is totally set.

While adults can definitely get a lot out of the LEGO video games, there are also some solid titles I’ve played this year that are definitely not for the younger gamers in your life. Tops on my list is Diablo 3 Eternal Collection, which made its debut on the Nintendo Switch this fall. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’d never played a Diablo game before, but I think I lucked out, because I had no expectations going into this one and was absolutely blown away by it. The story is immersive, the gameplay fairly simple to understand (especially for someone like myself, who you might refer to as RPG-challenged), and Diablo simply looks gorgeous on the Switch, whether you’re playing handheld or on your television. For anyone who’s never played the series, this is an absolute must-own for your Switch.

While most of my gaming life this year was spent on the Switch, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some solid offerings that I had the opportunity to play on my PlayStation 4. Wrestling fans were super served with the release of both WWE 2K19, arguably the greatest version of the franchise in many a year, and the first next gen Fire Pro Wrestling World, with its NJPW connection and its in-depth create-a-wrestler. Both games have their merits, though some may be turned off by Fire Pro’s simplistic graphics.

Horror fans received Call of Cthulhu this year, an original game based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft. It’s got the old creepy, New England vibe that’s become a hallmark of Lovecraft interpretations (see Alan Moore’s Providence), and is a fairly spooky gaming experience once it kicks in. There’s also The Forest, a first person survival horror game that recently made the jump from PC to PS4. I haven’t had a chance to spend too much time with it so far, but hey, that’s what the holidays are for, right? Reviews have been very strong for this version, and from what I’ve played so far, I can tell you the game looks good, so I feel comfortable putting this one on the reco list.

So there you go – all these games are available digitally so, while they may not have anything to unwrap, figure you can avoid malls, line-ups, and parking lots, while still giving someone a great gift for the holidays.

 

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