The holiday season brings with it family, fellowship, and a whole lot of shopping stress. Thankfully, if you have a gamer in the family–or you just want to spoil yourself–buying a wicked-cool present is as easy as picking a game (or two, or three) from our 2011 Holiday Video Game Wish List.
Battlefield 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, iOS) — EA’s Battlefield 3 is a long-awaited first-person shooter that thrusts players into a multitude of battles ranging from cities to wide-open spaces. The game features a campaign mode, a cooperative mode, and, of course, multiplayer. Guns will be ringing this holiday season, but with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in the fray, Battlefield 3′s real enemy isn’t lurking in the confines of its disc.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, Nintendo DS) — Another first-person shooter game that’s set in a time of war and strife. Like Battlefield 3, Activision’s Modern Warfare 3 features a campaign mode, a cooperative mode, and multiplayer. Both EA and Activision are very aware that their games are in direct competition with one another. To that end, you can simulate another kind of war by buying a copy of each game and banging them together ’til one breaks. Last disc standing is the winner.
Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo 3DS) — Super Mario 3D Land is a Mario game that takes place on the 2D and 3D plane. In fact, the game was built to take full advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D capabilities: For the first time ever, you can truly comprehend the depth of the playing field, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Moreover, the Tanooki Suit is back, but be warned: Bowser has acquired a raccoon tail of his own, and he knows how to use it.
Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo 3DS) — It’s time to let loose and flip the bird at the Mushroom Kingdom’s traffic laws. Mario Kart 7 is the latest installment in the beloved Mario Kart franchise, and this time you can glide and drive underwater. We’d feel bad for putting Lakitu and his fishing pole out of a job, but he’s decided to join the ranks of the racers. Good for him!
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC) — Assassin’s Creed: Revelations combines stealth, action, and plenty of enemy deaths at the end of a hookblade. The game closes up the running storylines between the series’ three main protagonists, Altair, Ezio, and Desmond. It’s gaming’s most touching reunion as conducted over a gap over hundreds of years, so don’t miss it.
LA Noire (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac OSX) — A critically-acclaimed adventure/crime-solving game that takes obvious inspiration from the film noir movie genre. Set in 1947, you root around crime scenes looking for clues that will help you solve some super-tough crimes. LA Noire is especially notable for its graphics, which even captures subtle changes in characters’ facial expressions–a point that will help you in your interrogation of suspects.
Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) — Gears of War 3 wraps up the storyline that’s currently running through the Gears series. It’s a combat-heavy third-person shooter that challenges the player to use cover to his or her full advantage, and to coordinate squad tactics against the Locust. Alternatively, up to four players can play simultaneously.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Xbox 360, PC) — Geralt is back in another third-person role-playing adventure. The gameplay in Assassins of Kings revolves heavily around choices and consequences, so mind your manners. It’s also a tough game that dishes out a heck of a challenge, so don’t bother falling on your knees and begging for quarter, because there will be none.
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (PSP) — The PSP is not dead, and neither are Japanese RPGs. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is the first of Japan’s Legend of Heroes trilogy, which is making its way to English-speaking audiences courtesy of XSeed. With its rich story and engaging combat, Trails in the Sky is a great showcase of what the JRPG genre is capable of doing right.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) — With the latest installment in Capcom’s much-loved Marvel vs Capcom crossover fighting series, you can finally demonstrate who’d win in a fight between Spider-Man and Iron Man. Or a fight between Wolverine and Ryu. Or between She-Hulk and Chun-Li. Or between Zero and Amaterasu. Or…