Clueless gamer guide: Best holiday games 2015

christmas games 2015

Got a gamer under your roof but absolutely no clue what to buy them for Christmas? The titles listed below will be a surefire hit this holiday season.

Gamers are a picky breed. Most younger gamers will light up with glee if you put anything with the words Lego, Disney or Skylanders on the box, but those games are more likely to gather dust if you gift them to an older teen or adult. It’s the equivalent of buying the latest One Direction album for your nephew or niece when they’ve already transitioned to Nirvana.

Much like any other community, gamers’ interests change with the wind. As we grow older, our preferences diversify and our genre of choice becomes more niche, making gamers a tricky lot to buy for.

If you’re a clueless parent, partner or friend, buying for that special gamer in your life can be confusing. That’s why we’ve created this list of games that anyone can understand and any gamer will enjoy. The games below have either just been released or will be launching just in time for Christmas, so you can be confident you won’t be buying something they already have.

Important things to know before gifting a game
    • Be sure to check what console the recipient has. If you accidentally buy an Xbox One game for a PS4 owner, they won’t be able to play. Find out whether they game on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U/3DS or PC before making a purchase.
    • Check the game’s exclusivity. Some games, like Halo 5: Guardians and Sunset Overdrive, are only sold on Xbox One, whereas others, such as Until Dawn and Bloodborne, are only sold on PS4. Gamers like exclusive games.
    • Check the rating. Like films, video games are classified by the Australian Classification Board, so you know if the title you are purchasing is age-appropriate.


5. Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, XBO, PS4)

The Call of Duty series is one that cops a lot of flack for being a cookie-cutter franchise that pushes out what is essentially the same game every year. Granted, with ten games in ten years, the series was bound to stagnate. While Black Ops III doesn’t do a whole lot to push the envelope, the changes are significant enough to lure in fans who may have taken a break from the series.

Like the title before it, Advanced Warfare, Black Ops III embraces a futuristic setting and rigs you out with some fancy new gear (like robot legs that allow you to run along walls) and overpowered weaponry. It’s all available to use in Call of Duty’s revered multiplayer mode, or in the single player campaign. On top of the two standard modes, CoD’s popular Zombies mode makes a return with a few familiar faces taking on lead roles, such as Hollywood stars Ron Perlman, Heather Graham, Jeff Goldblum and Neal McDonough.

  • Who would like this game? Is the recipient into roid-fests like The Expendables or high-octane Michael Bay movies? Then they will almost certainly enjoy Call of Duty: Black Ops III.
  • Classification: R18+
  • Where to buy: Ozgameshop (PS4) | Microsoft Store (Xbox One)


4. Game of Thrones (XBO, PS4, PC, PS3, 360)

Game of Thrones. Heard of it? It’s only the most popular television show in history, and the books are pretty awesome too. What you might not know is that a Game of Thrones video game series by developer Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands) has been releasing episodes one by one on Xbox Live since December 2014. Thankfully, it has just released its grand finale, and a boxed copy including all six episodes is about to hit our shelves.

In Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game, the player controls five different members of Forrester House, which is a northern house impacted by the fall of Winterfell. The Forresters and their dependants travel far and wide finding themselves in every corner of Westeros and even across the sea, from The Wall, to Slaver’s Bay, to King’s Landing. They team up and bump heads with some familiar faces, including Cersei and Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and Ramsay Bolton.

As you would expect from a Game of Thrones title, it’s full of sunshine, rainbows and justice for the noble.

  • Who would like this game? Well, obviously fans of the Game of Thrones novels and TV show, as well as those who don’t mind a slow burn. As is the case with all Telltale games, Game of Thrones is a point-and-click adventure. Game of Thrones places more importance on dialogue and character choices rather than button-mashing action sequences.
  • Classification: MA15+
  • Where to buy: Ozgameshop (PS4) | Microsoft Store (Xbox One)


3. Star Wars: Battlefront (PC, XBO, PS4)

Star Wars: Battlefront has finally been released. What were the chances of it releasing during the peak of the hype for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens? Disney and EA are making sure you can’t turn a corner without having your midi-chlorians rustled.

Despite some pre-release flack, Star Wars: Battlefront offers a riotous multiplayer experience – one made even better if you’re a Star Wars fan. This is in part thanks to Disney tasking developer DICE (who made its name with iconic FPS series Battlefield) with rebooting the Battlefront series for the PS4/Xbox One generation following the release of two classics in the early 2000s. The studio knows how to nail online gameplay. The fan service is also insane, with brilliant maps and pixel-perfect animations, SFX, vehicles, heroes, droids and weapons filling the screen with iconic imagery.

Best of all, Star Wars: Battlefront is easy to get into. New players to online multiplayer shooters, like Call of Duty and DICE’s own Battlefield are often frustrated by how they are so easily killed. This is because these games incentivise play by having a seemingly endless catalogue of upgrades that give you a competitive edge. Star Wars: Battlefront does offer upgrades, but it manages to balance gameplay by focusing on fun over competition. It means newcomers and veterans can duke it out on famous planets without one vastly outcompeting the other.

  • Who would like this game? Star Wars fans, or just about anyone on the planet right now. It’s also a good choice for those inexperienced with online competitive play.
  • Classification: M
  • Where to buy: Ozgameshop (PS4) | Microsoft Store (Xbox One)


2. Rise of the Tomb Raider (XBO, 360)

Even if you haven’t had your finger on the gaming pulse over the last 15 years or so, you’re probably familiar with the iconic Lara Croft. In 2013, a successful reboot of the series saw an origin tale with a grittier telling of the Tomb Raider story, and fans were suddenly begging for more Lara Croft for the first time in years.

But Rise of the Tomb Raider is probably not quite what you remember of the franchise. Rather than a seasoned explorer, Croft is an ambitious (somewhat cocky) amateur. Despite a friend’s protests, Croft heads to Syria in search of the lost, underwater city of Kitezh. Of course, some good ol’ fashioned tomb-raiding ensues.

And that’s just the plot. Improvements have been made to everything that made the 2013 reboot a success, like weapon customisation and mind-bending tombs. Huge hub areas add tens of hours of gameplay to the riveting, action-packed narrative. This is popcorn gaming – real blockbuster stuff that any self-respecting gamer will love.

We sat down with Crystal Dynamics to talk all things Rise of the Tomb Raider. Find out why it has an “Oh My Shit” team, who should play the next on-screen Lara Croft and how the Xbox One allowed them to “show emotion”. For the full interview, click here.

  • Who should I buy this for? Players who enjoy a healthy mix of tight gunplay and challenging puzzles. Rise should be a hit with those who grew up solving the tricky temple challenges in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
  • Classification: MA15+
  • Where to buy: Microsoft Store (Xbox One)

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1. Fallout 4 (PC, XBO, PS3)

Bethesda, the team behind The Elder Scrolls series, has released its latest life-eating blockbuster, Fallout 4. What good timing! There’s no better way to spend your holidays than collecting bottle caps and becoming the underappreciated champion of the Wastelands.

Fallout storylines generally take place in an alternate timeline, and the fourth iteration is no exception. After the bombs drop in the retrofuturistic year of 2077, your playable character and their small family of Bostonites take shelter in Vault 111, an underground shelter where things don’t go exactly as planned for your hero (who is fully customisable down to the freckles). When the player emerges, “The Commonwealth” is a vastly different place. You must learn to survive by levelling up your stats, collecting sweet loot, crafting ludicrous weapons and building up a tolerance to the radiation that plagues the lands.

In your quest to find the ones who wronged you and your kin back in Vault 111, you will meet various new friends who, if treated right, will aid you in your quest. Our favourites so far are Dogmeat, your faithful canine companion, Nick the A.I. P.I., and Piper, the no-nonsense reporter. If being able to mix heated third-person combat with deep RPG mechanics wasn’t already a hot ticket, you can now build your own settlements and start a town in the wasteland with citizens, resources, shops and defences. It’s epic!

We recently spoke to Fallout 4’s leading lady Courtenay Taylor about getting into the business, the epic undertaking of Fallout 4 and her favourite role of all time. Read the full interview here.

Who should I buy this for? That S.P.E.C.I.A.L someone, so long as you’re cool with them disappearing for hours at a time because “their settlement needs them”. Also suitable for fans of apocalyptic insanity, like The Walking Dead or Mad Max.

Classification: MA15+

Where to buy:Microsoft Store - Xbox One

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