Gifts for the many varieties of gamer in your life

By Devin Coldewey as written on

For the mainstream gamer

Does your gamer just want the latest AAA games in the coolest series, but maybe hasn’t had the chance or cash to pick them up?
Dishonored 2 has garnered nearly unanimous accolades as a worthy follow-up to the original: a highly enjoyable and well-crafted stealth action title with a lot of (optional) stabbing. (PC performance issues ought to be ironed out by the time this is received.)
Watch Dogs 2 improves on the original with a less-grimdark story, bigger world, and lots more options to create chaos using your choice of hacking tools and automatic weapons. Anybody who sunk a lot of time into the GTA series will find this right up their alley.

For the cerebral gamer

Does your gamer like to use their synapses instead of their reflexes? (Or would you rather they did?)
The Witness is at once one of the simplest and most sophisticated games I’ve played in years — it caused me to doubt my own brilliance constantly, and my own sanity more than once. Not for those easily deterred or frustrated.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided may give you guns and fisticuffs, but you can also navigate its labyrinthine levels (and timely, if sometimes overreaching plot) with stealth and careful planning. It’s not a game to rush through, and the cerebral gamer will appreciate that.

For the competitive gamer

Do you often hear your gamer screaming “Oh my god! Get on the objective!” or “I need a heal!” or other strange utterances?
Battlefield 1 isn’t as different from the other war games as it would like you to think, but it’s still great fun and a nice break from the relentlessly modern multiplayer shooters we’ve had for years. The last time taking a zeppelin down was this much fun was probably Red Baron.
Titanfall 2 improves on the original’s combination of mechanized and on-foot combat in every way, with a tightly crafted single player campaign (a pleasant surprise) and Titanfall’s signature asymmetric multiplayer.

For the Overwatch gamer

Specifically, does your gamer say things like “We don’t need two Widowmakers!” or “Mei is bae”?
Millions play Blizzard’s mega-hit Overwatch, but comparatively few can bring themselves to pay for the “loot boxes” that contain cool skins for their favorite character and other bonus content, and come at an excruciatingly slow pace from in-game progress. You can’t gift boxes directly, but a gift card will surely not go unappreciated.

For the intense gamer

Does your gamer like visceral experiences and in-depth combat?
DOOM is a fun and frantic return to form for the series, alternating between very fast-paced action and careful exploration. It doesn’t take itself seriously, instead focusing on the thrill and satisfaction of movement and power.
Shadow Warrior 2 combines slick combat with piles of loot, dozens of weapons, and levels that are different every time you play. It’s rough around the edges and the humor is juvenile to say the least, but the core gameplay is a blast. Fun for co-op, too, so buy a copy for yourself if it sounds fun.
Bonus: The inscrutable, terrifying, and bargain-priced Devil Daggers will take any overconfident intense gamer down a notch. Personal guarantee.


For the indie gamer

Does your gamer disdain the biggest releases, opting instead for titles created by a handful of people in Denmark?
Inside is a haunting, beautiful, and incredibly well made puzzler/platformer that tells a powerful story without speaking a single word. Warning: Despite appearances, it can be quite quite brutal!
Owlboy, ten years in the making, is a loving throwback to the days of the wide-ranging retro action-adventures like Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night. Anyone looking for a throwback will be well served by this passion project.
Bonus: If they didn’t already get it, Stardew Valley is a must-have.

For the world-dominating gamer

Does your gamer like to think about ways to take over the planet?
Civilization 6 is the only thing such a gamer needs right now. If they already have it, buy a copy for yourself and play with them. Beware: Civ games are notorious time sinks, so be ready to squander hours at a time.

For the disaffected Minecraft gamer

Does your gamer love to dig and build, but is getting tired of digging and building in the world of Minecraft?
Dragon Quest Builders is a surprisingly successful marriage of the blocky construction gameplay of Minecraft with the usual Dragon Quest adventuring. It hits a note Minecraft clones often fail to, and makes harvesting and building things its own reward.
Terraria and Starbound started as very Minecraft-like games in 2D, but have each evolved into their own unique experiences with loot, bosses, and secrets — though you’ll definitely be doing a lot of digging and building too. They’re both excellent games with active communities, so pick whether you like to go far above or deep below the surface, buy a couple copies, and go exploring.

For the role-playing gamer

Does your gamer appreciate stories that take upwards of 30 hours to complete?
Final Fantaxy XV is — apart from the remake of FFVII — probably the most anticipated title yet in the long-lived JPRG series. Whether it can live up to its years of hype we’ll soon find out, but we’re sure it’s going to be epic and at least pretty awesome, and everyone will want to play it anyway.
Tyranny is in the “Western” style of RPG, but brings freshness to the venerable genre with an unusual story that makes the player’s actions more than trivial. Hard moral decisions ahead, but for people who like playing evil or chaotic characters, this game will be a
Bonus: Persona 5 is… not coming out until April. But people are already going nuts and early reviews of the Japanese version are effusive. It’s going to be amazing. Full disclosure, I’m mainly putting this here so someone in my family will see it and buy it for me.


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