10 of the biggest video game releases for Christmas
- Murray Robertson
- 22 November 2016
We pick ten of the biggest games available to buy in time for the festive season
Can you believe it's already that time of the year when it's nearly Christmas? And with Black Friday underway, now is not a bad time to think ahead and get some games in for the festive period. If you're looking for some inspiration to buy for someone (or yourself) then look no further. All the year's major releases are now out and here are the ten biggest.
Battlefield 1 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Since almost every recent FPS title is set in space, it was a brave decision by EA to buck the trend return to the horrors of WWI. That gamble has paid of in spades, creating one of the series' best ever titles. For once, the singleplayer campaign isn't a disaster, thanks to its tight focus on the horrors of low-fi warfare, but as ever it's in the enormous multiplayer battles (up to 64 combatants) that the game shines. Because of the archaic technology of the Great War, combat in BF1 takes place up close and personal, and while there are primitive tanks, biplanes and motorbikes to ride, it's in the rain-soaked, mud-filled trenches that the most harrowing stories are told.
Order Battlefield 1 on Amazon.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
While Battlefield looks to the past, CoD ventures into the far future. One of the first things you'll do in Infinite Warfare is land on Jupiter's moon, Europa, wearing not much more than a gas mask, before casually dropping a hundred feet through a crevasse onto some guy's head. This series jumped the shark some time ago (arguably with Modern Warfare 2) but there's nothing wrong with a bit of escapism. While the set pieces are spectacular, the shooting gallery mechanics are getting very old indeed, chief villain Kit Harrington sounds bored by the whole endeavour, and the annual reset of multiplayer rankings makes starting anew feel like a fruitless slog.
Order Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on Amazon.
Titanfall 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Upon its release in 2014, Titanfall was praised for its kinetic multiplayer mayhem and punchy gunplay, although its lack of a singleplayer campaign was sorely lamented. This time round, a fully-fledged (if rather short) campaign serves as more than just an offline practice mode and, in Effect and Cause, features a section that confidently joins the genre's handful of classic levels. Unbelievably, EA released this a week after BF1 and one week before CoD, two of the very biggest releases of the year. As a result, sales have been dire, a real tragedy for one of the year's biggest surprises.
Order Titanfall 2 on Amazon.
Dishonored 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
A strong contender for game of the year, this immersive sim lets you loose in the fantasy city of Karnaca on a mission of revenge. Through stunning production design the landscape and its inhabitants resemble centuries-old oil paintings and you're free to explore its densely-curated environments from all angles. Equipped with a suite of paranormal powers, you can choose to make progress by deadly or non-lethal means, and the game dynamically responds to your actions. The intriguing story is brought to life by a cast including Rosario Dawson, Sam Rockwell and Vincent D'Onofrio.
Order Dishonored 2 on Amazon.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
This sequel to 2011's DE: Human Revolution represents one step forward and another step back. While it's technically superior and features all the freedom and open-world design we've come to expect from the series, its main location (Prague in 2029) feels much smaller than we're used to and it's disappointingly short. What we do have, however, is a well-rounded stealth game with roleplaying elements and a wonderfully atmospheric cyberpunk aesthetic.
Order Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on Amazon.
Doom (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
We expected DOOM to be a mindless (but fun) blast from the past. We were not quite expecting this. All the classic creatures and environments are back but it's driven by the fastest, most fun gunplay seen in a shooter for years. Combat takes on an absurd rhythm as you find yourself unconsciously playing along in time to the thrash metal soundtrack, dancing around demons and pounding them with your extensive and enormously fun roster of weaponry. A surprise gem.
Order Doom on Amazon.
Overwatch (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Blizzard's newest game is their first FPS, a team-based shooter which owes a debt to Team Fortress 2. Thanks to the developer's enormous resources it's a beautiful and carefully calibrated effort adorned with an eclectic cast of well-balanced characters – no mean feat given that their abilities vary enormously. While StarCraft II has recently lost its traction in the e-sports arena, Blizzard are now throwing everything at Overwatch to ensure it gains a firm foothold. As a result, this is a game that will likely be very popular for a long time to come.
Order Overwatch on Amazon.
Tom Clancy's The Division (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The name of the late Tom Clancy carries a certain cachet when it's attached to a video game and great things were expected of this open-world shooter set in a wintry, post-apocalyptic New York City. On release its reception was mixed; despite its beautiful evocation of a snowy Big Apple the gunplay felt underpowered and it suffered from repetition. In its defence, Ubisoft have not given up on the game and they've released a number of substantial updates addressing many of its problems. In its current state it's well worth a look.
Order Tom Clancy's The Division on Amazon.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)
The adventures of Nathan Drake have provided the PlayStation with its greatest exclusive series. This fourth chapter is (yet again) a technical tour-de-force and probably the PS4's best-looking game. It's not just the graphics, of course; developer Naughty Dog yet again hired some of the medium's greatest writers and performers. It's by no means perfect – the series still hasn't quite got the hang of gunplay (which can be frustrating since it's the prevalent mechanic) – but it's a real joy to explore Uncharted's stunning environments, and the opening level is a technical jaw-dropper.
Order Uncharted 4: A Thief's End on Amazon.
World of Warcraft: Legion (PC)
WoW is now 12 years old and yet it still commands subscriber levels into the many millions (each paying around £10 a month for the privilege of playing). That immense dedication is driven by a constantly evolving game dripping with lore (which was brought to the big screen this summer). Legion – like the five expansions before it – represents a significant amount of new gameplay, a new character class to level up and many revamped mechanics. There's no getting away from it: WoW is massive, and although in recent years it's suffered a significant drop off in regular players, it'll likely still be here for a long time to come.
Order World of Warcraft: Legion on Amazon.