It’s that time of the year again where, nearly all over the world, the sound of jingle bells can be heard, accompanied, of course, by soft, quiet sobbing from your bank account. But gift giving isn’t always easy, so to alleviate a little of that festive stress, here’s the My Lips But Better guide to Christmas gift shopping for the men in your life.
This year, you really are spoilt for choice if the men in your life are gamers. From gritty cold war fantasists wet dream Call of Duty: Black Ops to swords, sorcery and Stephen Fry in Fable 3, there’s a huge range of games to choose from, and that’s just from recent releases. The most important thing to determine is whether your man prefers PC games or console games, and which console he owns. Be sure to check this!
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood continues from where the second game left off, the mixture of it’s unique “social stealth” combined with Prince of Persia style platform gaming makes for a great mix, but if they haven’t played (and ideally, completed) Assassin’s Creed 2, this might be best left on the shelf.
Call of Duty: Black Ops is the latest installment in the series that’s been keeping your man glued to his television, mostly due to the compulsive and addictive online gameplay that’s really come to define the series. The inclusion of a revamped Zombie mode, a solid fan favourite from an earlier addition adds even more playing time, and the huge range of weaponry and military hardware on show is great for any gun geek. For extra points, the special (or Prestige) edition comes with a remote control car with a video camera on top (I know, ridiculous right?), extra levels, and a host of other cool stuff, but it will set you back a cool £99.99. For a shooter with less realistic military hardware, there’s always the latest Halo game, Halo: Reach, which acts as a prequel to the best selling series and has all the alien blasting action and multiplayer thrills the previous halo games offered, but newer. And shinier.
Fable 3 (yes, another sequel, this year, they all are), like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, does continue on from an earlier installment, but this time, it’s not as important to have played either of the two games previous to it. Much as the earlier games in the series, the game takes a tongue in cheek approach to the traditional swords and sorcery style fantasy gameplay, crammed full of in-jokes (chickens in particular are a franchise favourite), silly characters and genuinely funny moments, helped by both it’s fantastic writing and host of Brit comedy talent. The gameplay however is stripped down somewhat, and whilst this may make it accessible for more people, can feel a little disappointing to long term series fans.
This is of course a small sample, but rather than bore you with more detail, here’s a quick list of other hot games this season. If you want to know more, there are plenty of sites who can give you the lowdown on each individual game, in much more depth than I can go into here. One quick note though, if you’re planning on buying a sports game, keep in mind that this season’s games are all the “11” editions, rather than the “10”. EA and 2k are the big ones, but they do play quite differently, so take a look online, or see if whoever you’re buying the game for has any of the previous ones, and which they prefer (the EA games will just be called NHL11, whereas the 2k ones will be called NHL2k11. Provided you’re buying the NHL game, at least)
- Fallout: New Vegas (Post nuclear shooty RPG [role playing game])
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (It’s Star Wars, you get to be a Jedi, need I say more?
- Red Dead Redemption (Cowboys from the makers of GTA. You can also download that all important zombie mode for a little bit of extra cash)
- Crackdown 2 (Free roaming sci-fi future cop madness)
Along with games, there are also peripherals to be had, extra controllers, gaming mice (the Logitech g5 at $59.99 is a solid choice), the cool “throat communicator” headset that goes along with Call of Duty aesthetic (but will work for any game) is an awesome gadget. You can also buy points cards to use on the Wii’s virtual console, the Xbox 360’s Live Arcade, or the Playstation 3’s Playstation Network. These range in price, depending on how many points you want to buy. This years biggest extra is probably Kinect ($159.99) for the Xbox 360. Similar to the Wii, or the Playstation move, this motion controller does away with the need for a controller entirely. You are gonna need a fair amount of space to use it though, and it’s not exactly cheap.
If they’ve already got all of these, or perhaps prefer more conventional toys, the Toy Story 3 Woody and Buzz Lightyear figures ($10.99) are great, and are practically identical to their movie counterparts in every way, even down to the packaging. It’s hard not to be charmed by the retro looking Woody doll, or the ultra masculine pose and voice samples of Buzz.
Check back tomorrow for the other half of Edward’s gift guide! He’ll also be back next week with a guest review of Liz Earle skincare.