If you’re unfamiliar with the world of video games, stepping into the games section of a Best Buy or entering a Gamestop can be a bewildering experience. Perhaps you're a parent wanting something fun and wholesome for your kid, a girlfriend wondering what her refuses-to-grow-up boyfriend might like or a grandparent trying to impress a grandchild with your grasp of technology.
Have no fear, Patch has complied a list of some the holiday’s best and biggest games, along with some recommendations for who might enjoy them.
Adults (Teens 17+)
"Call of Duty: Black Ops II" $59.99, Mature (Xbox 360, Playstion 3, PC, Nintendo Wii U) – For some seasoned parents of video game-obsessed kids, this name may sound familiar, and it should. The “Call of Duty” franchise produces a different game each year and each aim to provide a high-caliber first-person shooter that places players behind the barrel of special operatives engaged in worldwide conflicts. However, what makes it consistently one of the year’s best-selling games is its multiplayer component. Recommended for older teenager and adults who already own something with “Call of Duty” in the title.
"Halo 4," $59.99, Mature (Xbox 360) – The Halo series is another popular first-person shooter franchise that, like “Call of Duty,” is known for its addictive multiplayer action. However, the setting is science fiction and this time the hardened space marine star of the series is shipwrecked on a mysterious planet. Recommended for just about every older teenager and adult who owns an Xbox 360.
"Assassin’s Creed 3" $59.99, Mature (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii U, PC) – As you may have know noticed, video game franchises are a lot like summer blockbusters – almost everything is a sequel, prequel or reboot. “Assassin’s Creed” is what you would call a stealth-based action game set in an open world and this particular iteration takes place during the heart of the American Revolutionary War. Recommended for those who prefer stealth to the run-and-gun of “Call of Duty” and enjoy exploring an open world.
"Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale" $59.99, Teen (Playstation 3, Playstation Vita) – A fast-paced multiplayer fighting game that lets players choose their brawler from a wide array of stars from previous Playstation games. Recommended for those parents who want to give teens the fun of a competitive multiplayer game without the more graphic violence associated with first-person shooters.
"Madden NFL 13" $59.99, Everyone (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U) – This year’s version of the annual pigskin tradition, it features updated physics and an online career mode. Recommended for sports fans of all ages and be sure to check out “FIFA Soccer 13” and “NBA 2K13” as well.
"The Last Story" $29.99, Teen (Nintendo Wii) – This Japanese role-playing game has received strong reviews for its combat system, story and fresh approach to a well-established genre. Recommended for "Zelda" fans and nerds of all ages, particularly those who can tell you what “JRPG” stands for.
"New Super Mario Bros U" $59.99, Everyone (Nintendo Wii U) – The latest version of the video game classic, updated for the new Nintendo Wii U game console. The bright graphics and simple gameplay entertain the younger set while later levels offer enough challenge for older gamers. Recommended for families that just purchased a Wii U.
"Lego Lord of the Rings" - Lego has made a name in the video game business by reproducing classic stories such as “Star Wars” in brick form packaged as a fun, light-hearted side-scrolling action game. Recommended for families with kids, particularly those who have enjoyed previous Lego games, and adult “Lord of the Rings” fans who would like to play along.
"Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed" $39.99, Rating Pending (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS) – I’m going to depart a little bit on this last one and speak from personal experience. My four-year-old nephew absolutely loved the previous “Sonic Racing” games, so I think this would be a sure-fire hit for the tykes in your life. Recommended for kids who like to go fast and then bump into things or otherwise fall down.