It's that wonderful time of year once again, when we're expected to spread love and cheer through the giving of gifts, and what better oppurtunity to give a close friend, or loved one a great game they may have missed out on this year? If you're a gaming fan yourself, you might even want to add these to your own wish list. Don't dawdle, it takes a while for letters to get to the North Pole and I hear the big man is pretty busy these days!
The Walking Dead
Episode 1 of this 5 part serial came out in April, the final episode was released last month and it won Game of the Year at the Spike Video Game Awards last week! If you weren't keeping up with the episodes as they came out, you're in luck - all five are now available in one box for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Telltale games has created a truely harrowing experience in the form of a point and click adventure game based on Robert Kirkman's insanely popular comic series. The element of choice affecting your actions has been compared to the Mass Effect series, which brings me to my next item...
Mass Effect 3
Possibly the most highly anticipated game of 2012, the epic series came to a close in a big way. There may have been a good amount of unrest surrounding the ending of the game, but in my mind there's no way to please everyone - especially when it involves a series much beloved by sci-fi fans (just look at Lost and Battlestar Galactica). I may have an unpopular opinion but as a big fan of the character interactions in all three series, I wasn't particularly upset by any of their conclusions. In the end, I had a great time playing the Mass Effect games, and isn't that what matters?
Notch's creation expands to the console! If you know someone who isn't into PC gaming and may have missed this beauty of a sandbox game, what are you waiting for? On top of the hours they are guaranteed to spend building, mining and fighting off creepers there are a couple great features built into the Xbox version that the PC version lacks. Specifically: split screen multiplayer and an in-game tutorial (one of the biggest issues with the PC version is the complete and utter lack of guidance starting out).
Far Cry 3
The most recently released game on this list, I am excited to give this game a spin (*hint*hint*, Santa). This is an open world game that pits you against the savage pirates living on a tropical island, but that's not all. It also pits the island against you, and your foes. The guys of the fantastic Giant Bomb podcast shared this anecdote last week: while carefully scoping out a camp of enemies in preparation to take them out, a pack of wild dogs rushed in from the jungle and took care of the job for them! Random encounters between pirate, player and jungle makes the game exciting, a fantastically well built game keeps you playing.
If you're looking for something that's a change of pace from blockbuster gaming, there's a wealth of indie games released this year worth your attention. One of my personal favourites was FTL: Faster than Light. If you're playing this game, you have to be prepared to die - a lot, but that's not a bad thing. Each round of FTL lasts a short while, as you jump from sector to sector finding supplies, fighting enemy ships, helping friendlies and constantly moving forward to escape the pursuing fleet. Each round plays a bit differently since the galaxies and encounters are randomized but the strategy stays the same, allowing you to last just a bit longer each time... It's surprisingly addicting.