Buying games when you’re not a gamer can be challenging. Here’s a simple guide for the best games for specific types of gamers.
As always, make sure to look at the ESRB ratings on the front of the box. Not all games are appropriate for gamers of all ages.
For War and Shooting Game Enthusiasts – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
It’s no surprise that Modern Warfare 3 smashed sales records in its first week; the Call of Duty franchise has a massive following. And for good reason, as the games in the series (particularly of the Modern Warfare variety) are exceptionally well made.
Modern Warfare 3 has an immensely enjoyable campaign full of over-the-top moments. It’s almost as though you are playing through a Michael Bay movie. And although brief (the campaign will take about five hours to complete), there’s plenty more to do in Modern Warfare 3 once the story is over, as the game also contains online multiplayer and “Spec Ops” modes.
While many will chastise Modern Warfare for its lack of realism, it makes up for it in over-the-top fun.
Runners Up: Battlefield 3, Bulletstorm
For the Whole Family – Skylanders
Skylanders is one of the most brilliant concepts to come out of the industry in years: it seamlessly blends toys into a video game. Using the “Portal of Power” electronic base, players can place special Skylander action figures, allowing them to play as that particular character in the game. It’s a fantastic idea, and one that I really wish was around when I was a kid. The actual gameplay in Skylanders is no slouch either. It has just enough challenge for kids age 6-12, but fun for adults to jump in and play also.
The game only comes with three characters in-box, but there are about thirty additional characters that can be purchased separately. Just like the Pokemon craze, kids are probably going to want them all. While additional characters aren’t exactly cheap (they run about $8 each), they are the perfect size for stocking stuffers.
Runners up: Dance Central 2, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
For the On-the-Go Gamer – Super Mario 3D Land
The Nintendo 3DS got off to a slow start when it was released earlier this year, but thanks to a recent push in software, it’s shaping up to be a great hand-held gaming console. Super Mario 3D Land does a fantastic job of showing off what this little machine can do.
Like a combination of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 3D Land is packed with clever level design and adorable graphics. Don’t let the bright and cuddly image fool you though, because those going for 100% game completion are in for a time-consuming challenge. It took me around twenty hours to complete the game, and I still plan on going back and doing it all again.
Runners up: Ocarina of Time 3D, Dead or Alive: Dimensions
For Eccentric, Adult Friends – Saint’s Row the Third
(Heavy emphasis on “adult.” Saint’s Row the Third contains a lot of potentially offensive material)
The Saint’s Row franchise used to be labeled a Grand Theft Auto clone. If one thing is apparent in Saint’s Row the Third, it’s that these two franchises couldn’t be further apart. While GTA has gone the direction of gritty realism, Saint’s Row makes everything as ridiculous as possible.
With ludicrous weapons and insane missions (example: early on there is a firefight while free-falling from a plane), Saint’s Row never takes itself seriously. The point is to have a good time, have a laugh, and blow stuff up.
Runners up: WWE All-Stars, The Gunstringer
For Fantasy Fans – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
It’s incredible that RPGs have come as far as they have, and nothing shows this more than Skyrim. Made by Bethesda Softworks, the same group that made Oblivion and Fallout 3, comes an experience that is likely more immersive than any video game you have ever played. The game is completely customizable to how you like to play. Just want to use magic? You absolutely can. Want to slay everything in your path with a battle axe? You can do that too.
What makes Skyrim especially amazing is the world that Bethesda has created. There are hundreds of hours worth of quests and hundreds of individual books with in-world lore scattered throughout the game. Skyrim is as long as you want to make it, and the gameplay is good enough that you will want it to last for a long, long time.
For those REALLY into fantasy RPGs, the Skyrim Collector’s Edition runs a steep $150, but includes a dragon statue and a cloth map.
Runners up: Dragon Age 2, Dark Souls
For Fighting Game Fans – Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
Gamers eagerly awaited a sequel to the fantastic Marvel vs Capcom 2. When Marvel vs Capcom 3 came out in early 2011, the game was very good, but there was definitely room for improvement. Enter Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, a budget title ($40) that has twelve new characters and improved graphics.
The zany cast of characters and the ultra fast-paced action is the main appeal to UMvC3, but serious fighting game enthusiasts will have a lot to discover in this title. A fighting game novice can enjoy the gameplay, but it will take a fighting game veteran to master it.
Runners up: Mortal Kombat, Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade
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