Before we get onto Video Game Gifts, let's chat about Christmas. I am sure you all know by now that Christmas is here. Already! I work in retail and have been blatantly aware of this since the first cringe-inducing broadcast of “All I Want for Christmas” came on the radio. In September. Just let that sink in for a moment. IN SEPTEMBER.
People often refer to me as a grinch. But how can I not be when I have been forced to endure a loop of less than 6 Christmas songs on repeat for MONTHS year after year, all whilst putting glitter-covered tack on shelves for customers to purchase in spades. We even started selling a tree decoration this year that is a decoration of our 10p carrier bags. And people are actually buying them! What world of absolute insanity do I actually live in!?
Glitter infested plastic is not what you should be buying year after year. Your hard-earned money should be put towards something much more enjoyable. And by that, I of course mean video games. I mean, that was no surprise, I am pretty confident that you at least read the title of this article. And with that in mind, here are 5 games that this grinch wants this Christmas. And please note, this is a self-serving greed indulging list of my personal picks, if there is a game that you want for Christmas, there is a chance that I have already played it, or you simply have poor choice in games.
If you have played the first Jurassic World Evolution game then you will no doubt share in my want for the sequel. I am 98% sure that there will be no inherent need to have played the first to play this one either, it is at its heart a simulation game, just as there is no need to have played the sims 1-3, the urbz, or any other spin-off release before playing The Sims 4. I thoroughly enjoyed Jurassic World Evolution as I went in expecting a generic game with an IP slapped over it for marketing value. But the game was incredibly well done, even bagging Jeff Goldblum and Bryce Dallas Howard to reprise their respected roles as their Jurassic Park/World characters.
Jurassic World Evolution 2 looks to continue building upon everything that the first game did so well, with new story, new dinosaurs, and new challenges to shape our park to handle. It has started generating really promising reviews which has just got me even more hungry for more dino action. I really want to get my hands on this game!
I know what you are thinking, this game is actually pretty old news at this point. But it has been a game that has just kept slipping me by up until now. I have heard many people raving about how good it is, how fast the load times are, how well it plays and just how much I need to play it after I loved the Spider-Man release for PS4. And I will play it, I want to play it! I recently watched the new Spider-Man: No Way Home film and it has re-ignited my thirst for all things Spider-Man.
There is no doubt that the gameplay looks fluid and dynamic and so fun to play. It looks like the developers really nailed down on all the things that made the first one so great to play. I have managed, somehow to avoid spoilers for the game, so I know when I play it that it will feel as fresh to me as the day it came out. I hope there is no “hunt down the pigeon” side quests though or any of the bloat that came with the first game. As much as I appreciate some comical side quests, there is a point where it gets a bit tedious. I have high hopes for Spider-Man Miles Morales.
I had my reservations about this when it was first released. A fan of the Yakuza series as a whole, I'm an even bigger fan of its spiritual predecessor Shenmue. I am so much a fan of that game that I recently did my first uni assignment on Yu Suzuki who created Shenmue in all its glory. I had to delete about 12 sentences here as I went on a weird tangent and deviated away from the actual game at hand. Yakuza like a dragon is a new spin-off of sorts from the main Yakuza instalments. Now the last time they did this was with Judgment and ultimately Lost Judgment which I was not a fan of for some reason. This one seems to take the more whacky side of Yakuza and flips it into a modern turn-based combat game.
I shouldn’t like this game. It is turn-based, it is based on gangs, there is no Kiryu or Majima as far as I am aware all of which are negatives in my book. But when I see gameplay for this, it just looks great. Having a turn-based combat game with modern representations of what a mage is etc just seems so out the box that it is something that I have to at least give a go. But I just know, at the back of my mind, that I will likely get hooked on this game, and all its likely crazy side quests, in-game collectables, and strange characters to meet.
Now this game looks insane! In a good way of course. This has been on my radar since it was released but my wallet has been constantly a few pennies short of the asking price since then. The whole concept of this game looks great, areas shift and change when you die, progression is incremental like all good roguelikes, a mad story concept as it seems like the whole planet is out to torment you. Everything about this game screams that it is my cup of tea. Coupling all that with the fact that it just looks visually sublime, I am incredibly eager to get my hands on Returnal.
One thing that also has me interested in this game is the fact that it may be the first game I get that actually pushes the PS5 hardware to a level that I have not experienced yet. I want my PS5 to be tested, I want the load time claims to be put to the test, I want to experience sixteen billion trillion quintillion (real number honest) polygons on-screen every nanosecond. I want gaming fidelity. Not much to ask for really, is it?
Yup, I know. I know. You don’t need to tell me or send me hate mail. I know Elden Ring is not hitting release until February. But this is MY list of things I WANT for Christmas. It is perfectly reasonable to want something we can’t have. I am pretty sure that is the basis of half our civilisation. Not only that, imagine how great it would be to open an envelope that you presume is just an Argos voucher, (or much, much, much better, a Zatu gift card!) and you open it up to a little card that reads “I have pre-ordered Elden Ring for you”. My heart would flutter away into the cold brisk morning and my mind would implode with excitement.
I have developed a reputation behind the scenes at Zatu as being the guy who is fixated on all things Nier (with good reason) but there is one RPG powerhouse that I hold in even higher esteem than Nier. And that is of course, pretty much any game that Miyazaki releases. Besides Sekiro. That game can burn in the depths of hell. Elden Ring has been on the back of my mind for YEARS. It is a game that I am so excited for that I am even willing to sell all five of my kidneys in order to get my unworthy hands on it. Expect me to go dark for a while after the release of Elden Ring. I don’t plan to leave the comfort of my couch until the credits roll!
So that is 5 of the top Video Game Gifts. My own greedy little wish list. No collaborating with other bloggers, no “top of the charts” games, no recommendations for you. No. This is my list. Get your own.