The awful celebrity autobiographies filling every square inch of advertising space and tinny, outdated tunes on the radio can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming. It’s now just over two weeks until the big day, and you’re no doubt panicking over the fact that you haven’t picked up any presents yet. Don’t worry if you’re struggling to come up with compelling gaming gift ideas, though, because we’ve got your novelty jumper wrapped back covered. From families to kids through to explorers and petrol heads, allow us to introduce our definitive PlayStation Christmas Shopping Guide...
For the Connoisseurs
Every year there are dozens of great games that arrive on the various PlayStation platforms. This section is dedicated to the best-of-the-best titles, all of which you simply must play before singing Auld Lang Syne with your embarrassing in-laws.
BioShock Infinite (PS3): As pretentious as it is utterly explosive, Ken Levine’s sky-high opus fuses politics with plenty of firepower – and wraps it all up in a plot so brain draining that you may struggle to move upon reaching its numbingly nonsensical conclusion.
Tomb Raider (PS3): An absolutely non-misogynistic portrayal of everyone’s favourite video game heroine, this exotic excursion sees poor Lara Croft ship-wrecked, shot at, and scranning on wild deer. Despite all of this, the heroine still manages to retain her luscious looks.
The Last of Us (PS3): Naughty Dog’s excellent exclusive succeeds where virtually every other game fails: it makes you care about its characters. Granted, you’ll be spitting spores when you witness the infuriating ending – but it beats stumbling to the credits like a disinterested clicker.
For the Petrol Heads
There are plenty of people who live life in the fast-lane, and fortunately there are dozens of games to keep them occupied. This area considers the best racing experiences that you can buy, without needing to shell out on one of those extortionate track day tickets.
Need for Speed: Rivals (PS4): Chock-a-block with cars cooler than Jeremy Clarkson’s garage, this arcade racer sees you outrunning the law – or enforcing it. The connected component keeps your friends close and adversaries closer, so you’ll never run out of expensive sports cars to smash.
Gran Turismo 6 (PS3): Kazunori Yamauchi’s freshest wet dream pressed onto a Blu-ray, Polyphony Digital’s latest racer is so exhaustive that it even lets you drive on the moon. Improved physics and enhanced presentation round out the package – and the menus actually work this time around, too.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Vita): The inhabitants of Green Hill (and Wreck-It Ralph, for curious marketing reasons) unite for three hot laps around the character select screen from Golden Axe. What more could you ask for?
For the Competitors
Some people just can’t resist confrontation. If the gamer in your life happens to have a bit of a competitive streak, then you may want to service that with one of these white-knuckle titles. Just remember to stay out of the way when they’re losing.
Battlefield 4 (PS4): Filled with more frightening hardware than a DELL manufacturing plant, DICE’s latest first-person shooter gives you all the equipment that you’ll ever need to bring a skyscraper to its knees. We hope that the owners have got insurance.
Call of Duty: Ghosts (PS4): A dog is for life, and not just for Christmas – but fortunately we’re informed that army animals can fend for themselves. Take little Riley for a walk through war-torn environments in the latest – but not greatest – entry in Activision’s annual curse-‘em-up.
Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4): It’s still got a narrative about as interesting as Jennifer Lawrence wearing coveralls, but Guerrilla Games hasn’t forgotten how to make guns growl. Plus, this looks just as good as the abovementioned actress – with her ostentatious outfit removed, obviously.
For the Fighters
Not everyone wants to make peace at Christmas – just ask that drunk dude with gross teeth from The Pogues. If you happen to be more of a fighter, this category should fill your holiday with all of the knuckle sandwiches that you crave.
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (PS4): The re-release of NetherRealm’s critically acclaimed DC Universe dust-up comes with a bunch of downloadable content and the same enormous single player campaign from the original version. Plus, Harley Quinn is in it. Just saying.
SoulCalibur II HD Online (PS3): Combatants from the old days may remember Namco Bandai’s seminal sword-‘em-up. This downloadable re-release comes with glossed up graphics, allowing you to examine Voldo’s crotch in crystal clear clarity.
Dead or Alive 5 Plus (Vita): Bouncing onto your favourite portable platform like... No, the Harley Quinn reference was already too much. This is a direct port of the latest entry in Tecmo Koei’s completely clean fighting franchise. Ahem.
For the Sporty
Why get tired and sweaty when you can live out all of your on-field fantasies on the couch? This category considers the various sports titles that are currently top of the league – well, until next year’s updates roll around, anyway.
FIFA 14 (PS4): With the firepower of a fully fit Real Madrid and the passing prowess of Barcelona, this is the best digital facsimile of the beautiful game yet. Sure, the players still look like lumps of meat – but some may say that’s an improvement in Wayne Rooney’s case.
NBA 2K14 (PS4): The title that will make you wish that your knowledge of basketball extended beyond Space Jam, Visual Concepts’ latest game of hoops scores a slam dunk largely because of its ridiculous visuals. Kobe Bryant’s never looked so good.
Passing Time (Vita): Something for the casual sports fans, Honeyslug’s soccer simulation sees you tapping on your console’s touchscreen to bend it like Keira Knightley in that movie about David Beckham. It’s not the deepest game that you’ll ever play, but it’s perfect if you think that football is a sport that you play predominantly with your, er, hands.
For the Open World Explorers
There’s no doubt that the seasonal spirit can be a bit fatiguing at times. As such, if you’re looking for a place to getaway, this list of open world excursions should transport you to a location free from family feuds over the Christmas Countdown Conundrum.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4): While you watch innocent snowflakes send the media into a frenetic frenzy throughout the holidays, you may be wishing that you were living life as a pirate in the Caribbean. Fortunately, the folks over at Ubisoft had a similar idea.
Grand Theft Auto V (PS3): Los Santos would certainly resemble Sunset Boulevard if it wasn’t for all the sexual predators, gun-for-hires, and downright dorks. Good thing this game lets you clean up the sun soaked streets with a grenade launcher, huh?
Gravity Rush (Vita): Hekseville is more colourful than Disneyland when observed through a kaleidoscope, and represents the perfect place to while away the bleak weeks of December. Just try not to keep any spare change in your pocket when a blonde haired superhero and her black cat pass by.
For the Bandwidth Busters
If you haven’t got time to wrap up Blu-ray cases, then know that there’s a growing catalogue of gifts available directly from the PlayStation Store. This little selection of downloadable hits packs a real punch – and best of all, you can easily squeeze a PSN voucher into a Greetings Card.
Resogun (PS4): An eye-melting excursion into a spherical world, packed to the rafters with next generation explosions that will turn your copy of FantaVision green. Voxel this about, then? Who cares, it’s awesome.
Guacamelee (PS3): Filled with more gaming references than a complete collection of EDGE magazine, this Mexican-inspired Metroidvania dishes up a buffet of throwback action spicier than a bowl of Chilli Con Carne.
Rainbow Moon (Vita): Not so much a bandwidth buster, and more of a clock blocker. Convince yourself to go in search of this game’s gold and you won’t be emerging for a decade or two. See you in 2036.
For the Kids
When it really comes down to it, Christmas is all about the kids. But once you tire of the tears over absent ponies, hyperactivity, and snooping, you may be in the market for a little something to keep your youngsters quiet. These should do the trick.
Knack (PS4): The punching bag of the PS4’s launch lineup, but a fine foray into a technicolour world. This may not be the best game available for Sony’s next generation console, but the simplistic combat and vibrant visuals make it a great option for 'the boys'.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (PS3): Packed to the brim with more bricks than any toy cupboard could hold, Traveller’s Tales’ latest blockbuster just so happens to be populated by the stars of the Marvel universe. Our awesome sense is tingling. Sorry.
Tearaway (Vita): Teenage tearaways need not apply to the creative world of, er, Tearaway. This innocent handheld adventure offers a landscape constructed entirely out of paper, and sees you employing all of the format’s unique functions to unfold its refreshingly personal adventure.
For the Parents
Gaming’s not just for the youngsters anymore, as Mum and Dad may like to get involved, too. This category hones in on the products that even your cardigan adorning parents will appreciate.
Beyond: Two Souls (PS3): A title that has you talking to ghosts one minute and eating chicken curry the next, Ellen Page stars in this outstanding spiritual adventure that lets you play with a smartphone if you’re yet to master the DualShock 3.
Rayman Legends (PS3): All marriages hinge on good co-ordination, so this is the perfect package to turn the air toxic on Christmas Day. Instead of sitting down for some evening Downton Abbey, let your ‘rents attempt to work through a level of Ubisoft’s newest platformer instead – and watch the fireworks fly.
The Walking Dead (PS3): Brimming with death, decay, and difficult decisions, there won’t be a dry eye in the house as your Mum and Dad battle to keep poor Clementine safe. Just make sure that no one’s eating turkey sandwiches during Episode Two.
For the Whole Family
Gaming can be quite a solitary experience at times, but there will inevitably be occasions over the Christmas break where you’ll want to have some fun with your whole family. This category is committed to the titles that everyone can play – even Grandma after she’s had a sherry or two.
Just Dance 2014 (PS4): Festive frolicking is a staple of the seasonal spirit, and Ubisoft’s latest boogie-‘em-up will give you all of the excuses that you need to practice your twerking performance in front of family and friends.
Angry Birds: Star Wars (PS3): Rovio’s fowl flinger can be purchased for stocking stuffing prices on a smartphone, but this edition comes with some nifty multiplayer features. Feel the force in co-operative and competitive modes – and teach those Storm Trooper-disguised pigs a lesson in the process.
Buzz: Quiz TV (PS3): It’s older than Jason Donovan’s pop career, but Relentless Software’s seminal interactive quiz remains the perfect trivia-laden companion for festive family get-togethers. Impress your other half with your agricultural awareness – and even create custom questions based upon the anatomy of an onion.
Are you giving any gaming related gifts this Christmas? Have you asked Santa for something to pop into your favourite PlayStation platform? What titles are you hoping to finish over the winter break? Share your festive plans in the snowy space below.
Are you giving any gaming gifts this Christmas? (27 votes)
Yes, I'm buying various games and accessories for friends and family
Hmm, I haven't really thought about presents just yet
No, I'm honestly not really buying anything gaming related this year
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