Top Next Gen Games to Buy [Holiday Gift Guide 2013]

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The holidays are upon us again which means it’s time to max out those credit cards as we go searching for gifts for our loved ones, and of course a little something for ourselves. This year however is a special year in which not one, but two next gen consoles have arrived, making the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One two of the most sought after gifts this holiday season. Of course what good are next gen consoles without next gen games to buy them for. As you know, launch titles aren’t always all triple-A titles, but there are a few standouts which we think you shouldn’t pass up. Below are our recommendations for must have, next-gen games.

Killzone: Shadow Fall (PlayStation 4)

killzonePay no attention to what you’ve read about this game from all the gaming sites. Killzone: Shadow Fall is a must have game for early PlayStation 4 adopters. The graphics are simply amazing and are some of the best you’ll see in this current crop of launch games. This game really shows off what the PlayStation 4 is capable of at such an early stage in it’s life cycle. Not only that, multiplayer in this game is very fun and is what you’ll most likely spend most of your time playing once you go through the single player story a couple of times.

Killzone: Shadow Fall is the latest installment in the hugely successful Killzone franchise, developed exclusively for PlayStation 4, by Guerrilla Games. Thirty years after the events of Killzone 3, the world is a very different place, with two rival factions, the Helghast and the Vektans, living side by side divided by a vast wall. In the midst of it all stands a Shadow Marshal, an elite soldier, the best of the best. As Shadow Marshal Lucas Kellan, you’re sworn to protect your home and the values you believe in. Maintaining the fragile peace is difficult when there is no trust between either side. A series of escalating conflicts puts you on the path of a Helghast intelligence operative named Echo, who fights for the same reasons but on the opposite side. Strive to uncover the whole story as the intense, immersive combat of the Killzone series is reborn on PS4.

Price: $59.99
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

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Knack (Playstation 4)

knackIf you’re looking for a game that is a bit more family friendly that also shows off how incredible games can look on the PlayStation 4, look no further than Knack. Knack is an adventure game that has much in common with games popular old-school games like Crash Bandicoot and others. It can be played by yourself or co-op with a friend so that you can share your adventure with a buddy. Again, as one of the few family friendly titles that is exclusive for the PlayStation 4, you’ll want to pick this up if you have younger gamers in your household.

Mankind must turn to Knack, an unlikely hero, to protect them from a dangerous new threat. The unassuming Knack stands at a mere three feet tall, but thanks to the power of mysterious ancient relics, he can transform into a powerful brute or even a gigantic wrecking machine. Knack is mankind’s only hope for turning the tide against the invading goblin army, but trying to harness the true power of the relics could threaten to put the whole world at risk.

Price: $59.99
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

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Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One)

deadrising 3One of the first games I bought when I purchased an Xbox 360 was Dead Rising. Despite its weird control layout and odd choice of saving mechanics, the game was a blast to play that wowed me with how many zombies were displayed on screen at one time. Dead Rising 2 upped the ante and delivered even more zany fun while really showing off what the Xbox 360 was capable of. Well, now it’s the Xbox One’s time to showcase a new Dead Rising game, and Dead Rising 3 is that game. It features a world that is many times over larger than the DR2 world, with more zombies, more weapons, and more over the top action.

Dead Rising 3 puts you in the zombie-ravaged city of Los Perdidos, California. Do you have what it takes to escape before a military strike wipes out the entire city? As mysterious mechanic Nick Ramos, you’ll rely on improvised weapons to battle off the hordes of undead while you explore the massive open world. Set 10 years after the events of Fortune City in Dead Rising 2, players are introduced to Nick Ramos, a young mechanic with a strange tattoo and a mysterious past, who must find a way to escape a city full of zombies before an impending military strike wipes the city of Los Perdidos, and everyone in it, off the map. Nick can’t do it alone – he must join up with other survivors to stay alive. They must fight their way out before it’s too late.

Price: $59.99
Publisher: Microsoft
ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

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Forza Motorsports 5

forzaIf racing cars is your thing, Forza Motorsports 5 is the game you want. With no real competition this year in terms of driving simulators for next gen, the only way to get your next gen driving fix is with this game and an Xbox One. Forza has always been a great racing title with spectacular car models and driving physics. Not only that, Forza has always been known for its ability to customize vehicles.

Own and race the cars of your dreams. Truly feel what it’s like to own the world’s most exclusive cars in an experience that brings you closer than ever to the history, craftsmanship, and potential of every car in the game. From purpose-built race cars to classic sports cars to modern tuners, every car features a customized career true to its heritage.

Price: $59.99
Publisher: Microsoft
ESRB Rating: Everyone

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Honorable Mentions

Along with the games I listed above, there are a few games that appear on both consoles that are worth mentioning. If you need your multiplayer combat fix, you’ll want to pick up Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty: Ghosts. Both have been optimized for next gen while the PS4 version of BF4 includes 64 player matches. You’ll also want to pick up Assassin’s Creed: IV Black Flag and Need for Speed Rivals, both also optimized for next gen.