Christmas is only a few days away and that means a majority of people are doing their last minute Christmas shopping, whether it is looking for all their gifts or just those last few you haven’t gotten to yet.
As a result, we thought we’d put together a little gift guide for those shopping for anything Xbox One related. This may help you if you’re shopping for yourself as well, but it’s mostly intended for those trying to find out the best games from this year to get for family and friends.
The guide will start off with games that are exclusive to Xbox One, at least console wise, then it will be followed by a number of multiplatform games.
For anyone that reads the PS4 guide, you’ll find many of the same games outside of the exclusives, as they are great options for owners of either system.
While the games are important, we have to start first of all with a console itself.
Xbox One Rise of the Tomb Raider 1 TB Bundle
The Xbox One has gotten a wide array of different bundles over the last few months, with a few being based around Xbox One exclusives. Following the price cuts and temporary deals, easily one of the best options is the Rise of the Tomb Raider bundle that is selling for $349.99, which not only includes the game, but a 1 TB hard drive as well. There are plenty of other options like the Gears bundle, but it doesn’t get much better than this one.
Xbox One Controller
This one is pretty self explanatory as while any system will come with one controller, it’s always good to have another. Even with online player taking away some of the local couch multiplayer, it’s still great to have a controller to actually play against another human player right there. At worst, it can also be a way for you to switch between the two if you are using one of the Plug n Play battery packs, which also are a good idea. For the coolest looking controllers right now, there are ones based off out of the first game on our list.
Halo 5: Guardians
Halo has been one of the most important franchises for Xbox since its start and that easily made this one one of the hottest games of the year. The single player campaign is fun as always and the multiplayer is a ton of fun, making this one a great gift in more than one way. With the free updates that we’re getting from 343 Industries, this is a game that’s only going to get better.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
This game is of course included in the aforementioned console bundle, but if you go for another bundle or the person you’re buying for already has a console, you can’t go wrong with the standalone Rise of the Tomb Raider. Building on the fantastic reboot, this game offers plenty of new content for players that infuses a captivating story with well designed gameplay. While the Xbox One doesn’t have Uncharted, this is a more than satisfying alternative.
Forza Motorsport 6
In what has become an annual series for the last three years now, we’ve gotten yet another Forza game, switching back to the Motorsport series this year from the Horizon one of last. This adds a ton of new content to Forza 5 and looks even more gorgeous than the previous two Forza games on Xbox One, making this truly a spectacle to behold as the best racer on the console right now.
If you’re looking for a gift for someone that grew up in the 80s and especially 90s, Rare Replay may just be right up their alley. Rare Replay takes a good majority of Rare’s library of games from over the years and combines them into one package of 30 games. With this usually retailing for $30, $1 per game is a fantastic deal behind options like Battletoads, Banjo-Kazooie, and Perfect Dark, making this a must have for the console.
Ori and The Blind Forest
First wowing gamers at E3, Ori and the Blind Forest finally debuted earlier this year and once again amazed us all over again. The beautiful art direction and unique gameplay really set this one apart from the pack and is the type of game that is worth buying for someone on Xbox One, though with no gifting option, you’d have to just buy a card in store that can cover the cost due to this being digital.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
Gears of War was easily one of the defining games of not only the early years of the Xbox 360, but the system as a whole. With Gears of War 4 on the horizon in 2016, we got a completely remade version of the original for Xbox One, rather than just a typical remaster. The gameplay is better than ever here and is a case of a very well put together remake, especially at only $30.
Fallout is just one of those franchises that manages to somehow capture the attention of many different sectors of the gaming community. While buggy, as expected with the series, the environment and just overall design of the game is fantastic.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
The Assassin’s Creed series has found itself very up and down in recent years, with Unity being a series low point last year due to game breaking bugs as a result of a seemingly rushed game. Due to this, many did not have very high hopes for Syndicate, but instead gamers found one of the best entries in the series in years.
Destiny: The Taken King
Destiny has been one of the most talked about games since its launch, for better or worse, and the game saw a major overhaul around the release of The Taken King back in September. This full expansion for the game added a good bit of content and is certainly what you want to get whether the gift recipient already played Destiny or is a newcomer to the game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
The Call of Duty: Black Ops series has easily been one of the strongest of the CoD mini-franchise and Black Ops 3 does not disappoint for sure. Not only does it offer a solid campaign and multiplayer, but it also includes the very fun Zombies mode and the hybrid Nightmares mode, making this more than worth the money. Even better, you can get this one for only $39.99 at GameStop this week ahead of Christmas.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Serving as Hideo Kojima’s swan song with the franchise, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is one of the most ambitious games of the year. The game’s open world is very impressive and the gameplay is as strong as ever, making this a must buy for any fans of the franchise. And just like with Black Ops 3, this one is on sale for $39.99 at GameStop as well right now.
Star Wars Battlefront
Joining the $39.99 at GameStop sale parade is the most recent of the bunch with Star Wars Battlefront. Everyone has Star Wars fever right now as a result of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and this is a worthy companion for any fan of the franchise. It may be a little lacking in content, but at that price and with free DLC already released and more coming, it’s definitely worth a look.
Batman: Arkham Knight
Rocksteady’s trilogy of Batman games finally concluded this past summer with Arkham Knight, the biggest games in the franchise yet. Including a well crafted story and new gameplay mechanics like the Batmobile, this one is a must have for any Batman fan. Made even better, this one is discounted a good bit at numerous retailers, including $19.99 at GameStop and $29.99 at Best Buy currently.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher franchise may have started a little under the radar, but there is no question that the third entry garnered incredible praise upon release and even now with many GOTY awards. Featuring one of the biggest maps we’ve ever seen in a game, The Witcher 3 is full of meaningful sidequests and an interesting story that will provide countless hours of gameplay.
Mortal Kombat X
Coming out in a fairly weak year for fighters, Mortal Kombat X does not disappoint at all with one of the most diverse rosters in the series’ history. The story mode is a lot of fun once again and the DLC so far has been great with four new characters, and four more to come, including a number of iconic horror movie characters. This one is also on sale at Best Buy for $29.99 this week, so you can’t go wrong there at all.
Rock Band 4/Guitar Hero Live
After the implosion of the music game genre due to oversaturation, we saw the return of the two most popular franchises a couple months ago with Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live. Rock Band 4 plays it more safe, but offers a more casual multiplayer experience, largely helped by the ability to access old DLC from the series within the same console family. Guitar Hero Live on the other hand offers something completely new, which helps to breath some new life into that series. The Rock Band 4 Band in a Box bundle is $50 off for $200 at Best Buy, while GameStop has discounted Guitar Hero Live to $69.99.
Life is Strange
Easily one of the most overlooked games of the year is Life is Strange, which personally is tied for my game of the year. This episodic series from Dontnod Entertainment captures heart and emotion to near perfection, all around a very unique set of characters that you really get invested in. Buying the full season pass of five episodes is some of the best money you can spend in gaming in 2015 easily.
Tales From The Borderlands
Another episodic series that released this year came from a familiar property, this time from Telltale Games. While they also gave us Game of Thrones and Minecraft Story Mode, those ranged from mediocre to disappointing for the most part, while Tales from the Borderlands consistently provided us with one great episode after another.
Madden 16/FIFA 16/NBA 2K16
As with most sports games, there isn’t much that you can do to bring in non-sports fans to the franchise, which may mean that fans of these already have these games. However, each of these were in top form this year, with very well designed games, including new features like Madden’s Draft Champions mode. Just whatever you do, make sure to get NBA 2K16 and not NBA Live 16, which is the far inferior game.