Anime News Network's Holiday 2017 Gift Guide
Games

by Dustin Bailey,
2017 has been one of the best gaming years in recent memory, and there are so many excellent games to account for we could barely squeeze this list down to twenty entries. In other words, there are of plenty of options when you're shopping for the gamer in your life this holiday season. If you're out of the gaming scene yourself, the main thing you'll want to keep in mind for your giftee (besides the type of games they like) is the platform they prefer to play on. Though the past year or so has seen a number of improved, revised versions of consoles released, it's a bit simpler than it first appears. PlayStation 4 games work across every model of the system, which goes the same for Xbox One titles, and 2DS or 3DS games as well. If your gamer likes to play on PC, you don't really have an option for gifting unless you've got your own account on a digital distribution service. If you don't know your GOG from your Humble Store, you might be better off picking up a gift card for Steam.

Gundam Versus

For fans of giant robots there's no series more fundamental than Gundam, and Gundam Versus is massive celebration of nearly forty years of mecha battles. Collecting Mobile Suits from across the franchise, you're pitted in multi-mech battles where you've got to fight your way to victory. These fights are “difficult to learn, difficult to master” affairs, but learning the system means a world full of deep battles and fast-paced strategy. And, either way, there are plenty of giant robot fights.

Platform: PlayStation 4

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0 offers a gritty tale of underworld violence and betrayal in Japan's most notorious red light districts, while simultaneously packing in the goofiest, most sincere, and most enduring side stories you'll ever see in a game. Set amid Japan's 80s economic bubble, this prequel has you riding high between luxurious nightclubs and brutal street brawls, and occasionally making detours to help out little old ladies or play some Out Run in the arcades. A gripping story and more silly diversions than you can shake a lead pipe at has made the Yakuza series a legend, and 0 is both an excellent entry point and perhaps the best the franchise has ever been.

Platform: PlayStation 4

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Persona 5

Persona 5 is an epic, 100-hour RPG with impeccable style and tremendous depth. By day, you're an ordinary high school student, and by night, you're one of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, a group that delves into supernatural keeps that house the malignant emotions holding modern Japan down and stealing the bad vibes away. It's a sprawling adventure filled with characters to build relationships with and demons to fight, and it might just be the best RPG of the year.

Platform: PlayStation 4

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata is a beautiful story of androids picking up the pieces of humanity's mistakes, persevering with a sliver of hope in a world that offers very little. It also controls like a dream, presents a bunch of memorable characters, has incredible moments and fantastic action, and it's all wrapped up in a layer of weirdness so thick it's almost a miracle any of it works at all. It's going to be a game remembered and talked about for years to come, and if the gamer on your list hasn't already played it, they need to.

Platform: PlayStation 4 / PC

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon / Steam

Super NES Classic Edition

Nintendo followed up last year's wildly successful tiny NES with the logical next step: a tiny Super NES. Though it's still a struggle to find, the quest for Super NES Classic Edition isn't quite as desperate, and various retailers have been regularly stocking and selling fresh units. (And the eBay prices aren't quite so bad, either.) You're getting 21 games here, many of which can rightfully be listed among the greatest titles of all time, including the “big three” of Super Mario World, Super Metriod, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, as well as some truly excellent RPGs and the never-before-released Star Fox 2.

Retail Price: US $79.99

Shopping Link: Amazon (but you'll need to shop around)

PlayStation 4 Pro

Your choice of consoles largely revolves around the games it can play, and there's no platform right now that offers a stronger library than PlayStation 4—which should be apparent, given the number of PS4 games on this list. The Pro edition of the console supports all the same games as the original, but with upgraded hardware that offers better visuals and performance across many of those titles. The upgrades will be especially noticeable if you're gaming on a shiny new 4K TV, but there are improvements on standard HDTVs as well.

Retail Price: US $399.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (or really any Musou game)

Musou (another name for games from the Dynasty Warriors lineage) is a long-standing series all about taking a warrior into battle and mowing down enemy soldiers by the hundreds and thousands. The adaptation of Berserk's ultra-violent fantasy is the most anime appropriate title, but it's far from the only one—these games do tend to run together, but while they're pretty similar there are so many of them because the core action is so satisfying. Also worth noting are video game adaptations Dragon Quest Heroes II and Fire Emblem Warriors, the historical battles of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada, the massive crossover of Warriors All-Stars, and the Musou-adjacent Fate adaptation in Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star. There's truly a Musou game for every occasion.

Platform: PlayStation 4

Retail Price: US $19.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Kingdom Hearts

There's a very good chance Kingdom Hearts III will release next year, and there's plenty for fans to catch up on in the meantime. Luckily, there are two very convenient packages making it easier than ever to revisit the series. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX collects both the original main titles and most of the side games in one remastered package that offers a truly staggering amount of content. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue isn't quite so packed, but it does offer a brand new story set to bridge the gap to Sora's upcoming adventure. Together, these two collections make an incredible way to either revisit the series or delve into it for the first time.

Platform: PlayStation 4

Retail Price: US $39.99

Shopping Link: Amazon - 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX / Amazon - 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

On its release, Final Fantasy XII was one of the most controversial games in the series' lineage for completely eschewing the traditional turn-based battle system. But now, more than a decade later, the game is getting its due in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age with remasted visuals and some key tweaks to make everything faster and more fun. It's an epic fantasy of world-spanning political drama, and the definitive version of a now-classic RPG.

Platform: PlayStation 4

Retail Price: US $49.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Xbox One X

Microsoft calls the new Xbox the “world's most powerful console,” and they ain't lying. A year more recent and $100 more expensive than the PS4 Pro, the Xbox One X is the most technologically advanced video game console on the market, offering more visual bells and whistles than any of it competitors. It also one-ups the PS4 Pro by including a UHD Blu-ray player, giving you access to the prettiest 4K movies your eyes can behold. And like the base Xbox One, it offers backward compatibility with a wide selection of Xbox 360 games and a growing number of original Xbox titles. The catch? The Xbox One just doesn't offer the same number of excellent exclusive games as the PS4, particularly for fans of Japanese gaming. But for the Halo, Assassin's Creed, and Call of Duty games of the world, there's no place better to play them than Xbox One X.

Retail Price: US $499.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Metroid: Samus Returns

We waited over 13 years for a new 2D adventure with intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran, and Metroid: Samus Returns makes an impressive case for that wait being worthwhile. A full remake and reimagining of a Game Boy game, Samus Returns challenges you to once again delve into the depths of an alien planet, hunting down the Metroids which threaten to extinguish all life in the galaxy. It controls great and offers plenty of challenges to overcome and secrets to uncover, making it the perfect relief for the long-suffering Metroid fan you're shopping for.

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Retail Price: US $39.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania is a true return to form for the hedgehog, bringing it all back to the looks and gameplay of the original Genesis games. But it's not just about nostalgia, because this game is filled with wildly inventive stages and bosses to go along with the rock-solid fundamentals of classic Sonic. It might just be the best game the hedgehog has ever appeared in. At a budget-friendly price it's a no-brainer for Sonic fans young and old.

Platform: PlayStation 4 / Switch / Xbox One / PC

Retail Price: US $19.99

Shopping Link: Amazon / Steam

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Pokémon is a perennial favorite, and after twenty years the monster-collecting RPGs that spawned a media empire are still going strong. Building off the island-themed adventures of the original Sun and Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon bring a new story, new abilities, and a handful of new Pokémon to collect. The only real question is whether the person you're shopping for is more of a lunar or a solar personality.

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Retail Price: US $39.99

Shopping Link: Amazon - Ultra Sun / Amazon - Ultra Moon

Nintendo Switch

While Sony and Microsoft duke it out over who has the most powerful hardware, Nintendo's snuck in with one of the most unique and creative console platforms we've ever seen. Like the name implies, the Switch can, well, switch between two different modes, offering handheld gaming on a tablet or TV gaming when plugged into a dock. It's a simple idea, but it works like magic, and the versatility of the system is incredible—the only real knock against it is the short battery life. It also doesn't hurt that Nintendo's already put out some of the best games we've ever seen the system. If you're looking to get a Switch library started, there are some top picks later on, but although there wasn't space for them on the list both Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are well worth checking out.

Retail Price: US $299.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Super Mario Odyssey

A new Mario game is always a treat, and Super Mario Odyssey easily ranks among the plumber's greatest adventures. In a globe-trotting quest to once again rescue Princess Peach, Mario this time gets the ability to take control of most any enemy he comes across—and until you've controlled a rampaging dinosaur with a red cap and a tiny mustache, you haven't lived. Super Mario Odyssey is the perfect colorful companion to a new Switch purchase.

Platform: Switch

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a modern masterpiece which invites you to slowly unravel its secrets as you explore one of the biggest, most vibrant words gaming has ever produced. It's awesome, and alongside Super Mario Odyssey forms a one-two punch making the Nintendo Switch the hottest game platform of the season. If a new console is a bit out of your gifting price range, though, Breath of the Wild is still available—and excellent—on the Wii U.

Platform: Switch / Wii U

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

This game should not have been made. Yet Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle exists, and against all odds it's wonderful. Forcing the squeaky-clean, family friendly Mario crew into cooperation with the loud-mouthed, PG-rated toilet humor of the Rabbids, the end result is a compelling strategy game with colorful visuals and loads of depth. Every stage is a tactical challenge with multiple ways to the end, and it's the perfect game to play in short bursts while the Switch is in portable mode. Platform: Switch

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

We're still a little bit away from the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on December 1, but this promises to be an excellent, extensive RPG perfect for any Switch owner who's finished up with Mario and Zelda. In-depth combat and a variety of locations set on the backs of massive Titans look to make this one of the deepest role-playing games of the year.

Platform: Switch

Retail Price: US $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon

Tales of Berseria

The latest entry in the long-running Tales series, Tales of Berseria offers action-RPG combat amid an epic fantasy story filled with a big cast of supporting characters. You'll build relationships with those characters over time through dialog events that appear based on who you're adventuring with. With loads of content, it's a safe bet for any RPG fan.

Platform: PlayStation 4 / PC

Retail Price: US $49.99

Shopping Link: Amazon / Steam

Danganronpa 1-2 Reload (and V3)

Say it with with me now: “don-gon-ron-pah.” This is a series of story-driven titles set inside Hope's Peak Academy, an exclusive school where a diverse class of students are put to the ultimate test by a maniacal bear known as Monokuma. Escaping the school means committing a murder and getting away with it, so much of the game is spent investigating crimes and questioning classmates in extensive, colorful trials. Danganronpa 1-2 Reload collects the first two games in the series, while Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a brand-new, spectacular end for the trilogy.

Platform: PlayStation 4

Retail Price: US $39.99 / $59.99

Shopping Link: Amazon - 1-2 Reload / Amazon - V3


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