Holiday Gift Guide for Games 2021
Editorials

Console Creatures’ Holiday Gift Guide for Gaming 2021

The festive season began the moment Halloween ended and that leaves more than enough time to really get into the spirit of the season. That’s means we’ve got ample time to consider what types of gifts to get our friends and family. Once again, we’ve combed through deals and compiled a list that we feel reflects some of the best available this year.

We found something for almost everyone in your family and this year features many good gift ideas. Be it a gamer, a techie, or somewhere in-between. This year we’re starting a bit earlier given the pandemic is still happening and deals are now starting much earlier to accommodate the situation.

Xbox Series X/Xbox Series X Halo Infinite Limited Edition

Xbox Series X Halo Infinite Limited Edition bundle | Xbox

 

This year has been an exciting year for the Xbox brand. Last year, Microsoft launched the Xbox Series X, but this year is the brand’s official 20th anniversary. While the regular Xbox Series X is more than enough if you can find the Halo Infinite Limited Edition console, grab one. The console comes with 1TB of space, the ability to play native 4K, 120 FPS support, Smart Delivery, Quick Resume and more.

The Xbox Series X is a standout console given it is an extremely powerful machine that serves as a great entry point into the ninth generation of console gaming. However, one look at the Halo Infinite Limited Edition console and you’ll see why I recommend it – from the gorgeous skin that glows under a black light, the customized Halo sounds indicating on/off and a stunning matching controller will make it a stellar gift for the gamer in your life.

Be warned though, the pandemic has made purchasing a console harder than it normally is. There are accounts on Twitter like Lbabinz to help find stock around Canada. Please follow and turn on notifications to keep up to date on when consoles are available.

Purchase the Xbox Series X Halo Infinite Limited Edition for $649.99

Purchase the Xbox Series X on Amazon

Purchase the Xbox Series X Halo Infinite Limited Edition on Microsoft Store

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

You’ll have a new console to play games on but no games to when you get a new console. Xbox has the ultimate solution to that conundrum and it’s easily the best deal in video games. Enter Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a subscription service that features over 100 high-quality titles across console and PC, including day-one first-party releases and the added benefits of Xbox Live Gold. You can even stream games with Xbox Cloud Gaming to your mobile device, tablet, or television without having to worry about downloading games.

For $16.99 a month, it’s easily the best recommendation I can suggest for new console owners who are hard to buy games for.

Forza Horizon 5

Xbox has had a solid year and this year’s biggest and the game isn’t a shooter or an RPG – it’s an open-world car racing game from Playground Games that has taken the world by storm. It’s a game I come back to every night, trying to best my friends’ scores and compete against them in the Eliminator or in a drift race. There’s so much to love about the cars, the music, and the location, which is set in Mexico, a diverse landscape.

In my review, I said, “Forza Horizon 5 is a stunning, eclectic title that’s welcoming to both racing aficionados and newcomers. Is this game more of the same? It is, but also it improves on several issues its predecessor had and feels more streamlined. Playground Games continues to improve the series and definitively the fifth entry is easily my favourite in the series. Forza Horizon 5 is the biggest and best game in the series, moving players to the stunning landscapes of Mexico with limitless fun and adventures. It’s also the most accessible game in the series, never herding you into an event, instead, you are rewarded by exploring Mexico and there is no finer racing game or exclusive on Xbox.”

You can purchase Forza Horizon 5 for $79.99.

Purchase Forza Horizon 5 at Best Buy

Purchase Forza Horizon 5 at Amazon

Purchase Forza Horizon 5 at GameStop Canada

Or join Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and play it along with 100 high-quality titles.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2- Halo Infinite Limited Edition

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A perfect pairing with your new console – the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is one of the most popular controllers in the market. This limited-edition Halo Infinite themed controller is an homage to Master Chief and comes with custom blue lights, back paddles, a stunning gold D-Pad and swappable components. There’s even a carrying case and a laser-etched dock to display your new controller on the mantle.

Purchase the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 – Halo Infinite Limited Edition for $259.99

Purchase the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2- Halo Infinite Limited Edition on GameStop Canada

Purchase the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2- Halo Infinite Limited Edition on Microsoft Store

Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S

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We’re officially one year into the current generation of Xbox consoles and by now, I’m sure you’re close to filling up storage space with games. Given that Series X has 802GB of usable space and the Series S 364 GB available, both systems will hit capacity quickly. Enter Seagate’s Storage Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X|S. In the last year, the lineup has expanded from only a 1TB option to have three options to choose from, including a 512GB and 2TB storage option. Having built a partnership with Xbox to deliver a compatible, Xbox Velocity Architecture solution — we get a proprietary design that delivers upwards of 25 times the speed of a standard SATA drive via NVMe technology.

Nintendo Switch OLED model

Nintendo Switch OLED

Nintendo’s latest refresh of the Switch is easily the best given it uses an OLED screen to make the games look vibrant and pop with colour. Equipped with a stunning 7-inch OLED display, an excellent kickstand for tabletop sessions, a dock with a LAN port, enhanced audio and double the internal storage (64 GB), the Nintendo Switch OLED model is an easy recommendation for newcomers to the platform or for your family members who have a launch model that’s probably been around the block.

You can purchase the Nintendo Switch OLED model for $449.99.

Purchase the Nintendo Switch OLED model at Best Buy

Purchase the Nintendo Switch OLED model at Amazon

Purchase the Nintendo Switch OLED model at GameStop Canada

Mario Party Superstars

Mario Party Superstars features five classic boards from the Nintendo 64 era and a collection of 100 minigames from across the Mario Party series. The thing about Mario Party Superstars is that it combines some of the best game boards from the earliest day in the series and adds some of the best minigames from the entire franchise to one solid package.

You can purchase Mario Party Superstars for $79.99.

Purchase Mario Party Superstars at Best Buy

Purchase Mario Party Superstars at Amazon

Purchase Mario Party Superstars at GameStop Canada

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond

Two classic Pokémon adventures reborn on the Nintendo Switch. These two fourth-generation games are a lot better now and I recently reviewed them. In my review, I said “We’re not just getting improved graphics; the quality-of-life improvements give two classic games the attention they deserve without all bloat from the Nintendo DS games. Battles are snappier, and the Grand Underground are wonderous compared to their counterparts and the nostalgic return to the Sinnoh region will bring a smile to your face.”

Purchase Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl at Best Buy

Purchase Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl at Amazon

Purchase Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl at GameStop Canada

Metroid Dread

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Nintendo launched the Switch OLED model and Metroid Dread on the same day. It’s clear that the new hardware refresh was made for Dread, a game that’s been in development since 2005 in some form. It’s also one of the best games out this year and is one of the best 2D Metroid titles ever. In my review, I said “Metroid Dread is hauntingly beautiful and dreadfully terrifying, giving us one of the best experiences on the Nintendo Switch. Bolstered by the gorgeous new OLED model, planet ZDR is a dreary place that will make your skin crawl at times. Fans of the older games, particularly Super Metroid will resonate with Dread.”

You can purchase Metroid Dread for $79.99.

Purchase Metroid Dread at Best Buy

Purchase Metroid Dread at Amazon

Purchase Metroid Dread at GameStop Canada

PlayStation 5

Sony’s had a great year too, with the PlayStation 5 selling out almost immediately with ever restock I’ve seen online. For good reason, too as 2021 has had some stunning first-party games launch this year including Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Returnal, Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, and last year’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, Sack Boy: A Big Adventure.

In just one year, Sony has added features to the PlayStation 5 to make it even more impressive. It already comes with stunning 4K visuals, a speedy proprietary SSD to make your games load fast, 3D audio that works with any speakers, and the ability to upgrade the console’s expansion storage with Gen4 NVMe M.2 flash memory.

Be warned though, the pandemic has made purchasing a console harder than it normally is. There are accounts on Twitter like Lbabinz to help find stock around Canada. Please follow and turn on notifications to keep up to date on when consoles are available.

You can purchase PlayStation 5 for $629.99.

Purchase the PlayStation 5 at Best Buy

Purchase the PlayStation 5 at Amazon

Purchase the PlayStation 5 at GameStop Canada

DualSense Wireless Controller

PlayStation 5 DualSense

One of the most innovative controllers in years, the PlayStation 5 has moved into a new realm of immersion with the DualSense controller. If you’ve never used the controller then you’ll be amazed at how impressive it is. The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller includes haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, allowing players to feel the tension in actions that they perform, like pulling back a bowstring. For developers, the adaptive trigger is programmable to an assortment of sensations. Sounds emanate from the controller during actions happening on the screen, offering a larger range than that DualShock 4.

Earlier this year, Sony added two new colours for players to choose from – Midnight Black and Cosmic Red.

You can purchase the DualSense for $89.99.

Purchase the DualSense Controller at Best Buy

Purchase the DualSense Controller at Amazon

Purchase the DualSense Controller at GameStop Canada

PowerA Nano Enhanced Wireless Controller

Working with both your Switch and your PC, the Nano Enhanced Wireless Controller is a third the size of the Pro Controller while keeping a lot of what makes the controller so great. It’s got a USB-C port, motion controls and LEDs to help tell your position. It’s lightweight, lasts for nearly 20 hours on a single charge and is easy to pack away.

You can purchase the Nano Enhanced Wireless Controller for $69.99.

Purchase the Nano Enhanced Wireless Controller at WalMart

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

One of the most technically impressive games on PlayStation 5 is Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. The latest from Insomniac Games delivers a satisfying entry into the long-running series that razzle’s and dazzles thanks to stellar visuals, immersive controls and exciting gameplay. In my review, I said “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the first true exclusive you shouldn’t miss. Newcomer Rivet is one of the best protagonists in years and fits in seamlessly into the lore and Insomniac Games improves on the gameplay, introduces new mechanics and creates a playable Pixar film.”

Purchase Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart at Best Buy

Purchase Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart at Amazon

Purchase Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart at GameStop Canada

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s good, really good and one of the best game’s out this year thanks to a cast full of chemistry, a great story, and some exciting gameplay. It’s everything I wanted from the maligned Marvel’s Avengers and more.

Eidos Montreal is a great studio that took a massive property like Guardians of the Galaxy and made a unique version of these beloved characters. It’s clear the developers care for these characters and the world and pull inspiration from the comics as much as the films. In my review, I said “Everything about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy could have gone terribly wrong, instead, it delivers one of the most surprising and entertaining games this year.

Purchase Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy at Best Buy

Purchase Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy at Amazon

Purchase Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy at GameStop Canada

Life is Strange: True Colors

Under the direction of studio Deck Nine Games, Life is Strange feels better and hits harder. I was a fan of Life is Strange when it was under Dontnod but it wasn’t until True Colors that it really resonated with me.

You play as Alex Chen; you move to Colorado to live with your brother and start a new chapter of your life. Things do not go well and Alex begins to unravel the truth about Hope Springs. In my review, I said, “Life is Strange: True Colors features a strong cast with even stronger performances. Taking around ten hours to complete, the story starts off strong but loses its balance before regaining stability towards the end of the game. Learning what led to the death of her brother Gabe comes with the cost of some heavy discoveries and playing as Alex, you’ll need to make some important choices — ones that felt like they made a difference.  However, technical mishaps and frame rate issues hinder the experience.”

You can purchase Life is Strange: True Colors for $79.99.

Purchase Life is Strange: True Colors at Best Buy

Purchase Life is Strange: True Colors at Amazon

Purchase Life is Strange: True Colors at GameStop Canada

Outriders

From People Can Fly, Outriders launched this year to positive reception. Set on a fantasy planet where mankind has been stranded on Enoch, a hostile world where everything is out to get you, you play as an Outrider. After encountering the Anomaly and gaining powers, you select your class and begin your journey to salvage the planet for your people.

In my review, I said “Outriders may not excel at anything but it does enough right to keep things interesting. The gunplay is good, the core loop of finding new gear is fun and exploring Enoch with friends (or solo) is a blast.” Since March, the developers have been quiet but earlier this month released an update addressing tons of issues.

New Horizon introduces four new Expeditions, an all-new Transmog system, removed timers while in Expeditions, new weapon skins, rebalanced Classes, Skills and Mods, and an overhaul to Tiago’s Expedition store and his vendor items, as well as many more general life improvements and updates to the game.

You can purchase Outriders for $79.99.

Purchase Outriders at Best Buy

Purchase Outriders at Amazon

Purchase Outriders at GameStop Canada

Fortnite Vending Machine

The Fortnite Vending Machine is a must for fans of Epic Games’ free-to-play phenomenon. What sticks out about this figure is that you not only get a toy but over a dozen separate pieces to create a figure that represents your tastes. Just like in Fortnite, you can customize and pick from Epic and Legendary Weapons and showcase them at home.

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Each figure measures 11 inches tall and includes 19 pieces, plus it’s pre-filled with 1 (4-inch) figure, 9 Weapons, 4 Back Bling, 4 exclusive spray building materials, and 1 exclusive sticker.

Purchase Fortnite Vending Machine at Walmart

Purchase Fortnite Vending Machine at Amazon

Purchase Fortnite Vending Machine at GameStop

Roblox Kingdom Simulator Berserker

Roblox has been picking up steam for ages now and has moved away from being strictly virtual to now featuring toys you can pick up in stores that can be used to unlock items in the virtual world.

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The mighty axe-wielding warrior is here to help you on your quest for victory in Imperator’s empire-building game, Kingdom Simulator. It is one of 24 mystery figures you can pick up in stores today and you can even mix and match the included accessories to build your own Roblox character.

Purchase Roblox Core Figures at Walmart

Purchase Roblox Core Figures at Indigo

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Bobby has been gaming since he was old enough to walk. Since then, the interest has only grown stronger, and here we are today. Follow Bobby on Twitter, and just go with it. @bpashalidis

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