Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Dec 182015
 

Need help with gift ideas for the gamers in your life? Shopping for Christmas or winter birthdays? Maybe you’re just looking for game recommendations for yourself.

No matter why you’re here, I’ve prepared a video game shopping guide for this year’s holiday season!

Who would you rather see at your door? Santa Shuu, or Santa Rodin?

Who would you rather see at your door? Santa Shuu, or Santa Rodin?

You can browse the entire list, or search for a specific genre/console to filter the results. (Note: if you’re searching for a console, don’t use abbreviations: ex. search for PlayStation 3, not PS3.)

GameGenreSystemDescriptionLinks
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Phoenix-Wright-Ace-Attorney
Adventure/Visual NovelNintendo DSIf you have a friend who loves games with humor, you can't go wrong with the Ace Attorney series.

Part point-and-click adventure, part visual novel, these games make law exciting and ridiculous.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is the first game in the series.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Justice for All
Justice-for-All-box
Adventure/Visual NovelNintendo DSJustice for All is the second game in the Ace Attorney series.

Although one of the weaker entries, it's well worth playing... preferably after the first game.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials & Tribulations
Trials-and-Tribulations
Adventure/Visual NovelNintendo DSTrials & Tribulations is the third Ace Attorney game and my personal favorite.

This game is best experienced after the first two.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Phoenix Wright Trilogy
Phoenix-Wright-Trilogy
Adventure/Visual NovelNintendo 3DSIf you know a 3DS owner who wants to get into the Ace Attorney series and doesn't mind digital-only games, the Phoenix Wright Trilogy is the best way to go.

This collects all three original games into a single package and is the perfect starting point.
Available from the eShop
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Apollo-Justice
Adventure/Visual NovelNintendo DSThe fourth Ace Attorney game isn't available on the 3DS yet, but you can still find the DS copy.

This is the best gift for someone who has already played the trilogy.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
Dual-Destinies-cover
Adventure/Visual NovelNintendo 3DSThe fifth Ace Attorney game is a digital-only release.

I found it to be an exciting, entertaining game with all the humor you should expect from Ace Attorney.
Available from the eShop
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Ace-Attorney-Investigations
Adventure/Visual NovelNintendo DSInvestigations is a spin-off, so it's not critical to the series. Nevertheless, it's still a great game for Ace Attorney fans... especially Edgeworth fans.Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Professor-Layton-vs-Phoenix-Wright-box-art
Adventure/Visual Novel/PuzzleNintendo 3DSAlthough the game's storytelling is flawed, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright is a fun game for fans of either series.

It's also a great way for Ace Attorney fans to see if they'd like Professor Layton, and vice versa.
Buy from Amazon or Nintendo
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles
Tales-of-Symphonia
Action RPGPlayStation 3While the original Tales of Symphonia for the GameCube is difficult to find these days, it was re-released (along with its sequel) for the PS3 as Tales of Symphonia Chronicles.

This game is amazing. Great story, fantastic characters... I recommend it to all RPG fans.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Tales of Xillia
Tales-of-Xillia
Action RPGPlayStation 3If you've already played Tales of Symphonia, or you'd prefer a more modern game, Tales of Xillia is an entertaining game with a great sense of humor and one of my favorite RPG characters.Buy from Amazon
Professor Layton and the Curious Village
Curious-Village-cover
PuzzleNintendo DSFor fans of puzzle games, the Professor Layton series is a must. Challenging puzzles, wacky stories, charming characters... and it all started here, with Curious Village.

Compared to later entries, Professor Layton and the Curious Village isn't as polished. However, Professor Layton is a series best experienced in order.
Buy from Amazon
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Diabolical-Box
PuzzleNintendo DSThe second Professor Layton game is an enjoyable game, though I consider its story the weakest.

If you don't mind the plot holes in Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, you won't mind them in Diabolical Box.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Unwound-Future
PuzzleNintendo DSProfessor Layton and the Unwound Future is where the series really hits its stride. Considered by many people (including me) to be the best Layton game, it's an epic, emotional story with plenty of puzzles.Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Professor Layton and the Last Specter
Last-Specter
PuzzleNintendo DSLast Specter begins the Professor Layton prequel trilogy, set before the original games.

Since it is first chronologically, Professor Layton and the Last Specter is a viable place to start the series.

It also includes a side RPG called "Layton's London Life" in all but the European versions.
Buy from Amazon
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Miracle-Mask
PuzzleNintendo 3DSThe first 3DS entry in the series, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask continues the overarching plot begun in Last Specter.Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
Azran-Legacy-cover
PuzzleNintendo 3DSThe Layton saga concludes in epic form with Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy.

This puzzle-solving adventure sends you on a quest around the world to finally solve the mystery of the lost Azran civilization. It also is the final game to star Professor Hershel Layton.
Amazon
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
Layton-Brothers-Mystery-Room
Adventure/Visual NoveliOSThis Professor Layton spin-off plays more like a streamlined Ace Attorney game than its parent series.

It stars Layton's son, Alfendi, and his new partner Lucy Baker. It's a little too easy, but quite enjoyable nevertheless.
Available from the iTunes app store
Bayonetta
Bayonetta-box-art
ActionPlayStation 3/Xbox 360/Wii UThe original Bayonetta is wild, crazy, over-the-top action fun starring an amnesiac witch on a search for the truth about her past.

This game blew me away when I played it. If you like stylish action, convoluted stories, and a game that's over-the-top in everything it does, get Bayonetta.
Available from Amazon, Play-Asia, or (Wii U only) included with Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta-2-case
ActionWii UBayonetta 2 takes everything the original does, and makes it better. While this makes it slightly less of a challenge, it's still amazingly fun, and the two games' stories work together incredibly well.

It even starts at Christmas. What more can you ask for?

Best of all, all North American copies come with the first game included.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Undertale
Undertale-cover
RPGPCUndertale is hard to describe without spoiling the things that make it so great.

It's an RPG (sort of) in which you don't have to kill your enemies. It also has a fantastic sense of humor.

My full review is coming soon. For now, if you're shopping for someone who likes RPGs and/or funny games (and/or games with moral consequences), consider Undertale.
Buy from Steam
Hatoful Boyfriend
Hatoful-Boyfriend
Visual Novel/Dating SimPC/PlayStation 4/VitaRecommendations of Hatoful Boyfriend require a disclaimer: this is not a joke!

Despite its ridiculous premise of a human student at an all-bird school finding romance, it is surprisingly interesting and deep. If you like visual novels, play Hatoful Boyfriend. It's not what you're expecting.
Buy from Steam or PSN
Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star
Holiday-Star
Visual NovelPC/PlayStation 4/VitaRepeat: this is not a joke.

Yes, Hatoful Boyfriend has a Christmas-themed sequel, Holiday Star. Unlike the first one, this is a pure visual novel, with stories told across several episodes.
Buy from Steam or PSN (coming soon)
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
Kingdom-Hearts-1.5
Action RPGPlayStation 3Once upon a time, someone said, "Let's make a game with Disney and Final Fantasy characters!"

It shouldn't have worked, but it did, and the result was a bizarrely excellent series called Kingdom Hearts.

The 1.5 Remix includes the Final Mix of the first Kingdom Hearts, Re: Chain of Memories, and the cutscenes from 358/2 Days.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia
Alien Isolation
Alien-Isolation-Nostromo-Edition
Survival HorrorPC/PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PlayStation 3/Xbox 360Survival horror has diminished in the mainstream market, but Alien: Isolation held true to the genre's core mechanics.

It's also very true to the atmosphere of the first Alien movie.

If you're a fan of Alien or survival horror, check out Isolation.
Buy from Amazon or Play-Asia

Shopping for non-gamers?

The-Accidental-Zombie-CoverI have a Christmas romance about Santa’s elves, available in a short anthology of holiday romances, Love Under the Mistletoe.

For more stories from yours truly, check out my fiction page.

Or, if you prefer a fairy tale adventure to my weirdness, check out a novel by one of my fellow authors at Kellan Publishing, The Curious Case of Prince Charming.

And to all fantasy fans, I recommend Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study and Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series, starting with The Last Wish. (You can find my reviews for them here and here, respectively.)

Finally, if you played Hatoful Boyfriend and love Anghel’s route, do yourself a favor and read Absolute Zero. It’s a manga set entirely in the universe Anghel perceives. You know you want to see Dark Sorcerer Wallenstein again!

I hope this has helped you with your last-minute Christmas video game shopping! What video games do you recommend as gifts this holiday season?

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  6 Responses to “Holiday 2015 Video Game Shopping Guide”

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