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Games and Tech Holiday Gift Guide 2019

 

2019 was a big year for video games. It saw the release of Death Stranding, Red Dead Remption 2 got a PC port, and sleepers like Outer Wilds and Outer Worlds came out and wowed critics and audiences alike. But with so many games out this year, and so many different systems to choose from, what do you get your favorite video game player this holiday?

Let Third Coast Review curate a list of some of our favorites from 2019—and more.

 

Video Games

Multiple digital storefronts are have already kicked off their holiday sales. These our some of our favorite recent games, many of which can be found at great prices. We’ve got a look at some of the best places you can stop online to get some of the best deals.

Steam

Steam’s Autumn Sale runs from November 26 through December 3rd. Here’s some of our favorite finds:

Deep Rock Galactic 

While Deep Rock Galactic has been in early access for a while, I won’t stop telling people about this game. You play as up to four dwarves diving into an alien planet to extract minerals while fighting bugs. It’s one of our most played games and just keeps getting better, and it’s 33% off at $20.99.

 

 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

From Software’s latest difficult action game has the tight, high-risk/high-reward combat you’d expect. It was one of our favorite games this year, and with the sales available, it’s definitely time to pick up this game if you haven’t already. It’s 35% off at $38.99.

 

 

Resident Evil 2 

And that’s all we have to say about that.  Resident Evil 2 is 67 percent off at $19.79

 

Epic Game Store

Epic Game store’s Black Friday Sale is on now, and runs through December 2nd. Here’s our top picks from their offerings:

Red Dead Redemption II

Red Dead Redemption II recently released on PC and it’s already getting a modest discount on the Epic Game Store–if that’s enough to entice you away from its December 5th Steam release, that is. $47.99

 

 

Borderlands 3 

Borderlands 3 is more of the same Borderlands action you’d expect–which is great. Have a blast revisiting Pandora, exploring new worlds and meeting stimulating people of new, rich cultures–and kill them! $40.19

 

What the Golf? 

What the Golf!? is a game that subverts expectation and every turn, and is absolutely delightful while being simultaneously challenging and fun. $12.99

 

 

Blizzard/Activision

Blizzard/Activision’s sale also runs through December 2nd. Here’s some recommendations:

 

Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is this year’s best selling game–and for good reason. It has a rollercoaster single player campaign, and multiplayer that you and your friends are probably already playing obsessively. $59.99

 

 

Overwatch

If you haven’t gotten into the immensely popular shooter Overwatch, there is no better time with a free play until December 4th, and a sale that halves the game’s price. See what the fuss is all about before Overwatch 2. $19.99 Legendary Edition.

 

 

Nintendo EShop

Nintendo’s Cyber Deals sale is on through December 4th and has some of the most wanted titles around. Here’s what we suggest:

 

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi’s Mansion 3 was one of my favorite games of the year, and one of the best co-op experiences in recent memory. Luigi teams up with a Goo analogue to solve puzzles and capture ghosts. $59.99

 

 

Pokemon: Sword and Shield

Pokemon is a franchise that’s been popular forever and is enjoying a huge resurgence lately with everything from Pokemon Go and Let’s Go, Eevee! being mere appetizers to the feast that is Pokemon Sword and Shield, two different editions of the latest greatest full Pokemon game to hit the market in years. Everyone’s excited, and everyone’s trying to get their hands on a copy. This is sure to be one of the must-haves this holiday season. Buy Sword or Shield alone or get the Double Pack at $119.99 so you don’t have to choose.

 

 

Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire is a deck building roguelike that is insanely addictive. It’s not just available on the Nintendo Switch, but it’ll be the platform you want to play it on since you’ll never want to stop. $19.99

 

 

FAR: Lone Sails

FAR: Lone Sails was one of my favorite games last year–and this year, when it came to Nintendo Switch, I fell in love all over again. Featuring a beautiful art style, play as a lone girl piloting a landship across a dried ocean at the end of the world. This beautiful game is on sale for $11.49

 

 

Playstation

Here’s some great picks from Playstation’s current sale, which runs through December 2nd.

 

Spider-Man

Never has a game made me feel so much like the superhero on the box since the Arkham Series. Spider-Man has you take the roll of the titular webslinger as he faces off against the Sinister Six. Spider-Man is 50% off at $19.99

 

 

God of War 

God of War was one of our favorite games last year, and still one of the best exclusives for the PlayStation. For only 10 dollars, there isn’t an excuse to miss this great title. God of War is on sale for 50% off at $9.99

 

 

Days Gone

Days Gone is not a game I thought I would be putting on any end of year lists, but it was a surprise. It definitely isn’t the best game, but if you want a story that centered on a mystery and a game with many hours of satisfying open world gameplay, Days Gone won’t do you wrong. Days Gone is 50% off at $20.00

 

 

Death Stranding

Death Stranding has been dividing reviewers for weeks now. I personally loved it. There’s not much else I can say about it that my recent review hasn’t touched. If you’re on the fence, I’d recommend giving this Kojima Productions debut a chance. $59.99

 

Xbox

Xbox’s Holiday Deals run now through Black Friday.

 

Gears 5

Gears 5 is a return to third person action form for the bulky protagonists. It has excellent an single player campaign coupled with intense multiplayer that will make you want to grab your Lancer and start chainsawing the Swarm. Gears 5 is 50% off at $29.99

 

 

Control

Control is a third person action game with the perfect amount of weirdness to fun ratio. Explore the enigmatic Oldest House while battling the sinister Hiss. Control is 25% off at $44.99.

 

 

 

Hardware

If you’re shopping for hardware for your favorite gamer, we’ve got a few suggestions and a few leads on sales, too. And while you can certainly scout deals on Amazon from the couch, if you’re looking for brick and mortar stores to pick something up, we’ve got the scoop on where you might want to head on Black Friday to swoop in.

 

XBox One 

There are quite a few good deals for the Xbox One S, with bundles for Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, NBA 2K20 and more, and a particularly sweet deal at Best Buy and Target for the All Digital Edition 1TB box (as the name suggests, this edition has no disc reader for physical copies of games) for $149.99. The beefier Xbox One X has a good doorbuster bundle for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order at $349.99.

 

 

Nintendo Switch

If you know someone longing for a Nintendo Switch, Best Buy looks to have some fantastic deals on the consoles (including the new Switch Lite) and accessories, including the shiny new Pokemon Sword and Shield Wireless controllers, and the unnecessary but fun Pokeball Plus controller knocked down from $50 to $19.99

 

 

Playstation 4

The Playstation 4 deal seems to have landed at Kohl’s this year, with a PS4 Pro 1TB console on sale for 299.99. Game choice to accompany the console is sparse there, but the price for the console is pretty solid.

 

 

Photo by Lux Interaction on Unsplash

VR is taking off again this year, especially with the recent announcement of Half Life: Alyx and the popularity of games like Beat Saber.  If you’ve got someone you really want to spoil, here’s some ways to get your hands on great VR tech, too.

Oculus Rift S

The Oculus Rift S is a great entry level VR setup, with less fuss in setup than its predecessor and an overall performance upgrade. You can buy a Rift S for $399, which is a pretty good price to get yourself acquainted with the immersive world of VR. $399

 

Oculus Quest

If you don’t want to be tied to a PC at all for your VR experience (or tethered to those cables) then investing a little more in an Oculus Quest may be the way to go. Take VR on the go,if you’re willing to invest a little bit more. There’s a $399 64GB version, but we recommend spending the extra $100 for double the space with a 128GB version. $399-$499

 

valve.com

Valve Index

If you or someone you love is very into VR, you may want to consider the Valve Index. Though its price point is potentially offputting, it’s the luxury car of VR experiences, with dozens more creature comfort, a less tangly and more damage proof cord, wider view, a very comfy headset that’s lighter and has nicer touches, and unique wrist controllers. Get a Valve Index for $999 and you’ll get Half Life: Alyx with it, too. $999.00

 

Photo: Marielle Bokor

Aeropress Go

Shipping the second week of December, this can be considered essential tech if you want to get through all the amazing games (and all the exhausting shopping.) This dimunitive device brews fantastic coffee and its latest iteration tucks into itself to fit anywhere for easy travel. Trust us, it’s an essential.  $31.95

 

 

Chicago Local Developers and Deals

Shopping local is always a good call, and there’s plenty of ways to do that in Chicago. Here’s what we suggest for tabletop and video game lover alike.

Bonus Round Game Cafe. Photo by Marielle Shaw.

Bonus Round Cafe Gift Cards

First, if you’re looking to support local businesses, why not support Chicago’s first board game cafe, Bonus Round. The proprietors, Courtney and Drew, are incredibly friendly and serve up fantastic food, coffee, beer and board games and are welcoming to EVERYONE. Whether you’re an avid tabletop game player or just want to get your feet wet, you’ll find staff who knows how to get you in the game, great merchandise, conversation and food at Bonus Round. Do everyone a favor and get your favorite gamer a gift card for some game time and help them find new games to play and new people to play them with. $5+

 

El: The Chicago Transit Adventure

For the person who just loves Chicago that much, try out the new CTA Board Game–EL: The Chicago Transit Adventure, created by Transit Tees in Wicker Park where it was created. In this game, you’ll help a CTA train through baseball delays, and pigeon swarms. $40.00

 

 

Too Many Poops! @ C2E2 2019. Photo: Antal Bokor

Too Many Poops

Too Many Poops by Neat Games just released after its super successful kickstarter and playtest party return, now you can buy it on Amazon– and it’s a great choice. The game is super fun, especially for holiday gatherings. Its rules are easy to pick up, its art incredibly adorable, it’s family friendly, and strategic enough to satisfy everyone. $19.99

 

Cards Against Humanity

 

Less family friendly but well known and loved, Cards Against Humanity is a Chicago institution that’s always a safe bet for those in the family who love game night. Check out their newest additions for their flagship game, like the 2000’s Nostalgia Pack (ouch) , Sci-Fi Pack, and Ass Pack. $5-$25

 

Screenshot: Jackbox Party Pack 5

Jackbox Party Pack 6

Finally, there’s Jackbox Games, who’s got a brand new Party Pack, the Jackbox Party Pack 6, ready to roll for the holidays.This is a great one to break out at family gatherings or friendsgivings. There are five different games and up to 10 people can play simply using their phones or tablets, with audience size going up to 10,000 participants in case you have a REALLY big gathering you need to entertain after dinner. $22.49

Now that we’ve gifted you this shopping list, it’s up to you to wrap things up for someone you love. Happy Holidays from Third Coast Review!

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