Reward Information: Play on each platform to information you thru the lengthy, COVID winter


Welcome to the TechCrunch 2020 Holiday Gift Guide! Do you need help with gift ideas? We are here to help! We will be bringing out gift guides from now until the end of December. You can find our other guides here.

It's a great time to be a gamer – I mean, what else is there to do? And with the prospect of a long winter and a lonely vacation season ahead of us, here's a list of games across all of the major platforms to really empathize – and a couple of dozen hours -.

Are you buying for a player and have no idea what is worth it? Once you've figured out which gaming system is the platform of your choice, each of these systems should be guaranteed a win.

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla

Credit: Ubisoft

I really enjoyed AC: Odyssey's beautiful scenery and main characters, but the game systems felt disjointed and haphazard. This is much less the case with AC: Valhalla, which tells a similarly expansive story of the Vikings in England but works a little harder to piece it together into a cohesive whole. It's still very much "Ubisoft game but with Vikings", but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Price: $ 50 from Amazon

Minecraft dungeons

I thought this game was a bit limited when it came out, but since then it has gotten several new areas and cross-platform multiplayer. Between these simplified systems and PG-level violence, Minecraft Dungeons are a great option for families looking to fight monsters together.

Price: $ 20-30 (depending on platform) from Mojang

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Reviewers agree: The new CODBLOPS are definitely more CODBLOPS. The latest in the tough military series is what everyone will be playing for the next year. So it's definitely a must see for some people.

Price: $ 50-60 (depending on your platform) from Amazon

Cyberpunk 2077

Credit: CD project red

Cyberpunk 2077, the futuristic role-playing game from the makers of the witcher, hasn't released yet, but it's one of the most anticipated titles in recent years, and your special person might like the idea that they'll get it on day one. If it has something to do with The Witcher 3, you'll likely want to wait a few months for the bugs to be ironed out. But hey, that's an option.

Price: $ 50 from Amazon

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Credit: Sony

This episode of the much-praised Spider-Man from 2018 is smaller, but plays even better. Plus, it has a wonderfully inclusive cast and tone, and feels authentic, where the original had a pretty flat view of New York for all its strengths. Bonus: When you buy the PS5 version from Miles Morales, you get the revamped 2018 game for free. I would argue that you will not find a better bang for your buck with any other new game right now.

Price: $ 50 on Amazon

Demon souls

Credit: Sony

The only "true" next generation game out there right now is a remake of a PlayStation 3 game, and in many ways, it feels that way. But in other ways, it's the most amazing game out there right now. If your loved one has enjoyed Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro, and other incredibly tough games, this is the place for you.

Price: $ 70 on Amazon

Spirit of Tsushima

There's a real harvest of samurai and ninja action between Nioh 2, Sekiro, and Ghost of Tsushima. But Ghost is the broadest and most beautiful of them all – if not necessarily the deepest.

What he lacks in challenge … is more than made up for by the difficulty of the other two games I mentioned first of all, give me a break. Ghost's draw, however, lies in the unity and beauty of its game world and systems. For example, instead of a quest marker or arrow pointing to your destination, the wind always blows in that direction. Amazing right? The single player campaign is remarkably well played, and a free update also brought in a surprisingly extensive multiplayer co-op mode. This really is a game to lose yourself in. Just don't try to collect everything or you will never leave the first area.

Price: $ 40 on Amazon

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Credit: Vanilla ware

This completely unique game came from left field and was obsessed with me for two solid weeks. 13 Sentinels is a combination of adventure game, visual novel and tactical action game. With this feature, you will control a series of high school kids who control giant robots to save the world from alien invaders. (In case you can't tell it's a Japanese production.)

Sound familiar? That's the idea – and then it pulls carpets out from under you and doesn't stop for the last few minutes. The labyrinthine story unfolding through 13 interwoven narratives at once is the best kind of science fiction madness and a pleasure to unravel from start to finish. The fight is also compelling and satisfying, if not particularly deep or challenging. There's just nothing like it.

Price: Currently $ 30 from GameStop

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Image of the Master Chief from the halo

Credit: Microsoft

If your loved one is a Halo fan, they are probably very sad because Halo: Infinite, once a launch title for the new console, won't be out until next year. However, it can't hurt if the original games are all updated and embellished to play through as a starter. There's also the famous Halo multiplayer that will help everyone get through the winter.

Price: $ 30 from Amazon

Yakuza: Like a dragon

Credit: Sega

The latest in the long-running and popular Yakuza series of character-based adventures by Japanese gangsters in a fictional neighborhood of Tokyo changes that style with a turn-based combat system and a new protagonist – but some still call it the best.

Price: $ 35 from Amazon

Gear tactics

Credit: Microsoft

Nobody really expected the Gears of War series to be suitable for an XCOM-style tactical game – let alone skip others in the genre and become one of the best to get. Obviously, it's not quite the urgent visceral experience Gears typically has, but this is a surprisingly deep and fascinating game.

Price: $ 38 from Amazon

Ori and the will of the wisps

The sequel to the critically acclaimed “Metroidvania” Ori and the Blind Forest is technically multi-platform, but Series X seems absolutely the best to play on. With beautifully updated graphics and a silky smooth frame rate, this looks better on this new 4K HDR TV than many "real" next-generation games. But don't let the beautiful but cute art style believe you that this is a cake. As with the first part of the series, you will need serious skill to complete this platformer.

Price: $ 30 from Moon Studios

Risky Move: Pre-Order Halo: Infinite

No one is entirely sure whether the first next-gen Halo will be as good as everyone hopes, and a delay until early next year has not allayed anyone's fears. Even so, many gamers will appreciate the idea of ​​playing the latest in this venerable series on day one. It is therefore possible to pre-order a copy if none of the other games actually rings.

Price: $ 60 from Amazon

Mario Kart Live: home track

Credit: Bryce Durbin

Technically, this is also a "toy" as it is real RC carts that race through your home on an augmented reality racetrack. We thought it was amazingly fun and a great way to bring video games from TV to real life. Just be aware that each player needs their own car and switch.

Price: $ 99 from Best Buy

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Bad luck

Don't expect a new Zelda title in this game and you will do well. This is definitely an action game, and a big one, pretty pointless one at that. But it's hard to resist the concept of playing as Link, Zelda, or one of the champions of Breath of the Wild, sending enemies by the hundreds.

Price: $ 50 on Amazon

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Credit: Ninendo

Okay, I've given Nintendo a little thought about the superficial nature of this collection of amazing games. I had wanted to play Mario 64 for years and waited for Nintendo just to tweak it a bit – but es and Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy are practically unchanged in this retro pack. Really, you couldn't make it widescreen? But for most, the chance to play these games again (or for the first time) on the Switch is well worth the price of entry.

Price: $ 60 from Amazon

Spelunky 2 and / or Hades

The “roguelite” genre, with its randomly generated levels and complex locking systems, has enjoyed increasing popularity and sophistication for years – and here we have two good examples that steer the genre in different directions.

Spelunky 2 is the most traditional in some ways. A sequel to one of the best games out there, this game brings more variety, more craziness, and more challenge to the unforgiving platform of the original. As before, all death (and there will be a lot) is avoidable, and while some runs can only take seconds, knowing that you just paid a little extra attention or saved your bombs is hard to be put off have or have passed the other way … just one more game. (Pro tip: buy a few copies for friends and treat yourself to a fun collaboration.)

Hades combines the procedurally generated levels with an incredibly beautiful art style and an ingenious story and progress system. Escaping the ever-changing landscape of Hades will keep you dying, but as a young god, that's more of an inconvenience than an obstacle. In the meantime, every death and every inch of advancement brings you closer to the mystery of your birth in a clever modern take on Greek mythology. It's honestly hard to imagine how Hades could be improved in almost any way.

Price: $ 20 for Spelunky 2 on Steam | $ 25 for Hades on Steam

Crusader Kings III

Credit: paradox

This long-awaited strategy title puts you in the throne room of a European medieval dynasty, where you can … do pretty much anything to advance. Assassinations, proxy wars, brutal taxes, religious cannibalism, strategic marriages … it's all on the table. This is a storytelling engine that is remarkably robust and, once you've overcome the initial learning curve, a lot of fun. It's also very, very nerdy and proud of it.

Price: $ 50 on Steam

Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo's Super Mario Bros handheld system

Credit: Devin Coldewey / TechCrunch

This little device has the original Super Mario Bros., its sequel (not the weird one – what we knew as "The Lost Levels") and a newly made LCD game built in. It's a charming device and the games play well, plus you can turn it off and resume progress later, making it a lot easier to get through the whole game.

Price: $ 50 (but it can be difficult to find one in stock.)

Backbone One for iPhone

Credit: backbone

Do you have a friend who prefers to play on his phone? The backbone is built for you. This snap-on controller brings buttons and analog triggers (and good ones too!) To the iOS gaming world, along with a surprisingly solid companion app that lets you record your gameplay and edit and publish your highlight reels, for example. It only works with select iOS titles, but the library is growing. TechCrunch's editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino reviewed it in October and gave it his seal of approval with very little reservation.

Price: $ 99 from backbone


Melinda Martin