The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 30, 2012

The Ultimate Holiday Video Game Gift Guide

When it comes to gift shopping, the wide world of electronic entertainment can be daunting at best, paralyzingly indecipherable at worst. This guide is a comprehensive list of can’t-miss gifts for the gamers on your holiday shopping list along with online-only deals that will save you some scratch.


Prices were gathered via and Google Shopping. All deals are accurate as of publication.


Missed out on some of these savings? Plenty of online retailers will be running price drops and sales through December. Check out some of these reputable sites:


ZombiU | Wii U

  • First-person survival horror
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99

One of the Nintendo Wii U’s exemplary launch titles, ZombiU promises an immersive survival horror experience. Making full use of the new Wii U gamepad, players must perform context-specific tasks like aiming a gun or unlocking a door via the pad’s inlaid touchscreen, as well as manage their inventory. This creates a new sense of tension as your eyes aren’t always watching for the zombie that could be sneaking up behind you. Perfect for the “Walking Dead” fan on your list or the gamer who has been stockpiling for the inevitable undead apocalypse.

Diablo 3 | PC/Mac

  • Action/RPG
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99 $27.99/free shipping, no tax $49.99/free shipping, no tax $50.64/free shipping, no tax


XCOM: Enemy Unknown | XB360/PS3/PC

  • Turn-based strategy $39.99/free shipping, no tax (XB360) (PS3) (PC) $55.99/free shipping, no tax (XB360) (PS3) $56.59/no tax (XB360) (PS3)
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99

A reboot of the classic mid-90s “XCOM” franchise, much has changed since gamers’ last visit to its wacky, comic book-kitsch world. Players control Earth’s defense forces from a top-down perspective as they clash with an encroaching alien threat. What XCOM lacks in originality it makes up for with its tactical combat mechanics and sheer depth. Between sorties, players must manage finances, expand their war base and research alien equipment for use in the field. “XCOM” is perfect for the calculating gamer or the one who's always beating you at chess.

Borderlands 2 | XB360/PS3/PC/Mac

  • First-person shooter/RPG
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99
Newegg: $39.99/free shipping, no tax (PC) $54.50 - $54.99/no tax (XB360) (PS3) $55.26 - $54.30/no tax (XB360) (PS3)


Assassin's Creed 3 | XB360/PS3/Wii U/PC

  • Action/Adventure $49.99/no tax (XB360) $51.99 - $53.99/free shipping, no tax (XB360) (PS3) $57.10/free shipping, no tax (XB360) $50.56 - $54.74/no tax (PS3) (Wii U)
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99

Ubisoft’s flagship franchise about the ancient war between an assassin’s guild and the Knights Templar is pulling out all the stops for their second proper sequel. The series has taken players to Crusades-era Jerusalem and 15th century Italy — now players will rub elbows with George Washington on the Delaware River as they assume the role of Connor, a Native American assassin that has a hand to play in the American Revolution. Those looking for a blockbuster experience won’t be disappointed.

Hitman: Absolution | XB360/PS3/PC

  • Action/Adventure
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99 $55.48 - $56.44/no tax (XB360) (PS3) $59.99/free shipping, no tax (XB360) (PS3)


Halo 4 | XB360

  • First-person shooter
  • Rating: 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99

Picking up right where “Halo 3” left off, players once again assume control of Spartan-117, Master Chief, as he awakens from cryosleep to meet a new Covenant threat. Multiplayer is bigger than ever, expanding on the arsenal and gameplay additions from “Halo: Reach.” The new game mode, “Spartan Ops,” takes the player and a buddy through a season’s worth of episodic, story-driven missions where cooperation and teamwork are the key to success. Any “Halo” fan — or space marine aficionado — will be onboard.

Mass Effect 3 | XB360/PS3/PC

  • Action/RPG
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $29.99 $19.99/free shipping, no tax (XB360) (PS3) $19.99/no tax (XB360)
Fry’s Electronics: $25/no tax (XB360) (PS3)


Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 | XB360/PS3/Wii U/PC

  • First-person shooter $46.99/no tax (XB360) (PS3) $50.99/no tax (XB360) (PS3) $55.83 - $56.32/no tax (XB360) (PS3)
  • Rating: M 17+
  • MSRP: $59.99

“Call of Duty: Black Ops” was a sideways take on the military FPS genre, being set during the espionage-laden Cold War era. Its follow-up skews ahead roughly 10 years and instead of 60s-era tech like RC car bombs, players will have access to modern military gear like unmanned drones and concept technology that hasn’t seen real-life combat — yet. With an experience-based multiplayer system and the return of much-beloved zombie survival mode, there’s plenty here at which shooter fans or military buffs will take aim.

CONTINUE? 9... 8... 7...

Check out the other two parts of our Ultimate Holiday Video Game Gift Guide here:

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