It is always hard for me to believe that yet another year has gone by; each one seems shorter than the last. It’s this time of year that I take extra care to show my loved ones that I am thinking about them. Getting up a little bit early to spend time with the girls in the morning, cooking hot meals on cold days, snuggling together in a blanket watching movies; it’s the little things that count. I put forth that effort to show them that I was thinking of them. I make no exception when it comes to gift giving, though I often find myself struggling to think up the perfect thing. I don’t like picking up something that doesn’t fit their lifestyle, but I don’t always know enough to feel like I am getting a compatible gift.
Since I typically cover video games, I figured it might be helpful to our readers to showcase great titles from systems I own, to take some of the guess work out of securing a gift for the gamers you love. These are some of my suggestions for the Nintendo DS, and the Playstation Portable (PSP).
-=- Nintendo DS -=-
When I look at my NDSi, I think of RPG’s and puzzle games. With a giant library of almost 1500 titles, it can be overwhelming to select one that will shine above the rest. For us parents, this task is even harder, since we should always consider what content we supply our children. On the flip side, we adult gamers don’t want games for kids. So where is the clarity to be found in all of this? Read below and find out!
If you haven’t heard of Golden Sun, you are missing out on one of the greatest RPG experiences ever created. First released on the Gameboy Advance, the series was, at least in my opinion, the best completely original RPG I had seen in years. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn takes place 30 years after the events of the second game, the main characters being descendants of the heroes. With a magic system reminiscent of Final Fantasy VII, you equip creatures known as “Djinn” to modify and enhance your characters abilities. Each character has a base elemental alignment (fire, wind, water and earth), with Djinn also representing an element. Equipping Djinn of the same element enhances those abilities, equipping other elements creates other unique abilities. Learning the necessary combinations is vital to the overall gameplay. Not only does it allow your characters stronger attacks, but some of your abilities are used to solve puzzles or manipulate the environment.
I could go on and on about this series, but I promised myself I would limit things to a paragraph or so per title. If you have a Role Playing fanatic in your household, this is just the thing for them. If you are feeling generous, try to score the original two at a used game retailer, they usually run somewhere around 15 bucks. Don’t worry if your special someone hasn’t played the first games, Dark Dawn can be enjoyed by first timers as well. With a release date of November 29, 2010, you might want to get this one reserved before they are all sold out. I am betting that this will prove to be this years best portable RPG.
From Matrix Software, comes the first original Final Fantasy for the system. If you haven’t been following the DS scene, you may have missed out on their wonderful remakes. These games have blended the best of the old with a fresh face, rendered expertly on the Nintendo DS. FF: T4HL offers an entirely new experience, while offering a familiar atmosphere for all the old school fans. With a storybook presentation, and an all new “Crown Job” system allowing for endless character customization, this game is sure to be a plentiful feast for any RPG enthusiast.
The Professor Layton series is one of the most satisfyingly intelligent experiences you can buy for the Nintendo DS. Each game follows the adventures of super sleuth Professor Layton, and his trusted apprentice Luke, as they solve mysteries in a very Sherlock Holmes kind of way. Players solve various puzzles, collecting clues to unravel more of the story. If a particular challenge proves too difficult, there is a hint system to point you in the right direction, so don’t worry if you get stuck. All three titles offer well over 100 brainteasers, presented in a hand-drawn art style. Don’t let the cartoonish graphics fool you, these games will make you think. If I could compare this series to any one childhood memory, it would be Encyclopedia Brown, an absolute must-have for puzzle fans and mini-detectives!
One last thing, for all you Black Friday shoppers, Nintendo is releasing special edition DSi’s! The new DSi’s will come in either Orange or Green and are packaged with Mario Party DS! They look pretty sweet, and are only available as supplies last. I can’t seem to find a sales link however, so keep an eye out for these!
Read about it HERE
-=- PlayStation Portable(PSP) -=-
I love my PSP for delivering a healthy supply of Teen and Mature rated games. Don’t get me wrong, I love my DSi, but Nintendo has built their empire around family titles. Sometimes a person just wants some fierceness and carnage to their games. The selections I have made for the PSP are for an older audience, just a reminder to any parents who don’t read the labels.
God of War: Ghost of Sparta is the second PSP release for the series. Those who have played God of War have come to expect intense battles, well told stories, and breathtaking visuals. This game doesn’t fall short of those expectations, with graphics that push the PSP to the limit and an all new combat system, you will enjoy every bone grinding swing! With an all new story, diving deep into the life of Kratos and offering us some long awaited answers, Ghost of Sparta will prove to be a must-have for fans of the series.
If blowing their socks off is your goal, why not surprise them with this Ghost of Sparta PSP gift pack? This set contains a custom red and black PSP 3000, a copy of Ghost of Sparta, a PSN voucher for Chains of Olympus (the first PSP title), a copy of Kick-Ass (the movie on UMD), and a 2GB Memory Stick PRO Duo! That is a heck of a deal for $199.99!
Anyone familiar with the Metal Gear series is in for a treat! Peace Walker is a completely new experience, blending the best of the old with some great new gameplay additions. The game is the first released for the PSP that acclaimed director Hideo Kojima designed himself. Finally the story behind it all will be told, as we see into the history of Outer Haven, and the legendary “Big Boss”. Built from the ground up to fit the PSP and push the limits of the system, offering stealth tactics, online co-op for up to 4 players, and a vast bounty of unlockable content, Peace Walker has it all! And right now it is only 20 bucks on Amazon, quite the awesome bargain gift, if I do say so myself!
If you are feeling extra nice this year, why not get them a super slick Peace Walker PSP Gift Pack? This box set includes a nice custom chrome green (Spirited Green) PSP 3000 and a hot new game. Can’t go wrong with that!
I hope my suggestions help to make your shopping easier, I know I would be excited to receive any of these! Buying gifts is great, but remember to find the little ways to say you care. Happy Holidays!
<if all else fails, buy them gift cards, and get me a green DSi>