PC Games You Should be Playing this Holiday Season

Christmas is on the horizon and I imagine a lot of you are taking it easy this month –this is the perfect to kick back and enjoy the gaming bounties of this holiday season.

Today, I’d like to share with you the games I’ve been playing through recently. Catch up would be more apt though — I’m merely listing the highly rated games of just the past four months and it still makes for a fairly long list!

The Elder Scrolls: Skryim

Action Adventure, Open World RPG

There is no way you couldn’t have heard of Skyrim and for good reason — this is one of the best games I’ve played this year. The marketing campaign was on overdrive for the game, which included plenty of billboards, and the media coverage has been quite spectacular leading to an all out assault on gamers’ senses.

Oh boy! A new dragon to kill!

Oh boy! A new dragon to kill!

Skyrim can be fairly characterized as a role playing game though it would selling it short. Trust me, I’ve played plenty of RPGs and this is on a different level. I’ve spent maybe 40 hours on the game and the game says I’m 23% through the game. If you’re looking for a short game, this may not be a wise choice but do keep in mind that I’m the kind of person who does every single side quest available at an instance.

The combat can be a little boring at times but the feel of the game and the immersion it provides is something you need to experience. You can literally go anywhere and do anything. The visual experience too is easily a notch over the old games and creates some pretty visuals.

Arkham City

Action Adventure, Stealthy Brawler

I almost always tend to shy away from games that are a product of licensed IP but Arkham Asylum, released a couple of years back, changed my mind. It was an excellent game with exceptional gameplay, great visuals and a surprisingly good story.

Alrighty. How do I use this now...

Alrighty. How do I use this now...

Arkham City, the sequal, fixed almost everything that people complained about in the old games and kicked up everything a notch. The gameplay, specially the combat, is extremely good and you do truly feel like a badass playing the game what with a plethora of gadgets unlocked from the get go. As always, the treasures and collectibles are strewn about mocking you relentless while the city feels incredibly detailed and is always a pleasure to traverse.

If you’re looking for a satisfying, well made Batman game, this absolutely should be on the top of your list.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Shooter RPG

The first Deus Ex game holds a special place in my heart. The game basically introduced a lot of game concepts that current developers are still finding it hard to implement.

Doing a dual takedown. Classy!

Doing a dual takedown. Classy!

In this chapter of the Deus Ex universe, you play as Adam Jensen, an augmented ex-cop. If you’re wondering as to what augmented means in this context, it’s best to defer for now. The story in Deus Ex is extremely rich, complex and quite twisty. Suffice to say that it will definitely make you think a lot about what you’re doing in the game.

The art direction is inspired and shows a lot of attention to detail, the story and atmosphere are extremely immersive and the gameplay is quite satisfying. Just don’t try to Rambo through the entire game and you should be fine. A fine, quite intellectual game that I definitely recommend picking up.

Modern Warfare 3

First Person Shooter

Ahh. Modern Warfare 3. This game has so many fans and detractors, it’s hard to really gauge the quality of the game. Modern Warfare 3 is a modern shooter and a sequel to the record breaking Modern Warfare 2 which again is a sequal of… you get the idea.

In the streets of New York

In the streets of New York

One of the highlights of the Modern Warfare has been its its extremely intense campaign and this edition doesn’t disappoint. Everything is turned up to eleven and it consistently stays there — there are constant explosions everywhere, somebody is almost always shooting at you and a deadline is ticking somewhere. It happens to be a matter of taste whether you like this aspect of the game — personally I love it.

The graphics are slightly dated but still look excellent, the gunplay is extremely satisfying and the story does provide you with closure. The multiplayer, which one of the main reasons this franchise gets so much attention, has been tweaked in all the right ways. Get ready to be called a ‘n00b’ a lot though!

A very solid buy if you’re a FPS fan and would like to experience some high quality offline and online shooting.


First Person Shooter

The grand daddy of first person shooters, iD, finally released their newest game, their post apocalyptic take on the genre.

Oh, don't worry about me. Just passing through.

Oh, don't worry about me. Just passing through.

As with most iD games, the story takes a backseat to the technology in play here. The game features their brand new id Tech 5 engine and boasts some extremely clean graphics. The gameplay is a bit of a wash but I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as boring — it’s quite fun but doesn’t really leave too many ‘moments’ in your mind. The driving sections a breath of fresh air though.

All said and done, it’s a great shooter with good production values and gameplay.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Third Person, Action Adventure

I’ll be honest here: I absolutely love, love, love the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I’ve bought all of their games on the first day they go on sale and I haven’t really been disappointed so far.

Don't worry. He does this all the time.

Don't worry. He does this all the time.

This franchise is a bit hard to explain but I’ll take a shot: you play as a blade wielding, knife throwing, stealthy badass from history. Intriguing, right? Stealth, combat, platforming and a little bit of puzzle solving round out the gameplay and it’s all melded perfectly well.

Though the visuals are really starting to show the age, I still love vaulting around historically significant cities whilst stealthily stabbing guards. Plus, if you’re even a little bit invested in this series, the story should provide you with some well needed closure, and answers.

BattleField 3

First Person Shooter

You may think that the BattleField series is yet another shooter franchises but it actually predates a lot of the games you know.

Look at that lighting. And those beatiful polygons.

Look at that lighting. And those beatiful polygons.

BattleField sports some seriously stunning visuals thanks to its new Frostbite 2 engine. Honestly, the PC version, with everything on maximum looks so spell bindingly realistic that you’ll have to pick up your jaw from the floor. This game is that good looking.

While the campaign hasn’t been received well, it’s still a fairly rewarding experiences. The guns feel , and sound, great and the game makes a point of shunting you around to show you different landscapes — all stunningly modelled, lit and rendered, of course.

The multiplayer is in a class of its own and is my poison of choice if I want to spend a few hours gaming online. The game is perfectly balanced and punishes anything other than clean, calculated, co-ordinated team play. Get a few friends and dive in right away. It’s that good!

Oi! What are the Games Below Doing Here?

Good question. I may write about Windows here but I’m, at my core, a gamer and simply don’t care where the good games are. I prefer my games on my PC but if a console exclusive comes out, I’m definitely not going to be PC-loyalist and skip ’em.

With that out of the way, here are two more games that I very highly recommend that are not available on the PC.

Uncharted 3

Third Person, Action Adventure Shooter

The Uncharted franchise has been a darling of the gaming crowd and I can’t really fault them. These games are the gaming industry’s take on Indiana Jones and tend to be games where you’ll have as much fun watching someone play the game as playing it yourself.

Oh, if you haven't noticed, the entire chateua is on fire!

Oh, if you haven't noticed, the entire chateua is on fire!

The gameplay consists of a mix of shooting, platforming and puzzle solving. The shooting relies on cover and is fairly satisfying as long as you stay on the normal difficulty level. Go any higher and it becomes a grind. The platform is fun, albeit extremely rigid. The game points you in the direction it wants you to go — do anything else and you’re stalled or dead. The puzzle solving situations are fairly benign affairs that tend even out the pacing of the games.

Any complaints about the game will basically be nitpicking though. The story telling, visuals, gameplay and pacing are as perfect as things can humanly be. Most definitely one of my top games of the year. If you own a PS3, you need to get this.

Gears of War 3

Third Person Shooter

The Gears of War series has been a poster child for the Xbox 360 and this final chapter in the trilogy bids the franchise an exceedingly well made good bye.

Down you go! And stay down!

Down you go! And stay down!

Gears 3 is a cover based shooter that doesn’t deviate from its core. You’ll be shooting your way through the majority of the game with some entertaining sections in the middle being the exception. Epic are masters at what they do and the quality of the game shows. It’s buffed up to a fine shine and almost everything in the game is as perfect as things can be.

Yes, I know this game is about oversized commandos shooting monsters in the face but did you know that you could bayonet them to death this time in addition to chain sawing them? Think about that for just a second and let it all sink in.

As the final swan song of a generation gone by, it’s hard to pass over such an excellent game. Grab your controller and extinguish the Locust once and for all.

Wrapping Up

So enough of me yapping. Which games have you been playing this season?