Holiday gaming guide 2020: The best in fighting & shooting/action & adventure games

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This winter, there’s no better way to spend time in isolation than settling in with a video game. And while not everyone is getting a new console for Christmas this year—they are going to be difficult to find—there’s still lots of games you can gift this holiday season. Part 2 of my list includes things for all the different systems and for gamers of different ages and with different interests. Game on.

Fighting and shooting

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Activision)

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (Activision)

With Black Ops Cold War, a sequel to the first Black Ops game from 2010, Call of Duty makes us nostalgic for the ’80s. You create your own version of the protagonist, Bell, who is recruited to join a covert team authorized by Ronald Reagan to investigate the Iran hostage incident from 1981. In addition to the campaign, this latest Call of Duty includes the usual multiplayer modes that feed into the free-to-play Warzone, as well as the popular Zombies mode. Find it here. (PS4, PS5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X. Rated mature.)

Destiny 2: Beyond Light (Bungie)

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Destiny 2: Beyond Light (Bungie)

This interplanetary shooter enters a new phase of the story with the arrival in our solar system of massive spaceships that have the form of pyramids. Beyond Light marks a new direction for Destiny 2. There are two new locations – Europa and the Cosmodrome on Earth – as well as “stasis,” a new power revolving around cold and ice. Faithful Destiny players will appreciate the stunning new environments, and new players will find Beyond Light the perfect place to step into the world. Find it here. (PS4, PS5, Stadia, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X. Rated teen.)

Fortnite (Epic)

Fortnite Last Laugh Bundle (Epic)

We have no idea what Season 5 of the multiplayer shooter will bring in early December, but it’s safe to say fans will be excited for anything. The current season has brought together characters from the Marvel superhero universe in the Nexus War which will culminate with the arrival of Galactus on December 1. If you want to make a gift of the free-to-play game one option is to purchase a gift card for V-Bucks, the in-game currency. $14 nets 1000 V-Bucks, which is good for a season Battle Pass. Another option is to pick up the Last Laugh Bundle which packages three DC supervillain skins (Joker, Poison Ivy, Midas Rex) with 1,000 V-Bucks. Find it here. (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X. Rated teen.)

Marvel’s Avengers (Square Enix)

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Marvel’s Avengers (Square Enix)

You’ll never have so much fun as stepping into the shoes of Hulk, or Black Widow, or Iron Man. You’ll also be surprised at how delightful it is becoming the teen superhero Kamala Khan, who’s exuberance makes Marvel’s Avengers shine. Next up is Kate Bishop, Hawkeye, who joins the game in December. Find it here. (PS4, PS5, Stadia, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X. Rated teen.)

Action and adventure

Hades (Supergiant Games)

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Hades (Supergiant Games)

Zagreus, the son of Hades, is just like every other teenager: moody, petulant, self-centred, and wanting out of the damn house. In his attempts to escape the Underworld, Zagreus is attacked by all manner of creatures that protect the exit. As he clears a room, he’s granted a boon by one of his aunts or uncles on Olympus. If he dies, Zagreus is returned to his father, where he can decide how to improve his skills before beginning another escape attempt. Find it here. (Switch, Windows. Rated teen.)

The Last of Us Part II (Sony)

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The Last of Us Part II (Sony)

Stark and haunting, Naughty Dog’s return to the post-apocalyptic world centers on Ellie, who may be the only human immune to the infection that turns people into cannibalistic, zombie-like creatures. The story is at times brutal and unforgiving, but it’s also a narrative achievement, creating characters worth caring about, and worth saving. Find it here. (Ps4. Rated mature.)

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Sony)

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Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

One of the first games to take advantage of Sony’s new PS5 console and its DualSense controller [https://ecentralsports.com/dualsense-controller-hints-at-possibilities-for-high-tech-playstation-5/], this game puts you in the sneakers of Miles Morales, a Spider-Man in his own right. You’ll never have more fun than flinging Miles between the buildings of Manhattan, tracking down the collectibles and beating down the bad guys. Pick up the Ultimate Edition and you’ll also get a copy of Insomniac’s 2018 game, Marvel’s Spider-Man, which features Peter Parker as the webhead. Find it here. (PS4, PS5. Rated teen.)

Minecraft Dungeons (Xbox Game Studios)

Minecraft Dungeons (Xbox Game Studios)

This is the perfect match: Minecraft and dungeon crawler. Players create a character and then roam around a world of swamps, jungles, forests, cave systems, and even icy mountain plateaus. The goal is simple: hack and slash through the various enemies and collect as much loot as possible. The game is constantly being updated with new areas and challenges, and cross-platform multiplayer is now supported. Find it here or here. (PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One. Rated everyone 10+.)

The Pathless (Annapurna)

The Pathless (Annapurna)

This is a delightful game about an archer and her winged companion. By firing arrows at talismans in the world, she fills up a meter that triggers a dash move that helps her navigate the forests of the game, and by engaging her spirit vision she can see paths that are hidden from others. With a distinct art style, the Pathless brings together puzzle solving and exploration in a unique, melancholic world. Find it here. (iOS, macOS, PS4, PS5, Windows. Rated everyone 10+.)

This is Part 2 of the eCentralSports Holiday Gaming Guide 2020. Read Part 1 here. Watch for Part 3, coming soon.

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