This guide focuses on the PlayStation 4, which finally released on the market last month. Featuring several Sony releases and quality third-party titles, these 10 selections will easily win over your friends and family on their newly acquired game system. Without further ado, here's the list!
Killzone: Shadow Fall (SCEA)
After an impressive outing with Killzone 3 on the PlayStation 3 and the recently released Mercenary for PS Vita, Guerrilla Games strikes back with its biggest game to date, Shadow Fall. Packed with levels that are mind-bogglingly huge and gameplay that will keep first-person shooting fans riveted from beginning to end, the game also features a tremendous multiplayer mode, which mixes things up with Warzone gameplay types and a wide array of maps to choose from. This will easily make someone's Christmas a little more chaotic – and we mean in a good way.
Need For Speed: Rivals (Electronic Arts)
The Need For Speed team is more than ready for the next generation of game consoles, and Rivals on the PlayStation 4 easily proves that. Featuring an online interaction system with hundreds of players to challenge and numerous goals to complete, along with smooth gameplay that all types of players can get into, Rivals is one of the most approachable driving games out there. On top of that, the PS4 hardware really goes a long way in making the action look better than ever, between impressive car models and tons of speed. If you've got driving fanatics in your social circle, Rivals will make for a great holiday treat.
NBA 2K14 (2K Sports)
For years, 2K Sports has established itself as the go-to company for digital basketball goodness. It continues to hold that reputation on the PlayStation 4 with NBA 2K14, its most startlingly realistic game to date. Featuring revamped player models that are more lifelike than ever before, smooth court action that resembles a TV broadcast and a number of options that will keep both rookie and veteran players pleased, this game is a must for anyone that appreciates the sport.
The Pinball Arcade (Farsight Studios)
If any company knows how to recreate the classic pinball experience for video game platforms, it's Farsight. It's been working on tables for The Pinball Arcade for years, and just in time for the holidays, they've arrived on PlayStation 4. With all-new lighting that brings the tables to life like never before, along with great flipper-controlling gameplay and high score leaderboards, this is a game that brings back memories of the classic games and creates new ones. It's available as a digital release through PlayStation Network as well as a retail game, and it's a must for fans of the old-school games.
FIFA 14 (EA Sports)
We previously recommended FIFA 14 in another holiday guide, but for the PlayStation 4, we can't think of a better sports experience available than this one. This soccer opus includes all the great gameplay from previously released versions, along with online features that allow players to interact with a huge community around the world. On top of that, the new visuals, powered by EA Ignite's engine, bring the sport to life like never before, whether you're going for a bicycle kick goal or the mother of all saves. We know there's a friend or family member close to you that loves soccer – this would be an ultimate gift.
Call of Duty: Ghosts (Activision)
Activision made Call of Duty one of the best first-person shooting franchises over the past few years, and it continues to keep the trend going on the PlayStation 4 with Ghosts. This game has it all – a single-player campaign that takes players everywhere from a speeding bullet train ride to the reaches of space, as well as addictive multiplayer with all-new perks and tricks of the trade to learn. Throw in a quality presentation, great gameplay and a handful of surprises, and you've got a game perfect for gift giving.
This digital download may not be available for a retail release, but if you get someone a PlayStation Network card, this is probably going to be the first game they buy. The creators of Super Stardust HD for the PlayStation 3 return with a thrilling new shooter experience, one that combines the classic "save the human" nature of the 80's hit Defender with a breathtakingly vivid 3D world, where things explode in a billion particles and the excitement never stops. With an array of power-ups and ships to choose from – and high score capability on the online leaderboards – this is easily one of the best PS4 games to buy right now. At $15, it's also one of the cheapest.
Skylanders: Swap Force (Activision)
Even though it comes at a slightly higher price than most games, Skylanders: Swap Force will be a big hit with your kids or action/platforming fans around the household. This game features a set of all-new characters with interchangeable parts, which players can use to open up new areas to find secret goodies. In addition, the gameplay has been revamped so it's more user-friendly, making it simpler to access out-of-reach areas. Best of all, Swap Force on the PS4 has cartoon-style graphics that will impress young and old audiences alike.
We highly recommend the latest Assassin's Creed game from Ubisoft, the mighty Black Flag. Featuring an all-new character, Edward Kenway, this game has hours of gameplay to offer, whether players are sailing the high seas for booty or causing trouble with a fleet of oncoming ships. Oh, and we can't get enough of the sing-along shanties. After all, it is a pirate's life.
Although the PlayStation 4 doesn't have an adventure featuring Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon, Mark Cerny and his team at Sony Japan have the next best thing – Knack. This hero is able to break apart and reform pieces around his body, becoming bigger and better when it comes to facing trolls and other enemies. Throughout the game, players will find platforming and puzzle solving galore, as well as a delightful all-ages charm and imaginative graphics that really take advantage of the PS4 hardware. This one's sure to be a hit with the younger gamers in your family – and maybe even you as well.