If you or your loved one is a gamer, then November is more than just a time for turkey and pumpkin pie. It’s also the season of Black Friday console deals and blowout sales on the hottest games. In this column, I’m going to explain some of the best features of the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 Pro, and Xbox One X, as well as list one great game for each console.
Nintendo Switch, $300
Nintendo’s latest console has been hard to find since it came out last spring, and all indications are it will be the hot item for this holiday season. And for good reason. You can hook the Switch up to your TV in “docked mode,” or alternatively take the console with you to Grandma’s house in “portable mode.” Detachable “Joy-cons” make it easy for multiple players to join in at your holiday party. Finally, I would highly recommend the Switch for family-friendly favorites such as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.
Super Mario Odyssey, $60
Few games can unite different generations like Super Mario, and Odyssey is shaping up to be the holiday game both parents and kids will love. The game is perfectly designed for the new Nintendo Switch, allowing you to twirl Mario around or fling his hat with the flick of your wrist. You can also for the first time take control of objects and enemy creatures, even the mighty T-Rex.
Xbox One X, $500
Microsoft is releasing its most powerful Xbox yet this month, and every indication is it will be an instant classic. This console is beefy enough to play and stream games at 4K resolution, just like the PS4 Pro, but the Xbox also includes a 4K UHD Blu-Ray player, which makes it an all-around awesome entertainment center. Some of the season’s biggest games, like Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Middle Earth: Shadow of War, will be enhanced for this system. Finally, Xbox’s “play anywhere” feature lets you buy certain titles once and play them on your Xbox or Windows 10 PC.
Madden NFL 18, $60
Yes, I know that the Madden series has been around since before the Kingdome was demolished. But the latest version is so well-optimized for the Xbox One X that it now looks close to real life. Enjoy every photo-realistic detail, from the roaring crowd in the Hawk’s Nest to Russell Wilson’s steely-eyed gaze. There’s also the “Longshot” story mode, which follows NFL hopeful Devin Wade as he grasps for his last chance to go pro. Thanks to great writing and voice acting, Longshot doubles as one of the best sports movies of the year.
Playstation 4 Pro, $450
(additional $450 for VR bundle)
The PS4 Pro is a powerful gaming machine, capable of running all the latest games at the highest graphics settings. That includes gorgeous 4K resolution if you have a 4K TV. The PlayStation also has many exclusive titles, ranging from classics like Ratchet and Clank, to highly realistic racing games like Gran Turismo Sport, to the phenomenal action/adventure Uncharted series. However, the PS4’s secret weapon is its VR headset, which lets you experience stunning virtual reality while saving you considerable money over the competing Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
The Inpatient, $30
If you’ve been missing your horror fix since Halloween, The Inpatient will certainly deliver nightmares before Christmas. The game opens with you trapped in the Blackwood Pines Sanitorium during a raging blizzard. Soon you start to experience voices and chilling visions. Are you truly insane or a victim of a fiendish experiment? Just remember that while wearing a VR headset, you can’t look away from the screen.