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It’s December and Christmas, Kwanzaa, whatever, is right around the corner and with it comes the Holiday break that a lot of us crave. Whether you’re in school, a teacher, in the gaming industry, work part-time, or just need a break, this is the time of year where it’s always the sweetest. It gets this way because you’re likely to have more free time to work on that backlog of games or you’re expecting some more free titles to show up under the tree. Either way, it’s a great time of year to be a gamer and with releases slowed down, it’s an even better time to get some gaming in.
2013 may not be over, but with the months behind us came great games from an industry we all know and love. There has been awesome downloadable content, fantastic exclusives, fun games to play on the go, and so much more released this year that I’m sure you haven’t played them all yet. We’ve broken down ten great games that you need to play through this Holiday season with family, friends, or on your own that are sure to make your down time that much better.
Borderlands 2 + DLC
Borderlands 2, developed by Gearbox Software, may have been released in 2012, but it’s been going strong throughout 2013 with great downloadable content and Headhunter Pack add-ons. In fact, just yesterday they released yet another add-on that had an expected Holiday theme to it. Gearbox has done an amazing job supporting this title and Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep may be the best DLC I’ve played all year. This is definitely the best bang for your buck on this list and considering you can get the base game for free on PlayStation Plus, it’s a no brainer.
Beyond: Two Souls
Beyond: Two Souls received mixed reactions from gamers because it’s not your traditional title. It’s more focused on narrative than anything else and because of this, a lot of people refer to it as a movie game. However, with that said, it’s still an experience worth having and playing through. The game has an excellent cast featuring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, but many would argue that Kadeem Hardison steals the show and I’d be inclined to agree. Be warned, this game can be emotional and the decisions you make do change some of the game’s outcomes and you could very well want to play it multiple times.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is considered by many to be 2013′s Game of the Year. It’s definitely my GOTY, but it’s so much more than that as well. TLoU is exactly what you’ve grown to expect from Naughty Dog and not only offers a great story and touching experience, but the gameplay itself is tight and responsive. Like Beyond, this game has potential to pull at your heart strings and it most likely will, so be weary of that. It’s hard to describe this game in a short paragraph — click here for our full review — but it’s easy to say that the game’s ending is magnificent and it will leave you torn on how you feel about the characters and the decisions made within the game.
Super Mario 3D World
Nintendo released Super Mario 3D World against the launch of the Xbox One and delivered to the industry one of the highest rated games of the year. This isn’t anything new for our Italian plumber that hasn’t been at work in forever and is more than likely unemployed by now, but that’s just fine with him. After all, saving a princess, collecting coins and hanging out with your friends is a much better way to spend your time. It goes without saying that this is a must-own title for Wii U owners and is easily the best game released to date for the console itself.