The four best new video games and one special player for the video-game fan on your gift list.
Some of the best new games, and one special machine, for the video-game fan on your list:
PlayStation VR ($400 at major retailers). Sony’s new headset is the simplest way to check out high-end virtual reality, especially if you own a PlayStation 4. Even so, it isn’t as technically impressive as the pricier HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, nor is it as inexpensive as the mobile-phone headsets from Google, Samsung and others. For an extra $100, you can get a bundle that includes a required camera to detect the headset, optional motion controllers and a game.
“Inside” ($20 at playdead.com). If you crossed “Super Mario Bros.” with Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” you would get something like this quiet, wordless, beautiful and disturbing game from the Danish studio Playdead.
“The Last Guardian” ($60 at amazon.com). Japanese designer Fumito Ueda directed two games, “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus,” whose emotional power relies on interaction and play, rather than filmlike scenes and dialogue. He has been working on the third one for 11 years. Predicted to be another masterpiece, “The Last Guardian” is about the relationship between a boy and a mysterious creature, and is sure to be one of the year’s most interesting games. For PlayStation 4.
“Firewatch” ($20 at firewatchgame.com). The year’s most important game might be “That Dragon, Cancer,” an interactive memoir by a husband and wife about the death of their young son. If you want to expose someone to a less powerfully sad game that still demonstrates the medium’s ability to tell grown-up stories without elves or space marines or gangsters, try “Firewatch,” an interactive drama about a lonely fire lookout in Wyoming.
“Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” ($60 at amazon.com). Nathan Drake, the charming rogue of the “Uncharted” games, is often compared to Indiana Jones. But his video game mother is surely “Tomb Raider’s” Lara Croft, another globe-trotting, puzzle-solving treasure hunter with guns. A new creative team has taken over the fourth game in this highly cinematic series, and has kept the exhilarating action set pieces while adding quieter moments about aging, family and marriage.