Halo Infinite year in review and more of the best video games of 2021

Video games are great stocking stuffers for kids and kids at heart. But with so many console and PC titles to choose from, buying a player can be an overwhelming undertaking. After all, no one wants to offer a dud that will quickly become a coaster or shiny christmas ornament.

If you’re looking for suggestions, here are a handful of recommended game choices – a very subjective look at some of the best of 2021 – broken down into different age groups. Prices are $ 60, unless otherwise noted.

Since many games are available for multiple platforms, be sure to purchase the correct one for the machine they own (and include the gift receipt, just in case).

Two very inflated thumbs for these choices:


Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Game Studios; for Xbox X / S / One, Windows 10): Driving fans, here’s your chance to virtually get behind the wheel of hundreds of awesome (and customizable) cars and other vehicles and navigate an open world in the world. Mexico – from historic cities and vast deserts to sunny beaches and ancient ruins.

Along with countless challenges across multiple missions, compete in hand-to-hand races against others across the internet (and with cross-platform support between PC and Xbox users).

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (Nintendo; for Nintendo Switch): One of the best family games of the year, Super Mario 3D World is a fun update to the best-selling adventure of 2013, now with high-resolution courses to run, a take on Local and online multiplayer load and tons of collectibles (including buffers to use in Snapshot mode).

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Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury: Fun for up to four players, this colorful co-op game features Nintendo's beloved mascots.

Each with their own unique abilities, choose from one of four characters – Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad (and Rosalina, later in the game) – as they set out to save the Sprixie kingdom.

Also included is the open-world platformer, Bowser’s Fury, which challenges Mario to team up with Bowser Jr. and venture into a cat-themed world of Lapcat Lake (and its islands), to use powerups and collect items.

NHL 22 (EA Sports; for Xbox Series X / S / One, PS4 / PS5): Put on your shoes and hit the ice with or against your favorite professional hockey team – or create your own unique NHL team, if you wish it.

Powered by EA’s Frostbite Engine (for PS5 and Xbox Series X / S), the game looks as good as it plays.

Treat yourself to multiple single-player and multiplayer options (on the same TV or over the internet), as well as updates to modes such as World of Chel (addition of custom player classes and “X-factor” abilities), Be a pro (build a character, level up over time), Franchise (try to get your team all the way to the Stanley Cup) and Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT), which allows you to create fantastic lineup and compete against others .

Other recommended games for kids include Enhance Tetris Effect: Connected (for multiple platforms), 2K NBA 2K 22 (for multiple platforms) and Nintendo New Pokémon Snap (Nintendo Switch).


Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a PS5 exclusive and a very refined single player action game that also takes place in a great story and humor.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift apart (Sony Interactive Entertainment; for PS5): An evil robotic emperor intends to conquer interdimensional worlds and he aims for your own dimension. That’s the premise behind Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, a super fun third-person action game that fuses combat and platforming challenges.

Along with Ratchet, a heroic alien accompanied by his robotic companion Clank, you also control a fighter named Rivet, in this interactive cartoon.

Taking advantage of the power of the PS5, the game looks amazing, loads quickly and benefits from the upgrade DualSense wireless controller and its amplified haptic feedback, including adaptive triggers that provide tension as you interact with the environment.

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It takes two (EA; for PS4 / 5, Xbox Series S / X / One, Windows): Fans of cooperative (cooperative) games should start It Takes Two (found as low as $ 20), an independent game that can only be played by two players, side by side or via the Internet (with the latter, only one person must own the game).

Combining platforming, action, and puzzle solving, It Takes Two tells the story of a divorcing couple, Cody and May, who are magically transported into the bodies of tiny dolls and must work together to navigate dangerous worlds inside and outside the house, including in a garden. , in a tree and in a snow globe – in the hope of finding their human body.

The theme of the game is co-op, but there are competitive minigames, such as Tug of War and Whack-a-Mole.

Pyschonautes 2 (Xbox Game Studios; for Xbox Series S / X, Xbox One, Windows): Better late than never?

This stellar sequel to its 2005 predecessor once again stars Razputin “Raz” Aquato, a powerful young medium who ventures to unravel a mystery, using his quick wit, agile movements and most importantly, customizable psychic powers like the slowdown in time, levitation and the mind. reading.

This fun – and funny – cinematic (and often surreal) one-player story was created by the legendary game designer Tim schafer (Grim Fandango, Brütal Legend, Broken Age).

Other awesome games for teens include Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Square Enix (for all major platforms), Nintendo’s Metroid Dread and Capcom Monster hunter rise, both for Nintendo Switch.

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Returnal, a third-person sci-fi action game pits you against alien enemies and a ruthless “time loop”.  Can you uncover the mystery and leave this planet alive?

Return (Sony Interactive Entertainment; for PS5): While it might not have received the kudos it deserved, Returnal is a gripping sci-fi shooter that follows Selene, a space pilot who crashes on a dangerous planet to investigate a strange beacon – but finds himself caught in a time loop.

Every time Selene succumbs to her injuries in this third-person action game, she is resurrected at the same time, but the world is different each time, and she faces strange visions with every loop.

Between its gorgeous visuals, tense action, and strong storytelling, Returnal is a “must see” for PS5 owners.

Death loop (Bethesda; for PS5 and Windows). While the story may seem similar to Returnal, Deathloop is a first-person shooter starring an assassin Colt, who is stuck in a time loop in the alternate 1960s and tasked with taking out targets in a certain period of time.

Including stealth and parkour elements, Deathloop gives you weapons and gadgets to use (as well as special abilities), while evading guards, scoring eight visionaries, and moving between the four areas of the island, at different times of the day.

Halo and Xbox both turned 20 in 2021.

The game also includes innovative multiplayer modes.

Infinite halo (Xbox Game Studios; for Xbox X / S / One, Windows): Yes, one of the biggest games of 2021 – available December 8 but already playable in multiplayer “beta” – is a real blast for fans of the famous franchise and newcomers.

► Halo Infinite Multiplayer: 5 things I learned while playing the Xbox beta

Featuring many of the same weapons and vehicles as previous Halo games (like the military vehicle Warthog), this new first-person shoot gives you several types of abilities for the protagonist, Master Chief, to use on the planet (mostly ) open world with bases to capture.

Several online modes include fan favorites like Capture the Flag and Deathmatch (the last one wins standing), as well as a fun new 12v12 mode dubbed Big Team Battle.

Note: The multiplayer portion of Halo Infinite is free.

Other great games for gamers 17 and over, including Capcom’s Resident Evil Village (several platforms), Far Cry 6 from Ubisoft (multiple platforms), Activision’s The vanguard of the call of duty (multiple platforms) and IO Interactive’s Hitman 3 (several platforms).

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