2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Games

The holiday season is the video game industry’s busiest time of year, with publishers saving many of their marquee titles to release on the public like an avalanche of digital goodness. It can actually be quite overwhelming with so many different options to choose from, so we’ve done our best to put together a collection of what we feel are some of the year’s finest games.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Gears of War 4

gears_of_war

Set 25 years after Marcus Fenix defeated the Locust Horde once and for all, “Gears of War 4” finds Marcus’ son JD leading a group of ex-COG soldiers against a mysterious new threat. Though the game is pretty much business as usual for fans of the series, “Gears of War 4” does introduce a few changes that improve and shake up the overall gameplay. In addition to several new weapons (including our personal favorite, the Buzzkill, which shoots circular saws that can ricochet off walls), the emergence of extreme weather phenomena called Windflares affect combat with strong winds, flying debris and more. Story mode is also a lot more difficult thanks to A.I. enemies that pile on the pressure instead of sitting back and waiting for you to attack. Of course, while the single-player (or co-op) campaign serves as a nice refresher course for those who haven’t played “Gears of War” in awhile, online multiplayer is still the game’s bread and butter. All of the usual modes are here, along with newcomers like Dodgeball and Arms Race to ensure you don’t get bored. Though “Gears of War 4” isn’t as groundbreaking as the original, it’s an enjoyable franchise reboot that keeps everything that was great about the previous installments and builds on it.

Batman: The Telltale Series

batman

Telltale Games has been on a real streak lately with high-profile titles like “The Walking Dead,” “The Wolf Among Us” and “Game of Thrones,” but the company’s latest episodic game features perhaps their biggest IP yet. Though it’s not as instantly captivating as some of the aforementioned titles, “Batman: The Telltale Series” delivers the tried and tested combo of choice-based dialogue, puzzle solving and quicktime action scenes that we’ve come to expect. The game doesn’t explore the World’s Greatest Detective angle quite as much as it should, but that’s largely because you spend more time playing as Bruce Wayne, digging into his family’s secret history after it’s revealed that his father may not have been the saint he appeared to be. With that said, the Batman sequences are a lot more fun, whether you’re devising a plan of attack, stringing together clues at a crime scene or battling one of his many iconic villains. As with most Telltale games, the storytelling is stronger than the gameplay, but fans of their click-and-point adventures (and Batman in general) will find plenty to enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

2016 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our everyday lives, so a good starting point for your gift shopping is with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest model, don’t bother, but if it’s been a while since he upgraded, he’ll probably appreciate a new iPhone or Android device.

If you’re looking for something a little different, however, we’ve put together some ideas for you. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Fibit Charge HR

fitbit

A Fitbit can be a great gift whether dad is already into fitness or needs a nudge to take better care of himself. It’s available in a wide variety of colors, and it’s a great gadget to track daily progress for all types of health and fitness measurements. It’s a particularly good tool for someone who needs to be reminded to be more active. Does that sound like someone you know? The Fitbit Charge HR is the brand’s most popular model and can track workouts, heart rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes and steps taken. It can also sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and smartphones, as well as monitor your sleep automatically and wake with a silent alarm.

Fluance Turntables

fluance

Vinyl has made a huge comeback, and dear old dad may love a new turntable if he held on to his old record collection. Sure, we all loved the convenience of compact discs, iTunes and then streaming, but the rich sound of a vinyl record on a great turntable and stereo system is hard to replicate. Fluance has just introduced its new RT80 and RT81 turntables that leverage the company’s extensive experience in audio engineering, signature sound and impeccable design. These belt-driven turntables utilize styluses that provide freedom from noise and distortion, clarity on musical peaks and channel balance. Pick up some new vinyl records for his favorite bands as well and enjoy some great music on Father’s Day.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

2016 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Entertainment

Everyone loves watching a great movie or TV series, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite releases from the past few months that most guys will enjoy. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is an exciting return to form for the franchise that recaptures the childlike sensation of watching the original trilogy for the first time. It’s thrilling, funny and surprisingly emotional. While the inclusion of familiar faces like Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia is great fan service that also functions as a passing of the torch to the new characters, director J.J. Abrams never lets you forget that this is their movie. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver all shine in their respective roles, although it’s playful droid BB-8 who ultimately steals the show. If there’s one complaint, it’s that Abrams packs too many characters into the story, resulting in several unanswered questions that are dangled in front of the audience like a carrot on a stick. But those kinds of mysteries have always been a part of the “Star Wars” ethos, and “The Force Awakens” is “Star Wars” to the core, blending the old with the new to produce an excellent continuation of the saga that leaves you wanting more.

The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s first crack at making a Western may have resulted in the slightly disappointing “Django Unchained,” but his second attempt is a much-improved genre piece that represents his most accomplished work behind the camera to date. While Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins all deliver excellent work, Samuel L. Jackson’s show-stopping turn is the real standout, chewing up scenery with every juicy monologue and sly look. Granted, the first half of the film moves like molasses as Tarantino gets all of his pieces on the board, but the pacing is intentional, slowly building to a boil that spills out into a flurry of violence in the final hour. Though “The Hateful Eight” is filled with the same self-indulgent tendencies that fans have come to expect from the director’s movies, this Agatha Christie-styled whodunit is a lot of fun thanks to a smartly crafted script, some outstanding camerawork that benefits from the 65mm film format, and riotous performances from the cast.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Games

The holiday season is the video game industry’s busiest time of year, with publishers saving many of their marquee titles to release on the public like an avalanche of digital goodness. It can actually be quite overwhelming with so many different options to choose from, so we’ve done our best to put together a collection of what we feel are some of the year’s best titles, and ones that the gamer on your list will love.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Star Wars: Battlefront

destiny

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would be like to be a part of the “Star Wars” universe, Electronic Arts’ “Star Wars: Battlefront” lets you live out your ultimate fantasy by dropping you into the middle of the action in some of the most famous locations from the original trilogy. Whether assuming the role of a Rebel soldier or Stormtrooper fighting on the ground, an X-Wing or TIE pilot engaged in a massive dogfight in the skies, or as one of the many legacy characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, this is “Star Wars” fan service at its very best. Boasting gorgeous, photorealistic visuals and addictive gameplay, “Battlefront” is the most enjoyable “Star Wars” game since “Knights of the Old Republic.” Though the single player/co-op modes aren’t very exciting (they’re mostly just a place to hone your skills and waste a few hours with a friend), the online multiplayer is where the game really shines. There are nine modes to choose from – including favorites like Fighter Squadron, Heroes vs. Villains and Supremacy – with each one delivering a unique experience from the others. “Battlefront” is the “Star Wars” game that fans have been waiting for, and with more content planned for the future, it can only get better.

FIFA 16

destiny

How do you make a great game even better? That’s the challenge put forth each year to EA Sports and their “FIFA” franchise, and every time, they respond in brilliant fashion. Though there aren’t any major changes to the gameplay, “FIFA 16” has implemented some small but important refinements to deliver the most authentic soccer simulation yet. On the field, defending has been given a complete facelift, including the ability to defend better as a unit with enhanced AI awareness, goalkeepers who make less mistakes, and improved tackling mechanics. The EA Sports team has also added something called Passing with Purpose that allows you to ping driven ground passes to teammates in tight spaces, as well as No Touch Dribbling, which gives you more creativity on the ball. Off the field, the changes are even bigger, headlined by the announcement that you can now play as one of 12 Women’s National Teams in a variety of game modes. Career Mode has also received two of the most requested features – pre-season tournaments and player training to increase stats – while Ultimate Team has added a new mode called FUT Draft where you build a team by picking each position from a five-player draw and then compete in challenges to win rewards. This is the most definitive edition of “FIFA” yet, and it’s an absolute must-have for any soccer fan.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Sometimes you just need something small to stick in a stocking or as a complement to a bigger present. These are usually lower priced items, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be high quality or require the same level of thoughtfulness. Here are a few cool products to consider for the person that has everything.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Orbitkey

Everything is getting slimmer these days – phones, wallets, you name it – but many of us still carry around a bulky set of keys that rattle around in our pockets and make our pants bulge and crease, which is where a product like Orbitkey comes in handy. Made from genuine cowhide leather or TPU Elastomer polymer for active lifestyles, the Orbitkey uses a custom-designed locking mechanism to secure your keys within a slim profile that eliminates rattling keys, protects belongings from scratches and takes up less space. It holds up to seven keys or tools – including an optional bottle opener or key-shaped USB drive, which we highly recommend – and features a D-ring attachment for larger car keys. Though guys will appreciate how much easier it makes carrying keys around in their pocket (whether in the side or the back), the OrbitKey is also great for women who have a habit of scratching their phones from throwing keys into their purse.

SteakChamp 3-Color Thermometer

Whether you’re firing up the grill for tailgating season or counting down the days until next summer, the endeavor for the perfect steak never ends. Between the different cuts of meat and cooking methods available, there are several variables that can affect how your steak turns out, but why would bother taking that chance when there’s a gadget that ensures your preferred doneness every time? The SteakChamp 3-Color Thermometer is an innovative, stainless steel meat thermometer that uses integral temperature measurement to determine when your steak has reached either medium rare (green), medium (yellow) or medium well (red) with an LED light at the end of the probe that flashes the corresponding color. Plus, once the steak has been removed from the grill, the SteakChamp continues to flash to measure the meat’s resting phase, only turning off when it’s reached optimal doneness. Though it’s most effective with beef (and yes, it works exactly as advertised), it can also be used on duck breast, pork loin, lamb, salmon and other game. This is the future of at-home grilling, and it tastes delicious.

Moleskine Star Wars Notebooks

There’s just something about the Moleskine brand that oozes quality, which is probably why it’s become so popular across the world. With an amazing variety of notebooks, journals and planners (and much, much more) available in different sizes and colors to meet your needs, Moleskine is a great gift for just about anyone in your life, whether it’s a simple stocking stuffer or an entire bundle of faux leather-bound joy. With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” due in theaters this December, Moleskin has expanded its “Star Wars” line with a pair of limited edition, hard cover notebooks that include a montage of scenes from the movie on the inside cover and some cool stickers in every back pocket. Though we wish there were more designs to choose from besides the red-and-black Kylo Ren and white-and-black Stormtrooper themed covers, this is a great way for fans to show off their “Star Wars” passion wherever they go.

moleskine

  

Related Posts