Editorials

Gaming Trend 2020 Holiday Guide

2020 has been a mess, but the holidays are a chance to connect with family and friends…even if it’s only on Zoom this year. That said, there’s nothing stopping you from sending those people you love something awesome to put a smile on their face.  Or maybe you didn’t get what you wanted, but instead got a fist full of cash or gift cards?  Well, then our guide is exactly what you need!  This list represents a few of our favorite things we’ve gotten to enjoy about 2020.  You should find a review for nearly everything in our list for all of the details, and the name of each item is linked to where you can buy it to make your holiday shopping as easy as possible.  Let us know if we missed anything good, and we’ll see you in 2021!

Videogames:

The Last of Us: Part 2 [PS4]

Polarizing, ultraviolent, and according to the Game Awards, your 2020 Game of the Year. We loved the game, and came away impressed at the sheer magnitude of accessibility options, as well as a deep and impactful narrative about loss, revenge, and the inner demons that drive us.
Our review | Buy now

Ghost of Tsushima [PS4]

Ghost of Tsushima – Official Accolades Trailer | PS4

It didn’t win Game of the Year, but it should have! Ghost of Tsushima captures Japan in all of its glory at a time when honor and war were woven deeply into the fabric of society. When all hope is lost, join Jin Sakai on his journey as he begins to understand what it takes to be the Ghost of Tsushima.
Our review | Buy now

No Straight Roads [XB1/PS4/Switch/PC]

A fantastic rhythm action game that’s a ton of fun in co-op. The amazing soundtrack will see you through to the end, and the great boss fights will keep you coming back for more.
Our review | Buy now

Persona 5 Royal [PS4]

It’s Persona 5, but with another semester of fun! Adding in a variety of new content, from activities to another confidant, this is a great gift for RPG fans with too much time on their hands.
Our review | Buy now

The Pathless [PS4/PS5/PC]

The Pathless - First 20 Minutes in 4K on PlayStation 5 [Gaming Trend]

I didn’t think I’d like this game, and I was right — I loved it. A PS5 launch title, but also available on PlayStation 4 and PC, this game is breathtaking in motion. I enjoyed every second of this game, and getting to pet the eagle is an awesome bonus.
Our review | Buy now

Final Fantasy VII Remake [PS4]

A fascinating reimagining of possibly the most well known and beloved Final Fantasy. The action combat is a ton of fun, and can even be automated for a more turn based feel. For anyone who’s ever enjoyed video game storytelling, or just good stories in general.
Our review | Buy now

Super Mario 3D All-Stars [Switch]

While this port certainly has its flaws, it still contains 3 great Mario adventures that anyone can enjoy. For Nintendo fans, kids who are new to gaming, or really anyone who enjoys whimsical fun.
Our review | Buy now

Paper Mario: The Origami King [Switch]

Paper Mario: The Origami King Gameplay

While it might not be for those pining for the first two games of the series, the newest installment of our favorite 2D plumber takes players on an adventure of a lifetime with some stellar music and sharp writing. Come for Bobby the Bob-Omb, stay for the surprisingly heartfelt narrative of The Origami King.
Our review | Buy now

Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics [Switch]

You like classic board games and need a way to play with friends? As the title suggests, this game has 51 classic games (plus a piano!) from all around the world, and you can play with up to 4 players with games like Ludo and President or duel head-to-head in Mancala or Shogi. There’s something for everyone here, with a neat family-friendly presentation, online play, and the ability to play on different consoles in the same room even if your friends don’t have a copy of the game! This is a wonderful holiday treat to have when your grandparents or casual gaming friends come over.
Our review | Buy now

Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated [XB1/PS4/Switch]

A cult classic platformer gussied up for a new generation. It’s not the most polished experience, but fans of the show will love the jokes, references, and being able to explore Bikini Bottom.
Our review | Buy now

Animal Crossing: New Horizons [Switch]

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Day 7 Town Tour

If you’re not already playing this, you should be. New Horizons has helped countless people survive the current state of the world with its relaxing gameplay. For anyone who’s stressed and is looking for a way to chill out. Constant updates means the holiday season is going to be full of fun festivities, from Halloween to Christmas to everywhere in between! (Plus, you need Raymond on your island. Come on, you know you want him.)
Our review | Buy now

Microsoft Flight Simulator [XB1/PC]

Microsoft has announced that this game is getting VR support for Christmas, and I can’t wait to experience it. The Asobo team has literally given us the entire world to explore, and Microsoft Flight Simulator is the gateway drug to real-world flight. For the simulator in your family, there’s no going wrong here.
Our review | Buy now

Desperados III [XB1/PS4/PC]

If you are as much of a tactical nerd as we are, you’ve got to love Desperados III. With memorable missions, fun characters, and incredibly challenging gameplay, this one is sure to bend your brain a bit. We’ve got the first few missions in 4K, so you can see if it’s up your alley.
Our review | Buy now

Doom: Eternal [XB1/PS4/PC]

DOOM Eternal - First 30 at 4K 60 Ultra Nightmare - PC [Gaming Trend]

What can I say about DOOM: Eternal? Well, it may be one of the best shooters we’ve played in years, and it’s a massive upgrade over the already-fantastic DOOM from 2016.  Looking gorgeous on next-gen platforms, and eye-poppingly beautiful on PC, this game is amazing no matter where you play it. DOOM: Eternal is a must-have for any shooter fan.
Our review | Buy now

Untitled Goose Game [XB1/PS4/Switch/PC]

Blame it on the… geese? While this critically acclaimed goose simulator was released last year, we’ve been graced with some awesome physical editions thanks to iam8bit for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Want to grab a friend to be horrible geese together? You’re in luck, as the newest update for the game allows you to play co-op with a buddy to terrorize the town together. Just make sure you grab those bells before you head out.
Our review | Buy now

Mafia: Definitive Edition [XB1/PS4/PC]

Tommy’s turbulent past is brought to life once again in this fantastic remaster. It truly is what a remaster should be, recreating the magic for a whole new generation, and leaning on what we’ve learned in the intervening years to create a truly ultimate edition.
Our review | Buy now

Star Renegades [XB1/PS4/PC]

This game came as a surprise, delivering a twist on turn based gameplay with its tactical gameplay and engaging roguelite gameplay. Erica loved it and we think you will too!
Our review | Buy now

Wasteland 3 [XB1/PS4/PC]

Wasteland 3 - Character Creation and First Hour Gameplay - PC [Gaming Trend]

Yeah, it’s got bugs. Yeah, it’s goofy at times. Wasteland 3 also has a fantastic storyline, filled with memorable characters and impactful choices that really matter. There’s a reason Microsoft snapped up this studio — they are one of the best in the business.
Our review | Buy now

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2  [XB1/PS4/PC]

The first two Pro Skater games reimagined for modern consoles and PC. For fans of extreme sports or even just arcade action, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like these games. This remastered version also includes the soundtrack from the original release, so feel free to skate around memory lane, why don’t you?
Our review | Buy now

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout [PC, PS4]

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is one the best multiplayer games of the year and is a very easy game to get into. It’s cute, it’s charming, and it’s brutal in the funniest ways. And if you have friends that you play games with regularly, this becomes a must have on the holiday list. Buy it for you, buy it for a friend. Just buy it!
Buy now

Star Wars: Squadrons [PC/PS4/XB1/VR]

Star Wars Squadrons - VR Fleet Battles vs. AI - PC and Vive Pro [Gaming Trend]

Star Wars: Squadrons was EA Motive at its very best, delivering on the promise of an X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter reimagining, but also giving us the whole thing in VR. With incredible multiplayer, as well as a solid single-player game, the whole affair continues EA’s commitment to the Star Wars universe, and we can’t wait to get more of it!
Our review | Buy now

Hades [PC/PS4/XB1/Switch]

A rogue-like that even people who don’t enjoy the genre can fall in love with, Hades is one of 2020’s best games. A great gift for anyone who imagines Sisyphus happy, likes mastering games, or just enjoys staring at hot people. This is a whole new level for roguelikes, staying fresh for 50+ hours of content, and with masterful voice acting and gameplay, it’s easy to see how this is in the running for game of the year for a lot of folks.
Our review | Buy now

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time! [PS4/Xbox One]

Crash is back in full force! A great gift for those who enjoy a tough platformer, collecting tons of things, or anyone who owned a PlayStation one back in the day. Simply a true sequel to the original PS1 trilogy (with a lot of fun references and callbacks that reward longtime fans.)
Our review | Buy now

Watch Dogs: Legion [PC, PS4/5, Xbox, Stadia]

Watch Dogs: Legion - First 20 Minutes in 4K - PC [Gaming Trend]

Watch Dogs: Legion takes the Ubisoft’s classic open-world formula and blows it up by allowing you to become anyone. Legion also steps away from the Ubisoft formula making no one as the main protagonist but takes you through several stories within a larger conspiracy. Performance issues are still being ironed out, but by the time you get your hands on it, it will likely be on sale and in a better place.
Our review | Buy now

Destiny 2: Beyond Light [PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox/Stadia]

Beyond Light explores the antagonist to the light, and let’s you experience its power. While the mechanics of Beyond Light hardly differ from Shadowkeep and Forsaken, it is easily the most challenging expansion Bungie has released and includes loot worth the grind for. It’s also an amazing showcase of the difference between last generation consoles and this generation.
Buy now

Minecraft Dungeons [PC/PS4/Xbox]

While a simplistic dungeon crawler, the challenge associated with it is surprising. Make your way through several dungeons fighting off enemies straight from Minecraft and inspired by Minecraft. The loot drops are satisfying, leveling is rewarding, and the randomly generated dungeons are satisfyingly lengthy. And the game keeps pushing you to go for bigger and better with multiple playthroughs that up the stakes each time. It builds on Minecraft’s reputation of being great for all ages.
Buy now

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition [Switch]

Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition - Future Connected Gameplay

One of the greatest RPGs ever made, now with an improved art style and performance upgrades! For anyone who wants to explore a big, unique world or enjoys great storytelling, and especially anyone who loves the original and wants to check out the exclusive epilogue, Future Connected.
Our review | Buy now

Resident Evil 3 [PC/PS4/Xbox One]

While lacking in content and not as good as the original game or even the previous remake, I still heavily recommend the Resident Evil 3 remake to series fans especially, as it offers a thrilling, action-packed, and highly entertaining experience, proving great things can come in small packages especially at a discount this holiday.
Our review | Buy now

Chicken Police [PC/PS4/XB1/Switch]

You don’t know that you need this game in your life yet, but you do. Breathtaking visuals, a smooth soundtrack, and strong, snappy writing make this one of the most memorable point-and-click adventures you’ll ever play in your life. Nothing says neo-noir like hard boiled detectives, a good mystery, and lots and lots of campy banter.
Our review | Buy now

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla [Xbox One/Series X/PS4/PS5/Stadia/PC]

Assassin's Creed Valhalla First 30 Minutes - XSX [Gaming Trend]

The perfected form of the Assassin’s Creed formula. For anyone who enjoys exploring gigantic, gorgeous worlds, likes checking things off of lists, or is interested in history, Valhalla excels in worldbuilding and creating atmosphere. Make your own village, raid others, and enjoy a game with easily over 100 hours of gameplay.
Our review | Buy now

Carto [PC/PS4/XB1/Switch]

A cute, charming puzzle-adventure with a unique tile mechanic. Solve puzzles to collect map tiles and grow each island. It’s intuitive, innovative, and exceptionally playful. Carto’s bottomless bag of tricks never fails to impress. Some stunning art and animation doesn’t hurt either.
Buy now

Yakuza: Like a Dragon [PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX/PC]

Yakuza Like a Dragon - First 20 Minutes in 4K on Xbox Series X [Gaming Trend]

Do you or your loved one enjoy crime? Well there’s none of that here! Certified good boy Ichiban Kasuga takes the reins of the beloved Yakuza franchise as he saves Tokyo from various crime lords by helping old ladies across the street, hitting thugs with a baseball bat, and thinking about Dragon Quest. For those who enjoy RPGs, weird games like Earthbound, or nice people being very nice.
Our review | Buy now

Cyberpunk 2077 [Xbox One/Series X/PS4/PS5/Stadia/PC]

You don’t likely need my recommendation on this one, but here it is. Essentially the works of William Gibson in videogame form, Cyberpunk 2077 is an eye-poppingly beautiful trip into the dystopian future. It could use a patch or three to iron out the many, many bugs at launch, or to refine the console versions which are frankly fairly janky presently, but that doesn’t change that this is the most anticipated game of the year. I’ll recommend the PC version.
Buy now

Immortals: Fenyx Rising [PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Xbox Series X/Nintendo Switch/Stadia/PC]

Immortals: Fenyx Rising - First 50 Minutes in 4K on PC [Gaming Trend]

Hey, remember that time back in high school when you thought Zeus was a total frat boy? Well he is, get used to it. A refreshingly hilarious tale from Ubisoft, Immortals: Fenyx Rising has you control the titular soldier as you save Greek gods from the dastardly titan Typhon, with open world mechanics and visuals that are impressive no matter which version you get.
Our review | Buy now

Fuser [PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC]

Never has being a DJ been so easy or fun! Get to slapping 100 tracks in different venues as you make some creative mashups and amazing setups in Harmonix’s newest rhythm game. With an endless stream of stems and more DLC on the way, the musical possibilities are endless. If you think you’ve got what it takes to play with the big guns, step up with multiplayer battles and see if you have the better mixtape!
Our review | Buy now

My Hero One’s Justice 2 [PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC]

With the newest season of My Hero Academia coming soon, you can relive the hijinks of season 4’s Shie Hassaikai arc with My Hero One’s Justice 2. With an expansive roster, simple but accessible attacks, and voice acting which now includes the English dub, this is a wonderful 3D arena fighter that fans of My Hero Academia will love!
Our review | Buy now

Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales [PS4, PS5]

Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales - Side by Side Fidelity vs Performance - PS5 [Gaming Trend]

What’s up, danger? 2018’s most innovative superhero game returns with a full blown sequel starring the Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales as he takes on the mantle of being the next new hero. The PlayStation 5 version takes advantage of the game’s gorgeous graphics, and even if your friends or family are waiting to get a PS5, the last-gen PS4 version is still pretty awesome too.
Our review | Buy now

Buried Stars [PS4, Switch]

One of the best visual novels you’ve never played this year, Buried Stars takes a dark look at the world of Korean reality television stardom and traps its cast of characters into a crumbling stage as you have to make your relationships and sanity stay strong in the midst of a dangerous accident. Its innovative communication segments mixed with full voice acting makes this an adventure that you shouldn’t miss.
Our review | Buy now

Mad Rat Dead [PS4, Switch]

Wake up, little mouse; we’ve got a scientist to burn. After a testing accident causes a rat to die, he gets granted one last day to fulfill his wish: To exact revenge on the person who killed him. Partnered with a sentient heart, players must move to the rhythm in order to traverse different stages in a wildly unique game that hopefully doesn’t fly under the radar.
Our review | Buy now

Super Bomberman R Online [Stadia]

What’s this? A free game on a holiday gift list? Well, if you haven’t played what News Editor Elisha said was, “The reason to get Stadia”, then you should definitely check out this now free-to-play spin on the battle royale genre. Get your Bomberman bros together and play with the Bomberman family members (each with different strengths and weaknesses), or shell out $9.99 and get to play with special Konami guest star characters! With 64-player fun and premium support for private lobbies, this is one game that’s sure to be a blast this holiday season.
Our review | Buy now

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War [XB1/XSX/PS4/PS5/PC]

Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War - First Mission in 4K on PlayStation 5 [Gaming Trend]

While this game came out for every platform you can imagine, the DualSense support of the PlayStation 5 was absolutely unreal. The single player was engaging, and the game has never looked better. A true return to form, this is Call of Duty at its very best.
Our review | Buy now

Transformers: Battlegrounds [PS4/Xbox One/Switch]

Want to get into the XCOM gameplay without feeling the frustration of missing on a 90 percent success rate? Outright Games has made a very accessible tactics game in the form of Transformers: Battlegrounds, which pits the Autobots against the Decepticons in strategic turn-based gameplay. While skewed for an all-ages crowd, this game has adjustable difficulty options that will appeal to Transformers fans as well.
Buy now

Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay [PS4/Xbox One/Switch]

Games are for everyone, but we should also take time to play some with the youngest ones in our lives (after all, they’re going to be our next generation of gamers)! Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay is based off the wildly popular Paw Patrol show and has players controlling the eight main pups as they rescue those in peril thanks to a meteor that gives them superpowers. While meant for smaller children, this game has a surprisingly great co-op system which means parents can tag along and have hours of entertainment with their kids.
Buy now

The Wonderful 101 Remastered [PS4/Switch]

This game brings over the top insanity as players direct a massive group of heroes as a massive swarm. The threat? Aliens! If you missed out on this game on other platforms, now you can experience it on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Come see what all the hype is about.
Buy now

Borderlands 3 [PS4/PS5/Xbox One/XSX/PC/Stadia]

Let's Play - Borderlands 3 - First Impressions

We absolutely loved Borderlands 3 at launch, and with four expansions (so far!) that only serve to add a ton of awesome content to an already chock-full package. 4K/60 on consoles, and even higher framerates on PC, this game features couch co-op and some awesome laugh-out-loud fun, so don’t pass this up.
Our review | Buy now

XCOM: Chimera Squad [PC]

If you are a longtime reader of GamingTrend, you know we love our real time strategy games, none more than XCOM. Well, XCOM: Chimera Squad took the XCOM 2 format, turned it on its head, and gave the whole thing a twist. Being able to field what had previously been enemies as your squad, and with all new breaching tactics, Chimera Squad is a departure from the formula, but I have to applaud the team for trying something new. We are just lucky that it worked this well! Check out our review for all the details.
Our review | Buy now

Death Stranding [PC]

This previously exclusive title finally made its way to PC, and it did so in style. Gorgeous in 4K, and now with widescreen, DLSS, and more than 100fps on a mid-range card, this bizarre Kojima fever dream has never looked better.
Our review | Buy now

Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete Edition [PC]

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition - First 35 minutes in 4K 60fps video - PC Ultra Settings

Like Death Stranding, this game was previously an exclusive for the PlayStation 4, but coming to the PC three years later brought with it a ton of upgrades. Pushing from 30fps to a framerate in the 100s makes the game gorgeous and smooth, and all running at 4K. Ultrawide support, adjustable FOV, and drastically reduced load times, as well as the expansion pack included, this truly is the ultimate version of the game.
Our review | Buy now

Ghostrunner [PC/PS4/XB1]

There is more than one Cyberpunk game this season, and this one is a whole lot faster paced. Like Mirror’s Edge, but with swords, this game is parkour that’ll push your RTX card hard. You can also nab it on consoles, but wow does the PC sing.
Our review | Buy now

Observer: System Redux[PC/PS5/XSX]

There were a few standouts for the next-gen console launches, and Observer: System Redux was one of them.  The brand new lighting engine completely transformed the already good game into something great, but it wasn’t just a fresh coat of paint.  New 4K textures, plenty of gameplay improvements, and even a few new puzzles to solve made this a must-have for any fan of mind-bending stories.  Check out the first half hour of the game on Xbox Series X to see what I mean.
Our review | Buy now

Observer System Redux in 4K on Xbox Series X [Gaming Trend]

Accessories:

Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.

We love this tiny retro-modern handheld console. It keeps time and comes preloaded with three games: Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 2, and Ball.
Our review | Buy now

KINGEAR Switch Controller

What isn’t to love about this Nintendo Switch Pro Controller? It’s light, it has rumble, and it looks like Tom Nook. Best of all, the ears aren’t just for show – they’re also the trigger buttons!
Buy now

 

Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X/S

It’s hard to get your hands on either platform, but both of them could use a shot in the arm in terms of storage.  Thankfully, you have an option that matches the speed of the internal NVMe drive perfect courtesy of the 1TB expansion card from Seagate.   Enjoy our “special” unboxing video, and our review.
Our review | Buy now

Virtual Reality:

Half Life: Alyx [VR]

Out of NOWHERE we get one of the best VR games ever made, and from Valve no less! Who knew they were still making games!? Well, Half Life: Alyx puts us back into the world of headcrabs and mystery men, but this time in virtual reality. If you don’t already own this, you should, and you don’t have to have an Index headset to play it.
Buy now

The Wizards: Dark Times [Vive/Oculus]

The Wizards - Dark Times - 4K Gameplay - Oculus Rift [GamingTrend]

It’s not often you get a sequel to a VR game, but Carbon Studios pulled out all the stops to improve on the incredible promise of its predecessor. Editor Ben Lombardo said it’s the best spell-casting VR game out there, and I’m very inclined to agree. Deeply immersive, this is a must have if you have a VR HMD.
Our review | Buy now

Star Wars: Squadrons [Vive/Oculus/PSVR]

Mentioned elsewhere on our list, Star Wars: Squadrons combines pickup and play gameplay with virtual reality. Once you dogfight in an X-Wing or Tie Fighter in VR, there’s simply no going back to flat screens. Being able to track your target as they zip overhead or behind you by simply turning your head is a game changer.
Our review | Buy now

Population: One [Vive/Oculus]

BigBox VR’s Population: One takes immersive gaming to new heights. Built from the ground up to provide a fun multiplayer experience in virtual reality, Population: One provides players with a one-of-a-kind battle royale experience. The game is available on all major headsets, including the Oculus Quest. No wires means players can climb tall structures and then glide around the map with a feeling of complete freedom.
Our review | Buy now

The Room VR: A Dark Matter [Vive/Oculus]

What was once an iOS puzzle game has found its way into the world of VR. It’s a trippy, surreal experience as you delve deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. There’s no doubt each puzzle will have you scratching your head, but once you finally beat it — oh, the satisfaction!
Our review | Buy now

Lies Beneath [Vive/Oculus]

VR horror is a whole different kind of experience. It might even be one of the most stressful moments of your gaming life, but there’s no denying the amount of fun you have. Lies Beneath has that in spades, and then some. The unique art style and amazing sound design will give you a level of immersion that you can only dream for.
Our review | Buy now

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners [Vive/Oculus/PSVR]

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Meatgrinder Update Gameplay - PC [Gaming Trend]

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is easily the best VR horror experience you could ask for. You’ll be quickly addicted to the grittiness of the TWD’s world as you navigate through fantastic level design and experience in-depth survivalist elements. A deeply rewarding VR title that is worth every penny.
Our review | Buy now

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond [Vive/Oculus]
Easily one of the better looking VR games, this 9 hour campaign is sure to scratch the itch for a great campaign, and even sports some solid multiplayer to boot. With Respawn at the helm of this title, it’s not of a surprise, is it? Just make sure you can hit the system specs — they are pretty high.
Buy now

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite [Gear]
There are assumptions I’ve made for years about what gives me nausea. Could it be the framerate? Refresh rate? Motion? It turns out that it’s the screen door effect you may have seen in every other headset. This screen door effect, combined with the inter-pupillary distance (how far from the pupil of one eye to the other) was making VR a 20 minute at a time affair, and all of that is completely resolved by HTC’s newest VR HMD, the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite. While I’m not a fan that Viveport is now required for the HMD to function, I can’t deny that VR games are instantly more fun when you don’t have to worry about headaches and nausea.
Buy now

 

Tabletop Games

Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America

Perhaps a game that’s a little too relevant in the past year, Pandemic: Hot Zone is a beginner-friendly version of the popular cooperative game Pandemic, with an emphasis on quicker gameplay. This first installment of the game takes place in North America, and features popular cities within the United States as up to four players are tasked with eradicating a number of diseases from spreading and destroying the country as we know it. The game retails at $19.99 too, which means it’s a great title to get someone that wants to get into the world of tabletop games.
Our review | Buy now

Poetry for Neanderthals

You think words are hard? Try to make quips with one sound. But really, this fun take on word games by the creator of Exploding Kittens forces players to get their teammates to guess the clue on their card. The only problem? You can only use words that have one syllable, lest you get hit on the head with the inflatable club (and lose points too). A fun party game that challenges you to think outside the box in order to communicate.
Buy now

Here to Slay

Cute critters slay the day! From the Unstable Unicorns creators comes Here to Slay, an adorable fantasy romp where you and your opponents have to fight imposing creatures while also summoning valiant heroes to help you. We can’t help but fall in love with the signature cute artwork Teeturtle provides, while also being a much more involved gaming experience compared to Unstable Unicorns.
Buy now

Labyrinth: Ready Steady

If you are both a Labyrinth and a role playing game fan, this is for you! In addition to a full length Jim Henson-esque adventure, this set contains custom dice, and over 100 scenes straight from the film.
Buy now

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Up Your Game: Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Roundtable

The perfect gift for the D&D player who has it all--the nest book that they probably haven’t gotten yet! It comes loaded with new class archetypes, lineage systems, group patrons, and more.
Buy now

Books

Batman: Three Jokers

Recently finished earlier this year and part of DC’s Black Label, Batman: Three Jokers follows Batman, Batgirl, and Nightwing as they try to apprehend not one, but THREE men who claim to hold the mantle of the Joker. What follows is a heartfelt limited series of tragedy and the relationship between the Bat Family and the Clown Prince(s) of Crime. Jason Fabok contributes some stellar art to this wonderful out of continuity story that will appeal to fans of the current Batman run.
Buy now

Harleen

A bold new take on one of Batman’s most notorious villains, writer and artist Stjepan Šejić reimagines Harleen Quinzel’s dark and mysterious encounter with the man known as Joker as she finds herself in the midst of love and loss. Fans of the character and the Batman franchise will love the detailed art and eclectic story, which goes from darkly humorous to grippingly emotional at the drop of a hat.
Buy now

Super Mario Manga Mania

Fun fact: Did you know there’s a long-running manga series that’s based on the Super Mario series? Did you also know that it hasn’t had a North American release in decades? Until now, that is! Fans of the games can now experience a slice of Yukio Sawada’s Super Mario-Kun manga, which features a wild romp of irreverent antics with everything from Paper Mario to Super Mario Galaxy. Pick it up and prepare to laugh at the fun gags peppered in, and also get shocked at the fact that Mario speaks way too much in these panels.
Buy now

Kirby: Art & Style Collection

“First you draw a circle…” Sure, the iconic design of Nintendo’s pink warrior Kirby might be simple, but the little puffball has spawned more than two decades of wonderful art. This book highlights the 25 year artistic history of the Kirby series, chock full of extra notes and interviews with the creators involved. This is a perfect gift for the Kirby fan in your life.
Buy now

Spy X Family

What’s a renowned spy to do when trying to track down his next elusive target? Get a makeshift family, of course! Twilight schemes to create a loving household with Yor and Anya in order to advance in his spy mission… except for the fact that Yor’s an assassin and Anya’s a telepath. Wacky hijinks ensue in this action manga that’s been tearing up the charts in Japan, with single volumes starting to come out now!
Buy now

BTS: Blood, Sweat, & Tears

It seems the rise of K-Pop has no chance of stopping, and BTS is leading that charge, becoming one of the most popular Korean entertainment acts in the world. This book goes behind the scenes with the Bangtan Boys, and comes with full-color photos of all the members as well as a comprehensive history of the band from its modest beginnings to being the social juggernaut that it is. Light it up like dynamite, indeed.
Buy now

A Man & His Cat

You like heartwarming stories about cats? What about an old widower that adopts one, and changes the lives of both forever? Because that’s what you’re going to get! A slice of life manga from Square Enix, this tale of a frumpy yet friendly cat called Fukumaru and his owner will warm even the coldest heart this Christmas season.
Buy now

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Complete Omnibus Edition

A collection of all three manga adaptation volumes of the anime, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a great series to pick up if you love cutesy magical girl shows.*

*It’s actually not, but for those that have watched the source anime or just want a dark deconstruction of an established genre, you’ll be right at home. Buy now

King of Eden

Sure, zombies may have been old hat by now, but mix that with some smart and philosophical writing and a horrifically entertaining premise, and you’ve got yourself King of Eden. While the second volume omnibus will be available this month, you should definitely check out the first volume now.
Our review | Buy now

At Night, I Become a Monster

From the author of the highly acclaimed I Want to Eat Your Pancreas comes a heartfelt (if somewhat frightening) light novel about a pair of high school students brought together by chance after one of them catches another’s secret: at night, he becomes a ravenous creature who reverts to a regular student in the morning. What challenges will bring about the duo as they navigate the cruel world of high school together?
Buy now

Sazan & Comet Girl Omnibus

This 2018 manga that evokes the sci-fi anime antics of the 80s is finally released in English as a complete color-page omnibus, and it’s a rip-roaring time! When young construction worker Sazan meets Mina while at work, he falls in love; unfortunately, she’s rumored to be the dastardly Comet Girl who’s caused some mischief around the galaxy. Readers will follow Sazan and Mina as they travel across the milky way in an all-ages romp that will appeal to those who want a complete manga experience.
Buy now

Women in Gaming 100 Professionals of Play

The perfect way to inspire the game loving lady in your life, this beautiful hardcover book features inspirational stories and interviews with influential women in the gaming space.
Buy now

Düngeonmeister

Shake up your gaming sessions with this book of 75 D&D themed cocktail recipes. Can you survive a game with a Sneak Attack? Are you bold enough to get sweet with a Half and Half-Orc? Dig through this mixology tome and find out.
Our review | Buy now

DVDs/Blu-Ray

Sonic the Hedgehog

It’s no Cats (2019), it’s much better. One of the most successful video game movies of all time commercially and critically, Sonic the Hedgehog has an excellent performance of Doctor Robotnik thanks to Jim Carrey, and the newly designed Sonic is a technical marvel. You can experience the film on DVD, Blu-Ray, or in 4K, with digital options available. (Our review)
Our review | Buy now

Weathering With You

Makoto Shinkai’s follow up to commercial success Your Name, Weathering With You follows a light romantic story with some sci-fi themes. The film looked and sounded gorgeous on the big screen, and thanks to the blu-ray and 4K versions of the home media release, you can recreate the wonderful experience in your living room.
Buy now

Digimon: Last Evolution Kizuna

You know what Digimon does that Pokemon doesn’t? Have the guts to have the main characters grow up and risk losing their beloved friends permanently. Commemorating the franchise’s 20th anniversary, Last Evolution Kizuna has the original series protagonists face an evil threat that will endanger the lives of the digidestined forever. It’s a tale of heartbreak and nostalgia as fans young and old have one last adventure to their childhood heroes.
Buy now

Harley Quinn: Season 1

It’s been a great few years for Harley Quinn, and there have been a ton of different releases for the deadly doctor, but one of the strongest new releases has been DC Universe… erm, HBO Max’s Harley Quinn show. Featuring Kaley Cuoco as the titular Harleen Quinzel, this show breaks the boundaries (and balls) of what a villain’s origin story can be. With a distinct style of meta humor and gratuitous violence, this “definitely not for kids” cartoon is definitely a treat for older fans of the character.
Buy now

Naruto and Inuyasha

Two classic anime got the high-definition treatment this year, with Naruto and Inuyasha getting blu-ray boxsets for their first 27 episodes. You can now relive the first memories of Naruto and Sasuke or Kagome and Inuyasha in glorious 1080p, with bonus materials for both sets.
Buy Naruto set | Buy Inuyasha Set 

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Part 1

Arguably the highest selling manga and anime franchise in Japan right now, Demon Slayer’s manga run recently ended, but the franchise has no intention of slowing down. You can catch the first half of the first season before season two comes out next year. Whether you’re experiencing Tanjiro’s journey to save his sister Nezuko for the first time or wanting to get a cleaner blu-ray version, this is one of the quintessential shonen anime to get for any otaku.
Buy now

Alien 40th Anniversary (4k)

In space, no one can hear you scream, but your relatives can hear you yelling in your living room, so please be quiet while watching Ridley Scott’s masterpiece of a sci-fi film with a 4K remaster that delivers on the audio and video front in a way we’ve not seen in any 4K remaster to date. If you are a fan of the series, you have to have this in your collection — it’s that good.
Buy now

Total Recall (4K)

Get your ass to Mars!…or at least to your home theater with this 4K release of Total Recall.  Packed to the gills with new features, a flawless audio and video transfer, and incredibly remastered color correction and effects, this truly is the best possible version for any fans of 90’s era Arnold.
Our review | Buy now

 

Geek Gear

Pokemon Bandai Gunpla Kits

These fantastic Pokemon models are heavily articulated making them poseable.  They also come with a stand for display.
Buy now

FACEMASKS!!

Wear them — just do it.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t look cool doing it!  Whether you want to wear a Aiden Pierce neck balaclava, Sonic the Hedgehog facemask, or go full retro with Pac Man, you’ve got better choices than black or blue.  Just wash them frequently.
Buy now

Kirby Bag

Who doesn’t want to store their stuff inside an adorable Kirby? This pink round boi is perfect for everything from makeup to dice.
Buy now

Nintendo Switch New Leaf Carrying Case

Someday we’ll get to travel again, be ready for that day with this slimline Animal Crossing carrying case for your Switch, available in green and white. It’s also adorned with a lovely leaf design, which means you can pretend you’re going out on an island adventure when you’re really just in the backyard.
Buy now

F*ck D20

This may just be the perfect D20 for that certain someone who gets really emotional about their rolls; this D20 has “F*ck me” in place of a 1, and “F*ck you” in place of the 20.
Buy now

Fortune’s Favor Dice Scroll

You don’t have to be a Critical Role fan to fall in love with this two-in-one dice mat and carrying case--but it’s even cooler for Critters. It features the Fortune’s Favor spell, created by dungeon master Matt Mercer, and original illustrations by Taliesin Jaffe (Caudecus Clay/Mollymauk Tealeaf/Percival De Rolo)
Buy now

Super Mario Bros. Tree Topper

Make your holidays just a little bit geekier with this Super Mario Tree Topper.
Buy now

Malthael Diablo Legends Statue

The Archangel Malthael is the Angel of Death, and he looks amazing as this 10” tall detailed statue. We got a closer look at Malthael in the video below — make sure you snap it up before he’s gone!
Buy now

Artanis StarCraft 10″ Statue

StarCraft is easily one of my favorite games of all time, and few characters are as memorable as Artanis, the Hierarch of the reunited Protoss. This 10” statue is awesome, and celebrates the stoic leader in his finest form. Check out the video below to see him in all his glory. (video)
Buy now

Diablo IV 24” Lilith Statue

Diablo IV 24.5 inch Lilith Statue Unboxing [Gaming Trend]

What do you get the person who has everything? Well, if they are a Diablo fan, there’s nothing better than the massive, gorgeous, and impossibly expensive 24” Lilith statue. I could tell you all about it, but I think my unboxing will show you everything you need to know. This is the ultimate collectible for the ultimate Diablo fan.
Buy now

Diablo IV Desk Mat

Ok, so you can’t afford the $500 24” Lilith Statue, but you still want to celebrate your love of loot and Lilith. This desk mat shows the ongoing war between heaven and hell, with humanity caught in the middle. At just 30 bucks, this deluxe-sized mat is sure to bring the hype. (link)
Buy now

The Hard Stuff:

GeForce RTX 3000 series cards

GeForce RTX 3080 Unboxing reviews and 4K benchmarks [Gaming Trend]

There’s no doubt that NVIDIA is on fire with their newest line of GeForce cards. The 3060 Ti (review) is a fantastic entry card, the 3070 (review) pushes a metric ton of pixels, but the 3080 (review) and 3090 are truly revolutionary. With its new GDDR6X memory architecture, DLSS 2.0 support, a fresh approach to cooling, and a whole lot more, 4K/60 with every slider at Ultra is finally here. If you can score yourself a 3090 you can even manage to eek out 8K gaming. I’d joke that it’s time to load up Minecraft, but with RTX support on that too, it’s never looked better.
Buy now

Xbox Series X

Microsoft Xbox Series X Unboxing and Overview [Gaming Trend]

This hardware is a massive leap forward for team Xbox, and the new hardware is pushing consoles into the 4K/60, and in some cases, the 120fps scene. While Halo Infinite slipped all the way to next year, there’s no doubt that games like Cyberpunk 2077, Gears Tactics, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon look magnificent on the new hardware. The only problem…scalpers. I wish you the best of luck in nabbing one of these, but if you can, you won’t regret it.
Our review | Buy now

PlayStation 5

PlayStation 5 - Console and Controller Unboxing [Gaming Trend]

Sony’s hot new console has exclusives like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon Souls, Bugsnax, and Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, and they have many more on the horizon including God of War: Ragnarok, Horizon Zero Dawn: Forbidden West, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and more coming very soon. We gave this console a deep look, so check out our review for all the info you need. Good luck getting one, but if you do, you’ll be as blown away as we are by the power of the DualSense. This controller is a gamechanger.
Our review | Buy now

WD_Black AN1500

If you spend any time doing file manipulation or video production, you know just how painful a slow drive can be. Jittering videos are a thing of the past when you’ve got 6000MB/s read speeds, and 4200MB/s write speeds. If you are still plugging along on a standard SSD, or worse yet, a mechanical drive, this is a game changer.
Our review | Buy now

OriginPC EVO15-S

OriginPC EVO15-S 2080 Super Laptop - Unboxing and Review [Gaming Trend]

We reviewed a lot of laptops this year, and all of them had things in the plus and minus column, but OriginPC really came ahead with their EVO15-S. Slim and powerful, this laptop sports a 2080 Super, a 10th Gen Intel processor, and easily-expandable memory and storage. Toss in the fact that it’s ultra portable and lightweight and it makes it the best travel desktop replacement for when we are allowed to travel once again.
Our review | Buy now

OriginPC EON15-X
If you are wanting something without a staggeringly high price tag, or you just have an irrational hatred of Intel, then this AMD-based laptop might be right up your alley. With two M.2 drives, an SSD, a 2070 Super, and 64GB of memory, this laptop is well-equipped to say the least. The fact that it costs over a grand less than the EVO15-S makes it even more attractive. (our review)
Our review | Buy now

Honorable mention

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order [XB1/PS4/PC/Stadia]

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order - First 35 minutes in 4K - PC [Gaming Trend]

While this game came out in November of 2019, 2020 has destroyed all of the norms we could possibly have anyway, so we are including it. Also, the Stadia version of the game was released earlier last month, so it counts! An incredible Star Wars story with excellent gameplay, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is precisely what EA needed to remember that single player games can be amazing in their own right. (our review)
Our review | Buy now

Game Pass [Xbox/PC]

Whether you managed to score yourself an Xbox Series X, have an OG Xbox, or even want to play many of these games on PC, you need to jump on Microsoft’s Game Pass. Game Pass is the best value in town, giving you access to not only the back catalog, but even brand new titles like Gears: Tactics, DOOM: Eternal, Control, Planet Coaster: Console Edition, and literally THOUSANDS more.
Buy now


So there it is.  We didn’t love 2020, but it did bring us a whole lot of fantastic games.  Did you find what you were looking for?  Join our Discord to chat with the team and tell us what you loved about 2020, and what we might have missed on this list.  Stay safe, and we’ll see you again very soon.

— Your Gaming Trend Team —

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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