The Best Xbox 360 Games: Holiday Gift Guide Edition
Need For Speed Rivals (Electronic Arts)
While Xbox One fans can cruise around with Forza Motorsport 5, that doesn't necessarily mean Xbox 360 owners are left in the dust. EA has you covered with the fantastic racing game Need For Speed: Rivals. Featuring no shortage of online challenges from random drivers and friends alike, along with beautiful visuals, precision car handling and exciting car chases galore – if you choose the bad guys or the cops – this is one racing game that'll easily carry over into 2014. See you at the finish line!
Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (Mojang)
If for some reason you can't download the digital version – or you just want to make the blocky art design stand out in someone's collection – Minecraft is a must-have. This physical version features the original game in all its glory, along with various extras that can push the adventure even further. With deep, involving gameplay and blocky graphics that all ages are sure to enjoy, Minecraft is a diggable effort. Just watch out for those Creepers – they can be real Grinches.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes (WB Games)
Travellers Tales worked its Lego magic for years on a number of franchises, but it really taps into something special when it delves into the Marvel universe. Featuring a number of outstanding characters, as well as action-packed set pieces, additional challenges and of course, the trademark Lego humor we've come to expect from the developer, Lego Marvel Super Heroes is easily one of the developer's best efforts to date. Both comic book nerds and casual players alike will be super-charged from this heroic tale.
FIFA 14 (Electronic Arts)
Easily one of the best soccer simulations to date, FIFA 14 continues to keep up the status quo for EA's sports series. Packed with teams from all over the world, the game flourishes with its smooth gameplay, which makes even the most complex maneuvers come off with ease. In addition, the presentation is still second-to-none on the Xbox 360 hardware, and the online community thrives with thousands of players, meaning you'll have plenty of opposition to face. When it comes to sports games, this one's an easy score.
Grand Theft Auto 5 (Rockstar Games)
One of the biggest and best Xbox 360 games this year, Grand Theft Auto 5 will certainly keep your loved ones busy for awhile, whether they're in the middle of a high-speed chase, taking part in a chaotic shootout or doing some stunt parachuting off the top of a building. This epic adventure offers no shortage of stuff to do, and its online component feels like a separate game in itself with all the activities it has to offer. Sure, its violence makes it better suited for older gamers, but clearly you have someone on your list that would love getting this under his or her tree.
WWE 2K14 (2K Games)
Do you smell what the Rock is cooking? Perhaps you prefer taking on someone with the mighty beard himself, Daniel Bryan? No wait, you probably want to body slam Andre the Giant with Hulk Hogan. It doesn't really matter what wrestling preference your loved ones have, WWE 2K14 has something for everyone. With a roster of over 80 superstars (male and female alike), as well as the ability to create their own grappler and partake in a wrestling career of their choosing, this game will put them in a headlock and never let go. Throw in the awesome Undertaker: Beat the Streak mode and 30 different Wrestlemania challenges to conquer, and the champ is here.
Rocksmith 2014 (Ubisoft)
While the packaging makes it a little too thick for some stockings, that won't matter, as your intended receiver will be too busy rocking. Rocksmith 2014 is the premiere music simulation for the Xbox 360, complete with a slew of addictive mini-games, an easy-to-learn yet hard-to-master gameplay system and best of all, a number of jam-worthy tunes, ranging from Boston to Mastodon. You may need to add some extra funds for a guitar, but seeing the sheer joy on the face of your future rock god will certainly be with it. You might almost be tempted to join them.
NHL 14 (EA Sports)
If you've got someone in your family or circle of friends who adores hockey – and really, who doesn't – then NHL 14 is a must for gift-giving. Featuring the best simulation you can find on ice, EA Sports' latest puck-slapper has it all – terrific gameplay that captures the nature of the sport, online play with challengers coming from all sides and a strong presentation that represents the sport at its best, right down to the spray of ice coming from a players' skates. This is a perfect gift for that fan, and definitely comes cheaper than paying for a customized jersey. Besides, you want one for yourself, right?
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
There's always that certain someone in your life who can't get enough of fighting games, whether they're mastering Guile's aerial combo in Street Fighter or trying to execute a friendship in Mortal Kombat. For them, we highly recommend Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition. Packed with a cavalcade of heroes and villains – including bonus characters like Zatanna and Lobo – Injustice brings plenty of action-packed gameplay and excitement. The presentation is also second-to-none, especially with the interactive backgrounds, where you can literally knock someone into the building next door. Give this to your comrade and you'll be their hero for the year.
Gears of War Judgment (Microsoft)
This latest chapter in the Gears of War saga does a great job leading up to the events in other games, as you lead Baird and his squad down a chaotic new path while dealing with horrendous enemies. Featuring the same great gameplay that's made the franchise a staple on the Xbox 360, along with trailblazing visuals and non-stop action on the Xbox Live front, this is one Judgment that'll easily side in your favor when it comes to gift giving. Plus, it's only $20 – a fairly good price considering what it includes.