It’s not typically a great month for video games. Everyone’s too busy catching up on the year’s releases, receiving them as gifts or giving them to their beloveds. While there isn’t too much on the December release schedule, there are a few titles that have me excited.
If you’re building your holiday shopping list or need to check off another family member, consider gifting them one of the following most anticipated games releasing in December.
Or do what I do – intend to gift it, then keep it for yourself!
Life Is Strange 2: Episode 5
Conclude DONTNOD’s dramatic tale with the fifth episode of the critically acclaimed “Life is Strange 2.” In this sequel to the episodic game that took 2015 by storm, players follow a pair of brothers that get inadvertently caught up in Seattle’s event of the century. On the run, the pair run into new faces, many looking to take advantage of the two young outlaws.
Episode five, “Wolves,” picks up after episode four and aims to put the finishing touch on Sean and Daniel’s tragic story. After going up against the Universal Uprising Church, Sean, his brother Daniel, and their mother Karen turn for the Mexican border to end their perilous journey to freedom.
It’s maybe not the best season for heartfelt, depressing, and incredibly mature themes, but to finally put an ending to “Life is Strange 2” is a great holiday gift for gamers.
Darksiders Genesis – December 5
“Not another ‘Diablo’ clone!” the collective unimaginative voice screams while watching the gameplay for “Darksiders Genesis.” What this entry in the “Darksiders” series has going for it is the trio of hack ‘n slash gamers that preceded it. Though they do set up a story that may initially sound similar to Blizzard’s “Diablo,” “Darksiders” is an animal all its own. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the top-down hack ‘n slash “Genesis” looks to continue this tradition.
“Genesis” is a prequel to the trilogy and the first game to introduce Strife, the fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. See what happened before War came to Earth to put a stop to the End War between Heaven and Hell in this action-packed entry.
Players swap between Strife and War, which changes up the playstyle from long-range to close-quarters combat. Tackle the demon-infested world alone or with a friend in frantic co-op gameplay that embodies the brutality of the “Darksiders” series.
Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection – December 6
The “Assassin’s Creed” series has had its ups and downs. “The Rebel Collection” focuses on two of its higher points, “Black Flag” and “Rogue,” for the series’ second release on the Nintendo Switch.
Take to the high seas in “Black Flag” as Edward Kenway, an 18th-century pirate that inadvertently becomes wrapped up in the centuries-old war between Templars and Assassins. The fourth entry in the “Assassin’s Creed” saga expanded upon the naval battles introduced in its predecessor for a much-needed change to the core gameplay and exploration.
“Rogue” puts players in the role of a Templar for a different perspective. Set between the events of “Black Flag” and “Assassin’s Creed III,” “Rogue” continued to build upon naval gameplay while following a story full of deception. Play as Shay Patrick Cormac as he leaves behind the Brotherhood to forge his own path with the Templar.
Terminator: Resistance – December 10
Ugh. Am I really excited about this? A “Terminator” game released in the wake of a coldly received sequel, voice-acted by B-grade actors, and developed by the same team behind “Rambo: The Video Game?”
Yes. I can’t help it. I ashamedly want to face off against Terminators as a resistance fighter in a drab FPS RPG prequel of James Cameron’s film series. It may have stiff gameplay and be a complete bore, but I’m on board. The promise of Easter eggs, such as a character modeled after Robert Patrick (T-1000), and a deeper look into the World According to Skynet gets me excited. I know how this will end, I definitely do.
But I’m willing to suffer for the sake of being immersed in even more “Terminator” silliness.
Hearthstone: Descent Of Dragons – December 10
All has been fairly quiet on the “Hearthstone” front, but “Descent of Dragons” reignites that signature spark of the popular card-based game. When Galakrond, the patriarch of all dragons, awakens, players pick sides as a member of the League of Explorers or the League of E.V.I.L. in an aerial war.
Galakrond joins the ranks of Hero Cards with five iterations, one for each class. All new Battlecries and Hero Powers are assigned to each class, giving players plenty to tinker with as the legendary dragon. Invoke Galakrond with a new Keyword that emboldens his Battlecry and employ new Sidequest cards to score powerful rewards.
Blizzard had made early promises to embrace the Year of the Dragon, and “Descent of Dragons,” though late in the year, is sure to make good on that promise.
Phoenix Point – December 3
From the creators of “X-COM” comes a game that’s not “X-COM,” but also totally is “X-COM.” Snapshot Games, founded by Julian Gollop and David Kaye, took the updated gameplay of the Firaxis’ reboot of the alien-shooting series Gollop developed in the 90s, tweaked it, and turned it into “Phoenix Point.”
While it’s easy to cry foul, especially since “Phoenix Point” focuses on the age-old battle between a secret organization and extraterrestrial life, early gameplay previews have shown that Gollop and Kaye watched what Firaxis Games developed, listened to the criticisms, and expanded on the core mechanics. The game also puts a very modern twist on the man vs alien conflict by integrating global warming into the mix.
Designs of the mutations are varied and fun, especially as enemies start to mutate to become a bigger threat in future battles. It’s a mechanic that’s sure to keep the tactical combat fresh as players have to adjust their strategy as enemies become deadlier.