Welcome To The Next Generation
Welcome to the Hey Poor Player Holiday Gift Guide. From Monday, November 8th through Friday, November 19th, we’ll be bringing you a guide to all the games, accessories, systems, and other hot items players will be looking for this holiday season. With Black Friday and other Holiday sales set to start in the coming weeks, we thought now was the perfect time to help draw attention to just what you players should be looking for in the coming weeks. So whether you’re looking for a gift for someone else, or maybe something for yourself, we’ve got you covered. Please keep in mind that as we move into our individual game lists, we’ve limited each game to one list to help spread the word about more great titles released in 2021. So if a game you love shows up on a genre list but not on one for a system, it doesn’t mean we didn’t love it. It just means that let us showcase more great titles.
Today we’ll be looking at some great games for Xbox Series X and Series S. Players who invested in Microsoft’s next generation system are starting to see the rewards of it with some exclusives starting to hit while other games just run significantly better. So let’s strap in and see what this system has to offer.
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Xbox fans have waited a long time for the next chapter in the Halo series, with Halo 5 releasing more than six years ago. While it was originally supposed to launch last year, fan reactions led to significant delays. Despite still looking like it will release in a compromised form, recent videos have made what is set to release next month look pretty fantastic. Despite some strong titles recently, Halo is the big budget title that Microsoft really needs to push their new system and what every owner of the system will be anticipating this holiday season. No pressure 343 Industries.
Also On: Xbox One, PS4, PC (Our Xbox Series X Review)
Fans of Psychonauts waited a long time for Double Fine to follow up on it, but this was the rare case where the wait was worthwhile. Psychonauts 2 manages to somehow capture the feel of a game from 2005 while still feeling fresh and new. With brilliant characters, fantastic writing, and rock solid mechanics, I had this to say about it earlier this year:
“After more than fifteen years, Raz’s return is everything fans could have hoped for. It tells a wonderful story about how we have to learn from our mistakes and continue to grow while keeping the humor we expect from any Double Fine production. Now and then, the control scheme can be a minor pain, but most of the time, it plays like a dream with a level of polish few games launch with anymore. Psychonauts 2 is one of the best games of 2021. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another sixteen years to team back up with the Psychonauts.”
Also On: PS5 (Our Review), PS4, Xbox One, PC
Somehow, Namco managed to launch two excellent new action RPGs this year within only a few months of each other. While neither is perfect, I may actually prefer Scarlet Nexus. Creating something totally new, it manages to offer superb combat and a world I can’t wait to see more of. Here’s what I had to say about it:
“Scarlet Nexus does so much right that it’s a shame some of these troubles hold it back. They feel like the sort of things tied up in creating something new, problems that exist due to a lack of budget or different groups working on the game not being entirely on the same page until later in development. Still, despite these flaws, Scarlet Nexus brings an impressive new world to life while featuring deeply engaging combat. That’s no small thing. Fans of the genre will find a game well worth their time. I only hope that in a few years, we’ll be playing an even stronger sequel which irons out these nagging issues.”
Tales of Arise
Also On: PS5, PS4, Xbox One, PC (Our Review)
If you’re not into a new RPG franchise though, Tales of Arise still provided an excellent experience this year and is easily the series’ strongest entry in years. While a bit long, this is a game which keeps finding ways to offer something new which is no small thing. Here’s what I had to say earlier this year:
“While it doesn’t end as well as it begins, Tales of Arise told a story I wanted to see through. Even when the plot dipped a bit in the back half, the wonderful cast of characters kept me engaged. Its combat never stopped being a blast either. This is the strongest Tales game in years and definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a new adventure.”
Also On: PS5 (Our Review), PC
For years fans of old school survival horror have decried the genre moving more towards action and less towards true terror. The developers of Tormented Souls heard their calls, making a game which would have felt at home in the late 90s but also feels like it was made in 2021. Here’s what our own Francis DiPersio had to say about it:
“If you love classic survival horror titles, Tormented Souls needs to be on your radar. It’s a terrifically terrifying love letter to Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Alone in the Dark. With brilliant puzzles, a genuinely scary setting to explore, and unsettling monsters to face, it’s the kind of game that will shock you to your core and stick with you long after the credits roll. While it undoubtedly wears its old-school inspiration on its bloodied sleeve, make no mistake: Tormented Souls is a modern survival horror masterpiece.”