New console launches, as exciting as they may be for early adopters, can be a somewhat painful endeavor. With new hardware, the graphical improvements over the previous generation are not vast, and killer apps that make the console a must-own are all but absent early in a console's life.
This is what makes the 2015 holiday season so exciting for gamers. All of the current home consoles, like the PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One, have been on the market for at least two years. They're finally hitting their stride with stellar software releases that can make even the most stubborn gamer say goodbye to their last-gen systems.
With dozens of new titles already on store shelves, and so many blockbusters releasing this fall, shopping for a gamer can be more challenging than Ninja Gaiden on hard mode.
Since Black Friday is one of the best times to buy new video games, BFAds.net has compiled our list of the 10 hottest games of 2015. Whether the gamer on your list is a spray-and-pray shooter fan or a certified Nintendo otaku, you're sure to find the something they'll love in the picks that follow.
Fallout 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Fallout 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) - $59.99 + $25.00 eGift Card at Dell
At E3 2015, Bethesda lit the world of video games on fire when they gave gamers everywhere a first look at Fallout 4, the latest in the beloved and award winning post-apocalyptic open world RPG. Bethesda dropped the mic when they announced a November 2015 release date, making Fallout 4 one of the most hotly anticipated games in recent memory; hardcore fans had been waiting for 5 years for another Fallout game.
The Fallout series puts the player in the role of a vault dweller that has emerged from an underground fallout shelter decades after nuclear war ravaged the planet's surface sometime in the post-war 1950s.
Celebrated for the huge open world, interesting characters and stories, Bethesda looks to use the power of next-gen consoles and PC to expand everything that has made the Fallout series a success. For the first time ever, gamers can create their own settlement within the game, and customize every element from the ground up - including merchants, power generators, and of course, defenses to ward off the inevitable raiders that will look to take over the new town. The customization doesn't stop there, as players can now fully customize their power armor and create their own weapons from repurposed junk they collect while out in the Boston-area wasteland.
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
Super Mario Maker (Wii U) - $56.00 at Amazon
One of the most imaginative series of Nintendo games leaves the imagination to the player in Super Mario Maker for the Wii U.
In this one of a kind platformer, players use the Wii U gamepad to actually construct their own Super Mario Bros stages, seamlessly switching the graphics between and pulling power ups from Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, or New Super Mario Bros.
Players can then take their created stages and upload them to the Super Mario Maker Course World, where other players can play, beat, favorite, and even leave commentary on the stages. The highest-rated stages are featured prominently, while the 100 Mario Challenge, which challenges players to beat 100 uploaded stages with only 10 lives, helps to ensure that each created and uploaded stage gets a chance at worldwide exposure.
Super Mario Maker is perhaps the best example to date of the unique innovation that the Wii U brings to the world of video games, and is sure to be a hit with the Wii U gamer in your house this holiday season.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One)
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One) - $59.56 at Amazon
When developer Crystal Dynamics rebooted the Tomb Raider franchise in 2013, they took what had become a stale and second-rate franchise and made it into one of the most fun and popular titles of the year. With a new and exhilarating combat system, cutting edge graphics, hair physics, and an emphasis on tension, danger, and narrow escapes, Tomb Raider was back in a big way. It went on to become one of the bestselling and most highly rated titles of 2013.
With 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider, Xbox One players will continue the re-imagining of the Lara Croft, taking place after the events of the 2013 reboot. Rise of the Tomb Raider adds new attack elements with an emphasis on stealth and using the environment to Lara's advantage. There are also day and night cycles and a full weather system that will influence how players must approach challenges within the game.
If you've got a gamer on your list that is wishing for Rise of the Tomb Raider, be advised that for this holiday season, Rise of the Tomb Raider is available exclusively on Xbox One.
Just Cause 3 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Just Cause 3 (PC, PS4, Xbox One) - $59.96 at Amazon
Sleeper hit series Just Cause is an open world set of action games that have carved out a niche for themselves by nestling their attitude somewhere in between the dark and seedy world of Grand Theft Auto and the self-parody raunch-fest of Saint's Row.
Set on the fictional Mediterranean isle of Medici, Just Cause toes the line between serious and satire unlike any other series in the genre. In Just Cause 3, series hero Rico Rodriguez is back to once again liberate the long-suffering island from the clutches of a ruthless dictator.
Just Cause became famous for its over the top and high-flying action which centers around the player's use of a grappling hook that is launched from Rico's arm, as well as Rico's trusty parachute and tons of guns and explosives. In Just Cause 3, there is more explosive action than ever, and players now have a wing suit that allows them to soar over the island like never before.
Rico also has the ability to tether his grappling hook to two objects and watch the mayhem unfold. Got a particular baddie that has you pinned down? Tether him to a plane flying overhead and watch him be carried off into oblivion. Is the plane the problem? Tether it to a radio tower and bring them both down faster than an RPG ever could.
Creativity in destruction is the name of the game in Just Cause 3, and fans of the series can pick up Rico's latest exploits this winter for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Halo 5 Guardians (Xbox One)
Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One) - $58.99 at Overstock
Xbox One owners are finally getting what they've been clamoring for since the Xbox One launch when Halo 5: Guardians hits the store shelves in late October. While Microsoft did release the Master Chief Collection, a package of remastered Halo games, Halo 5: Guardians marks the all original and newly developed appearance for Halo on the next generation Xbox One console.
There's plenty to be excited about in Master Chief's return to the Xbox, in addition to the start of an all new story line. Halo 5: Guardians includes a 4-player online cooperative mode that lets gamers tackle the storyline with 3 online friends while still keeping the game locked at 60fps - a feature that just wasn't possible on last gen hardware.
Halo fans that are buying an Xbox One in anticipation of Halo 5: Guardians should beware that Halo 5, unlike past Halo titles, features no offline multiplayer modes and no local split-screen play of any kind - including campaign mode. So if it's multiplayer you're after, be prepared to sign up for the Xbox Live service when you get your new console.
The Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes (Nintendo 3DS)
The Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes (Nintendo 3DS) - $39.99 at Dell
The Nintendo 3DS has had no shortage of Legend of Zelda titles in its library, as The Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes marks the fourth Zelda title to grace Nintendo's flagship handheld.
Triforce Heroes, however, is not the typical Zelda adventure that fans know and love. Rather, it is the first Zelda title since Four Sword Adventures back on Gameboy Advance (and later Gamecube) to feature multiplayer-centric gameplay.
The Legend of Zelda Triforce Heroes is a 3-player co-op adventure in which players each take the role of Link wearing his signature green, red, or blue tunic and must work together to solve puzzles, clear dungeons, and battle enemies. Cooperation is the name of the game here, since all three players share a single life meter, meaning the success of other players navigating through dungeons is as important as your own.
Star Wars Battlefront (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Star Wars Battlefront (PC, PS4, Xbox One) - $59.88 at Amazon
A fresh new entry into the fan favorite Star Wars Battlefront series is something gamers have been clamoring for since the days of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It's been 10 years since Battlefront 2, and with the Star Wars hype machine running at full blast in anticipation of the seventh feature film, EA and Dice are rebooting the franchise this October with the release of Star Wars Battlefront for PC and next gen consoles.
Those familiar with the series know what to expect. It's rebels versus the galactic empire on all the familiar locations including Tattoine, Hoth, and Endor, with battle taking place on ground and in vehicles. Even though so much time has passed and the original developer of Battlefront has been absorbed by EA, the series is in good hands with famed developer Dice at the helm, who are best known for the Battlefield series.
If you're a Star Wars fan who has been waiting to jump into the next generation of consoles, there has never been a better time. To further entice you, Sony is releasing a slick and stylish Star Wars Battlefront bundle, featuring a Darth Vader clad console and themed Dual Shock 4 controller.
Splatoon – (Wii U)
Splatoon – (Wii U) - $54.99 at Amazon
The ridiculous premise of Splatoon is one that could have only been made successful by Nintendo. In a time where shooters are dominated by adrenaline-fueled, Mountain Dew-powered extreme dudebro explosion fests, Splatoon comes along and finds success by being the polar opposite.
Splatoon is an online third person shooter that puts players in the shoes of teenage squid shape-shifters, battling to control areas of the city. You attack by spraying the walls, floors, and other players not with bullets, but with bright and colorful ink. The team which has a majority of the map covered in their color when the round ends is the winner, awarding the players with experience points that lets them buy new sneakers, shirts, headgear, or ink shooters that resemble the Super Soakers of late 90's fame.
As impossibly ridiculous as this sounds, Nintendo found a way to make it work, turning Splatoon into one of the most fun and original shooters in recent memory - while also making it one of the bestselling titles on the Wii U.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (PC, PS4, Xbox One) - $46.02 at Amazon
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is the third and latest game in Polish developer CD Projekt RED's critically acclaimed action RPG series. It is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Set in a wide open and wholly immersive land of the Northern Kingdoms, players will continue the tale of Geralt or Riva, a Witcher in the third and final chapter of his story. Geralt has set off on a journey to find his young understudy Ciri, who has been abducted by The Wild Hunt, a spectral army who herald the end of days.
The gameplay, graphics, presentation, and sheer scope of The Witcher 3 has earned the title unanimous critical acclaim, and since the game has been on store shelves since summer, it will likely be discounted this Black Friday! If you're just getting into this generation of consoles, or if you have yet to play this title, it should be on the top of your shopping list this winter.
Yo-Kai Watch (Nintendo 3DS)
Yo-Kai Watch (Nintendo 3DS) - $39.99 at Gamestop
A certified Pokemon-level phenomenon the Japan, Nintendo is finally bringing its 2013 runaway hit game Yo-Kai Watch to North America this fall.
In the game, published by Nintendo exclusively for 3DS, players search the town for rogue spirits known as Yo-Kai using a magical watch. After befriending the Yo-Kai, which are based on spirits of the same name from Japanese folklore, players can summon the spirits, level them up, help them evolve, and call on them at will to do battle against dangerous and powerful Oni Yo-Kai.
It may sound silly, but Nintendo is a company that has built an empire on silly premises. Companies like Disney XD are betting big on this title, as they are already working on a cartoon series to launch alongside Yo-Kai Watch's stateside release this fall.
With the holidays upon us and video game publishers pushing out the best they have in such a short amount of time, our list features only a smattering of the hit titles that will be on shelves and in Black Friday ads this Thanksgiving.
If we didn't feature a title that you or someone on your shopping list is wishing for, check back with BFAds.net throughout the holiday season. Once Black Friday ads leak, we'll be doing what we do best: combing through the pages to bring you the hottest deals in video games, consoles, and more.