It’s that special time of year when the gift of giving takes over us all and we surprise our loved ones with something that they really wanted or need. It’s that special time of year where people like me binge watch the greatest holiday movie of all time: Die Hard. (Yes, I am still on this.) But this blog is not here to tell you how great Die Hard is. No, I am here to nerd out. So, here are 12 video games that deserve their own 12 Days of Games-mus, Games-ica, and Games-Zaa!
But first some ground rules:
I am not ranking PC Games – as a console gamer, that’s out of my wheelhouse. So, let’s play nice. These are in no particular order but there is a ranking system – so pay close attention.
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- Death Stranding
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- The Outer Worlds
- Pokémon Sword and Shield
- Resident Evil 2 (2019)
- Kingdom Hearts III
- Borderlands 3
- Metro Exodus
- Super Mario Maker 2
- Gears of War 5
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Does the name Dark Souls or Bloodborne inspire a feeling of masochistic joy? Then Sekiro is for you. FROM SOFTWARE delivers yet another brutal winner in this challenging samurai tale. What sets this apart from FROM’s (yes, I know…) other titles is verticality and a completely redone combat system. This game will keep anyone who hates themselves entertained for a long time coming, so long as you have a TV that has great latency – because every millisecond counts here.
TCL gives Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice seven Estus Flasks out of five.
Recommended: TCL 5-Series – seriously, you do NOT want input lag in this game.
Hideo Kojima, attach that name to any video game and you have an instant cult classic. Kojima has had a major hand is shaping the video game landscape throughout his career and Death Stranding is another home run. The world he and his team have created is breathtakingly beautiful and incredibly deep – seriously, this is one of the most gorgeous games I have ever seen. If you can survive the very long intro and get into the meat of the game, you will find yourself lost in an immersive world of creativity with arguably the coolest multiplayer experiences I have ever touched. And bonus points for Troy Baker.
TCL gives Death Stranding three cans of Monster Energy out of two.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
You don’t become the best-selling game franchise of all time dealing out duds and Call of Duty does not deliver duds. While I am not sure if I should call it a reboot or a re-imaging but Modern Warfare has been some of the best CoD ever and when I saw the cinematic of Captain Price, I got chills. This game is stunning, fast paced and addicting – everything you could want in a first-person shooter. While, I have not gone down the multiplayer hole – yet – I am assured this game is everything we could want. Bonus points again for Troy Baker.
TCL gives Call of Duty: Modern Warfare one suave bearded British man smoking a cigar out of one.
Recommended: TCL 5-Series and Alto 7+ – you’re going to want the low lag input and superior contrast to find and quickly eliminate the baddies and that booming bass gives explosions a real feel. Remember, you can even get the TCL 5-Series and Modern Warfare together in one click.
The Outer Worlds
The Fallout we deserved and finally got. Obsidian is a legend in the RPG space and The Outer Worlds is another notch on their impressive résumé. How can you argue with game that has been described as Fallout meets Bioshock? Add in the fun gun play and wide-open world and be ready to drop hundreds of hours in my favorite RPG this year.
TCL gives The Out Worlds five strength points out of five.
Recommended: TCL 5-Series – Auto Game Mode? Check. Low Latency? Check. Wide Color? Check. Dead marauders? In progress.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
National-dex-gate aside, no 20-to-30-something-year-old would be complete without this nostalgic game. Several “quality of life” improvements have been made so don’t worry about the grind AND they added giant Pokémon?! This game is perfect for anyone with a busy schedule who just wants to get lost in the amazing world that Pokémon has given us over the past decades. #CharizardForever
TCL gives Pokémon Sword and Shield ten Pokéballs out of ten.
Recommended: Any TCL TV! – Pokémon Sword and Shield, much like previous iterations, is not a demanding game graphically speaking and does not require instant reaction times. :-)
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
Ironically enough, one of my first memories of this year was spending 20-some-odd-hours in a pitch-black movie theater watching a renowned journalist playthrough this legendary zombie thriller and I have some key takeaways: I still have nightmares and this game is everything. Resident Evil 2 is perfect in every single way, just don’t let Mr. X catch up to you.
TCL gives Resident Evil 2 three green herbs out of three.
Recommended: TCL 6-Series and ELIT Noise Canceling Headphones – Wait, what? Yup. Download the Roku app and take advantage of private listening while active noise canceling dim the lights, set your tv to “movie” in picture settings and be afraid, very afraid.
Kingdom Hearts III
After 14 long years, Square Enix re-opened the door to the Kingdom of Hearts. A mythical land filled with all our favorite Disney characters – yes, even Elsa and Olaf. Any game that gives us a Final Fantasy and Disney mashup is destined to be a best-seller. Casual, yet engaging, Kingdom Hearts III is another game that is perfect for both the casual and hardcore gamers.
TCL gives Kingdom Hearts III four “Oh Boys” out of three.
Recommended: TCL Alto 5+ or Alto 7+ – JRPGs historically have amazing scores, so crank the volume to eleven and enjoy the melodic run through with Donald, Goofy and their buddies.
Guns, guns and more guns. This party style looter-shooter does what it was born to do: give us loot and let us shoot. The series that pioneered the genre is back after a seven-year hiatus with the top-tier writing, incredible gunplay all in beautiful HDR goodness. Grab three friends and drop in, Borderlands III will keep you entertained for a very long time.
TCL gives Borderlands 3 one glorious mustache out of one.
Recommended: TCL 6-Series and Alto 7+ – HDR, low lag, and the boom? My personal setup at home is my recommendation as you return to save Pandora from evil.
This horror, survival, crafting, first-person shooter is the mature older sibling of the previous Metro games. They added in some more RPG elements and made it “open world” (Honestly, it’s more like large linear levels, but they are massive) which is much different then sneaking through tunnels. But don’t fret, the monsters and fear are still there, this game will punish you, but you will enjoy post-apocalyptic Russia like you never had before.
TCL gives Metro Exodus 4 air filters out of three – you’ll need them.
Recommended: TCL 8-Series – It's dark...real dark...and the more than 25,000 mini-LEDs may be the only thing that will save you from the evil that creeps in darkness.
Super Mario Maker 2
How can you argue with anything that gives the player full control? Build your own levels and challenge friends and family or visa versa. Whatever you imagine you can create in the wholesome fun world and I have seen some absolutely banana levels. All ages can dive in at any point to enjoy one of Nintendo’s greatest works.
TCL gives Super Mario Maker 2 six mushrooms out of five.
Recommended: Any large size TCL TV – Again, Nintendo doesn’t usually make very graphically demanding games so don’t worry there. But a big screen size will be a lifesaver – you’ll want to see the next obstacle coming.
The creators of Alan Wake and Quantum Break were always going to be making another thriller, but few realized Remedy Entertainment’s latest sci-fi action adventure would be so thrilling. This GOTY candidate has it all – from a gripping narrative with a mysterious enemy force, to crazy supernatural powers amplified by a spectacular physics engine. Investigate the inter-dimensional invasion and explore the ever-changing Oldest House with your shape-shifting sidearm. Prepare for the perfect blend of paranormal and pulse-racing action.
TCL gives Control 7 redacted files out of 5.
Recommended: 75-inch TCL 6-Series and Alto 7+ – The audio design in Control is nothing short of magnificent and the particle effects, the sweet, sweet particle effects. Big games need big screens, ‘nuff said.
Gears of War 5
Rev your chainsaws girls and boys. Gears of War is BACK in stunning 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos for the most cinematic Gears ever. Be ready to run, cover and active reload your way through this intense over-the-shoulder shooter that has proven to be one of the best franchises on Xbox. Seriously, this game looks and sounds damn good.
TCL gives Gears of war 5 Two Kait Diaz’s out of one.
Recommended: TCL 6- or 8-Series – Get that QLED, get that 4K, get that HDR, get that Dolby Atmos. You will want it all for this game.