Last Minute Gift Guide: Jess’ Picks

Check out Jess' picks for gifts!

The gift giving season is among us!  This week is the most popular week for last minute shoppers, especially those who dread having to buy video games (because they aren’t sure what’s good).  Well, we are here to help!  Below I have some of my picks of good games for a variety of systems.   Some may be old, some may be new…  but they are all good for their own reasons.

(Disclaimer: Prices listed are at current retail value and do not reflect used games or any deals currently going on. These prices are also subject to change at any time.)


Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver – Both games are essentially the same game, with slight changes of course.  One of my favorite game series, and a must have for anyone born in the late 80’s, Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver has a bonus item.  Adding to the already extremely long game, a Pokewalker toy is included.  This item is essentially a pedometer, with the additional ability to find wild pokemon while your walking.  These pokemon can be transfered to your DS and used in game.  This game is available in store and online for $39.99.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story – While this game was actually released in September 2009, it doesn’t stop it from being one of the best Mario games out there right now.  Both platforming action and puzzles will await you while you attempt to get out of Bowser’s body.  This is a great title for veterans of the Mario series or those just starting out.  This game is priced at $34.99.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies – While the Dragon Quest series (also called Dragon Warrior) is often looked over in the US, it is a very good game when you give it a chance.  This RPG is full of very cute and lively characters that will really immerse you into the long story.  You are a Celestrian, an angelic good Samaritan who is cast out of your world for an unknown reason.  Helping the people down on Earth could bring you back home.  Not only are there tons of extra quests to do, but you can also download more and even play the game with up to four people using Wi-Fi.  This game is still at it’s starting price of $34.99, but is well worth it.


Super Mario Galaxy 2 – What better way to spend your time gaming than to gallivant around the galaxy with Mario and now Yoshi too?  Although this is the second game in the series, it’s not necessary to play the first one to understand what’s going on.  Cheerful enemies and characters make this game friendly for all ages.  Not to mention, this game is very addicting if your the type that likes to collect everything.  Also, there is second play-through option with the stars that you collect in different and more challenging places.  This game will keep you occupied for a pretty long time, at the still worth it price of $49.99.

Donkey Kong Country Returns – Following in the steps of it’s predecessors, Donkey Kong Country Returns really steps up to the plate despite the high expectations it was subject to.  Unfortunately, this game has been overlooked in stores to comparatively mediocre games (like Just Dance Kids) despite the fact that it has a lot to offer.  Traditional platforming fun is well preserved in this title, along with new aspects of the levels that will keep you on your toes.  If you were a fan of any Donkey Kong Country game, you will definitely not be able to put this down.  Help get Donkey Kong’s bananas back for $49.99.

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle – While I don’t recommend this game for any child, this is one of the few good solely adult games for the Wii.  As Travis Touchdown, you will pretty much fight through hordes of enemies all for revenge and the prospect of getting laid.  Yes folks, I warned you ahead of time.  Old vintage sound effects and visuals are mingled with the modern to create a goofy world.  When your not fighting enemies you can do play 8-bit mini games to earn money or make your character stronger.  Also, you can play with your cat!  This game is down to $19.99.

Playstation 3

Little Big Planet: Game of the Year Edition – Although the second title in the series is due in mid January, one should not overlook the first one.  Great for boys and girls of all ages, this hit game will open endless possibilities.  Create your very own unique character with a variety of un-lockable costumes, skins and accessories.  On top of just the single player adventure, more items can be un-locked by completing the various multi player puzzles.  Up to four people can play along and it’s a great game to get your non-gaming family member into the loop.  The game by itself is $29.99, but you can also get it bundled with a DualShock 3 controller for $59.99.  This bundle will save you a load of money in the long run.

Heavy Rain – Ideal for those gamers who like to read, Heavy Rain is much like a living murder mystery.  You will play a number of different characters who will all linked some how in the end.  The game has a number of difficulty levels to suit every gamer, and can be as interactive as you want it to be.  The story will truly keep you in suspense, and can be easily altered by what you do.  Once a character dies, they will remain that way and the world will go on without them.  The game will also spark replays as it could end a different way each time you play.  You can pick up Heavy Rain for $59.99.

God of War: Collection – Although the game is a late 2009 release, it’s essentially two games in one for $29.99.  I would go with this one first before God of War III, as it’s impossible to miss part of the story (two games worth of story).  Also, if you can find it, it comes in a bundle with a DualShock 3 controller for just $59.99.  Much like Little Big Planet, this is a great deal, although God of War games are single player only.  If you’re gift recipient is a fan of Greek mythology or just lots of blood and violence, you can’t go wrong with these games.


Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – This game has everything.  The story, the action, and the stealth.  Although it will definitely be easier to understand if you’ve played the series, it’s an awesome jump off point.  Strategy is a big part of this title, but it really has a little bit of everything.  Pick it up for $29.99.

Locoroco 2 – An oldie but goodie (actually it’s only from 2009).  The Locoroco series has been looked over for far too long.  This easy to jump into title will have you tapping your feet to quirky Japanese music, as you guide your Locoroco through cute levels trying to defeat the evil Moja boss.  This game is easy to jump into as it is primarily controlled by the shoulder buttons.  Get sucked into Locoroco 2 for the great price of $9.99.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable – This almost twisted Japanese rpg is great for the gamer who wants to play the Playstation 2 version on the go.  Part rpg, part dating sim (it’s not as weird as it sounds) Persona 3 Portable is truly a unique game.  Unfortunately, it is the only new Shin Megami game brought onto the PSP since Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, but it is certainly not one to miss. Persona 3 Portable is available for $29.99.

Xbox 360

Red Dead Redemption – For those who are fans of Grand Theft Auto, meet its wild west counterpart.  While Rockstar’s new controversy may not be a cheap last minute gift at $59.99, it’s definitely worth it to pick it up.  Tons of missions, and an open world game await you with endless possibilities.  While most of probably heard of it, many may be turned off by the old world feel of the game.  Never fear, this game is all the fun of the Grand Theft Auto series and more as the same great voice acting and story telling will keep you occupied for hours.  (Note: Red Dead Redemption is also available on PlayStation 3.)

Mass Effect 2 – An essential pick-up for fans of Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2 contains Bioware’s excellent formula for storytelling in a space-age adventure.  Although the game is more rpg than shooter, it is a great way to introduce the rpg genre to a strictly shooter fan.  The most fun part of the game is the long conversations you have with characters, that can and will form relationships that will determine their actions towards you in game.  These conversations will also decided how well your team mates fight along side you.  Traverse the skies at the unbeatable price of $19.99.  (Note: Mass Effect 2 is also available on PC and coming soon to PlayStation 3.)

Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition – If you like to shoot things and you like to use a lot of different guns doing it, this is the game for you.  There are over one thousand guns in game, all scattered among the world of Pandora.  You will fight gangs (and steal their guns) and also fight giant mutants!  The Game of the Year Edition has the original release with four of the add-on packs included up to October this year.  Although the appeal of this game has died down, it offers a lot for those who have never heard of it.  It has great multiplayer too.  Borderlands: Game of the Year edition is available for $39.99.  (Note: Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition is also available on PC and PlayStation 3.)

Well gamers, ’tis the season of giving, and I’ve given you some good suggestions to stuff those stockings with.  Have a very Merry Christmas (or whatever other holiday you’re celebrating) from all of us at Mash Those Buttons!

Jessica Weimar
Jessica Weimar
Jessica Weimar

MASH Veteran

Jessica is clearly a fan of video games, or she wouldn't be writing for this site. She attends college and like most other staff on the site, has a day job that she despises. She spends most of her free time playing games with her boyfriend.

The Latest from Mash