- “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”/Nintendo
Forget about “Fortnite” – a massive new Nintendo game with dozens of Nintendo’s most iconic characters beating each other senseless is just over the horizon. And it’s only available on Nintendo’s Switch.
Though there are plenty of games on all three major game consoles this holiday, a few blockbusters are exclusive to each. Starting with “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” we’ve put together the three heavy-hitter exclusive games for Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Switch console this holiday season.
1. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” on the Nintendo Switch
The biggest Nintendo game of the year still hasn’t arrived yet. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is expected to launch on December 7 for the Nintendo Switch – the biggest entry yet in the decades-old “Super Smash Bros.” fighting game franchise.
For those unfamiliar, “Smash Bros.” is all about beating up some of video game history’s most iconic characters. Want Mario to duke it out with Sonic the Hedgehog? Or Solid Snake to take on Mega Man? “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is the game you’ve been waiting for.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Nintendo game without a twist: In the case of “Smash Bros.,” that twist comes in the form of simultaneous multiplayer brawling. Fights aren’t head-to-head unless you specifically choose them to be – up to eight players can battle for supremacy in a single round of the latest “Smash Bros.”
Better still: The latest entry in the series is promising the largest roster of playable characters ever. In reality, that means over 70 playable characters.
Check out “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” in action right here:
2. “Forza Horizon 4” on the Xbox One/Xbox One X
- Playground Games/Microsoft Studios
Somewhere between racing giant trucks through a snowstorm and completing the “Forza Horizon 4” version of the end of the first “Halo” game, I realized how ridiculously versatile the series has become.
If you’re interested in drag racing, “Horizon” has that. If you’re interested in rally, or drifting, or street, “Horizon” also has all that. If you just want to smash the gas and the brakes in very pretty cars, “Horizon” is here for you.
“Forza Horizon 4” is the only racing game I’ve ever played that so brilliantly straddles the line between accessibility and depth. Whether you’ve never played a game or you’ve got a racing wheel setup, “Horizon” has you covered.
Check out “Forza Horizon 4” in action right here:
3. “God of War” on the PlayStation 4/PlayStation 4 Pro
On paper, the “God of War” reboot is very similar to the original series: It’s a third-person action-adventure game that is focused on stylish combat.
But in reality, there are some huge changes right off the bat. For one, Kratos now has a son he’s taking care of (seen above). His name is Atreus (uh-tray-us), and he’s with you for the entire journey.
And the journey, rather than a tale of revenge, is one of grief: Kratos’ wife (and Atreus’ mother) has died, and her last request was to have her ashes released at the tallest peak in the land. It’s a subtle refocus that, unbelievably, turns Kratos into a complex, interesting character for the first time.
How he handles grieving while teaching his son valuable lessons – all while dealing with the tremendous psychological baggage from his previous life as a Greek god – is what elevates “God of War” from an impressive, gorgeous action game to a memorable, meaningful game.
Check out “God of War” in action right here:
BONUS: There’s a second major PlayStation 4 exclusive that you shouldn’t miss this holiday.
For the PlayStation 4 owners out there – over 80 million of you! – there’s more than just one major exclusive this holiday.
Back in September, the PlayStation 4 got a huge new game in “Marvel’s Spider-Man.” It’s a gorgeous, brilliantly-executed open-world game featuring the snarkiest superhero of all time. Not only is the game beautiful and a ton of fun, but it’s only available on Sony’s PlayStation 4.
BONUS: “Red Dead Redemption 2” is the elephant in the room here.
- Rockstar Games/Take-Two Interactive
Let’s not kid ourselves: Exclusive games aside, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is the biggest game of 2018 – full stop.
It’s available on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so it’s not “the” game to get for any particular console. It is, however, an excellent game that’s very much worth your time.
Chances are you’ve already heard about it through the litany of positive reviews from critics and/or the ongoing marketing blitz. What you’ve heard is true: It’s real, real good.