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The 10 hottest games of the holidays

Posted: 12:25 PM, Nov 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 12:57:33Z

The holidays are an excellent time to hunker down and take on a fresh stack of video games. Whether you're looking for a gift for a gamer on the list, or something for yourself, here are 10 of the most talked-about titles this season to consider.

For sales on games and other gifts, check out our Black Friday guide.

10. Destiny 2: Forsaken
Publisher
: Activision
Developer: Bungie
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, PC
The add-on plunges into the DNA of the shared-world alien planet shooter, reinventing it with new locations, character classes and weapons. This is a good game to play with a group of devoted friends. There's a thrill to taking down tough raids with pals, using communication and precision execution.

9. Sid Meier's Civilization VI
Publisher
: 2K Games
Developers: Firaxis Games, Aspyr
System: Switch, PC
PC gamers swear by this world-conquering epic, which tasks you to foster villages and plantations and raise military forces to defend yourself, or set out to conquer your neighbors via force or influence. Now Switch owners get their shot at the sprawling game, which loses nothing in translation.

8. Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Toys for Bob
Systems: PS4, Xbox One
Wholly revamped versions of the original PlayStation classics look and play like fresh new adventures, much like last year's "Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy." Playing as a purple, flying, fire-breathing dragon, you solve puzzles, take down enemies and see what's next in the well-written story. In a genre that's largely geared toward teens and adults, Spryo and Crash games are family-friendly standouts. 

7. Hitman 2
Publisher
: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Io Interactive
Systems: PS4, Xbox One
Using the open world as your playground, you play as a bald assassin who slinks in the dark, dresses up in disguises and improvises to take down targets. Outstanding visuals and creative mission design are strong throughout. As a bonus, the DLC rounds up missions from the last game, which rebooted the franchise.

6. Marvel's Spider-Man
Publisher
: Sony
Developer: Insomniac Games
System: PS4
Rivaling the Batman "Arkham" games as one of the best comic book games to date, the Netflix series-worthy story puts you inside the mind of the webslinger -- as well as a couple of his friends -- as he juggles social life, career aspirations and family responsibilities along with the whole superhero thing. The combat and web-swinging are brilliantly executed, and Stan Lee makes a heartwarming cameo.

5. Fallout 76
Publisher
: Bethesda
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, PC
It's you against the world in a post-apocalyptic West Virginia wasteland. In a first for the series, all the action is online -- an abrupt change for the traditionally single-player affair -- and every person you meet as you scavenge for supplies and fend off enemies is a real person. A gigantic map filled with tons of things to find and do looks to draw "Fallout" fans out of their solo-gamer shells.

4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Publisher
: Nintendo
Developers: Nintendo, HAL Labs, Bandai Namco Games, Sora Ltd.
System: Switch
Loaded with every character that's ever been in a "Smash Bros." game over the nearly two-decade span of the series, the fighting game lets you slug it out with major and obscure Nintendo heroes and villains. Online play has long been Nintendo's weak spot, but after making headway with "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" and "Splatoon 2" -- as well as having launched its first pay-to-play online service, the publisher seems primed to step into the big-time with one of its highest-profile franchises. 

3. Battlefield V
Publisher
: EA
Developer: EA DICE
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, PC
After last year's sojourn into World War I, EA DICE returns to its go-to setting of World War II, unleashing a sprawling world of conflicts on multiple fronts, with sundry vehicles and weapons available for the taking. The single-player campaign is separated into stand-alone sagas that explore the conflict and sacrifice that soldiers endured, but multiplayer will be what keeps the game in rotation over the long haul.

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Publisher
: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Eyebrows were raised in gamerdom when Treyarch revealed it would do away with single-player modes entirely, but the grousing stopped once the game released, proving that "Call of Duty" is still king of the multiplayer shooter realm. In addition to a robust zombie-themed side mode, the most intriguing addition is Blackout, a Battle Royale slugfest that gives "Fortnite" a run for its money.

1. Red Dead Redemption 2
Publisher
: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar Games
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Dominating sectors of pop culture, ranging from late-night talk shows to "South Park," Rockstar's towering creation feels like one of the milestones in gaming that people will look back on for years as a defining moment for the medium. The Wild West-set journey saddles you up with a gang of outlaws who long to evade the law while scratching out enough of a living to get by in the short term, and maybe even go straight eventually. The open prairies and mountains leave ample opportunity to explore, hunt, craft and plunder, with only your imagination limiting you. With an online mode still yet to launch, the game will only get bigger and better as the months roll by. 

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