Master Chief stands guard at the Liechtenstein border during the HALO 4 launch by Xbox 360 on October 29, 2012 in Balzers, Liechtenstein.
Getty Image—2012 Getty Images
By TIME Staff
December 26, 2014

This is a big weekend for video games, perhaps the biggest of the year, as devices of all kinds come out of their shrink wrap begging to be put to the test. Even with the outages plaguing online services run by Microsoft and Sony respectively, there’s a lot of fun to be had. Maybe you got some software with your new hardware. Maybe you’re thinking about getting more. If that’s the case, here are some good places to start:

If you got a Playstation 4…

Start with The Last of Us Remastered. Why?

You appreciate finely crafted storytelling, you love tenterhooks survival horror games with light stealth elements and a dash of third-person shooting, or you just want to experience one of the finest explorations of the way a relationship can work in an interactive game.

For the rest of the PS4 list, click here.

If you got an Xbox One…

Check out Sunset Overdrive, developer Insomniac’s first try at an open world game, tapping the same screwball vein as its Ratchet & Clank series, only with a grownup twist. Imagine a punk-informed quasi-parkour game by way of a zany skateboarding simulation by way of a metropolis-sized circus playground that knowingly winks at you as it periodically deconstructs itself. For more Xbox One titles, click here.

If you got a PC (or Mac with Bootcamp)…

It’ll really depend on what kind of system you bought, whether it’s a graphical powerhouse, a laptop, et cetera. Whatever the case, you can’t go wrong with Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, which will run on a wide range of hardware. As the developer’s names signifies scrupulous playtesting and elaborate design values, all of which converge here to make Hearthstone the quickest, slickest, goofiest, most lavish online CCG around. For a longer list of great PC games, click here.

If you got a Wii U…

First, you probably haven’t experienced the outages Xbox and Playstation owners may have. Congrats! Begin with a remastered classic, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Here’s what critics said about it: “…crisp and energetic, spirited and soulful, just a little bit wayward – and it hasn’t aged a day” (Eurogamer); “…takes note of the finger-wagging gripes unreasonably lobbed at the original and tweaks details to elevate an already fantastic journey to towering heights” (Slant); “…the definitive version of perhaps the most original Zelda adventure” (EGM). For more, click here.

If you got a 3DS…

Pick up Shovel Knight, which is also available on a wide variety of other platforms. This title will scratch the itch if you miss the 8-bit NES aesthetic or you want to play the apotheosis of the best side-scrolling, platforming games popularized by Nintendo’s breakthrough 1980s system. For more 3DS games, click here.

And if you got an ‘i’-anything…

Start with TIME’s best game of 2014, 80 Days, of which reviewer Matt Peckham wrote:

80 Days is less about gameplay subversion than stylish, thoughtful immersion, employing a beloved genre–interactive fiction–to set you loose in a reimagined, politically contemplative rendering of Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days. Here be mechanical golems, underseas trains and steam-powered creatures as you traverse a game world (designed by a British-Indian woman) that doubles as trenchant commentary on the nature of colonialism.

For a full list of the year’s best games, click here.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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