- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Here’s some top gift ideas for the Xbox One gamer in the family.

Sunset Overdrive (Microsoft Studios and Insomniac Games, Rated Mature, $59.99) — A wise-cracking, super-powered warrior takes to the streets to stop a plague triggered by unsuspecting humans consuming a contaminated energy drink in this grotesquely hilarious, third-person adventure.

A perfect choice for the mature gamer in need of stress relief and a hearty laugh, this open world epic offers control of a very customizable hero to jump, grind, slide, vault and wall-run around Sunset City to exterminate mutants, organized looters and Fizzco Bots (human-killing robots) in the most ridiculous ways possible.

Exploding teddy bears loaded into a grenade launcher? Check. Roman Candle set up for rapid-fire nuclear explosions? Check. Pyro Geyser trap armed to give a flaming wedgie to nosey raiders? Check.

The arsenal combined with crazed amp powers and the eye-popping colors of the hyper-realistic world deliver a cartoony violent experience as if Tex Avery directed an acid trip.

An up to eight-person, online multiplayer mode, Chaos Squad, rounds out the potential for rampant destruction. Players craft an adventure from a variety of missions that leads up to a survival mode against an onslaught of mutants with a potential for big rewards for teams that stay alive.

SEE ALSO: VIDEO GAME GIFT GUIDE: Best picks for Apple’s iPad

Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Microsoft Studios, and 343 Industries, Rated Mature, $59.99) — One of the grand pappy’s of the first-person shooter delivers a bountiful gift for owners of Microsoft’s entertainment console.

This all-encompassing collection celebrates the harrowing, war-torn life of UNSC SPARTAN John-117 “Master Chief” through a decade’s worth of content featuring fully remastered, 1080p versions of the games “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” and “Halo 2: Anniversary” along with high-definition versions of the titles “Halo 3” and “Halo 4.”

That’s 45 campaign missions packed with unlocked emblems, armor variations and extra abilities for Spartans and over 100 multiplayer maps to dive into the epic conflict between humanity and the Covenant (a collection of multiple, hostile alien species attempting to control the galaxy).

Extras include access to the live-action series “Halo: Nightfall,” co-produced by director Ridley Scott’s production company, a set of curated “Halo’s Terminals” videos to shed further light on the entire Halo story and a multiplayer beta-version arena experience for the yet unreleased “Halo 5: Guardians,” carrying over to the actual game arriving in 2015.

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved (Disney Interactive and Harmonix Music Systems, Rated E10+, $59.99) — Inspired by the legendary animated film from 1940, this grand musical motion experiment offers families a great way to listen to some classic tunes and spend time burning a few calories this holiday season.

A sorcerer’s apprentice, or apprentices, enters some familiar realms from the movie, selected no less by famed magician Yen Sid to orchestrally bring colorful worlds to life, be it a desolate forest to an undersea paradise.

Gesture and body-based movements (that an aggressive conductor might use) allow budding performance artists to manipulate notes and follow rhythms to remix over 30 songs including Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Wolfgang Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” The Who’s “The Real Me” and Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Medley” within wildly hypnotic onscreen visuals.

A pair of family members can co-operate and compete to reimagine songs and even record masterpieces for release via YouTube using Xbox One’s sharing technology.

Gift givers will need to make sure the owner’s Xbox One has a motion-sensing Kinnect set up or will need to include the device ($149.99) as part of the musical package.

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