December is never generally a month that sees a great deal of blockbuster titles releasing. The vast majority of the big hitters will have released in the previous three months, with the likes of Star Wars Battlefront, Halo 5, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any games worth your while just before Christmas though, this year is seeing some of the most anticipated games of 2015.
While Just Cause 1 and 2 gained plenty of praise from critics when they released, the series has failed to make much of a dent in the open-world genre that is dominated by Grand Theft Auto V. Avalanche Studios is looking to change that with Just Cause 3. It will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC from December 1, and sees the action take place several years after its predecessor, giving players the opportunity to battle enemies and explore the huge world in whatever they want.
Another series that is making a return in November is Rainbow Six with the release of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. It is the first game in the franchise since Rainbow Six Vegas 2 in 2008, after Rainbow 6 Patriots was cancelled by Ubisoft in 2014. The new title will keep the focus on co-operative teamwork and tactics while also emphasising siege warfare and new destructible environments. Unlike previous games, it doesn’t feature any singleplayer campaign though does support solo play in the Terrorist Hunt mode. It will release for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC in December.
The final big release of December comes in the form of the Nintendo published Xenoblade Chronicles X. While the game has been available in Japan since the summer, this will be the first time that it will be available at retail in Europe and the United States. The action role-playing game is a spiritual successor to the last title that appeared in the Wii, focusing on player exploration. It will be available from December 4 exclusively on the Wii U.
- Elysian Shadows – PC / Linux
- Trackmania Turbo – PC / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One
- Dementium Remastered – Nintendo 3DS
- Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below – PC
- Pokemon Picross – Nintendo 3DS
- Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space – PS Vita
- Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair – PlayStation 4
- The Sims 4: Get Together – PC
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII – PC
- ADR1FT – PC / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel – PlayStation 3 / PS Vita
- Dead Island 2 – PlayStation 4
- Devil’s Third – Wii U
- Doom – PC
As is customary, both Microsoft and Sony are releasing a number of free games for paying subscribers of their online services. Xbox Live Gold members will be able to get their hands on a total of five games throughout December. The two Xbox One titles are The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing and Thief. The Van Helsing games was originally released in May of 2013 and sees players take on the role of the hero at he battles monsters in a twisted version of the 19th century, taking inspiration from the novel Dracula. Meanwhile, Thief is a reboot of the series that came out almost one year ago and received mixed reviews from critics for its changes to the franchise formula.
Xbox 360 owners, and players on the Xbox One due to backwards compatibility, will be able to download and enjoy Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, CastleStorm and Sacred 3. CastleStorm is a strategy game that has already been made available through the Games With Gold program on the Xbox One. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a game from Codemasters that focuses on being a realistic tactical shooter that received a positive reception from critics. Lastly, Sacred 3 is a hack and slash brawler from publisher Deep Silver that was critically panned upon release in 2014.
PlayStation users have plenty of high quality games to get excited about if they have a PlayStation Plus subscription in December. Both Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, a standalone expansion featuring dinosaurs and lasers, and the snowboarding game SSX will be available. PlayStation 4 owners can grab King’s Quest: A Knight To Remember and Gauntlet: Slayer Edition while PS Vita player get their hands on Freedom Wars and Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken.