MLG Gift Guide

Now that the 2011 Pro Circuit season has come to an end and the holiday Season has begun, MLG wants to ensure that no serious gamers go wanting, Tiny Tim-style. So we will be unveiling daily lists of all the hottest games, gear and accessories that you and yours will want to find stuffed into your gift receptacle of choice. Let's kick the Gift Guide off right, with…
 
5 Multiplayer Shooters to Put on Your Gift List
 
All of these games came out in the past 12 months. Happy fragging!
 
 
Claim to Fame: Now its eighth year, the Call of Duty (CoD) series has hit a mainstream pinnacle with the release of Modern Warfare 3 (MW3), which sold over 6.5 million copies in its first 24 hours to the tune of $400 million dollars — the largest entertainment release ever. Like it or not, CoD is perhaps the biggest game on the planet.
 
Gameplay: Continuing the fictionalized reality in which a rogue Russian terrorist is bent on world domination and destruction, the campaign of this arcade-style first-person shooter (FPS) puts you in the blood-stained boots of various special ops soldiers trying to stop a global onslaught in some of the world’s largest cities (London, New York, TK, among others). While it may be more reminiscent of a Michael Bay blow-out than a realistic depiction of modern day military combat, there is no denying that MW3 is fun to gawk at, not to mention get your itchy trigger fingers on.
 
Multiplayer: Along with new additions like ‘Kill Confirmed’ mode, an overhauled pointstreak system and stat tracking via the online Elite service, MW3 features the most robust multiplayer experience yet in the series.
 
Who It's For: While the initiated won’t find too many surprises here, there is a reason CoD games are generally the biggest selling of any given year — accessible, rapid-fire action — making MW3 the perfect chimney-targeted care package for the adrenaline junkie in your life.
 
 
Claim to Fame: Perhaps widely known as a more realistic Call of Duty alternative for the tactically inclined, Battlefield 3’s take on contemporary military action is most cherished by fans for its absolutely epic online team battles.
 
Gameplay: A modern military shooter at its core, Battlefield 3’s main story covers the well-worn territory of global terrorism, insurgents and nuclear war. But, as mentioned above, that’s not the reason most people play Battlefield 3….
 
Multiplayer: This is the reason most people play Battlefield 3. Featuring 64-player battles on the PC version and a still-impressive 24 on PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Xbox 360, Battlefield 3’s multiplayer allows you to pick one of four classes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, creating a more strategic approach to multiplayer firefights than your average FPS. Throw in the ability to man jets and choppers and you have one killer online experience.
 
Who It's For: While any FPS fan will dig finding Battlefield 3 and its fairly straightforward, yet beautifully-rendered, campaign in their gift bag this year, gamers who enjoy planning well thought out, large-scale assaults over running and gunning will find the most holiday joy in the title’s sprawling terrain.
 
Crysis 2 (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
 
Claim to Fame: Visually, the first Crysis was an absolute beast to run on PCs. As a result, not nearly as many people were able to play the gorgeous sci-fi shooter as should have, with only a modified single-player version seeing release on PlayStation Network (PSN) and XBLA. Having learned its lesson, developer Crytek optimized Crysis 2 for both PC and consoles, creating the definitive futuristic FPS of 2011.
 
Gameplay: Set a dozen years into the near-future, Crysis 2 follows a marine codenamed ‘Alcatraz’ who stumbles upon a fallen comrade’s super powered nano-suit, which allows players to effectively combat an alien invasion of New York City. While the suit grants you the powers of stealth camouflage, super strength and heavy armor, it doesn’t ever allow the use of all three at once, forcing you to approach each situation strategically.
 
Multiplayer: Some gamers have taken issue with the weapon balancing in Crysis 2’s multiplayer, but the real fun lies in the nano-suit abilities, which every player has, making for some of the more volatile and entertaining online battles you are bound to see this year.
 
Who it's for: Sci-fi fans. Or anyone who ever dreamed of being a hybrid of Master Chief, Superman, and Bruce Willis.
 
 
Claim to fame: First rising to prominence in 1997 on the Nintendo 64, the Goldeneye name is synonymous with the birth of modern FPS games and is one of the most beloved for old-school gamers everywhere. Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is a modern day re-imagining of the stalwart classic.
 
Gameplay: This is an ageless Bond adventure chock full of the over-the-top villains (Oddjob, Dr. No) and slick ordnance (The Golden Gun, Moonraker laser) that 007 is known for. All this is thrown into a fun, arcade-style FPS mold that is more than a new coat of paint and lovingly pays homage to the ’90s hit with dozens of well-placed nods.
 
Multiplayer: While the campaign can be a bit repetitive with artificial intelligence (AI) that is sometimes a little ropey, the addictive 16-player online battles is where Goldeneye 007: Reloaded truly shines. With 14 maps, famous Bond characters and modes like Golden Gun and Paintball making their return alongside the new weapon-swapping Escalation mode, Goldeneye: 007 Reloaded is a breath of fresh, if nostalgic, air in 2011.
 
Who it's for: The whole family, including serious FPS heads who want to relive their childhood with this charming and utterly compelling multiplayer gem. Plus: Any holiday party tends to get shaken and stirred when 007 shows up.
 
 
Claim to fame: The bloody finale to Epic Games' roughnecks-on-a-rougher-planet trilogy, the Gears of War series is renowned for grand set-piece battles against gargantuan enemies that often peak with someone at the business-end of a chainsaw gun. Oh, and zingers. Plenty of zingers.
 
Gameplay: A third-person shooter set on a distant planet, Gears 3 takes the series' pioneering use of cover and immodest weaponry to run roughshod over aliens in a sci-fi world. Simultaneously breathtaking and terrifying (the massive, Lovecraft-ian Leviathan comes to mind), Gears 3 presents an emotional tale of camaraderie, survival and hope that no one who has played it will soon forget.
 
Multiplayer: Having had the benefit of a lengthy beta testing phase, Gears 3 multiplayer easily overcomes the initial matchmaking difficulties that Gears 2 faced, allowing for a far more balanced and fluid online experience that includes everything from fast-paced deathmatches to the castle defense-like Horde and Beast Modes.
 
Who it's for: Gears 3 is a fitting end to a trend-setting trilogy and is a must have gift for any action fan who won’t squeal at the sight of a little gore (or maybe a lot) to go along with their cranberry sauce and honey-baked hams. Mmmm…meatshield…