Here we are once again. It’s the end of the fall term. Courses are wrapping up, exams are just around the corner, and everybody just wants it all to be over. As you look ahead to all the glorious things you can do when you’re finally free, let me clue you in to all the fun available to pick up this holiday season.

The Pokénomenon continues with Sun and Moon

It’s nice to see Pokémon on top of the gaming landscape once again. While the series has always been popular in one way or another, it hasn’t seen this level of popularity since it made the trek to North America back in 1998. This resurgence may have come from the 20th anniversary celebrations and the success of Pokémon GO, but it would all be for naught if Sun and Moon didn’t deliver.

Well Sun and Moon did more than just deliver, it’s the biggest evolution Pokémon has seen in years. HMs are gone in favour of Ride Pokémon, island trial challenges and Totem Pokémon battles replace the tried-and-true gym battles, and combat and box management are streamlined to avoid clicking through menus upon menus. From the largest improvements to the minute details, Pokémon Sun and Moon will easily keep veterans and newcomers satisfied for hours on end.

Finding the gems lost in the shuffle

Not every game can be a commercial success. Despite being among the top reviewed games of the year, many titles get lost in the shuffle of the holiday rush. It’s a sad but true reality of the game industry. Releasing so many AAA games within weeks of each other might not be the best strategy, but greed trumps logic when it comes to multinational corporations.

Two titles in particular that stick out like sore thumbs are Titanfall 2 and Dishonored 2. Placed right in the middle of heavy hitters like Battlefield 1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Pokémon Sun and Moon, these two had no chance of competing. That fact doesn’t dilute how good they are.

Titanfall 2 takes all the criticisms piled against the first game and improves on them through a high-octane campaign that continually keeps gameplay fresh and ever-expanding multiplayer play without the need to fork over money for a season pass. On the other hand, Dishonored 2 is the natural progression on the stealth and freedom that made its predecessor so fondly remembered. It adds a brand new character to play as, a new setting to play around in, and a slew of new abilities and mechanics to play around with.

Although both titles are polar opposites of one another, keep them in mind when you’re searching for a new game to pick up.

Don’t be afraid of the unknown

Over the years, I’ve become more accustomed to trying out obscure games that fall outside the norm. But I do remember a time when I was foreign to titles such as Monster Hunter, Persona, and Zero Escape. It can be hard to move away from the games you’re familiar with, but the rewards far outweigh the risk you take.

Be it new entries in long-standing franchises (Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse), re-releases and ports (Steins;Gate, Danganronpa), or brand new properties (Severed,  Owlboy), 2016 had its fair share of niche titles across all platforms. With the end of the year approaching and more time on your hands, it might just be the time to step out of your gaming comfort zone. You might discover your favourite games going forward.

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