Gears of War 4
It's back: Gears of War 4 hands the Lancer to a new generation of soldiers, as Microsoft's smash shooter series returns with its first new Xbox One entry. While not a major departure from the proven formula, Gears 4 is impeccably polished and immensely fun, whether in the campaign or blasting pals online.
The Coalition, $60
Remedy's transmedia experiment is a surprising success, merging tense and exciting action — in which your hero manipulates time in combat — with live-action TV episodes featuring well-known actors. Like the studio's Alan Wake and Max Payne before it, Quantum Break is a thoroughly distinctive and memorable affair.
Forza Horizon 3
The arcade-leaning, open-road alternative to the core Forza Motorsport games hits its peak in Forza Horizon 3, which shifts the setting to Australia and delivers a new wonderland of driving possibilities. It's absolutely loaded with fun, not to mention beautiful terrain and a heap of cars to cruise around the island.
Turn 10, $60
Liked Limbo? Playdead's follow-up is even better, working from a similar side-scrolling, puzzle-solving template while reaching new heights in all regards. Inside is even darker and scarier than its predecessor, with loads of challenging brain-teasers along the way, and then satisfies big with its finale. It's a small marvel.
Dead Rising 4
Out in early December, Capcom's Dead Rising 4 returns to the series' sillier roots while taking the zombie-bashing action to the next level. Original hero Frank West returns to the Willamette Mall at Christmastime to pummel the undead with all sorts of makeshift weapons. And there's mini-golf, too.
Head back to Polygon’s 2016 Gift Guide hub.
Header illustration: Alice Carroll