Ho ho ho! And a very merry button-mashing Christmas to you all. Looking to treat yourself, a friend or a family member to one of this yuletide's top video games? Why not click through and examine our list of 2014's must-have titles, including release dates, PEGI age ratings and prices taken from Amazon, so you know what you can expect to pay.
First on the list is Assassin's Creed Unity, the latest instalment in the consistently entertaining, story-led series, which sees you take on the role of an assassin, murdering and sword-fighting your way through 1789 Paris during the French Revolution.
If you're after festive multiplayer hijinks this Christmas morning, you could do so very much worse than Mario Kart 8. It's accessible and loads of fun, but don't be deceived by the family-friendly visuals -- this a perfectly-honed racer that will keep you coming back for more.
This long-awaited turn-based game from Firaxis is one for those who prefer thoughtful, tactical games over blood-and-guts action. Beyond Earth takes you to the stars, and centres on mankind's colonisation of a myriad of alien-infested extraterrestrial planets.
Release date: Out now for PC, with Mac OS X and Linux coming soon.
Advanced Warfare takes the monstrously popular, highly violent first-person shooting series into a robot-limbed future. This latest annual instalment lets you play around with powerful exoskeletons that give you catlike agility. Advanced Warfare is out on the older PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles too, but snubs the Wii U.
The fourth Far Cry game takes everything that made its prequel work -- a violent, tropical, open world of explosions, vehicles and wild animals -- and dials it up to 11. Set in the fictional Himalayan region of Kyrat, this edgy, controversial game will let you explore lush forests and snowy mountains, doing battle with leopards, rhinos, despotic leaders and more.
Thanks to the dawn of smartphones, high-quality gaming experiences can be had for the price of a cup of coffee. If you're after something a bit cheaper, or for a niece or nephew with an iPod Touch or tablet, Monument Valley is a delightful puzzle game. It sees you guiding a silent princess through a world with a remarkable visual style, and MC Escher-esque perception-bending gameplay.
Unfortunately, Google doesn't currently let you send apps as gifts. But owners of Apple gadgets can send apps as presents -- just find the app in Apple's iTunes software, find the "Gift this App" button and enter your recipient's email address. Perfect for a last-minute present, no?
Released this summer, The Last of Us Remastered gives the PlayStation's acclaimed zombie-infested survival story a graphical makeover. It's violent and frightening at times, but if your intended gamer is of a suitable age and disposition, this game is a triumph of storytelling, voice acting and eerie environments. If you know a PS4 owner who never played The Last of Us, the remastered version would make a great gift.
Another iPhone and iPad offering, the indie hit Thomas Was Alone has the player navigating simple polygon shapes that represent out of control AI creatures. The charming puzzle gameplay is augmented by some cracking narration, courtesy of the comedian and presenter Danny Wallace, who won a BAFTA for his sterling voice work on the game. Thomas Was Alone describes itself as a game "about friendship and jumping". Who could ask for more this Christmas, eh?
If you missed Grand Theft Auto V the first time around, you can catch the souped-up version for PS4 and Xbox One this Christmas. Chaotic, deeply controversial and certainly only suitable for grown-up gamers, GTAV has nonetheless proved another successful entry in the free-roaming franchise.
Release date: 18 November
Platform: PS4, Xbox One (PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 already available)
Minecraft is nothing less than a global phenomenon. It's proved a massive hit on PC with kids, who seemingly can't get enough of its blocky building, crafting and exploring. It's recently arrived on PS4, Xbox One and the PlayStation Vita handheld, available to download now, or in retail form before Christmas. It doesn't cost as much as a full-fledged game -- ideal if you're after a stocking stuffer for a younger gamer.
Release date: Downloadable now. Retail version out now on PS4, coming to Xbox One on 28 November, and PS Vita on 14 November.
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
If the Lord of the Rings movies didn't satisfy your desire to see hordes of orcs meeting a grisly end, then Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor may be for you. You play Talion, a ranger whose family are slain the night pesky old Sauron returns to Mordor, and must battle and sneak his way to vengeance. This is a fighting game that demands quick reflexes as you dispatch teams of orcs, but also has a strong tactical element that makes it a bit more intellectual than a simple button-mashing brawler. Brilliantly, if an orc kills you, he gets a name and his own characteristics -- and becomes harder to kill second time around.
The Wii U console hasn't exactly been overwhelmed with anticipated titles, but the imminent debut of Super Smash Bros has given owners of Nintendo's beleaguered system something to look forward to. Smash Bros is a non-traditional fighting game featuring heroes from Nintendo games both old and new, with players vying to force each other off the edge of colourful battle arenas. There's also a more basic version for Nintendo's 3DS handheld, which is a little cheaper.
If all these games are sounding a bit too cerebral for your tastes, the garish Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive could suit your needs. This game lets you roam all over its garish virtual world, getting around through the acrobatic medium of parkour -- running along the sides of buildings and sliding along telephone wires -- all while laying waste to hordes of monsters with a variety of surreal weaponry, including a gun that shoots sticks of dynamite tied to teddy bears.
Capturing the sense of dread and isolation that made the first Alien movie so gripping, Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game that sees you navigating the darkened corridors and gloomy docking bays of a decommissioned space trading station. Playing the daughter of Ellen Ripley, your first priority is avoiding having your insides turned outside by the eerily smart xenomorph that's stalking in the shadows. It's grisly, and not for the faint-hearted, but if you know a grown-up who's a fan of horror games -- or the Alien films -- this is worth considering.
A great choice for adult gamers with a Wii U console, Bayonetta 2 is a brightly coloured beat-em-up that sees the eponymous Bayonetta tackling wave after wave of angelic and demonic baddies, complete with over-the-top combat moves and frequently shifting levels that keep players on their toes.
Only mature audiences need apply, however -- as we noted in our review, Bayonetta 2 is, "ultraviolent, oddly sexualized and perplexingly profane at times."