Best gifts for gamers in 2021 – Gaming Buyer’s Guide

The ultimate guide for gaming gifts!

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Ah, the gamer. The easiest person to buy for, but also, the hardest for those out there that don’t really know what to get them. With the advent of subscriptions like Game Pass, giving people access to hundreds of games for a low fee, on both PC and Xbox, as well as Sony’s PlayStation offering free games every month, it can be a little difficult to find something that they don’t already have. 

If you know this person you’re buying for has a particular interest or love, we do have guides for those who play Nintendo consoles, for the Xbox fan and PlayStation lover.

We’ll break down the best gifts from cheapest to y’know, most expensive. While we’d love to recommend some consoles, I think we both know that they’re not going to be in stock long enough. 

Recommended games

We have some recommendations over here for when the Steam sales hit, but as they’re out of season and these might not tickle the fancy of everyone, here’s some other recommendations at lower costs elsewhere!

Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium is not only a brilliantly written game but maybe one of the finest video games ever crafted.

Take the role of an amnesiac cop and discover the mysteries surrounding a murder a town wants nothing to do with. There’s no combat per se, but each choice and action you make have an overall lasting effect on the story – and you. Will you put all your points into being in shape or perception? Or will you make yourself look like a fool anyway?

The whole game features running commentary from within the detective’s mind, with each personality trait being their own character, with the great Kim Kitsuragi as your companion through your messy solving process.

Engaging, hilarious, and utterly gut-punching, the adventures that Disco Elysium sets up will always leave you questioning which way they’re going to go next.

Disco Elysium PC

Disco Elysium Xbox

Disco Elysium PlayStation

Control

Control is Remedy back on form after a few stumbles with Quantum Break and the short not-really-a-sequel to Alan Wake. Control features brutally fast action, an intricate story, and some absolutely sublime decor to completely annihilate everything.

As Jesse Faden, you enter the Federal Bureau of Control’s offices, only to discover that the large building not only holds a deadly infestation at bay but is alive itself. Now you must discover what the Hiss is, who’s behind it, and why the director of the FBC killed themselves, all the while coming to grips with the powers you’ve been bestowed.

It’s a fascinating combination of high-end TV storytelling and the type of freeing combat that third-person-shooters rarely bring to the table anymore. If you manage to snag this in the sales with the full DLC package, you’ll also get hints as to what happened to Alan Wake after the events of the two previous games.

Control PC

Control Xbox

Control PlayStation

Hitman 3

HITMAN 3 | Download and Buy Today - Epic Games Store

Hitman 3 is a sublime game, with a sandbox that is ever unraveling itself to the player. Not only do you get access to the Hitman 3 campaign’s fascinating level selection – the Knives Out parody is beyond good – but can playthrough Hitman 1 and 2 as well if you buy the right version. It’s available on PC, Xbox, and Playstation, as well as available over the cloud for Nintendo Switch. 

There’s this running dark humor through the levels as you humiliate and slowly break down the various barriers set up for you to either successfully fumble or meticulously figure out until you get the perfect run. 

The scoring and umpteen challenges you’ll get in the game all egg you on repeatedly to replay the missions over and over until you can finally make your way through with the classic suit only. 

Hitman 3 PC

Hitman 3 Xbox

Hitman 3 PlayStation

Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise is coming to PC, but it’s already on Switch! The Monster Hunter series is renowned for its need for dedication, but Rise makes this much easier with a lot of quality-of-life changes across the board. Combat is more fluid, it provides more information and you can ride a dog around to catch up to the beasts before they get away to heal. 

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The whole game is like an onslaught of boss fights, each creature having its own distinct personality and tactics. The loop works like this:

You get a quest, you choose the gear that’ll give you the best advantage, eat and hunt. You’ll then hopefully succeed, carve up the dead creature and utilize the bits you cut off to invest in something new.

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These streamlines don’t detract from Monster Hunter’s core at all. In fact, they only seem to facilitate falling into the hole even faster. I think one of my favorite additions is a smaller village, meaning time taken from one place to another on foot is minuscule, or I can just snap about the map with a couple of button presses.

Monster Hunter Rise Switch

Monster Hunter Rise PC

Final Fantasy XIV

FINAL FANTASY XIV Online on Steam

Final Fantasy XIV. An MMO isn’t just for Christmas… or Hanukkah, but for life. Or the six or so months it’ll take them to finish everything in it. 

Originally launched in 2010, it relaunched in 2013 after being quite bad. Now? It’s so hot that they’re currently giving out 7 day free subscriptions because it’s been overloaded with massive queues to get into the game. 

It’s a gleeful mix of classic Final Fantasy storytelling, cooperation through dungeons, and an extensive set of quest lines for you to experiment with any and all classes as you progress your character through the world. That’s before you even get to the optional side-jobs like cooking and fishing, which have entire questlines in themselves. 

Final Fantasy XIV is such an extensive title that I can’t not recommend it. Whether you buy them time cards or the full expansion set, it’s very easy for anyone to get lost in it. 

It’s also playable across PS4, PS5, and PC, all together in harmony, with a controller or keyboard.

Final Fantasy XIV Base Game

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker

Recommended kit

Secretlab chairs are the hottest things about at the moment, with one’s dedicated to a variety of brands like Batman, League of Legends, and even particular esports teams! 

Secret Lab Black Friday

These high-quality Secret Labs chairs all feature their expert engineering that not only keeps you comfortable during your lengthy play sessions but also assists with your posture, helping you stay on point even after you’ve finished gaming.

Each chair is finished with leatherette, adjustable arms (both vertical and horizontal), and comes in three different sizes, supporting people of all shapes and sizes. Find out more here.

If they’re a little too much for you, we also recommend the GT Racing chairs, which are just as good, but at a lower cost to entry. You can save £10 if you’re in the UK as well with code PCGUIDE10.

What about the ol’ mouse and keyboard for those that are the type to play on PC? (Or even on console, as the list grows ever longer of games that support this method of play) I wholly recommend the Keychron keyboards. I currently have one and it is superb to type on. It is effortlessly one of the most comfortable typing experiences I’ve ever had and makes for a great gaming keyboard of any size. 

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Outside of this, the office loves a good gaming keyboard, so be sure to check these out, including our favorites from Razer.

UK Keyboards

US Keyboards

For mice, HyperX and Razer are our go-to recommendations, with their high DPI (basically how fast you can move a mouse across the screen) and flexibility of options across the board. In particular, if you’re interested in something a little more unique for a gift, I’d recommend one of the Razer MOBA or MMO mice, which often come with hot-swappable options for how buttons are on them.

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If you’re after a controller for the variety of other games that just never play particularly well on a keyboard and mouse, you can’t go wrong with Microsoft’s own Xbox controllers and if you prefer your sticks next to each other, then a PlayStation 4 controller is always a good choice as well. The third-party ones have also gotten way better, but with support for the official controller available across the board now on PC, then y’know, why bother?

On console, you might want to consider getting them a beefed-up version of what they already have, like the Xbox Elite Controller 2. This comes with additional paddles for easier access to certain functions, as well as more control over the sticks and buttons. 

Recommended Pre-Built PCs

asus rtx 3070 gaming pc cyber monday deal

Getting a graphics card is really difficult at the moment, but those who resell prebuilt machines actually have access to another supply chain that circumvents this. Essentially, it can often be cheaper to buy a whole PC than it is to get the graphics card inside it at the moment. Yes, that’s not a joke. 

For a solid 1080p experience, you want to seek a PC with at least a minimum of an NVIDIA RTX 3060, while for anything more, a 3070 and 3080. If AMD is all that’s available, you might want to consider the RX 6600 XT for 1080p, the RX 6700 XT for 1440p, and RX 6900 XT for a solid 4K performance. 

Overkill-wise, a 3090 will sufficiently mop the floor with anything. 

Processor-wise, AMD’s 5000, 3000, and Intel’s latest 11th and 12th generations of CPUs are absolutely killer. If you’re intending to get something for a passionate player of video games, aim for an AMD 5600X or an i5 and above.

Best Monitors and TVs

Monitors for PC gaming are vitally important. Yes, yes, you can get one on the cheap now, but is it 144hz? Do they play competitive games at all? Do they only really play things like strategy games or single-player things? These are all factors to consider when choosing a gift monitor! 

For the competitive gamer, we’d always recommend the Samsung G5, a solid monitor with a low barrier cost – which often goes on sale! – and is equipped with a panel that’s rated at 144hz. 

144hz essentially gives more information on the screen, by upping the framerate to 144fps at most, enabling faster reaction times and a more natural fluid movement on-screen for those that participate in faster-paced games. These monitors now go up to 360hz as well.

For those that are more inclined to high-resolution gaming, with beefy PCs or one of the newer consoles, you always want to go for 4K, even if the GPU doesn’t support it properly. Dropping the resolution down to 1440p or 1080p is still a viable option on these monitors and still produces a great image. 

It also helps that current GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD now support DLSS and FSR, two methods of using machine learning and image processing to boost a lower resolution to a higher one, allowing certain cards to find new life with newer games. I couldn’t play Guardians of the Galaxy at 4K, but by applying the supersampling I got a great image at 4K and a smooth 60 frames-a-second. 

Having the headroom of 4K just helps in general, as if they upgrade in the future, they won’t be left with a paltry HD image. 

1440p monitors are also fantastic, generally best if you aim for an ultra-wide monitor, giving your favorite individual the gift of a more engrossing experience. 

On the TV side, you really, really just want to find something that has the nicest set of colors and actual support for modern standards. The Samsung Q60A is a great middle-ground, but if there’s money to burn, we always recommend the LG C1, as if video colorists are recommending it, then you know it’s hot stuff.

Generally, I’d always recommend a 4K panel these days, as the TV will most likely also be used for other entertainment. On top of this, look for HDR, or High Dynamic Range, which boosts blacks and whites, offering a much better picture.