The six best games to play with family this 2015 holiday season

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1. Rock Band 4

PS4, Xbox One

What better way to promote family unity than to simulate being in a rock band – which is what Rock Band 4 does best. In the unlikely event that there’s still someone out there who doesn’t know how the game works, it’s a rhythm game where players use plastic representations of real instruments to mimic the selectable songs by following scrolling cues on the screen.

The Rock Band/Guitar Hero games are regarded as some of the best party titles ever made, and rightly so. They’re immensely fun to play, and it feels great working together to nail a particular song. There are 65 songs on the disc, with 1500 more available to download from the existing Rock Band library. These span from the '60s to modern day tracks, covering pretty much every musical taste.

This fourth installment marks developer Harmonix’s return to the genre after a four-year hiatus. Anyone who still happens to own instruments from the earlier versions of the games will be able to use them on modern consoles via a USB dongle. Which leads us to the main issue with Rock Band 4: if you’re after all the instruments, which is pretty much a necessity if you want everyone to join in, then be prepared to spend a lot of money on the new and improved peripherals.

Whether playing just for fun, competitively or working through the new career mode, Rock Band 4 is a great experience for all the family. And thanks to the selectable difficulty settings, Grandma can strum away on the bass at a speed of one stroke per minute, while you destroy the drumkit playing Queen of the Stone Age’s "My God is the Sun" on the Expert setting.

Published Nov. 24th 2015

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