Have to do your holiday shopping, but don't know what to buy? Well, if the person you're shopping for happens to like videogames, this is a year to make them smile. Being one of the best years in videogame history, there is plenty to pick from, but is it all good? Let's see what's worth picking up.
1. Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)
Platforming games have been part of a dying genre these last few years, but this game proves that statement wrong in so many wars. To start off, it's, simply put, one of the best platforming games ever made, as well as one of the best games
ever made. If you like playing videogames, or having fun in general, BUY THIS GAME!
2. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Multiplatform)
This is a game that the whole family can enjoy. If you're a fan of music, playing music, or rythym action games in general you will have a good time with this one. It comes with arguably the best Guitar Hero controller ever made, which features a detachable neck, and removable faceplates for extra customization. Oh, by the way, its all wireless. The song list is pretty strong this time around, and offers up some great hits from the past, like Metallica's "One" and Foghat's "Slow Ride." It also includes two original compositions from famed guitarists Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Slash (Guns n' Roses, Velvet Revolver)
3. Metroid Prime 3 - Corruption (Wii)
This game might not be for everybody, but as hardcore Nintendo fans know, this is one of the best Metroid games ever produced. It controls near flawlessly thanks to the Wii remote pointer functionality, has plenty of replay value due to an Xbox 360-like achievement system, and is a decently long and challenging game. A bit of a disappointment is the lack of online play, or any multiplayer for that matter. Still, it's a must buy for fans of the series.
4. Mass Effect (Xbox 360)
Developed by famed developer Bioware, (Star Wars KOTOR, Jade Empire) this game was highly anticipated. The graphics are gorgeous, and the scope of everything just has an epic feel. The gameplay itself is a kind of a mixed bag, it has shooter elements, and it has heavy RPG elements, but fans of either genre will be plenty satisfied. The storyline is to good to pass up, and the characters are very unforgettable. If you want a deep, satisfying RPG to cuddle up to this holiday season, make this the one.
5. The Orange Box (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
Not the first time we have seen Half-life 2 on consoles, but this time it's bigger and better. this is really a compilation of five games: Half-life 2, Half-life 2 Episode one, Half-life 2 Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2. HL2 and HL2: Episode one are old news, but the brand new Episode Two is perhaps the best of the bunch (a demo version is now available on Xbox Live, if you'd want to try it out). Portal is a superb FPS/Puzzle hybrid with some pretty mind bending gameplay, and TF2 is an objective based multiplayer game, with up to eight players. All great games for a fabulous price of $60, this is a package you can't afford to pass up.
6. Bioshock (Xbox 360, PC)
A spiritual sequel to System Shock 2, this game is set in a city underwater-gone wrong. The game throws you right into the action from the beginning, and sets the mood right from the start. Creepy, unsettling, and a bit obscene, this is simply put, of the best games ever burnt onto a disc.
7. Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360, PS3)
Getting some high reviews, and some low, you will only know if you like this game if you play it for yourself. I consider it a spiritual successor to the Prince of Persia trilogy, but thats not what it "officially" is. It plays smoothly, looks beautiful, and has great sound. The only thing that sets people off is it has slight repetition issues, and the Playstation 3 version suffers from frame rate issues. Give it a rent, and if you like it, add it to your collection. If not, then you got to play a decent game for a few days, no harm done, everybody wins.
8. skate. (Xbox 360, PS3)
Truly one of the better sports titles released this year, this is a true representation of the sport (art?) of skateboarding, not just an attempt to score as many points as possible. It's all made possible because of the innovative control scheme that EA has implemented into the game. The left stick controls your body, while the right controls your board. Flicking the stick up with make you ollie, and different combinations of that will make you do different tricks. It's an easygoing game that you can just chill out and play, and you will have fun no matter what.
9. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo DS)
Sometimes called the best Zelda game since Ocarina of Time, this game is seriously the reason you bought a DS. It has innovative touchscreen-only gameplay, and some very tricky puzzles. A first for the series, this game features an online multiplayer mode over Nintendo WiFi Connection, but it's not very deep. It's a good distraction if you get bored with the main quest. It's very rare that you find this much game packed into a handheld cartridge. (Or UMD..........lol)
10. Rock Band (PS2, PS3, Xbox 360)
The only reason this beauty is at the end of my buyers guide is because of its price. At $170, the game will set you back quite a bit. The game comes with a drum set, guitar controller, and a microphone. When you and your friends play in unison, you just can't help but feeling badass. Some common complaints about the game are that the guitar portions of the game are a bit to easy for seasoned Guitar Hero players, and the guitar controller itself is cheap and plasticky. Also, the drums bass pedal has been known to break in serious moments of rockage. The game is very solid, and it's definitely worth buying if you can cough up the large price tag.
So, happy holidays everyone, just thought I'd write this up to maybe aid a few people, if not, then so be it.
Peace, Hines. read