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Official P*N Holiday Buyer’s Guide

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas video gamers! It’s that time of the year again when the days get shorter, the skies get snowy, and you can start to feel the chill down to your bones. Pretty soon we’ll all be outside shoveling the snow from the night before! I’m here to tell you there is some good to all of this dreary weather though. It brings the festive holidays to all the good boys and girls around the world. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever, it’s time to do some gift shopping for your fellow gamer. What’s that you say? You don’t know what to buy them? Well never fear as the good people at Platform Nation have pooled together to present you with our Official P*N Holiday Buyer’s Guide.

The rules were simple. I asked as many of my P*N brothers, that were willing to participate, to help me out. They sent me their top five games for gift giving and I sorted them out to determine which games were the best. I had a lot of great help from them and now we have this great guide before you. It is full of awesome games that will make excellent gifts this holiday season.

One other quick note before the fun begins, most of the retail games can be purchased from our Platform Nation Amazon Store.  The proceeds that we receive go to help cover the costs of our website. Please be kind and help support our site by buying a game to give to a friend, family, or even yourself. Thank you. We appreciate your business. Now on to the guide!!

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The Top Ten:

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10.) Enslaved: Odyssey To The West

Publisher: Namco Bandai

Developer: Ninja Theory

Genre: Action

Release Date: October 5, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3

MSRP: $59.99

Website: http://enslaved.namco.com/

Read the P*N Review here!

Follow a gripping, surprise-filled journey as two dissimilar characters form an uneasy partnership in order to survive through a perilous, post-apocalyptic America.

150 years in the future, war and destruction have left the world in ruins with few humans remaining and nature having reclaimed the world. Mysterious slave ships harvest the dwindling population and take them out west, never to return.

Trip, a technologically savvy young woman has been imprisoned by a slave ship but manages to escape using her mental prowess. Monkey, a strong, brutish loner and fellow prisoner also gets free by virtue of his raw power and brawn. Trip quickly realizes that Monkey is her ticket to freedom and is her only hope to survive her perilous journey back home. She hacks a slave headband and fits it on Monkey, linking them together. If she dies, he dies and her journey has now become his.

ENSLAVED centers on the complex relationship between the two main characters. Players take on the role of Monkey, utilizing a mix of combat, strategy and environmental traversal to ensure he and Trip survive the threats and obstacles that stand in the way of their freedom.

Stewart Loosemore, “Ninja Theory are experts at capturing emotion like no other developer. An emotionally challenging ride for those who want to escape the mindless violence of generic FPS.”

Mitchel Broussard, “We have no Uncharted to satisfy our action/adventure gaming thirsts this fall, and with the cavalcade of shooters on store shelves, Enslaved is like a breath of post-apocalyptic fresh air. Jump, swing, bash, shoot and brawl your way through one of the most beautifully realized game worlds I have ever played through. Oh and there’s a hot, tech savvy chick with you every step of the way. Need I say more?”

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9.) Sid Meier’s Civilization V

Publisher: 2K Games

Developer: Firaxis

Genre: Turn-Based Strategy

Release Date: September 21, 2010

Platforms: PC, Mac

MSRP: $49.99

Website: http://civilization5.com/

Sid Meier’s Civilization V is the fifth offering in the multi-award winning Civilization turn-based PC strategy game series. As with earlier installments in the series, Civilization V features the famous “just one more turn” addictive gameplay that has made it one of the greatest game series of all time. In addition to this it also features improved diplomacy, unprecedented modding tools and functionality, new ranged combat over a hex oriented board rather than squares, an in-game community hub facilitating improved online play and more.

Steve Buccini, “A great strategy game that has really taken the series to a whole new level.”

Stewart Loosemore, “A very addictive game, for beginners of the series there are helpful guides available throughout as well as an ingame encyclopedia. ”

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8.) Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Publisher: LucasArts

Developer: LucasArts

Genre: Third-Person Action

Release Date: October 26, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS, PSP, iPhone

MSRP: $59.99 (Collector’s Edition: $79.99)

Website: http://www.lucasarts.com/games/theforceunleashed2/

The Star Wars® Saga continues with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, the highly anticipated sequel to the fastest-selling Star Wars game ever created, which has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, the world was introduced to Darth Vader’s now fugitive apprentice, Starkiller—the unlikely hero who would ignite the flames of rebellion in a galaxy so desperately in need of a champion.

In the sequel, Starkiller returns with over-the-top Force powers and embarks on a journey to discover his own identity and to reunite with his one true love, Juno Eclipse. In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Starkiller is once again the pawn of Darth Vader—but instead of training his protégé as a ruthless assassin, the dark lord is attempting to clone his former apprentice in an attempt to create the Ultimate Sith warrior. The chase is on – Starkiller is in pursuit of Juno and Darth Vader is hunting for Starkiller.

With all-new devastating Force powers and the ability to dual-wield lightsabers, Starkiller cuts a swath through deadly new enemies across exciting worlds from the Star Wars films – all in his desperate search for answers to his past.

Patrick Talbert, “Didn’t play the first one, but DAMN the second one looks stellar!”

Scott DiMonda, “This game is a must have for the fans of the first game and even for fans of Star Wars in general. I had a chance to play the game early on and it had a lot of improvements to the controls and new powers.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the original TFU. We are both excited to find out what happens with Starkiller in the sequel and to bust out some more Force whoop-ass.”

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7.) Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Good Feel

Genre: Platformer

Release Date: October 17, 2010

Platforms: Wii

MSRP: $49.99

Website: http://www.kirbykirbykirby.com/

Kirby’s Epic Yarn is a 2D platformer for Wii that blends classic Kirby gameplay with new abilities, functionality and more. Kirby’s first console platform game since the Nintendo 64 days, Kirby’s Epic Yarn introduces an amazing new look based on animated yarn and a world of cloth and textiles. The creative approach is woven directly into the gameplay and allows the ever-morphing Kirby to take on a variety of new forms. It’s a one-of-a-kind platformer that lets players explore high and low for hidden objects, experience fun adventure and even join with a second player in a co-op play mode.

Like all Kirby games, Epic Yarn is a side-scrolling platformer, but gameplay is different in this adventure. In its gameworld, everything is made of yarn or fabric, including Kirby and the game levels themselves. Kirby is of course pursued by the minions of the evil wizard that sent him to the gameworld, but in this world Kirby does not swallow enemies to dispatch them. Instead he uses a whip of yarn to stun them. Curled into the shape of a yarn ball, he can then toss them at additional enemies and/or obstacles. Kirby’s movements are different as well. He no longer floats the way he did in previous games. Instead he glides in parachute form, or takes the shape of vehicles such as a train, a top, a truck, a UFO, a tank and others that are appropriate for the challenge at hand. Throughout the gameplay area are hidden beads, that if maintained, maximize points. There are also hidden levels that are revealed as Kirby pulls on zippers and loose threads encountered. Standard level progression is achieved via a series of patches that players receive on completion of levels. These are added to a tapestry by Kirby which results in the next level being revealed. The game also features two-player co-op through the entire game in which the second player takes on the role of an additional character from the game and works together with Kirby to access new areas.

Bobby Gonzalez, “Anyone can play this game. Young, old, new gamers or the hardcore. Nintendo just knows how to make classic games. Plus it is the most adorable thing ever.”

Angel Pelaez, “Great for both grown-ups and children. A great platformer with easy controls and excellent presentation. Local coop is also a lot of fun.”

Paul Battani, “It’s the newest Kirby game in quite some time. The graphics are a bit reminiscent of Little Big Planet, but that doesn’t detract from the fun game play to be had within.”

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6.) Fable III

Publisher: Microsoft

Developer: Lionhead Studios

Genre: RPG

Release Date: October 26, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PC

MSRP: $59.99

Website: http://lionhead.com/Fable/FableIII/

It’s a Revolution!

Fable III is the latest installment to the action-packed and critically acclaimed Xbox 360 exclusive franchise that has sold more than six million copies. Fans new and returning will now embark on an epic adventure, where the race for the crown is only the beginning of your spectacular journey. Five decades have passed since the events of Fable II, and Albion has matured into an industrial revolution, but the fate of the kingdom is at peril.

In Fable III, you will be called upon to rally and fight alongside your people, ascend to the seat of power, and experience the true meaning of love and loss while defending your throne. In your quest to seize power and defend your kingdom, the choices you make will change the world around you, for the greater good or your own personal gain.

Who will you become? A rebel without a cause, the tyrant you rebelled against, or the greatest ruler to ever live?

Patrick Talbert, “I get to rule my own kingdom?? Score! Can’t wait to see what Molyneux and the folks at Lionhead cooked up for the third one.”

Scott DiMonda, “I simply enjoy the Fable series thus far and I can’t wait to play it to see what new features have been added.”

Julian Montoya, “Yeah, I know Mr. Moulyneux says a lot of stuff, and he is usually unable to fulfill the expectations he builds over his games. However, the Fable games are still worth checking, as they’re still fun and polished Action RPGs. In regards of the 3rd iteration of this series, it looks the game will follow suit, with a big world to explore, some fun dungeons, and hopefully interesting decisions to shape how the story unfolds.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “Totally excited for this one. I never got the chance to play the original but I LOVED Fable II. It had more personality and charm in the opening sequence than most games have in their entirety. Peter Moulyneux and his crew are masters with their storytelling. I can’t wait to see what they have in store with this new installment!”

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5.) Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Publisher: Ubisoft

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Genre: Action

Release Date: November 16, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

MSRP: $59.99 (Collector’s Edition $99.99)

Website: http://assassinscreed.us.ubi.com/brotherhood/

Live and breathe as Ezio, a legendary Master Assassin, in his enduring struggle against the powerful Templar Order. He must journey into Italy’s greatest city, Rome, center of power, greed and corruption to strike at the heart of the enemy.

Defeating the corrupt tyrants entrenched there will require not only strength, but leadership, as Ezio commands an entire Brotherhood who will rally to his side. Only by working together can the Assassins defeat their mortal enemies.

And for the first time, introducing a never-before-seen multiplayer layer that allows you to choose from a wide range of unique characters, each with their own signature weapons and assassination techniques, and match your skills against other players from around the world.

It’s time to join the Brotherhood.

Patrick Talbert, “Looking like a mighty fine third installment.”

Cooper Bibaud, “There’s not many franchise games that perk my interest anymore. They all seem played out, and boring, but I believe Assassin’s Creed is still just scratching the surface of its potential. From the overly-picked on original, to the smash hit sequel, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is the only game on my list that I’m eagerly awaiting, and the only game that has yet to come out that I feel confident enough to recommend. Never mind the fact that it comes with more campaign goodness, but the potential its multiplayer has is completely insane. It’s going to be a nice fresh experience to give me a break from the more typical FPS deathmatch extravaganzas. Play the iPhone version of this game and tell me it’s not going to be unbelievable when the same idea hits consoles. I really cannot wait for this to come out, it’s one of the coolest modern franchises around.”

Julian Montoya, “The second Assassin’s Creed was a huge improvement over its predecessor, and really made use of the great potential set on the premise of the original title. Brotherhood seems to be taking all that worked on AC2, refined it, had da Vinci invent a couple more gadgets, and put together a story that looks just as engaging as the one in the previous title. Sure, it looks like an expansion, but a quality expansion nonetheless.”

Mitchel Broussard, “Yeah some may say once a year is becoming too much for the AC franchise (and I may agree) but I love this religion meets sci-fi head scratching series so much I could care less if we’d even get it biannually. Add in an enticing multiplayer and an entire new single player campaign (which promises to be just as long and robust as part 2) that sees Ezio banding together in Rome to take down a corrupt ruling family? Want want want.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “Oh hell yes! I gotta get me some assassin lovin’! I really enjoyed the original AC, even though it was received with mixed feelings, and absolutely loved AC2. Ubisoft did a great job taking what was “wrong” with the original and making a masterpiece with AC2. Brotherhood will be AC2 on steroids. It’s going to rock hard!”

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4.) Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Treyarch

Genre: FPS

Release Date: November 9, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS, Wii, PC, DS

MSRP: $59.99 (Hardened Edition $79.99, Prestige Edition $149.99)

Website: http://www.callofduty.com/blackops

Call of Duty: Black Ops is a first-person shooter with stealth and tactical play aspect that puts players in the role of a shadow soldier fighting in a variety of historically representative fictional Black Ops missions of the Cold War era. Created with the input of actual Black Ops soldiers from the time, the game mixes traditional Call of Duty tactical shooter gameplay with new gameplay options designed to expand the players’ experience. Additional features include extensive multiplayer options, along with new vehicles and explosive new weapons.

Follow-up to 2009’s blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops breaks new ground in the Call of Duty series and the video game industry at large by delving into the not-so cold conflicts of the Cold War.

Inspired by the experiences of real Black Ops soldiers of the era, the missions of Call of Duty: Black Ops take the player to a wide variety of settings, ranging from snowbound mountain strongholds in historical Soviet held territories, to the jungles and urban settings of Vietnam War era SE Asia. Throughout all, care has been taken to maintain the traditional essence of Call of Duty style combat, while also introducing new types of player action that add to the gameplay experience. Additional features include co-op, versus and team-based multiplayer options, new vehicles like the SR-71 Blackbird and lethal new weapons such as explosive-tipped crossbows.

Tym Kaywork, “Until the franchise falls on its face, you can’t bet against Call of Duty.”

Ross Wigg Jr., “Why this would not be at the top of any gamers list other them not being a FPS player is beyond me. Treyarch is looking to change the image of COD by adding in many things that have made other FPS type games fun. Customizing will add in a whole new level. Replay value will be high too as far as multi-player goes. Add in the great story mode and how could you go wrong. Oh yeah and ZOMBIES!!”

Paul Battani, “I’m not much of a CoD fan, even though I played all of them from Call of Duty 2 on. Black Ops looks to be much improved over previous Treyarch entries into the series.”

Steve O’Rourke, “Looks to be the next great FPS with a good looking campaign and killer Multiplayer.”

Scott DiMonda, “Even though I was disappointed with Modern Warfare 2 I want to pick this title up just because I love multiplayer action and I am hoping it provides us with some great gaming.”

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3.) Rock Band 3

Publisher: MTV Games / Electronic Arts

Developer: Harmonix

Genre: Music

Release Date: October 26, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS

MSRP: $59.99

Website: http://www.rockband.com/

Rock Band 3 is the third main release in the iconic video game series that challenges gamers to live out their Rock & Roll fantasies together in a band situation, both locally and online. The game features an ever expanding song list from every era of Rock & Roll history, easy to pick up yet challenging addictive Note Highway gameplay, compatibility with earlier releases in the series and all platform-specific instrument controllers including most Guitar Hero controllers, extreme in-game character and band customization, and a slew of new features. These new features include: new setlist search functionality, the addition of 3-part harmonies and a keyboard peripheral and expanded play modes, including the advanced Pro Mode.

The Rock Band 3 disc soundtrack contains 83 tracks by the best bands from around the world, including bands that have never appeared in a music game, as well as support for existing Rock Band tracks (Rock Band and Rock Band 2 discs, downloaded songs, track packs, AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack, LEGO Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band). Additionally, Rock Band 3 gives players immediate access to a music library approaching 2,000 songs by launch, with new content added regularly. With a selection like this, it is clear that Rock Band’s gigantic music selection dwarfs that of any other music game on the market.

Tym Kaywork, “New instrument? Check. 2000+ songs? Check. Endless nights playing awesome music with up to 7 people? You betcha! Ultimate party game just got better.”

Jonathan Palmer, “Music games are about the best gifts you can give to anyone because they just find a way to give so much more back. A few Christmases ago I got Rock Band 2 and it’s still one of my favorite games to play today along with the first DJ Hero. With Rock Band being a great “pick up and play” friendly game, anyone would appreciate it as a gift this season.”

Steve Buccini, “It’s going to be a great family game that everyone can play and will provide limitless entertainment. A must buy for sure.”

Paul Battani, “Rock Band had redefined the musical game genre upon its initial release. Rock Band 2 took a step in the right direction and was still fun to play. With the release of Rock Band 3, the game has been propelled into a new level of fun. If you are frustrated by the 4 person limit for a band in RB1/RB2, then RB3 is for you. With the keyboard instrument edition and addition of harmonies, you can have 7 people jamming together.”

Julian Montoya, “I think we’re all growing a little (or a lot?) tired of music games. With more than 5 “Hero” titles released last year, and a couple more this year, it’s only natural the genre has begun to grow stale. But Harmonix knows how to create groundbreaking stuff, and while RB3 wont split history in half, it certainly looks like a huge evolution over its predecessor. With refined drums gameplay, the ability to have three voices together, the addition of keyboards and a kick-ass real guitar as a controller, RB3 is sure to keep you busy this holiday season.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “My wife and I love playing Rock Band together. She’s on drums and I’m on guitar or bass. We always break this out when we have friends and/or family over and it always ends up giving us hours of fun. So naturally we are extremely excited to snag Rock Band 3. From a musician’s standpoint (I play a real bass in a band) I can’t wait to dig my claws into the pro mode and see how well it really works.”

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2.) Fallout: New Vegas

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Genre: Role-Playing Game

Release Date: October 19, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

MSRP: $59.99

Website: http://fallout.bethsoft.com/index.html

Read the P*N Review here!

Welcome to Vegas. New Vegas.

It’s the kind of town where you dig your own grave prior to being shot in the head and left for dead…and that’s before things really get ugly. It’s a town of dreamers and desperados being torn apart by warring factions vying for complete control of this desert oasis. It’s a place where the right kind of person with the right kind of weaponry can really make a name for themselves, and make more than an enemy or two along the way.

As you battle your way across the heat-blasted Mojave Wasteland, the colossal Hoover Dam, and the neon drenched Vegas Strip, you’ll be introduced to a colorful cast of characters, power-hungry factions, special weapons, mutated creatures and much more. Choose sides in the upcoming war or declare “winner takes all” and crown yourself the King of New Vegas in this follow-up to the 2008 videogame of the year, Fallout 3.

Bobby Gonzalez, “Lets face it, during the holidays you get sick of seeing your dumb family. Get them Fallout New Vegas and they will leave for the bright lights and giant killer freaks of the wasteland for days.”

Tym Kaywork, “No RPG fan should be without this game, bugs and all.”

Patrick Talbert, “Bethesda. Obsidian. Fallout universe. Nuff Said.”

Steve O’Rourke, “Sure, it’s buggy and glitchy right now, but it’s the Fallout we have grown to love since Fallout 3, with more post apocalyptic goodness.”

Scott diMonda, “This title was on top of my list until it was found out to be plagued with problems, but I am hoping by the holidays the patch had been released and fixes the game. I truly want to be immersed into Fallout once again as I love the Fallout series and want to check out New Vegas.”

Mitchel Broussard, “So you played Fallout 3, beat every mission, foraged for every weapon, met all the quirky characters…now what? You do it all again in Vegas, duh. I think I speak for the entire gaming community when I say that I really could care less if it’s exactly like Fallout 3. Give me new quests, new characters, and a new map and I’m a happy guy. As luck would have it, that’s exactly what we’re getting here, and so so much more.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “Fallout 3 was my favorite game of 2008, so naturally I am super stoked to play New Vegas. This game is on the top of MY Christmas list! Mutant swine, be ready to taste lead and cold steel, ’cause I’m coming down hard on you this winter!!!”

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1.) Halo Reach

Publisher: Microsoft

Developer: Bungie Software

Genre: First-person Shooter

Release Date: September 14, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360

MSRP: $59.99 (Limited Edition $79.99, Legendary Edition $149.99)

Website: http://www.bungie.net

Read the P*N Review here!

Halo: Reach, developed exclusively for Xbox 360, is the blockbuster prequel to the landmark Halo video game franchise and is the biggest game yet in the Halo series. Halo is one of the biggest video game series in history, and is the top selling franchise on Xbox. It has defined a generation of gamers and changed how people view video games.

Halo: Reach tells the tragic and heroic story of Noble Team, a group of Spartans, who through great sacrifice and courage saved countless lives in the face of impossible odds. The planet Reach is humanity’s last line of defense between the encroaching Covenant and their ultimate goal, the destruction of Earth. If it falls, humanity will be perched on the brink of destruction.

Product Features:

  • Welcome to Noble Team. “Halo: Reach” immerses you in the ominous and heroic story of “Halo: Reach” as you play as a member of Noble Team, a squad of iconic Spartan soldiers, each with deadly talents as unique as their individual personalities and customized gear.
  • An Intense and Epic Campaign. Live the events that set the stage for the “Halo” trilogy as the UNSC and Covenant clash at the height of their military power. New weapons, vehicles, and abilities complement the familiar “Halo” arsenal for the largest-scale battles ever witnessed in the “Halo” universe. Fiercely cunning artificial intelligence (AI) adds depth and complexity to each encounter, helping make every play-through a unique and challenging experience, whether players go it alone or connect with up to three friends to launch a cooperative assault.
  • The Definitive Multiplayer Experience. The “Halo” series has set the gold standard for the multiplayer experience in video games. “Halo: Reach” continues that rich tradition by introducing a dramatically expanded suite of multiplayer offerings that promise once again to redefine the landscape of online gaming.
  • Stunning Technical Advancements. “Halo: Reach”takes a significant leap forward with all-new engine technology representing the next generation of art,audio, AI, animation and Hollywood-style special effects. Power through massive scale combat across sweeping open environments and fight up close and personal along side new characters and creatures as you unravel mysteries buried deep in the “Halo”universe.
  • New social settings for match making enable you to play with the people you want, find like-minded teammates, vote on preferred maps and game types and also keep an active roster.
  • Matchmaking is now integrated across every facet of “Halo: Reach,” including campaign mode and Firefight.
  • The next generation of Firefight mode lets players go head-to-head in versus mode and allows for an incredibly deep level of customization and replay ability by allowing players to change game rules and settings.
  • New multiplayer game modes like “Invasion” and “Arena” offer competitive players a chance to show off their skills like never before.
  • Forge tools and the advent of the Forge World space enable players to construct entirely new maps and game modes and share them with the “Halo” community over Xbox LIVE. The future of “Halo” multiplayer experiences will continue to grow and be shaped by the people who play it for years to come.
  • Player Customization & Reward. “Halo: Reach” gives you the ability to customize and personalize your Spartan with a staggering array of armor accessories that will appear in both multiplayer and campaign play. Across every game mode, you’re rewarded for everything you do, for every style of play, earning valuable credits that can be used to unlock additional cosmetic upgrades via the Armory.

Tym Kaywork, “Biggest game of the year? I’m still waiting on it myself, but it is a must-have game for the 360.”

Jonathan Palmer, “Even though I’m not that much of a Halo fan, I must admit that Reach is one of the most fun gaming experiences you can have right about now. From the crazy online multiplayer to just playing around with some friends and family, Halo: Reach is both challenging and addicting at the same time. A true must buy.”

Angel Pelaez, “To put it simple; it’s great. You and your friends will be playing this for years to come.”

Steve Buccini, “This game is going to have legs. Treat yourself, and you will be playing this game online with your friends for a long time to come.”

Paul Battani, “I have a soft spot for Halo games as the first was originally what got me back into gaming on the original Xbox. And while I think the series peaked with Halo 2, Halo: Reach is a nice step in a familiar direction. The challenges, firefight mode and stellar multi-player make the game a hit.”

Steve O’Rourke, “Its HALO, with addicting Muiltplayer and furthering the Halo storyline. All I have is 2 words….Why Not?”

Julian Montoya, “This must be like the best game evah. No, seriously, it is. It’s got an awesome campaign, based on the agonizing moments of planet Reach, and a team of Spartan super-soldiers who eventually become heroes that will be forever remembered. In addition, the multiplayer is probably the most fun you’ll have this year, with a huge amount of little awesome details like the commendation system and the daily challenges. Oh, and don’t forget improved versions of both Firefight and Forge.”

Rane Pollock, “Mainly if you know somebody that doesn’t already have it. Would go well with a year of Xbox Live.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “This is THE game to play this season. If you don’t already own it, get it! Ask your mom, ask your dad, ask Santa. Hell, ask anybody you know to buy this for you. Bungie won’t let you down this Christmas.”

Well there you have it folks. These were the Top Ten games for the holiday season voted on by the staff members of your favorite gaming website. The rest of the games listed below didn’t make the list, but are still noteworthy in their own right. Don’t miss out on these games!

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The Rest:

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God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP)

Tym Kaywork, “This surprising title would put most current-gen system games to shame. An amazing game that gives more details on Kratos’s rage.”

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Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360, PS3)

Jonathan Palmer, “The game is already great enough to entertain anyone’s 60 dollars as it is, but with the downloadable content that Red Dead has going for it, it’s definitely a purchase worth looking into.”

Angel Pelaez, “A great story, decent multiplayer component and awesome DLC is what you’ll find in here. You cannot go wrong with this contender for Game of the Year.”

Scott diMonda, “Undead Nightmare! Now I know this is only DLC but if you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption do yourself a favor and pick it up and you will see what I mean. This is where the DLC comes in. Undead Nightmare is going to be an excellent supplement to RDR and will be tons of fun to play.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “You won’t find a better story campaign than Red Dead’s. If you haven’t already checked this game out, do yourself a favor and slap it on your Christmas Wish List!”

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The Sly Collection (PS3)

Paul Battani, “Popular series back on the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2, Sly Cooper is back in this collection of games updated and collected on one disc for enjoyment using your PS3.”

Mitchel Broussard, “Oh God, how I could go on as to why you should get this game. Never played it? Get it. Played every game 50 times over (like me)? Get it. It’s part stealth, part open world, part action brawler, part platformer and it just works so satisfyingly well. Despite the third game which may have bit off more than it could chew, these are some of the best games on any console of the last generation.”

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Vanquish (Xbox 360, PS3)

Bobby Gonzalez, “Vanquish is something special that every gamer should try. It doesn’t have a lot of hype so there is more chance of surprising the person you are giving it to.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “I’m playing this one right now and having a lot of fun with it. A great gift for any fan of intense, action-packed shooting!”

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Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, PC)

William Johnson, “This is a no brainer. So many accolades, so many awards. Voted number 1 game on the X-Box 360 by IGN. Coming soon to a Playstation 3 near you. A intro that will have you on the edge of your seat, missions that will have you scrambling to save your life and those around you. And a ending that is so amazingly constructed, that it’s a damn unfair tease once you get to the credits. It goes without saying that you should play the first game first, and then transfer your saved character over to Mass Effect 2. Oh what? You didn’t know about that? Yeah it’s 2010, we got games that will bring your character you created a year ago, into a game you’re playing today. That in itself is amazing. The cast of characters alone are worth the hours of gameplay, the engaging story brings you deep into Bioware’s carefully crafted world, and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then the upgraded action surely will. This is a must have, and finally PS3 owners will be in the know of this great game.”

Stewart Loosemore, “A deep story, great music and a unique experience as your Commander Shepherd will be different from mine.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “Just because this came out at the beginning of the year doesn’t mean it can’t compete with the new boys in town. Do Not pass this game up!”

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Alpha Protocol (Xbox 360, PS3)

Stewart Loosemore, “While it is not perfect, Alpha Protocol still has some entertainment value and should be able to be found in bargain bins.”

Brian Heitzenrater, “Great story with even better dialogue choices.”

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Alan Wake (Xbox 360)

Cooper Bibaud, “Everyone knows how long the game took to come out, and by the time it did I’m not sure if anyone fully understood how the game would play out. Personally I took a gamble and played through it and was very glad I did. I found Alan Wake to be one of the most original and unique gaming experiences I’ve ever had. It wasn’t perfect, and at times it was tedious, but the aspects it nailed, it nailed right on the head. Never have I felt the sense of utter panic, confusion, and fear so realistically than in Remedy’s little gem. It truly captures the essence of flailing around, and running for your life. Not only that, but I’ve never experienced the level of realistic interaction with NPC’s before. Every character plays along spot on, wether it be in cut-scenes or in real-time, it always felt perfectly scripted yet without ever constricting the player. It’s not for everyone, but I personally think it deserves some big attention.”

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Supper Scribblenauts (DS)

William Johnson, “By far, the most creative game I feel that I’ve ever played. A game where you are challenged by puzzles, and have to come up with the proper, or the most ridiculous solution by typing in anything that your creative mind can come up with. You know you have it in you to reach into the depths of your conscious to offer the fire man something more than a fire house. Maybe an axe, maybe a dalmatian? Or maybe the fire truck itself? It’s all up to you, which I always appreciate in a video game. Where the decision is always yours to make. There are two styles of games, Action and Puzzle. Obviously, the action games deal with getting the mascot character – Max, creating something awesome. Explosions, battles ensue, and the puzzle side, will push you to come up with something to help Max get the Star of the level. Literally, points for creativity. It’s a game on the Nintendo DS, and Super Scribblenauts recently hit the shelves, so this holiday season, its definitely a great time to pick up both games.”

Rane Pollock, “Great for somebody with a DS as their console of choice.”

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Castlevania Lords Of Shadow (Xbox 360, PS3)

Brian Heitzenrater,This game finally does Castlevania in 3D, the right way! A superb action game that no horror lover should miss!”

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Last but not least, I want to give a shout out to a special game that you SIMPLY CAN NOT MISS this holiday season!!! Trust me on this! Nail’d is going to be a surprise hit, and I will hunt you down, door-to-door and slap you with a slimy trout if you do not give this game a try!

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nail’d

Publisher: Deep Silver

Developer: Techland (Poland)

Genre: Racing

Release Date: November 30, 2010

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

MSRP: $49.99

Website: http://naild.deepsilver.com/#index.php/us/home.html

Steep slopes, suddenly appearing obstacles and surprising turns in the track demand sharp reflexes, requiring players to give their all. Through its insane bursts of speed, nail’d will catapult you from one adrenalin boost to the next. In a tournament, players will charge through diverse geographical track settings, e.g. between the redwood trees and sheer granite mountain faces of Yosemite National Park. Players in nail’d get to choose between various vehicle classes, including motorbikes and quads. Once they have picked their wheels, it’s time to hit the track and prevail against challenging AI opponents.

A compelling soundtrack by well-known bands helps to urge you on to do your very best. Moreover, a multi-player mode allows you to secure one of the top ranks in the leaderboards of global online tournaments.

Take the extreme racing experience to a new level with over the top tracks and break-speeds

Game Features:

  • Non-stop adrenalin -Constant sensation of ultimate speed is the players companion throughout the game. Lightning-fast reflexes and tactic skills are what stands between victory and defeat.
  • Vertical Experience – Breakneck rides on near vertical mountainsides with up to 70-degree slopes – feel your heart pumping!
  • Monumental Tracks – Extreme track design with breathtaking vistas – learning the inside-outs of their topography will be an advantage in the race for #1
  • Air Control – Steer your vehicle mid air allowing for full control over your ride. Shortening or lengthening your jumps, changing angles can make or break your lap time.
  • Race on mud-shredding ATVs and powerful motocross bikes

Game Highlights:

Created by an experienced development team responsible for some of the biggest hits in the racing genre, nail’d is designed to make every other so-called extreme sports game cry and run home to mamma. No other game delivers the sensation of speed and danger and no other game can set pulses racing like nail’d. Other games claim to deliver an adrenaline rush? Ok, grandma, whatever you say – come back when you can claim to have mind-warping courses running down near-vertical mountainsides and chasms that make the grand canyon look like a crack in the sidewalk. nail’d features an incredible soundtrack of today’s hottest metal, rock and punk acts along with original tunes written and performed by a super-group of famous musicians. Cutting-edge visuals and massive online multiplayer competition crown a game that is set to shake the foundations of racing games and set the benchmark for others to emulate.

Brian Heitzenrater, “This IS going to be one of THE best arcade racing games of the year!”


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