Wotcha! It's time for Part 2 of my Christmas gaming special. This time, I'm going to cover both the Xbox and PS2. In Part 3, I will take a look at the GBA and PC scene, and finally in Part 4 I will look at the "alternative" gaming Christmas, which means Retro and preowned titles (ideal if you're a bit hard up for cash).
The Xbox Christmas Season Top 5
5. Halo 2 - 11/11/04
Bungie's big budget sequel will be a no-brainer for most people, but not everyone can afford to pick it up on release day, and will be relying on friends or relatives to see them right on Xmas day. Expect the air to be filled with the sounds of multiplayer battles on Christmas Day, and many days after that.
4. FlatOut - 05/11/04
If you've been missing an orgy of vehicular carnage since Destruction Derby when the PS1 launched, you'd do well to check out FlatOut. There's a variety of game modes, including races where two teams go in opposite directions around the track, and mini games where your drive is thrown violently through the windscreen. These include a giant game of darts and the high jump!
3. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - 26/11/04
Also in the Gamecube section. The original was overlooked when it was first released on the PS2, but fared much better when it eventually came out on the Gamecube and Xbox a few months later. This time Ubisoft aren't making the same mistake, and the sequel is being released across all formats at the same time. The game is much darker than the original - whether that's a good or bad thing remains to be seen.
2. Goldeneye: Rogue Agent - 26/11/04
I must admit, I haven't been terribly impressed with any of EA's Bond offerings so far, but I'm always willing to give them another chance. The chances of Goldeneye living up to the greatness of the N64 game by the same name are pretty remote, but I could be pleasantly surprised.
1. Fable - out now
It's been out for quite a while already but if you haven't played it yet then it's well worth a look. It's a hack and slash RPG with plenty of humour, and your decisions can completely change your character and determine his look, and whether your good or evil. The actual game is more linear than you'd think, but it's still fascinating to see how your character develops.
Might one suggest Sonic Mega Collection Plus or Call of Duty: Finest Hour for Sir/Madam's delectation? The first one is a sugar sweet collection of platforming classics, while the latter is a rich roulade of blood and bullets set in, you guessed it, World War II.
Santa will definitely be coming down the chimney when he checks out this little lot (he'll probably have to change his underwear!).
The PlayStation 2 Christmas Season Top 5
5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - out now
This is officially Sony's Big Gun in the battle against Halo 2, and it's almost a match for the Master Chief. I've already played over 20 hours worth since buying the game last week, and I've not even begun to exhaust all the possibilities in the first city alone. Pool, track racing, gang wars, betting, racing down a huge mountain, parachuting, hauling cargo around the state and much much more than you ever thought the PS2 is capable of. Completely essential!
4. Jak 3 - 26/11/04
I've always been a fan of Naughty Dog's platform/shoot 'em up series, and Jak 3 looks like it's going to take the series out with a bang. If you have kids that are too young to enjoy GTA, then the Jak games are a very good alternative. This time Jak, Daxter and Pecker have been cast out into the Wasteland, and must find a way back into Haven City to try and save the population from yet another nefarious scheme!
3. Sega Superstars - out now
Christmas is an ideal time to whip out your EyeToy (no innuendo implied) and enjoy some party game madness. Sega Superstars contains 12 different games each based on a gaming classic, such as Sonic, Samba de Amigo, Virtua Fighter, Puyo Puyo, Space Channel 5, or my current favourite, Nights Into Dreams.
2. Killzone - 26/11/04
For me the jury is still out as to whether this is the Halo beater everyone is making it out to be, but it certainly looks impressive at the moment. The market is being saturated with FPS's at the moment, but when they're all of such high quality who cares?
1. Dancing Stage Fusion - 05/11/04
Another excuse to look like a total tit in front of your friends, the latest version of the dance mat game also incorporates EyeToy moves at the same time, guaranteeing that you will be completely and utterly exhausted!
The americans get the decidedly dodgy lessie wrestling game Rumble Roses in time for Christmas, but personally I'm much more jealous of the fact that they get Growlanser Generations and we don't. I loved Arc the Lad Collection, which was the previous release from Working Designs, and Growlanser looks just as promising, with all sorts of bonus goodies chucked in (which is a WD tradition).