Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles - Wii - out 30/11/07
I am a long term fan of the Resident Evil series and while the spin-off light gun series has been something of a dissapointment up to now, Umbrella Chronicles looks to rectify this. Making good use of the Wii's controllers, the game takes you on a rollercoaster ride through some of the most memorable moments from each of the games, along with some new content that will reveal things that we weren't privvy to the first time around. Will it be long enough, however?
Blue Dragon - Xbox 360 - out nowBlue Dragon has picked up some rather dissapointing review scores, which explains why I don't own it yet and also why it's been relegated from must-have status. I have played the downloadable demo and I did enjoy what I experienced, but the game does seem a bit shallow and simple compared to the likes of Final Fantasy XII. Dragon Quest VIII showed a few years ago that an RPG can be light-hearted and have huge depth at the same time, and from what I hear, Blue Dragon doesn't quite pull it off.
WipeOut Pulse - PSP - out 30/11/07
WipeOut Pulse has more tracks, weapons, teams, and modes - everthing you'd expect from a sequel. The graphics are a noticeable improvement from Pure, and the Mag Strip is introduced which lets your craft flip flop from the ground to the ceiling and back again during the course of a race. Downloadable content is promised, just like the original game (which remains one of the few games to offer such as thing to this day), as is proper online play thanks to the Infrafstructure mode. There should be enough game in here to keep you busy for quite some time.
Sega Rally Revo - Xbox 360 - out now
The original Sega Rally and its sequel still stand the test of time as true arcade classics, and the machines can be found in cinema foyers and bowling alleys to this very day. Sega has made one previous attempt to update the franchise on consoles, which resulted in the shockingly poor Sega Rally 2005, but they seem to have learnt from their mistakes this time with this decidedly old school but extremely enjoyable follow up.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lion War - PSP - out now
The original Final Fantasy Tactics started out life on the original PlayStation just after the release of Final Fantasy VII, except it never made it to Europe. Although largely considered to be a classic, the game wasn't without its flaws, most noticeably the broken translation. With this remake, this has been fixed, and new animated cutscenes with full voice dialogue have also been added. You can also now get the sky pirate Balthier from FFXII and the hero from the forthcoming FFTA2 to join your party. Be warned though, it's incredibly difficult.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga - Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, DS, PSP - out 09/11/07
The Complete Saga combines all of the levels from the first Lego Star Wars and The Original Trilogy, adds some new ones and gives the whole package a bit of a boost in the graphics department. The lighting effects are more impressive and the plastic looks shinier - more of an evolution than a revolution then, but if you missed the games the first time around this is worth considering.
Zack & Wiki - Wii - out 07/12/07
Now this sounds interesting - a game that involves monkeys, pirates, pointing and clicking. Could be a succesful combination! You can turn your enemies into tools to help you solve puzzles - for example a snake can be turned into a grabbing arm to retrieve an item in a tree which is otherwise out of reach. From what I've heard, things get rather tough later on - I hope the game builds up gradually rather than being frustrating from the start.
Assassin's Creed - Xbox 360, PS3, PC - out 16/11/07
I'm in two minds about this game. It originally sounded rather cool when I first heard about it over a year ago, but it's been rammed down my throat at every opportunity by Jade Raymond at every gaming event since and I'm starting to get sick of hearing about it, and Ubisoft haven't delivered on many of their promises recently. Still, swan-diving off buildings, swaggering through crowds and stabbing people in the throat might be fun.
Wild Arms 5 - PS2 - out 30/11/07
Now, I realise it's probably a lost cause trying to convert any of you to Wild Arms fans at this stage, let alone pursuading you to buy a PS2 game, but I've been a fan of this series ever since I picked up Wild Arms 3 out of curiousity for a tenner a few years back. The fourth game monkeyed around with the game mechanics somewhat, but 5 returns to more traditional gameplay (except it keeps the Hex battle system from the last game).
Dewy's Adventure - Wii - out 23/11/07
The next game from the Eledees/Elebits team sees you in control of an anthropomorphic blob of H2O, who can move between a solid, a liquid or a gas state to solve various puzzles. The Wii controls are put to good use in this charming game. It may not appeal to the "I only play Halo, I'm 'ard me... grrr" crowd, but I for one would not be ashamed to be seen playing a game with so much imagination.
So there you are, if you have a spare bit of Christmas cash and you're not sure what to do with it, then consider one of these game. Next time, I will be featuring 10 excellent games you can pick up at a budget price, so if you haven't got much to spend or you just want to make what cash you have got stretch further, take a look!