Monday, November 24, 2008

The Christmas Gaming Gift Guide 2008 Part 2: Worth a look

Welcome back to Part 2 of my Christmas Gaming Gift Guide for 2008. This time I am focusing on 10 games that are by no means essential, but are still definitely worth a look. Some of these are slightly older games that were released earlier in the year and should now have started to come down in price.

Quantum of Solace - Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PS2 - Out Now

Forget comparisons to GoldenEye, Quantum of Solace is more likely to be held up against Call of Duty 4 and World at War, seeing as it's based on the same engine that powered both of those games. Early reports are that it can't quite match them for depth and quality of gameplay, but for Bond fans this is probably the best 007 game for a long time. It's is based both on the new film and also features flashbacks to the story of Casino Royale, with both single player and multiplayer modes.

Gears of War 2 - Xbox 360 - Out Now

I seem to be the only person that isn't particularly excited about Gears of War 2, but I would still like to check it out one day. All that I've seen would suggest that it is more of the same, but bigger, badder and louder than before. I did really like the multiplayer in the first game but I wish that they had included a lone wolves modes they all required you to be in a team - hopefully they have rectified this with the sequel. Horde mode also sounds interesting, but not enough to get me to shell out £40 to find out.

Mirror's Edge - PS3, Xbox 360 - Out Now

I have been quietly keeping tabs on Mirror's Edge since I first saw it splashed across the cover of Edge magazine, but it has never particularly grabbed me - mainly because of my slight apathy towards first person games. The visual style does look great admittedly, but the game has garnered quite a bit of criticism for its extremely brief lifespan (it can be completed in under six hours) and it ended up receiving a 5 out of 10 score when Edge finally came to review it. The storyline, written by Terry Pratchett's daughter Rhianna, is apparently very bad as well. It may be wise to rent this one before spending out around £40 on it.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts - Xbox 360 - Out Now

I loved the original Banjo-Kazooie on the N64, it was very nearly a Super Mario 64 beater (but not quite), so I was slightly disappointed to learn that Banjo's long awaited return would not be a platform game, but more of a freeform racing/adventure game. You explore Showdown Town, build various wacky vehicles and then complete challenges in order to earn jiggies and unlock further levels. Once you've earned a jiggy, you then have to ferry it somwhere else before you've earned it which sounds like a pointless extra step in my opinion.

The Last Remnant - Xbox 360 - Out Now

Square-Enix has released something of a small avalanche of titles upon Xbox 360 owners recently, which is heartening to see for RPG fans like myself. It seems that the machine may actually be on the way to some kind of acceptance in Japan (or at least Japanese publishers are eager to secure western gamers money). Very little is actually known about The Last Remnant at the moment, except that it appears to be a more traditional turn-based game than the recent action oriented Infinite Undiscovery. It's getting very average scores on GameRankings so far, so it may end up being just another average RPG, but it's worth keeping tabs on.

Race Driver: GRID - PC, PS3, Xbox 360, DS - Out Now

A bit of an oldie this one, having been released way back in the spring, but still well worth a look nonetheless. The seriousness of previous Race Driver games has been toned down quite a bit and now the game is more of an arcade experience. The engine that powered Colin McRae: DIRT has been utilised again here and the racing is extremely fast-paced and exciting. I am not so keen on the Japanese Drift or Touge events but the game doesn't actually force you to play them, unless you want to wring all of the achievement points out of it.

Trackmania DS - DS - Out Now

Trackmania DS
was developed by the same team that also worked on the DS version of Race Driver: GRID, so they have some experience in how to squeeze the power out of Nintendo's handheld. The track designer that was a key component of the original PC games has made it over in tact, along with online play which is an extremely impressive feat. DS owners have been waiting for a decent racing game since Mario Kart DS was released several years ago, and finally they have got one!

Infinite Undiscovery - Xbox 360 - Out Now

Infinite Undiscovery has been getting pretty mixed reviews so far, and it does suffer from both a crap title and a lousy beginning, but if you manage to get through this then you will discover an enjoyable and oftentimes amusing action RPG. The main protagonist, Cappell, always seems to have sex on his mind and this can lead to some funny situations, at least until the game starts to get more serious on Disc 2. I have seen the game going for as little as £14.99, and at that price it's worth a look.

Ferrari Challenge: Trofeo Pirelli - PS3, Wii, DS, PS2 - Out Now

For those who prefer driving simulators to arcade style racing games, Ferrari Challenge: Trofeo Pirelli could be just the ticket. Ferrari fans will also be in their element here - as while you are initially only allowed to race the Ferarri Challenge car, as you progress through the different racing seasons you will unlock other models from throughout their history. It's also pretty much the only serious racer for the Nintendo Wii - it's just a shame that they insist that you use the rather unnatural remote and nunchuk combo rather than letting you use a Classic or Gamecube controller instead.

Super Smash Bros Brawl - Wii - Out Now

I know this game has been out for quite some time, but for those new to the Wii it is still most definitely worth a purchase. Featuring around 40 classic characters ranging from the usual suspects (Mario) to the more obscure (Kid Icarus, it contains a huge array of game modes. You needn't fret if you don't have any Wii owning friends to play with - the game fully supports online play, and even if you're not connected to the web there's still the surprisingly long and enjoyable Subspace Emissary mode to play through.

Join me next time as I take a look at some budget titles that you should consider putting on your Christmas list!

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