It’s that time of year again, when snow starts to fall and twinkling, multicolored lights seem to adorn almost everything. "Tis the season," they say, and for the videogame industry, this is the most important season of the year. For gamers, desires are at their peak, with a torrent of games invariably arriving between mid-October and mid-December. As a result, game sales experience a yearly spike right about now.
The TGR staff members aren’t immune to this fervent season of gaming, and have already figured out exactly what we’d like to see under the tree (or wherever else one might find gifts) this year. We’re telling all of you not only to offer some insight into our tastes and what is looking good as the year draws to a close, but also because we secretly hope that someone will send us everything listed on the following pages…
5. Resistance 2
I loved the first Resistance game and have been following Resistance 2 since I first heard of its release. Beta impressions and the early reviews have left me convinced this is going to be a great game, and it’s been a while since I played a first person shooter that excited me as much as Resistance 2 has. This is going to be a definite purchase for me when the gift cards start rolling in.
4. Chrono Trigger DS
I never got a chance to play this on the SNES, and while I hate the idea of forking over another forty dollars to Square Enix for what is essentially a straigth port, I’ve been hearing for too long that this game is the greatest RPG of all time to pass it up. I suppose I could just hold out until after the holidays and wait until there are some used copies on the market, but what fun is Christmas if you don’t spend stupid amounts of money on things?
I am one of those silly gamers who loves console gaming, but doesn’t have a 360. It’s not that I’m a PS3 or Wii fanboy, I simply chose them first and haven’t since had the disposable funds for a 360, even with the price drops. Besides, the vast majority of the games I’ve wanted to play have all been on these two systems any ways, except for Bioshock. It’s a year-old port, but I have been wanting to play this since it wowed people last year. Now that I finally have a chance, I’m totally going to be devoting a portion of Santa-driven funding toward this gem.
2. Dead Space
I love the survival horror genre, and while Dead Space has been ranked as fun-but-flawed, the horror-driven atmosphere appeals to me much more than that of the newer Resident Evil games. It might have repetitive objectives, it might even be a rip off of every space faring horror film ever made, but it sure looks spooky and I could use a good scare after all the holiday music I’m going to be force-fed in the coming month.
1. Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles is a quality SRPG that actually tries to do something different. I was sold from the get-go on this game, and with every review coming back extraordinarily positive I just want it more with each passing day. The visual style, the era it’s emulating, everything about this game just cries out as must-have to me. It’s going to be a while until Fire Emblem DS hits US shores, but I’m sure Valkyria Chronicles will last me until then!
5. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
Okay, so maybe this game wasn’t released this year. It still doesn’t change the fact that I absolutely must get my hands on it, no matter the cost. As a rabid follower of the Persona spinoffs, I always wanted to get into the parent series, but have never been able to afford to do so. With more copies of Nocturne popping up here and there, it’s now easier and cheaper than ever to check out this fantastic entry in the series. Plus, Devil May Cry’s Dante makes an appearance. It’s rather hard to say no to Dante. Come on, I’m four years late. I deserve this. Santa, don’t snub me again.
4. Samba de Amigo
Ridicule me if you must, but I never got to experience the Dreamcast version. Unless I want to shell out the cash to obtain a new Dreamcast as well as the game and maracas, I’m stuck with the Wii re-release. Seeing that I’m a self-proclaimed connoisseur of music games, I simply must try this one out! It has freaking "El Ritmo Tropical" on its tracklist. Color me jealous of those who already own it.
3. Gears of War 2
Even though 90% of my acquaintances have either ruined the story or its ending for me, I’m still looking forward to finally getting my copy as a Christmas gift. Couldn’t afford the amazing Lancer that was available, and I didn’t have it at launch. Christmas will have to be my new Emergence Day. I’m ready to annihilate some Locusts, and the original just isn’t keeping me entertained anymore.
2. Call of Duty: World at War
I’ve spent most every night of the past year or so no-scoping children with their pitiful Juggernaut and Martyrdom perks. I’m ready to step up to ripping their throats out with my pack of dogs instead. Now that the beta is over, there’s nothing left to do but patiently wait until I can experience what could be a gem actually set in World War II! Ridicule me if you must, but I’m hyped. And keep your "Treyarch is stupid" comments to yourself. Pfft.
1. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
I logged over 150 hours on Persona 3, and I enjoyed every minute. The latest, Persona 4, is supposed to deliver the same kind of experience with a new day/night and weather system along with the famous multi-Personas and social link system that made the first game a blast. I’m ready to spend all my spare time mastering this game, so December can’t come soon enough!
5. Mushroom Men: Spore Wars
The gaming world is constantly asking for something different, and Gamecock is delivering. Mushroom Men: Spore Wars gives you the chance to play as your favorite fungi and explore a backyard like never before. To me, this is why we play games: to experience something we can’t find anywhere else. This is why Mushroom Men kicks off the Christmas season for me.
4. Mirror’s Edge
This might be the first game of its kind, but it really looks to be shaping up nicely. Graphically, it looks amazing, but it is more than just looking pretty. The game integrates an action/adventure story into a first-person perspective. To me, the mix sounds just too good to pass up.
3. Left 4 Dead
This game appeals to me, mainly, because blasting zombies never gets old, but maybe more than that, being a zombie appeals to me even more. The game is much like those hordes-of-zombie games of the past, trying to survive on limited resources, but anytime Valve has something new to offer, I am there. Blasting Zombies and eating people sounds like quite the Holiday treat.
2. Fallout 3
I have played some of the game so far. I couldn’t wait to buy it, so I rented it. From what I have found in my short time with the game, it seems to be something I want to explore even more. The game has so much to offer and ridiculous amounts of content. There are easily 100 hours of gameplay. I may not devote that much time to gaming in a whole year, but over the holidays, I might just try and squeeze it all in.
1. Prince of Persia
The newest Prince of Persia has seen its fair share of criticism leading up to its release, much of it by fans of the old games. Personally, I was a bit skeptical of the game when I first saw it, but after further research, I am no longer skeptical. The game looks different from the old ones, has a new prince, and features a new AI sidekick that many fear will make the game easier, so what is there to look forward to for fans that love the old stuff? Well with the new cell shading technology that looks gorgeous and the blend in gameplay between the new and old games, this game is my must-have for the holidays. The addition of the "significant" downloadable content that we will see shortly after its release means after I make it through the 12+ hours of gameplay, I will have even more to sink my teeth into.
I’ve decided to take a different approach to this by organizing my list into my most-wanted from five major genres.
Action (Non-shooter) – Mirror’s Edge
The first-person parkour/platforming hybrid is one of the two new IPs EA is counting on to spawn new franchises. Being more risky an idea than Dead Space, this also gives Mirror’s Edge the biggest opportunity to innovate as a genre-buster if done correctly. Of course it could also be a colossal disappointment if the gameplay isn’t up to par.
Shooter – Call of Duty: World at War
I know, I know. This isn’t an Infinity Ward CoD. I know, Gears of War 2 and Resistance 2 will be bigger and probably better games. But I’m a person who, before Call of Duty 4 and Rainbow Six: Vegas, was woefully disinterested in most shooters after Black. So this is the the next game in the series that opened the door for me to care for Resistance and Gears at all. If Treyarch can correct the mistakes of CoD3 and take advantage of this new engine, WWII may be worth revisiting.
Sports – NCAA Football 2009
Online dynasty, full and proper, for a sports game. That in itself makes me love this title. Add the tweaks in gameplay, campus legend and AI, as well as the custom chants and music for specific scenarios–seemingly small but an absolute brilliant move for creating proper atmosphere for a college sports title–and you have this college football nut’s wet dream.
Platformer – LittleBigPlanet
If the community aspect of LBP comes together in the manner Sony has attempted to sell it, this might prove to be a generation-defining title. Early signs are incredibly promising, with people creating levels that fall into completely different genres from that of the main game.
RPG – Fallout 3
As an admitted Square Enix fan, it was very hard for me not to include Chrono Trigger DS in this spot. Being one of the very few people that didn’t completely drool over Oblivion at its release, I had very tempered expectations of this Fallout 3. After getting about four hours into the game, it’s easily the front-runner for my favorite RPG of the year. We’ll see if that stands upon completion, but it already feels like a must-play.
5. Need For Speed Undercover
After the black sheep that was ProStreet, Undercover should see a return to the bling-flashing, street-burning glory that was Need for Speed Underground 2. I spent hours in that game just touching up my ’wheels,’ making sure it was cool enough to get some attention from the foxy ladies whilst my girlfriend watched on in a mix of despair and loathing.
4. Mirror’s Edge
This game doesn’t seem to be everyone’s cup of tea, but after the demo I’m definitely a lover…but not much of a lover. Wait, that sounds wrong. What I’m trying to say is that I think it’s looking and feeling pretty good, but I’m not sure it’s going to be the bowl-you-over experience some would have us believe. As long as it’s better than that god-awful Free Running game.
3. Tomb Raider: Underworld
I can’t even remember the last time I played a Tomb Raider game, but Underworld has really caught my eye, and not just because Lara’s hotter than ever. Crystal Dynamics look to have really tightened up the controls, expanded upon the puzzle and combat elements, and made a beautiful-looking game. Did I mention Lara’s looking really hot?
2. Gears of War 2
How can Gears of War 2 be on my list but Resistance 2 not? I just get this feeling that’s it one or the other, and I reckon a lot of hardcore gamers out there are going to be making a pretty tough call this winter. For me, GOW2 just seems to be a touch better in almost every department, and that’s coming from a big fan of the original Resistance game.
1. Left 4 Dead
How can this not be numero uno? It’s made by Valve, it has four-player co-op, it’s got tons of zombies and it will be absolutely freaking awesome. I’m not sure there’s much else to say, because if that hasn’t sold you on Left 4 Dead then you may well not have a soul.
5. Left 4 Dead
I have some friends. They have Left 4 Dead. We like to kill zombies. We can do this together.
4. Time to play Fallout 3
Like Sinan said in his Silly Season editorial, it would be a crime to give a game as special as Fallout 3 anything less than my undivided attention. I’ve had this thing installed on my PC for about a month, and have yet to play past my in-game childhood. I have so many other games to play and obligations to satisfy, so I just keep pushing this beautiful blend of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises back to an imaginary time when I will be free to roam the post-apocalyptic world, uninterrupted. Maybe I should have wished for a time machine…
3. Metal Gear Solid 4 on 360
I love Metal Gear Solid. The truth of that statement alone would have been enough for me to grab a PS3 earlier this year, but rumors of an eventual Xbox 360 port kept me from dropping those Benjamins. Now, after all of the critical acclaim, my love and desire burns even stronger. I MUST play MGS4 soon, and a 360 port would be a big help in realizing that dream.
2. LittleBigPlanet & a PS3 to play it on
Yes, I know this sort of negates my last wish, but I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket. LittleBigPlanet earned my vote for Best of E3, but alas, I haven’t played the game since then. Somehow, buying a new console for just a couple of exclusive titles seems ill-advised in today’s economic landscape, so I wait. Regardless, LittlBigPlanet is the game that I have drooled over the most this year, and I am dying to experience what it has to offer. From the excellent platforming gameplay to the robust community features (so long as Sony doesn’t absolutely cripple that part), this game has WIN written all over it.
1. Prince of Persia
I am a huge fan of the Sands of Time trilogy, but somehow the newest game flew under my radar for quite a while. Maybe it was just that I knew the game was coming, had it on my "get these games" list, and needed to pay no more attention than that; it was a done deal. Now, though, as we draw ever closer to the game’s release, I become more and more excited by the day. What I have seen of the game thus far conjures up fantstical images of a game where Sands of Time meets Shadow of the Colossus meets the Assassin’s Creed engine meets incredible artwork…and more. Why wouldn’t this be my #1?