Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Guide To Holiday Shopping

In my opinion, this has been one of the biggest years in gaming. With Black Friday coming up, this guide should give you a better idea of what games you should spend your money on. We will also give you our top picks for this holiday season. We have the base prices listed for each game but you may expect a very large number of these games to go on sale between Thanksgiving and New Years; I should note that many of these games are already on sale on places like Amazon and Steam.

Gears Of War 3 (Xbox 360) $60

This is the final chapter in the Gears series. Being one of the top selling games this year, Gears of War 3 gives you a fast action third person shooter to wrap up the epic storyline and bro-tastic one liners. The multiplayer is much more polished this time around and will give you hours of game time after you complete the campaign.

Uncharted 3 (PS3) $60

The Uncharted series has quickly become one of the most popular games to hit the PS3. Being the love child of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), Uncharted brings classic action/adventure story with a movie like production value. With the best single player story of the series and a very strong multiplayer experience, Uncharted 3 is a major contender for game of the year. Check out our full review!

Batman: Arkham City (Xbox360, PS3, PC) $50-$60

Following up from Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City takes the Dark Knight to the streets of Gotham in a huge prison city filled with some of Batman's most infamous villains. Though the game itself is not very long, the story is rich with the Batman lore fans love.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3, Xbox360, PC) $60

After 5 years of development the next chapter of the Elder Scrolls series is here. With an epic high fantasy story and gorgeous graphics, Skyrim delivers the full package for hardcore gamers. There are hours and hours to sink into this game and you wont even be scratching the surface of the expansive world Skyrim offers. If you want to take on your own epic journey filled with magic and dragons, Skyrim should be at the top of your list! Check out our early impressions.

Dark Souls (PS3, Xbox360) $60

This is one of the most difficult games I have ever played in my life. With a rich dark fantasy setting, Dark Souls gives you ruthless third person action gameplay mixed with some of the most memorable boss fights in any game. This game is long, tough and addicting. Prepare to die... a lot. We also have some impressions of Dark Souls, from some early experiences.

Battlefield 3 (Xbox360, PS3, PC) $60

One of the big contenders this year in the war of first person shooters. Battlefield 3 comes out swinging with large scale battles, intense shoot outs and some of the best graphics ever seen in the FPS genre. Though the single player is not the highlight of this game, Battlefield's multiplayer and new graphics engine are unforgettable.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PS3, Xbox360, PC) $60

The other contender in the war of FPS, MW3 brings more of the fast pace team deathmatch multiplayer as its predecessors. Continuing on the same storyline from previous Modern Warfare games, MW3 brings the fight to New York, Paris and London. Fans of the franchise can expect more of the same great multiplayer gameplay with some added features and polished graphics.

NBA 2K12 (Xbox360, PS3, PC) $60

The NBA 2K series has always been raising the bar in the basketball gaming genre. This year is no different. NBA 2k12 has added many new features while improving the game overall. Players act and move like you would see on a Thursday night game, franchise mode is now online where you can compete with friends over a season, and the graphics are polished.

WWE 12 (PS3, Xbox360, Wii) $60

Ditching the previous "Raw Vs Smackdown" title, WWE 12 got an overhaul from the ground up and is also one of the best wrestling games of all time. You can customize almost anything and the story lines are a lot better this time around.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii) $50

Being one of the Wii's last big game release, Skyward Sword has been dubbed the best Zelda game EVER! Now this is a bold statement and to each their own but if critics are giving such a bold statment, this game is worth checking out. Skyward Sword goes back to early Hyrule focusing on Zelda and Link's early adolescence. With the fifty plus hours of promised gameplay and all the fantastic reviews out there this is a must own for fans of the Zelda series and Wii owners.

Rayman Origins (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, PSVita) $60

Rayman takes you back to the classic 2D platform and makes you remember why you loved those games so much. Set in a very quirky, unique environment, Rayman Orgins gives you high class entertainment and fun without slapping a "Mature" rating on the cover and putting you in a war torn world. If you want a high quality platformer look no further.

Super Mario Land 3D (Nintendo 3DS) 

It's no secret that the Nintendo 3DS has had a rough start since hitting the shelves. While the 3DS initially was criticized for it's lack of games they have have finally released its best game yet for the portable console. Super Mario 3D takes you an a classic and enriched adventure in the Mario universe. With influences from Mario Galaxy and Mario 64, this game blends the two together and delivers a memorable 3D experience. Game developers at Nintendo brought out the best in the 3DS to show its gaming capabilities and what can come out of using the technology. Dust off your 3DS and get ready to stomp more Goombas!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3, Xbox360, PC) $50

With technology taking over our daily lives, Deus Ex puts us in the near future where human augmentation and cybernetics has become part of normal life and also a huge political debate. Lying somewhere between Blade Runner and Robocop, Deus Ex mixes an espionage storyline with stealth and action gameplay. It separates itself from the busy FPS world by creating an experience that focuses on choices, story and unique rpg orientated gameplay.  Check out our review!

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (PS3) $50

Playstation released 3 Metal Gear Solid games into 1 HD collection. For the first time you can get Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker all on one disc. These are three epic games that have been altered to give you an HD experience like no other. Revisit these classics this holiday season!

Portal 2 (PS3, Xbox360, PC) $30

The original Portal took the gaming community by storm. With its brain teasing puzzles to its many references to cakes and companion cubes, it became an instant classic. This year Valve has taken Portal to a whole new level. With even more puzzles and some of the best voice acting in modern gaming, Portal 2 is a must have.  Check out our review!

The ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection (PS3) $40

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were both PS2 games that were very innovative and graphically impressive. Shadow of the Colossus is a beloved PS2 game and stated as one of the best games out there with it's eerily empty and beautiful world, strange storyline, massive enemies and it's music. It also created one of the strongest silent lead characters of all time, plus what other game out there makes people feel as guilty and sad about killing the games enemies. This HD collection pack came out not too long ago and is wonderful for any fans of the series.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC, Xbox 360) $40-$60

The Witcher 2 may have come out last spring but it recently just came out with it's huge 2.0, free, update that added in an arena, new tutorial and a new mode called Dark Mode. This phenomenal sequel is a rpg for mature gamers, one that gives you fairly opens areas with many options and a lot of different choices to make throughout the storyline. What makes it unique is its dark and brutal world where friends will and can die by your choices. The Witcher 2 is cheaper than ever and a fantastic rpg that no one should miss out on it, even if just to support it's no drm gamer focused developers, CD Projekt Red. Check out our review!

Stocking Stuffers (Downloadable / Indie Games)

Orcs Must Die! (Xbox360, PC) $15

OMD brings a unique twist on the typical turret defense genre. the title pretty much says it all, kill orcs by any means necessary. Throughout the game you are given upgrades to battle your way through hordes of orcs. There are 24 unique fortresses with DLC available for more traps, levels and magic. Check out our Review!

Bastion (Xbox360, PC) $15

Bastion is a very bright and colorful RPG released during XBLA Summer of Arcade. It is reminiscent Zelda mixed with its own unique story and gameplay. It also has the greatest narrator voice following your every movement which makes it even that much more enjoyable. Check out our review

Dungeon Defenders (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) $15

Dungeon Defenders is a multiplayer orientated tower defense role playing game hybrid. It provides a vast amount of content with it's four classes, seventy levels to achieve and seemingly endless amounts of loot to collect. You can have many characters and participate in quite a few story levels, plus there are also a large amount of bonus missions to change up the experience. The developers are dedicated to the community and are always holding special events. They just released modding tools and a capture the flag mode as well. Check out review here.

Crimson Alliance (Xbox 360) $15

We here like Space Pirates and Zombie, just look at the name what implications does the name have about the content of the game that is not interesting? SPAZ is all about exploring a randomly generated universe jam packed with missions, enemies, factions, asteroids, stars and so much more. This is a huge game, if you choose the max universe size, and it opens up the universe to you right from the start. It has an old arcade feel that adds on some depth with all of it's customization and strategy options as you fly your homebase through the universe fighting anyone who you wish to fight. The game is so big that we never got around to reviewing it, at least not yet, but here are some detailed impressions we did a while back. Looking for something different, something with substantial longevity? Check out SPAZ on Steam.

Adam's Top Picks

Battlefield 3 - Out of all the big first person shooters that came out this year, Battlefield 3 came out on top in my opinion.  I have always been a fan of the large scale battles and teamwork rather than the "lone wolf" small battles MW3 has.  If you have a powerful machine I would recommend getting it for PC.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution -  Deus Ex was one of those games I wasn't sure about when it was coming out for release.  After picking it up and playing, I was pleasantly surprised just how good the game really is.  Following a really good story in the not so distant future, Deus Ex lets you play the game the way you want to.  You can run in guns blazing, or use stealth to your advantage, either way the game gives you the tools to do it.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - It's almost impossible to leave this game off the list.  Skyrim is an experience all in its own, with a huge living world to explore and an epic story line, it's easy to sink your free time into this game.  I would recommend getting this game for the PC for the mods.

Orcs Must Die! - This was one of my favorite indie games of the year.  OMD is an easy game to get into and a lot of fun.  You are given traps and magic to use to defend your fortress against waves of orcs.  Each level you play gets progressively more challenging and your given more traps to use.  There are leaderboards to compete with your friends and DLC already available.

Bastion - I had a lot of fun with this game.  Its classic RPG style gameplay and watercolor graphics make the game refreshing and enjoyable. If you are a fan of classic Zelda and Final Fantasy I would recommend this be one of your stocking stuffers this holiday season.

Sean's Top Picks

Battlefield 3 -Battlefield 3 has been my favorite multiplayer game of the year, especially after I was let down by Red Orchestra 2. It doesn't deliver a new experience but it takes much of what made BF2 and BFBC2 fantastic, creating a thoroughly long lasting and enjoyable experience.

Dark Souls -Nothing, besides Skyrim, has drawn me in the same way Dark Souls has. Everyone is always bantering about what is better but they are both excellent in their own ways. Dark Soul's brutal world is always in the back of my mind making me want to explore ever painful inch of it. Fifty hours in and I still haven't beat the game, seemingly close though. There are so many ways to play the game, so many choices and so many ways that the game doesn't even pretend to hold your hand. Demon Souls never drew me in the same way Dark Souls does and even when Skyrim came out I found it hard to break away from Dark Souls.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Forty hours of gameplay in a week and half has to mean something right? To me it means that the experience of Skyrim is so enjoyable that I constantly lose track of time and forego being productive in the real world. I was a huge fan of Oblivion, but mainly because of it's mods, and Skyrim delivers a much more whole and enjoyable experience than vanilla Oblivion ever came close to. The world this time around feels so much more full of life, danger and excitement. I cannot wait to get back to it and between Dark Souls, BF3 and Skyrim I cannot find enough time.

Second choices: Uncharted 3, Bastion, Skyward Sword. 

Alana's Top Picks

Sims 3 Pets/ Sims Medieval - Yeah, the Sims is for girls and casuals, I got that. Seriously though, if you guys just stop with your elitist BS and relaxed once and awhile, you will see that The Sims isn't so bad. The Sims and its newest expansion Sims Pets offers you SO much for your money. It's like a million games in one. You have tons of skills you can master, jobs and careers you can advance in, you can have children, ride horses and take care of kittens, you can set people on fire, EVEN GET HIT BY ASTEROIDS, and almost everything is customizable. Sims Medieval offers tons of quests and objectives that will keep you busy for hours. While it is not really anything like The Sims, it is entertaining if you're into a questing sort of game that isn't super serious.

Portal 2 - If you don't already own Portal 2 there is something seriously wrong with you. Getting past the fact that it was one of the biggest games of the year, Portal 2 is such an important (AND FUN) game with an awesome multiplayer campaign that is unparalleled.  PLUS, hours screaming at stupid friends that can't figure out simple portal puzzles - how can you not want this. Single player is just fucking amazing. Period.  Amazing graphics, lovable characters, and PUZZLES! BUY ME!!

Minecraft - Finally officially out, Minecraft has a bunch of added shit that makes it even more awesome than before. New items, monsters, enchantments, habitats, and there is even a new Creative Mode. Creative mode is my favorite because it gives you an unlimited amount of every item to build and create pretty much anything you want. This is a wonderful game for those who like to waste time and can appreciate the beauty in a game with no fancy fucking graphics.

ALSO : (obviously.) Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Mortal Kombat 

For some great Black Friday deals in gaming check out Cheap Ass Gamer, they have rounded up a great list. 


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