Media Molecule’s huge toy box of goodies is the most charming game you’ll ever play. Dress up your Sackboy in the Santa costume free from the PlayStation Store and get to work on building a huge Christmas themed grotto from the thousands of pieces at your disposal. It’s a sure way to make you feel warm and festive inside. Shop around and you can probably pick this up for a criminally low price too. If you have a PS3, you should be ashamed of yourself if you don’t own this already.
Aww. Is there anything more saccharine sweet than a smiley Sackboy in a full Santa outfit?
This is pure fantasy magic, distilled and bound to a single shiny disc. This Christmas would be the perfect time to stop pursuing the path of evil and corruption (don’t lie, we know you took the bad path) and commit some good deeds for a change. So dance a sweet jig, put on a sock puppet show for the youngsters and then donate to the Temple of Light. Feels good, doesn’t it? It may be a little glitchy in spots, but as a slice of charmingly whimsical RPG fun, Fable II is unparalleled.
Gears Of War 2
Less Christmassy - save for the plumes of vivid Christmas red that gush from the exploded heads of your enemies - Gears Of War 2 is this year’s most essential action game. Play Horde on the avalanche stage and feel the spirit of the season as you watch helpless Locust become engulfed in ten feet of raging snow. Gears Of War 2 is the ultimate slay ride. Get it?
Left 4 Dead
Think Christmas, think armies of slavering zombies hell bent on tearing the flesh from your bones. The two go hand in hand. Alright, we admit it. There's absolutely no way we can make any kind of Yuletide link here, but it is a bloody brilliant game. It's utterly relentless, fiendishly addictive and although you can breeze through each of the game's four campaigns during a long weekend you’ll keep going back for seconds. Just like the Christmas turkey. Yes! There's your Christmas link!
What could be more inviting and festive than trudging through a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland slaughtering irradiated mutants in gratuitous slow motion? Nothing, that’s what. From those clever chaps who brought us Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3 is a similarly epic and sprawling sci-fi adventure packed to the gills with mad characters, equally mad weaponry and a constant threat of being eviscerated by angry, bubbly faced freaks. Just like Christmas shopping on London’s Oxford Street then.
Don’t let the big toothy aliens take away our freedom! Our freedom to celebrate Christmas! Show them a face full of bullets, lasers, plasma or explosives! That’ll jingle their bells, whatever that means. Resistance 2 builds upon its predecessor in practically every conceivable department. If you like, why not think of the spiky hedgehog grenades as pretty baubles that you’re throwing at the Chimera in an effort to spread Christmas cheer. Or not. Whatever.
Tomb Raider: Underworld
Lara Croft is back on stunning form in arguably the finest Tomb Raider game since the original blew us away on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Returning to what she does best - excavating ancient relics and exterminating endangered species - this is one game you don’t want to miss. Sadly, there’s no level devoted to raiding Santa’s sack, shooting his reindeers and stealing all the toys. We’d love to see that though.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Jingle bells, Batman smells…and so forth. Actually he doesn’t and he’s probably the best character in this tumultuous meeting between MK’s hellish denizens and the colourful heroes of the DC comic universe. The clue’s sort of in the title, really. Easily the best scrapper you’ll play this year until Street Fighter IV dragon punches its way out of the arcades and onto consoles. With heavy, chunky combat, this is the perfect game to resolve all of those inevitable Christmas family feuds and disagreements. Saves doing it for real again this year.
Far Cry 2
The sweltering heat and inhospitable African savannah is as far from the heart-warming Christmas cheer you can get. Thing is, after a few hours slogging through the dusty African jungles and deserts, popping pills to suppress your malaria symptoms you’ll be relieved that you’re lucky enough to slump on the sofa and watch TV or play some games. It’s a far more effective experience for how harsh life in the poverty stricken third world country is than any well-meaning, but treacly pop song can ever hope to be. Feed the world indeed. Far Cry 2 is the harshest first-person shooter around.
As the total antithesis of all things Christmas related, Dead Space is the perfect antidote to prepare you for another New Year of disappointment, unavoidable recession, a grey, rainy summer and the general malaise that follows us Brits around on a daily basis. Perhaps dismembering a few grotesque alien freakazoids will make us feel better. You know what? It does! Happy New Year everyone!
Call Of Duty: World At War
Remember the proud soldiers who fought for us so that we can enjoy our Christmas turkey rather than some sort of Seasonal bratwurst, or something. It may be Call Of Duty 4 wrapped in World War II clothing, but how can that be a bad thing? Roast the enemy’s chestnuts with the new flamethrower. Is it as good as Call Of Duty 4 though? No. Not quite. Still worth a punt though.
Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero: World Tour
Whichever one you choose to buy, you’re in for some serious, social fun either way. Rock Band may have more DLC support and is essentially the better game, but Guitar Hero has superior peripherals with an especially fantastic drum kit. Decisions, decisions. Balls to the wall, we’d plump for Rock Band as it’s like Corn Flakes, the original and best. Although that’s not to suggest Harmonix’s genius music game is anything like eating a bowl of tasteless orange scabs for breakfast. Far from it. It’s actually brilliant.
…and a partridge in a pear tree.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
We are Strategy Informer after all, so our Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a bit of tactical point and click action. Command and Conquer is and has always been the RTS daddy, and Red Alert 3 ticks all of the right boxes for any fan of the series. It’s deep enough for C&C veterans yet accessible enough to embrace inexperienced newcomers. Hell, if I can play it (I’m rubbish at RTS games), then anyone can. And its got red in the title, Santa wears red and he has a red nose reindeer. Perfect for Christmas then, we think you’ll agree. Oh, and it’s so unashamedly daft, it never fails to raise a smile.
…and the rancid Christmas turkey award goes to…
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
A turgid, cynical movie tie-in that even little Billy is fully entitled to throw back in your face if he finds it under the tree this Christmas. This kind of thing wouldn’t have been acceptable during the last-generation of consoles, so don’t stand for it now. In simple terms, don’t buy it! You’ll be promoting lazy, tired and uninspired gaming, causing more of this junk to get made in the future. Also, for every person who buys Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a cute, fluffy bunny dies. True story. You know, in retrospect, we may have been a bit too kind with our Madagascar review.
PS. Bear in mind that with most game retailers struggling on the high street, you may be able to bag yourself a bargain in stores this Christmas. The internet may offer convenience and a multitude of cheap games, but spare a thought for your local game emporium this Yuletide season and try to buy new games wherever possible. Remember buying new ensures that the hard-working people who put their blood, sweat and tears into what you’re playing get a bit of money instead of the retailer getting all of the profit. You may also manage to pick up some deals in the January sales too. The cardinal rule is to always shop around. Ithankyouverymuch.
Are there any games we've forgotten? Shout about it! Leave a comment! Keep it civilised people!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL AT STRATEGY INFORMER.COM!