Getting a present for a gamer over the holidays isn't as easy a matter as it may sound. Sure, you want to get him or her a game to play, but which game? What system? You want to get them the right game for the genre they enjoy, and that's where we come in. In our 2008 Holiday Gift Guide all you need to know is what kinds of video games they play, and plan accordingly. Do they like shooting things? We've got some games for them. If they like racing, yeah, we've got the shopping list covered too. A bevy of genres for you to peruse lay below, so that you can rest knowing you're getting them the right gift this year.
Below you'll find our Holiday Picks for the PlayStation 3. To check out our full guide, please visit out Holiday Guide Index.
For the Shooter Fan...
Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway
For those who prefer some great storytelling and a strategic slant to their shooter action would do well to check this title out. It may not be perfect, but BiA represents a genuniely enriching gaming experience. This unique approach to shooters may even be enough to bring you back for one more digital tour of duty with the 101st airborne.
Call of Duty: World at War
If you're sick of World War II shooters, you owe it to yourself to try this one out for three reasons. One, it has a fantastic and addictive co-op Nazi Zombie mode. Two, it's part of one of the most successful and critically acclaimed shooter franchises on the market. Three, it successfully replicates the success of last year's Call of Duty 4, including the amazing graphics, framerate, game engine, tight controls, and addictive multiplayer. Okay, so that was like eight reasons, but that just makes it all the more worthwhile for the WWII buff on your list.
Anything worth killing is worth killing by dismemberment, says Dead Space. Set on a space station filled with horrors, Dead Space redefines the survival-horror genre. Taking down enemies is now more than just filling them with bullets, and each battle is a struggle to keep your head attached to your body as you try to figure out what, exactly, happened to the hapless victims. It's worthy to be played by anyone who enjoys a scare and even more so by anyone who likes to take an industrial cutting laser to a creeping undead horror.
Far Cry 2
The dawn breaks as you exit your safe house and gaze at the miles and miles of unfriendly African landscape. In Far Cry 2, you are a government mercenary sent to the war-torn continent to kill a weapons dealer known only as The Jackal. Traverse over fifty square kilometers of realistically modeled landscape as you bring down governments, collect conflict diamonds and generally just shoot at anything and everything. A new feature, the environment can be set ablaze, which will burn realistically and send the bad guys running.
This "go anywhere and do anything" approach means some time is spent driving, boating or hang-gliding to your destination. Still, the fun is in the journey, and this breathtaking game is a great gift for anyone who likes to keep a finger on the trigger and a grenade in the ready. Not ones for the kiddies, however!
Resistance 2 for the PlayStation 3 is definitely worth your time. While the single player campaign is solid, true value lies in the online co-operative mode. Three different job classes are available to be played: Soldier, Special Ops and Medic. Each job has a unique function and is dependent on the skills of the others. By structuring the co-op mode in this way, Insomniac Games has created an online experience that is fun, challenging and truly co-operative.
For the Action Fan...
Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto is back and tops the charts with 10's across the board. Although it's the ninth in the series, GTA IV is the first proper step into the next-gen gaming world. Of course it features much of the same style of gameplay; but if it isn't broken, why fix it? Give the gift of virtual crime and let someone drive, shoot, steal, stab, drink, race, and customize their way throughout the holiday season. But with well over 11 million copies sold, you might want to make sure the lucky recipient of this gift doesn't own GTA IV already.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
A perfect blend of gameplaying and storytelling, this is the game that Metal Gear Solid fans have been hoping for and the reason why you have a PlayStation 3. The definitive gift for fans of the series. It's a little cutscene-heavy, but if you've played the games before it then you'll understand why. Recurring characters, heavy plot, impressive graphics, and classic MGS gameplay mixed in with some new elements will keep your giftee planted in front of the television. Keeping the elements that made the other installments so successful such as immersive stealth action gameplay, cinematic cutscenes and compelling storytelling, MGS4 shows you what the PS3 can really do. The game is packed with stunning graphics and immersive audio, creating a world that is almost as real and tangible as our own. If you're a fan of the series or someone new to the adventures of Solid Snake, MGS4 is worth checking out.
Saint's Row 2
Whereas GTA tends to go down the italian mob route, Saints Row rocks the gangsta lifestyle. The game offers a much less realistic view of the genre, but it can often be a lot more fun because of it. The ability to play through the entire game with a friend in co-op is also an extremely welcome addition that is tons of fun. With much of the same style of gameplay as the original, with a sandbox story line and more guns and cars than you can shake a stick at, Saints Row 2 won't fail to impress.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
If you've ever taken a flashlight and made whoosing and crashing sounds while pretending to duel Darth Vader, this game is for you. By giving players full control over a plethora of force powers, they'll be given the opportunity to see what it feels like to be a badass with a fistful of force vengeance. The game certainly has a few flaws like linear level design and floaty controls, but that won't matter when you're flinging TIE fighters at hapless Storm troopers. A must buy for any Star Wars fan on your christmas list.
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
If you're like us, then you love Black Suit Spider-Man. While the last movie may not have been a decent representation of our symbiont-fused hero, this game truly is. With the swinging system of Spider-Man 2: The Video Game still intact, a new Web Strike system that integrates web swinging and frantic mid-air combat and the ability to change between the two suits on the fly, if you say that you are a Spider-Man fan and don't have this game then you have obviously forgot to put this on the list to Santa.
For the Music Lover...
Rock Band 2
So you want to form a band, but neither you nor your friends can play to save your skins? Fear not! Gather round the television and have fun rockin' out to tunes with your four-man band! It's a great game to play when you get together with friends and family, and even if you can't sing you can simply pretend to screech along the melody. And better yet, if they've already own the first Rock Band, the tracks can be imported and nearly double the track list in game.
For The Role-Playing Fan...
Worth playing just to explore the ruins of post-apocalyptic Washington DC, Fallout 3 mixes action and role-playing elements for an unforgettable experience. Play the game from infancy to your ultimate destiny as either hero of the people or villain feared by all. The remains of popular landmarks, art deco ruins, and cobbled together survivor settlements dot the bleak yet beautiful terrain. Horrible mutants and insane robots will be around every corner, but a cast of strange characters can be found to help you on your journeys. The combat system uses a turn based/real time hybrid that allows for stunningly bloody combats and is more forgiving for RPG fans who prefer Fallout's traditional turn based system.
Fun For The Whole Family...
The perfect gift for the creative artist on your list. With classic 2D platforming action and streamlined let powerful level editing tools, LittleBigPlanet is less of a game and more like a massive YouTube for aspiring level designers. Toss in an adorable little SackBoy as a mascot, and you've got the killer app for the PlayStation Network, if not the PlayStation 3 itself.
For The Racing Fan...
For those who love cars but don't have to time to put into a heavy sim like Forza Motorsport to Gran Turismo will love GRID. With a solid selection of real world cars and realistic yet forgiving physics, GRID is the perfect gift for the speed junkie in your life. Add in a fantastic rewind function and a load of different race types, you have a game that you can play for ten minutes or for hours on end.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue
Even though it's technically a demo, there's more gameplay present here than in two other full length games. While the full version promises to be a life destroying experience, that's not to say there isn't some value in this $30 lite-package. With unbelievable graphics, tight controls and the most realistic physics ever seem in a video game ever, any hardcore nut would be thrilled to find this game under the tree on the 25th.
Not many game really capture the essence of what it is to be "arcade". That is to say, there aren't an abundance of games able to be accessible and fun, but at the same time frantic and challenging. Burnout Paradise is the fifth game in this long-running franchise, which has players weaving in and out of traffic reaching incredible speeds. Every crash lapses the game into an arthouse display of slow-mo twisted metal and shattered glass. It is the quintessential arcade experience.
What's more, is recent free additions such as a day/night cycle and the inclusion of motor bikes makes this open-world racer extra-appealing, especially considering its budget-friendly price point.
Sports Fans Rejoice...
Madden NFL 09
Madden is back, and bigger than ever. 09's reiteration of the popular football series hits the field with vastly improved graphics, smooth controls, and great gameplay. The new "Backtrack" feature is also a welcome addition which allows players to see where a certain play failed, and even rewind time to try again. Complete with online leagues and the return of both superstar and franchise mode, Madden 09 is definitely a great choice for any football fan this holiday season.
The puck has dropped on the ultimate Canadian sports franchise, and this year has put together a dynasty worthy effort. With a second to none dynasty mode, the innovative Be a Pro mode, and a shockingly deep online mode that borders into MMO territory, any hockey fan worth their salt must have this game in their collection. The whole experience will have you pulling your favourite team's jersey over your head and hitting the ice from the comfort of your couch.
To check out our picks across other platforms, please visit out Holiday Guide Index.