Video Game Holiday Shopping Guide

Well, the holiday shopping season is well underway, and whether you are buying for yourself or for others, there’s no better time to be a gamer. Despite the slow month of December, there have been plenty of games for all systems that gamers can rejoice over. “Halo 3,” “Guitar Hero III,” “Mass Effect”…the list goes on. So, The Torch is here to help! Here, we give you our tops picks for this holiday season.


Rock Band: Come on, you know there’s a little drummer boy inside of you (or the American Idol-type who would rather sing Black Sabbath than some pop garbage). Now you can go out on a world tour without ever having to leave your room. With a wide array of songs, there’s plenty for all types of rockers. Developer Harmonix is also giving this plenty of lasting value: there are weekly downloads for the game, all with reasonable price tags attached. Although, it comes at a steep price: $170 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 bundles, $160 for the PS2. All things considered, it’s not too bad of a price with the three instruments you get. One of the other downsides is that the World Band Tour doesn’t have online capabilities. Bummer. Still, even if you’re playing normal online modes and your drummer bails on you, it won’t be too hard to find a replacement.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock: The third installment of what really kicked off music games. There isn’t too much that’s changed from “Guitar Hero II,” but one of the more prominent additions is the boss battle. Face off against Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Slash (Guns ‘N Roses), and a third not-so-great-of-a-secret opponent, unleashing guitar attacks to take down the legends. They aren’t too interesting, but it’s still a nice addition. Bret Michaels fans will be pleased that he’s included in the game too, but chances are he just needed the cash. You’ll also be able to battle with online play, except PlayStation 2 owners. Sorry guys. “Guitar Hero III” is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PS2, PC, and Nintendo Wii.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: After a slightly mediocre third installment, developer Infinity War took over again (they developed COD2), updated the subject matter, and made a phenomenal game. Taking place primarily in the Middle East, the update was much needed due to the worn out WWII subject in games. The single player won’t take you too long to complete, but online play is highly addicting and rewarding. COD4 is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Nintendo DS.

Xbox 360

Mass Effect: Developer BioWare did a phenomenal job with Star Wars licensing when they made “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I” and “II.” They’ve returned to space with “Mass Effect,” a game of high intensity. Spanning the entire galaxy, you fight to stop an evil alien traitor from destroying all life as we know it. It seems a bit typical, but the way it’s told and the choices you have to make are stunning. It’s on the level of Star Wars, but without the Star Wars aspect. It’s not a typical RPG (role playing game), but it’s one of the greatest of the year.

BioShock: Imagine a world, in the 1950’s, where all authority has been avoided and utopia has been achieved amongst the Earth’s intellects. But, that world had to sustain itself under the sea, only to meet a sad end when its citizens went insane from odd science experiments. With its art deco style, great story, and intriguing gameplay, “BioShock” is something that is better experienced than spoken of in such a manner. Also available on the PC, it is one of the games to win this year.

Halo 3: We would explain this one, but chances are 360 owners already have it.

PlayStation 3

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune: If you’re a fan of either “Indiana Jones” or “Tomb Raider,” you’re sure to love this game. With great graphics and a pretty good story, “Uncharted” is one of the games to have for the PlayStation 3. No doubt, it will turn probably be turned into a decent series.

Rachet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction: After a three year break, the popular Sony series returns with its debut on the PS3. Returning to the style of gameplay the other games of the series had, it also incorporates the PS3’s SIXAXIS motion sensor system. Not only that, but its cartoon-like style punches out some of the best looking graphics of any game on the market right now.

Nintendo Wii

Super Mario Galaxy: Despite the obscene amount of “Mario Party” games that didn’t really need to be released, Nintendo has brought about the second-coming of Mario. No longer is Mario climbing through pipes and stomping goombas like he always has. He’s doing all that and more in space. With great gameplay, a good story, and graphics that put all other Wii games to shame, there is no other game that should go ahead of this. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s the 2nd highest rated game…of all time.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: Sure, Lara Croft is the poster girl for kick-butt video game heroines. But it was Samus Aran who was the first woman character who could really deliver a beating, dating back to 1986 (many people are thrown off by the armor). “Corruption” is the last of the series and quite possibly the best one released. The gameplay may take a bit of getting used to, but the learning curve isn’t too long. This is definitely one to own.

While there are so many other games out there, we feel these are some of the best to choose from if you don’t already own them. Looking for full length reviews for all the games mentioned? Head to check up on reviews, screenshots and videos.