To help you prepare, I’ve compiled a pretty top-notch list of current games in a handy—albeit holiday cliché—list. The next time Aunt Martha asks you what you want, tell her to stuff the sweater and refer to the 12 Games of Christmas:n
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe: The world’s best/first fighting game—you actually pull a guy’s heart out of his chest—meets the world’s greatest superheroes in beautiful, glorious fights/bloodbaths. Watching Batman take on Sub-Zero in a game that works is truly a holiday miracle.n
Left 4 Dead: A wickedly dynamic multi-player game where you are on the front lines of a zombie apocalypse as either a survivor or a zombie. It’s a great game for a single player, or one of the best of the year playing with others.
Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon: Not yet reviewed at press time but sure to be a great one released Dec. 1. Crypto, the DNA-gathering alien from this popular franchise, is back in a title that likely won’t disappoint.n
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4: As everyone in the free world plays away on their next-generation consoles, it’s easy to forget the lowly PS2 quickly trudging its way into extinction. Luckily, there are games like this that still cater gourmet delights to the low-rent district. It’s a new cast, but the same complex scenarios and characters make this one worth the time and money.n
Tomb Raider Underworld: The First Lady of Video Games is back in a follow-up to Tomb Raider: Legend. Great game play, interesting levels and the hottest digital woman in the world—what more could you want?n
Animal Crossing: City Folk: In the middle of violent aliens and zombies, it’s nice to have a game where the goal is to live in peace and harmony. You take jobs, pay the mortgage and become an upstanding member of society. Kind of like real life, only without any of the responsibility.n
Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts: This is a new take on an old favorite. You design cars and other vehicles to complete various challenges. Not the Banjo you fell in love with but a great game nonetheless.n
Call of Duty: World at War: One of the best war franchises ever in a great looking, great sounding title that will allow you to work out that holiday stress.n
Mirror’s Edge: Lara Croft could be getting a run for her money as the hottest, most kick-ass babe in video games. You star as Faith, an acrobatic, wall-running message girl for the underground. You get to stick it to The Man and clear your sister’s good name in the process.n
WWE: Smackdown vs. Raw 2009: Jam-packed with 60 of wrestling’s biggest stars, this title does little to improve on previous outings, but the older incarnations were great anyway. Sure, you want this game to improve more from year to year, but if you want a fun, exciting game, you can’t do much better.n
Resistance 2: This title brings the alien infestation drama to a whole new level. The previous title featured an invasion of Europe. Now the target is the USA. It should be a fierce battle; all this one needs is an anti-alien Toby Keith song, and it would be perfect.n
Guitar Hero World Tour: Activision put the band back together—literally, this time. It’s GH’s take on the complete band mode popularized by Rock Band. It’s a really good title with a great soundtrack (“The Joker” by Steve Miller and “Mr. Crowley” by Ozzy Osbourne, to name a couple). Grab the drumsticks and your favorite axe and prepare to rock Aunt Martha’s socks off.