Gift Guide: Video gamesWritten by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Holiday game hunters can find new motion controllers, special editions and several quality games in stores this Christmas.
The Microsoft Kinect tracks movements on the Xbox 360 game console without a controller and features different activity levels. This new system includes the “Kinect Adventures” game while other Kinect titles include the crossboarder “Adrenalin Misfits,” “Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout,” “Dance Central,” and “DECA Sports Freedom.” “Sonic Free Riders” has a convenient pick-up-and-play interface with 10 characters including Sonic, Knuckles and Tails.
The PlayStation Move motion controller and navigation controller starter bundle comes with a “Sports Champions” game. Other PS Move games include “The Fight: Lights Out,” “The Shoot,” the intense shooter “Time Crisis Razing Storm,” which includes two bonus games and “Get Fit with Mel B,” which features a detailed profile to create customized workouts with approximately 200 different exercises. “DanceDanceRevolution” players can upload their own recording to YouTube and Facebook.
Check out PDP.com for special afterglow remotes and nunchucks for the Nintendo Wii, and controllers for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Music fans get the “Power Gig: Rise of the SixString” — a functioning six-string electric guitar controller on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. “EA Sports Active 2” expands various workout routines and includes a special heart-rate monitor.
Companies are laying out the red carpet on several consoles with special game packages including “Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition,” “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Collector’s Edition,” “Fallout: New Vegas Collector’s Edition,”
“Halo Reach Legendary Edition” and “Call of Duty Black Ops: Hardened Edition.” “Call of Duty also comes in a “Prestige Edition” which features a functioning RC video surveillance vehicle.
Action titles available on several different consoles include the military strategy game “R.U.S.E.,” “Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions,” “Castlevania Lords of Shadow,” “Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2,” “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” and “Medal of Honor” featuring a 24-player online multiplayer mode.
“Enslaved: Odyssey to the West” presents a futuristic adventure featuring Monkey, voiced and motion-captured by Andy Serkis from the “Lord of the Rings” film series. The futuristic shoot ‘em up “Vanquish” has stylistic slow-motion combat options while memorable characters team up and grow stronger together in “Majin & Forsaken Kingdom.”
Racing games include “Nail’d” (Nov. 30), “Split/Second,” “Monster Jam: Path of Destruction” and “Need for Speed Hot Pursuit,” which expands races with an Autolog system for online play plus exclusive content on the limited edition.
Sports fans can try out “EA Sports MMA,” “NBA 2K11,” “Tiger Woods 11 PGA Tour” and “Little League Baseball World Series 2010.” Music lovers can groove to “Michael Jackson the Experience,” “DJ Hero 2” and “Rock Band 3.”
“Create” gives players the chance to build customized challenges on their own while discovering hidden areas within the imaginative game play, including special recording and upload capabilities. “Nat Geo Challenge! Wild Life” features vivid images and videos in an interactive trivia game format for up to four players.
“The Sims 3” hits consoles with special karma powers and easy exchange options. Game show fans can test their skills in “Family Feud Decades” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” while board game enthusiasts can walk through “Monopoly Streets” or enjoy five classics and their variations including “Clue,” “Life” and even “Twister” in “Hasbro Family Game Night 3.”
Adaptation games include “CSI Fatal Conspiracy,” “Despicable Me,” “Dora’s Big Birthday Adventure,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1,” “James Bond 007: Blood Stone” and “TRON: Evolution” (Dec. 7), and a special “Sesame Street” game set — “Cookie’s Counting Carnival” and “Elmo’s A-to-Zoo Adventure.”
New Nintendo Wii hardware includes the “uDraw GameTablet” which includes a base studio game; “Pictionary” and “Dood’s Big Adventure” are sold separately. The new “FlingSmash” game includes a Wii MotionPlus controller while “EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp” lets players pick an NFL team and work out with their favorite players.
“Kidz Bop Dance Party! The Video Game” offers kid karaoke with songs like “Thriller” and “Paparazzi.” “Just Dance 2” and “Just Dance Kids” keep the beat while “Jillian Michaels: Fitness Ultimatum 2011” now includes a story mode plus more workout routines.
The fun continues with “Donkey Kong Kountry Returns,” “Metroid Other M,” “Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011” and “NBA Jam” that has outrageous basketball moves, boss battles and secret characters. “Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition” (Dec. 12) and “Disney Epic Mickey” (Nov. 30) are also available in special collector’s editions.
Multiplayer-focused Wii games include “Wii Party,” “Super Mario Galaxy 2,” “Rayman Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time,” “Pac-Man Party,” “Namco Museum Megamix” and “Active Life Explorer” which includes a special mat controller and game play setting in the jungle, under water and in the snow for up to four players at the same time.
“Karaoke Revolution Glee” lets players build their own scrapbook, belt out 30 hit songs and uncover unlockable video clips, while “Grease” has classic sing-and-dance fun for up to eight players.
Nintendo Wii and DS link capabilities on “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” to expand the experience while other games on Wii and DS include “Ivy the Kiwi,” “Gormiti: The Lords of Nature!,” “GummyBears Minigolf,” “iCarly2” and the latest “Zhu Zhu Pets” games available with or without a Zhu Zhu Hamster toy.
The Nintendo DS game “WarioWare D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself)” lets players create their own games while “Super Scribblenauts” lets players solve challenges using their own words. “Noah’s Ark” begins the Tap and Teach series that promotes reading, spelling, music, coloring and eye-hand coordination for young players.
“Fancy Nancy: Tea Party Time!” and “The Penguins of Madagascar” feature special DSi camera capabilities while “Mario vs. Donkey Kong Mini-Land Mayhem!” has special environment customizations. Players can also enjoy “Backyard Sports Sandlot Sluggers,” “Art Academy,” “Heathcliff: Frantic Foto,” “100 Classic Books” and “Silly Bandz” and the hidden-object puzzler “Midnight Mysteries the Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy.”
PlayStation Portable games really take off with “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker,” “Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3” and “Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team” which offers new Dragon Walker Mode featuring entire story arcs among 70 characters. “Ace Combat Joint Assault” has a cooperative play mode while “Ys: Seven” and “Ys: The Oath in Felghana” feature limited editions including soundtrack CDs.
Players can take some extensive mobile phone games on the go with “Ninjatown: Trees of Doom!,” “Tekken Resolute,” “Sushi Go Round,” “Spore Creatures,” “The Sims 3 Collector’s Edition,” “SimCity Deluxe,” “Harry Potter: Spells,” “Plants vs. Zombies” and real life challenge game “Girls Night Out” where women advance by completing special challenges.
The all-ages “Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Galactic Passport” gets players into a huge online world on the computer. “LEGO Universe” and “Petz World” offer more online experiences. Simulation fans can unwrap deep experiences in “Victoria II,” “Sid Meier’s Civilization V,” the “Sims 3” expansion packs “Ambitions” and “Late Night,” which incorporates cool pool designs, music clubs, celebrity encounters and even vampires into the game play.
Save those gift cards for “Lost in Shadow” on Wii and “Two Worlds” (PC, PS3, and Xbox 360), both releasing on Jan. 4 or “Mass Effect 2” (Jan. 1) and “Little Big Planet 2” (Jan, 18), both on PS3. Gamers can also consider “Kingdom Hearts Re:coded” on Nintendo DS (Jan. 11) and “Michael Jackson The Experience” on Xbox 360 (Feb. 15) and PS3 (March 1). Happy Holidays!
NOTE: All release dates subject to change.
Scribblenauts: think it, solve it
This all-ages Nintendo DS exclusive is an essential addition to any game library and is the worthy sequel to last year’s “Scribblenauts” game, which also features the main character Maxwell and contains tens of thousands of words with hundreds of possible solutions. “Super Scribblenauts” (Warner Brothers/5th Cell) transforms even more words into action with approximately 10,000 adjectives and 800 new objects. Players can earn up to 60 merits among the new 120-level cache while retaining the ability to create custom levels and even share them with friends via Wi-Fi connection. The only real limitations on this portable prize are no places, proper names, suggestive material, shapes, Latin/Greek root words, alcohol, race/culture elements, vulgarity or copyrighted materials.
Players start with ten different “playground” areas to test their mettle then move forward with tutorials and finally begin this entertaining journey. In single player mode, players navigate through constellation maps to choose challenges. The common-sense icons include the hourglass (time limit), magnifying glass (object identification) and pencil for writing all those words swirling around in the brain. Game producers use colors well to distinguish different objects and great sound prompts for choices made or time running out. Producers also throw out lifesaving hints for players and give simple thumbs up or down performance feedback. Players can use the directional pad or the touch stylus for movements and easily switch back and forth if desired.
Everyone can enjoy rewarding experiences using considerable logic, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to solve satisfying challenges like curing the plague. Conquer each challenge to get the prize Starites and Ollar currency. The open-ended solutions also yield scores and rewards to unlock items including 50 different avatars. Players can continuously make solution attempts and erase unneeded items in the environment. Options include three player profiles and English, French, Portuguese and Spanish languages (****, rated E10+ for cartoon violence and cartoon mischief).