The 20 most anticipated video games for the 2008 Christmas shopping season

Posted by Samantha Rose Hunt

Feature - The holiday season is approaching quickly: If you have children or if you are an avid gamer yourself then you know there are tons of video games you could buy. This Christmas season is jam-packed with a few very interesting titles and sequels to some of the most popular games already on the market for both the PC and console game systems. Here are our recommendations as a guideline which games you can expect to appear on most wishlists of gamers. Be sure to check out our slideshow to see screenshots of the games listed below.



1. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (EA; Release date: October 27, 2008) - This computer game is a real-time strategy game that is a continuation of the Command & Conquer series. The Red Alert game series asserts that Albert Einstein designed a time machine and used it for the purposes of traveling back in time to kill Adolf Hitler, thus preventing Nazi Germany from forming and preventing World War II from ever taking place. In this scenario, Joseph Stalin becomes Europe’s main aggressor. Following the events of Red Alert 2, the Soviet Union leadership plans to also travel back in time with a time machine they too have created with the intent to assassinate Albert Einstein following his killing of Hitler, thus placing the Soviet Union in a position of power. Unfortunately, during this mission a terrible mistake is made and a completely different timeline is created that erased all of the events of the previous games thus altering the evolution of technology and creating newer, more advanced technologies such as a super power deemed the Rising Sun. This inevitably fuels a World War between the Soviets, the Allies and the Empire.

2. Fable II
(Lionhead; Release date: October 21, 2008)- Fable II is a role playing game designed to be played on the Xbox 360 console. It is a sequel to Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters. Set 500 years after the original Fable, Fable II is an action role-playing game that allows players to live whatever life they decide in a completely open world environment. There is limitless freedom and choice and players can explore many different catacombs, caves, and dungeons in the world of Albion.

3. Fallout 3
(Bethesda; Release date: October 28, 2008) - Fallout 3 is a PC game and takes place in a post-apocalyptic United States in the year 2277. The character the player chooses is a member of a fallout shelter, Vault 101 that serves Washington, D.C. The character resides with their widower father (voiced by Liam Neeson) until, one day, the player awakes to discover that the father has vacated the vault and journeyed into the wasteland for an unknown reason. The vault overseer becomes suspicious that the player is the cause of the father’s disappearance, so the player decides to travel into the wasteland in search of their father. The player will run into organizations from previous games such as the Brotherhood of Steel (a group of tech coveting survivors), and the Enclave - an elitist and genocidal group from the United States Government.

4. Far Cry 2
(Ubisoft; Release date: October 21, 2008): Far Cry 2 is a first-person shooter game designed originally for Windows, but will be available on October 21, 2008 for PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation platforms. The game no longer entails the science fiction aspects of its predecessor; in fact, the setting is realistic. The game takes place in a small, imaginary, central-African nation that is in a state of civil war. The protagonist of the games in the past, Jack Carver is not featured in this game. In the sequel, the player will have an option of choosing nine different characters for play. Each character has its own unique look and story. All of the characters will be different types of mercenaries. Any playable character not chosen will become a non-player character throughout the game. The plot of the game is centered on the recent collapse of the nation’s government which leaves two factions trying to gain control. The United Front Liberation and Labor, and the Alliance for Popular Resistance are at war with one another. Both groups claim to have the interest of the people at heart but are both obviously corrupt. It is then revealed that the diamond minds have been completely depleted, leaving the people with nothing, causing even more drama amongst the people of the country. The player must find and liquidate “The Jackal” an arms dealer that has been selling weapons to both sides of the conflict. This goal is to be accomplished by any means necessary.

5. Gears of War 2 (Epic; Release date: October 26, 2008) - Gears of War 2 is a third-person shooter game developed exclusively for the Xbox 360. At the end of the first game, there was a Lightmass Bomb; Gears of War 2 takes place six months after its detonation. The majority of the Locust Horde was destroyed. In addition, the explosion caused the majority of the liquid Imulsion underground to vaporize thus causing a fatal disease deemed “Rust Lung”, which spread among the already diminishing human population. Following months of piece, Tollen and Montevado (two cities) disappear underground, thus causing the COG to believe the Locust has resurged. The players responsibility is to save the Jacinto Plateau, one of the only remaining safe harbors for humans, to do this one must take on a war with the Locust.

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6. Lego Batman (Warner Bros. Interactive; Released on September 23, 2008) Lego Batman was released for the PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and Microsoft Windows. Lego Batman is Traveller’s Tales fifth shot at a Lego Game, and though the game should be perfected, it most definitely is not. It is still quirky. The puzzles don’t make sense, and it is still difficult to judge your jumps. Lego Batman is unique, however, because the story is not based off of a movie, or a comic book plot. The tale is basic- villains escape Arkham Asylum and Batman is responsible for hunting them down. Basically the whole point is breaking things, fighting, and getting rid of the bad guys. Throughout the games, you’ll have an opportunity to play in a vast array of scenarios and encounter a ton of characters. It’s a great simple mix, and a really fun, simple game to play.

7. Little Big Planet (SCEA; Release date: October 21, 2008) -  Designed for the Playstation 3, Little Big Planet is a unique experience in that players learn about the powers that their characters have when interacting physically with the environment. There are many different obstacles to explore, items to collect, and different puzzles to solve that require not only mental ability, but also teamwork and collaboration. As players explore the game, their creative skills will begin to grow and they will be able to begin modifying their surroundings. All of the skills required of the game are acquired through play, so this game is very simple and user friendly.

8. Call of Duty World at War
(Ubisoft; Release date: November 11, 2008)-  Designed for play on your PC; Call of Duty World at War forces players into the awful, and ruthless chaotic world that was WWII combat, and also challenges them to survive the worst battles that led to the fall of the Axis powers.

9. Dead Space
(EA; Release date: October 20, 2008) - Dead Space is a third-person action video game designed for PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It is set in the future and revolves around a space engineer, Isaac Clarke. Clarke works for Concordance Extraction Corporation, a company responsible for “giant mining ships” all over the galaxy. His company gets a distress call from the USG Ishimura, a ship that destroys planets for the purpose of extracting valuable ore. When he thinks that a mechanical failure is the only issue, he goes to rendezvous with the ship to find that the ship has been overrun be Necromorphs, a flesh eating alien race. Isaac is then separated and must battle his way to safety.

10. Guitar Hero World Tour (Activision; Release date: October 26, 2008) – This is the fourth game in the Guitar Hero sequence and should be available for Wii, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, and the Xbox 360. The game will continue to feature the guitar shaped controller, but will now be equipped with drum and microphone controllers for the percussion and vocal parts. This version of the game will allow users to create their own songs, not just perform the ones available on the game.

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11. Left 4 Dead (Valve; Release date: November 17, 2008) – The goal of Left 4 Dead is an easy one - all you have to do is survive. You are lucky enough to be one of the few survivors of a new and highly dangerous strain of the rabies virus that has spread over the entire human population. It turns all humans into rabid and bloodthirsty zombies. Team work is necessary if you want to finish the game alive. Left 4 Dead is a first person multiplayer co-op survival horror shooter. It pits four human survivors against 4 human controlled characters. The game is available for the Xbox 360 or your PC.

12. Mirror’s Edge (EA; Release date: November 11, 2008) – Mirror’s Edge will be coming to you via the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. It is a game about a runner, whose parents were murdered while protesting the government. Her name is Faith and she has to aid her sister in escaping from the corrupt government. Faith was taught that it is important to not utilize or rely on current communication methods because they are monitored by the police and government. She is forced to run messages to the criminal underworld in an attempt to rescue her sister. She is pursued and chased by government agents. The game play is realistic, and the graphics from the trailer look great.

13. NHL 2K9
(2K Sports; Already released)- 2K Sports really did a great job with the completely rebuilt NHL experience. NHL 2K9 offers a new in-game presentation system, new player animations and controls. You’ll be pleased with the new commentary, and even more user friendly controls. It makes playing the game on your Wii, Xbox 360, or Playstation 3 even better than it was before.

14. Prince of Persia (Ubisoft; Release date: December 2, 2008)- Just in time for Christmas, Prince of Persia will be released for play on your PC. The game starts off with a new Prince of Persia. He is returning home from his travels and adventures on a donkey that is full of treasure earned over time. He wants to spend his treasure on women and liquor and any other luxury possible. Unfortunately, he is caught in a fierce sandstorm. After the sandstorm dies down, he finds that he is in a mythical garden, and at its center there exists a Tree of Life. The Prince and a girl stumble upon one another and stuck in the same scenario make a decision to aid one another. Together the venture to the center of the garden, where they watch the trees destruction, thus leading to the liberation of Ahriman, the ancient god of darkness. After Ahriman is set free, he begins covering the lands with evil and darkness. The Prince and Elkia fight against Ahriman in an attempt to make the world good again.

15. Resistance 2
(SCEA; Release date: November 4, 2008): Designed exclusively for the Playstation 3, Resistance 2 is an alternative history first person shooter video game. Resistance 2 is a continuation of the Resistance: Fall of Man story line. The game picks up at the end of Resistance Fall of man, and takes place just outside of London, England. It begins with hale walking through a field covered in snow; he is armed with only one grenade. A VTOL Aircraft sees Hale and then transports him to the Dan Aric Johnson Air force Base in Iceland. When the VTOL lands the U.S. Black Ops Soldiers try to subdue Hale. When Hale arrives at the base he finds he is not alone, he has been collected with other men who are resistant to the Chimeran Virus. They are called Sentinels and are a highly trained task force. Now he must fight a war against the Chimera.

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16. Rock Band 2
(Harmonix; Already released)- For play on your Xbox 360, Wii, or PlayStation 3 Rock Band 2 allows you to take your band on an online-enabled World Tour mode where you can record albums, tackle different set challenges and even compete against other bands. You can compete with friends, or compete with people across the country in the “Battle of the Bands” mode. This version also has all of the features you’ve come to adore from the first Rock Band game.

17. Soulcalibur IV
(Namco; Already released) - Soulcalibur IV is available for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and delivers different characters, enhanced features, and amazing 3D modeling not previously available in the Soulcalibur series. The game features not only the familiar but new faces from all over the galaxy that want to fight , breaking new boundaries, taking on harder challenges, and uncovering a new level of mystery. This is a great and timeless series if you love fighting games - and this is the best Soulcalibur yet.

18. Spore
(Maxis; Already released) – Spore is available for the PC, Mac and Nintendo DS. It is a multi-genre, single player online metaverse video game. The game allows the player to take control over the evolution of a species starting with its beginnings as a unicellular organism all the way through its development into an intelligent and social creature exploring its way though space.

19. Tales of Vesperia
(Namco; Already released) –Tales of Vesperia is available exclusively for the  Xbox 360 and is a role-playing game that is full of vibrant design. There are hidden gems and superb graphics hidden throughout the game. The characters are amazingly crafted and the dialogue is great. The game is long and entertaining, there are multiple combat elements, and it’s a great game in the series.

20. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
(Blizzard; Release date: November 13, 2008) - This is a second expansion of the multiplayer online game for your PC. This game allows you to power your way through the newest quest and dungeons in an attempt to defeat the Lich Kin Arthas, in a sequel to the World of Warcraft.