We have assembled a list of more than 50 games we think are worthy of your holiday shopping consideration...<br><br> After 21 years, EA faced a stiff challenge: improve the world's most popular sports video game franchise. Somehow, they did. While in the past it seemed like EA was just piling on pointless bells and whistles, this year the developers focused on key elements of the game. The new Online Franchise mode adds replayability to an already addictive title, while the smooth action on the field keeps those millions of replays fresh. This year's build is the most realistic yet. Thanks to a new animation technology called Pro-Tak, the players look and act like they would during a real game. Pile-on at the end of a plays, drag helpless defenders into the end zone, lose your footing while dropping back to pass in the rain. The CPU also gets an upgrade in areas like clock management, and the playbook is updated to include the Miami Dolphins' Wildcat attack. And for the first time, a Madden game for the Wii feels like a Madden game made for the Wii -- not just a port of a game designed for a more powerful console. Embracing a much more arcade-type style compared to its hyper realistic PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts -- highlighted by five unique body types for quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, linebackers, linemen -- the latest Madden effort for Nintendo is likely to repel audiences hoping for the classic Madden experience.
2 of 53Eidos
Batman: Arkham Asylum | Xbox 360, PS3
The premise in the game is pretty simple: The Joker is loose in Arkham Asylum and it's up Batman to uncover his deadly plot and ultimately beat him down. While the story is nothing new -- especially to Batman fans -- the execution of it is stellar. In the game you control Batman from a third-person perspective as you're guided through a decidedly dark and adult story in pursuit of the Joker. Most of the time you'll be fighting or exploring the six buildings of the Asylum. Along the way you'll encounter nearly all of Batman's noteworthy enemies and more. The combat in the game is extremely engaging as you chain together hits and are rewarded with slow-mo takedowns. In the game you'll also use "detective mode" to view the environments with sort of an x-ray vision. Using that you unlock clues and find new ways to move around Arkham. The sheer joy of using a grappling hook to zip-up high and then swoop down on the bad guys is amazing. This is the best Batman game ever, and one of the best comic book inspired titles out there.
3 of 53Microsoft
Forza Motorsport 3 | 360
The adherence to precision, stunning graphics, tight controls and variety of elite race cars that have made Forza synonymous with simulation driving are all still there in spades. The new wrinkle of the Rewind button -- which allows you to correct your mistakes in this often merciless game -- is the final topper that makes this experience complete. New tracks include the Amalfi Coast in Italy, the American Southwest and Montserrat in Spain. As has become customary with Forza, every manner of racing vehicle is represented, from American Muscle cars (Camaro, Mustang) to the Euro speedsters (Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati) and top Asian imports (Mazda, Nissan, Honda). More than 400 cars are offered. Any type of racing you prefer is also included, from circuit to oval to drag and even drifting. And if you are the artistic type, the car paint and decal editor is back and so is the auction house so you can buy and sell the most innovative creations. For gearheads who know their lug nuts from their ratchets, there are no shortage of parts upgrades to plow through in the shop. However, for the rest of us who haven't logged much grease time in the garage, it's easier to use the "Quick Upgrade" option to modify your current car for each particular race.
4 of 53Nintendo
New Super Mario Bros. Wii | Wii
Your favorite Italian plumber is back, and he's back in 2-D glory the way you remember him in the Super Nintendo era. The game features the standard plot of Mario rescuing Princess from Bowser, and unfolds over eight worlds with a secret world unlocked once you beat the game. The secret world requires you to collect all the star coins so it adds to the replay value. You can play the game as Mario, Luigi and two identical Toad characters, though there's no difference in character ability/physics. We'd have preferred four distinct types, but in the end it's not a big deal. New to the game is a multiplayer mode that allows up to four players to attack each world together -- on the same screen -- or fight through levels to collect the most coins. Multiplayer is chaotic, but highly entertaining. Unfortunately it's only available locally and can't be used online. Super Mario is what you expect from the franchise, and that's a great thing.
5 of 53EA Sports
NCAA Basketball 10 | Xbox 360, PS3
EA has the college hoops video game landscape to themselves. Lucky for us, they don't take it for granted. The improvements start with offensive play-calling, where you can kick your team into its motion offense at the tap of a button. Dynamic updates scramble the Top 25 every Tuesday according to real results. The look goes for true authenticity, using ESPN's broadcast presentation for regular season match-ups and CBS-style graphics come tourney time. They finally got the voices right, too. Because really, what would an unexpected college upset be without Gus Johnson screaming from the press table?
6 of 53Sony
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves | PS3
Nathan Drake is back for another treasure-hunting adventure that adds to the glory and lore of the Uncharted franchise. The game is similar to 2007's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune in that you're basically running, shooting and climbing through amazing scenery with some puzzles to solve along the way. The action of the set pieces in the game remains engaging and cinematic, and the fantastic level design allows you to play through the game in different ways ranging from charging in to a more stealthy approach. The graphics are top notch and loaded with great details and textures that truly create a vibrant and immersive world. The game has a well-developed storyline peppered with colorful characters and solid voice acting. Uncharted 2 doesn't end with the single-player campaign, but also features a robust online multiplayer experience and some great standalone co-op missions. Uncharted 2 is a shining beacon for the PS3, and is a must-own title.
7 of 53EA Sports
FIFA 10 | 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PSP, NDS, iPhone
How big can football get? is the rhetorical tagline for the latest installment in EA Sports' long-running soccer franchise. Let's see: more than 570 club teams from 30 different domestic leagues -- everything from the English Premier League and Spain's La Liga to the Polish Ekstraklasa and Korea's K-League -- in addition to 41 international sides. That's over 12,500 real-life players, many of whom bear more than a passing resemblance to their real-life counterparts. But it's the completely revamped Manager Mode -- which boasts more than 50 key improvements -- that makes FIFA 10 a must-own title for devotees of the beautiful game.
8 of 53Activision
Call of Duty 2: Modern Warfare | 360, PS3
The opening level of the campaign mode is the perfect setup: You are on a river bank taking mortar fire, disoriented, gasping for breath with bullets whizzing by. Once you gather your wits about you and figure out where to aim and shoot -- provided you haven't been killed already -- you realize you are in for a heck of a ride. A few moments later you are manning a Gatling gun on a jeep, driving through what may as well be Beirut and taking RPG fire from rooftops everywhere. More so than any previous titles in the glorious Call of Duty franchise, this one brings the chaos of war into your living room at a level so high you will have to pick shrapnel out of your backside. You'll agree after calling in your first drone air strike. Of course, the campaign mode is just the warm up to why many gamers love Call of Duty so much: the online proving ground. Perhaps rivaled only by the Halo franchise, the multiplayer for Call of Duty is the most addictive of any of the war games. Now veterans of the COD wars have new maps to fight over, and those who like to play co-op will find plenty to do in the two-man Special Ops mode, where there are about 25 missions to complete, most of which are quite rewarding.
9 of 53EA Sports
NHL 10 | 360, PS3
Skating, passing and shooting continue to be as smooth as ever. The button-tapping mixes seamlessly with the shot stick. Tight camera angles offer a clear view of the action while staying far enough out for you to find holes in the defense. A new Board Play physics engine ramps up the rough-housing on the glass. Hold down a button to prop yourself up against the boards and then tap the trigger button to kick out the puck to a teammate. If you're on the outside, you can pin an opponent on the boards and try to poke the puck out, too. The simple controls make for an easy to transition into and out of standard gameplay. Thanks to post-whistle action, most of said fights get kicked up after the whistle blows. Now you too can be like one of those goons who won't leave well enough alone, even after official action takes a break. Give a little extra love tap, flick an extra shot on an empty net, do whatever you feel -- just be prepared to face the corresponding repercussions. You mostly get the standard playing options here. The EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) offers up a newly minted Monthly Season, which pits online gamers against each other for bragging rights every time the calendar turns a page.
10 of 532K Sports
NBA 2K10 | 360, PS3, PS2, Wii
My Player mode puts you through the rigorous challenge of trying to make an NBA roster. The mode drops you into the Summer Circuit as an undrafted rookie. Through a variety of challenges, you battle it out for training camp and D-League roster spots before eventually going up against LeBron, Kobe and the rest of the NBA's elite. 2K did a nice job of not making the trip to the league a cakewalk in this challenging mode. Couch potato coaches will be giddy to see that there are now 24 plays available in the quick play menu. Just be sure you're comfortable playing the game before you try to show off your play calling acumen, because with so many options, it's very easy to get your pocket picked in the backcourt. The addition of Signature Play will make NBA die-hards smile. Spot-on pre-game rituals (LeBron's chalk toss); free throw routines (Richard Hamilton's side dribble); and signature jumpers (every star from Gilbert Arenas to Dwyane Wade) are perfectly executed. Throw in subtle nuances like deflections in traffic and players fighting around screens and 2K10 gives us the most realistic representation of NBA basketball we've seen.
11 of 53EA Sports
Tiger Woods 2010 | 360, PS3, Wii
Every year, the game offers more options for shot-making and yet an amateur can still pick up the controller for the first time and crush a drive 300 yards down the fairway. Pull back and follow through on the toggle stick or crank out drives with the three-click method. Either way, Tiger mixes realism with ease of playability better than any other sports title. Play the Pros let's you tee it up against live results from that weekend's tournament. If you've always wondered why there are so many big numbers going up at the U.S. Open, give it a virtual shot and see if you can keep up. The addition of real-time weather conditions adds to the realism -- and, in the case of this year's Open, deluge of rainstorms. We don't think there's another game on the market that allows you to customize your character as thoroughly as Tiger 2010 -- though we may have to wait for next year for the "tabloid scandal" option to be included. You can eat up an entire weekend adjusting the shade of your golfer's freckles. You can import your own image either via a camera or by uploading on the Web (for XBOX Live). Just like Tiger is always going to be near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday, his video games will continue to set the standard for golfing sims. Tiger 10 is no different and is certainly a title worth picking up for the avid armchair golfer.
12 of 53EA Sports
Fight Night Round 4 | 360, PS3
Fight Night Round 4 is visually amazing, both because of its crisp graphics and effortless speed. Boxing lovers will eat this title up, while gamers can learn a lot about the Sweet Science during a run through Legacy Mode. EA's Photo Game Face finally makes its way into the series, which gives you the option of seeing a digitized representation of your own face -- both before and after being on the wrong end of a couple Muhammad Ali bee stings. Upright," "Balanced," "Wild," "Hyper" -- you can choose from 12 different styles of fighting. Iron Mike Tyson is in the house and it's a reminder of just how much we've missed the crazy boxer from Brooklyn. Sure, it's great to see him in the cartoon-y Punch-Out!!, but to really get in the ring as Mike Tyson in his prime is spectacular.
13 of 53Bungie
Halo 3: ODST | 360
In the place of Master Chief will be the ODST -- short for "Orbital Drop Shock Trooper." The game uses a clever plot device where you control different soldiers for each level, one picking up where the other leaves off in a kind of Lost-style flashback scene. By the end you will have felt like you watched a classic sci-fi film, much like the previous three Halo titles. Remember how when you got into trouble you could hide behind a corner and recharge your life meter, and everything would be OK? Can't do that anymore. You still have a shield that you can recharge, but under that shield you have a life meter that can only be refilled by finding a medpack somewhere. Being able to carry four types of grenades -- save the incendiaries for the big guys -- and up to three of each kind is a nice substitute for the loss of double-wielding guns. Nearly every weapon feels perfect now, from the redesigned Covenant Plasma Rifle to the Pistol, which is now absolutely lethal. Firefight mode allows you and up to three of your friends hunker down and take on endless waves of enemy Covenant.
14 of 53Ubisoft
Assassin's Creed 2 | Xbox 360, PS3
The sequel to the 2007 hit takes the polished play mechanics and amazing graphics of the original game and adds the one thing the original lacked: more to do. Assassin's Creed 2 has an awesome variety of missions and locales and fixes virtually every complaint gamers had about its predecessor. The time-hopping action is fast and smooth and there are far more weapons, parkour-style moves and mission types this time around, in addition to a story you'll actually want to finish. Assassin's Creed 2 is a huge success by any measure, from plot to voice acting to graphics to controls. Action fans won't want to miss this one.
15 of 53EA Sports
Left 4 Dead 2 | 360
This is kind of like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare but with everybody already dead and zombie-fied and the action ratcheted up to even more frenetic levels. The sheer amount of anarchy on the screen at any given moment can be difficult to process, and there is no letup in the action. The basic premise is still the same: kill countless zombies in as many different ways as you can think of. The variety of weapons, with 20 new offerings, keeps the game interesting -- the machine gun will mow them down, but with an ax you can get up close and personal. Whereas the original was played in a mall and was mostly a solo effort, this sequel requires teamwork and offers more maps for gameplay. Your team of survivors consists of four characters -- Nick, Rochelle, Coach and Ellis -- so you can team up with three friends to take on the undead. Communication is the key to survival; you will need to help each other out with medpacks and weapons and getting the headsucking zombies off of your buddies. The A.I. engine behind the game makes sure to change up the scenarios every time you play to avoid repetition -- you never know where the zombies will attack from and how many -- but it's still a lot of button-mashing violence, which is perfectly fine if that is your thing. Game play modes include co-op, Versus (four humans vs. four zombies online) and Survival.
16 of 53EA Sports
Dragon Age: Origins | Xbox 360, PS3
At first blush, Dragon Age looks like a standard issue Tolkien knockoff -- humans, elves, dwarves joining up to battle an army of nasty critters bent on world domination. The genius of Dragon Age is in the details. This is a serious role-playing game for players who want to dig into an immersive, deep story with a fun, accessible combat and magic engine. There are innumerable quests, characters, conversations and directions to take your character, and a wide variety of interactions depending on what type of character you create. It's fascinating, addictive and gory, with memorable and well-acted characters. If there's a RPG fan on your gift list with 60 hours to kill, you can hardly do better than Dragon Age: Origins.
17 of 53Activision
DJ Hero | 360, PS3, Wii, PS2
If you are old enough to have ruined your parents' record collection by scratching their vinyl on the home turntable deck back in the day, then this is the game for you. And if you have ever wondered what a mix of Tears for Fears with Eric B. & Rakim sound like, then DJ Hero will hit your sweet spot. Indeed, like its plastic music-player predecessors Rock Band and Guitar Hero, the key to this game is in the music itself. The professional mixes done by real DJs such as Grandmaster Flash are superb in their own right; you'll find yourself "leaning in" more often than not when scratching. The diversity of the song list is what keeps this refreshing -- Queen, L.L. Cool J, Jay-Z, Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Beastie Boys, The Jackson 5 ... it's a good mix that makes the mixes, and you can download more songs online when you are through with the original 93 tracks. Thankfully, you can't fail out of any song in this game like you can in the guitar sims, which is a good thing because DJ Hero is not easy to master. The controls consist of the turntable with three buttons and cross fader that you move back and forth. There's also a euphoria button for when you earn enough points for a power boost and a knob that you turn during freestyling. Taken separately, it's not so tough. But when you have to do everything at once, it gets complicated very quickly. It's rewarding when you do everything right, but even the slightest gaffe will kill your notes streak. Take the time to go through the tutorials upon booting up the game, then challenge a friend to a DJ vs. DJ scratchoff.
18 of 53Harmonix
Beatles Rock Band | 360, PS3, Wii
This is the ultimate digital Beatles experience. Unlike past iterations of the Rock Band series, you won't be creating bands comprised of customized characters decorated with ridiculous attire and axes. In this game you simply play as The Beatles. The Fab Four (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison) are the characters, and the centerpiece of the game is a career mode which takes you through key moments in the Beatles' careers. In all the game offers 45 playable songs. Stunning visuals kick off when you fire up the game to an animated sequence that takes you through the world of The Beatles. The look in the game is reminiscent of the style of the 1968 animated classic, Yellow Submarine. A nice new twist on the music-game genre: three people can handle vocals at once.
19 of 53Activision
Guitar Hero 5 | 360, PS3, PS2, Wii
Guitar Hero 5 does a lot right, and it's easily the best Guitar Hero since II. It would be nice if you could actually import the entire set lists of Guitar Hero World Tour and Smash Hits as opposed to the partial lists. Drumming on the Guitar Hero drums is amazingly satisfying and completely immersive. The Guitar Hero hardware is the best in the industry. Very little was added on the hardware front this year, so your old GH3 Les Paul will work just fine. Bottom line, if you enjoy these arthritis simulators and you find the track list to your liking, you'll want to pick up GH5.
20 of 53MTV Games
Lego Rock Band | Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
Lego Rock Band brings a family-friendly song list and the familiar goofball silliness of previous Lego videogames to the Rock Band franchise. Up to four players can compete with any combination of guitar controllers, drums and microphones to rack up the most bricks playing fare like "Ghostbusters" and "Kung-Fu Fighting," as well as kid-approved tracks from the Rock Band music store. The game takes few risks, but younger folks will enjoy the new super-easy modes that take much of the challenge out of the game, while older, more experienced players can play on harder difficulties. As an added bonus, the Lego Rock Band song list can be exported to other Rock Band games for a small fee.
21 of 53Sony
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time | PS3
The R&C series stays in its wheelhouse with Crack in Time. That's a good thing, because it's quite the expansive wheelhouse. Shoot `em up action, puzzles, and platforming combine to deliver a surprisingly deep title, considering the 10 rating. A title with this many incarnations (nine total releases, including downloadable titles) shouldn't still be this fun, but the wide variety of weapons and gadgets keep the action fresh.
22 of 53Sony
MLB 09 The Show | PS3, PS2, PSP
The Show is the best baseball game on any system, and is simply one of the best sports games out there period. If you're a baseball fan and you don't have a PS3, consider this a system seller. <br>The Show is a fantastic looking game. The player models are very accurate and detailed; some of the specific animations you see players execute in the field, in the batter's box or as transitional animations are truly immersive. Additionally the stadium renders are spot on. A rock-solid hitting and pitching system is a big reason The Show is top dog in baseball games. The Road To The Show mode is back and enhanced. In it you create a prospect and either join a team or get drafted. You play each game from the perspective of your player. For example if you're a shortstop you'll get your at-bats in a game and field a few ground balls. It's a quick and addictive mode. New this year you'll have more to deal with between skills drills, salary arbitration and roster/transaction scenarios.
23 of 532K Sports
The Bigs 2 | 360, PS3, Wii, PS2
Ernie Banks would have trouble breaking a sweat in The BIGS 2 -- forget about playing two, you hardly play one here. Games only last five innings -- it's like baseball on amphetamines. (Um, maybe that's the wrong choice of words...) Regardless, the shorter format has two advantages. One, you can quickly sprint through a game any time you have a couple extra minutes in your day. Two, it takes you far less time to advance your career in Become a Legend Mode. You can use turbo to boost a pitcher in a tough spot, a batter looking for a big two-out hit, or a fielder looking to make a game changing throw. The BIGS 2 has hands down the best non-Wii party game available in sports: Home Run Pinball. Fire up your console, invite some friends over and start cranking rockets off the skyscrapers in Times Square, the bright lights in Las Vegas or Godzilla's honker in Tokyo. You start out on a steady diet of fastballs, but as you rack up points, your pitcher will add a slider and then a curve. The one-on-one mode is easy to pick up, difficult to master, and impossible to turn off. Baseball purists won't even recognize this game, but avid gamers will embrace it. The breakneck pace of the five inning games will always keep you engaged, while Home Run Pinball is almost reason alone to buy the disc.
24 of 53EA Sports
NCAA Football 10 | 360, PS3, PS2
Rather than just create your own player, EA challenges you to start up your own university. No detail goes unturned. Unleash your inner-Project Runway desires by picking uniform colors and designing logos for helmets and jerseys. Build your own stadium with your new logo plopped down on the 50-yard line. An upgraded and adaptive artificial intelligence will keep you honest. It's been a while since a sports game featured one play you could exploit over and over again, but NCAA Football 10 has really amped up their AI. Repetitive playcalling results in sacks and interceptions by the second quarter. Between creating your own player and program and having the ability to control your school's national gaming reputation, NCAA Football 10 divvies up the ways you can stay occupied. Speaking of which, you may be happy to hear that a virtual Erin Andrews acts as one of the studio hosts.
25 of 53Activision
Tony Hawk Ride | 360, PS3, Wii
The Great Grandfather of Skateboarding resuscitates his gaming reputation with a new peripheral. Ollies, kickflips, grab tricks -- everything's at the tip of your toes with the new realistic controller. The board is a solid piece of hardware with a grip-tape top and curved bottom that allows for steering. Sensors on both the sides and ends of the board track your movements. There are some kinks to be worked out -- once you're off the casual setting, steering can be harder than pulling off a 720 -- but this is a good first step towards bringing the skatepark into your living room. Multiplayer and online included.
26 of 53Sony
God of War Collection | PS3
This bargain-priced collection of the classic PS2 games have been converted to HD for the PS3 and the results are as gory and fun as ever. The graphics aren't particularly detailed by 2009 standards, but they were among the best of the PS2 generation and don't detract from the exhilaration of carving up waves of creatures into red pulp. Nothing new has been added to the games themselves, but for new PS3 owners who haven't played them before or fans of the series who want to see them as good as they'll ever look, this is a can't-miss package for $40. Fair warning, though -- with its relentless violence, torrents of spurting blood and sex mini-games, this one's not for kids.
27 of 53Nintendo
Punch-Out!! | Wii
Nostalgia is the name of this game. If you grew up loving Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! for the NES (and who didn't?), you're probably going to find a lot to like about this clever re-imagination. The interface is almost identical -- with the standard heart meter and three "star" punches for uppercuts -- and nearly all of the light-hearted ethnic stereotypes from the NES version are back (in cel-shaded 3-D), from Glass Joe and Von Kaiser to Super Macho Man and Mr. Sandman. Also brought over from the original is the deceptively simple, arcade-style moves: head punch, body punch, dodge, duck or block. Younger gamers with little or no investment in the game's nostalgic aspects may find the arcade-style controls simplistic. But folks with a fondness for old-school video games and a sentimental spot for the original Tyson game -- which was as close to a universal favorite as you'll find -- will find Punch-Out!! to be one of the most addictive releases in the Wii's brief history.
28 of 53EA Sports
Grand Slam Tennis | Wii
With Grand Slam Tennis, EA Sports finally delivers Nintendo disciples a title that feels like it was made for the Wii -- and not just a slimmed-down derivative of a superior game for another console. The launch title of the latest franchise in EA's stable of sports sims, Grand Slam is one of the first releases to make use of the Wii MotionPlus peripheral, which promises true 1:1 representation of your real-life movements on the screen. This enhanced control enables the user to pull off every shot in the tennis arsenal -- slices, drop shots, lobs -- with realistic topspin and backspin. With the exclusive Wimbledon license, Grand Slam is the first tennis game to feature each of the sport's four major tournaments. There's no shortage of real-life talent the game, which features 23 players with 136 Grand Slam singles titles among them. Pick a side and rewrite the great rivalries of the Open era -- Navratilova-Evert, McEnroe-Borg, Becker-Edberg, Federer-Nadal -- on the most famous courts in tennis. Coming in 2010 to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
29 of 53Sega
Virtua Tennis 2009 | 360, PS3
At its core, Virtua Tennis is a fast-paced tennis game built around addictive and graphically appealing arcade-style play. The game's physics work well, allowing users to enjoy the strategy behind serving, maneuvering and shot selection. The wide selection of 3D-rendered courts and playing surfaces, meanwhile, work well with the lively crowds to create a solid sense of atmosphere. The game's primary focus is the World Tour mode. Before qualifying for the profession circuit, you must play your way through the rookie ranks. The game measures your career in 48-week seasons, and each week you can decide to play in available tournaments, train and improve your player at the Tennis Academy, play mini-games (which also improve your skills) or rest up. Virtua Tennis provides a pretty solid cast of real-life players. The playable men include: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, David Nalbandian, Tommy Haas, Juan Carlos Ferrero, James Blake, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Tim Henman, while the playable women include: Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Amelie Mauresmo, Nicole Vaidisova, Daniela Hantuchova, Anna Chakvetadze and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The game accurately portrays the player models, mannerisms and skills. If you're a hardcore tennis fan, this game will satisfy.
30 of 53Nintendo
Metroid Trilogy | Wii
This three-games-in-one package is perfect for fans of the original Metroid on the old Nintendeo Entertainment System who have failed to keep up with the franchise. It includes the two GameCube titles -- Metroid Prime 1 and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes -- that were among the best games of their generation, and the highly rated Wii edition as well, Metroid Corruption. The game play concepts are still the same: You can still roll into a little ball and detonate bombs everywhere, and your right hand is still a blaster and missiles are at the ready. What is different here and worth the price of admission on its own is the refitting that the two GameCube titles get with the changeover to the Wii controllers. Playing with the nunchuk attached, the WiiMote moves controls your view in 3D motion and your nunchuk handles the movement and aiming. It's a new way to play a couple of all-time classic games, and with Corruption thrown in there as a bonus, this is an excellent deal that will keep the kids busy for many hours.
31 of 532K Games
Borderlands | Xbox 360, PS3
Borderlands is rare gem that blends the genres of role paying and first-person shooter. In the game you pick a character class that grants you some unique abilities and then you're set loose into a vast world and pushed through a story filled with battles and encounters with a host of weird and wild opponents. As you defeat enemies you'll upgrade various skills and more importantly gain access to new weapons. Borderlands features a staggering array of weapons ranging from shotguns to rifles to rocket launchers. And you'll need all of them as you face off against humans, monsters and more. The action is mainly first-person, but there's plenty of management when it comes to weapons, inventory and basic customization. The graphics in the game are highly stylized, very engaging and downright unique. The highlight of the game is the ability to play the campaign online with up to four people. The game ramps up the AI difficulty to account for the extra help.
32 of 53Activision
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 | 360, PS3, PS2, Wii
In this action-packed superhero sequel, comic book fans can create teams of their favorite characters in a plot that pits hero against hero. Gameplay is straightforward, button-mashing fun with the new new wrinkle of "fusion powers" that let different combinations of characters combine their powers for extra oomph. Players can take on Doctor Doom and his minions alone or with up to four friends, either on the same console or online. Simple role-playing elements let players customize how they want to power-up individual heroes and create different teams to take on the game's various foes.
33 of 53Codemasters
Dirt 2 | 360, PS3, Wii
The cars look spectacular, with no detail overlooked. Exposed engines on dune buggies vibrate in their chassis, paint rubs off of bumped fenders and parts fly off when struck. As the game's title suggests, most of the tracks are on dirt, mud or gravel, and the road deformation, water and dust effects are all entirely convincing. Some racing fans may lament the varied focus of the game at the expense of a pure rally experience, but for the rest of us, the variety of events keeps the game from getting too repetitive. The game offers elimination, a timed "gate crasher" mode, truck races and rally variants, including a classic rally mode with a co-driver. The more you play, the more features you unlock, and the game is constantly opening up new events, cars, vehicle customizations, locations and real-life drivers who want to challenge or buddy up with you. A lot of it is, to be honest, pretty silly -- do you really care about unlocking a pair of fuzzy dice in your virtual rally car? -- but there is something propulsive about getting virtual tokens after nearly every race you win.
34 of 53EA Sports
Need for Speed Shift | 360, PS3
Need for Speed: Shift represents a transformation for the NFS franchise. Gone are open-ended cities laced with dangerous highways, seedy underground street racing and cops willing to chase you all about. Shift casts away the cheesy cell phones calls and inter-city drama and offers up a hybrid arcade and simulation experience that drops you into a loosely defined system of tier-based racing. When you start Shift you'll begin on Tier 1 with enough cash to buy your first car. After that the game opens up, allowing you to race in events you've unlocked and purchase more cars as you get further in the game. Shift does a great job rewarding your career progress. After successful races the game will open new events, new tracks and higher tiers. By winning you'll also get plenty of cash to buy and upgrade cars. The game has four Tiers, which feature cars of relative performance, and culminates with a World Tour Championship. As you work through career mode the game offers up Invitational races that allow you to get a taste of higher Tiers and faster, flashier cars. Shift sits somewhere between a pure arcade and a pure simulation game.
35 of 53Atari
Ghostbusters | 360, PS3, PS2, Wii
Ghostbusters: The Video Game? Yeah, it's been 25 years since the original Ghostbusters movie debuted and you're probably wondering what took so long. Thankfully, Atari has delivered a game well worth the wait. Since Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd, the original screenwriter/actors from the Ghostbusters movies, wrote the story for the game, it serves as a sequel to the Ghostbusters 2 movie. Ramis and Akroyd lend their voices to the game along with Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson, and though the dialogue can be a tad cheesy, the story, set in 1991, moves along well and is infused with enough comical moments to keep you engaged and on your toes. For fans of the movies, this game oozes nostalgia. The first time you catch sight of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man you'll be grinning. For folks new to the franchise, you won't be disappointed as you strap on the proton pack to chase down and capture a bevy of paranormal nasties. Ghostbusters is a fantastic blast form the past. Offering quality graphics and engaging gameplay this title immediately ranks as one of the best movie franchise video games in a long time. Strap on your proton pack and get to it.
36 of 53EA Sports
EA SPORTS Active: More Workouts | Wii
Credit the Wii for making it cool to exercise and play video games at the same time. Perhaps the best of these exercise titles is EA Sports Active and now its sequel, More Workouts. The game comes with a strap for your leg that you place your nunchuk into for leg exercises and a resistance band for upper body work. Veterans of the original will be happy to see some changes, including the expansion of the 30-day workout to a six-week schedule which offers customization and a weekly fitness check-in with a virtual trainer. There are more than 35 new exercises and activities, including water skiing, paddle surfing, cardio boxing, step aerobics and squash. There are also new warm-up and cool-down drills to help avoid injuries. Plus, you can import your profile from the original into this version. One truth remains the same: It's still cheaper than joining the gym.
37 of 53Nintendo
Wii Fit Plus | Wii
Wii Fit hit North American shelves in May 2008, which means it likely hit the backs of most North American closets in June 2008 with the rest of your discarded exercise equipment. But the October release of Wii Fit Plus is as good an excuse as any to dust off your Balance Board and get back on the horse. The game contains all of the original activities in Wii Fit plus 15 new balance games and six new strength training and yoga activities. There's also a calorie burning counter and the option to create a profile for your pet.
38 of 53Nintendo
Wii Sports Resort | Wii
Wii Sports Resort, offers an enticing add-on, bundling in the Wii MotionPlus, which is quickly becoming the must-have accessory for Wii owners. The best of the 12 sports is Swordplay, where you can have that lightsaber battle you've been pining for your whole life. You and your opponent -- preferably a human -- square off on a round stage about 200 feet up above the water. Loser is the first one to get wet. Like it or not, you will burn a few calories playing some of these games. The most labor intensive is the cycling, in which you move your arms up and down to simulate pedaling. You do get moments of rest though when you draft behind other riders. Canoeing also will make you pant just a bit, depending on your level of fitness, which is surely high for most gamers, right? Fans of the original Bowling will love the new 100-pin challenge mode, where every frame has 100 pins. The MotionPlus comes in especially handy with bowling, where you can now throw sliders and screwballs down the lane at will.
39 of 53Rockstar
GTA: Episodes from Liberty City | Xbox 360
This release collects the two downloadable expansions to last year's blockbuster hit "Grand Theft Auto IV" onto a single disc. The two stories, which can be played without owning the original game, track two different sets of characters through Liberty City in campaigns that explore the familiar city in entirely new ways. The two episodes, "The Lost and Damned" and "The Ballad of Gay Tony," are full of memorable characters, missions, stunts and, of course, the free-roaming sandbox play for which the controversial series is known. Top-notch production values, including great soundtracks and voice acting, make this disc a must-own for fans of the series.
40 of 53EA Sports
Brutal Legend | Xbox 360, PS3
Brutal Legend is a genre-bending mash-up of gametypes wrapped around a wickedly funny script and standout voice work. Jack Black leads a cast of some of heavy metal's finest in a story about a rock roadie who gets sent to a world that needs saving. With an art style that looks like every Iron Maiden album cover ever produced and weapons and enemies that both lampoon and pay homage to heavy metal cliches, Brutal Legend brings together a wide variety of play styles including real-time strategy, driving and hack-and-slash combat with wacky, clever writing and design. There's plenty of blood and language befitting the rock-and-roll lifestyle, so don't be fooled by the cartoonish art into buying this one for the younger set.
41 of 53Activision
Prototype | Xbox 360, PS3
You play a main character that wakes up Jason Bourne-style: no idea where he is or how he got there. Then things get crazy. Instead of being blessed with superhuman spy skills like Bourne, you have the ability to shapeshift and absorb beings. Having these superpowers is awesome. What you get to do with these powers, however, falls a little short. The open world environment provides plenty of obstacles -- waves of villains, helicopters, tanks -- but the game sequences aren't as innovative as your character's powers.
42 of 532K Sports
MLB 2K9 | 360, PS3, Wii
If you really crave the full franchise experience and updated rosters, then XBOX owners will want to have MLB 2K9. But PS3 owners are better off with MLB 09 The Show. The major issues from MLB 2K8 have been addressed. Namely, hitting and pitching have been simplified. Instead of three movements, or gestures, to deliver a pitch, there are now only two. For hitting, the timing mechanism with the leg kick has been deemphasized; you no longer have to get the leg kick exactly right to make solid contact. For casual gamers who thought last year's game was too difficult, these are welcome changes. Even the playing cards have been simplified: There are no longer three levels of cards to unlock, just one for each player, and you can unlock player cards of your opponents for the first time. You don't have to play a whole season to get to the playoffs. Start a postseason tournament right away with your favorite team in the mix. Play a 30-team league online, take on a challenger in a one-on-one Home Run Derby or just play a plain old exhibition game online. Roster updates ensure that any trade made in real MLB will be reflected in your game. Plus, "Reel Maker" allows gamers to save their highlights and share it with friends.
43 of 53EA Sports
NBA Live 10 | 360, PS3
The newest mode to test drive is Dynamic Season. Once the real guys start playing, you'll be able to play any game on the NBA schedule. Live will merge your results with real scores and stats from the season as it progresses. Obviously, you can adjust the difficulty level of your opponent, but no matter what setting you choose, the AI will bring defensive intensity. For Live 10, EA placed an emphasis on elements like help defense, double teams and rotations. While you may be frustrated early, tough competition plays a big role in upping replayability in a sports title. The players move and act more like real athletes than they have in previous builds of Live. Guys hit the floor and sprawl out on drives to the hole. When a player grabs a loose ball near the baseline, he'll naturally try balancing on one foot while trying to find a teammate to pass to before falling out of bounds.
44 of 532K Sports
NHL 2K10 | 360, PS3, PS2, Wii
There are some cool minor gameplay tweaks that spruce up the on-ice action. Keep the puck moving from player to player by just holding down the pass button in transition. The newly named Ovi Deke offers a continuation of the cool puck-handling tricks you can pull while taking on a goalie one-on-one. Stick lifts are both cool and useful. Using your right toggle stick, you can poke at opponents, lift your stick to stop flying pucks and just generally disrupt and annoy the man you're defending. It's the best example of the right directional stick controlling your player's stick in 2K10. It may be silly and unrelated to anything of substance, but the Zamboni mini-game remains one of the best between period time wasters in hockey games. Online play is where 2K really steps it up a notch. Challenge or team up with friends in any mode, from Create a Team to the light-hearted pond hockey. The ease with which you can log on is a big step towards making online play as natural a part of gaming as turning on your console.
45 of 53Capcom
Resident Evil 5 | 360, PS3
The key to enjoying this gruesome shooter is to get used to the wonky control scheme. Once you do that, it's like sitting back and watching a horror b-movie. There's a surprising amount of variety in RE5 with some vehicle and on-rails action in addition to the zombie hunting and it's a welcome change. The boss battles are, almost without exception, clever and memorable, with some extremely gnarly bad guys thrown at you. If you're the type who likes to squeeze every ounce from the games you buy, Resident Evil 5 has a slew of unlockables and plenty of replay value. Once you finish the game, you unlock a Game-plus mode with enhanced weapons and a timed monster hunt mode called Mercenaries. Scour the game for emblems and treasures and you'll unlock bonus supplemental material for the truly hardcore RE fan. Longtime Resident Evil fans may bemoan the series' transition from survival horror to action, but it's a vastly more accessible and contemporary game than the REs of old. It's hard to play it and I wish that the controls had been modernized as well, but once you get used to them, it's a Hollywood-worthy thrill ride with a great deal of replay value.
46 of 53Capcom
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles | Wii
The on-rails shooter -- a perfect fit for the Wii Zapper peripheral -- is a dramatic departure in tone from the Wii's family-friendly catalog. Drawing on storylines from a number of previous installments in the Resident Evil canon, Darkside Chronicles delivers the brand of thrill-a-minute action fans of the long-running horror game series have come to expect -- not to mention some of the most impressive graphics, music and playability seen on the Nintendo console to date.
47 of 53Capcom
Street Fighter IV | 360, PS3
When Capcom's Street Fighter II broke out in 1991 it was a phenomenon in the arcades and soon after on the SNES (1992). Great depth, many playable characters and awesome head-to-head battles gave the game its magic. While several incarnations of the franchise have come and gone, fans have long been waiting for a jump to the next-generation consoles. And thankfully the wait was worth it. SF4 stays true to itself by keeping the action in 2D. Many recent fighting games have gone 3D, which mostly allows for sidestepping. SF4 offers a solid amount of modes that will keep you busy. You can fight your way to the top in Arcade mode against the CPU. Challenge mode gives you time attack, survival and trial (to perform specific moves). Each character has an array of special moves and throws, some of which are more or less shared with other fighters. Street Fighter IV is a must for fans of the franchise and for fighter fans than want to test their mettle. The learning curve of the game is significant but it's also a game you can pick up and play, and enjoy, as you learn the ropes.
48 of 53Namco
Tekken 6 | 360, PS3
The longtime fight franchise returns with another sterling edition. The beauty of this title is that beginners can button-mash their way to victory, but there's a deeper level of sophistication here that you can explore if you want to master the complex moves, counterattacks and the all-important rebounds after you get knocked down. There are single-player modes that allows to rack up coins that you can use to customize your player online, and make no mistake -- this game is all about online play. The variety of fighters span a wide spectrum, from fat boy Bob to the requisite hotties and even some animals (panda, kangaroo ... don't mess with the kangaroo) and a particularly nasty robot.
49 of 53Sony
Buzz! Quiz World | PS3
When you think action and excitement in video games, you think...trivia? While the Wii is the ultimate party console, the buzzer controllers and lightning-quick Q&As in Quiz World can be just as effective at gathering everyone around the TV. Tweaks to the franchise include a bulked up library of over 5,000 questions, online challenges, and the ability to create your own quizzes. There's also Over the Edge,h adds incentive to answering on time by letting yo whicu dump your opponent in slime goo by beating them to the answer.
50 of 53Warner Bros.
Scene It! Bright Lights! Big Screen! | Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
Scene It returns with another trivia game loaded with several thousand new questions. You can play with up to four players -- in short and long form games. While the game isn't fantastic looking, and not as energized as previous editions, the questions are current and challenging. The game doesn't come with the standalone buzzers from previous versions but you can play with standard controllers. The good news is the game is pretty cheap and it's sure to keep movie trivia buffs clicking away.
51 of 53Sony
Little Big Planet: Game of the Year Edition | PS3
In case you missed it, Little Big Planet was one of the best games of 2008. In the game you play Sackboy, foraging through more than 50 levels where you run and jump your way to victory. Why is it once again on our list for 2009? Sony has re-issued the game but has included $30 worth of downloadable content that includes 16 costumes and three sticker packs. But the real value is the inclusion of 18 never-before-seen levels that were created by Little Big Planet fans. So this is a no-brainer if you didn't get this game already.
52 of 53Lucas Arts
Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition | 360, PS3
Release your inner jedi with this re-skin of this popular Star Wars action game. The main upgrade is the all-new Hoth level. That may not be enough to tempt veterans of this title to get the Ultimate Sith edition, but for newcomers it makes for an excellent bargain. The main character is a Sith apprentice to Darth Vader who must hunt down any and all remaining Jedi in the galaxy. Along the way you can force lightning, force choke and generally have your way with all manners of foes. As you pick up experience and force tokens you can upgrade your character with new abilities. The key to the game play is the ability to interact with any and all objects on the screen that you can hurl at your enemies or use to make a bridge across a sea of acid, for example. After a rough day at work or school, it will feel good to release your dark side anger on any Jawas, Wookies and Stormtroopers who are unfortunate enough to cross your path.
53 of 53Ubisoft
Avatar: The Game | Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
If you're not aware of James Cameron's blockbuster movie Avatar, then say hello to your friends under the rock! The rest of the world is eagerly waiting to see if all the fuss is justified. In the meantime, Avatar: The Game serves as a prequel to the events of the movie and places you on the lush and wild plant of Pandora. Playing through the game you get to decide if you want to side with the humans, on Pandora to mine a very valuable mineral, or support the Na'vi, the planet's indigenous population. The game features pretty detailed and vivid graphics but has some issues with character control and camera tracking. A multiplayer mode allows you to take the battle between the humans and Na'vi online. This game is best suited for fans of the movie, so you might want to wait and see if you're one of them.
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