Holiday Gift Guide: Xbox360 edition

Posted: December 15, 2010 in HUD blips

So here we are again with another holiday gift guide from your friends at SSBB.  This time around I’ll be posting my gift guide for Microsofts Xbox360 console.  Next will come my gift guide for the PC.  There will be no PS3 guide as I don’t have one, but you can probably guess that if I was to do one it would include Gran Turismo 5 at the top of it.  I’d also probably add any number of cross platform games as well.  So if you have a PS3 and you’re reading my blog (you’re probably the only one) then get GT5 and some sort of cross platform game, some of which I’ll mention here.  Anyway on to the gift guide thingamajig, or something.

The Xbox360 List

1. Forza Motorsport III (metacritic score: 92%, kid friendly, $20 (used))

With over 500 cars, 100 tracks and online play, Forza 3 is the best racing on Xbox360 period.  The customization, paint and vinyl options and several classes of cars makes it one of the most in-depth driving games available anywhere.  A few niggling issues aside, Forza 3 is a no brainer if you like sim racers.  Even though Forza 4 was announced for the fall next year, Forza 3 is still supported for DLC and online play.  There’s simply nothing like it on Xbox except for Forza 2.  I’m annoyed that Turn10 has announced the sequel already, but I’ll still get my money’s worth from this one until the GOTY edition of FM4 arrives.  I’m not getting bit in the ass with “exclusives” by this developer again.

2. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (3) (metacritic score: 87%, kid friendly, $60 (new))

Finally.  A true return to NfS glory with police chases, supercars and flowing original tracks.   Play as either the police or a racer as you tear up Seaacrest county with your unobtanium metal.  Unfortunately this game borrows from HP2 and not the original HP as when you’re the cops you’ll need to deplete a racers “hit points” for lack of a better term, to bust them and not stop their car by other means.  It’s still a great game of cops and racers no matter how you slice it.  Just avoid the DLC for this game as EA has a habit of cheating people out of their MS points with useless unlock codes for locked out on-disk content.  Still worth it though, if only to lay the smackdown on your friends.

3. Blur (metacritic score: 82%, kid friendly, $35 (used))

What if you take Mario Kart and replace all the Karts (and Mario) with real licensed cars and make all the powerups cool?  You get Blur a kart game that isn’t a kart game.  Taking a decidedly more grown-up approach Bizzare has created what I believe to be the most underrated racing game of the past year.  Seriously, if you liked Mario Kart back in the day you owe it to yourself to buy this game.  It doesn’t hurt that the game was developed by the originators of the Project Gotham Racing series, and it shows in the vehicle dynamics.  The cars all handle realistically, but not too much so and the race tracks and their environments are top notch.  Seriously, this game is awesome, and better yet: no blue shells.

4. Darksiders (metacritic score: 83%, rated: M 17+, $30 (used))

Darksiders is not a Bayonetta clone, nor is it “like God of War but…” it’s an adventure game, akin to Zelda, only it’s about heaven vs. hell.  You take the role of War as he goes on his adventure to find out who tricked him into starting the apocalypse.  Read my rental review if you have any more questions, really, it’s awesome.

5. Red Dead Redemption (metacritic score: 95%, rated: M 17+, $60)

John Marston’s tale of redemption begins in the bustling city of Blackwater and it all goes downhill from there.  His adventure to track down his old gang of outlaws to save his family is one of the best ever pressed to disk.  This game is worth buying new (because it’s awesome and because you’ll only find it used at $5 less than new so…) as all the best Rockstar stuff is included like a map of the area and a manual written as if it was still 1911.  The attention to detail in this game is beyond what I could have imagined.  It’s a virtual cowboy simulator with cattle rustling, horse breaking, wildlife hunting, trains, outlaws and unforgettable characters.  Follow Marstons path to redemption or create your own cowboy adventure by simply riding around the old west.  Seriously, buy this game.

6. Bayonetta (metacritic score: 90%, rated: M 17+, $20 (used))

Okay, I know that 6 is more than 5 but I had to throw this one in here.  If you haven’t played Bayonetta yet you’re seriously missing out.  Created by the mastermind behind the Devil May Cry series, this game follows in that stylish action game genre.  The action is fluid and the combos are devastating.  How could you not like a game with a main character who has guns built in to her shoes?  No really, it is as awesome as it sounds.  Bayonetta is a witch who’s power comes from her hair.  Not only can she form huge torture devices and dragons from her hair, but her entire outfit is made from it as well.  It’s a weird mechanic, but it just flows so well.  The story is intentionally campy and it never takes itself seriously ever.  With an outlandish concept like this one, the game can’t take itself seriously, it’s simply too ridiculous.  And awesome, don’t forget the awesome!

Stay tuned for my PC gift guide coming soon!

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