With soooo many games available for Microsoft's monolith-in-your-living-room, picking the right games for yourself from the burgeoning shelves is not a task that you should attempt unaided. Instead, read up and then approach the shelves with Gameplanet assistance. We spent hours and hours toiling over hot games to bring you this information, so that you could concentrate on game-playing and not have to worry about buying a dead duck.
Without further ado, check out our hotpicks for the Xbox this Christmas (in no particular order).
- * Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003
If you even remotely like golf or have ever bought any previous golf game, you owe it to yourself to get this. With great graphics, legendary gameplay and hundreds of options, this is a game you will treasure for ever. Hell, buy it for your dad and pretend it was his Christmas present.
- * Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
No console game collection would be complete without some form of Street Fighter game - newbie gamers may try and tell you that 2D fighters are dead but ten minutes with this one will tell you that they simply don't know what they are talking about. Pure fighting goodness and classical gameplay, wrapped up in a gorgeous and cutting edge package make this the iteration of the 10 year old series to get. Get it, love it, kick your buddies at it.
- * Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
Originally associated only with great counter-terror novels, Tom Clancy has gone on to be a powerful name in Action Cinema and is now tightly associated with some of the best tactical squad action games available. With the ground breaking Rainbow 6 series, a new benchmark was set in realism and tactical options that the player was exposed to. Ghost Recon is the latest iteration in that classic series and beats it's prequels as only a new Tom Clancy game can. Wildly successful on PC, the tactical combat game has just been released for the Xbox.
- * Dragon's Lair 3D
The game that wowed arcade goers 20 years ago next month is set to do the same thing again - to a whole new breed of gamers, many of whom will have never even heard of the original! The legendary Don Bluth is back to give life to the Cell-Shaded characters who interact in a now fully 3D and fully interactive world. Gone is the "you have half a second to choose a direction or button" gameplay, replaced instead with a much more modern and intuitive interface. A retro hit and a stand-alone game in it's own right, look out for the adventures of Dirk the Daring very close to Christmas.
- * Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Easily the best game currently available on the Xbox, Tom Clancy's intricately woven tale of a well kitted out spy doing his thang is simply amazing to behold. Taking the gameplay of Metal Gear Solid 2 about a trillion steps further, Splinter Cell makes that previous game look like an arcade shooter. The graphics, gameplay, sound, options, immersiveness and sheer "omg"ness of this game impresses like no other. Make this the top of your list, if you don't have it already.
- * Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Unless you have been literally living in a cave, you will have heard of the game that basically invented the extreme sports gaming genre. This is Tony's 4th console outing (and second on the Xbox) and is easily the best yet. The general gist is the same (but even more detailed) as the previous - skate about, do tricks, perform special stunts etc. It is way more in depth than it sounds and most gamers will eat away many tens of hours playing this one, especially if you are lucky enough to have friends who share the interest. If you aren't "over-Tony'd", get this and love it.
- * Unreal Championship
The PC extreme fighting game comes to the Xbox. Unreal Championship is an FPS which strips away the facade that other games come with (you know, that single player "you are alone against hordes of aliens: kill them" garbage) and goes straight for the goodies. This game is about one thing and one thing only - enter the kill arena and grab the guns, armour and health packs and see about sending your mates (or Xbox-bots) off into another dimension - in as many pieces as possible. With several game modes available (deathmatch, capture the flag, etc) and Xbox live support (it's coming to NZ folks - next year), this is the competitive brawler to own - period.
- * Mech Assault
Huge battlemechs, huge city environments and huge weapons. Mix 'em up to get urban warfare gone crazy - this game pulls zero punchs, as you rip buildings from the ground and pound your enemy into scrap with them. Watch as huge chunks of glass and steel rain down on your opponent, as that missile you aimed at him slams into the building behind him - aim carefully but don't take too long, as his mech is not without teeth of it's own. Prepare to be bombarded with energy weapons as you strafe through the scared populous of the city you are dueling in. This is eye candy and gameplay goodness galore.
- * Quantum Redshift
When the slow vehicles can only manage a sedately 800Km/h (and the top ones cream 1500), you know you are up for some serious speed. Quantum Redshift makes all previous racers look like a granny on a Sunday stroll around the bays and adds futuristic and funky weapons into the mix! That's right, not only can you blast around the tracks so fast that only your subconcious mind will be able to keep up, but you get to fire at (and be fired upon by) scores of enemy racers. This one is a definite winner.
- * Medal of Honour: Frontline
Also available on PS2 and Gamecube, the Xbox version of this well executed shooter is graphically superior. Placing the player squarely in the boots of a World War II Infantryman, Medal of Honour recreates numerous real-world scenarios to scare the player out of ever participating in a real war. With crazed screaming and bodys flying, your attention as you storm the beaches of Normany will be wrenched by the neverending hail of bullets and rain of explosive mortar shells. This is one very immersive and intense gaming experience that should not be missed.
And there you have it! Gameplanet's top ten Xbox titles for Christmas. Check 'em out, see what you think and get in amongst one of the best Christmas seasons for a console gamer - ever.