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Top 10 games this holiday season

icon_feature1It’s the same story every year. Publishers save their best games for the year-end holiday season, and in the process, leave us consumers to deal with the impossible task of deciding which ones to buy and which ones to hold off on. While many games initially slated for release this year (Splinter Cell: Conviction, Mafia 2, Max Payne 3, Bioshock 2, etc) have now been pushed back to 2010, this year’s holiday release schedule is still choc-full of AAA goodness. So here at IVG, we decided to do our bit to make the decisions just a little easier. To do that, our writing staff members put their heads together to come up with the top 10 games for the rest of 2009 that demand your attention. And here they are.

[singlepic id=1401 float=center]
[singlepic id=1400 float=left]10. GRAN TURISMO 5
Genre:
Racing
Platforms: PS3
Release date: December
Developer/Publisher: Polyphony Digital/Sony

Why should you look forward to Gran Turismo 5? For one, it’s the latest installment in the PlayStation brand’s number 1 first party franchise, having sold over 50 million copies worldwide. If that isn’t reason enough for racing fans with PS3s to sit up and pay attention, GT5 boasts a staggering 1,000-car roster, including for the first time, Lamborghini’s line-up. To put them through their paces, the game will include 80 tracks, each with multiple layouts. The career mode is bolstered by fully-licensed WRC and NASCAR championships. GT5 also introduces, for the first time in franchise history, vehicular damage. Then of course, there’s the stuff we already know – cockpit view, 1080p/60fps photo-realistic visuals, etc. It’s the epitome of console sim racing, and we don’t even know everything there is to know about it yet.

[singlepic id=1399 float=left]9. DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS
Genre:
RPG
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Release date: November 6
Developer/Publisher: BioWare/EA

Do the words ‘Baldur’s Gate’ mean anything to you? If not – go shoot aliens. Dragon Age: Origins is the spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed Baldur’s Gate series. Here are more reasons to get excited – it’s built by Bioware, the guys who’ve made arguably the best RPGs. The game has Elves and Dwarves, and those pesky Humans – although you can’t start off as Drizz’t. And if you hadn’t guessed by now – it’s a classic RPG. In DA:O, the player’s actions have an effect on the world, and each character has its own ‘origin’ story. So no more a generic adventurer, but as a player, you empathise with your protagonist. This is the first time the complex RPG gameplay mechanism is being ported to a console, and we look forward to the exciting gameplay in store. It’s been so long since Neverwinter Nights, we are just dying here for a good RPG.

[singlepic id=1398 float=left]8. MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 2
Genre: Action
Platforms: PS3, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, DS
Release date: September 25
Developer/Publisher: Vicarious Visions/Activision

You don’t have to be a die-hard Marvel fan to enjoy Marvel Ultimate Alliance. It’s essentially an old school beat ’em up and action-RPG hybrid with a Marvel twist. The first game offered fast-paced single player and cooperative multiplayer action with an impressive roster of Marvel characters to choose from. The sequel aims to expand upon the first game by offering all new playable characters and an original story based on the celebrated Civil War storyline. The game also boasts more destructible environments and a new ‘fusion’ mechanic, where two characters can combine their special attacks to create a unique new attack. We can’t wait for clobberin’ time!

[singlepic id=1397 float=left]7. RATCHET AND CLANK: A CRACK IN TIME
Genre:
Platform
Platforms: PS3
Release date: October 30
Developer/Publisher: Insomniac Games/Sony

Clank is trapped inside a giant time machine. Ratchet is no longer the only lombax in the galaxy. Dr. Neferious has outdone himself in his latest evil scheme. And Captain Qwark is back.

In case the above doesn’t make any sense, you’ve been missing out on something truly special. Often the underdog in the formidable line-up of Sony exclusives, the Ratchet and Clank series has wowed its fan with beautiful graphics, addictive gameplay featuring a healthy mix of platforming and action, and genuinely hilarious characters. And the upcoming sequel plans to cram even more fun along the way. The series’ trademark features are all there, mixed with some intriguing new elements. The time manipulation segments of Clank and the recently revealed space exploration feature only goes on to firmly place Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time among our most anticipated releases in the upcoming holiday season.

[singlepic id=1396 float=left]6. ALPHA PROTOCOL
Genre:
RPG
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release date: October 30
Developer/Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment/Sega

Dubbed as a ‘spy RPG’, this new IP from Obsidian Entertainment and Sega sure looks like a promising one. We like to think of it as James Bond meets Deus Ex. As superspy Michael Thorton, you’ll be talking, sneaking and shooting your way through this high-tech espionage-fueled adventure. One of the highlights of the game is that you can play the game the way you like. For example, you could be a suave, smooth-talking stealthy spy or an aggressive and unpredictable loose cannon. Add to that your regular RPG-style leveling and skill mastery and you have the perfect recipe for an action packed thrill ride!

Next page: The Top 5

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