2007 VGT Gift Guide
Posted November 18, 2007
The holiday season is revving up into full swing and the November releases are upon us. Every year, all those anxious developers and publishers rush to get their titles out before Black Friday and we are inundated with the top tier releases as well as the ridiculously terrible games. This glut of titles always challenges the VGT review staff every single year, but thankfully we have just enough sanity left to steer you to the hot holiday items.
While exclusives get all the press, there are always a few multi-console releases that are sought after by seething masses of weary, holiday shoppers. Check out some of the hot ticket items for 2007:
Developed by Harmonix (creator of Guitar Hero), Rock Band allows players to perform in 4 player, virtual bands by providing 3 different instrument-based peripherals; a guitar peripheral for guitar and bass, a drum peripheral, and a microphone.
If you are planning on picking up Rock Band for a gift, do it immediately! Rock Band will be in very limited supply and retailers will be selling the $170 bundle faster than a stack of Nintendo Wiis! Rock Band will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PS2.
This modern day shooter is the revitalization that the Call of Duty needed desperately. Set in Russia and the Middle East, the story follows a British SAS operative and an American recon soldier on the trail of a deadly terrorist attack.
The production value of Call of Duty 4 is what makes the game so uniquely special and the multiplayer is top notch. Call of Duty 4 is available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Windows PC.
Available for the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, and Nintendo DS, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga wraps together both trilogies in one package. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 allow for co-op play online. The Wii includes motion-sensitive control and the Nintendo DS incorporates exclusive touch-screen action and challenges.
Itís an excellent game for people of all ages and should sell well this holiday season. Check out VGT's review of the Nintendo DS version: Link
The Orange Box contains 5 games for the price of one; Half Life 2, Episode 1, Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Portal is worth the MSRP alone as the utterly hilarious story will fill your belly with laughter and put your brain to the test.
Itís a great deal for those who skipped over Half Life 2 in the last generation. The Orange Box is currently available for the Xbox 360 & PC. The PS3 version will be released in mid December.
What will those desperate shoppers do when Rock Band cannot be found? Guitar Hero III is the answer. With over 70 songs in the mix and new features like boss battle, the popular music game has already been a hit for Activision
Guitar Hero III is currently available for the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS2. For those who already have a guitar, a game only version can be purchased. Check out VGT's reviews: Xbox 360, PS2, PS3
Despite the mixed reception by the press, the originality of the story and solid fighting system has impressed many gamers. Partially set in present day, the story follows Desmond, a young man who has been kidnapped by a corporation to unlock ancient memories hard coded into his DNA. His ancestor was a deadly assassin in the 12th century and Desmond is forced to relive those memories to unlock a well guarded secret.
Assassin's Creed is currently available for the Xbox 360 and PS3 this holiday season.
Millions of Nintendo fans have been salivating for a new Mario game since the Wii was announced and it's finally arrived in 2007. Join Mario as he defies gravity across all the planets in the galaxy, racing to save Princess Peach.
Itís the must have game for new and old Wii owners this holiday season. VGT's full review
Zack & Wiki came out quietly from Capcom and took Wii owners by surprise. The duo head out on an adventure to restore the body of Captain Barbados and find Treasure Island.
The originality of the story and the unique use of the Wii controller really made this title stand out from the rest of the pack. Itís definitely a family friendly title and should see a boost this season.
This chapter of the Resident Evil series is completely original, but covers different sides of the events in RE: 0, 1 & 3. It reunites Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and a few other RE characters important to the series.
The Wii controller is used as a light gun and you can even purchase peripherals that attach to the Wii-mote to simulate the look of a gun. While some Wii owners wonít care for the rail shooter style, Resident Evil fans wonít be able to pass it up.
Sequel to Trauma Center: Second Opinion, this medical surgery title is tailor made for the Wii controller. This particular story follows a couple of Alaskan surgeons that get caught up in a governmental conspiracy.
Interestingly, this version includes a two player co-op mode to combine your slicing skills with a partner. Nurse, prep me for surgery, stat!
Retro Studios did a bang up job with recreating the world of Samus Aran on the Nintendo Wii and it deserves some holiday love this year. While the game was released 3 months ago, itís still a hot item for new Wii owners.
The unique feel to the Metroid world with the Wii controller has to be experienced if you are any type of fan of the series. VGT's full review
Honorable Mention: Mario Strikers Charged , Resident Evil 4, Medal of Honor: Heroes 2
Bioware has finally melded their wonderful talent for creating role playing games into the action shooter genre. Mass Effect sets the player on a course to save the galaxy from the universe's oldest and most dangerous secret.
This full-blown, science fiction epic will dazzle the eyes and put your mind to the test. This is the must own game for Xbox 360 owners in 2007. VGT's full review
Dripping with atmosphere, this title has the most original story of the year on any platform. Set in an underwater dystopian city in 1960, the narrative opens with a plane crash and the sole survivor finds an entrance into Rapture. The entire city has been tore apart over Adam, a genetic altering substance that gives people astounding power.
This shooter will delight and amaze your senses as well as provide lots of tense Big Daddy battles. (Also available for PC) VGT's full review
What list would be complete without the finale to the Halo series? While nearly every Xbox 360 owner already has a copy, this is an excellent idea for new 360 owners. Follow Master Chief as he battles forces on Earth and heads back into deep space to finish the fight once and for all.
The expansive multiplayer options are also a great reason to pick up an Xbox Live 12 month card for gold membership. VGT's full review
This overlooked role playing game ties the real world to a fantasy world created by Frederic Chopin as he lays on his deathbed. The unique story and wonderful musical score makes for a tremendously entertaining experience.
Any aspiring musician will get a kick out of this title. VGT's full review
Lost in the wake of great releases, PGR4 quietly came out a couple months ago and maintained the same standard as the previous titles in the series. While it hasn't changed much, the level of online competition is still prevalent and it has a big following in the UK.
This driving title is worth taking for a test drive and would make a great gift for any racing fanatic this year.
Honorable Mention: Blue Dragon, Bee Movie Game, Scene It
Itís the best platformer available for the system and itís incredibly fun to boot! In this chapter of the story, Ratchet & Clank take on Emperor Percival Tachyon and embark on a journey to discover the mysterious Lombaxes.
This is a quality title that fills a large void in the Playsation 3ís library of games.VGTís full review
In an Indiana Jones style of game, Nathan Drake launches a search for the lost treasure of El Dorado. When he becomes stranded on an island in the middle of the South Pacific, he has to fight to stay alive against overwhelming odds.
Uncharted is a fantastic adventure title thatís completely exclusive to the PS3 this holiday season. It may very well be the hot item for PS3 owners this year.
Warhawk is a third person shooter that allows combat on foot, in ground vechicles or sipping through the skies. While similar to the Battlefield series, itís the only type of game like it thatís available for the PS3.
Warhawk also features a solid online infustructure for PS3 owners with broadband capabilities. VGTís full review
While itís coming up on being six months old, this fighting game is still one of the best PS3 releases of the year. Itís an upgraded version of Ninja Gaiden Black and features Rachel as a new playable character.
The visuals are fantastic on the Playstation 3 and the action seems nonstop. Itís a great gift for those new to the Playstation 3 this holiday season.
This fighting title follows the story of Nariko, a woman with a thirst for vengeance against a tyrannical king. She takes up a legendary sword to defeat the massive invading army, yet her lifeforce will be drained completely by the sword in mere hours.
Heavenly Sword makes a perfect gift because it has fantastic production value and itís a bit on the short side. Folks are hesitant to spend a full $60 on a 6 hour single player game.
Honorable Mention: Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Eye of Judgment , Formula One Championship Edition
As always, Nintendo has the best releases for Nintendo DS owners year after year. The new title reinvents how Zelda can be played and has an extremely extensive quest. It picks up at the end of Wind Waker and follows Linkís journey to save the princess from a ghost ship.
While most fans of the series have picked this title up already, itís absolutely essential for new DS owners. You canít go wrong with Zelda on the DS. VGTís full review
The first Brain Age attracted tons of baby boomers to the little handheld device and the sequel aims to do the same. The structure of the game is almost identical, but new challenges and tests will test your grey matter once again.
Brain Age 2 is an excellent gift for anyone that received the first title last year.VGTís full review
The objecting lawyer returns with an entirely new set of cases. Building on the popularity of the first two titles, you will again be required to cross-examine witnesses, study evidence and poke holes in testimony.
Fans of the first two games will be in love with the new Phoenix Wright. VGTís full review
This chapter of the Final Fantasy series picks up one year after the events of Final Fantasy XII. Vaan has been charged with protecting a new mysterious, winged race of people and their homeworld.
Final Fantasy games have always had a big following and this sequel is no different. This is an excellent gift for those seeking a solid RPG to play on the DS.
Hudson Soft has managed to cram the entire Mario Party experience into the little handheld. They have also added new features exclusive to the DS that take advantage of the microphone and touch screen.
The best feature about Mario Party is that it supports 4 player Download play. You will only need 1 cartridge and players can connect 4 Nintendo DS handhelds to the match. This is a great multiplayer title to pick up if you have multiple DS devices in your household.
Honorable Mention: MegaMan ZX Advent, Contra 4, Bleach: The Blade of Fate
Games, who need them! Seriously though, the PSP got a redesign this year and the sexy new look finally gives the Nintendo DS Lite some competition. The sleek style is 33% lighter and nearly 20% slimmer than the previous model.
Besides the piano black PSP Slim, it also comes in two bundled packs with everything you need to get started. VGTís full review
This is an English version of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood in addition to containing the original Japanese version as well as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The player controls Richter Belmont on his quest to kill Dracula.
The great aspect of all Castlevania games is the length. You are getting tremendous value with the purchase of this title considering the amount of content. This is an excellent gift for PSP owners that love adventure games.
This shooter title is a sequel to the excellent Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. In this chapter of Gabeís life, heís tasked with recovering the cargo of a hijacked ship. While the story isnít completely intelligent, the production value is fantastic and the puzzles are challenging.
The real bonus here is excellent multiplayer support. PSP owners can jump into a large number of game modes in online play. Itís a great gift idea for gamers that love action titles.
This version of Final Fantasy is actually an update to Final Fantasy Tactics that came out for the original Playstation ten years ago. The game takes place in the land of Ivalice and an impending rift between royalty sets up the story.
The real amazing aspect of the title comes from the beautiful cel-shaded graphics and the 50+ hour length. A word of warning though, any recipient of this gift will need knowledge of the series as there is a steep learning curve.
Itís another RPG, but itís too good to pass up. This strategic title tells the story of Laharl, a young prince of the netherworld who has been asleep for two years. His father, the king, passed away during the princeís slumber and Laharl sets off on a mission to reclaim his kingdom.
The real asset to Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness is the amount of humor and originality that the title conveys. Itís also very combat heavy which is nice for folks who typically donít play many role playing games.
Honorable Mention: Dead Head Fred, Jeanne D'Arc, Silent Hill: Origins
12 years from now, an asteroid crash lands on a chain of islands controlled by the North Korean government. United States Delta Force is sent in to investigate and two nations collide. Little does either world power realize that an alien ship is ready to emerge and wipe out the entire human race.
Crysis will push a personal computer to its utmost hardware limitations. Be sure your gift recipient has a beefy PC to handle the amazing, sheer level of detail.
The Xbox 360 blockbuster is now available for the PC. Gears of War follows the tale of Marcus Fenix and his fight to keep Earth safe from the locust horde. The visual quality is incredible and the gameplay is top notch.
Additionally, the PC version comes with a few new single player levels to fill the Xbox 360 plot holes and a multiplayer level editor. Itís also tied into the Xbox Live system if you plan to play multiplayer.
Comprised of 6 episodes, Sam & Max is a tremendously funny tale of a couple of private investigators who happen to be a large dog and a rabbit. Each episode has a case to solve, but they also build upon each other and work together for a larger mystery.
Sam & Max: Season 1 is a real bargain for the amount of excellent content you receive. Originally, these 6 episodes sold for 9 bucks apiece.
Set in the Cold War era, World in Conflict puts the player into the role of a strategic field commander. As the Soviets begin to invade Europe, NATO responds forcefully. Unfortunately, the Soviets also invade America at the same time and put you into the role of saving Americaís cities.
This is a brilliant idea and it plays well for a strategic title. Pick this up for alternative history buffs.
Horstachio is back! This strategic social game finally makes its way onto the PC. You will be mating the candy filled animals and tending to your garden for hours upon hours. I found the Xbox 360 version of be surprisingly addictive.
Viva PiŮata is a fantastic gift for people of all ages. The Xbox 360 version was a huge hit with the female population.
Honorable Mention: Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Tabula Rasa
Well that wraps it up! If you are like me and have way too many games to play already, check out Childís Play charity this year and donate some gaming goodies to kids stuck in hospitals around the nation.