I've never been much of tactics fan from the popular Final Fantasy Tactics titles. However thanks to the ingenious work of Level 5, I've grown rather fond of them. With well over 30+ hours of gameplay, Jeanne D'Arc by Level 5 will keep you glued to your PSP and it might even keep you up at night. Take everything you liked about tactical games, add an in-game tutorial, great camera angels, great character variations, and a heart wrenching story line similar to the tales of the real Jeanne of Arc and you've got yourself a great turn based tactical role playing game for your PSP. What would've made this game even greater is there was some sort of ad-hoc or infrastructure mode where you could pit your best group against your adversaries.
"Bioshock" Platform: Xbox 360
When I first played Resident Evil: Code Name Veronica RE, the concept of fear became all the more prevalent. Playing this game at any point during the day had the same effect. Bioshock by 2K Games not only brought back that fear but amplified it. This is not a game for the weak of heart. This first-person shooter takes you through a complex joy ride through an underwater "Atlantis type city" where ethics and morality seeming collide in a 1940's gothic like universe. Like Resident Evil, you spend most of the game running for your life however, you are able to take advantage of the rather exotic power-ups that further add to this game brilliant uniqueness. In a biological way, Bioshock immerses the player in a world where possibilities are endless in terms of how creative you can be with these power-ups. Bioshock for the Xbox 360 is a must have for this holiday season though, like me, it might have you jumping at the smallest sounds in your house.
"Blacksite: Area 51" Platform: Xbox 360
Midway's first person shooter takes you out of the traditional World War error and sticks you right into the suburbia with a slight twist. Aliens. That's right in this title, instead of fighting some world power you're literally fighting escaped Aliens from the top secret Area 51 silo said to house many foreign creatures. This is a fun game that brings in elements of tactical assault strategies to a small degree.
"Super Mario Galaxy (SMG) " Platform: Nintendo Wii
One of the most highly anticipated titles on the Nintendo Wii outside of Naruto: Clash of Ninja (don't get me started on how great Naruto on the Wii is!), SMG allows you to jump back and forth from planet to planet, hence the Galaxy part of the title, while solving puzzles and the like. All your favorite Mario components seem to be present, repeated in many variations. The standard star at the end of each level of every beloved Mario game is now a "Power Star," occasionally a "Grand Star" when you battle one of Bowser's minions, and sometimes a "Green Star." This is exceptionally fun, swaying back and forth between easy and complex puzzles, most of them requiring some common Mario-like deduction. I doubt this will disappoint anybody except the extremely clumsy and gung-ho FPS players. Enough said, I've got star bits to collect.
"Assassin's Creed" Platform: Xbox 360/Playstation 3
The first time I saw a trailer of this game was back at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last year. My eyes were glued to the in-game cinematics and the gameplay footage on display. I knew back then I wanted this game in my life. Playing through the game now is like a dream come true. In my humble opinion, this is by far a game that sets the next generation standards of game design and development. The rich life-like environments, the engaging story line and the easy play controls makes this game a must have for this holiday season. Aside from Call of Duty 4 for the Playstation 3, Assassin's Creed is the example of what a next-gen title should be. A word of advice, spend a few hours just swinging through the city that alone is worth the money for this title.
By Chad Chamberlain