Here we are, once again, at the fun, yet confusing time period of the year called the Christmas shopping season. Diligently seeking that perfect gift to elicit that picture-perfect response from the recipient is the name of the game for gift-buyers.
While many ages may be tough to buy for in your family, there is the "special" category of teenager that really cranks up the difficulty level, especially with responses such as "I don't know" or "whatever works," when asked what their ideal gift would be.
There are many categories of items that teens do desire, however. Clothing, money, cars, and electronics are just a few of the items that are on this precarious list.
Now, I won't be able to help you with all these categories, but I will be able to shed some light on the process of finding the hottest video games for your teen. This year, as usual, there are great choices for the avid gamer, but surprisingly, there are also a couple of very popular games that are perfect for hardcore and casual gamers alike.
Here are some suggestions of a few top titles that would make fantastic gifts. (Note that the "M" rated games -- "mature" -- are targeted at older teens.)
$59.99, Rated M
One of the quintessential games for the Xbox 360 is the third installment of the "Halo" franchise. Halo is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed videogame franchises in gaming history, and this third game is a great addition to the series. With the campaign storyline drawing to a conclusion in the war between the Flood and the Covenant, the graphics have never looked better.
Every item in the game looks pristine and well-detailed. With up to four players being able to play campaign mode on the same 360, this game is a blast to play with a group of friends. The same beautiful graphics carry over from campaign mode to online play. Everything else has also been slightly revamped to provide smooth game play. With new maps, some new guns, and the same old crew that you ran with in Halo 2, online multiplayer provides countless hours of fun.
$59.99, Rated M
"Assassins Creed" is set in the time of the Crusades, and focuses on the journey of Altair, who is a member of The Assassins. You control Altair as you weave way through the story, assassinating key figures and gaining abilities. The world in which you can roam is quite large, with four extremely large cities such as Jerusalem, and a good size area in which to explore when traveling between cities.
Unfortunately, there is no multiplayer or online play for this game. Despite that, stunning graphics, the ability to roam free with tight controls, and a riveting story, make this is a fantastically entertaining game.
$169.99, Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3
$159.99, PlayStation 2
"Rock Band" is the must have game of this Christmas game season. This game is the ultimate party game, and a unique solo experience. The complete package comes with a lead guitar controller, a bass guitar controller, a drum set, and a microphone. Get together some friends and start your own band. There are a total of 58 songs in the game, with 45 of them being original tracks.
The Band World Tour (which is for local players only) allows you to travel the world playing at many famous venues and unlocking all of the songs. You can also take your instrument online and form a band with friends from around the world in Band Co-op Mode. One drawback of the game though, is to be able to enjoy it fully with all components, it does get a little pricey. Otherwise, get ready to rock 'n' roll and hit the road!
"Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock"
$99.99(includes guitar), Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3
$89.99(includes guitar), Wii, PlayStation 2
If "Rock Band" is a bit too much or a bit too expensive, then "Guitar Hero III" is the alternative music game for you. Like the former "GH" games that you loved, "Legends of Rock" has some new features to make you go giddy. Career Mode is similar to the previous titles, but this time, it has a storyline, which include an epic showdown with ultimate shredder Slash, from Guns N'Roses, and Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine. There is also a Co-op Career mode.
Online play has been added, with the all-new Battle Mode. Battle Mode is a twist of the old Pro Face-off mode. This time, players play the same song, while gaining Battle Power. Battle Power throws different attacks against your opponent to try to make them fail the song. If neither player fails, then they engage in a Sudden Death segment. With 71 new songs, 51 of them being master recordings, you will be tremendously entertained with this title.