TA's Holiday Gift Guide and Contests: Retail Games

By Perpalicious, 5 years ago
Before we start, congratulations to the following gamers who have won our miscellaneous gift guide prizes:

First Prize - zZ Iain Zz
Second Prize - TakahashiDemon, Bashford, SmithMan117
Runner-Up - o KeyserSoeze o, MiTYH, DragonessHera, Team Juans
Stocking filler - o0 JdogJ 0o, playerforty4, Expertiize, Ali060

Ten Battlefield Avatar Code winners

Loguns RAW

Again, a huge thanks go out to the guys at Eiconic Games, Robot Entertainment, Ubisoft, Brady Games, and TerreDactyl for donating the prizes!

Now that we've gone through our favourite arcade games, hardware, and miscellaneous objects, we're going to finish off with a bang and name our top retail picks. And to top it all off? A giveaway that makes Santa looks ungenerous!

Assassin's Creed: Revelations (Xbox 360) - $54.99 / £35.99

If you have played any of the games in this franchise, you owe it to yourself to play this brilliant finish to two of this generations favourite characters, Ezio Auditore da Firenze and Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. The game offers everything you would expect from an Assassin's Creed game, great story, great fight mechanics, and new additions to the gameplay that makes this game feel fresh, yet also very familiar. An improved multi-player experience featuring new game modes and better customisation options means that you will be playing this game long into 2012 - DaveKinetic
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Battlefield 3 - $42.90 / £32.99

One of the best looking games on the 360, BF3's stand out multi-player will keep you busy for weeks and months. Offering a more team-based experience than other FPSs out there, vehicle combat, a boat load of customisation and the ingame ribbon and medal challenges, even when you master the game, you will still have so much to do. The game also offers a solid campaign and nine co-operative missions that will challenge even the best gamers out there on the hardest difficulty - DaveKinetic
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Bulletstorm - $12.99 / £13.99

People Can Fly's balls-to-the-wall, third-person shooter takes the concept of killing to a new level. With a heavy focus on special "Skill Kills," Bulletstorm is simply a rockin' good time provided you know to check your brain at the door. Any game which includes a weapon called "The Penetrator" is not high art, but who cares when everything blows up in spectacular fashion - Dog of Thunder
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Catherine - $44.98 / £37.99

Catherine has flown under the radar of most gamers. The critical reception was quite good and with good reason. Catherine offers a puzzle experience that isn't really present on current generation consoles: humour, horror, fast-paced puzzles, erotica, and more. Any and all puzzle lovers who love a unique experience has to buy this game - Perpalicious
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Child of Eden - $25.99 / £11.40

When the Kinect originally came out, many lined up to grouse about its line-up of mini-games and dance titles. Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Child of Eden was one of the first titles to break from this mold, and it did so in stunning fashion. Using your hands, you actually become the hero of the story in ways games really hadn't let you done so before. The game may be short, but the stunning visuals and thumping soundtrack make it well worth a play, especially as it's now included with the Kinect itself. Also, Eden takes things one step further and is completely playable with a standard controller so no one is left out of the experience - Matrarch
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Dance Central 2 - $41.89 / £29.93

What better time of the year for some Kinect fun with the family? Get dancing and burn off some of those calories! Dance Central 2 has a setlist full of cheesy stinkers and modern hits to keep everyone moving, even after a heavy Christmas. Now with the ability for two people to play together, you can either co-op it up and dance as a team or go head-to-head and battle for victory. With the Break It Down mode being so thorough, it’s perfect even for those with two left feet. There really is no excuse not to get involved this Christmas! - ButterflyEdge
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Dead Island (Xbox 360) - $38.23 / £34.88

Ahh, the holidays. The loving atmosphere. The generous gift-swapping. The bountiful feast. The...hacking away at the deteriorating limbs of the bloodthirsty undead. Dead Island deserves a lot of praise for its ambitious, fun gameplay. Make sure you play this one before the new year comes - N0T PENNYS B0AT
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Dead Space 2 - $24.96 / £12.00

Dead Space 2 came out very early in 2011 and is easy to forget, but, If you were a fan of the first game, this is an absolute must-play. If you didn't play the first, the game still represents a great experience with a great story, amazingly tight gameplay, and one of the most-solid games of the year - osubluejacket
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Deus Ex: Human Revolution - $34.99 / £9.99

Deus Ex Human Revolution captures everything that made the original title from the year 2000 such a masterpiece. Set in the not too distant dystopian future very reminiscent of Blade Runner, the player is given the opportunity to solve the game's story using stealth, hacking, run and gun tactics, exploration, and dialogues with characters. Given the addition of augmentations (bio-modifications) for the player, and the weapon modifications that can be applied, the game offers an unparalleled variety and diversity whilst playing through the missions. This has to be the best sci-fi action RPG released this year - Nexus Grunt
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Disney Universe - $35.50 / £24.99

Borrowing heavily from the successful LEGO formula, Disney Universe is a four-player co-op adventure that manages to stand on its own as a very enjoyable game you can play with your children, siblings, or even your own inner child - N0T PENNYS B0AT
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http://www.trueachievements.com/F1-2011-xbox-360.htm - $39.99 / £32.95

Slipstreaming in the tyre tracks of its award-winning predecessor, F1 2011 brings further improvements to the franchise. As expected, the Single Player Championship and multitude of multiplayer modes make a welcome return. There are several technical gameplay tweaks, but the biggest change is the introduction of the Co-op Championship mode, which ramps up the rivalry stakes as you and a friend fight for supremacy. If you appreciate the minuscule details which make all the difference in Formula One, then F1 2011 is a racing title you’ll enjoy. Another true racing gem from Codemasters! - http://www.trueachievements.com/KeithBGray.htm
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Forza Motorsport 4 - $44.95 / £29.99

The pit crew and mechanics over at Turn 10 studios have tweaked, twiddled, and tuned an already superb title into a masterpiece. The cars and tracks are more detailed, there are more game modes to be played, new special events, and with the addition of the infamous Top Gear track you can even attempt to be The Stig. With so many options and settings, this game is accessible to just about anyone. This is simply the definitive racing game for Xbox 360 - Nexus Grunt
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FIFA 12 - $41.80 / £37.99

Last year’s FIFA 11 stole the footballing glory from PES and crowned itself champion amongst the footballing titles on the Xbox. Like any good team, the folks over at EA Canada have not rested on their laurels and have built on last season’s success. This year’s FIFA 12 has moved forward again, with the addition of individual player AI, the new impact engine, and the weekly challenges. The title just gets bigger and better. A must have title for any football fans - Nexus Grunt
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Gears of War 3 - $39.99 / £27.00

Aside from garnering some of the best review scores of the year, Gears 3 is possibly the best value in gaming this season. Boasting an incredibly engaging and addictive Single-Player/Co-Op Campaign, which includes a competitive "Arcade" mode, as well as the best suite of multiplayer action to date, it is simply a must-have for shooter fans - osubluejacket
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Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - $37.99 / £28.00

A remaster of a classic. Go back in time to a simpler time, when it was you and a friends against the ferocious Covenant and the seemingly endless swarm of the Flood. Revisit some of those classic multiplayer maps that will make you nostalgic of the pre-Xbox Live days. A must have for any Halo fanatic and FPS fans alike - NinjaDave04
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Kinect Sports: Season Two - $48.86 / £29.99

When Kinect launched, Rare's Kinect Sports became an instant hit amongst early adopters and became Kinect's flagship retail title for the family audience and core gamers alike. It stood to reason that Kinect Sports: Season 2 would make an appearance and build upon the successes of the first. This time of year is about bringing the family together and Kinect Sports: Season 2 is a fantastic way to do so. It's a perfect example of a Kinect game that "just works." You needn't worry about the kids unwrapping this Christmas Day and having to sit and read a manual, or spend hours figuring it out. You'll be up and running within minutes of firing up the disc. It's well designed, in that the party play modes will be a sure fire hit when friends and family come visiting, too. If you own a Kinect, this is one of the most solid Kinect enabled titles you could buy this year - DavieMarshall
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L.A. Noire - $21.57 / £14.49

Rockstar have been on triumphant form as of late, and L.A. Noire is no exception. This game stays true to the Rockstar's style and format - offer a truly authentic digitised version of the concept in question. The atmosphere, detailing and story are compelling to gamers and non-gamers alike. The facial motion capture helps break down a barrier that has long existed between gamer and character and allowed, for me at least, a greater feeling of connection to the people who inhabit this world and their stories - DavieMarshall
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NBA 2K12 - $39.96 / £39.99

With the NBA lockout finally ending, basketball fans can now collectively breath a sigh of relief. However, with about a third of the season being lost, you'll have to make up the ground somehow. NBA 2K12 is the sequel to the greatest sports game of all-time, and guess what? It's even better than its predecessor! You'd be crazier than Dennis Rodman to knock this sports title for being too similar to the last. Visual Concepts improved every single aspect of the game, not to mention the full roster of legends! - N0T PENNYS B0AT
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Portal 2 - $43.14 / £20.00

Easily one of the best games of the year, if only for more GLaDOS and an introduction to Cave Johnson. The story is deeper than the first; Stephen Merchant is top notch as the voice of Wheatley, and the addition of Co-Op adds immense value to one of the best games of the generation - osubluejacket
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Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking - $39.99 / £17.99

The perfect party game for the party season. Have up to 16 people compete in a variety of Kinect mini-games on the same console. Test your reflexes, pull a variety of embarrassing poses and jump around like a lunatic in a bid to halt the Rabbid invasion through as many unlikely means as possible. Warning: Rabbids may be harmed in the playing of this game - PunkyLiar
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Rayman Origins - $49.44 / £34.80

When people talk about platforming games, Mario is the character that always pops into their minds. The latest Rayman rendition should change that. Origins has received an immense critical reception, and deservedly so. Rayman Origins has incredible hand-drawn graphics, fun gameplay, a hundred ways to die, and a great local co-op experience. If there is one game I can recommend more than any other on this list, it would be this. The latest Rayman is, by far, the best platforming experience in this generation and one of the best ever. Yes, even better than Super Mario Galaxy - Perpalicious
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Rise of Nightmares - $48.66 / £12.99

Underrated and under appreciated is the best way to describe Rise of Nightmares. It was overlooked by reviewers and ignored by consumers. If you can look past some of the game’s faults, you’ll find much enjoyment in taking a machete to a zombie’s limbs. The over-the-top violence works, as does the Kinect detection. If you’re a fan of Kinect and know the sensor's ins and outs, you’ll certainly enjoy this offering - litepink
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Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster - $39.96 / £29.05

An utterly charming game, this will delight children and grown ups alike on Christmas morning. We all have fond memories of our favourite Henson creations and this is guaranteed to raise a smile from everyone. There's a good level of re-playability for the kids, and when they're in bed ... yeah, you could *totally* 1K this - DavieMarshall
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Sonic Generations - $47.99 / £19.99

Recent iterations of the Sonic franchise haven’t quite met the standards that fans expected. For Sonic’s 20th anniversary, Sega have pulled out all the stops, giving gamers the opportunity to play as Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic, each with their unique play styles through some of the most memorable environments from their past. Packed with challenges and a ton of unlockables, Sonic Generations finally delivers the definitive experience that Sonic fans, new and old have been waiting for - Lexual
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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - $56.00 / £37.91

When Oblivion was released in 2006, RPG fans all around the world rejoiced for its deep experience. Fast forward five years later and we now have Skyrim, which makes its predecessor look plain silly. There is no other Western RPG experience on the Xbox 360 as deep, fun, and addictive. The critical reception has been ridiculous, and gamers have shown immense affection for the game, one that only a woman should receive. Simply put, every single gamer who owns a console should own Skyrim - Perpalicious
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The Gunstringer - $37.99 / £24.90

Twisted Pixel truly crafted a gem here. I think you could say this about any of their titles, but with the developer venturing into not only the retail game space, but also that of Kinect, there may have been some doubt. But fear not, as The Gunstringer delivers on all fronts. A hilarious script, a great protagonist, and fun, accurate, Kinect gameplay. If there's a "must-have" for Kinect, this is it - litepink
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Tropico 4 - $23.85 / £25.92

Nothing says Happy Christmas like stepping in to the shoes of El Presidente! Will it be a tropical paradise for your devoted dwellers or a slave fuelled shrine to your cult of personality? The follow up to Tropico 3 returns with more scenarios, more building options and a host of new possibilities for victory or defeat for El Presidente and his people - DavieMarshall
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You Don't Know Jack - $14.97

Confession: I spent four years on my high school's Varsity "Quiz Bowl" team and qualified to be on Jeopardy. With that background in mind, I LOVE trivia games. YDKJ is perfect for parties and games typically take 30 minutes or less. It's also compatible with the Scene It "Big Button" Controllers, making it accessible for non-gamers, too! - osubluejacket
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So that concludes our list of our retail recommendations. But that's not all! We're offering up a giant bag of prizes to the TA community of some of favourite titles of the bunch! Everyone who comments on this article is automatically entered into the randomised draw. So what are we giving away?

Family pack - Kinect Sports: Season 2, Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking, Black Eyed Peas: The Experience, Once Upon a Monster

Action pack - Gears of War 3: Limited Edition, Tropico 4
Action pack 2 - Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Rayman: Origins, Ezio Avatar Code
Action pack 3 - Gears of War 3, Sonic Generations
Action Pack 4 - Tropico 4, Sonic: Generations
Action Pack 5 - Catherine, Battlefield 3

Geared up! - Gears of War 3 (Standard Edition) and a Green Liquid Weapon Skin (x3 winners)
Gears Grab Bag - If it's Gears of War 3 and EPIC, it's in here.

Stocking Filler - Kinect Sports: Season 2 swag, Mercury Hg, Limbo and Worms

These prizes are all thanks to our friends at (in order!) Microsoft, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., Epic, Kalypso, SEGA, Atlus, EA, Eiconic, Playdead and Team 17. These publishers and developers have been completely awesome. Thanks to our community member http://www.trueachievements.com/DarkSlayer00001.htm for donating the Green Liquid Weapon Skins and an Ezio avatar code too!

That's one big list! So, the usual terms and conditions apply, we close at midnight (PST), so all that's left to say is good luck everyone in our last Gift Guide giveaway. Last give away of the year? Not a chance...

- This competition in unavailable to TA Staff Members
- Winners will be chosen at random (via random.org)
- Entries close midnight Monday Dec. 5th (PST)
- There are no international exclusions on entry
- All decisions are final
- Winners will be announced in tomorrow's Gift Guide post
- Please PM DavieMarshall with any questions