VideoGamer.com's essential Christmas and New Year's buyers' guide
Welcome to a special series of VideoGamer.com's Top 10, where we bring you the essential genre by genre video game buyers' guide for Christmas and New Year. It'll run every Thursday from now until the end of the 2008 holiday break, so, whether you're looking for some family video game ideas to get you through those boring Christmas get-togethers or some top sports games to spend that holiday cash on, look no further than VideoGamer.com. In the first of the series, we look at the Top 10 Sports Games. And don't forget, if you need more info on any of these titles, just click on it for a full review.
10. Touch Darts, DS
A surprising choice, perhaps, but Tom thoroughly enjoyed it, and who are we to argue? As he says in the review: "Throwing a dart is as simple as pressing the screen with your stylus, drawing down the screen and then pushing up. The speed and angle of this motion determines the accuracy and it feels remarkably accurate and fluid." Available for £15, Touch Darts is a solid stocking filler that's perfect for the odd DS blast.
9. Madden NFL 08, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP, Cube, Xbox
Described by our US reviewer Greg Vallentin as "the most realistic football experience on consoles", hence the use of football when he should have said Gridiron or something, the latest Madden game excels despite some presentation issues and the odd glitch. It's also out on more game platforms than I care to count. If American Football is your thing, then so is Madden.
8. Amped 3, Xbox 360
Probably the best snowboarding game out there, in his review Tom quipped that despite it not being particularly challenging, it was: "the most entertaining game I've played in a long time". Despite it being a launch game for the 360, and a bit on the old side, (two years to be exact), it's an essential purchase for video game-playing snowboarding fanatics.
7. Virtua Tennis 3, Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, PC
For years the best tennis game out there, Virtua Tennis 3 does nothing to hurt the series. As Will pointed out: "Virtua Tennis has always been the undisputed champion of tennis games, and the latest release proves that the series just gets better with time." Although bitter rival Top Spin is catching up fast, as of this Christmas VT3 still takes game, set and match. Class fun for everyone, not just tennis enthusiasts.
6. Fight Night Round 3, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Xbox, PSP
Now that the studio that makes the classic boxing franchise has closed down, we might never see another Fight Night game. All the more reason then to pick up this excellent addition to the series. But we recommend the 360 version, as Greg explains, "the 360 version of Fight Night Round 3 is not only visually superior to its brethren, it actually plays better too - a whole lot better. Combine that with the game's excellent impact punches, an in-depth create-a-boxer mode, and solid online play, and you've got yourself an easy third round knockout."
5. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP
Forget that golf game in Wii Sports, Tiger Woods is where it's at. However, you should know that despite the game being an excellent simulation, it does have some bugs. But, with a patch now available that sorts out the most severe issues, as Tom explains, Tiger 08 "is a title that anyone with even a passing interest in golf should seriously consider". A hole in one.
4. Football Manager 2008, PC
The classic football manager sim made a triumphant return this year with a cleaner skin, easier navigation and of course updated stats. As I said in the review, "fans of the series and newcomers alike will be wholly satisfied with Football Manager 2008". Think you could have done better than McClaren? There's only one way to find out.
3. SKATE, Xbox 360, PS3
The classic Tony Hawk's Skateboarding series has been usurped by a newcomer - Skate. Will absolutely loved it, saying "If you own a skateboard, get this game. If you don't, get this game and get a board, because this is not one to miss. Finally skating has its Pro Evo and the Hawk has a reason to ruffle its feathers." Well deserved at three on our list.
2. FIFA 2008, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, PSP
The best Fifa game ever, yes, but, despite PES suffering a more than dodgy year, it still doesn't do quite enough to topple the king of sports games. Why? Well, it looks gorgeous, it sounds great and it's totally comprehensive, but the gameplay, while much improved, is still just off the pace. A worthy second, and no football fan will be disappointed.
1. PES 2008, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PC, DS, PSP
There are lots of problems with PES this year. It's got dodgy frame rate problems and laggy online play. Despite all this we have to say that multiplayer PES is still the best sports experience out there - on Xbox 360. Poor PS3 owners have a much worse time of it, and despite a recent patch, online play is still full of teleporting players and time travelling balls. We play four-player PES on our 360 in the office most lunchtimes, and we'll probably be doing so until PES 2009 comes out. Apart from the PS3 version, PES 2008 is not the rubbish game experience you might have read about, and clings on to top spot by the skin of its muddy fingernails.
For a complete run-down of all our Top 10s in this series head over to our handy index page.