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 until the end of the 2007/2008 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 sixth of the series, we look at the Top 10 Action Games. And don't forget, if you need more info on any of these titles, just click on it for a full review.
Please note: This special series of VideoGamer.com's Top 10 is a buyer's guide for Christmas 2007 and New Year 2008, and as such only includes modern titles available for the currently supported platforms. It is not a best of all time list.
10. Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice - PSP.
This won't be for everyone, but I absolutely love it. I reckon it's one of the PSP's best games, and perfect for a quick 15-minute blast on the train or bus every now and again. It's a combination of a number of game types, including third-person on foot shooting, which isn't that great, first-person on rails shooting, which is a lot better, and action driving shooting, which is absolutely brilliant. As you chase down some gang goon in your Pursuit Force car you can jump from vehicle to vehicle, shooting in mid-air, land on your target's bonnet and blast the passengers into oblivion. Enough said.
9. Chili Con Carnage - PSP.
Tom absolutely loves this Max Payne-esque third person shooter. As he said in his review: "It's not often that I get excited about handheld games, particularly handheld action games, but Chili Con Carnage has completely blown me away and changed my view on what Sony's handheld is capable of." High praise indeed. And why not? It might not have sold bucket loads, nor has it enjoyed an expensive marketing campaign, but Chili Con Carnage is still far and away the best action shooter the PSP has to offer. An essential purchase for PSP owners.
8. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - PS3.
One of the best, if not the best, reasons to own a PS3, Uncharted is the Indiana Jones game we've all been waiting for, except, well, it doesn't feature Indiana Jones. Instead we have Drake, an agile, quick-witted action hero who's just at home firing an assault rifle from behind cover as he is jumping and climbing his way towards mysterious treasure. While we're sure Uncharted is an action game, it's a lot like a hell of a lot of other games too. It's got a third-person shooting cover system like Gears of War and exploration and puzzle-solving that brings to mind Lara Croft's Tomb Raider. Whatever it is, if should be in every PS3 owner's game collection.
7. Crackdown - Xbox 360.
Crackdown is like finding a tenner buried deep within the sweaty pit that is your couch - a wonderful surprise. Who knew that a game that came bundled with a Halo 3 beta key would be so much fun? And yet it is. And not only is it fun, it's completely addictive. As Tom says: "Crackdown is a game that simply must be played if you are at all fond of free-roaming action games." It's kind of like GTA on steroids with a splash of cel-shaded paint. As it says on the shampoo bottles - for the best results combine with a friend in co-op over Xbox Live or System Link. Wicked.
6. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 - Xbox 360, PS3.
The original GRAW was great, but the sequel is even better. Despite a rather short main campaign, the near future squad-based shooter has tonnes of replayability mainly because of the excellent multiplayer, which is still extremely popular online. "Put simply, if you like military-themed third-person online shooters there should be something for you to love in GRAW 2", said Tom in his review. Four players can even play on a single console, either offline or against other players over Xbox Live. Sweet.
5. Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction - PS3.
Apart from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction is probably the best reason to own a PS3 right now. There's nothing here not to like: Pixar-quality graphics, insane weapons and wicked humour all combine to provide one of the best "next-gen" experiences out there. Another one to show off your new HD TV, Tools of Destruction is not a platformer. It's a third-person shooter with jumping. And you'll be jumping too. A game all PS3 owners, let alone action fans, should not be without.
4. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - PS2, Xbox, PC.
There's a lot that's been said about the GTA series. Most people, even if they don't play games, will be aware of it in some context. What a lot of people forget is that while GTA gets a lot of bad press for its adult content it still stands up as an insanely fun "sandbox" action shooter. The best thing about it is being able to simply forget about the main storyline for a while and go off exploring and experimenting with the game's various vehicles and put Rockstar's wonderful gangster-filled world to the test. We reckon San Andreas is the best version, but you won't go far wrong with Vice City either. Oh, and if you have a PSP, Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories are two of the handheld's best games.
3. God of War and God of War 2 - PS2.
If you like your gore-filled, in-your-face action and a splattering of killer combos look no further than the God of War series. Despite being on the PS2, the game's graphics are amazing, and you won't be let down in the gameplay stakes either. So good is God of War 2 that it made it into our Top 10 games of 2007 across all platforms. In his gushing review, Tom said God of War 2 "is one of the most epic, dramatic and action packed games you'll play this year". We'll extend that description to apply throughout 2008 too. If you have a PS2 or a backwards compatible PS3 and haven't already taken Greek warrior Kratos out for some deadly chain action, you owe it to yourself to do it right now.
2. Resident Evil 4 - Wii, PS2, GameCube.
Capcom chucked the Resident Evil design handbook into the shredder for the fourth instalment of the massively successful survival horror series, and the decision was an inspired one. With the camera now over your shoulder rather than fixed, Resident Evil dragged itself into the modern video gaming age without losing any of its intense survival edge. Set in a dusty Spanish village, it was crazed evil villagers rather than out and out zombies who were hell bent on eating out your heart. The Wii edition with special controls is probably the best - stay clear of the PC version though.
1. Gears of War - Xbox 360, PC.
Although at its core a hardcore game, Gears of War is surprisingly accessible to those not really familiar with games and is absolutely stunning fun played cooperatively or online with a mate on a big screen television. Yes the game came out on the 360 at the back end of 2006, but it's still one of the best looking games out, and has only really been surpassed by... the PC version of the same game - and Crysis if your PC can run it. If you haven't got it, get it, not for the hammy sci-fi storyline, not for its muscle bound meat head characters, and not for the brutal chainsaw/assault rifle either, get it because it's simply great fun. Action gaming at its very best.
For a complete run-down of all our Top 10s in this series head over to our handy index page.