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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

GR's Holiday Gift Guide '05

Posted on Thursday, December 15 @ 12:11:10 Eastern by Duke_Ferris
PC/Windows PS2 Xbox XBox 360 GameCube PSP Nintendo Stocking Stuffers



The number one question on everyone's mind right now isn't whether or not Brad and Jen will ever get back together (a pox on your soul, Ms. Jolie!), but whether or not they should drop the hefty bag of coin required to take home a new Xbox 360.

Our answer?

No. Or yes. How about maybe!

Okay, here's the deal. The $300 version comes without a hard drive, which means no backwards compatibility, not to mention the fact that if you want to save any games you'll need to spring an extra 40 bucks on a memory card. It also fails to come with wireless controllers, which are resoundingly cool. So join us as we toss this half-assed idea out the proverbial window.

Now then, if you already own an HDTV, you might as well suck it up and go for broke, literally, by buying the $400 'real' version of the 360. We have heard no official word yet from Sony or Nintendo regarding the release of their next-gen systems, so assume you've got some time to enjoy the 360 before getting jealous of another console and mindlessly joining the console wars. Plus, those graphics do indeed r0x0r your b0x0r.

If you don't own an HD TV, it's a much harder sell. The games look and play just fine on regular televisions, but by and large the differences are quite notable. You'll constantly wonder if a game would look better on another TV, obsessively questioning your purchase until you slowly go mad. That's unhealthy. We advise against that.

Then there's the matter of the games themselves, which at this point are a little underwhelming. The graphics routinely rock, but the number of ports is astounding (12 out of 18) and the number of brand new gameplay modes and styles suspiciously low. If you judge your hardware on the software that accompanies it, you might want to wait a bit. Remember the PSP and DS launches? You probably have a good three or four months before more serious 360 games start demanding your attention.

All that being said, if you're one of the lucky 400,000 who happen to own a 360 already, then here's our current list of games worth buying. Don't say we didn't warn you.



Project Gotham Racing 3

Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Racing
MSRP: $49.99
Not only is PGR 3 a great racer with the most robust online functionality of any Xbox 360 title, it's also one of the few games that retails at a manageable 50 bucks. We like that combination, and we think you should, too.
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Condemned

Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action
MSRP: $59.99
There are quite a few first-person games for the 360, but Sega's disturbing Condemned stands out as our favorite thriller. Couple twisted imagery with brutal gameplay and you get an easy buy. Not for the kids, though.
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Need for Speed Most Wanted

Publisher: EA
Genre: Racing
MSRP: $59.99
If you prefer speedy style over sim substance, look no further than the awesome Most Wanted. Tight visuals and all kinds of fun, engaging events make this the best cop chaser since Steve McQueen.
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Perfect Dark Zero

Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: First-person shooter
MSRP: $49.99
Though this outrageously anticipated fragfest didn't quite live up to the hype, it's still a very good game. Considering its plethora of addictive online modes, this should prove to be one of the most lasting of launch titles.
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