Fire up those computers for this year’s holiday game crop. NOTE: All release dates are subject to change.
The Sims3 World Adventures (Nov. 16), the first Sims3 expansion pack brings the simulation series to China, France, Egypt while bringing home additional options including basements plus Simlish songs from artists like LeAnn Rimes, Nelly Furtado, Fefe Dobson, and Katie Melua. Players without The Sims3 can get the Holiday Collector’s Edition (Nov. 17), which includes new holiday content.
Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim features real time strategy while other simulations include John Deere: Drive Green, World of Zoo (Oct. 26), and Tropico 3, which focuses on the dictatorship of a small Caribbean island.
Star Trek: D-A-C (November) features Starfleet battle against the Romulans using various ships in single player, online multiplayer, and online co-op modes.
Dragon Age: Origins (Nov. 3) looks to have amazing role playing action and is also available in a collector’s edition. Conquering chaos continues in the adventure sequel Overlord II where players control loyal and sometimes comical minions to do their bidding. Fallen Earth has first person and third person perspective as players focus on crafting items.
Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games include Aion: Tower of Eternity which has The Chosen and The Fallen factions with The Tower of Eternity as the gateway between the two (collector’s edition also available). The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood expands the series into the woods.
In League of Legends (Oct. 27, also available in a collector’s pack) players improve their champions for battle while players get in-depth compilation sets with Starcraft Battle Chest and Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection (Nov. 10).
Assassin’s Creed II (Nov. 17) features open-ended adventure and mission selection set in the Italian Renaissance-era. Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition has more character customization and choice between first or third person perspective.
Other action games include the medieval role playing game (RPG) Risen, Resident Evil 5, Painkiller Resurrection, the New York City conspiracy-themed Prototype, and the sci-fi/action RPG Borderlands. The first person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Nov. 10) and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising showcase contemporary military scenarios.
The Saboteur (Dec. 8) has wide open World War II action as you help the French Resistance beat the Nazis. Other military games include the Nazi-themed Wolfenstein and Order of War, a World War II strategy game from Square Enix. Also coming is Section 8, which features eight immense battlefields for online competitions.
Dreamkiller centers on a specially talented psychologist named Alice Drake who saves patients from evil in dream realms. The Dracula Files feature globetrotting scares and Van Helsing descendants hunt various creatures as well as Dracula himself. The zombie survival game Left4Dead 2 (Nov. 17) includes new melee weapons and more cooperative modes.
Mysteries continue with Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy while Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey has single player and multiplayer modes.
Sports games include NBA 2K10, NHL 10, and Football Manager 2010 (Nov. 3), which includes officially licensed United States Major League Soccer teams and players. Racing games include Madagascar Kartz, DiRT 2, RACE On, and Need for Speed: Shift, which includes new driver profile features.
Free games include several ones with sizable content as well as additional, premium content where players can enhance their experience for a reasonable price. Battlefield Heroes features carton-style military action in a third person perspective as players advance by earning Valor Points or getting Battlefunds. The self explanatory Free Realms lets all ages of players explore while League of Legends combines role playing with strategy.
Inexpensive games also abound. Games with retail prices of less than $20 include Sudoku Ball – Detective, the astrology themed Gemini Lost, Battle Forge, Men of War, Grand Theft Auto IV, Trine, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Kuros, and Lucidity. The yard sale-themed Fabulous Finds, Chronicles of Mystery: The Tree of Life, the off-road racer Pure, and the 2010 editions of game show games Price is Right and Press Your Luck also offer affordable fun.
In Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (also available in a more expensive collector’s edition), players choose between the Realms of Order or Destruction. Players start the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) Freaky Creatures with two action figures and a special flash drive, then expand to space and alien race exploration. Other MMO games include the super hero filled Champions Online and the Everquest II: The Complete Collection (Oct. 31), which includes all three adventure packs and all five deluxe expansion packs.
In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Dark Knight battles the Joker on his “home turf” with brawn and stealth. Movie adaptation (and themed) games include Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Nov. 17), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition (Nov. 3), and The Princess and the Frog (Nov. 17). In James Cameron's Avatar: The Game (Dec. 1) one create their own character and customize weapons.
Holiday gift card holders can always wait a while for early 2010 games like Divinity II: Ego Draconis (January 5, 2010), Dark Void (Jan. 12), Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis (Jan. 15), Mafia II (Jan. 26), LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Jan.), Mass Effect 2 (Jan. 26), BioShock 2 (Feb. 9), Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy (Feb. 9), and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction (Feb. 23).