The best video games for this Christmas


Gaming families

For familes who already own an Xbox console the Kinect (£129) will be the obvious extension – with fitness games such as Your Shape (£32.69) and kids' games such as Kinectimals (£32.99), it extends the Xbox's appeal. Beware, though: if you've got less than 9ft in front of your TV, the motion controller doesn't work properly.

Traditional gamers

For the more traditional gamer, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (£36.99) has the stunning visuals and gameplay expected of the series. It does have a 15 certificate, but if you're a parent buying it for a teenager you can console yourself that they'll learn a little bit of history – or at least historical architecture – along the way.

Gamers who have everything

However serious you are about games, there are always one or two you've missed. Some careful inquiries should establish whether the gamer in your life owns brilliant compilation The Orange Box (£10-13), Batman: Arkham Asylum (£10-13 Platinum edition), Grand Theft Auto IV (£13-21 Platinum edition) or Uncharted 2 (£21.19 Platinum edition), a great one to play before the release of the third game in the series next year.

Reluctant gamers

If there's still a working PlayStation 2 in the house, there are a slew of classic titles they might have missed, chief among them the astonishing, Ico (around £25 used) and Shadow of the Colossus (around £18 used). A digital remaster of both games for the PlayStation 3 is coming in spring 2011, though: it's never too early to get ideas for next Christmas.

Naomi Alderman

New releases

Older teenagers Call of Duty: Black Ops

PC, PS3, Xbox 360, £55

This year's must-have shooter: exhilarating non-stop action and a decent cold war plot.

Younger teenagers

Dance Central

Xbox 360, £40

Brilliant dance simulator, which tests Microsoft's new Kinect controller to the limit.

Little brother or sister

Disney Epic Mickey

Wii, £40

An unexpectedly well-crafted action adventure, buzzing with Disney magic.


Professor Layton and the Lost Future

Nintendo DS, £40

Another fiendish adventure puzzler, perfect for fans of classic crime fiction.


Football Manager 2011

PC, Mac, £40

An incredibly in-depth management sim – no armchair Alex Ferguson should be without it.

Keith Stuart

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