GN's Holiday Gift Guide 2004


posted 12/2/2004 by The GN Staff
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When life gets tough it's nice to sit back and unleash your aggression a video game every once in awhile. For this we present our favorites in the action category this year. Please be cautious when buying games in this genre as many of them are not suitable for younger audiences. You don't need us to tell you that a game about owning gang turf and picking up hookers isn't suitable for your 12-year-old son but maybe Grandma does.

If you're looking to go the safe route, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and HALO 2 are both very good choices. They're huge crowd pleasers and anyone who has played one of the previous games in the franchise will love those entries. For the daring, we recommend Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. It features a nice blend of intense action and physics driven physic abilities. It's also one of the year's most underappreciated games so there's a good chance that the person you're buying it for won't already own it.

Call of Duty: Finest Hour
Platform: PS2, Xbox, GameCube

We loved Call of Duty on the PC, even going as far as calling it one of the greatest first person shooters ever made. Developers sometimes have problems translating quality PC shooters onto consoles, but Activision has ensured us that this one won’t succumb to such hitches. It’ll be just as intense, exciting and heartwrenching as the PC version was. Best of all, it’s an entirely new game so you won’t feel cheated if you already own the award-winning PC game.

Kill Zone
Platform: PlayStation 2 Exclusive

Sony declared war on HALO when it announced KillZone, now it’ll try to finish the job this November. This impressive shooter takes place in the future but is still grounded in the reality of today. Instead of depending on aliens and their annoying energy technology, Sony will focus on true realistic combat. It’s gritty, it’s intense and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. SOCOM fans will now how something to hold them over for the holidays.

Platform: Xbox Exclusive

Seeing as how the game garnered $125 million in sales on its first day, it’s tough to find someone who wants this game who doesn’t already own it. In the second installment the Master Chief returns to fight the good fight but he’s brought along a new friend, online play. Although there were some initial hitches, a patch was soon released that addressed many of the issues that were plaguing Xbox Livers. If you crave explosive action, frenetic gameplay and dual-weapon action, make HALO 2 the choice this holiday season.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Platform: PlayStation 2 Exclusive

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the Grand Theft Auto franchise in past years, but I think this is the first time that the developers truly got it right. Improved controls, better vehicle physics and a storyline that I could really get into were just some of the appealing elements of this title. There’s just so much to do in this year’s game that it’s really hard to ingest it all. Just make sure you think about who you’re giving this game to though, you don’t need us to tell you that it’s inappropriate for the little ones.

Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy
Platform: PS2, Xbox

Vastly underappreciated, Midway’s top-rated action title is the most innovative and enjoyable title of 2004. Forget about bump-mapped water or visual shaders, the next innovation in video gaming is true-to-life physics and the pioneer of this technology is Psi-Ops. Some games use physics as a gimmick but in Psi-Ops it’s the core gameplay element. Besides, tossing guys around as they float helplessly is a thing of beauty. The $29.99 retail price point doesn’t hurt either.

Viewtiful Joe 2
Platform PS2, GameCube

Capcom stupidly kept the original Viewtiful Joe as a GameCube exclusive during its first year of existence. This time they’ve wisely decided to bring it to the number one selling platform and you’ll receive all the benefits. Barring a Devil May Cry-like disaster, this should be an excellent addition to any gamer’s library.

Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater
Platform: PS2

Ever since Konami decided to bring its stealth-espionage franchise back from the dead, it’s turned heads in every fashion possible. It’s pioneered so much; cinematic-style story telling, positional damage, stealth-gameplay and lush visuals. This time Konami is sending Snake outdoors where he’ll have even more opportunities to sneak up on his foes. It’ll be the best entry yet if Konami’s word holds up its end of the bargain.

BloodRayne 2
Platform: PS2, Xbox

We were all afraid of blood-sucking vampires when we were kids, but I have a feeling that we wouldn't have been permantly scarred had BloodRayne been around at the time. Rayne is, without a doubt, the most gorgeous and lethal vampire ever to grace the screens of a video game. This sexy bloodsucker has all the right moves that will make all of the action fans and adolescent teens in your family go crazy for it.
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