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5 Games to play before Doomsday

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Make sure to complete them all before the Mayan apocalypse...

5 Games to play before Doomsday

As we all know, the festive period is fast approaching. Santa is polishing off his trusty boots and getting ready to make millions of little children delighted at the end of December. And, of course, some overgrown children, like you and I. But what to ask for this year? You can’t be THAT guy who asks for every single well-received game that you haven’t played this year. So why not do the decent thing: go out and buy them all, in really irresponsible fashion, and play them until you can’t remember your own name? Because, let's be honest, if you haven’t played these games yet, well, you should have. You know you should have. If you are going to take my advice and stock up on some games before the end of the year, then here are some games that you should probably start with.

5. Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3...

Max Payne is one of those memorable game characters, perhaps purely for how dreary he and his surroundings always are. He is what I imagine Duke Nukem would be like after an unsuccessful stint at university and a series of addictions to different prescription drugs. It was quite the wait between Max Payne 2 and 3, but hopefully not as long as the wait between you reading this and playing the latter.  The game was due for release in 2009 but after a series of pushbacks was found to be warming up for the London Olympics this year.  Although it has probably been too long to remember everything about Max Payne 2, what may still linger in the memory is the gritty, seedy nature of its being.  Indeed, this is something Rockstar games have long established themselves as the Daddy of, but it is fair to say this game is different from the open spaces and free roaming of the likes of GTA and Red Dead Redemption. Although the storyline means a more restricted access to the world around you, Max Payne 3’s intriguing storyline makes this a non-issue. Our cynical, brooding protagonist has now left the harrowing vice underworld of New York City for the equally cheery backdrop of Sao Paolo, Brazil, where you could safely bet he will encounter some severely questionable characters.

4. FIFA 13

Fifa 13...

FIFA has been a success story yet again this year. It looks like PES has finally decided to start trying again, so FIFA’s superiority in the cliché head to head battle between the two titles will be a closer call.  However, the online offering of FIFA this year is great, largely due to the vast improvements to the ‘Ultimate Team’ mode. This is where gamers can build a team of stars by purchasing packs of players with points earned in online matches. The match play is slicker and more rewarding to a good dribble than ever before. It is such an improvement that it is still worth playing despite the fact that nearly every online FIFA player seems to turn into a big sweary psychopath if you beat them. Other realistic elements of FIFA this year are the fact that if you have to play against Ronaldo or Messi on a regular basis you start to become more comfortable with the fact you are probably going to concede at least once, and the spontaneous thumps of your controller against your knee or the wall become less frequent. Throw in a host of nifty additions to the training mode and you have yourself a winner. Hurray!

3. Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs...

Sleeping Dogs could be considered as one of the surprise packages of 2012. Born out of the ashes of the True Crime series that struggled to live up to its expectations, this new look game is polished all round. The game takes place in a fictional Hong Kong with players assuming control of Wei Shen, an officer of the San Francisco Police Department, sent to the Hong Kong Police Force. He has been assigned to go undercover and infiltrate the Triad society ‘Sun On Yee.’ The game was very well received on release and has a number of excellent elements to it; the driving is almost addictive with some fantastic cars and bikes, which trigger into little mini games such as trying to go as long as you can without crashing or breaking. There is also terrific use of the growingly popular interactive combat, where certain surroundings can be used as a weapon, such as shutters and car doors. Sleeping Dogs takes the crime-fighting genre and sort of fuses it with the brilliant interactivity of games like Saints' Row and GTA, which give the game seemingly infinite shelf life.

2. Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2...

Released in September, the game is set five years after the events of Borderlands. With five new characters on board, this sequel title has a larger possibility of weapons, which are generated at random. The first game generated over 17 million possible guns, so I doubt you will get a chance to use them all. Better hope you get the good ones! A successor to Borderlands was inevitable given the game's somewhat surprising huge success, and number 2 seems to have been just as well received due to its good humour, strong plots and overall structure. New features include a more expansive and customizable weapons system, reworked four-seat drifting vehicles and vehicle physics elements, and dynamic mission systems. For example, taking too much time to save a friend in a mission may result in their death and the failure of the mission, which will affect the story as the player progresses. There is also the added bonus of downloadable content, which will come out sporadically over the next year, just in case you manage to somehow manage to somehow have a go on all the weapons the game has to offer.

1. Lego Lord of the Rings

Just kidding...

1. Dishonored

Dishonored...

Set in the industrial city of Dunwall, Corvo, the once-trusted bodyguard of an empress, is framed for her murder and becomes an infamous assassin, seeking revenge on the framers. The missions mainly involve stealth and combat, whilst in between missions you get to spend your time in the pub, which is always a bonus. The game allows you to complete missions in different ways, depending on your personal preference. If you like, you can even complete the whole game without a smidgen of violence. How violently you complete each mission modifies future missions, so you should probably decide pretty early on whether or not you want to be a total hard ass. Dishonored replaced Sleeping Dogs as the biggest launch of an original game in 2012 (so far).

Admittedly, you may be inclined to forget about some of these titles by Christmas. Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, to name but a few, are all due for release over the coming months. Unless you are Dane Bowers, you probably aren’t going to have enough spare time to play all these games. If you are him, then hi Dane, get down to your nearest game shop, you’ve got some great titles to get through. Quick.


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