This one’s for the gamers

This year has been a long and bumpy road full of explosions, zombies and high scores, and long after we’re gone, only the best video games of the year will remain to be played.

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By Bill Molina, Adrian Pascua

Image courtesy of

By Bill Molina, Adrian Pascua

This year has been a long and bumpy road full of explosions, zombies and high scores, and long after we’re gone, only the best video games of the year will remain to be played.

Some of the games on this list have been years in the making, with legions of devoted fans waiting in the wings with held breath.

Others surprised us with delightful ingenuity and originality.

Without further delay, here are the top three games of the year.

1. ‘Metal Gear Solid 4’

The highest production value ever seen in a game makes for one unforgettable gaming experience, both online and off.

Bringing a new era of stealth espionage and storytelling to video games, this year the Playstation 3 finally saw the killer application it desperately needed to set it ahead of the competition.

This unparalleled single player campaign gives several reasons for players to come back for more after finishing.

Coupling the game with the multiplayer that already has two expansion packs under its belt, ensures that there may be someone hiding in a box right behind you as you read this. What was that noise? It was probably just the game of the year.

2. ‘Little Big Planet’

Sackboys and Sackgirls the world over are working together in new ways to run, jump, climb and, most importantly, create!

This four player online co-op has teams of sack people trying to complete stages built by other players, allowing user created content in the stage to be unlocked when making stages of your very own.

This provides a level of replay value only known to PC gaming to enter the home console market.

With Sackboy being one of the most charming things in history, Sony has realized that the ultimate mascot for the Playstation 3 is the one you create yourself.

3. ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’

One minute could change your life when walking down the streets of Liberty City, and anyone who has spent any time in Niko Bellic’s shoes can tell you why.

His tale of revenge brings to life one of the most satisfying sandbox games in recent memory, and with the market flooded with clones and imitators, it’s easy to remember why Rockstar Games does it better.

Niko’s superb story, complimented by first class voice acting, are what make this one of this year’s must-play games. Intense multiplayer combat helps fuel hours of gameplay and, with new downloadable content on the horizon, Liberty City remains one of the best tourist stops in the world.

Getting a good Christmas present for someone else is harder than buying one for yourself.

So you might as well skip Christmas and make it your birthday every month in 2009, because next year’s games are something to look forward to.

‘Halo Wars’

“Halo Wars” for the Xbox 360 will be following up on the success of the “Halo” series that has captivated gamers for the last eight years.

The game “Halo” itself is a first person shooter, but “Halo Wars” is being introduced as a Real Time Strategy type game.

Taking command of massive armies and decimating large amounts of enemies over huge battlefields has always been the key feature in games such as the “Warcraft” series and “Command and Conquer.”

The game, debuting in February 2009, is something to look forward to since you get a different feel for the world of “Halo.”

‘Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor’

Another game to look forward to in 2009 is “Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor.”

The game hasn’t received much notice due to the release of games such as “Warcraft 3” and “Command and Conquer 3.” “Company of Heroes” has also been labeled more of a toss-up game, as you might like the game or you might not.

The game is based on World War II with a stronger focus on the Germans and Americans rather than their allies.

In this expansion of “Company of Heroes,” it is not a traditional strategy game. In campaign mode you can only control a single tank crew and don’t have the ability to produce more vehicles, making players more strategic and less methodical in their thinking.

Those who are fans of a faster pace might not like the game as much.

Either way, “Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor” is game meant for more hardcore players.

The games set for release next year look a lot stronger since more and more game makers are trying to take advantage of all the features of the three powerhouses in the video game industry: Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

So start reserving, don’t let the games of tomorrow pass you by. Go play.

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