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Last Minute Shopping Guide: 2004 — Day Four

By Michael David Sims
23 December 2004 — Holy crap! Christmas is two days away, and you're still shopping? Worse yet, you're still reading this for ideas? What's wrong with you, man! Get out there and shop, shop, shop!

For those of you who are still here (and I assume that's all of you, 'cause if you've waited this long you might as well wait a few more minutes), as you know I've spent the last three days presenting you with last minute gift ideas — ranging from comic books to DVDs to video games. Today — the final day — I'll be bringing you a list of PlayStation 2 and Xbox games that will round out your shopping for the year.

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PlayStation 2
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Age Recommendation: 18+
Best For: every-freaking-one
Description: "Set in the early 90s, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [is] everything gamers expect from the franchise (rampaging murder sprees, carjackings, foul language, sex; you know, fun stuff) and adds the ability to swim... four-person drive-bys, and bicycles. In addition, you'll be able to customize Carl (your on-screen avatar) with haircuts, tattoos and clothing, making him uniquely yours."

Jak 3
Age Recommendation: all
Best For: every-freaking-one
Description: Games such as those in the Jak series don't come around that often. He and his friend Daxter quickly became mascots for Sony's system, but, better yet, they became characters that everyone can enjoy playing. Unlike Mario — who's hardly changed over the past 25 years and is often perceived as being for children — Jak has evolved into a living, breathing entity that we can all care for and love. No matter how old your gamer is, Jak 3 is a game they will gleefully smile upon.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Age Recommendation: 18+
Best For: every-freaking-one
Description: Read what I'm about to quote. If it sounds perfect for someone you know, well, buy it. "Snake Eater adds a new feature to the MGS franchise in that camouflage is very, very important. If you're slithering through dirt or dried foliage, you'd better be wearing something brown. If not, you're going to be spotted — quickly! Also added to the game... [are] broken limbs. Take a nasty fall and Snake won’t be running too far (or fast) on a snapped ankle. Also, the ability (and need) to eat. Besides that, you can expect a compelling story filled with twists and turns, and loads of action in typical Metal Gear fashion."

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Age Recommendation: all
Best For: every-freaking-one
Description: Take everything I said about the Jak series and past it here, substituting "Ratchet" and "Clank" for any references to "Jak" and "Daxter".

Sly 2
Age Recommendation: all
Best For: every-freaking-one
Description: I just noticed that all of the games on the PS2 list are sequels to very popular, very well designed, very good games. And this is no exception. A sequel to the sleeper hit of 2002, Sly 2 bring the raccoon and his band of thieves back for another heist that — and this is the third time I've said this during this feature — is one of those rare games — they really are rare, I swear — that is fun for gamers of all ages.

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Age Recommendation: 18+
Best For: RPGers
Description: "Next to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Half-Life 2 and Halo 2, Fable has to be the most hyped game of the year. Maybe even of the last few years. The notion that one could go anywhere and become as good or evil as they wanted (and customize their look to go along with their personality) had gamers wetting their pants in the months leading up to its release. And though it didn't live up to all of its hype (what game ever does?), Fable is a solid gaming experience that provides much replayability through this system of eternally marking your character with every decision he might make."

Full Spectrum Warrior
Age Recommendation: 18+
Best For: military minds
Description: First developed as a tool for the US Army — so they could train troops in modern urban combat and squad-based strategy — developers Pandemic Studios quickly realized they had a marketable game and — after altering certain elements — released it to the general public. Unlike many military games, you cannot and will not beat Full Spectrum Warrior with run-and-gun antics. It's all about strategy — mostly positioning your soldiers in such a way that they can eliminate their targets while keeping themselves safe. Just keep in mind that FSW is more for those who love battlefield strategy than Rambos

Halo 2
Age Recommendation: 13+
Best For: every-freaking-one
Description: Halo 2 is quite simply the most anticipated game of the season and you must buy it for a loved one. That's all I have to say about that.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
Age Recommendation: 13+
Best For: Star Wars fanboys; RPGers
Description: KOTOR, like Fable, allows gamers to choose their path — Light or Dark; Jedi or Sith. Gameplay is altered accordingly and offers hours and hours of replayability. Sadly, this game is pretty much limited to Star Wars fans and maybe those who play RPGs. So this isn't a recommendation for your five year old nephew who thinks Yu-Gi-Oh is the coolest thing in the world.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Age Recommendation: 18+
Best For: horror and sci-fi freaks
Description: Okay, so The Chronicles of Riddick was a huge flop and didn't do wonders for Vin's career. Surprisingly, however, the game that precedes both Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick is a near masterpiece. Similar to Doom 3 in look and gameplay, Escape from Butcher Bay tells the origin of Riddick and utilizes his unique night vision to allow gamers to see in, well, pitch black. Due to its harsh language and bloody violence, this is seriously for those who are eighteen or older.

Well, that's it. Four days and plenty of last minute ideas for you last minute shoppers. Now, if you're not yet finished, get out there and play Santa.

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Day One :: Day Two :: Day Three :: Day Four

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Marvel Introduces Timely Comics
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