1. Burnout Paradise The Ultimate Box
Traffic Karma: In something of a u-turn, developers of the crash-loving racer Burnout have decided to develop for PC after all. Following years of PlayStation devotion, Criterion is bringing the ever-expanding Paradise City to a platform that can do it justice. We've seen it running on three screens (as if you've got side windows) and the sense of speed is even more ludicrous than the console versions.
Perhaps it's their love of DLC that's changed Criterion's minds. Fancy driving a DeLorean that can fold up its wheels and hover, leaving fiery trails when it boosts at 88mph? Then the new Jansen 88 Special, one of four vehicles in an upcoming 'Legendary Cars' pack, will sate your passions.
These cars are the first Burnout DLC that cost. The rest - 11 months of previously released material including a day/night progression, weather, extra cars and liveries, four motorcycles and various new modes - are included on The Ultimate Box disc from the off. More goodies (including an extra island) and a demo are due soon.
We say: A sure thing - it's running beautifully already
2. Fable 2
Droll Player: In many ways a kind of anti-Oblivion, Fable 2 is so gentle on the surface it hardly seems like an RPG at all. In fact, the story - your rise from poor urchin to saviour of Albion - is about as simple as it could be. Yet underneath the surface there's a lot going on. Almost everything you do affects how people react to you and what occurs. For instance - tempt a frightened monk to follow you by giving him an engagement ring, only to sacrifice him on a spike, and you may find your reputation tarnished. Plus Albion's a big place now, where everything can be explored, bought, sold, fought or impregnated.
And no matter how badly you behave, your dog will love you. Even if you mistreat it and abandon it, it'll be stay to sniff out useful loot. Aww.
We say: Sage nod to the shrug
3. Mirror's Edge
Cool Runnings: "No running in the corridor!" Both DICE and their hip creation, Faith, have taken this evergreen school years mantra seriously to heart. Faith doesn't run in corridors when there's a rooftop to sprint on, while DICE has kept the corridors in this city-spanning shooter to a minimum.
In this dystopic urban future, you play a delivery girl who moves information outside of the heavily policed official channels.
It's not fair to tag this as 'just' another shooter. Though you can blam-blam away merrily and even dual wield, Mirror's Edge remains disdainful of brute force and rewards agility and speed.
The already unmistakable crayon-box colour palette aids navigation (red things are your route) and creates a suitably crisp, corporate world.
For the PC version, developers DICE are adding PhysX effects that simply aren't possible on the consoles. Curtains and fabrics rip realistically, water ripples, and boxes tumble in a pleasing manner.
ETA: January 16
We say: Just as the recession ends! Yessss!
4. Saints Row 2
Derrr Bomb: The first Saints Row gained a foothold thanks to the absence of GTA - Niko wouldn't appear for nearly two years - but the sequel is determined to go against GTA IV toe to toe, face to face and [looks in crystal ball] ashes to ashes. Arriving around a month after Rockstar's eagerly awaited PC conversion, SR2 is carving its own niche as the lighter, stupider and funnier option. Sort of like how menthol cigarettes did.