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PSW's Games of Christmas present

Feature: A Christmas Carol Pt. 2

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The detail is staggering. Want to steal a car? You may need to repair the engine first. Grab a gun from a defeated enemy and you may find it's jammed or out of ammo. See a place on the horizon? Walk, run, drive or fly to it. There's no HUD, no big arrow telling you where to go, just a map, compass and your own two virtual feet. Far Cry 2 is a must-have.

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Fallout 3
Publisher: Bethesda
Developer: Bethesda
Score: 9/10

Years after Washington DC is nuked by China and reduced to a smouldering husk; you emerge from your shelter in Vault 101 to a post-apocalyptic wasteland stuck in a Fifties' time warp.

Somewhere out there, among the mutants, slavers and ghouls, is your dad and a complex conspiracy. It's your task to find your father and on the way decode the mind-boggling intrigue. Taking its own Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion as a template, developer Bethesda has crafted an involved, deep and rewarding action-RPG with more imagination in its power-gloved little finger than any of its rivals. The free-roaming map is smaller than Oblivion's, but it's packed with greater variety.

Side-missions span slave trading, vampire hunts and the possibility of starting World War 4 (we may have made that last one up). Fallout 3 is aimed squarely at gamers that want to footle and fiddle, you can make your own weapons, save lives or sin, get addicted to booze and sleep with prostitutes. Or just go looking for the new Jangles The Moon Monkey movie... It's up to you. The world is your radioactive oyster.

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LittleBigPlanet
Publisher: Sony
Developer: Media Molecule
Score: 9/10

Not so much a game as an accessible game-making tool. Collect items in the single-player mode to use to make levels and characters that can then be shared online. It's the most playful and innovative 'game' to pop up in years.

Sony ploughed more money into marketing Sackboy and his creation 'game' than any other game since the launch of PS3. Now that's a lot of mullah. Thankfully, LittleBigPlanet lives up to the hype. The single-player is a little dull, you wander from one colourful world to the next collecting and unlocking items to use in the meat of the game - its level creator.

Here you can virtually make anything your imagination desires by drawing, photographing or cutting out new shapes, patterns and textures. Everything in the game works by real-world rules, so glass is slippery, silk floats and solid wood is heavy. Used with thought and imagination you can pretty much make side-on interpretations of almost any game or create something truly original. Last issue we remade Space Invaders. What will you make?

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