The 25 best games coming before Christmas 2012 - 360, PS3, PC, Wii U

Shooters! Online worlds! Zombies! Football! Cars!

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Play it on: Xbox 360 Out: October 23

Forza Horizon is the first game in the series to go beyond the circuit. It's set in an enormous open world, but still retains the series' trademark realistic handling. The developers, Playground Games, are a new studio, but they have roots in some of the best racing and open world games including Project Gotham Racing 4, Colin McRae: Dirt 2, and even Grand Theft Auto IV. They've worked closely with Forza creators Turn 10 to keep the cars and driving physics authentic, but the game is less serious than Forza Motorsport 4. You'll take part in illegal street races, chase planes around twisting mountain roads, and race hot air balloons. It's also the first Forza game to feature night races and off-road sections, which should give the four-wheelers in your garage a chance to shine. Even a month out from release, we already love it. AK



Play it on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC Out: October 26

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is a big budget, Frostbite 2-powered FPS that sees you stepping into the boots of the elite Tier 1 Operators. You'll be shooting and grenading your way around locations including the Philippines and Somalia. We asked the developers what makes the game stand out from other shooters, and they said the story focuses less on the war at large, and more on the personal struggles of the soldiers themselves. How they'll portray an emotional, human story in a game where you can survive a direct shotgun blast to the chest by hiding behind a bin remains to be seen - but EA are prepping this as their biggest game this autumn. AK



Play it on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U Out: October 31 (November 30 on Wii U)

The Assassin's Creed games are all about hiding in plain sight, and Assassin's Creed 3 features the boldest assassinations yet. You'll be fighting through and sneaking past literal armies to reach your targets. One is a British general protected by thousands of soldiers, which is made possible by Ubisoft's stunning AnvilNext engine. The scale of the battle scenes is dizzying. The environment is split between cities and the wilderness. In the wilds you'll skip between trees, hunt animals, and invade enemy camps. In the cities you can leap across rooftops and take shortcuts through building interiors. Hero Connor, another ancestor of Desmond Miles, swears no allegiance to either the Americans or the British - so you'll get to kill both. Also released at the same time is PS Vita spin-off Assassin's Creed: Liberation which plonks you in the shoes of - gasp! - a female protagonist and gives you the chance to wrestle crocodiles. AK


14. WWE 13

Play it on: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii Out: November 2

If you're over twenty, here's a sobering thought: all the wrestlers you loved as a youngster are either bald or dead. The Undertaker is both (sort of). That's why, with WWE '13, developers Yuke's is bringing them back in an effort to appease fans who fondly remember the drive-a-beer-truck-to-the-ring late 90s age. Playing through the new Attitude Era campaign as Mankind, The Rock, Kane or more (there are 35 classic superstars, with eight playable in this mode) as they claw back ratings from WCW in the Monday Night Wars is enough to reinvigorate the passions of any fan long over pro wrestling. Oh, and as an added bonus, if you like your fighters with criminal convictions, you can play as renowned ear-chomper, Mike Tyson, though only if you've gone for the 360, PS3 or creaky old Wii version. Wii U owners? Sorry. Not this year. BG



Play it on: PC Out: Autumn (TBA)

Planetside 2 is an MMOFPS focusing on class-based territorial control. You'll pick one of three factions and fight for the planet Auraxis on foot, in jeeps, and in jets. It uses the fashionable free-to-play model, but you'll only be able to buy shortcuts to items already available in the game. There are six classes, and not all of them are offensive. Engineers can repair vehicles and fortify their home base, for example. You can also climb into MAX, an armoured mech suit, as well as fire massive guns. Sony Online Entertainment have cancelled promising spy MMO The Agency to focus on Planetside 2, which says everything about their desire to get it right. AK

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