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

Shooters! Online worlds! Zombies! Football! Cars!

Page 5 of 5

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21. FAR CRY 3

Play it on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC Out: November 30

Four Ubisoft studios are working on Far Cry 3, a massive open world shooter set on a string of tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. The stealth mechanic has, mercifully, been majorly overhauled since Far Cry 2, and you can now silently dispatch enemies with stealth takedowns. There will also be fast travel points to teleport quickly around the islands - although you can still move seamlessly across the entire environment if you want. Ubisoft say the map will be ten times larger than in previous installments and there'll be more detail to reward exploration. A separate co-op campaign is included, set six months before the events of the single-player story. It supports up to four players, and has its own locations and story. AK


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22. DOTA 2

Play it on: PC Out: Autumn (TBA)

Defense of the Ancients was one of the most popular fan-made mods in the world, an online arena-based battler, originally developed for Warcraft 3, that became a fixture at BlizzCon, Asia's World Cyber Games, and the Cyber Evolution League. Forget Counter-Strike Source. Forget Black Mesa. Forget DayZ. This is bigger than all of them. It's little wonder Valve battled Blizzard for the rights. Valve won, and DotA 2's fast-paced blend of RPG, RTS and tower defence spearheads their push into competitive gaming. In 2011 it was the second most played eSports title behind Starcraft 2. This autumn it will go free-to-play in an attempt to seize the throne. BG


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23. NINTENDOLAND

Play it on: Wii U Out: November 30

For some reason, companies have used athletics to demonstrate the capabilities of their new-fangled controllers. Nintendo chose Wii Sports. Microsoft had Kinect Sports, and for Sony it was Sports Champions. This year Nintendo seeks to buck the trend with NintendoLand, a 12-minigame compilation making use of Gamepad, Nunchuck and Remote and based on various Nintendo franchises. Race around an F-Zero track, shoot from Samus' gunship, tackle a Zelda dungeon and hunt ghosts in Luigi's mansion. Oh, and get involved in a reprise of 1986 NES title, Balloon Fight. You wanted that, right? For those with gaming mates, and for those curious about what the Wii U actually does, NintendoLand will be a must-have. BG


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24. ZOMBIU

Play it on: Wii U Out: November 30

ZombiU draws parallels with Condemned, both fresh horror properties launching onto a console in a shower of blood and bludgeoning. Condemned was terrific on 360 - but what of ZombiU? It's a good stress test of the Wii U's power, impressive, rain-slick London streets and barely-lit Tube stations demonstrating snazzy effects in small, quiet scenarios. Plus, you'll be blasting your way out of Buckingham Palace too. There are never more than a handful of zombies on the screen, but this acts in ZombiU's favour - it's a tense tread punctuated by pant-wettting undead surprises. Of course, there's token use of the Gamepad as inventory screen and lock-picker, but while we wouldn't go expecting a COD-troubling supershooter, it'll likely to be solid launch day fun. BG


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25. NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. U

Play it on: Wii U Out: November 30

Hardly 'new' but definitely 'Super Mario Bros.', it was a toss-up between New Super Mario Bros. U and eye-poppingly beautiful Ubisoft platformer Rayman Legends for the final slot. Both are out at launch but we opted for Mario because, well, it's Mario, and even Mario at half-power is guaranteed gaming gold. In this latest outing, up to five people can play, the fifth stunning enemies and tapping item boxes on the Gamepad. There are also fresh power-ups in Flying Squirrel suits and Baby Yoshi's who blow bubbles to attack foes and illuminate dark corners. Rayman Legends will definitely be the platformer of choice for the core crowd - it's fresher, more challenging and better looking. But never underestimate the power of the plumber. BG

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