Holiday Buyers' Guide 2006 - PS3

For the speed freak…Ridge Racer 7 (read our review)

As the latest evolution of a long-running racing franchise, Ridge Racer 7 doesn't re-invent the wheel. It does, however, offer players a hell of a lot of fun while spinning it. Don't expect anything ultra-realistic, either; this is all about high speeds, hairpin turns and drifting like crazy to get around corners.

That doesn't mean it's simple, though. Ridge Racer 7 packs in around 160 races and a ton of customizable rides, and that's just in the offline, single-player mode. Once they get online, armchair racers can test their mettle against up to 13 other players at a time in team challenges or straight-up races. Unless the racing fan on your list is a serious gearhead or won't look at games that don't visually blow him or her away, they'll get a lot of mileage out of this one.

Second choice: Need for Speed Carbon

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