THE BIG PICK
The Saboteur (PC, PS3, 360)
Release Date: Dec. 8
Neither a GTA rip-off nor another dreaded "authentic World War II shooter," The Saboteur offers a nifty open-world story starring a mechanic-turned-race-car driver named Sean Devlin. He is pulled into World War II seeking vengeance, and is driven to thwart the Nazis at any cost.
The setting of Nazi-occupied Paris is a touch different than other WWII games. The art design is, too. Saboteur cleverly plays with color, splitting Nazi-occupied sections – seen in shades of black and white – from everything else, which is rendered in full Technicolor. It’s a neat trick that remains effective throughout.
Yes, you'll get a whiff of the lackluster Mercenaries: World in Flames engine running in the background, but no matter. There are all sorts of interesting things going in the ambient world, such as Nazi officers killing innocent civilians on the street (which you can prevent), an abundance of side missions, and tons of rooftop geography to explore. Combined with stealth, combat, and demolition missions, plus a few action-packed set pieces, The Saboteur is prepped to surprise.
Guitar Hero Van Halen (PS2, PS3, 360, Wii)
Release Date: Dec. 22
Aerosmith and Metallica, go take a powder. You might have your own games, but do you have a guitar player as technically gifted as virtuoso Eddie Van Halen? We all know the answer, so head back to your holes and pay attention to what is inevitably the hardest-rocking (and dare we say most daunting?) Guitar Hero game ever conceived.
But first, be prepared to be totally unsurprised by the Metallica-style format and graphics. Then flex those nimble fingers in preparation for songs such as Panama and Jump from the 1984 album, and You Really Got Me and Ain't Talking About Love from the first Van Halen album. But most of all, prepare yourself for endless hours of strain and sweat in the inevitable attempt to master the breakthrough instrumental, Eruption, perfectly in Expert mode.
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