Holiday Buyers' Guide 2006 - PS2

For the fantasy fanatic… Final Fantasy XII (read ourreview)

Any game with Final Fantasy in the title is usually a sure bet overall, and Final Fantasy XII is no exception. Focusing on a young princess searching for a way to save her little kingdom from a war between two neighboring superpowers, it keeps up the high production values and epic scale the series is renowned for. At the same time, however, it changes the gameplay in ways that wrest control from the player, putting them into a more advisory, strategic role during the game's many battles.

It's still plenty of fun, but the changes haven't gone over well with certain fans of the series, so be warned: if the gamer on your list is the type who starts heated debates on the Internet about the "purity" of a series' gameplay, you might catch them giving you the stink-eye once the wrapping paper's off.

Second choice:Tales of the Abyss

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.