Holiday Shopping

2009 Holiday Video Game Picks

Uncharted 2To begin there were so many great games from start to finish this year, and in between those great games were sleeper hits of epic proportions. Its really hard to narrow it down to top this or top that but there are specific games that I have to pick as the best of the litter. Please note, these games in this list are my personal picks for the Holiday Season and are not in any particular rank in terms of which is better then the rest. This is simply a list of the games that if you had to pick one, this is it. I span across all three platforms and keep in mind if I mention a third party game that it is reflected across all systems. So lets get this show on the road:

First Up: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Finally, traditional platforming Mario returns to the console with stylish 2D/3D game just like its little brother on the Nintendo DS. In this game, its should be noted, many online and in the media have referred this game as Super Mario Bros. 4 since it feels like a direct sequel to the NES Super Classic Super Mario Bros. 3. This time around its different, instead of simply breaking in a kidnapping the Princess and capturing all of the Magic Wands for his evil Koopa Kids, it’s Princess Peach’s birthday and all are there for the celebration…including a suspicious cake that arrived late without any indication of who it was from. Well, the evil Koopa Kids are back and use the cake as a cage and capture the Princess. And now its once again up to Mario & Luigi to rescue her back from the evil Koopa Family. Just like in Super Mario Bros. 3, your pitted against the Koopa Kids at the end of each world you visit in hopes to find clues to rescuing the Princess as well as stopping Bowser from completing his all time goal of complete control over the Mushroom Kingdom.

As in previous Mario Games, there are tons and tons of things to do. Its more then just a collect coins, mash Goomba’s, race to flag pole game, there is a lot of hidden items and shortcuts that are to be found in this one. Just like in Super Mario Bros. 3 your game is set in the World Map style game play each with 2 castle levels one being on the ground and one being Air Ship a la Super Mario Bros. 3. The game play stays simple and very addictive at best. There are also the classic Mini Bosses and Mini Games on the world map just like they were in Super Mario Bros. 3 and all the worlds are connected a la Super Mario World. There are many items returning from the previous games such as the Mushrooms, Fire Flowers, Star Men, and the Shells. This game also introduces new items to the franchise as well as adds some from the Nintendo DS Classic with the same name. This New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a sequel to the DS Game New Super Mario Bros., there are items from that game making an appearance in this game as well. The Mini Mushroom is in this game as well as its effects on Mario such as running on water, longer jump duration, and the ability to get in tight spots to find hidden areas.

There are new items to be used here such as the Ice Flower, its the reverse of Fire in that you can freeze rather then set a blaze. The POW Block…ok its not new but its about time its made its return to the franchise. Its been out of commission since Super Mario Bros. 2 (The US Version). It basically smashes anything and everything within its blast radius. The Propeller Block and Glow Block that allow you to fly in the air or light up dark areas, either item has to be carried. There are two new suits to try out: Propeller Suit & Penguin Suit! Both are very useful and the Penguin Suit may be the most handy believe it or not because of the ability to swim easier as well as use all of your Ice Flower Abilities. The Propeller Suit allows your whole body to fly up into the air without the need to carry a block. The biggest news about the items is the return of none other then: Yoshi!! Yoshi makes his return to the series and while its not much in this game, its nice to finally see him again. This game is to be played either alone or with friends or family, its the perfect game for a group as well as alone. The review is coming soon, but why wait? This is a MUST HAVE game!

Click here to purchase Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story on Amazon.com.

Next Up: inFamous

This game is hands down one of the best games to be released this year but due to so many other bigger hits, it kind of went under the radar. This was one of my highest rated and recommended games on the Playstation 3 as well as the biggest sleeper hit of the year. You are Cole MacGrath, one of the survivors of the devastating terror attack on Empire City. Only unlike the other, your life takes a far greater turn for you have become something far different from any other survivor. Your entire body is engulfed in Electrical Powers that allow you to either destroy enemies or rescue lives. Now the gameplay itself is so much like Grand Theft Auto that any fan of that series should flock on over to this game. Also the studio, Sucker Punch, known for there Sly Cooper series made this game so it has so many elements of open world platforming and action that it is insanely addicting.

This game also combines elements from Spider-Man being that you can literally climb anywhere and move so quickly and fluidly that it becomes almost impossible to think that there isn’t an area you cannot reach. The game centers around the decisions that you the player make. You can either help people or you can ignore them or even finish them off. The more help or ignorance you show, the more of a Hero or the more inFamous you become. Its much like Knights Of The Old Republic but much more enjoyable and playable. The graphics are amazing and I love the cut scenes since there all in a comic book design, the voice work was also well done as well. I also love the comical angles that some of the characters bring.

Now while there is so many good things about this game, the one thing that makes this game Great is its literally endless amount of missions and or side quests that you can do. There are mission that are both good and evil, you help everyone from the sickly to the sick minded, but your not required to help any particular group, you can help either or both or one. You can mix it up as much as you like. There are RPG elements to this game as well since you gain EXP for each mission and attack and combo you pull off. Your powers are determined to be evil or heroic depending on how you behave and there are a different set of attacks you gain from either being good or evil, being in the middle of both will unlock half of each. Your appearance also changes depending on your behavior. This game is very addicting and very well done, its a MUST HAVE game!

Click Here To Purchase inFamous

Next Up: Guitar Hero: Metallica

GYEAHHH!!! Finally, these two behemoths of music collide to one giant super game. While many know both the band and the game, no too many expected this game to be as great as it was. The song list is huge and it includes 30 Tracks from Metallica alone. Hits such as King Nothing, Seek & Destroy, One, Enter Sandman, For Whom Bell Tolls, Where Ever I May Roam, Whiplash, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, No Leaf Clover and so many more. In fact, if you name it, its most likely there. There are also secondary acts such as the legendary Queen, Slayer with War Ensemble, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, and so many more. There are also tracks from the Death Magnetic album for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game and the PS2 and Wii versions contain those songs in box. The game is centered around you and your garage buddy friends trying to strike it big and then bam…Metallica puts it out there that there looking for an opening act.

You can play this game in so many ways wether it be Guitar, Drums, Bass, Mic, or a combo of all the aforementioned music equipment. The music is uncensored to a degree, there are words still edited out so parents please use discretion when deciding to get this game for anyone in your family. The game has a cartoony look to it while you progress in the single player. The online play is addictive once again in this new game. I just wish they would have added more classics from Metallica or other songs from there friends lie Breaking The Law from Judas Priest or perhaps maybe some GNR…ok maybe there not the best of friends considering the Philadelphia and Canada incidents with both bands. Theres not more to say about this game other then it rocks so hard that if your not wearing a helmet you may get hurt. THIS GAME ROCKS!!

Click here to order Guitar Hero Metallica for your console and rock out for the holidays!

Next Up: Batman: Arkham Asylum

What do you get when you put Batman characters in a Gears Of War environment? You get one awesome game. This game completely took me by surprise since Batman games have been so lackluster that a new game would be hard to believe that it would be any good. But no, the folks over at Rocksteady did there homework on this one and delivered so much more then a great Batman game, they delivered the template on how a super hero game should be made and how it should follow the books/comics more closely rather then use the name of there movie counterparts. This game is the only Batman game out, it doesn’t represent Batman Begins or The Dark Knight which is great because those are two great movies, why wreck them with a game?

Instead what Rocksteady did here is they took on the Graphic Novel with the same name “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth”. The game starts up with Batman driving the yet again captured Joker to the house that crazies built. Only thing is, Bats isn’t so sure about why he was so easy to capture. His suspicions are founded to be true once The Joker is committed to the Asylum, once in the hands of the guards, The Joker begins a series of events that will forever change the mindset of our hero.

This game is very dark, I mean dark as in psychologically being that any and all angles of the human psyche are brought into question wether it be fear or shear humor, the end result may have The Joker laughing at you more then you will be laughing at him. There are tons of hidden Riddler Trophies to collect in this game as well as tons of other famous Batman characters that are in this game such as Harley Quinn, Croc, The Riddler, Two Face (He’s Mentioned), Poison Ivy, Bane, and Commissioner Gordon. You use any and every Bat gadget there is, only thing is there are no driving levels in this game which is fine since your confined to only the Asylum anyway, its like a much more refined Resident Evil in that your not forced to stay in certain areas to unlock certain things, you can move freely given your progress in the story. You can use your Bat senses to sniff out finger prints, odors, vibrations, as well as find hidden messages on walls as well as in the air or on the ground. You can literally pummel your enemies with as much force as possible, you can in a sense give them the treatment they deserve in that asylum.

The character design is stellar as well, Mark Hamill reprises his role as The Joker and he is fantastic as that character. His voice is amazing for this character and if your a true Batman fan you will know that he is the voice of this character in the animated movies as well as series from time to time. Mark’s presentation of The Joker is a much more sinister, psychotic, and deranged version of the Joker, much like Jack Nicholson’s portrayal in the original movie. He is also murderous like the Heath Ledger Joker from The Dark Knight but what makes this game so amazing is that its entire story is based off the super successful Graphic Novel. This game is amazing and is available on both PS3 and Xbox 360. This is a MUST HAVE game.

Click here to purchase Arkham Asylum for your console.

Next Up: Ghostbusters : The Video Game

Hands down, this was the biggest surprise hit of the decade, period. This game was supposed to have been written off in a long, well documented story. It almost ended this game’s release but thankfully the folks over at Atari picked it up and the game was finally released. The game has had so many different release dates due to the publishers financial issues but once that was ironed out, a classic game was released. Ghostbusters: The Video Game is what all of us Ghostbuster fans have been waiting for: a game where we can bust ghost. But its more then that, the games story is written by Harold Ramis & Dan Aykroyd and it even stars them as the voice actors for there respected characters. Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and even William Atherton lend there voices and there likeness to this game. The presentation is amazing, the game itself feels like your in this quote, unquote third movie. You play the role of the rookie Ghost Buster who is also being used as the guinea pig for Ray and Egon’s prototype weapons.

The games story line centers around several of the key figures mentioned in the first movie such as Gozar, Zuul, and Shandor. The library from the first film is revisited and play a huge role in the third game as well. This game has amazing controls, there a little bit annoying in some instances but it feels and plays like Gears Of War, which is a huge plus. The musical score is based off the first film more then the second, even though most of us want to hear the Ghostbusters theme song more then anything. But there are times where the right music was used but just a little bit too much. But who cares about that, its Ghost Busters the way we want it. There are lots of little things about this game that make it a classic, its a great game that does a lot of fan service as well.

This is a fantastic game with great humor, graphics, and music. The controls are great and I cannot say enough about how well it portrays an actual movie. The opening cinematic is like the opening of the first two films, it sets you up for a mystery only to lead you into a well written and acted comedy. Bill Murray is dry, but it grows onto you. There are returning ghosts from the first film and if you pay close attention to detail, you will find lots of easter eggs from the second movie as well. And no, you won’t need to hire your own attorney like Winston did if your a ghost buster…Louis Tulley is not in this game nor is Dana Barret. This is a MUST HAVE game not because its awesome but because when you buy it your screaming to the world “I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost”.

Click here to purchase Ghostbusters the Video Game Amazon.com Exclusive Slimer Edition for Xbox 360

And Lastly:

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves: This game is hands down the best game you could possibly get this holiday season. Its hard to narrow down a list of games that could be that ONE game but none compare to this. Uncharted 2 is a game that will keep you playing for months on end wether it be in the single player finding treasure or online with friends protecting it. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is Camel Clutch Blogs 2009 Game Of The Year as well as the recipient of over 30+ perfect scores from all over the media. There isn’t really much more that needs to be said about a game that has hands down the best graphics, controls, story, humor, character development, and Snow. Bottom line, while I wasn’t rating these games in any order, this game is the true definition of MUST HAVE since it literally takes everything that made the first game awesome and makes it even better. It wasn’t just a sequel, it was a whole new game in itself. The character development is second to none, there is nothing better then this folks. I can continue on and on about this game but there is no need to, just play it already….no need to keep reading. Uncharted 2 is hands down the best PS3 game out now and for the foreseeable future, nothing is better then this on any other console, period.

Click Here to buy Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Well there you have it, I did forget to mention Mario & Luigi 3: Bowsers Inside Story, Shadow Complex, Killzone 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Critter Crunch but these game are also worthy of being on said list but because there not mega huge games like these ones, I couldn’t really place them in there. There all great games, but these games I picked are sure hit winners, hands down.

On Behalf of everyone here at Camel Clutch Blog, I John Yomtov Jr. would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and Happy Halladays 😉 Thank You For Your Support And Stay Tuned….2010 Is Approaching And So Are Even Bigger Games! Thank You Once Again For Your Support, Have A Great Holiday Season.

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– John Yomtov

Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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