Every year it’s the same situation. We spend weeks thinking up and hunting down the perfect presents for our loved ones, often paying through the nose in the process, only to find that by the time Christmas dinner is over we’ve not got any of the things we wanted. Socks from grandma and cardigans from co-workers – these things are definitely appreciated, but honestly, they weren’t exactly what we were hoping for. We’d have preferred something with a bit more pizazz.
Still, all is not lost – everyone has at least one comparatively rich and unimaginative uncle or aunt, don’t they? The type of person that can always be relied on to send you a cheque in a Christmas card and a box of chocolates instead of knitting needles and novelty underpants. Those people are always our salvation – sending us a few bob to get ourselves what we’re really after. Of course, the rub is that by this point we’re always much too tired to even remember what we’d want to spend the dosh on.
Thankfully, bit-tech is here to help. As we established last year you’re most likely to have around £125 to spend when all your presents are left unwrapped – but how do you spend it? We'll start with some excellent games with which you can begin your new year!
If you’re not looking to spend big bucks and you’d like to try something a little bit different then Shattered Horizon is probably the game for you. Developed by Futuremark, the folks behind the 3DMark benchmarking software, Shattered Horizon is a simply gorgeous little shooter that veers away from the usual tropes by setting the combat in outer space.
Best described as a zero gravity deathmatch, Shattered Horizon will require a little bit of adjustment as you get used to the zero-gravity setting, but you’ll quickly be able to gun down enemies as you spiral through the air and home in on enemies from above.
It’s worth stressing that Shattered Horizon is a DirectX 10 only game, so you’ll need recent hardware, plus either Vista or Windows 7 to run it, but a just a smudge over a tenner, it’s definitely worth a look if you have the required circuitry.
If Shattered Horizon looks a bit intimidating or if you’re after a console game instead of a PC exclusive then [eurl=http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/pc/2009/11/18/left-4-dead-2-review/1Left 4 Dead 2[/eurl] is definitely something you should be looking at picking up if you don’t have it already.
The sequel to Valve’s 2008 Game of the Year, Left 4 Dead 2 bulks the original formula up with more weapons, more levels and more zombies for you to plough through. The new daylight levels may not look as scary as the original’s permanent night time, but they definitely make for an interesting change of pace and are far easier to navigate.
Just like the first game, Left 4 Dead 2 is playable in both co-op and singleplayer, but the multiplayer side has been improved massively with new game modes and arenas for players to sink their teeth into! While it's always tempting to opt for the convenience of Steam, the game is actually a good £10 cheaper on DVD from Amazon.
Voiced by Jack Black and designed by the mind behind Day of the Tentacle, Brütal Legend is an assuredly hilarious romp through a heavy metal inspired landscape that’s filled with sweet riffs and plenty of celebrity cameos.
Telling the story of roadie Eddie Riggs as he finds himself sucked into a world where music can be used as a form of magic and where humanity is oppressed by evil demons, Brütal Legend is much more family-friendly than it first seems and comes with parental controls built in. That’s a good thing too, as it’s definitely the type of game that lends itself to playing as a group.
An inventive multiplayer mode adds longevity to an already lengthy singleplayer campaign, which further sweetens the deal on top of the already fantastic script and gameplay. Oh, and the soundtrack is totally bitchin’ too. The only downside is it's console only - Xbox 360 or PS3 owners only.