Top video games to pre-order

The months leading up to Christmas are always packed to the rafters with new game releases and this year is no different. There's plenty on offer in the run-up to the festive season, whether you want to try your hand at being a DJ, engage in a light saber battle, or indulge in some covert, Cold War-era CIA action. Here at Pocket-lint, we've pulled together a few of the best upcoming games that you should be looking out for. Some of these titles are available very soon, so if you're reading this at a later date, then they might well be on the shelves already. Happy shopping...


DJ Hero 2

Due:
22 October

Console:
Xbox, PS3, Wii

Developer:
FreeStyleGames/Activision

Price: 
£38.91

No prizes for guessing that this is the follow-up to the wildly successful DJ Hero, where the idea is to use the specially designed, turntable-like controller to earn points as you try and keep up with the huge selection of mashup mixes. DJ Hero 2 is also set to include a new selection of gameplay modes including head-to-head DJ battles as well voice options so that you can sing or rap along.

There are ten songs that have been mixed to support gameplay wth Guitar Hero in the DJ vs Guitar mode. What's more, you'll also find a Party Play mode that enables the game to automatically play songs, letting a player jump in and play at any time. The confirmed song list includes tracks from Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Metallica, Snoop Dogg and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. You'll have to get in quick to pre-order this one as it comes out on Friday.

Gran Turismo 5

Due:
3 November

Console:
PS3

Developer:
Polyphony Digital/Sony Computer Entertainment

Price: 
£37.91


The Gran Turismo franchise set the standard for driving games on its debut in 1997, and the much-delayed GT5 represents the latest in the long-running racing saga. Exclusive to the PS3, the game will include all the usual thrills and spills that we've come to expect, as well as a few new treats. For the first time in the GT series, you'll get the option of a stereoscopic 3D mode and go-karting will also make its debut.

What's more, there will also be a new online mode with scope for up to 16 players and this will be the first game in the series to include both external and mechanical damage modelling. That means that you'll be able to see real-time damage to your car in relation to the speed and angle of any crashes with "premium" car models showing the most detailed amount of damage, such as panels being ripped off. It'll also be possible to overturn cars for the first time in a GT game.

 

Football Manager 2011

Due:
5 November

Console:
PC

Developer:
Sports Interactive/Sega

Price: 
£25.91



Evolving from what was once called Championship Manager, this management simulation game is getting a revamp for 2011, which is good news for all those that fancy themselves as a bit of a footie expert. The maddeningly addictive game will be getting a number of enhancements, not least improved graphics and a 3D view of the game. The role of agents has also been enhanced, and there will be five different types that will negotiate contracts, asking for varying amounts of cash.

There will also be various new contract clauses such as bonuses, while player negotiations will be made face-to-face to ramp up the realism. The interaction between players and managers has also been beefed up so that it's now possible to have private conversations with players. There's a whole host of other improvements too, but we like the sound of the players being able to show emotion and visibly react to what's going on in the game. We're hoping to see a few tears and toddler-esque tantrums.

 

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Due:
19 November (Xbox, PS3), 26 March 2011 (PC)

Console:
Xbox, PS3, PC

Developer:
Ubisoft

Price:
£37.91

Ezio Auditore da Firenze is back in this third-person action adventure game - a direct sequel to Assassin's Creed II. Set in Renaissance-era Italy, this is the first title in the series to get a multiplayer mode where the players are Templars in training at the Abstergo facility, where they acquire the skills of assassins. Players will gain points by completing each kill without detection and making a hasty escape. You'll be able to choose from a number of characters including Courtesan, Priest, Executioner and Smuggler.

The makers are keeping the exact details under wraps, but we're bound to see another intricately constructed and historically questionable plot, as we did in the previous instalments. The gameplay will also be similar, largely consisting of freerunning-style movements, assassination, stealth and swordplay.

Quick play preview

 

Fallout: New Vegas

Due:
22 October

Console:
Xbox, PS3, PC

Developer:
Obsidian Entertainment

Price:
£37.69

This post-apocalyptic role-playing game is set several years after the events of Fallout 3, although it's not a direct sequel. Set in the barren climes of a dilapidated Las Vegas, the cheery story sees the player in the role of a courier who's been shot in the head and dumped in a shallow grave. Rescued and revived, the plucky delivery man sets about trying to find out who shot him and why. Armed to the nines, the hero of the piece has access to an impressive arsenal of weaponry including shotguns and some handy nuclear devices. And if all that doesn't sound bleak enough for you, then you can activate the Hardcore mode where the poor protagonist has to deal with realistic factors such as ammunition weight, exhaustion and dehydration.

What's more, the seedy neon metropolis of casinos, set against the dusty backdrop of the desert, provides the perfect opportunity for a small selection of gambling mini-games.  If this game is anything like its predecessor, prepare to lose many, many hours of your life playing it.

Full review

 

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Due:
19 November

Console:
Xbox, PS3, Wii, PC

Developer:
Criterion Games/EA

Price: 
£35.91

The Need for Speed series has been building up drive time for some years now, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that this is the 16th instalment. Set in the fictional Seacrest County, the game goes back to the early days for inspiration, and centres heavily on high-speed police chases. It doesn't really have a plot as such, it's more like a classic arcade racing game. You can either play as a cop or a racer, with the cops carrying a bit more clout, power-wise, than the racers.

The action takes place over 100 miles of open road and each side has several power-ups to make use of. The game also features a new social interaction system, and is geared up for single-player action, or you can initiate the multiplayer mode that will let you compete against up to eight of your mates.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Due:
9 November

Console:
Xbox, PS3, Wii, PC

Developer:
Treyarch/Activision

Price:
£42.69

This first-person shooter marks the 7th chapter in the Call of Duty franchise and is the first title to be set during the Cold War. The plot follows several CIA-controlled covert ops groups which are engaged in anti-communist operations all over Vietnam, Cuba and Eastern Europe. As a footsoldier, you'll be armed with a range of modifiable weapons including guns, crosssbows and knives and you'll also be able to buy more firepower and accessories using the currency system. You'll be able to engage in multiplayer action, with plenty of characters to choose from. Seasoned COD players will be pleased to hear that the game also includes the ludicrously popular World of War zombie mode for up to four players.

The game has been rendered using motion-capture technology for a more realistic look and if you listen carefully you'll hear that Gary Oldman reprises his turn as the voice of Reznov from World at War, while Ed Harris lends his voice to CIA agent Jason Hudson.


Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Due:
29 October

Console:
Xbox, PS3, Wii, DS

Developer:
LucasArts

Price:
£38.91

Bridging the gap between the two Star Wars film trilogies, this series of games focuses on Darth Vader's secret Sith apprentice, Starkiller (the surname of Luke Skywalker in early drafts of the Star Wars script, fact fans). After being betrayed by Vader and locked up, Starkiller escapes his captors and just like a gap year student, sets off on a quest to 'find himself', along with his love interest from the first game.  As always, bounty hunter Boba Fett is on hand to try and throw a spanner in the works.

The title's gameplay is similar to that of its predecessor with a few notable exceptions such as the addition of puzzle solving and the opportunity to pilot a TIE fighter. You'll also get the chance to lop off your enemies heads with dual lightsabers or simply control them with a well-placed Jedi mind trick. As before, your main weapons are your lightsaber and the Force, naturally. If you're really serious then you get kit yourself out with a Darth Vader lightsaber controller for just £14.99. May the Force be with you.

First Look review

 

Goldeneye 007

Due:
5 November

Console:
Wii, DS

Developer:
Eurocom/Activision

Price:
£29.70



This James Bond-themed first-person shooter game has been around for ages - since 1997, to be precise - but it'll also soon be available to Nintendo Wii and DS owners. This revamped version, based on the original Nintendo 64 game, features current Bond Daniel Craig's voice and likeness, rather than Goldeneye's Pierce Brosnan and will offer a multiplayer mode with scope for up to eight people to join in and you'll be able to choose from classic Bond characters such as Oddjob, Scaramanga and Rosa Klebb.

Some of the features from the original game have been updated to reflect the advance in technology, for example, the watch has been upgraded to a smartphone that can be used to scan documents, take surreptitious surveillance snaps and check in with MI6. GoldenEye 007 is unusual in that it's one of only a few Wii games that can be played with a wide variety of controllers including the Nunchuk, Zapper and the Classic controller.

Fable III

Due:
29 October (Xbox), 12 December (PC)

Console:
Xbox, PC

Developer:
Lionhead Studios/Microsoft Game Studios

Price: 
£37.99

The third title in the Fable series of action RPGs, this chapter is once again set on the continent of Albion around 50 years after the events of the last game. The player takes on the role of the Hero who is forced to overthrow his brother, the tyrannical king Logan. This dramatic turn of events certainly sets the scene for what promises to be an action-packed game, while also taking on the mechanics of society, such as taxation and poverty. Instead of a conventional list-based menu you'll be guided to The Sanctuary instead, which is where you'll find your own personal butler who offers suggestions and advice. This is also the first game that looks beyond Albion, when its threatened by another country called Aurora.

The impressive ensemble voice cast includes the talents of Stephen Fry, John Cleese, Sir Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg and Johnathan Ross and plenty of other well-known Brits. Along with the inevitable Xbox version, Microsoft will also be releasing a PC equivalent as part of its renewed commitment to the future of PC gaming.

Quick play preview

 

Rock Band 3

Due:
29 October

Console:
Xbox, PS3, Wii

Developer:
Harmonix Music Systems/MTV Games/EA

Price: 
£39.70

If you can't be arsed to learn a proper instrument, it doesn't matter anymore thanks to the likes of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The latter series is now into its third instalment with the aptly named Rock Band 3, where players can sing or play along to backing tracks with specially designed guitar, bass, drums and mic. The new version also adds support for two backup singers and electric keyboard. Unsurprisingly the aim of the game is for the band to complete a song by using their controllers to strike the correct notes in time with those shown onscreen or sing in the correct pitch - a tried and tested concept, that goes by the name of "music".

Players will be able to strum, drum or croon along to around 2000 different songs from the Rock Band library. What's more, the keyboard is MIDI compatible so that you'll be able to play it outside of the game and there's a Fender Squier Stratocaster coming soon that can also be played independently.

Quick play preview

 

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Expansion Pack

Due:
7 December

Console:
PC

Developer:
Activision Blizzard

Price: 
£24.70

The third expansion pack for the hugely popular World of Warcraft will need no introduction if you're a dedicated fan. The story sees the return of the evil dragon Deathwing the Destoyer who has been plotting his big comeback from the safety of Deepholm. Naturally, his return through the dimensional barrier results in a cataclysm that plays havoc with the world's surface. And that's just the beginning.

The game is also receiving plenty of meaty updates, most of which won't mean anything to you unless you're paid-up member of the WoW clan. There are two new races - Goblins for the Horde and Worgen for the Alliance - and you'll see a number of redesigned zones and an overhaul of the stat system.

 

Kinect

Don't forget that the Kinect for Xbox 360 is coming out in November, so if you're planning to invest in Microsoft's new motion-controlled system then you might want to get some games pre-ordered for that too. You'll get Kinect Adventures bundled with the new sensor, but if you're not sure what else is available then check out our handy round-up of all the titles that will be available from launch.

Which games are you intending to pre-order? Are there any that you think we've missed? Let us know.