Video game guide: In-demand titles range from classics to violent shooter games

Published: Thursday, Dec. 1 2011 4:01 p.m. MST

Skylanders are action adventurers with unique abilities who were banished to Earth by an evil tyrant while their world is in danger.

Activision Publishing

SALT LAKE CITY — Santa's greasing the sled runners and double-checking himself to be sure nothing is forgotten. That's not a bad idea for the rest of us, either.

If you're stumped about what to give someone, think video game. There's one (or probably more like 40) out there for every age and every taste. To make it simple, the Deseret News has put together a list of some of the season's most in-demand titles.

We didn't play them all — so many games, so little time. But we played a lot of them. And we scoured the store shelves and online reviews to help complete our list. It's arranged alphabetically within each rating category, not by preference.

We've included a bit from all categories, so there are mature offerings on this list to help parents make informed decisions. These games include an explanation of why they earned their ratings.

So flex those thumbs and enjoy!

FIFA Soccer 12 (360, PS3, PS2, 3DS, Mac, PC, Wii, PSP, iPad, iPod, phone), rated E for Everyone, published by Electronic Arts.

It doesn't matter what gaming system you have, if you like soccer/football simulation, this one's a keeper. Career mode means you have more on the line as you play, building toward lifetime success. It features more than 500 licensed clubs, 15,000 players and a "Player Impact Engine," which EA describes as a physics engine to deliver real-world physicality. EA also brags about having the "next generation of player intelligence." We just think the graphics and action are great!

Forza Motorsport 4 (360), E for Everyone, Turn10 Studios for Microsoft.

The fourth entry in this racing series, it's the first to support the Kinect sensor, expanding the driving options from solely the traditional game controller. If you use Kinect, you get other benefits, too, like the ability to eyeball the car's interior better. This critically acclaimed racing simulator lets fans who had Motorsport 3 build on their success there by importing their profile, which carries some nice perks. Vroom.

Just Dance 3 (Wii, PS3, 360), rated E for Everyone, Ubisoft.

Up to four players can dance together and there are a LOT of tracks from which to choose. Queen, Katy Perry, Danny Elfman, Gwen Stefani and the Buggles. Something for everyone, with Kinect enhancements.

Madden NFL 12 (360, Wii, PS2, PS3, PSP, 3DS, iOS, Android), E for Everyone, EA Sports.

If you haven't played one or more of the Madden football simulations, you're probably not a sports-genre video game fan. Reviewers say the play is more realistic than ever before in this new rendition, which combines the best of the old with some new features and added realism. Be careful, though. If you get a concussion, you're out of the game.

Rayman Origins (360, PS3, Wii), E for Everyone, Ubisoft.

One of the most original — and peculiar — video games, Rayman Origins lets players (up to 4) cooperate their way through platforms and levels to collect "electoons" in a quest to cure Bubble Dreamer of his scary dreams. It's built to entice players to replay levels because the more "lums" you collect, the more goodies and maps you can unlock. Graphically, it's both surprising and delightful. You can play alone or with friends. If four play at once, it gets a little hectic, but it's always fun.

Super Mario 3D Land (3DS), rated E (mild cartoon violence), Nintendo.

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