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Easy Points - 'Tis the Season

11/27/2007

It's not quite a holiday game guide, but our rundown of hot games on ESPNEWS' Hotlist includes plenty of contenders and a few titles that are just around the corner. These last few months of 2007 are chock full of high quality games that are delivering on some -- but not all -- of the promises of next generation systems. There's more where this came from and a definitive holiday buyer's guide is on the way. For now, check out the latest and greatest from Easy Points on The Hotlist.

Assassin's Creed - You're getting an all-new control mechanisms for a fairly original game concept: Social stealth. Blending into a city's population instead of dark areas like in Splinter Cell is the new style of stealth. This is an example of a lofty attempt at a next generation type of game; something that couldn't be done until the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 came along. Visually, the developers nailed it. In terms of gameplay, Assassin's Creed is a good first step in a new direction even if it's not the quantum leap in video games Ubisoft wants it to be. Repetitive missions will do that to you.

Rock Band - EA couldn't be expected to watch the new trend in music games (aka the popularity of Guitar Hero) roll on by like a rollicking bandwagon and so they put their mighty marketing and distribution muscle behind this game from MTV and Harmonix. Harmonix took their experience with music games to a whole new level of commercial success when they put out Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II. Rock Band takes the singing gameplay of karaoke games, the strumming of Guitar Hero and throws in the revolutionary concept of video game drumming. With four people strumming, singing and drumming you're talking about one of the most addictive multiplayer games out there. Playing in a band online (four band members in four places!) and earning customization options for your group make this into a real game, not just a music tech demo. Oh and word is you can learn to play drums in real life if you put enough hours into this game. We'll see, but $170 for the game, drum kit, microphone and one guitar, it only seems fair that gamers would get something other than "fun" out of this one.

WWE Smackdwon - New Fighting Styles system means wrestlers act and move just like you see on TV and you get bonus moves specific to the eight different classes. Brawlers specialize in throwing the 1s and 2s in various ways, while submission style wrestlers are good at getting and avoiding the tapouts. ECW inclusion brings ECW characters and rules to the table ... literally. Gimmick matches have always fueled the gameplay of wrestling titles and flaming tables or flaming 2x4s wrapped in barbed wire are simply irresistible. The Wii version even has players mimicking chops and lifts and taunts with the motion sensing Wii-mote.

NBA Ballers: The Chosen One - This is the NBA sanctioned arcade game for 2008 (EA's NBA Street franchise alternates every other year) and continues the Ballers tradition of NBA action and lifestyle. This one-on-one or two-on-two game has players competing in an elite summer tournament for NBA rookies and sophs. They're trying to learn what it takes to become a household name like Kobe, LeBron and A.I. You'll add to your arsenal of moves as you take down big name stars and customize your NBA game and NBA lifestyle. That means big cars, big dreams and all sorts of fancy things as you become an icon.