Gift Ideas: Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is one of the most popular video game systems around, and for good reason! It has a robust library of games and a great network in Xbox Live, the membership-only system through which gamers can connect and compete with each other no matter where they are.

Here we take a look at some of the best games you can pick up for Xbox 360 this holiday system, and if you're looking for a deal to get one into your home, we have a few great Black Friday deals listed at the bottom of this article.

Forza Motorsport 4
Forza Motorsport 4 is the perfect game to showcase the best of what Xbox 360 has to offer. The game looks absolutely gorgeous, with sexy cars that have even the smallest details faithfully created in high definition. There are times when you could swear the cars look real, and it can be a jaw-dropping experience.

Just like any car, it's one thing to just look pretty; it's another thing to give a great ride, and Forza 4 does that. The game offers a few difficulty modes so, at its easiest, is accessible to everyone who has ever held a controller.

If you ratchet up the difficulty, though, Forza takes on new life as a realistic simulator that replicates exactly how these cars actually feel in the real world. It's pretty amazing to hop into the seat of a Ford GT and see how difficult it can be to actually drive one of those around the hairpin turns in Germany's famed Nurburgring. Just awesome.

Forza 4 also has a mode called Autovista where you can sit in many of the world's greatest cars, peek under the hood, and even turn the key and rev the engine to hear the car's actual sounds. Couple this with narration from Top Gear's own Jeremy Clarkson, and it makes for any car buff's dream. If you enjoy hitting top speeds on some of the world's most famous race tracks, sign yourself up for a test drive that will not disappoint.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If you're shopping for someone who is looking for an epic adventure, there is no other game to get this year. Skyrim is a land full of dragons, magic, orcs and goblins, with a main storyline that will take over 100 hours to complete. And when you're done with that, there's still more with all of the side quests to work on and skills to learn.

The first thing that is striking about the world of Skyrim is the vastness of the land. Rivers cut through valleys, snowcapped mountains teeming with bears, and forests are populated by all sorts of critters which have an ecosystem all their own.

For example, very early on in Skyrim while walking through the forest, I happened upon a small fox that was scurrying around. I followed him for a bit when, out of nowhere, a wolf leapt from out of the shadows to take down the fox. He then turned his attention to me, and while I made quick work of my foe, I was stunned by what had transpired. This was just an hour into the game, and Skyrim felt real.

And even though Skyrim may have realistic elements, it's all about fantastic quests with enchanted weapons, dozens of magic spells, and even a dragon (or ten). Get this game.

Dance Central 2
If dragons and fast cars aren't for you, how about popping and locking? Dance Central 2 is the latest game made by the folks behind the Rock Band series, and it uses Kinect to track how you and, optionally, another player follows dance moves while listening to songs by Lady Gaga, Nikki Minaj, Justin Bieber and more. Yes, Bieber is in the house!

The dance moves run the gamut with dozens to try out, and the Kinect technology does a great job to see how you're doing. The game judges how well you execute these moves and there's a mode to try and put together dance routines that get harder and harder as you go on.

If you're not interested in going through a campaign mode, the game allows you to try any song and dance routine in a number of difficulty modes, and Dance Central does a good job to slow down the action if you need some help perfecting the right move. You can play these songs with a friend and see who has the right stuff, and you can even track calories burned because this game can give you quite a workout!

If you're looking for a great party game, Dance Central 2 is one of the best, and a great way to show off Kinect in a fun and innovative way.

Kinect Sports Season Two
Kinect Sports holds a special place in my heart as the best reason to own the Kinect for Xbox 360. Sports like bowling, boxing and table tennis were faithfully reproduced, but given a fun, colorful style that made it addictive to play. Season Two offers up the same mix of tried-and-true gameplay with stylish visuals and a great soundtrack, this time for sports like baseball, football and tennis.

Our personal favorite has to be golf, and you have the option to play in one, three or nine-hole tournaments against competitors of different skill levels. Put your hand up before taking your shot and your player will step back to allow a few practice swings. Put your hand to your brow like you're shading your eyes and the camera will pan back and show the entire hole. When you're putting, feel free to crouch down and get a closer look at the ball and its potential path. These little touches both improve the gameplay and bring you further into the experience.

Kinect Sports: Season Two is most definitely a must-have, and adds onto the Kinect Sports series with some very fun games and new modes of play. Pick this up for a family-friendly Kinect hit this holiday season.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
If you're looking for a stocking stuffer at a pretty decent price, this special tenth anniversary edition of Halo is perfect for anyone who either has great memories of Master Chief's first adventure, or just wants to fight the good fight for the very first time. Halo, made famous as a launch title for the first Xbox, is given remastered graphics and new Xbox Live modes that make it a valuable addition to any gaming library.

Holiday Xbox 360 Bundles

Our friends at CAG have put together a list of great deals that will be available on Black Friday for both the Xbox 360 and Kinect.

- 4GB Console + Gears of War 3 + 3 Month Live + $50 Gift Card $199.99 at Walmart (ONLINE ONLY) - Friday 12:01AM
- 4GB Kinect Console + $50 Gift Card $199.96 at Walmart - Thursday 10PM to Friday
- 250GB Holiday Bundle* $199.99 at Best Buy - Friday 12:01AM
- 250GB Holiday Bundle* $199 at Sam's Club - Friday 12:01AM & Saturday
- 4GB Kinect Console + $10 gift card $199.99 at Toys R Us - Thursday 9PM to Saturday 11PM
- 4GB Kinect Console $199.99 at Radio Shack - Friday 5:30 AM & Saturday
- 4GB Kinect Console $199.99 at Meijer - Thursday 6AM-
- 4GB Console $139.99 at Target - Friday 12:01AM & Saturday
- 4GB Console $149.99 at GameStop - Friday 12:01AM & Saturday
- 4GB Console $149.99 at Kmart - Friday & Saturday
- 4GB Console + Modern Warfare 3 $199.99 at Kmart - Thursday 6AM-9PM
- 4GB Kinect Bundle $209.99 at Sears - Friday 4AM to Saturday

* 250GB Holiday Bundle includes: Fable III, Halo: Reach, and 3 Months of Live Gold Access

Other Gift Ideas

PlayStation 3 Gift Ideas
Nintendo Wii and Nintendo 3DS Gift Ideas
Video Game Accessories Gift Ideas

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