Who's coming for Christmas?

If you don't know them now, you soon will. They're the stars of the season's hit games

Traditionally, Christmas is a time of goodwill.

 Yet should you have a PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo in your house there's every chance that instead of carols your festive season will reverberate to the lilt of explosions, attack helicopters, 150mph hand-brake turns and the screeching of a mortally wounded dragon – a noisy illustration of the fact that the UK video games industry was worth more than either its film or music businesses last year.

But, unless you're a gamer, it may all merely be digital sound and fury – so, who are the virtual characters that your children and gaming relations will be spending Christmas with? And what are they trying to achieve in their imaginary worlds? Here is your guide to the stars of this season's biggest video games.

Master Chief John-117

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (17+)

What's he like: Just about the toughest man in the universe. Born in the year 2510, John was secretly "conscripted" into an elite military unit called Spartan-II at the age of six.

Mission: To protect Earth and its colonies from a ferocious alien empire known as The Covenant.

Do say: "Don't overheat your plasma gun or you'll have to throw it away."

Don't say: "Why are they still fighting with pistols in the 26th century?"

Game history: This is an enhanced remake celebrating the 10th anniversary of the classic first-person shooter released in 2001.

Price: £34.99 (Xbox)

Professor Hershel Layton

Professor Layton and the Spectre's Call (7+)

What's he like: An archeology don from Gressenheller University, London with perfect manners and an unquenchable thirst for tea.

Mission: To unlock a series of riddles and solve the mystery of a ghostly spectre that's been attacking the village of Misthallery.

Do say: "If you push the 'hint' button it'll help you to solve the puzzles."

Don't say: "There's only two answers to choose from so you might as well just guess."

Game history: The puzzle-solving game is a prequel to the first three episodes of Professor Layton's adventures. It features 130 separate puzzles.

Price: £34.99 (Nintendo DS)

Staff Sergeant Henry 'Black' Blackburn

Battlefield 3 (16+)

What's he like: A battle-hardened US Marine.

Mission: To take the fight to the People's Liberation and Resistance (PLR) army in Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan and New York during a war set in 2014.

Do say: "Take out the sniper with a bazooka then mop up with your assault rifle."

Don't say: "Can you change his accent to a British one?"

Game history: The 11th version of this third-person, multi-player shooter.

Price: £49.99 (Xbox, PS3, PC)

Batman

Batman: Arkham City (15)

What's he like: Forget Adam West and his "shark repellant spray" – this is the hard-as-tungsten Batman from the Christian Bale movies.

Mission: To save a crumbling Gotham City from The Joker and a flood of dangerous psychiatric patients escaping from a vast super-prison .

Do say: "Use your explosive gel to blast a hole through a structural weakness in the wall."

Don't say: "Not exactly 'care in the community' is it?"

Game history: A sequel to the award-winning 2009 Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Price: £49.99 (Xbox, PS3, PC)

Captain John Price

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (17+)

What's he like: A mustachioed, beret-wearing ex-SAS officer who is apparently indestructible.

Mission: To stop a Russian terrorist from unleashing chemical weapons amid a global war fought in 2016.

Do say: "Don't try to copy Price – he's the Nureyev of death! Just shoot at anything that moves until he leads you to the enemy hideout."

Don't say: "Did you have to stab that man in the throat?"

Game history: The eighth in the record-breaking series.

Price: £54.99 (Xbox, PS3, Wii, PC, DS)

Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (12)

What's she like: A wise, forgiving and benevolent ruler of the mystical land of Hyrule.

Mission: To defeat a mystery evil force by harnessing powers hidden in the mystical Goddess Sword.

Do say: "If you use your telepathy skills you'll be able to read the minds of your enemies."

Don't say: "Is she old enough to be playing with a bow and arrow?"

Game history: Fifteen versions have been released since 1986, selling more than 62 million copies globally.

Price: £49.99 (Wii)

Jack Rourke

Need for Speed: The Run (16)

What's he like: A maverick racing driver with implausible driving skills who owes a vast sum of money to the Mafia.

Mission: To pay his debts by out-running the mob, police and 150 drivers in a race from San Francisco to New York and bagging the $25m prize.

Do say: "Undertake him on the blind bend and use your handbrake to make the corner."

Don't say: "Don't climb into the Lamborghini, there's a nice Renault Megane over there."

Game history: The franchise has sold 100 million copies.

Price: £49.99 (Xbox, PS3, Wii, PC)

Ezio Auditore da Firenze

Assassin's Creed: Revelations (15)

What's he like: A Renaissance nobleman who leads an ancient society of assassins. Highly skilled in every form of murder.

Mission: To stop his sworn enemies, the Templar Knights, by killing anyone who supports them in 16th-century Constantinople.

Do say: "Use Ezio's 'hookblade' to zipwire across the rooftops and slyly drop bombs on people."

Don't say: "Won't he get bored of slaughtering people one day?"

Game history: The gameplay has previously produced meticulously rendered historical views of Jerusalem, Florence and Rome.

Price: £32 (Xbox, PS3 PC)

Nathan Drake

Drake's Deception: Uncharted 3 (15)

What's he like: Indiana Jones gone mad.

Mission: To save his "family" treasures from the clutches of Kate Marlowe, the sinister leader of a secret order formed by Queen Elizabeth I.

Do say: "The library has a book by Lawrence of Arabia that will help you find the lost city of Rub' al Khali."

Don't say: "Why are you aimlessly wandering around the desert for hours on end?"

Game history: Two previous episodes have pitched Drake into the Amazon, Tibet, Borneo, Colombia and France.

Price: £49.99 (PS3)

Dovahkiin (Dragonborn)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (15)

What's he like: A Norse warrior who has The Voice – the ability to speak to dragons.

Mission: To save the mythical land of Tamriel from an army of fire-breathing dragons by using an array of weapons and magic spells.

Do say: "If you travel to the top of Throat of the World mountain, the Greybeards will help you to perfect The Voice."

Don't say: "The chickens are sacred? Are you insane?"

Game history: The 14th incarnation since 1994.

Price: £54.99 (Xbox, PS3, PC)

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician - Helpdesk

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a succ...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Field Engineer - Stoke On Trent / Staffordshire

    £22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Network Field Support Engineer / Field Engineer

    £25 - 30k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Network Field Support Engineer is needed...

    Guru Careers: IT Support Analyst / 1st Line Software Support Engineer

    £25 - 30k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An IT Support / 1st Line Software Support ...

    Day In a Page

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food