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Consoles For Christmas 2008 - The Cerebral Gamer

Sure, you have some time for games that focus on blistering reaction speeds and brawn, but you prefer to play something that engages the old grey matter while you're at it. In the past, the RPGs and strategy games you favour would keep you glued to a PC, but you're coming over to the possibility that consoles can now do these things as well.

Fable II is both deep and easy to get into - a killer combination for an RPG.

In this profile our hearts and minds are again torn. In terms of the visual experience, both the PS3 and Xbox 360 are evenly matched, with nothing to really stamp the PS3's authority as the more powerful machine. In fact, at the moment, the Xbox 360 seems to be holding all the aces. It's the only console platform on which you'll find Fable 2, Mass Effect and the under-rated Japanese RPG, Lost Odyssey. Thoughts of Halo Wars and Alan Wake next year might also sway your decision. And while the mighty Fallout 3 is cross-platform, the 360 version is widely considered superior to its PlayStation 3 equivalent. Another blow for Sony is that next year's Final Fantasy XIII will now be a simultaneous 360/PS3 release in Europe (though the connected FF Versus XIII remains a Sony exclusive).

Fallout 3 may be cross platform, but the Xbox 360 version plays better than the rest.

On the other hand, the Sony console is increasingly looking more interesting as a platform for massive multiplayer games. DC Universe Online and The Agency both look like they have the potential to attract new players to MMO genres, and while the Xbox 360 will have Champions Online - from City of Heroes creator Cryptic Studios - that game won't have super-heroes as familiar as Batman or Superman to play with. Adventure fans should also be aware that Heavy Rain: The Origami Killer, the new game from the team behind Fahrenheit, will be a PS3 exclusive, while nobody will want to miss a new action/adventure from Fumita Ueda's Team ICO.

Halo Wars will appeal the the action junkies, as well as strategy game fans.

Still, once again the price point of the Xbox 360 sways the balance slightly in its favour. If you're more interested in MMOs than single-player strategy games and RPGs, then the PlayStation 3 is worth the premium. Otherwise we'd pay less for the Microsoft machine.

Our choice: Xbox 360 Premium Pack

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