The holiday season is approaching, which means it will soon be time to get presents for family, friends and ... ahem … yourself. When sales force you to buy yourself video games, you may as well get the best. This year is a time for series, but there are lots of new games coming soon that will also make an impact. Let’s take a look at 10 of the year’s best games.

1) “L.A. Noire”

“Noire” is an all-around great game. The game carries a provocative adventure, compelling characters and innovative gameplay, as its reasons for being No. 1 on this list. Following Cole Phelps’ career plays like a movie while providing a series of puzzles, combat and fast-paced chases for players as they follow the investigations. Even the background environment – a feature Rockstar Games usually excels at – is even better in “Noire” with its replication of historical Los Angeles. The incredible detail and personality in this reconstructed City of Angels makes this game stand out. Players advancing through departments and interesting storylines allow for the gameplay to stay fresh and quickly makes it addictive.

2) “El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron”

Some things in life must be described as beautiful. The “El Shaddai” game is one of those. Only unlike a painting, its beauty is something you can dive into. The creation of “El Shaddai” was a daring play, with its unique look and storyline that is not scared to evoke biblical references. Based on the Book of Enoch that follows the fall of angels, material that one would not usually associate with videogames yet makes the journey of Enoch in this game into an exciting adventure. With a near avant-garde style, it is a game one either really likes or really doesn’t.

3) “inFAMOUS 2”

In old comic books, heroes never asked themselves if they wanted to be a good or bad guy. Cole in “inFAMOUS” doesn’t have that problem, which together with his impressively growing array of powers makes “inFAMOUS 2” an adventure to play. Set in a new area – and with new enemies – players can have the guy who started as a simple bike messenger become either a greater hero or greater villain than before as he searches for answers. One of the most interesting parts of the game is the new abilities and upgrades of abilities that come along as the player progress through the game.

4) “White Knight Chronicles 2”

Hack-and-slash fantasy games are always fun, but when you throw a giant humanoid machine into the mix the fun is sure to grow. As the storyline of the game advances, adding more giant arch knights and revelations, the adventure becomes one you must see through to the end. Those who didn’t play the first game don’t even have to deal with a learning curve, as they can jump in on the beginning or skip to the second. Those who played the first will enjoy the new features of the remastered version, such as the quicker pacing. In online gameplay, players have gained even more choices and the ability to customize, certainly adding to their experience. Their knights and characters are theirs for them to choose how they want to go through the game machines.

5) “Elder’s Scroll: Skyrim”

“Skyrim,” the fifth title in the “Elder Scrolls” series, is able to impress one within the first few minutes of play, and it continues to impress throughout. The new engine adds to this, as players can smoothly explore a huge dynamic world. Interactions in the world as well play smoothly, motions from using both hands independently to traveling on horseback through lands feels natural. One can definitely see the build-up of “Skyrim” employing elements that worked well from previous games such as the perks in “Borderlands” and perfecting them. For players, there is a great deal of customization when building a character with skill trees having around 280 perks available and a character able to use 50, a magic system that feels natural and character based, thus allowing for variety in possible character builds. The Radiant Story system even allows quests to be altered to fit the player. So one definitely is whom they play. (available Nov. 11)

6) “Rage”

Take an adventure in a world reminiscent of old Mad Max movies, put it in a videogame and people are sure to flock to it. While post-apocalyptic settings aren’t new, this game mixes elements of excellent first-person shooter, driving and RPG into a world that a player can dive into. The environment that players enter is full of different factions, all different and with their own unique AI as well as mysteries of the past. The game is ripe with little bonuses and distractions to watch out for, from trying out the variety of weapons to the goal posts hidden around that grant rewards and a collectible card game that keeps things interesting.

7) “From Dust”

“From Dust” is indefinably unique. Players have control of the Breath, a force that can shape the land. Reminiscent of “Lemmings” in the way players can guide things, it has a nature/god twist that allows players to create as they seek to help their people survive. The world in the game is a living thing, changing with or without the player’s direction with constant evolution. Each material and element that the player controls and shapes, from lava to water, each has its own tendencies and difficulties to control. Even the game’s local plant life can differ in its actions. These patterns all make the game feel like a great exploration, especially in its large artistic environments that span tropical islands, volcanic hotbeds and deserts.

8) “Batman: Arkham City”

The sequel to “Batman: Arkham Asylum” will likely be as popular as its predecessor. Now the action is spread out in the city that is Batman’s backyard, as opposed to just one location. This feels more like Batman’s element as he glides across rooftops in pursuit of a huge cast of criminals and investigations, creating a more authentic experience for players. The new story leaves Batman with improved tools and gaining more along the way as he takes on enemies in the new free-flow combat that doubles his range of attacks, counters and takedowns as enemies bring more firepower.

9) “Gears of War 3”

Finally, it’s the epic finale to the “Gears of War” trilogy. This was definitely one of the most anticipated games of the year, and though the release was delayed, fans were not disappointed. The game builds upon the series' gameplays and ships players off into high-paced action. They move that into a highly visual game with wide-open levels that can astonish even veterans of the series. All these elements make “Gears of War 3” a must-own game.

10) “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Often, games that are based on movies are not that great no matter how good the movie was. Fortunately for Transformers fans, “Dark of the Moon” is an exception to that rule. The game blends a hybrid of third-person shooter and vehicle combat well. Levels are creatively built and feature a great number of characters from both sides. This game is simply a fan’s paradise.