There are plenty of games and game systems to consider this holiday shopping season, but here are two games that should be at the top of your list.

“Assassin’s Creed III”

“Assassin’s Creed III” had a lot to live up to after its 60-plus E3 nominations and years in development. E3, which stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo, is one of the biggest international video game conferences, where video game developers unveil their latest and greatest hardware and software projects annually.

“Assassin’s Creed III” stood out from the pack at E3, and it lives up to its hype.

The first two games in the “Assassin’s Creed” series take place in different times and eras. The first game centers on The Knights Templar in England under the reign of King Richard I. The sequel takes place in 15th century Italy.

“Assassin’s Creed III” features a new character, Conner, who is half-Native American and half-Caucasian.

Not only is the setting changed (to 1750s-1780s North America), but there are tons of new features in the game. From a whole new combat system, to newer and better weapons such as the tomahawk and rope dart, there are many new things to explore.

The game map also is gigantic — colonial Boston, New York and the Frontier — all of which offers countless hours of entertainment, from hunting for some money to taking out Templar forts.

After playing through the game, I was overall really pleased with how it turned out. There are still minor bugs, but game developer Ubisoft has lived up to the promises made the past few months. All the new features take getting used to, but after you get the gist of it all, the game is entertaining, not too easy, but not too hard, and generally a satisfactory experience.

Other new and fun additions are naval warfare, where you can take a fully manned ship on missions from the top of North America all the way down to islands near South America, and a whole new money and trading system. There are countless other additions, like new Assassin recruit skills and chase-breakers.

“Assassin’s Creed III” is a game one can’t put down easily, so if you get ahold of it, expect to be playing it for a while! I rate the game a 9 on a 10-scale.

— Ryan Miller, Selah High School

“Borderlands 2”

Are you looking for a first-person shooter that’s unlike any of the “Call of Duty” iterations? If so, Gearbox Software’s latest crude-humored “role-playing shooter,” “Borderlands 2,” should be a welcome break for anyone tired of military simulators.

In “Borderlands 2,” you play as one of four Vault hunters, treasure hunters in search of an alien technology storage on the planet of Pandora. However, the Hyperion CEO and self-proclaimed dictator of Pandora, Handsome Jack, wants to take the Vault’s weapons for himself in his crusade to cleanse Pandora of its lowlife lifeforms.

From the beginning of the main campaign, you’ll encounter a colorful cast of non-playable characters that aren’t only comically well-written, but offer side missions rewarding experience points, weapons, and other invaluable objects.

Speaking of weapons, there are just tons of them, with each gun and grenade having a unique aesthetic to it. Also, as implied by any first-person shooter, where there are weapons, there are enemies to kill. The Artificial Intelligence characters in “Borderlands 2” are as varied as the guns, ranging from the psychopathic Bandits to the gorilla-like Bullymongs to the robotic Hyperion Loaders. Their battlefield tactics have been improved from the original Borderlands too, as enemies are now able to traverse landscapes, use objects in the environment, and coordinate offensive maneuvers in groups.

How you handle enemies will depend on your character, since your Vault hunter has three skill trees that can be invested in to gain abilities suiting your particular playstyle.

In addition, the promise of future downloadable content expansions guarantee to bring more story, enemies and loot long after you complete the game’s quest.

You can pick up your copy of “Borderlands 2” at any video game retailer.

Hunter Long, Davis High School