The holiday season is upon us, and PlayStation 3 owners and owner-hopefuls around the world are desperately trying to relate to their loved ones the sort of game titles they'd like to unwrap when their particular gift-giving festivity commences. Nothing says "I don't understand you" quite like a cold, unfeeling gift card, so let Kotaku be your guide to the best things to place inside your shiny Sony console. Whether you are giving or receiving, our 2008 PlayStation 3 Gift Guide is your source for festive holiday gaming. The guide is split into four different sections. We've got your Bargains, for those of you who want to stretch their holiday dollar; essential titles that every PlayStation 3 owner has to play (it's the law); social titles to lure your friends and family around the console; and finally epic titles that will devour your very soul and spit it out in a slightly moist but terribly happy little holiday lump. Nothing like the smell of freshly opened games on a cold winter morning...
PixelJunk Monsters Price: $9.99 via PlayStation Network Rating: Everyone Addictive tower defense gameplay meets quirky audio and visual style in Q-Games' PixelJunk Monsters. Defend your creatures from the approaching hordes by placing towers along their path. Simple and addicting. The Otograph music alone is worth the price of admission, having resulted in the soundtrack being released as the first audio album on the PlayStation Network.
PixelJunk Eden Price: $9.99 via PlayStation Network Rating: Everyone Another in Q-Games' PixelJunk series, Eden is a game that is hard to put into words. Grip and swing your way through various gardens, collecting pollen to allow new plants to bloom, opening up new paths for you to explore. Challenging and relaxing, all at once.
WipeOut HD Price: $19.99 via PlayStation Network Rating: Everyone 10+ Take the classic gameplay of the original futuristic racing game Wipeout, crank things up to a blistering fast 60 frames per second running at full HD 1080p, tack on an excellent soundtrack in Dolby 5.1 surround and you're in for one hell of a sweet ride. With new tracks and vehicles promised by way of future DLC, WipeOut HD is the gift that keeps on giving.
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - Revenge of the Plague Lord Price: $14.99 via PlayStation Network Rating: Everyone 10+ Ah, Puzzle Quest. We cannot escape you, nor would we want to. The PlayStation 3 version of the puzzle/RPG hybrid that originally took the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP by storm contains all the fun of the original game plus the Revenge of the Plague Lord expansion that was released on the Xbox 360 earlier this year.
Echochrome Price: $9.99 via PlayStation Network Rating: Everyone Echochrome is an excellent example of the unique, creative games that are the hallmark of the PlayStation Network. In a world populated by Oscar Reutersvärd's impossible constructions, getting from point A to point B is entirely a matter of perception. Guide a wooden mannequin through bizarre pathways by rotating the shapes it walks upon. It's like an interactive brain teaser that forces you to take a new look at the way you play. Essentials
LittleBigPlanet Price: $59.99 Rating: Everyone The game everyone is talking about. On the surface, LittleBigPlanet is a relatively simplistic yet challenging platformer, but once you roll up your sleeves and start realizing your own creations with its rich editing tools it becomes something altogether different. LittleBigPlanet could very well be the game that defines the PlayStation 3.
Resistance 2 Price: $59.99 Rating: Mature The follow-up to the best launch title for the PS3, Insomniac's first-person shooter continues the epic tale of man versus mutant that started in Resistance: Fall of Man. While the story mode delivers action on a scale seldom seen in a first-person shooter, the 60-player online multiplayer and MMO-style online co-op promises to keep players running and gunning for years to come.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Price: $46.99 Rating: Mature The game that launched a million PlayStation 3 consoles. If you own a PlayStation 3 and haven't experienced the final chapter in Hideo Kojima's epic Metal Gear series, then you simply aren't getting the most out of your console. You'll be hard pressed to find a more emotionally-charged game on any platform. Just beware - intense cravings for fried eggs may occur.
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction Price: $41.99 Rating: Everyone 10+ Insomniac takes their classic action platforming duo to a whole new level in Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction. Along with being one fine showcase for the graphical horse[power of the PlayStation 3, Tools of Destruction stays true to the series' roots, delivering solid action and top-notch platforming while still remaining as family-friendly as ever.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Price: $41.99 Rating: Teen Developer Naughty Dog of Jak & Daxter and Crash Bandicoot fame show that they can work their magic on more realistic characters in Uncharted: Drakes' Fortune, an epic summer adventure movie you can play. It's got plenty of shooting, dizzying platforming elements, and some of the best-acted characters ever seen in a video game. It's Indiana Jones and the Lost Treasure of El Dorado, only without Indiana Jones. Socializers
Rock Band 2 Price: $189.99 Rating: Teen You can't get much more social than Rock Band 2. You can barely go to any large gathering of people these days without finding the game set up, and once you build it, the people will come. Almost as fun to watch as it is to play, Rock Band 2 snags a recommendation over the competition because of its massive song library. Still no "The Touch" by Stan Bush, but we remain hopeful.
SingStar Bundle Price: $59.99 Rating: Teen Say what you will about your full band games, I contend that SingStar is an even better party game than either of the major guitar and drum touting franchises. Why? Because with those, people can escape singing. SingStar doesn't play that. It's all hideous embarrassment, all the time.
Buzz! Quiz TV Bundle Price: $59.99 Rating: Teen Not only does Buzz! Quiz TV provide hours of family-friendly entertainment plus the ability to create and share your own quizzes with the world, it also comes bundled with four wireless Buzz buzzers, perfect for forcefully throwing at friends and family members who are just too smart for their own damn good. They should really package this game with buzzer-proof helmets.
Eye Of Judgment Price: $66.99 Rating: Teen The perfect gift for the collectible card game addict in your life, Eye of Judgment comes packaged with the PlayStation Eye camera, which promotes a whole different kind of social interaction as well. As an added plus, card booster packs make excellent follow-up gifts, as do the high-powered movie set lighting you need to play the game at night.
Soul Calibur IV Price: $56.99 Rating: Teen Fighting games, once the cornerstone of the arcade social scene, still remain an excellent way to pass the time with a horde of slightly drunk friends. Soul Calibur IV not only has a ton of characters to beat on each other with, you can add to the humiliation by pwning your pals with your custom-created fighter - naked mohawk man wearing pink diaper. Epics
Valkyria Chronicles Price: $56.99 Rating: Teen Sega's beautiful take on the strategy RPG couples an gorgeous hand-sketched graphics style with one of the most innovative combat system that integrates 3rd person action with turn-based tactics. The game features more than 100 customizable characters and an epic storyline sure to keep you playing through to the very end. As an added plus, Valkyria Chronicles is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, so you can always rub that in your Xbox-owning friends' faces.
Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice Price: $39.99 Rating: Teen When you are talking epics, you're talking Disgaea. NIS America has been creating turn-based strategy RPG shut-ins since the original Disgaea on the PlayStation, and the third installment is no different. Class world alone features 40 stages for each of the more than 270 characters, or 10,800 different stages. Add to that the story stages, item world, and an infinite number of randomly generated battle maps, and you could play Disgaea 3 for years.
BioShock Price: $56.99 Rating: Mature Last year's Xbox 360 epic is this year's PlayStation 3 epic as 2K's tale decadence, delirium, and death under the sea makes the leap to Sony's console. The PS3 version of the game adds a new difficulty mode to the title, along with console-exclusive downloadable content that'll be available in plenty of time for Christmas.
Fallout 3 Price: $59.99 Rating: Mature Bethesda has proven time and time again with their Elder Scrolls series that they know epic, and their take on the Fallout universe fits the bill quite nicely. You can spend days explore the wasteland surrounding the ruins of Washington D.C., doing battle, scavaging supplies to build new weapons, making friends, killing said friends, making new friends - the possibilities are endless.
Grand Theft Auto IV Price: $53.99 Rating: Mature Cars to steal, prostitutes to kill out of shame after they leave your car. The Liberty City presented in Grand Theft Auto IV is truly a massive playground at your fingertips. Not only has Rockstar given us all the tools we need for months of mindless destruction, they added in highly entertaining multiplayer modes so we can share the experience with random people over the internet.