Merry festive season everyone! We know we’re a tad early (or perhaps we’re right on time, or even six months late, because you might be reading this in the future), but we’ve gotten ourselves overly excited now that it’s that time of year again where Santa (or whichever present-bringing person it is that gives you free-but-not-actually-free stuff around this time of year as a reward for surviving another 12 months) brings us all of the games, ever, gift-wrapped and stacked precariously under a tree covered in flashy bits and bobs. Perhaps you don’t get involved in all this Christmas madness at all, but still use this time for a good bit of relaxation and the opportunity to sink countless hours into all those games you didn’t have time to play earlier in the year.

Either way, December is glorious, and there’s always (hopefully) plenty of reason to look forward to all the end-of-year goodness we’ve seemingly raced towards (at this very moment, there is somebody out there shaking their head, remarking on how they can’t believe its December already). And with the Wii U, Nintendo would like to give you yet another reason to love this year’s end.

Head past the break for a peek at what you can expect from our December issue.

Any new console release is sure to set gamers’ hearts ablaze, and Nintendo’s Wii U is no different. We’ve brought you all the info you need to decide if it deserves a place in your living room, picking apart everything from its technical proficiency to the unique features cross-platform games will exclusively bring, eager to convince you that the Wii U version is the definitive purchase. We also sift through the squishy innards of ZombiU, attempting to uncover all the knowledge we need to explain why it’s currently the Wii U title that’s got us maximum excite.

Our previews section is thinned to make way for a monster review section: but that doesn’t make our previews any less meaty and packed with all the nutrition you need for a healthy future gaming diet. We take a look at Wing Commander Star Citizen‘s space-faring, eye-melting loveliness. Hawken delights with its free to play, fast-paced mech combat, showcasing stunning visuals that would make even the most visually astounding AAA titles call hax. Finally, Deadpool packs all the sarcastic, dark humour that the eponymous anti-hero is known for, aiming to do the beloved Merc with a Mouth complete justice in his first leading role in a video game.

We’re bursting with reviews that’ll ease the pain that comes with having to choose from the gigantic list of games available to buy right now. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll buy a copy of the magazine for everyone you expect will be getting you a prezzie, and inform them that they’re strictly banned from buying any games this year that NAG doesn’t give its Signed Seal of Approval™. We don’t actually have one of those, but we’ve just commissioned a thousand Dungeon Keeper Imps to create us one, just for you. Nestled within our pages, you’ll find verdicts on Need for Speed: Most Wanted‘s Criterion-powered racing and high-speed police chasing, and LittleBigPlanet Vita‘s handheld imagination engine. Dishonored sneaks up and stabs us in the neck, while things go boom and subtlety goes splat in Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Halo 4 starts a new fight we thought we’d finished, piloted by the hands of new devs eager to do the old devs proud, and Assassin’s Creed III spills a bit of America-juice on our expensive new pants. We fiddle to see if Forza Horizon finds that perfect blend of arcade and simulation that it’s been striving for.

Stuffing bulky hardware in a stocking isn’t easy, but the smiles it brings makes the effort worthwhile. We put a new high-end gaming PC to the test, pre-built by the folks at EveTech and crammed into an impressively unique chassis. We have motherboards and RAM and keyboards and GPUs and mice and speakers and more all inspected and analysed and thrown at hard surfaces and dipped in toilet water and exposed to many days of direct sunlight, all to see if they make the grade and are worthy of your cash.

For anyone who expects to be perpetually bored this silly season, we’ve got this added extra: a super-awesome list of 60 boredom-culling things to do this holiday, compiled by a team of crack experts world-renowned for their ability to keep themselves endlessly occupied with little or no cash in hand. We shan’t be held responsible for any limbs lost and/or cakes squashed and/or dreams dashed while attempting to complete all of these activities (which, word on the grapevine says, might win you a super-awesome prize of… something that hasn’t been decided yet).

And there you have it: a whole December’s issue full of win and awesome. You’ll find all that and more in the pages of it, and you should keep in mind that if you’d prefer your magazine a little less physical, head on over to Zinio for the digital alternative. Peruse below for a look at the cover and a peek at the contents.

We’ll see you all bright and early in 2013, assuming the world doesn’t end. Happy holidays everyone!

Click here for the contents PDF [291 KB]