Video games are a pain in the wallet. Unless you're planning on resorting to a diet of Pot Noodles and packets of sugar and locking yourself in a dark room for weeks on end, you're only going to fork out for one new title a month - at most. But how do you ensure you're spending your cash on a polished title that's going to entertain for more than a few hours? Glad you asked.
With a deluge of new games looking to grab your attention, we've earmarked the five that you should consider splashing out on. Let us know which you go for and be a chum - invite us to a death match will you? Just don't make fun of our feeble skills.
Game of Thrones: Iron From Ice
Coming to: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC, and iOS
Telltale Games - makers of the hugely successful Walking Dead video game series - has taken on George R. R. Martin and HBO's hit fantasy saga in a new six-part episodic point-and-click story.
The game is set to follow the little-known House Forrester, a noble family from the north of Westeros loyal to the Starks of Winterfell. Caught up in the events surrounding the War of the Five Kings, they are dragged into the cauldron of bloody warfare, revenge, and horror as they fight for their survival while the seven kingdoms tear themselves apart (that's just between season three and five, HBO fans). Brimming with narrative, this is one for the 'thinkers' amongst you (which is all of you, obviously).
Arrives: First week of December
Coming to: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Massively multiplayer open worlds are nothing new to gaming - but the social mechanics haven't applied to the driving genre with much success.
The Crew aims to do just that: join a team of drivers, cruise around the United States, complete missions, compete in races, improve your garage, all while challenging other drivers you encounter on the finely detailed roads. It doesn't matter if you're prefer a bumper-to-bumper race or quick time challenge, there'll be something in here for you. There's also a 20-hour single player experience hidden in the midst of the online action. Think of it as an MMO role-playing game on wheels.
Arrives: 5 December
Halo: Spartan Strike
Coming to: Windows, Windows Phones
The world of Halo for your pocket (or more likely, PC, for the 98 percent of you who don't own a Windows phone) - a top-down twin-stick shooter that casts players as a Spartan IV in a classified ONI simulation of New Mombasa set during the events of Halo 2. Providing a similar experience to Halo: Spartan Assault, all the familiar enemies and toys from the Xbox series return, along with some new tricks: pick between the Warthog to clear the battlefield or go it alone on foot with your teleport and air strike tools. Save the Earth, kill the aliens - its' all a bit different to Candy Crush.
Arrives: 12 December
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Coming to: Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Sequel to the brilliant-yet-ignored Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, The Temple of Osiris is a puzzle-heavy adventure from the world of Tomb Raider.
A top-down isometric platformer, shooter and puzzle solver, the emphasis of the new title will be on teaming up with three friends to raid a series of crumbling locales. In teams of four you'll fight your way through the underworld of Egypt, competing for treasures and artifacts. And if that doesn't tempt you, then maybe the chance of playing as the imprisoned gods Horus and Isis might sway it. You can literally be a god.
Arrives: 9 December
Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta
Coming to: Xbox One
Okay, so this one is bending the rules slightly.
Not a full game but a test demo of the forthcoming multiplayer offering from 2015's Halo 5: Guardians, anyone who's purchased a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection will get to take part in 343 Industries' community test of its new title. The early indications are that the studio has taken everything that made the original Halo multiplayer experience great (a level playing field with no experience-based perks, balanced weapons and superb map designs) and polished them. There are some new bells and whistles though, including new movement abilities from a fancy jetpack and a controversial scope system - that they promise isn't controversial. This is all you're going to be playing for the first three weeks of 2015.
Arrives: 28 December