This year’s holiday shopping season is looking to be a great one for PC gamers as game developers bring out their latest wares and graphics cards manufacturers battle it out to deliver the best performing piece of hardware on the market. With just a few weeks left before Christmas, it’s likely you or someone on your shopping list are already looking forward to spend some quality time indoors playing the hottest titles on your computer.

Game release dates tend to change a lot during their development, and unfortunately some titles that were meant to be here already have been pushed to next year. We know it’s hard to keep up with these changes, so we’ve gone ahead and listed what we believe are the hottest games on the PC this holiday season.

Naturally, this list is subjective, but we hope it will allow you to choose wisely when shelling out your hard earned cash. We set our focus on games released during the last quarter of 2010, but inevitably we couldn’t resist including a few slightly older titles that deserve your attention in case you skipped them earlier on.

Games have been sorted by release date alongside their corresponding price for the PC version. So, without further ado let's start with those already available in stores...

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty - $50
Release date: July 27, 2010 - Genre: Real-time strategy
Platforms: PC/Mac
Metacritic score: 93

This sequel to the popular StarCraft real-time strategy game was in the making for what seemed like forever, although it was only officially announced in 2007. StarCraft II continues the epic saga of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. These three distinct and powerful races clash once again in the fast-paced real-time strategy sequel to the original title. Featuring a unique single-player campaign that picks up where StarCraft: Brood War left off, StarCraft II presents a cast of new heroes and familiar faces in an edgy sci-fi story filled with adventure and intrigue.

Blizzard offers online play through Battle.net, the company's gaming service, with several enhancements and new features to make StarCraft II the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game. In addition, Full map-making and scripting tools to give players incredible freedom in customizing and personalizing their gameplay experience. Be sure to read our in-depth performance article to see how your gaming system will handle StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

Mafia II - $40
Release date: August 22, 2010 - Genre: Action
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Metacritic score: 77

Mafia II follows the story of Vito Scaletta as he climbs up the ranks of the criminal underworld to become a made man in the Mafia. Set in post-WWII Empire Bay (a fictional city based on San Francisco, NYC, and others), the game features 10 square miles of open-world environments, all of which is accessible from the get go with few or no loading screens.

With eight years separating the original title and Mafia II, tons has been added to the game. The main character is able to use public transportation and buy food at restaurants, a dynamic newspaper system has been implemented, the AI is improved, the urban landscape changes from day to night, there are over 200 hand-to-hand animations, police chase other criminals, money can be used at about 100 stores, radio stations change over the years, and so much more.

Sid Meier's Civilization V - $45
Release date: September 21, 2010 - Genre: Turn-based strategy
Platforms: PC/Mac
Metacritic score: 90

With over nine million units sold worldwide, and unprecedented critical acclaim from fans and press around the world, Sid Meier's Civilization is recognized as one of the greatest strategy franchises of all-time. Now, Firaxis Games will take this fun and addictive strategy game to new heights by adding more ways to play and win; new tools to manage and expand your civilization; extensive modding capabilities; and intensely competitive multiplayer options.

Become Ruler of the world by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age: Wage war, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies, go head-to-head with some of history’s greatest leaders and build the most powerful empire. The game was recently updated with the Mongolian Civilization and Scenario Pack, which allows players to take on the role of Genghis Khan and lead the Mongol horsemen on the warpath. A second for-pay Babylonian Civilization Pack is also available for players who want to assume the role of Nebuchadnezzar II.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - $15
Release date: September 28, 2010 - Genre: Action Adventure
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Metacritic score: 82

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is the first ever downloadable, co-op action/adventure game featuring Lara Croft. This brand extension incorporates the hallmarks of the Tomb Raider franchise including exploration, discovery, platforming, and puzzle solving. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light allows players to experience Lara Croft from an isometric viewpoint, and combines new gameplay features such as character progression, fun fast-paced combat, and elements of cooperation and competition. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is available for download on Steam, XBLA and PSN.

FIFA 11 - $55
Release date: September 28, 2010 - Genre: Sports
Platforms: PC, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, DS, iPhone
Metacritic score: 83

EA returns to the field with another installment in its long-running soccer series. FIFA 11 reinvents authenticity – on and off the ball – for every player and at every position on the pitch with Personality+, an all-new feature that sees individual abilities reflected in game, enabling clear differentiation for every player. EA has taken a step forward to a better soccer simulation on the PC after neglecting its development for a few years. FIFA 11 comes with better graphics, better gameplay, and a new career mode.

Medal of Honor - $50
Release date: October 12, 2010 - Genre: FPS, Action
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Metacritic score: 74

Developed by EA's Danger Close and Battlefield creator DICE, this reboot of the series is simply titled "Medal of Honor." The game takes place during the ongoing war in Afghanistan featuring both single and multiplayer modes, in which players are introduced to an elite and relatively unknown group of the U.S. Military known as Tier 1 Operator, tasked with handling missions that no one else can. MoH features a weapon customization system and a range of tactical and team-based modes. Be sure to check our performance in-depth article to see how well your hardware will handle the game.

Fallout: New Vegas - $50
Release date: October 19, 2010 - Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Metacritic score: 86

Welcome to Vegas. New Vegas. It’s the kind of town where you dig your own grave prior to being shot in the head and left for dead… and that’s before things really get ugly. It’s a town of dreamers and desperados being torn apart by warring factions vying for complete control of this desert oasis. It’s a place where the right kind of person with the right kind of weaponry can really make a name for themselves, and make more than an enemy or two along the way.

As you battle your way across the heat-blasted Mojave Wasteland, the colossal Hoover Dam, and the neon drenched Vegas Strip, you’ll be introduced to a colorful cast of characters, power-hungry factions, special weapons, mutated creatures and much more. Choose sides in the upcoming war or declare “winner takes all” and crown yourself the King of New Vegas in this follow-up to the 2008 videogame of the year, Fallout 3. Enjoy your stay.

DeathSpank - $15
Release date: October 25, 2010 - Genre: Action RPG
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Metacritic score: 81

This is a new game series written by Ron Gilbert, the mind behind Monkey Island, following the adventures of a misguided hero named DeathSpank. Described by some as Monkey Island meets Diablo, DeathSpank is an exciting hack and slash action RPG set on a massive, dangerous, curvy world. The game is filled with hundreds of weapons, armor sets, witty dialog, improbable scenarios, unexpected villains, challenging bosses, and ten to fifteen hours of fun gameplay. The game is available for $15 on Steam, XBLA/PSN and also includes a two-player local co-op mode.