Waving your limbs around wildly while virtually dancing to Justin Bieber: Embarrassing. Doing the same thing while virtually hacking away at a Sith Lord: Pretty damn cool. Such is the contradiction presented by Kinect Star Wars ($50; Dec. 2012). This motion-controlled adventure lets you live the life of a Jedi, crossing the galaxy to keep the Dark Side at bay. Is it wholly original? Probably not, but if you've ever tried to force choke anyone in real life only to come away disappointed, you probably won't care.
Tired of WoW? Die-hard Star Wars fan? Looking for new ways to alienate friends and family? Grab up a copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic ($60). This new MMORPG lets you explore the Star Wars universe as one of eight character roles, while your decisions take you further down the path to the light or — more likely — the Dark side of the force. If you're really into it, spring for the Collector's Edition ($150), which includes a Darth Malgus statue, a full hardcover book, a music CD, a custom security authentication key, and a host of exclusive digital items. May the Force be with you, and may it keep you from becoming morbidly obese due to marathon Cheetos-and-Mountain-Dew-fueled gaming sessions.
The holiday shopping season is nearly upon us, which means long lines at the mall, crazy deals everywhere, and the release of a new Call of Duty game. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ($60) is the latest in the long line of FPS titles, serving as a direct sequel to 2009's Modern Warfare 2, continuing the Russian invasion plot with the battle ensuing in the U.S., England, France, Germany, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Moscow, and Dubai. Of course, multiplayer is the big deal here, and returns in full force, along with a new two-player co-op Survival mode.
It might be ten years old, but we're still stoked to get a taste of the real GTA on our phones. Grand Theft Auto III: 10th Anniversary Edition ($TBA) will be bringing the open-world classic to the iPad 2, iPhone 4S, and a gaggle of various Android phones and tablets later this fall, letting you explore Liberty City and violently murder hookers all while waiting in line at your local drive-thru. We've only got one question: where's Vice City?
Can't wait for next summer's The Dark Knight Rises? You can get your fix well before the new year by playing Batman Arkham City ($60). As the sequel to the highly-regarded Batman: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City places you in the shoes of Batman — as well as Catwoman — as you face down the new section of Gotham that's been set aside to house the most vicious, vile scum the city has seen, including The Joker, The Riddler, Two-Face, Penguin, and more. Oh, and you can use your wings/cape and grappling hook to fly, which is every bit as much fun as it sounds.
Playstation owners have Gran Turismo, Xbox players have
Need to vent some frustration over your fantasy team's struggles, lack of meaningful employment, or any other problem? The fittingly named Rage ($60) looks like a good way to do so. Set in the not-too-distant future on an asteroid-damaged earth, Rage is a first-person shooter that mixes an engaging story — complete with political overtones — with satisfying vehicular compact and jaw-dropping graphics, courtesy of id Tech 5 technology. What was that you were upset about? [Scouted by Scott]
If you're more excited to see Ronaldo than Romo this season, then you've probably been looking forward to this one. FIFA Soccer 12 ($40-$60) is the latest version of the only soccer game that matters, and adds new features like the Player Impact Engine, new Precision Dribbling, Tactical Defending, and smarter CPU players thanks to something called Pro Player Intelligence. The EA Sports Football Club, "a live service connecting players to the real-world game," is also part of the new package.
Celebrate the return of football season with Madden NFL 12 ($60). This year's installment of the storied franchise features an all-new collision system, a myriad of defensive AI adjustments, over 500 dynamic broadcast cameras unique to every stadium, and, finally, the ability to build your own custom playbook from over 400 plays across 75 different playbooks.
Video game off-road racing hits a new peak in Dirt 3 ($60). This third installment of the series offers up more than 100 different routes across the globe, officially-licensed racers, online multiplayer, an expanded rally racing mode, all-new Gymkhana events, and for the first time, snow racing. Logitech G27 Racing Wheel not required, but highly recommended.
This isn't your average zombie game. Set on a tropical island where things have gone awry, Dead Island ($60) puts you in the shoes of one of four people on the island who are immune to the zombie outbreak, and gives you an open, non-linear world to explore as you use objects and the environment to dispatch with the undead while attempting to defend survivors and learn the truth about what's really going on. For added fun, get a four-player co-op game going and share in the gore — after all, you wouldn't want to go an island vacation alone, would you?
We're still not 100% sure what features may or may not end up being added to the game, but judging by the covers, it won't really matter. NBA 2K12 ($60) is prepared to pick up where its predecessor left off by bringing back Michael Jordan for a return engagement while giving him a couple of cover-sharing challengers to take on: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Given that the NBA is currently in lockout mode, this might be the only way you see any fresh pro hoops action for quite some time.
[Scouted by Jordan]