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]
2007's Game of the Year gets a proper sequel with Portal 2 ($50-$60). Available for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac, this mindbending action/puzzle/platformer brings next-generation gameplay to its significantly expanded single-player mode, advanced physics for more varied movements and challenges, and a two-person co-op mode featuring its own separate storyline and characters, which can be played locally via split-screen or online... assuming Sony ever gets its Playstation Network back up and running. [Thanks, Frank]
If you're among the many fighting game fans who were ready to cry "Finish him!" after years of lackluster MK releases, a new hope has arrived. Aptly titled Mortal Kombat ($60), this latest installment reboots the franchise, taking players back to the original tournament in a bid to "save the future," complete with 3D graphics on a 2D plane, the most gory, detailed fatalities ever, a new 4-player tag-team mode, and, of course, online play. Also available in Kollector's and Tournament editions, the latter arriving with an arcade-style wireless joystick. [Thanks, Scott]
After years of making games where the player was on the wrong side of the law, Rockstar is giving you a chance to solve crimes instead of commit them in L.A. Noire ($60). Set in the 1940's with more than a passing nod to film noire, the game gives you eight square miles of a historically accurate Los Angeles to explore as you solve cases — from simple traffic tickets to homicides — and work your way through the LAPD. It's like Dragnet, only grittier, and without the catchy theme music.
Relive your youth or take control of the stars of today in WWE All Stars ($50-$60). Sporting an extensive list of current and former wrestlers — including Andre the Giant, John Cena, The Rock, Bret the "Hit Man" Hart, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and, of course, the Hulkster himself — this high-flying, arcade-style game will have you throwing flying elbows at strangers in no time.
Satisfy your hunger for FPS action on your PS3 with Killzone 3 ($60). Apart from offering the usual trappings — like a lengthy campaign mode with intense action, plot-driving cutscenes, a new melee system, and increased vehicle gameplay, as well as a killer multiplayer mode — Killzone 3 also offers full 3D and Playstation Move support, letting you literally feel like you're in the game while you pace around the living room with a plastic gun.
If you owned a Super Nintendo at any point, odds are you at least remember the original version of this game. Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary Edition ($30) brings Super Mario Bros., the ever-frustrating Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3 to the Wii on a single disc, along with special features like a CD soundtrack, a 32 page history booklet, and support for any controller you can manage to plug in.
A public service announcement for all of you lazy PS3 owners who didn't pre-order the Collector's Edition: Gran Turismo 5 ($60) is out. After years of anticipation, it delivers with over 1,000 cars, real and fictional road, rally, NASCAR, drift and kart courses, Dolby Digital 7.1, a new physics system with damage — hell, what are you waiting for? Just buy it already.