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[dl] Gaming

Get your thumbs in gear: We’re previewing the most exciting new video games hitting stores this fall.



GAME
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Guitar Hero 5
The Beatles: Rock Band
New Super Mario Bros.
BioShock 2
FROM
Eidos Interactive
RedOctane
MTV Games
Nintendo
2K Games
FOR
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
Wii
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
PRICE
$50 (PC),$60 (PS3, 360)
$40 (PS2, game only), $60 (PS3, 360, Wii; game only), $100 (PS3, 360, Wii; with guitar controller)
$60 (game for all systems), $250 (for limited-edition premium bundle)
$50
$50 (PC), $60 (PS3, 360)
RELEASE
DATE
AUGUST 25

This game does for the Caped Crusader’s virtual image what The Dark Knight did for his Hollywood profile. Batman is trapped inside a loony bin, and you must help him fl y through the rafters and avoid pursuers in a gripping game of cat and mouse. Walloping the Joker’s henchmen is fun, thanks to stunning slo-mo takedowns. Fluid combat, funky gadgets, and a haunting atmosphere define the action-adventure game, which also boasts a surprisingly sound script and solid voice acting.

SEPTEMBER 1

The latest edition of the premier ax-waving series allows four players (or eight online) to rock out simultaneously using any combination of guitar, bass, drums, and microphone controllers. Additional fresh features include instant jump-in/jump-out options and multiple game-play modes. Guitar Hero 5 also boasts a new slew of songs from more than 85 acts, including Tom Petty and Kings of Leon, and having the ability to update your catalog with downloadable tunes and to create your own originals is a major plus.

SEPTEMBER 9

Play along with the Fab Four’s greatest hits with this ambitious tribute game. Standard Rock Band mike, guitar, bass, and drum controllers are compatible, but diehards can pick up limited-edition Rickenbacker 325 and Gretsch Duo Jet guitar controllers (replicas of the models played by John Lennon and George Harrison, respectively) and a Höfner bass controller (a model of the instrument Sir Paul McCartney used). The game -- which received creative input from Sir Paul, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison -- features multipart vocal harmonies as well as previously unreleased studio chatter from Abbey Road recording sessions.
NOVEMBER 2

Players will like New Super Mario Bros. for its old-school 2-D platform-hopping action. But they’ll love it for the simultaneous multiplayer support, which lets up to four friends tag-team the adventure or compete for mushrooms and coins. Whether inhaling enemies using dinosaur Yoshi’s elastic tongue, soaring high into the clouds using propeller suits, or donning penguin costumes to fling ice from their fingertips, players of all ages will enjoy the chaotic fun. Though this game is certainly not revolutionary, gamers will no doubt consider it a welcome stopover until its 3-D cousin, Super Mario Galaxy 2, arrives in 2010.
NOVEMBER 3

The original -- a harrowing first-person shooter set in a capsizing undersea utopia that’s been inhabited by gene-splicing madmen -- raised the bar for in-game storytelling and characterization. With this sequel, the creators have vaulted over that bar entirely. Each player is cast as a Big Daddy, a genetically enhanced human clad in a steel diving suit. Players must harvest DNA to gain ice and fire-flinging superpowers, which they can then use to fight their twisted female nemesis. The game introduces playable underwater segments, support for adopting Little Sister henchmen, and riveting multiplayer action.


Still haven’t had enough? Here are a few more titles on the horizon that are worth checking out.


The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
(Nintendo; Nintendo DS) We love Zelda’s new locomotive ride in this fantasy dungeon-crawling adventure, which is suitable for all ages.

Tony Hawk: Ride
(Activision; PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) This offering features a new movement-tracking skateboard controller that promises to make millions a slave to the grind.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
(Activision; PC, Play- Station 3, Xbox 360) Travel the virtual world in this trigger masher, which features cooperative play options in its Special Forces mode.

Madden NFL 10
(Electronic Arts; PlayStation 2, Play- Station 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii) Are you ready for some football? Look no further than the 10-ton gorilla of gridiron simulations.

Tekken 6
(Namco Bandai Games; PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) This arcade-style one-on-one scrapper lets you take down your opponents at jaw-dropping resolutions.