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We take a look at the most buzzed-about video games of the summer.


DISAPPOINTING PERFORMANCES FROM high-profile releases like The Beatles: Rock Band and a shocking 8 percent decline in overall market sales made critics quick to write off video games in 2009. But between Microsoft’s and Sony’s new motion-sensing control systems; innovative devices such as Apple’s iPad; and groundbreaking social-network, cloud-computing and Internet browser-based play options, the entire industry is about to hit reset. Don’t go tossing your PC or Xbox 360 out immediately, however. As the following new and upcoming releases illustrate, current home systems are more than just relevant these days.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
FROM: Ubisoft
FOR: Nintendo DS, PC, PSP, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
PRICE: $30 (DS); $40 (PSP); $50 (PC/Wii); $60 (PS3/360)
RELEASE DATE: Out now
TWENTY-ONE years, eight games and three series reboots deep, the quintessential Arabian action-adventure game, featuring a dazzling blend of acrobatics and swordplay, returns to where 2003’s popular Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time left off. Released in tandem with the Prince of Persia feature film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the game sports an entirely original storyline and boasts a brilliant mix of melee combat and death-trap-dodging challenges.

Lost Planet 2
FROM: Capcom
FOR: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
PRICE: $60
RELEASE DATE: Out now
SET in a futuristic world where lush tropical jungles and parched deserts brim with buglike aliens that can grow to the size of skyscrapers, Lost Planet 2 is playable alone or online with friends. (Sixteen-player competitive options are also offered.) The game is so heavy on hyperkinetic run-and-gun excitement, stunning pyrotechnics and David-vs.-Goliath-grade battles that the game even includes cameos by Gears of War’s trigger-mashing icons, Marcus and Dom.

Alpha Protocol
FROM: Sega
FOR: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
PRICE: $50 (PC); $60 (PS3/360)
RELEASE DATE: Out now
EPIC role-playing adventures typically draw from two sources: sci-fi and fantasy. By contrast, this sprawling spy thriller casts you as a rogue agent who acquires improved combat abilities, better weapons skills and more-advanced gadgets as the tale progresses. Fans of 24 and The Bourne Identity will enjoy the game’s suspenseful scenarios — in which choices they make actively affect story outcomes — and range of exotic locales.

Front Mission: Evolved
FROM: Square Enix
FOR: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
PRICE: $50 (PC); $60 (PS3/360)
RELEASE DATE: June 30
THE latest in the Front Mission series lets you outfit your “wanzer” war machine with rifles, rocket launchers and all-terrain treads and then blast your robotic opponents, who break apart in a spray of high-definition parts. While the storyline is melodramatic, there’s no faulting the on-screen excitement, which wraps its reflex-intensive brand of gunplay within a layer of deeper strategic tactics. Lone-wolf and online-multiplayer options ensure it won’t soon end up in the scrap heap.

Madden NFL 2011
FROM: EA Sports
FOR: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii
PRICE: $40 (PS2/ PSP); $50 (Wii); $60 (PS3/360)
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 10
THE reigning virtual gridiron champ’s annual launch isn’t just another debut — it’s a nationwide event. Small wonder, given the degree of graphical fidelity and the comprehensive suite of play options offered here, with all your favorite teams, stars and online head-to-head features represented. Both beginners and vets will appreciate this season’s upgrades, which include better athlete animation, smarter opponents and more-lifelike standoffs.

Dead Rising 2
FROM: Capcom
FOR: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
PRICE: $40 (PC); $60 (PS3/360)
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 31
WITH its campy attitude and lively array of makeshift weapons, the original — in which a photojournalist fights his way through a mall overrun by zombies — captured America’s heart. This much-anticipated sequel sees you controlling a motocross champ who must fend off thousands of on-screen cadavers with an absurd arsenal of handlebar chain saws and propane-tank sticky bombs. The gore-drenched action also benefits from extensive multiplayer support.