That August price cut has made this hot Microsoft mama look all the more alluring!
The Key Exclusives
The game that the original should have been, the deeply charming world of Fable II deals with choice and consequence like no other RPG before it. Why it’s worth straying for: The character morphing engine, which moulds your character based upon how you approach a whole spectrum of decisions: moral, ethical, economic and more.
One of the undisputed titans of next-gen, Halo 3 pushed the envelope on what could be achieved by an FPS, and redefined how developers approach console multiplayer. Why it’s worth straying for: Call of Duty 4 might offer a more immediate multiplayer fix, but the sheer breadth of Halo 3’s multiplayer is unparalleled thanks to the fantastic Forge map editor.
Gears of War 2
Taking a step back from Halo’s candy-coloured Spartans, Marcus Fenix and his burly band of brothers are butch, bloodthirsty and often covered in Locust brains. Much like Gears of War 2 itself, really. Why it’s worth straying for: The presentation. Visceral and meaty in a way other games can’t touch, Gears 2 is a bone-crunching experience.
Left 4 Dead
PS3 owners: put simply, you’ve not played anything like Valve’s Left 4 Dead, which flips the first-person shooter on its head with enforced co-op gameplay and unscripted attacks from flailing zombie hordes. Why it’s worth straying for: The feeling you get after you and three mates survive a campaign unscathed.
A proud PS3 owner? Diehard RPG fan? You owe it to yourself to play Mass Effect, which mixes sterling space opera plot into immersive tactical shooter. With naked blue aliens. Why it’s worth straying for: The fact that your decisions will carry on to Mass Effect 2. Killed a key crewmember? There’ll be repercussions in the sequel, BioWare assure us.
Alan Wake (Apr 12, 2010)
Horror novelist Alan Wake finds his words coming true, and has to defend himself against mysterious light-sensitive freaks using torches, flares and whatever comes to hand. From the chaps behind Max Payne.
Fable 3 (TBA 2010)
If you purchased Fable 2’s ‘See the Future’ downloadable content, you can guess what’s coming – Fable 3 is to move deeper into the social engineering explored in the previous game, setting you up as ruler of Albion. But how will you rule?
APB (TBA 2010)
Still a long way off, Crackdown developers Realtime Worlds have admitted to a 360 port of their upcoming cops-’n’-crims Massively Multiplayer Online game, APB – All Points Bulletin. However, it won’t be released in 2010 alongside the PC version. Having seen the game’s incredible character generation stage, here’s hoping it makes it.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction (Feb 23, 2010)
Conviction was meant for a late 2007 release, but Ubisoft decided to hold the game back for a rethink. It looks to have paid off, as Conviction looks stunning, from Sam Fisher’s scraggly beard to the open, busy environments.
Mass Effect 2 (Jan 26, 2010)
BioWare have some big brass balls to reveal this early before release that Commander Shepard can die permanently before the Mass Effect 2 finale, rendering him unavailable for Mass Effect 3. But that’s not all the surprises they have in store…