Slave to the Game

Filling you in on the oddball gaming news

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The summer dry spell for video games came to an end last week with the arrival of "BioShock," the creepy underwater shooter that has won rave reviews and flown off store shelves.

The main bulk of important games this year won't come out until November, but the next month or two will see the release of quite a few other hot games.

These aren't necessarily "system sellers" -- games that are so good that consumers will buy a particular video game console just to play them -- but give potential customers a few more reasons to eventually take the plunge.

"I don't think it's system sellers as much as it is about libraries," said Billy Pidgeon, a video game analyst for market research firm IDC.

"You need the breadth and the depth."

Here are some of the top exclusive titles coming out for Microsoft's (MSFT.O) Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3 (6758.T) and Nintendo's Wii (7974.OS) over the next few weeks:

"METROID PRIME 3: CORRUPTION" - NINTENDO WII - AUG 27

What it is: The final installment of Nintendo's beloved first-person shooter, "Corruption" puts you in control of the bounty hunter Samus as she tries to save the galaxy.

Why you'll want it: "Metroid" fans are raving about the top-notch art design and say the game sets the standard for using the Wii's motion controls in shooter games.

Reality check: Breaks little new ground, no multiplayer, some may face a steep learning curve with the new controls.

"WARHAWK" - SONY PLAYSTATION 3 - AUG 28

What it is: This combat game throws you into intense ground and air battles on massive, richly detailed landscapes and feature up to 32 players at once. Fly aircraft, drive armored vehicles, or get your boots muddy as a foot soldier.

Why you'll want it: Long-suffering PS3 fans finally get an exclusive title worth bragging about. Download the game over the PlayStation Network and save $20 in the process.

Reality check: Online-only play may limit appeal.

"LAIR" - SONY PLAYSTATION 3 - SEPT 4

What it is: "Lair" casts you as a dragon-riding warrior saving your kingdom from invasion.

Why you'll want it: Scorch your enemies from the air with fire breath or crush them like bugs under your claws. Reviewers are raving that the gorgeous visuals give the game a cinematic feeling. Did I mention the dragons?

Reality check: Apart from the admittedly cool dragons, will "Lair" have enough depth to hold your interest? There is also some question as to whether using Sony's motion-sensing controller to steer your dragon will be as effective as traditional thumbstick controls.

"HEAVENLY SWORD" - SONY PLAYSTATION 3 - SEPT 12

What it is: You play as a woman wielding a god's blade to save her people from destruction. The catch is that using the sword has the unfortunate side effect of slowly killing you.

Why you'll want it: Critics have raved about the game's lush graphics, epic feel and stylish martial arts moves that let you take out waves of enemies.

Reality check: Recent previews have said the game needs to run more smoothly, and there are some who see it as a rip-off of Sony's hit "God of War" series.

"HALO 3" - MICROSOFT XBOX 360 - SEPT 25

What it is: Only arguably the most anticipated game of the year. The last chapter of Microsoft's sci-fi shooter could help wash away the aftertaste of its billion-dollar admission that Xboxes were failing at an "unacceptably" high rate.

Why you'll want it: New weapons like a flame thrower and new vehicles, including the awesomely named Brute chopper. Play through the story with up to three friends or join an online battle. When you pull off that sweet headshot, you can save a video clip of it and share it with friends.

Reality check: Xbox owners have been spoiled with lush, engrossing shooters like "Gears of War" and "BioShock." Can "Halo 3" really live up to the hype?

"PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 4" - MICROSOFT XBOX 360 - OCT 2

What it is: The latest iteration of the original racing game for the Xbox. Throw Ferraris and other exotic rides around street corners in Shanghai, Las Vegas and other cities.

Why you'll want it: "PGR 4" has gotten advance buzz for its gorgeous graphics that show individual raindrops, and realistic weather that affects how your cars handle. Oh, and you can race motorcycles for the first time, too.