“Killzone 2” (rated M, $60 on PlayStation 3): Regardless of whether you think you need another humans-vs.-aliens shooter in your gaming library, it’s easy to make the case for “Killzone 2,” Sony’s latest attempt to come up with its own “Halo”-size franchise of first-person shooters. Simply put, “Killzone 2” might be this console generation’s best-looking game to date. The story may not grab you, but the eye-popping visuals should pull you in.
“Star Ocean: The Last Hope” (rated T, $60 for Xbox 360): The latest game in Japanese role-playing powerhouse Square Enix’s second-tier franchise (just below “Final Fantasy” and “Dragon Quest”) trades the company’s typical fantasy setting for sci-fi. You play as the unfortunately named Edge Maverick, set out to explore space after a World War III scenario leaves Earth largely uninhabitable. Be warned: The voice acting in the English-language version of the game is apparently horrible, and there’s no option to hear the original Japanese dialogue and view subtitles. Honestly, this option should be a no-brainer in Japanese RPGs, many of which are notorious for bad English-language voice acting. If you can get past the voices, early reviews suggest there’s a decent game to be found.
“Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop” (rated M, $40 for Wii): For anyone who’s played and loved the original “Dead Rising” on Xbox 360, this probably won’t measure up. There are fewer zombies, no timer and no side missions. For “Dead Rising” newbies, though, there are dozens of often hilarious ways to kill zombies as you run around a suburban mall. Combine that with the Wii’s motion controls and you should be able to keep yourself busy for a couple of afternoons. Admittedly, this might be a good candidate for rental before you make a purchase.
“Legacy of YS: Books I and II” (rated T, $35 on Nintendo DS): It seems as if every decent Japanese RPG that was released prior to the PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube generation of consoles is destined to receive a DS port. Here are two on one cartridge.
“Braid” (rated E10+, on sale for $10 on Xbox 360): The artistic, unusual platform-jumping, time-bending adventure “Braid” was my favorite thing released on Xbox Live Arcade last year. As part of a new promotion, Microsoft is selling it for $5 cheaper than the usual price until Monday. Get it while it’s cheap.
“The Last Ninja” (rated E10+) “Pit Stop II” (rated E) and “International Karate” (rated E10+, all $5 downloads from the Wii’s Virtual Console): Last week, Nintendo added the Commodore 64 to the stable of retro game consoles whose titles are available for download. I didn’t own that machine, so none of these games pull me in, but those who did will find a certain nostalgic draw.
What I’m playing: I’m not expecting to have much time to game over the next few days, but when I do, I’ll be working through the campaign of “Halo Wars” (rated T, due out Tuesday for Xbox 360). A review copy of “Major League Baseball 2K9,” with Giants ace Tim Lincecum on the cover, showed up this week, and I’ll probably spend some time with that, as I’ve got baseball fever. (It’s rated E and due out Tuesday, as well.) I’m absolutely stoked to see if “Killzone 2” looks as good as everybody’s saying it does, but it might have to wait until I finish “Halo Wars.” If I notice my next opponent in the CuldceptCentral.com blind match tournament is online, I may spend an hour playing “Culdcept Saga” (rated T, $20 on Xbox 360).