“BioShock 2” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, $50 on PC): You’ll return to the underwater, Art Deco-influenced city of Rapture in the sequel to my favorite game of 2007. I’ve deliberately been avoiding reading too much about it, so I’ll keep this preview nice and short. Early reviews have been generally favorable, and this game packs an online multiplayer mode the original title lacked.
“Dante’s Inferno” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PS3): Loosely based on “The Divine Comedy,” this action-adventure title owes a heavy debt to Sony’s “God of War” franchise. You’ll hack your way through hell’s various circles in your quest to rescue your love, Beatrice.
“Star Ocean: The Last Hope, International Edition” (rated T, $60 on PS3): This Square Enix role-playing game came out on the Xbox 360 last year to decent reviews. Next month’s “Final Fantasy XIII” will likely be leaps and bounds better, but if you’re a PS3 owner who was disappointed by “White Knight Chronicles” and is looking for a Japanese-style RPG to play until March 9 (when “FFXIII” comes out), this is probably your best bet.
“Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom” (rated E, $5 Wii Virtual Console download): This cult classic NES game that no one played back in the day has you playing as Sir Cucumber, enlisting the aid of other folks from the vegetable kingdom in your quest to save Princess Tomato. If screen shots are anything to go by, it plays sort of like a classic PC adventure game.
“Darwinia+” (rated E, $15 Xbox Live Arcade download): It’s a souped-up version of a classic PC simulation/strategy game.
“Demon’s Souls” (rated M, $60 on PS3): The world’s tendency in From Software’s punishingly difficult medieval RPG/adventure game has gone white for Valentine’s Day weekend, and will go black from Tuesday through the rest of the week. In other words, things will be a bit easier and noob friendly, then get punishingly difficult starting Tuesday.
A slew of co-op games: As you might have heard, Valentine’s Day is Sunday. There are plenty of games you can play with your spouse or sweetie, and I don’t have time to list them all here. Here, though, are a few of my favorites. I’ll start with titles that might appeal to nongamers or more casual players, and work my way up toward games for couples in which both are comfortable headshotting noobs with the sniper rifle.
Easy: “Hasbro Family Game Night” (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii), “Wii Sports,” “Wii Sports Resort”
Intermediate: “New Super Mario Bros. Wii,” “Rock Band 2” (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2), “The Beatles: Rock Band” (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3), “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise” (Xbox 360), “LittleBigPlanet” (PS3), “Super Mario Galaxy” (Wii)
For l33t sw33t13s only, split-screen edition: “Left 4 Dead 2” (Xbox 360, PC) “Borderlands” (Xbox 360, PC), “Halo 3: ODST” (Xbox 360), “Crackdown” (Xbox 360)
What I’ll be playing this weekend: Mostly, I’ll be going through my notes from X10 and writing up blog posts, but I’ll probably sneak in some time with “BioShock 2” and my early copy of “Heavy Rain” (rated M, $60 on PS3, due out Feb. 23). I’ll be visiting two of my nephews Saturday and bringing a copy of “New Super Mario Bros. Wii” as a gift, so that might get some time, as well. Gaming with kids is a blast.