EA Sports Active 2.0 ■■■◧□
Sweating to physical diversions like Dance Central or Sports Champions is one way to torch those love handles. But for those too lazy to commit to a gym, this interactive personal trainer may prove a more effective way to drop a couple pants sizes. Shipping with its own heart rate monitor (hint: lay off those Red Bulls), it offers over 70 exercises from squats to lunges and thinly-disguised fat-fighting activities including boxing and mountain biking. Albeit less game than workout, it's still reasonably good belly-busting fun.
Electronic Arts / PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 / www.easports.com
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit ■■■■□
Puts the popular arcade racing series back on the fast lane to success by wisely emphasizing balls-to-the-wall, stomach-clenching police chase sequences instead of realistic showdowns. Hop behind the wheel as the po-po or an everyday thrill-seeker for solo or online exchanges, and you'll enjoy new social networking elements, which let you compare records, stats, and singular performances. Whether jamming radars, screwing with rivals' handling, or just flooring it with wild abandon, this one delivers ably on both mayhem and momentum, adding considerable miles to the gallon.
Electronic Arts / PC, PlayStation 3, Wii Xbox 360 / www.ea.com
Rock Band 3 ■■■■◧
Get your groove on to dozens of chart-topping singles from Paramore's "Misery Business" to Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush." Eclectic track list aside-hundreds of past decades' top joints can also be downloaded-though, impresses more by adding support for MIDI keyboards and a Pro mode that teaches real musical techniques. Up to seven can tout guitar, drums, bass, or microphone accessories (including joining in three-part vocal harmonies) in time with on-screen prompts. Just be careful not to slam any plastic axes through your TV screen during the performance.
MTV Games / PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 / www.rockband.com
Fable III ■■■■□
Think fantasy role-playing on an immense scale, with a living, breathing medieval world yours to save or subjugate. From grizzled hero to just ruler of an entire kingdom, armchair heroes can define their own destiny as they travel exotic lands slaying monsters and hoarding treasure with the help of a canine companion. Though shooting, swordplay, and spellcraft take top billing, so too do storytelling and characterization, with ethical dilemmas presented at every turn, and lasting consequences tied to every action.
Microsoft / Xbox 360 / www.xbox.com
Call of Duty: Black Ops ■■■■◧
Rewinds the bestselling first-person shooter's historical timeline to the Cold War era, including battlefields like Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam, letting you blow the fatigues off adversaries using crossbows, customized assault rifles, and more. While the solo campaign entertains with its mix of clandestine missions, extensive online multiplayer options covering both head-to-head and co-op engagements are where the title truly shines. Pop it in and get ready to lock and load for weeks on end: Ventilating friends' twitching torsos never gets old.
Activision / PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360 / www.activision.com