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Little Big Planet 2, Gran Turismo 5, and More - House Arrest


Little Big Planet 2
Splitting the difference between psychedelic platform-hopping adventure and software creation toolkit, this catchy outing now lets you create stand-alone games in addition to single levels. By coupling programmable circuit boards with heroes and objects, you can assign behavior patterns, animations, and actions, as well as build custom puzzle games, arcade outings and more. Designs are easily shareable online, so you can download new ways to play, or just share your latest X-rated invention with other dirty-minded dweebs the world over.
Sony / / PS3

Donkey Kong Country Returns
Check out this skillful translation of the classic side-scrolling 2D action of the 1994 Super Nintendo original to a modern-day platform, using 3D special effects to dress up the button-mashing excitement. Leap over bottomless pits, rocket out of cannons, or hop joyrides on mine carts as you bop enemies, grab bananas, and scour jungles and caverns for hidden secrets. Epic boss battles and tons of secrets to discover make it feel like a recently uncovered artifact from the 16-bit era-color us duly impressed.
Nintendo / / Wii

EA Sports MMA
Jazzes up the usual mixed martial arts formula-jab here, kick to the shin there, sudden match-ending uppercut out of nowhere-with a visceral combat engine and some nifty online broadcast options. Create a custom scrapper, storm the ring or cage, then assault adversaries with a nasty-looking string of punches and elbows or chip away at their resolve with a variety of limb-contorting holds and takedowns. Smooth handling, brutal recaps, and support for easily shareable hype videos and bouts make it a winner.
Electronic Arts / / PS3, Xbox 360

Tony Hawk: Shred
Takes a familiar setup-employing a motion-sensing plastic skateboard controller to physically grind out sick tricks-and overhauls it for use on both streets and snowy mountainsides. In addition to introducing new play dimensions, Shred takes a more juvenile stance, clearly angling for a younger audience with its gravity-defying stunts and extreme attitude. Returning fans of the series may not be impressed, although a decent roster of pros and catchy game mechanics do keep it from experiencing a complete wipeout.
Activision / / PS3, Wii, Xbox 360

Gran Turismo 5
The reigning champ of high-octane racing simulators leaves rivals eating its dust with a massive garage (1000+ vehicles, from imports and exotics to muscle cars), stunning graphics engine, and staggering attention to detail. While arcade enthusiasts won't dig its meticulous eye for realism, there's no faulting the game's unprecedented scope and depth, which extend to comprehensive online and community features. Offering a massive range of courses (including road, rally, kart, and drift) and insane replay value, it scores a clear First-Place finish.
Sony / / PS3

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