Weekly video game releases: Kinect, 'Black Ops', 'Sports Active 2'

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The Independent Tech

New hardware and software alike launch in a fortnight crammed with gaming goodness. Not only is the Xbox 360's hands-free controller coming out in Europe, Oceania and Japan, but there are plenty of other blockbusters waiting in the wings, all overshadowed by the megalithic Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Xbox 360 Kinect (requires Xbox 360)
North America, November 4. Europe, November 10. Australia, November 18. Japan, November 20.

Microsoft throws its hat into the motion controller ring with the Kinect Sensor for Xbox 360. The add-on uses cameras to track player movements, meaning that games are hands-free affairs. In this way, Microsoft hope to beat the Nintendo Wii at its own game, and draw attention away from the PlayStation 3's new hand-held Move controllers.
Price: $149 US / €149 / $199 AU / ¥14,800, includes Kinect Adventures
With 4GB Xbox 360: $299 US / €299 / $449 AU / ¥29,800
With 250GB Xbox 360: $399 US / €349 / $549 AU

Dance Central (Xbox 360 Kinect)
North America, November 4. Europe, November 10. Australia, November 18.
Teen / 12+ / Parental Guidance

One of the Kinect's top launch offerings is this dance game from the makers of the ever-popular Rock Band series, so there's no doubt that it's in safe hands. Dance Central scores players on their dance move skills, teaching them new moves to go along with its 32 hit tracks. Though one player takes the main stage, two more can fulfill back-up duties.
Price: $49 US / €49 / $89 AU

Kinectimals (Xbox 360 Kinect)
North America, November 4. Europe, November 10. Australia, November 18. Japan, December 9.
Everyone / 3+ / General / A

Frontier Developments established themselves on the success of 1984's influential space sim Elite. Since then the studio's turned its hand to theme park fun ( Thrillville) and nuanced Wii adventures ( Lost Winds), but in Kinectimals it's cute and furry cubs that are center stage. Friendly felines can be stroked and tickled, led through obstacle courses and played with in a variety of locations.
Price: $49 US / €49 / $89 AU / ¥5,880
With plush toy: $59 US / €59 / $109 AU

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360 Kinect)
North America, November 4. Europe, November 10. Australia, November 18. Japan, December 9.
Everyone / 3+ / General / A

Software giant Ubisoft weigh in with its own keep-fit game ahead of EA Sports Active 2's debut later in the month. High intensity workouts are complimented by yoga, pilates, and mini-games such as dancing, hula hoops, and multiplayer challenges, while the player's movements are shown next to an on-screen fitness coach that leads the way.
Price: $49 / €49 / $90 AU / ¥5,880

Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PC, PS3)
Also available on Wii and DS
North America, Europe, Australia, November 9. Japan, November 18.
Mature / 18+ / MA15+ / Z

Hot contender for fastest-selling game of the year after records set by 2009's predecessor Modern Warfare 2. The single-player takes place during the Cold War era with voice acting from Gary Oldman, Sam Worthington, and Ed Harris. Online multiplayer, the game's true focus, promises to turn the theater of war into a theater of entertainment even more comprehensively than before, with increased character customization and increasingly compulsive game modes.
Price: $59 US / €59 / $119 AU / ¥7,980 (360 PS3), $59 US / €55 / $99 AU (PC)
Hardened Edition (360/PS3): $79 / €89 (4 extra maps, replica medal, avatar outfit)
Prestige Edition (360/PS3): $149 / €149 (Hardened + remote control spy buggy)
Xbox 360 250GB bundle: $249 / €279
MadCatz Tritton Black Ops microphone headsets (360 PC PS3): $149-249 / €149-229
Call of Duty Jeep Wrangler car: $30,625 to $33,500

Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time (Wii)
North America, November 9. Europe, November 11.
Everyone / 7+

Like other games in the Raving Rabbids series, this is at core a party game best enjoyed in the company of others, but wrapped up in a slapstick comedy featuring wide-eyed rabbit-like creatures, cute, vicious and insane in equal measure. Visits to the times of cavemen, sphinxes, and King Arthur are all included in the trip.
Price: $49 / €49

Sonic Colors also known as Sonic Colours (DS, Wii)
North America, November 16. Australia, November 11. Europe, November 12. Japan, November 18.
Everyone / General / 3+ / A

After Sonic 4: Episode 1 on the PS3 and 360, Nintendo's consoles get Sonic Colors, where the emphasis is firmly on brightness of color and swiftness of foot. This time, the speedy, spikey hedgehog is rescuing Wisps from the evil Doctor Eggman. Both versions feature 3D and 2D aspects, though the Wii is heavier on the former, and the DS's dual screens shows more of the latter.
Price: $49 US / €49 / $79 AU / ¥6,090 (Wii), $29 US / €49 / $49 AU / ¥5,010 (DS)

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (360 PS3)
North America, November 16. Europe, Australia, November 18. PC version due early 2011.
Mature / 18+ / MA15+

Third in the series and a return to Italy for Rennaisance assassin Eizo Auditore, but this time beckoned by the lavish surroundings of Rome. Online multiplayer is a key focus here, with a novel cat-and-mouse hunt freshening things up. There is also a single player campaign in which Eizo maims targets and trains up apprentices. Special editions contain extra maps for both modes and more.
Standard Edition: $59 / €59 / $109 AU
Limited Codex Edition: €89 / $119 AU
Collector's Edition: $99 US
Auditore Edition: €75 / $149 AU
PC versions around €20 / $20 cheaper

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (360 PC PS3 Wii)
Also available on iOS devices
North America, November 16. Europe, Australia, November 18.
Everyone 10+ / 7+ / General

Play as both cops and road racers, tearing through Seacrest County in over 60 licensed vehicles from the Alfa Romeo Spyder through to the Pagani Zonda, with many a luxury sports marque in between. Cars are bolstered with nitrous boosts, and the police have stingers, road blocks, and EMP weapons at their disposal. The online Autolog feature is like Facebook's wall, notifying friends of winning times and top scores.
Price: $59 US / €69 / $99 AU (360 PS3), $49 US / €49 / $89 AU (PC), $49 US / €49 / $79 AU (Wii). Limited Editions (same price) include extra cars.

EA Sports Active 2 (360 Kinect, PS3 Move, Wii)
Also available on iOS devices
North America, November 16. Europe, November 18. Australia, December 10.
Everyone / 3+ / General

EA Sports, most famous for the annual NFL, NHL and FIFA games, here overhaul Sports Active's health & fitness suite with a sequel that makes the most of modern motion controls. The Xbox 360 Kinect Sensor and the PlayStation 3's Move Controls are used, like the Wii Remote, to help users tone and trim, while the game itself guides, encourages, and can share progress with friends. It also includes a heart monitor for extra accurate cardio analysis.
Price: $99 US / €99 / $149