Weekly video game releases: 'Lego Harry Potter', 'Singularity', 'APB'

Among upcoming video game releases:
Lego Harry Potter, by virtue of its Lego video game heritage, is almost dead set to be at least a passable, but more likely lovable film franchise tie-in;
Singularity revisits the theme of Russian scientific mishaps;
APB is the latest from the creator of
Grand Theft Auto and
Crackdown.

Lego Harry Potter (360 DS PC PS2 PS3 PSP Wii)
Release: North America, June 29. Europe, June 25.
Age Rating: Everyone 10+ / 7+

Another installment in the well-loved Lego video games franchise (see also the Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, and Lego Batman franchises). Players in Lego Harry Potter follow the capers of Harry & friends through the first four books, using spells and special powers to build and break Lego bricks along the way. There's also an ingenious co-op mode that allows both players to roam free and re-unite thanks to a clever graphical trick. There is a demo already available for Xbox 360 users, with a PS3 equivalent expected closer to the release date.
Price: €/$49.99 (360 PS3 Wii), €39.99 / $29.99 (DS), €/$29.99 (PC PSP)

Singularity (360 PC PS3)
Release: North America, June 25. Europe, June 29
Age Rating: Mature / 18+ (TBC)

There's a bit of a buzz around Singularity. Russian science gone wrong has become a reliable backstory in recent years - the STALKER series and Metro 2033 were both very well received. Singularity isn't so much post-nuclear fallout as time travel gone wrong, as an entire island is subjected to a strange experiment. It's up to the player to investigate these timeshifts that span from 1950 to 2010, using a Time Manipulation Device to avoid the worst of the test's effects while fending off security forces from the last 60 years.
Price: €69.99 / $59.99 (360 PS3), €59.99 / $49.99 (PC)

Naughty Bear (360 PS3)
Release: North America, June 29. Europe, June 25.
Age Rating: North America, Teen. Europe, 12+.

This maladjusted plushie wasn't invited to the one birthday party he'd been looking forward to the most - even after making a special present for the event. Spurned, he goes on a vicious rampage to exact his revenge upon the vulnerable feather-stuffed inhabitants of the Island of Perfection, setting up traps and distractions before he pounces.
Price: $/€49.99

APB (PC)
Release: North America, June 29. Europe, July 1.
Age Rating: Mature / 18+

This could and should be a big deal: the developers behind APB, Realtime Worlds, made the first Crackdown game (before offshoot Ruffian Games did Crackdown 2), and founder Dave Jones also created the Grand Theft Auto franchise. APB is billed as his ultimate project. It's online only, and takes place in a huge city where players pledge allegiance to either the Criminals or Enforcers. Cops and robbers on a grand scale.
Price: $49.99 / €49.99 (includes 50 hours of game time)
Subscription: $6.99 / €6.29 for 20 hours, or $9.99 / €8.99 for 30 days

Crackdown 2 (360)
Release: North America, July 6. Europe, July 9.
Age Rating: Mature / 15+

The first Crackdown was a bit of a surprise package, bought by many in order to access a trial version of Halo 3, but the game proved to be a smashing little number in its own right. The sequel sees super-powered peacekeeping agents return to a city rife with gang warfare and now subject to an infestation of escapee human lab-rats. Agents' powers have been enhanced, and there is both competitive and co-operative online play. A sure-fire hit.
Price: $59.99 / €64.95

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)
Release: North America, July 11. Europe, July 23.
Age Rating: Everybody10+ / Rating pending

One of the most popular Nintendo DS games ever released in Japan, this role-playing adventure sold over 4 million copies in just six months following its initial release last July. Review scores back up the fan frenzy as Japanese magazine Famitsu gave it rare full marks. It's a huge game in terms of sales, acclaim, and replay value due to the number of downloadable extras. There's also a dual-purpose DS stand / loudspeaker in the shape of the cute blue series mascot Slime available from accessories company Hori.
Price: $34.99 / €37.99
Slime Speaker Stand: $49.99

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