#54: Lego Batman
OUT NOW! Traveller's Tales is a development house with a simple recipe for success: Take a hugely popular franchise, stir in every recognizable character and location from its canon, and build an action-platformer out of digitized Danish bricks. It worked for Star Wars, it worked for Indiana Jones, and unless extremely portly women decide it's time to sing falsetto, it'll work for Batman.
This time around, though, things will be a little darker. The various characters in Lego Batman will be portrayed in their classic, 1960s TV-show garb, but environments and color schemes will reflect more Tim Burton than Adam West. There will also be two separate cooperative campaigns: one for the Dark Knight and sidekick Robin, and another for Batman's numerous nemeses. With a lot of extra effort being put into emotive animations and a fresh combat style, this one promises to satisfy.
#53: Left 4 Dead
November 2008: Xbox 360, PC One part survival horror, one part co-op shooter, and two parts Valve, Left 4 Dead is a smash hit in the making. The game pits two teams against each other in a cooperative campaign where up to four player-controlled survivors blast their way through hordes of A.I. "infected." As the survivors desperately dash between safe zones, up to four more players can assume the roles of the "boss" infected, using their night vision and an array of gory abilities like kamikaze explosions and 50-foot lasso tongues to try and kill off the living. Valve's got this one in the (ammo) bag.
#52: Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
October 2008: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, DS Ten years after the youthful gamers of the world united over the good, clean fun of Spyro the Dragon, French developer ?tranges Libellules is aiming high with its series revival-literally. Earlier games in the action-platformer trilogy restricted Spyro's flight, but Dawn of the Dragon is being designed for complete freedom of movement, letting players take to the skies whenever they please.
You'll also be able to switch dynamically between Spyro and his former nemesis, Cynder, during gameplay, or bring in a friend and fight cooperatively against enemies. The cooperative play won't be online-enabled, but the star-studded voice cast and polished gameplay will make Spyro a go-to title for gamer families.
September: PS3, Xbox 360 In 10 words: Pandora's Box opens; monsters spill out. Protip: Monsters hate bullets!