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Winter Chill Thawed by Hot Video Game Releases

New titles from biggest game makers

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While the cold weather may linger a bit longer, the temperature of video-game releases is about to positively sizzle.

Fans of shooter, RPG and older franchises will all have something to cheer about. There are a lot of titles being released, but we'll focus on those that will likely to be near the top of the must-have list.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim--Dragonborn (PC, 360, PS3): Released Feb. 5

This is an add-on to the Skyrim release but those in the mood for a good role-playing adventure, Dragonborn might be enough of a reason to relaunch Skyrim. Rated M for blood and gore, intense violence, sexual themes and use of alcohol, Dragonborn offers new lands, towns, dungeons and quests.

Dead Space 3 (PC, 360, PS3): Released Feb. 5

The official story, according to the website, goes like this: "Isaac Clarke returns, joined by merciless soldier John Carver, to chase a risky plan that promises to finally stop the Necromorphs. Together, Clarke and Carver must explore the frozen planet of Tau Volantis and track down the secret they hope will end the Necromorph plague forever, all while overcoming avalanches, treacherous ice-climbs, and the violent wilderness. Facing deadlier evolved enemies and brutal elements, the unlikely pair must work together to save mankind from the impending apocalypse."

Dead Space, published by Electronic Arts, has been an acclaimed series, and this title ramps up the adventure several notches. The game features drop-in cooperative gameplay, with story elements attached to the modes of play. The rating is pending, but expect this to carry an M rating for violence (at the least).

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (PS3, Vita): Released Feb. 5

Those familiar with the Sly Cooper franchise know that this is a combination of adventure and platform gaming featuring stealth, puzzles, combat and a little exploration. This is a bit of a relaunch, with redesigned characters and world maps that have doubled in size.

The story is this: "After completing their latest heist, Sly carries on with a case of alleged amnesia and dances off with gal pal Carmelita, leaving Bentley as the keeper of the treasured Thievius Raccoonus, the Cooper family's ancient book of master thievery. When Bentley discovers that pages of the book have begun to disappear in front of his eyes, he must round up the gang and save the Cooper Clan legacy from being destroyed forever."

The game will feature cartoon violence, suggestive themes, alcohol references, but will likely manage to pull off a rating of E10+.

Aliens: Colonial Marines (360, Wii U, PC, PS3): Released Tuesday, Feb. 12

They're baaaack! The Aliens are invading and only a Colonial Marine Squad stands in the way. Aliens: Colonial Marines features a story-driven single-player mode, as well as a four-play cooperative mode. In co-op player, each person takes on a role within the unit.

The weaponry should be familiar to fans of the franchise and includes pulse rifles and the like, but Gearbox Software (the development team: SEGA is the publisher) also has a few surprises planned, which not only include new weaponry but new enemy tactics.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (360, PC, PS3): Released Tuesday, Feb. 19

Seriously, what would a gaming year be without a Metal Gear game to drool over? It's cyborg versus cyborg in this outing, and it all takes place four years after the events of MGS 4: Guns of the Patriots. Platinum Games is the developer this go-round--it's the first time in the Metal Gear trenches--and by all accounts, it has done a solid job.

Here's the story: "The main character, Raiden, was once feared as the child soldier 'Jack the Ripper' on the front lines of the First Liberian Civil War. Now, his combat mastery is channeled through a cyborg body as the strikes from his high-frequency blade slice even massive assault drones in two. Raiden is contracted for VIP protection, military training and other duties by PMSCs (Private Military and Security Companies) in a developing country piecing itself back together after a bloody civil war. Little does he know that the stage is set for a clash with an enigmatic force of countless cyborgs."

The game has an M rating for blood and gore, intense violence and strong language.

Crysis 3 (PC, 360, PS3): Released Tuesday, Feb. 19

The year is 2047 and the "Prophet" is returning to New York only to discover that the city has been encased in a Nanodome by the corrupt CELL Corporation. Overgrown trees, swamps and rivers have become the norm and Prophet is there to uncover the truth behind the reasons for the Nanodomes.

Time to put on an enhanced nanosuit, grab a composite bow and go hunting for answers (and anything else that gets in the way). The game features a new multiplayer mode called Hunter that supports eight to 16 players, two of which are hunters and the rest take on the role of CELL operatives. The hunters have stealth while the CELL operatives have limited ammo, making for intense gaming.

On the whole, Crysis 3 has 12 maps and eight game modes, which should keep players busy for quite a spell.

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