Midway Goes With Sci-fi and Fantasy
Shadow Hearts 2, Psi-Ops, and Area 51 go beyond our world

Midway has an exceptional lineup of games this year, highlighted by four titles that really tap into that desire for escapism. Following up 2001's vaunted Shadow Hearts role-playing game, Shadow Hearts 2 is set in the same WWI-era alternate reality. Yuri is back, but he suffers from a curse that weakens his morphing abilities. He and his pals must defeat the cult that's responsible in this massive PS2 game that spans two DVDs. The unique combat system allows players to decide whom they're bringing to battle, which can greatly affect a fight's outcome.

On the sci-fi front, Area 51 will itch the trigger fingers of FPS fans. Set in the secret military facility of the same name, it has you lead a Special Forces unit against an extraterrestrial enemy. Luckily, you'll be armed with both human and alien weapons as you explore the five massive levels of the complex. You'll also be faced with shocking evidence about the Roswell crash and the "faked" lunar landing as you discover what really goes on in Area 51. Available for PS2 and Xbox, Area 51 will also feature online multiplayer.

It's brains over brawn in another sci-fi game for PS2 and Xbox, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. You play as Nick Scryer, an American psi-operative soldier who must take down The Movement, a psi terrorist organization. The unique gameplay features telekinesis and pyrokinesis, so you can use mind control to take over the bodies of your enemies or set objects on fire. Additionally, remote viewing allows you to find out what's on the other side of a door before you open it. Sounds like a head trip....

Finally, NARC for PS2 and Xbox features a more realistic setting that borrows from the original arcade hit of 1988. Taking D.A.R.E. to the next level (or the next 10 levels), NARC pits you against a powerful drug cartel--and you must decide whether to play it straight or get down and dirty to survive. Though there are a variety of high-tech weapons in your arsenal, sometimes good old-fashioned fisticuffs is the way to make your name on the street; NARC lets you head butt, get in knee strikes, and grapple and throw your opponents. Whether you decide to go by the book or get a little crooked, NARC will definitely get you hooked.

Game trailers courtesy of gametrailers.com

BY JOEL STRAUCH





 
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