Want to battle aliens with Martin Sheen or feel like you're wielding a real lightsaber? Then you're probably as excited about these games as we are

By EW Staff
February 24, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST

1. Mass Effect 3
Genre Action role-playing
Similar to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout 3
Consoles PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Mass Effect has aspired to be more than just glossy-geeky exterminate-the-extraterrestrials Whac-a-Mole. The first two were cutting-edge interactive storytelling machines, where choices over the course of the game shade the fate and moral character of franchise hero Commander Shepard. Mass Effect 3 offers an even deeper choice-based experience. With its eye-popping graphics and spectacular supporting characters (voiced by the likes of Martin Sheen and Chuck‘s Yvonne Strahovski), Mass Effect is one of the most imaginative space operas of our time. (March 6) —Jeff Jensen

2. Kinect Star Wars
Genre Action
Similar to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Dance Central
Console Xbox 360
Until we learn how to boost our own midi-chlorian counts, this motion-controlled game may be the closest we’ll get to actually feeling the Force. Swing your right arm to maneuver your lightsaber, extend your left hand to magically lift an enemy off the ground, or simply jump to flip over a foe. In addition to a Jedi Destiny campaign, Kinect Star Wars has four other modes, including Podracing, Rancor Rampage (in which you wreak havoc as the giant people-eating monstrosity), and yes, a Galactic Dance Off. No word yet on whether Jabba the Hutt can do the worm. (April 3) —John Young

3. Journey
Genre Adventure
Similar to Flower, Limbo
Console PS3
Any other game that described itself as ”an interactive parable” might deserve an eye roll. But Journey comes from thatgamecompany, which specializes in soulful, arty experimentation. Its newest offering puts you in a desert and asks you to walk toward a far-off mountain. Why? What’s there? Mysteries! As you trek across sand, you can investigate ruins, fly magic carpets, and work with other players. Or you can just reflect on the power of nature and the meaning of life and all that Terrence Malick-y stuff. (March 13) —JJ

4. Kid Icarus: Uprising
Genre Third-person shooter
Similar to Metroid Prime Hunters, a G-rated God of War
Console Nintendo 3DS
Introduced in 1986’s Kid Icarus, the angel archer named Pit seemed ready to join Mario and Link in Nintendo’s mascot A-team. That didn’t happen, and there hasn’t been a Kid Icarus title in over 20 years. But hopes run high again with Uprising, a candy-colored game that boasts lots of flying levels that look great in 3-D. (March 23) —Darren Franich

5. Diablo III
Genre Horror-fantasy
Similar to Warcraft, Dark Souls
Consoles PC, Mac
More than a decade after the last entry, Diablo III will let players revisit Sanctuary, a world constantly beset by various ancient evils. III features destructible environments and a refined skill-building system, but mostly maintains the look and feel of the original game. Plan on skipping work for a few days (or months). (Date TBD) —DF

Our Take on the PS Vita
The PlayStation Vita wants to be something for everyone: a mini-PlayStation 3 for serious gamers on the go and a snazzy multimedia device to rival your iPhone. When it comes to gaming, the Vita dazzles. Its five-inch OLED touchscreen is a beaut, lavishly showing off the system’s near-PS3-quality graphics. And those dual analog sticks are crucial for an action gem like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. But the Vita’s other features, such as two fuzzy cameras and a gimmicky rear touchpad, add little to its overall appeal. Too bad Sony didn’t nix those ideas and lower the price from $249 (for the Wi-Fi model). Nevertheless, the Vita makes a good argument for people who believe there’s more to portable gaming than slingshotting birds at evil pigs. —JY