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Long-awaited Mass Effect 2 available this week

Mass Effect 2 is available Jan. 26.
Mass Effect 2 is available Jan. 26.
Courtesy of BioWare and Electronic Arts.

The holiday doldrums are over. You know, that time after Thanksgiving and through the new year where no good games come out. Why? Because all the hot titles made their debut early on - just in time to whet the appetites of yearning children and adult gamers and the folks who love and buy for them.

Thankfully this week sees the first huge release of 2010: Mass Effect 2. It's the follow-up to the well-received and well-awarded Mass Effect, a science fiction role-playing game. The sequel, available on the PC and Xbox 360, has the game's hero fighting a new enemy that is abducting entire human colonies. As with any role-playing game, you'll get to pick the direction of conversations you have with those around you and you'll get to assemble, train and equip a team to help you complete the missions.

The Electronic Arts title developed by Bioware is rated M for Mature. Sorry PS3 fans. There are no plans yet for releasing it on that console. So what's the girl gamer prediction for this one? It seems to have solid gameplay and incredible in-game visuals and cutscenes. In fact, the story and the interactions, if done right, should keep girl gamers coming back for more.

Another potentially enjoyable title releasing this week is Hotel Giant 2. Every girl loves a good strategy game, especially one where you get to build, design and manage luxurious hotels around the world. It's available for the PC and the DS. If you're opting for the PC version, go to the Hotel Giant site and you can download the game - for a price of course.

Now, PC strategy games are hit or miss. This one has an interesting topic - creating luxury in such exotic locales as Paris, Munich and Rome - and judging from the trailers, a very inviting design. Interface is key with these games, however. It can look gorgeous and be very detailed, but if it doesn't make sense and is not simple to manipulate, then the game is dead in the water. Let's hope Hotel Giant 2's details aren't dead in the water.

Also releasing this week: Shadow of Destiny, Fast Food Panic and Imagine; Party Planner. Shadow of Destiny is an adventure game available on the PSP that deals with a protagonist who must solve his own murder. Fastfood Panic is a restaurant simulation game for the Wii and DS. Imagine: Party Planner, with it's pink and white DS cover art, is the girliest of girly games - and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Basically you plan elegant parties for elegant people.

Stay tuned for in-depth reviews of these titles.

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