Unreal Tournament

(PlayStation 3)

Epic Games, Midway, $59.99

You may be thinking why hype a game that is already out on PC? Well, it's simple really. We have been hearing for almost a year about Epic's trying to make its Unreal engine work on the PS3. Sony has thrown millions at the developer because, if it can succeed, other companies will finally have a stable third-party platform for the console that has been known to be a programmer's nightmare.

Well, we wouldn't say it's all "nice dreams" as of yet, but the game looks, in all of its Gears of War-esque beauty, like a winner.

With more maps than most first-person-shooter console games, with the ability to create maps on a PC and play them on the PS3, and with halfway decent AI (artificial intelligence, they actually drive vehicles around pretty good), PS3 users will have a whale of a time.

The best part is the Warfare mode - a constant struggle in huge maps with objectives that affect the next area of play. Call of Duty 4 aside, this might be the best game on the PS3 up until now and for a while to come. Xbox 360 users will have to wait until 2008 for a try.

Universe at War: Earth Assault

(PC)

Petroglyph, Sega of America, $49.99

There is no doubt that the PC gaming platform has witnessed a definite resurgence in real-time-strategy titles in 2007, and this game is one more feather in a well-adorned cap. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise, though, as developer Petroglyph has some veterans from the former Westwood Studios, makers of the Hall of Fame Command and Conquer series.

Three alien races, holding various grudges against each other, choose Earth as their latest battleground. Of course, puny humans are caught between shock and awe and just trying to exist till tomorrow.

Conventional and other-worldly weapons are at the gamers' disposal as battles rage from midtown Washington, D.C., to the Middle East. There are some serious spoilers to the story, if more were to be revealed here, but RTS fans can rejoice again even as their wrists and fingers cry out in agony from more frantic mouse and keyboard use.

NCAA March Madness 08

(Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PS3)

Electronic Arts, $29.99-$49.99

The differences between 2K Games' College Hoops 2K8 and EA's offering is a matter of play style as opposed to features . . . mostly.

Both have all the college teams you want, including all of our area teams, great arena graphics (EA's game is a bit better, though) and good controls. March Madness does include new low-post moves that must be mastered, but EA's game is still about the fast break. 2K still finds more success in the "ground and pound" half-court style.

One thing that may put many people on the side of EA is that Brad Nessler and Dick Vitale call the games. You can't hear "Diaper dandies, baby!" in 2K8, and there is nothing more synonymous with college b-ball than that.

Contact Rob Watson at rwatson@phillynews.com.