Like a brave soldier, CB's week long look into the future marches on as we bring you another triforce of games, set to rock our collective socks. Today we've brought you previews and videos for Bioware's work in progress Mass Effect, Nintendo's character smorgasbord of icons, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and that one and only fighting game Virtua Fighter 5.

Mass Effect: You’d be hard-pressed to find an industry critic who didn’t have Mass Effect on his/her most anticipated of 2007 list. Most of this stems from the fact that it’s being developed by Bioware, the same guys who brought us the magnificent Knights of the Old Republic, the legendary Baldur’s gate series, and the undoubtedly lesser (but nonetheless classy) Jade Empire. Mass Effect looks to continue the tradition set by its’ predecessors. Namely, Bioware’s increased focus on the word “action” in the term “Action RPG.” It is this migration that has brought Bioware to dream up a combat system like none other on the market. The only way to put it into words would have to be “squad-based-third-person-shooter-role-playing-game.” Think Knights of the Old Republic meets Deus Ex meets Rainbow Six. While the gameplay is the biggest reason for my inclusion of Mass Effect, drop-dead-gorgeous visuals and ambition rivaled only by Spore, don’t hurt either. ME will span dozens of different planets, each one unique in its own way. Check out the video to see what the fuss is about or if you just want to know what it looks like when shotguns are combined with bionic superpowers.
Release Date: April 2007
Platform: Xbox 360
MSRP: $59.99

Super Smash Bros., Brawl: Nintendo hit the goomba on the head when they realized that gamers love two things: playing as their favorite characters and beating the snot out of their friends. Brawl will continue this hallowed tradition with the same easy to learn/difficult to master techniques featured in previous games. Newcomers this time will include a new form for Metroid’s Samus Aran who is seen showing off her zero suit, Metaknight of Kirby fame, Pit from the NES game Kid Icarus, Wario also shows up to let out some nuclear flatulence (possibly the result of an atomic wedgie from Waluigi?) and rounding out the list is by far the most bizarre and unexpected addition in Smash history, is Metal Gear’s perfect solider himself, Solid Snake.
Release Date: Summer 2007
Platform: Nintendo Wii
MSRP: $49.99

Virtua Fighter 5: After a lengthy beta test Sega’s esteemed fighting series is finally ready to be released on the Playstation 3. That is, after nearly 5 years without a proper sequel. Thirteen years of evolution culminates with this release and new tweaks to the fighting system should yield great results. Sega has always earned mucho kudos from hardcore fighting fans but due to VF’s almost terrifyingly deep fighting system they’ve never been able to market to the casual gamer. With VF5 Sega is looking to change that a bit by toning down the learning curve. And according to VF legend every time those words are uttered lightning strikes and a Unicorn loses its horn and becomes just a deer, so allow me to offer you these words of reassurance: Virtua Fighter 5 will not be simplified, it will merely function on more levels to allow Joe Gamer a chance to enjoy himself without having to memorize combo lists.
Release Date: February 20th (PS3) August 28th (360) Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360 MSRP: $59.99 (Both versions)

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