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Echochrome and GRID

Echochrome

Why get excited?
It's an entirely innovative puzzle/platform game, and it's coming to the PS3 (through the PlayStation Network) and PSP. If you've ever sat entranced staring at an Escher print you'll quickly understand the fascination: you help a mannequin figure traverse a series of labyrinthine levels by tilting and rotating the 3D architecture so that different perspectives unlock different routes. It's graphically simple but conceptually divine, and could be the best brainteaser since Portal.

Curb your enthusiasm?
Can the ideas keep the game interesting over its whole lifespan, or will the appeal start to flag after a few levels. Portal had a rich atmosphere and knew when to throw in more twists to keep you going, not to mention a fairly short play-time. Echochrome needs to stay addictive for a longer period, particularly if it's a full-price PSP release.

ETA: March
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Race Driver: GRID

Why get excited?
Codemasters' TOCA series has been the perennial nearly-man of the serious racing game, building a loyal following but always playing second fiddle to the latest Gran Turismo, Forza or Project Gotham. Yet with its great feel, obvious love of motorsports and challenging AI, TOCA has always deserved so much more. Well, now that it's ditched the TOCA banner and embraced the Race Driver name, the series has its best chance yet. The concept this time is to ditch all the car collection, tuning and customisation of rival racers for a game that focuses on what's going on on-track. With an enchanced version of the NEON engine that powered Colin McRae: DiRT, GRID is all about putting a lot of cars on the tarmac, spreading plenty of aggression and modelling the carnage that ensues. What's more, racing in Europe, the US and Japan will bring three distinct feels to the action, with course racing in supercars over here, muscle-car street racing in the states and illegal night and drift racing in the land of the rising sun. "We want to make racing exciting again" the designer has been saying. Fingers crossed he gets his wish.

Curb your enthusiasm?
The NEON engine struggled with packs of cars in DiRT, so how will it handle them in GRID? And will abandoning TOCA Race Driver 3's serious motorsports angle leave the game adrift in tough waters against Project Gotham 4 and GT5?

ETA: Mid 2008

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