Time for a little four-play

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If - like much of Dubai - you've had your head in the sand in recent weeks, you may have missed some of the winter's big videogame releases. Here are the four new titles you should know about:

1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision) - The biggest entertainment launch of all time ($3 billion and counting), MW2 has cropped up everywhere from Parliamentary Questions to milk-moustached YouTube rants, but while the spotlight has predictably focussed on its online free-for-all, the unsung hero of this record-breaking title is its new "Special Ops" setting - five groups of increasingly taxing co-op missions, comprising everything from winter warfare to airport sieges. The game most likely to test the hearts and minds of cohabiting couples this Christmas? Most probably. Available on Xbox 360 and PS3

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2. New Super Mario Bros Wii (Nintendo) - The unlikely premise of two Italian plumbers risking life and limb to liberate a princess from an irritable turtle has spawned no less than 14 official outings, and this latest iteration matches the series' traditional 2D platform style with the Wii's unique brand of interactive gaming, not to mention the ability for four players to join in simultaneously. It remains as deceptively tricky - and addictive - as ever. Available on Wii

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3. PlayStation Video Store (Sony) - PlayStation has finally unveiled its digital video store, offering over 800 films to rent and buy in standard and high definition from the outset - with another 50 releases added every week. Thankfully the online library won't be limited solely to Sony Pictures films, as PlayStation has secured distribution rights from both the major Hollywood studios (Universal, Disney, Warner Bros, etc.), and some of the better independents too (e.g. Optimum Releasing, Kinowelt). Available on PS3 and PSP

4. Assassin's Creed II (Ubisoft) - While the first tranche of this Knights Templar saga suffered from a repetitive plot, Ubisoft's second effort is every bit the perfect adventure game, blending the depth and versatility of the Grand Theft Auto series with the blood and frescoes of Renaissance Italy. The narrative revolves around Florentine nobleman Ezio Auditore da Firenze (an avatar bearing an uncanny resemblance to Cesc Fabregas), who is bent on avenging the murder of his family by bringing a corrupt political cadre to its knees. Available on Xbox 360, Ps3, and PC