Rogue Galaxy

Rogue Galaxy isn't open-ended like Oblivion. It's one of those old-school role-playing rat mazes that dangles power-ups, weapon upgrades, and plot tidbits to keep players scrambling through its marathon of monster-filled corridors. The cheese is tasty, though. You're Jaster Rogue, a wannabe space pirate who hooks up with a gang of robots, aliens, and Amazons to hunt bounties, explore alien worlds, and (of course) score booty. Nearly every creep you slaughter drops something sweet—not weapons, but parts that can be fused to learn new skills, or crafted into cooler doodads. Good multi-taskers will constantly futz with their loot as they grind their way toward the next boss battle.

Sprawling, 100-hour games like Rogue Galaxy are remnants of the days when one Nintendo cartridge had to last the entire summer. Now that many more gamers are gainfully employed and don't need mom's permission to drop 50 bucks at Best Buy, quick-and-dirty experiences like Gears Of War can scratch the gaming itch in a weekend. But Rogue Galaxy has something that bite-sized diversions don't—the kind of slow-burning adventure that kept us engrossed, engaged, and out of trouble on rainy days.

Beyond the game: A hand-drawn art style makes Rogue Galaxy look like anime—a nice workaround for a console whose last-generation graphics are beginning to show their age.

Worth playing for: Self-serious games like Final Fantasy thrust the fate of the universe onto your shoulders. This lighthearted epic contains nearly 50 percent fewer furrowed brows.

Frustration sets in when: The game also sounds like anime. Those with low tolerance for the shrill, stilted dialog of afternoon animation may wish themselves deaf.

Final judgment: Hack 'n' slash Zen for recovering World Of Warcraft addicts.