Console yourself this summer

Our pick of the best new games to keep you occupied during the long, hot summer months.

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With the telltale drops of back sweat already weeks old, it's about time you started preparing for summer's long hibernation. But rather than going down the usual DVD box-set route, give your thumbs some exercise with a nice extra-long video game to see you through those months indoors. Settle down for the long haul with a few titles that should take simply ages to finish (if at all).

Mass Effect 3
PS3, Xbox360, PC

The final chapter in the role-playing space actioner completes the story of Captain Shephard, and sees our hard-fought galactic warrior take the battle to Earth, via a few less easy to pronounce alien homeworlds. Like its predecessors, ME3 was met with almost universal acclaim when it came out in March, although some die-harders got a little frothy-mouthed about the lack of variations in the ending.

Heat-beating: With an estimated 40 hours of gameplay time, Mass Effect 3 should see you through at least one sweaty weekend with only the minimum of sleep.

Diablo III
Blizzard Entertainment

Twelve years is a long time to wait for a follow-up, but when Diablo III became Amazon's most pre-ordered PC game of all time before its release last week, it was clear this dungeon hack-and-slash RPG series hadn't been forgotten. Despite better graphics, more advanced classes of characters and a few other tweaks, there hasn't been a revolution in gameplay, with left-clicking monsters to death still the order of the day. But hey, it was so much fun last time.

Heat-beating: You know, there are still people playing the last game. Diablo III is likely to see you through not just this summer, but the next five. Assuming your finger doesn't fall off.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier
PS3, Xbox360, PC

Tom Clancy's tough-talking third-person military tactical shooter has spawned numerous instalments – so many, it seems, that now they're forced to turn to the future for inspiration. The latest offering – out this week – takes place in 2024 and involves dirty bombs, invading Russian armies and something called "optical camouflage", which sounds lovely. There's also Kinect support, enabling you to customise weapons through gestures and voice control.

Heat-beating: While the game itself might not eat up much of the summer, the various multiplayer options will definitely see through a decent chunk.

PC, Xbox360

There's no doubt that Markus "Notch" Persson's somewhat revolutionary world-building masterpiece has already devoured much of humankind's available working hours since it was released online in 2009. Spectacularly simple, yet fiendishly difficult at the same time, (yeah, we know, don't ask), Minecraft is basically a gigantic, endlessly reshapable Lego world on which you must build your kingdom by hand and avoid pesky nocturnal monsters. And this month it moved from PC to Xbox360.

Heat-beating: The new Xbox edition includes a tutorial, so you've got no reason to give up. If you are easily addicted, wave goodbye to summer. And friends.