2010 has been a great year for gaming, but May is shaping up to be arguably the best month so far for game releases. The Games Roundup is here to highlight some of the month's more notable releases, and there's plenty to choose from. "Lost Planet 2," "Red Dead Redemption," "Alan Wake" and "Super Mario Galaxy 2" are just a handful of the games that will be arriving in the next few weeks.
As always, please remember that the following list is not inclusive of every game releasing this month, and release dates are subject to change.
Iron Man 2 (DS/PSP/PS3/Wii/Xbox 360) - May 4 ( sega.com/ironman2)
SEGA is determined to buck the trend of mediocre movie games with the sequel to their 2008 Iron Man game. They went out and got series scribe Matt Fraction to help create the game’s story, which will differ from the plot of the movie. Fan favorite War Machine has already been announced as a playable character, and among the enemies in the game are AIM, Crimson Dynamo and Ultimo. Improvements to the gameplay include better flying mechanics as well as the ability to customize armor and weapons for both Iron Man and War Machine.
CBR recently interviewed the Development director of "Iron Man 2," SEGA’s Michael McHale. You can see what he had to say about the game here.
3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3) - May 11 ( 3ddotgameheroes.com/)
Silicon Studio's new action game takes a lot of inspiration from the 8-bit era. The gameplay has drawn a lot of comparisons to Zelda, as the game takes place in a fantasy setting and involves dungeon exploration and puzzle solving, and players gain access to special items like candles and bows. From a visual standpoint, "3D Dot Game Heroes" takes the pixelated graphics of 8-bit games to a whole new level, as all of the sprites in the game are rendered in 3D. The game’s story revolves around saving the kingdom from an evil king that is in possession of six magical orbs.
Lost Planet 2 (PS3/Xbox 360) - May 11 ( lostplanet2game.com/)
The first "Lost Planet" had players fighting an insectoid race called the Akrid on an ice-covered planet called E.D.N III. "Lost Planet 2" brings players back to E.D.N. III ten years after the first game, and things have changed dramatically. The planet has since come out of its ice age, and while there’s still plenty of ice-covered terrain, there are also lush jungles and other more temperate environs to explore. The Akrid are still around however, but in "Lost Planet 2," players won’t have to fight them alone. The campaign will feature four-player online co-op throughout, or two-player local co-op via splitscreen.
A multiplayer demo for "Lost Planet 2" is currently available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
Skate 3 (PS3/Xbox 360) - May 11 ( skate.ea.com/)
EA’s latest addition to the "Skate" series aims to please all levels of skaters. "Skate 3" will feature three difficulty levels as well as a ‘create-a-park’ mode. The game is set in the fictional city of Port Caverton, which is a skateboarder’s paradise. Instead of being chased by police and shunned by pedestrians, everyone in Port Caverton will cheer players and help direct them to new places to skate. Team-based modes will have groups of players trying to outdo each other’s tricks, or vie for control over the lot by completing a series of challenges before the other team.
A demo for "Skate 3" is currently available for download on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
Alan Wake (Xbox 360) - May 18 ( alanwake.com/)
Gamers have been waiting for "Alan Wake" since the game was first announced all the way back in 2005. Influenced by television series like "Twin Peaks" and "Lost," "Alan Wake" centers around a writer who travels to a small town called Bright Falls to get away and hopefully get over his writer's block. Once there, his wife disappears and Alan finds that his written words are coming to life in the small town. The core of the gameplay involves the use of light to defeat enemies, meaning Alan's greatest weapon may just be his flashlight.
A live-action prequel series to "Alan Wake" titled "Bright Falls" debuted on Xbox Live last week. The six-episode series will be updated weekly, and episodes will be posted on BrightFalls.com after they premiere on Xbox Live (the first several episodes are there now).
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (DS/PC/PS3/PSP/Wii/Xbox 360) - May 18 ( princeofpersiagame.com/)
Ubisoft has returned the "Prince of Persia" franchise to the "Sands of Time" storyline for the newest installment in the franchise. The story will see the Prince trying to save the kingdom from an invading army. In addition to the time-bending powers of previous games, the prince will now have access to elemental powers. Based on earth, wind, fire and water, these powers will allow the Prince to do things like freeze water for easy traversal or make quick dashes to cover ground between enemies.
The Wii version of "Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands" will use motion controls and will feature a different magic system than the other versions. The Prince will have Sand Powers that allow him to create rings, pillars and protective spheres that will aid him in traversing different areas. The powers also have combat abilities that can freeze enemies, send them flying or shield the Prince himself from attacks. It will also have a co-op feature that allows a second player to take control of the Prince’s djinn guide and assist him. Perhaps the coolest feature of the Wii version, though, is that it will include the SNES version of the original "Prince of Persia."
Red Dead Redemption (PS3/Xbox 360) - May 18 ( rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption/)
Rockstar’s latest take on the Western genre arrives this month. Billed as a spiritual successor to 2004’s "Red Dead Revolver," the game follows the story of John Marston, a former outlaw who is blackmailed by the government into hunting down some of his old running buddies around the fictional area of New Austin. While some of the gameplay will feel familiar to fans of "GTAIV," there’s plenty in "Red Dead" that’s new. When it comes to gunslinging, for example, a gameplay mechanic called Dead Eye allows players to slow down time in order to better target enemies. This ability levels up, so eventually you’ll be able to target enemies while time is stopped, and then watch your character take them out when the action starts up again.
One of the aspects of the game generating the most buzz is the multiplayer modes. In addition to the usual Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes, "Red Dead Redemption" has a Free Roam mode that allows up to sixteen players to explore the world and take on random objectives. Players are put into posses of eight, and can hunt down the other posse or go take on other missions. Experience is earned for completing objectives, which will unlock weapons, mounts and character skins.
Split/Second (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) - May 18 ( splitsecondvideogame.com/)
The premise of this action-based racing game is that racers are part of a reality television show where causing mayhem and destruction can actually help you win races. During races players have the ability to trigger events that can hinder other racers. Some of the events include buildings and planes crashing onto the track, bombs dropped from helicopters and more. Players can also unlock shortcuts and alter terrain to give them an advantage. "Split/Second" will have both online and offline multiplayer modes, which include challenge modes that pit racers against trucks spewing barrels all over the raceway and helicopters firing a barrage of missiles at them.
A demo of "Split/Second" is currently available on Xbox Live, and will be making its way to the PlayStation network on May 11.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - May 23 ( nintendo.com/games/detail/nR48Ll934oyuhjANoCz-4-ANa2ZLbYPK)
Mario is back, and he's brought Yoshi with him. The planet-hopping platformer featuring Nintendo's mascot will feature new planets, new power-ups, and a map system that differs from the hub world of the first game. Power-ups include the Cloud Suit, which allows players to create their own platforms made of clouds, and a Rock Suit allowing Mario to curl into a ball of rock that mows down enemies and breaks bricks. Taking some inspiration from "New Super Mario Bros. Wii," "Super Mario Galaxy 2" will feature a Cosmic Guide option that will let the game take over and play through a section that a player is stuck on.
Blur (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) - May 25 ( blurgame.com/)
"Blur" may look like sim racer from a distance, but the game's emphasis is on action and combat. The developer behind "Project Gotham Racing" has taken a more arcade style angle on racing this time around. Players will race in locations around the world and use a combination of traits they assign to their car and power-ups they find on the track to battle other racers. From the usual nitro boost to the EMP-style "shock," the power-ups do everything from hinder to completely disable other racers. Additionally, there's a leveling system that nets players "fan points" for doing well, which can be used to unlock new cars and parts. Online multiplayer features up to 20 racers at a time, while players can race offline in four-player splitscreen matches.
A multiplayer demo of "Blur" is currently available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
ModNation Racers (PS3/PSP) - May 25 ( us.playstation.com/modnation/index/)
This cart racing game plans to take "Little Big Planet's" "Play, Create, Share" mantra to a whole new level. Everything about the game is customizable. Players will be able to create their own racers and cars, and face off against friends in both online and offline multiplayer. Like most cart racers, "ModNation Racers" features power-ups like missile and lightning strikes that will derail other racers. Unlike most of those games, though, players can actually upgrade power-ups for bigger effects.
Those who want to make their own tracks will find a deep track editor with tons of terrain types and objects to populate them with. Created tracks can be shared online through the ModNation community.
The PSP version of "ModNation Racers" is built on a version of the "Wipeout" engine, and while it may not have the same level of depth in terms of its track editor, there will still be plenty of tools for players to create and share levels with.
UFC Undisputed 2010 (PS3/PSP/Xbox 360) - May 25 ( ufcundisputed.com)
Last year, the first entry in the "Undisputed" sold over 3.5 million copies and went on to become a 'Platinum Hit' on the Xbox 360 and a 'Greatest Hit' on the PS3. This year's edition has an improved character creation system allowing players to assign individual moves to their fighters as opposed to the template-style system of the previous game. On the gameplay side, the striking and submission systems have been improved, and players will no longer be able to button-mash their way out of a submission like they were in the past. Like the original, "UFC Undisputed 2010" will feature online multiplayer, and fighters will be able to join fight camps and leagues.
That's the end of the CBR Games Roundup for the packed month of May. Stay tuned to CBR for interviews with developers and creators, and we'll be back next month for a look at June's releases.