The two most noteworthy games in stores this week both look like they could be worth playing. Despite its movie tie-in roots, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine — Uncaged Edition” (rated M, $60 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, $40 on PC) looks like a semi-competent hack-and-slash title, although it seems like the kind of game you pay $30 or $40, not $60. Also worth noting is the fact that the Wii, PS2 and handhelds are getting a cheaper ($50 on Wii, $30 on PS2 and DS, $40 on PSP) watered-down version of the game. Reviews of that one, which is rated T, aren’t yet available, so buyer beware. For a good laugh, check out this article on Wolverine’s indestructible pants in the game.
The other new game, “Velvet Assassin” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360, $50 on PC) is a stealth-action World War II game based on the exploits of Violette Szabo, an allied spy who delivered reports from France, helped organize resistance fighters and sabotaged Nazi assets. The premise and female lead make the game interesting, but the developer, Southpeak, and publisher Gamecock, have disappointed with past games. This one, too, looks like a better buy at $30 or $40 than it does at $60.
With the new boxed releases being something of a disappointment, there’s plenty of fun to be had with downloadable titles and older games this weekend.
“Left 4 Dead” (rated M, free PC demo today and early Saturday): I usually don’t like to list a game two weeks in a row, but any PC gamers wondering what the fuss is about can download a free trial that’ll work until 10 a.m. Saturday. If you like the game and buy it this weekend, you’ll get it for $24, or 40 percent off.
“Killzone 2” (rated M, $60 for PS3): The PS3’s marquee shooter gets a couple of new map packs this week with the “Steel and Titanium” pack. You can get the new maps if you’re willing to part with $6.
“Rock Band 2” (rated T, prices vary based on configuration): Another one I listed last week, but this week’s downloadable songs were the Jane’s Addiction album “Nothing’s Shocking.” The pack doesn’t include “Mountain Song,” as it’s already in the game. You can buy all the songs for about $16 or get them for $2 a pop on an individual basis.
“Burnout Paradise” (rated E10+, $20 on PS3 or Xbox 360): For $10, you can download “Cops and Robbers,” a new game mode in which one team races around Paradise City trying to collect gold bars while a team of police tries to stop them. The download also adds a slew of new car models in the form of police cars from all over the world.
“Bionic Commando” multiplayer demo (rated M, free via Xbox Live and PlayStation Network): We’ve still got a few weeks until Capcom’s follow up to one of the NES’ greatest games is released for the 360 and PS3, but the free multiplayer demo should give us a taste of what’s in store. If the whole “grappling hook with one arm, gun with the other” mechanic translates seamlessly to 3D, this game could be one of this year’s cult blockbusters.
“Banjo-Tooie” (rated E, $15 download via Xbox Live): This is an updated version of the Nintendo 64 platform-jumping game Rare made when it was closely affiliated with Nintendo. If you’ve exhausted everything there is to do in “Banjo-Kazooie,” which was released last year, there’s no reason not to give this a go.
“Cyber Troopers Virtual on Oratorio Tangram” (rated E10+, $15 download via Xbox Live): Another reimagining of a classic, in which you suit up in a mech (or giant robot suit, for those not in the know) and take on a friend in battle. Don’t call this by its full name, or you’ll look like a nerd. “Virtual On” will suffice.