After taking most of the fall/early winter off, I’m bringing back this weekly roundup of recommendations for the current weekend. At the time I stopped writing it, the feature kind of became a beast in the heart of the fall release schedule. The glut of games coming out each week was so massive that it was taking an eternity to sift through the various new releases, weekly sales and what not. I’ll do my best to stay on top of major new releases, but when I’m short on time, I might just hit four or five major titles. If I’ve left out a game that’s near and dear to you, feel free to sound off in the comments.
“Silent Hill: Shattered Memories” (rated M, $30 for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, already available for Wii for $50): This reimagining of the first “Silent Hill” game differs enough from the PlayStation-era title that it doesn’t really qualify as a “remake.” Still, it got good enough reviews when it came out on the Wii last month that it’s worth a look for PSP owners or folks who have a PS2 who haven’t upgraded to a Wii, Xbox 360 or PS3 yet. I’ve played a bit of this game on the Wii, and it seems pretty solid so far.
“Mass Effect” (rated M, $20 for Xbox 360, prices vary on PC): With “Mass Effect 2”, BioWare’s latest sci-fi role-playing epic, due out Tuesday, it’s a great time to go back and relive the first game in the planned trilogy, especially since you can carry over the decisions you made in the first game into the sequel. As if to celebrate Tuesday’s arrival of “Mass Effect 2,” Microsoft has discounted the downloadable content for the first game through Monday. Both “Bring Down the Sky” and “Pinnacle Station” are 40 percent off, or $3 each.
Assorted PlayStation Store goodies: A bunch of downloadable PS3 and PSP titles are for sale via the online PlayStation Store. Highlights include “Braid” (PS3, $7.50), “Critter Crunch” (PS3, $3.50) and “ZEN Pinball” (PS3, $5). Check out the PlayStation blog for full details.
“Alien Hominid HD” (rated T, $10 Xbox Live Arcade download) or “Castle Crashers” (rated T, $15 Xbox Live Arcade download): The developer of these two games, The Behemoth, is donating its share of any revenue from downloadable add-ons for these two games to Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Not only that, but their employees plan to match that donation themselves. If you dig either of those two titles, it’s not a bad time to shell out a little money for a good cause. The add-ons are generally priced at $2 or less, though their offer only runs through Sunday.
“Myst,” “Riven” and “The Manhole” (all rated E, available as a 3-pack for $14, PC): If you’re a fan of PC adventure games, these three classics from the ’90s are on sale through Monday night from GoG.com.
What I played over the weekend (update): I got a chance to start the very beginning of “Mass Effect 2” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360, $50 on PC, out Tuesday) and am liking where the story seems to be going thus far. A couple of months ago, I picked up “Scrabble” for Electronic Arts’ “Hasbro Family Game Night” suite on Xbox 360 because it was on sale for $5. Mrs. GameWit and I finally fired that up for the first time and played a couple of games. I can already tell it’s the first game she’ll be getting into since “Viva Piñata.” I also hunkered down with some friends for “Left 4 Dead 2,” earning the achievement for carrying that silly gnome all the way through the “Dark Carnival” campaign. The Depeche Mode T-shirt avatar unlockable is mine!