“Battlefield: Bad Company 2” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, $50 on PC): Like its closest competitor, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” this game features a single-player campaign but is really all about the online multiplayer. The main things this game offers over its rival are dedicated server support for the PC and the ability to use party chat on Xbox Live. “Modern Warfare 2” disabled the latter feature in the interest of discouraging cheating, but the net result for gamers like me, who like to play with real-world friends and talk mostly about stuff that has little to do with the game at hand, that just made “MW2” less appealing. For some reason, every copy of this game says “Limited Edition” on the packaging. I’m assuming that means that, at some point, we’ll get a nonlimited edition that doesn’t come with so many free downloadable goodies. Consider it an incentive to pick up the game early.
“MLB 10: The Show” (rated E, $60 on PS3, $40 on PlayStation Portable, $30 on PS2): It’s pretty common knowledge if you own a PlayStation console or handheld that Sony’s team makes the best baseball game on the market. If you’re a baseball fan and a PS3 or PSP owner, this purchase is a no-brainer. PS2 owners be warned, however, that this year’s “The Show” for Sony’s older console removes online play. Not only can you not play online with friends, you can’t go online to download updated rosters. You’re stuck with what ships on the disc unless you’re willing to modify your own rosters or ship a memory unit and a small amount of money to some dude you don’t even know.
“Major League Baseball 2K10” (rated E, $60 on Xbox 360 and PS3, $50 on Wii, $30 on PC, $30 on PSP, $20 on DS or PS2 ): Last year’s 2K baseball game was an unconscionable disaster, thanks to a seemingly endless litany of fielding and AI bugs. While the developer tried to make things right with an after-release patch, the gameplay was bad enough that no amount of scrubbing could remove its scarlet letter. It’s good to see, then, based on early reviews of “Major League Baseball 2K10,” that the game-breaking glitches have been fixed this time out, seeing as how 2K’s game is the only option for a baseball sim if you own an Xbox 360 or a Wii. I’ll have my own review later, but if you’ve been on the fence about whether to pick up “2K10” after last year’s title, it looks like it’s safe to get back in the water. While there’s a contest that will award $1 million to the first person to win a perfect game, several folks are already claiming to have won. (Even if that’s the case, it’ll take some time before a winner is certified, so you still may as well go for it, keeping in the back of your mind that you’re probably not going to win.)
“Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episodes One and Two” (rated T, $15 bundle on PlayStation Network for PS3): This bundle of adventure titles based on the popular Web comic is on sale until Thursday.
“Toy Soldiers” (rated T, $15 download for Xbox 360): I had a chance to get my hands on this tower-defense-style game during Microsoft’s X10 event in San Francisco last month. Like all tower defense games, you’ll place your defenses on the battlefield, hoping to hold off waves of attackers. But you needn’t sit by passively and watch the carnage unfold, as in many titles in the genre. At any time, you can take control of your defensive units to blast hordes of invading enemies yourself. As the title might imply, the battles are fought between rival World War I-era armies, represented by little toy army men.
“Rock Band 2” (rated T, prices vary on Xbox 360): Harmonix’s Rock Band Network finally went live last week, allowing bands and record labels to code up their own songs and sell them to the millions of “Rock Band 2” devotees, that is if they’re still paying attention. It’s funny to think that, between the time the Rock Band Network was announced and when it arrived, we got “The Beatles: Rock Band” and about 800 “Guitar Hero” games. Yeah, the genre’s a little bit oversaturated. The initial 100 songs available on the service, currently available only on the Xbox 360, didn’t exactly blow me away, but we can expect hundreds more tracks eventually, ranging in price from $1 to $2. Hopefully it’ll give one of the greatest party games ever made a shot in the arm.
What I played this weekend: I played nothing. Zilch. Nada. I’ve been in Portland all weekend relaxing with Mrs. GameWit, which is part of the reason this post has been delayed. Had a little downtime in the hotel, so I figured I’d finish banging it out. We’re heading back to SF soon, and I’ll be at the Game Developers Conference starting on Wednesday, so keep an eye on my Twitter account, as well as this blog, for updates starting then. Once I return, I expect to get back into “Heavy Rain” and then into some combination of “Major League Baseball 2K10,” “Final Fantasy XIII,” “Battlefield: Bad Company 2,” “Aliens vs. Predator” and “MAG.” Yeah, you could say I’ve got a big to-play list. Other than GDC, I’m sort of on vacation this week, so I’ll probably play some “Borderlands” and “Culdcept Saga,” too.