“God of War III” (rated M, $60 on PlayStation 3): The PS3 sequel to one of the PS2’s most popular franchises is finally here. In “God of War III,” designed to be the last of a trilogy, you’ll again take control of Kratos, flip out and kill people. This time, your ultimate target is Zeus himself. I got to mess around with this a little bit at Sony’s bloggers lounge at the Game Developers Conference and look forward to seeing how it stacks up against “Bayonetta,” another similarly great action game.
“Dragon Age: Origins Awakening” (rated M, $40 on PC, Xbox 360 or PS3, available as retail disc or downloadable content): This massive expansion to “Dragon Age: Origins,” my 2009 Game of the Year, can be downloaded or bought on disc. Seeing how the prices are identical, I’d recommend buying it on disc, as you can always sell it back or loan it to a friend once you’re done playing. I had a chance to check out this content before release at GDC, and it was looking good.
“Awakening” differs a bit from typical DLC, in that it’s designed to be played only once you’ve finished the main game. The content picks up six months after the end of “Origins” and varies slightly depending on how your playthrough of “Origins” ended up. (For anyone expecting carry-over on par with what was seen in “Mass Effect 2,” don’t get your hopes up. It sounds as if most of your choices from “Origins” carry relatively little weight here.) You’ll play as your character from “Origins,” if you wish, and work toward re-establishing the order of the Grey Wardens. Oghren, the dwarf from the main game, is the only returning party member, although in my brief glimpse of the new content, Alastair made a cameo appearance. The 15- to 20-hour adventure also raises the game’s level cap to 35, introduces more powerful items and attempts to rebalance the classes a bit to make warriors and rogues as appealing as mages.
Even though you’ve vanquished the archdemon at the end of “Origins,” “Awakening” introduces a new, hyperintelligent foe, a talking darkspawn who looked sufficiently badass in my brief glimpse of him.
“Metro 2033” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360, $50 on PC): This post-apocalyptic first-person shooter set in the Moscow subway system has “sleeper hit” written all over it. “Metro 2033” takes place in the titular year and is based on
“Resonance of Fate” (rated T, $60 on Xbox 360 or PS3): If you’ve already blown through all of “Final Fantasy XIII” and are looking for another Japanese-style role-playing game to wet your whistle, this game from Tri-Ace might do the trick.
“Perfect Dark” (rated M, $10 Xbox Live Arcade download): I had a chance to take this beautification of a classic N64 shooter for a spin at Microsoft’s X10 event and came away a little disappointed. My friends and I sunk dozens, if not hundreds of hours into the prequel, “Perfect Dark Zero” back around the launch of the Xbox 360. While that game isn’t one of the 360’s better titles four years after its release, the prettied-up original felt destined to fall short when compared against the full-fledged retail title. I’ll probably spend more time with this in the future, and my mind may change, but “Perfect Dark” seems like it’ll function best as a trip down memory lane for the folks who wore out N64 thumbsticks while playing the game the first time around.
“Castlevania: Rondo of Blood” (rated T, $9 Wii Virtual Console download): This is the original, Japanese version of a side-scrolling “Castlevania” title remade and released on the Super Nintendo as “Castlevania: Dracula X” and on the PlayStation Portable as “The Dracula X Chronicles.”