“Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360): Former covert operative Sam Fisher, on the run from his former employer, hunts for the killer of his daughter in the new overhaul of Ubisoft’s popular stealth franchise. I got a chance to try this game out at Microsoft’s X10 media event in San Francisco in February and was impressed with what I saw. As someone who often grew frustrated with the trial-and-error stealth gameplay found in past titles like “Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory,” I’m looking forward to spending some time with this new entry.
“Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 1: The Penal Zone” (rated E10+, $7 on PC or iPad, $30 for all episodes on PlayStation 3): The newest episodic, point-and-click-style adventure game from San Rafael-based Telltale Games is out. The six-foot, anthropomorphic dog Sam and his crazy rabbit partner, Max, are solving crimes in New York this time around. More info here, but expect plenty of puzzles and clever, funny rating. Glad to see this game comes with a hint system. The one in LucasArts’ “The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition” was a godsend to me in a couple of spots.
“Final Fight: Double Impact” (rated T, $10 Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network download): This title includes two prettied-up, online-enabled versions of “Final Fight” and “Magic Sword.” The first is a “Double Dragon”-style, side-scrolling beat ‘em up, while “Magic Sword” is essentially the same thing, but with swords and magic instead of fists.
“Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City” (rated M, $40 on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, $30 on PC):
“Zaxxon” (rated E, $8 on Virtual Console): I have mixed feelings on recommending this port of the arcade version of “Zaxxon.” On the one hand, this was my absolute favorite ColecoVision game growing up. On the other hand, $8 seems kind of expensive for a port of an arcade game from 1982, particularly given Nintendo’s lame digital rights management. (The short version: If your Wii ever breaks and you buy a new one, any downloadable games you bought for your first Wii can’t be redownloaded to your new one, unless Nintendo takes pity on you.)
“Left 4 Dead” (rated M, $20 on Xbox 360): The “Crash Course” downloadable add-on is marked down the Xbox 360, from $7 to $4, through the weekend. Of course, it’s always been and still is free for PC players.
What I’ve been playing: It’s been a pretty busy week or so with not a lot of time for gaming, but I’m still forging ahead through “Final Fantasy XIII.” It’ll be an interesting one to review. It’s been fun, but it also definitely feels like a slog at times. Something tells me the best way to enjoy the game is to take it at your own pace, rather than plowing through it. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for that.