“Monster Hunter Tri” (rated T, $50 on Wii, $70 bundle includes Wii Classic Controller Pro): Has there ever been a more aptly named franchise than “Monster Hunter?” You team up with friends and hunt monsters, either in four-player online play or two-player split screen. A spendier bundle includes the Wii Classic Controller Pro, a dual-analog style controller that’s more similar to what you get on the PlayStation 3 than Nintendo’s earlier, wretched Classic Controller.
“Left 4 Dead 2” (rated M, $30 on PC or $40 on Xbox 360): “The Passing,” a downloadable add-on linking the thin plots of Valve’s two zombie-filled shooters, was supposed to arrive back in March but, in shambling fashion, didn’t arrive until this week. While I didn’t experience the interaction with the original “Left 4 Dead” survivors, I tried out a portion of “The Passing” at Microsoft’s X10 event in San Francisco back in February and was suitably impressed. I also discovered that, judging by the skills of my three squad mates, I’m not nearly as awful at “Left 4 Dead 2” as my online versus mode experience would indicate. I was a teammate-healing, charge-leading, medkit grabbing death machine. Like all good things, “The Passing” is free on PC but will cost you on Xbox 360. It’s $7. It’s also got a graffiti homage to “Dead Rising’s” Frank West. Woo!
“Borderlands” (rated M, $40 on Xbox 360): The first downloadable add-on for 2K’s shooter/role-playing game hybrid is on sale for half off. You can pick up “The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned” for a cool $5.
“Lost Planet 2” demo: The original “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition” was a surprise hit on Xbox 360 back in early 2007, which is to say in the days before “Halo 3,” “Gears of War 2,” two “Modern Warfare” titles and, my favorite, the “Left 4 Dead” franchise. It’s hard to say whether it’ll fare as well in a shooter-crowded marketplace, but this free demo is your first chance to find out. Even though it’s generally not ranked up there with this console generation’s best shooters, “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition” had some of the best multiplayer maps I’ve ever seen, with the game’s grappling hook offering a nice level of verticality. The demo, sadly, leaves out Fugitive, my favorite multiplayer mode from the first game. Guess I’ll have to wait a bit longer.
What I’ll be playing this weekend: I’m in the office a lot, but I expect I’ll be finishing “Final Fantasy XIII” in the next couple of days. I’m really looking forward to getting that one polished off and moving on to a couple of titles that don’t take 50 to 70 hours to complete.