“Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty” (rated T, $50 on PC): This sequel to a real-time strategy game that’s so beloved it’s the national sport in South Korea should be on the radar of anyone with a computer capable of running it. I’m far from an expert on all things “StarCraft,” but even I’ll be giving the sequel a go. (For the record, I played “Warcraft 2” extensively, but “Starcraft” came onto the scene during my decade of low engagement with gaming. When I had a strategy itch, I scratched it with the “Civilization” games.) I’ll let the AV Club’s review stand in for anything I’d say about it until I’ve spent some time playing it, though I will say the main knocks on the game seem to be a lack of LAN support and the fact that there’s only a campaign for one of the three factions. The latter seems like a bigger deal to me. It’s also worth noting that access to the final game was restricted to press until release day, which means the game’s currently sky-high Metacritic score may fall a bit as more nuanced critiques emerge.
“Limbo” (rated T, $15 download for Xbox 360): This arty platform-jumping game might be the next thing I review. A centerpiece of Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade promotion, it’s been drawing raves from all my Xbox Live friends who’ve played it, along with the usual gaming outlets.
“BlazBlue: Continuum Shift” (rated T, $40 for Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3): Is it possible to put out a fighting game without putting out another, souped-up and tweaked version less than a year later? Dunno, but “Continuum Shift” is now the definitive version of Aksys Games’ 2D fighter with a pretty good following among fighting-game devotees.
“Borderlands” (rated M, $40 on Xbox 360): The three downloadable add-ons for this game are half-off through Monday. If you haven’t picked ’em up yet, you’ll want to start with “The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned” and “The Secret Armory of General Knoxx.” “Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot” is for diehard fans only, either of “Borderlands” itself or of four-vs.-the-horde “Halo 3: ODST”/”Left 4 Dead”-type fare.
“Super Puzzle Fighter II: Turbo HD Remix” (rated E, $5 on PlayStation Network for PS3): This fusion of puzzle game and fighting game never caught on the way puzzle/role-playing game mashup “Puzzle Quest” did, but $5 is a great price.
“Madden NFL 11” demo (free download for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3): If you’re a diehard football nut who falls asleep during the early summer months and anxiously awaits the answer to whether Brett Favre will play another season, you’ll be pleased to know you can get your hands on a demo right this very second. Then again, you’ve probably already downloaded it.
“DarkStar One: Broken Alliance” (rated T, $50 on Xbox 360): You know how you tell if a niche title is doomed at retail? If Amazon.com’s product page for it uses box art from an entirely different game. That said, I’m going to see if I can score a copy of this at retail, despite the low Metacritic score. It’s an incredibly deep space combat simulation, which is video game nerd speak for “a game in a nearly nonexistent genre.”
“EverQuest 2: Extended” (rated T, free on PC): If you’re an MMO player who somehow hasn’t gotten around to playing this 6-year-old game, it’s now gone free to play, with a catch. You can only play with other people who are playing for free. More details here.