Anyone who’s watched TV this month can tell you that this week is for playing “Dead Space 2,” which your mom hates, apparently. (Ugh.) If you’re alienated by the “Dead Space 2” ad campaign, or just don’t like games that try to scare the pants off you, Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games and 2K Games, has put a whole bunch of its downloadable games and add-ons on sale on Xbox Live.
“Dead Space 2” (rated M, $60 on PC, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3): The creepy space shooter lives up to its billing, with plenty of scenes in dark, foreboding space station environments. Though there are occasionally a few psychologically creepy parts, mostly scenes depicting the aftermath of mass suicides, “Dead Space 2” is more about the monster-popping-out-of-a-closet variety of scares. As in the past game, you’ll be using an array of industrial weaponry to strategically dismember advancing necromorphs (sorta like fast zombies) before they try to rip your head off. If you own a PS3, consider picking up the collector’s edition, which costs $80. That version includes a remake of “Dead Space: Extraction,” a more arcadey shooter that debuted on the Wii and serves as a prequel to the first “Dead Space.” “Extraction” is also available separately as a $15 download from the PlayStation Network. It’s meant to be played with a PlayStation Move controller but also supports the standard DualShock 3.
“Borderlands” (rated M, $20 for Xbox 360, also available for PS3, PC): All four downloadable add-ons for Gearbox’s shooter are on sale for $5 each. I’ve played and can vouch for “The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned” and most of “The Secret Armory of General Knoxx.” Skip “Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot” unless you’re a completionist achievement freak. It’s a series of arena battles against waves of computer-controlled enemies. It eventually becomes tedious, repetitive and not fun. I haven’t tried “Claptrap’s Robot Revolution” yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good things.
“BioShock 2” (rated M, $20 on Xbox 360, also available for PS3, PC) [review]: Take-Two’s sale also includes all of the downloadable content for my 2010 Game of the Year. I’d rate “Minerva’s Den,” a four-hour single-player adventure that serves as a standalone epilogue to the main game, as a must-buy, even at the full price of $10. (It’s discounted to $5.) “The Protector Trials,” on sale for $5, are single-player challenges that task you from guarding Little Sisters while they harvest Adam. The “Rapture Metro” add-on, also on sale for $5, and “Sinclair Solutions Test Pack,” $2, adds some new maps and features to the multiplayer modes.
“Red Dead Redemption” (rated M, $40 on Xbox 360, also available for PS3): All the downloadable add-ons for Rockstar Games’ open-world Western are on sale. You can score “Undead Nightmare,” “Legends & Killers” and “Liars & Cheats” for $5 apiece, or half-off. (The last two are multiplayer-only.) If you want ’em all, $12.50 will net you the whole trio.
Assorted other Take-Two stuff: If you don’t mind playing achievement-free original Xbox games, you can download “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” (rated M), “Sid Meier’s Pirates!” (rated T) and the first two “Max Payne” games for $7.50 each. The two M-rated “Grand Theft Auto IV” add-ons, “The Ballad of Gay Tony” ($10) and “The Lost and Damned” ($5) are both half off, as is “The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom” ($5, rated E), a charming platform-jumping puzzle game with a cool, silent-film inspired art style. There are a few other goodies to be had for cheap, as well. Here’s the full list.
Assorted downloadable PlayStation Network games: Not to be outdone by Take-Two’s sale on the 360, Sony is offering 11 different downloadable PlayStation Network games for half-off. I’d suggest starting with Double Fine’s excellent, whimsical role-playing game “Costume Quest” (rated T) [review], which is selling for $7.50, or half-off. The Halloween-themed title was named Best Downloadable Game at Spike TV’s Video Game Awards late last year. Check out the full list here.
“Bulletstorm” and “Crysis 2” demos: Electronic Arts put up free trials for two of its big upcoming shooters, Epic Games’ “Bulletstorm” and Crytek’s “Crysis 2,” which I previewed earlier this week. The “Crysis 2” demo is temporarily exclusive to the Xbox 360.