Get your annual fill of Jedi action without the need to fire up the DVD player with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II ($60). This sequel to the well-received Force Unleashed once again places players in the shoes of Starkiller, only instead of playing along as Darth Vader's secret apprentice, you're looking to reunite with your old flame Juno Eclipse, while Vader is hunting you down and attempting to clone you in an effort to create an ultimate Sith warrior. Do you feel a Shadow Link-style battle coming on? We sure do.
Another day, another post-apocalyptic game set in Sin City. Fallout: New Vegas ($60) might not offer the zombie-killing action of Dead Rising 2, but what it does bring to the table is a huge, open game world, a host of characters, both friendly, feuding, and hostile, twice the weapons of Fallout 3, new melee combat moves, and unique gameplay that lets you choose whether to pick sides, bring the peace, or go it alone — kinda like trying to decide between two competing hookers after a long night at Bill's.
Man your proton packs and get ready for some paranormal action in Ghostbusters: The Video Game ($40-$60). Written by original 'Busters Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who are joined by Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson in the game, Ghostbusters puts you in the shoes of a new recruit, who must help the classic foursome hunt, fight, and capture all sorts of ghouls and ghosts. For the over-the-top fan, there's also an Amazon-exclusive Slimer Edition ($130), which includes a Slimer bust created by the original sculptor Steve Johnson, and an Ecto1 key chain that lights up and makes a siren sound. Insert Ray Parker Jr. joke here.
Sick of your friends' obsession with fictional male vampires? Take out your frustrations in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow ($60). This three-dimensional reboot of the long-running franchise places players in the shoes of Gabriel Belmont, who belongs to an elite group of knights sworn to protect average humans using his whip, daggers, and holy water. Dark visuals, huge bosses, and a Belmont. What more do you need?
Boomshakalaka. First its was Tecmo Bowl getting the 21st Century treatment, and now it's NBA Jam ($50). Developed by EA with some help from original NBA Jam creator Mark Turmell, this new version offers all the fun of the original with updated gameplay that looks and feels better, a choice between motion-based or Classic Controllers, one-liners from Tim Kitzrow, the announcer from the original game, a new Remix Tour featuring a number of game modes, over 100 cheat codes for secret and legendary player options, solo, versus, and co-op gameplay modes, and all the over-the-top dunks you could ask for. Oh, and while they're remaking all these old-school sports games, could we get an updated version of Bases Loaded? Thanks.
Apparently unable to find any fitting opponents for the new-and-sure-to-dominate Miami Heat, 2K Games decided to shake things up by bringing back one of the game's icons for a stroll down memory lane. NBA 2K11 ($50-$60) lets you play as any of Jordan's title-winning Bulls teams, reenact 10 legendary games from MJ's career, take control of a newly-drafted rookie Jordan and craft his career from scratch, and also features Playstation Move compatibility, new dribbling and shot controls, and a killer hip-hop soundtrack.
Screw the shopping mall — if we're going to survive a zombie outbreak, why not do it in Vegas? Dead Rising 2 ($60) brings all the brains-eating action and dark hilarity of the original to a new setting — fictional Fortune City — while adding new characters, two-player coop and online multiplayer modes, and combo weapons, which let you duct tape two different items together, allowing for tools like the chainsaw-on-a-stick. [Thanks, Matt]
It might be missing Master Chief, but that really doesn't matter. Halo Reach ($60-$150) is the final chapter — as far as Bungie's concerned — in the Halo saga, serving as a prequel to the existing games, and building upon the franchise's legendary FPS gameplay with grittier visuals, new abilities, and, of course, unbelievable online multiplayer that will keep the game in your 360 until it literally falls apart. Available in standard, Limited, and superfan Legendary Editions.
Games don't have to be full-price blockbusters to have artistic impact. Take Limbo ($15) for example. Dark, contrasty, and reminiscent of Film Noir, this short but surprisingly great puzzle platformer forces you to explore the darkness that is the land of Limbo, facing gruesome deaths and nasty bad guys around every shadow. Check it out for yourself, or just take our word for it. [via]
Sure, there's a new play calling system that lets you play full games in half the time, but that might not be the most noticeable new feature of Madden NFL 11 ($50-$60). Instead of piling on new, sometimes confusing gameplay features — the aforementioned play calling system and dual stick running back control are pretty much it — EA focused on recreating the in-stadium experience, complete with new commentary, and a more authentic soundtrack including rock classics "Thunderstruck," "Welcome to the Jungle," and "Crazy Train," and team-specific songs like "Fly Eagles Fly," and "Go Packers Go!"
It sure as hell took them long enough, but Gran Turismo 5 is really, finally coming to the PS3 — and you can celebrate the occasion with the Gran Turismo 5 Collector's Edition ($100). It includes a copy of the 3D-capable game, a 1:43 scale diecast 2009 Nissan GT-R Spec V, a GT keychain, a voucher for five downloadable high-end cars, a 300-page guide covering everything from car history to driving techniques. November can't get here fast enough.
Grand Theft Auto-style gameplay meets an old west storyline in Red Dead Redemption ($60). Developed by Rockstar San Diego, this followup to 2004's Red Dead Revolver places you in the shoes of a former outlaw as he travels across the frontier in search of honor, fame, and a former associate he's sworn to track down. Filled with period-specific weapons, dialogue, and rides, it's a fine way to get your western fix until the next great film or series comes along.