The games of May 2012

Big franchises come out to play as summer inches closer

May 16

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
EU: May 16

Sonic the Hedgehog fans haven't been very easy to please in recent years, and even hotly anticipated reboots like Sonic the Hedgehog 4 have earned their share of snide remarks – though we quite liked the first episode. Who knows if Episode 2 will finally hit all the right buttons with the wider fanbase, but it certainly seems like Sega is listening to the complaints from the first release. Episode 2 adds co-op play throughout the entire campaign via Tails, plus the physics have been reworked to focus more on the momentum-based feel of past entries, along with some visual enhancements. It's not coming to WiiWare this time around, but Xbox 360 and PS3 players can snag Sonic's latest throwback adventure mid-month.

May 20

Mario Tennis Open

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
EU: May 25

Mario Tennis Open delivers the first new series entry in eight years, and it comes with the expected modern amenities seen in many Nintendo 3DS titles – such as customizable Mii characters, along with a 3D-enhanced behind-the-back view that uses the system's gyroscope to change the view and direct shots. Online play is also a big component of Mario's latest racquet-based outing, but we expect to spend a lot of our time digging into the myriad mini-games included in the set. We're looking forward to whacking balls at enemies and item blocks in a rendition of the original Super Mario Bros, as well as hitting stars in the Super Mario Galaxy-themed court. Ah, sweet Nintendo fan service.

May 22

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (June 12)
EU: May 25

May is a month pretty well occupied by huge games that took a long damn time getting to store shelves. Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, for example? Confirmed in January 2009! But the wait has only energized our interest in the next evolution of Ubisoft's beloved tactical shooter franchise, and Future Soldier looks well worth the layover. With cloaking tech that adds a new wrinkle to subtle sneaking, Future Soldier offers a fresh take on the franchise – and from our hands-on time with the game, the co-op action may prove one of the biggest draws. We called it "the best co-op experience we've had since Modern Warfare 3's Spec-Ops mode," and that's only one part of the bigger content offering alongside solo play and multiplayer.

Dragon's Dogma

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
EU: May 25

Dragon's Dogma marks an unexpected new effort from Capcom, one made by notable developers who previously steered past Devil May Cry and Resident Evil entries. The game's a Western-style, open-world fantasy RPG – with just a tinge of Monster Hunter influence – starring a customizable lead whose heart is quite literally snatched from his chest by a massive dragon. Curiously he survives, and thus kicks off a lengthy quest guided by a different dragon to reclaim his vital organ. Players can recruit and command A.I. pawns throughout the solo campaign, as well as climb upon and attack large beasts in battle, even as they fly around. Also, buying the game grants access to the Resident Evil 6 demo later this year, so there's that to consider as well.

Sorcery

Platform: PlayStation 3
EU: May 25

Shown at E3 a couple years back as one of the cornerstone PlayStation Move titles in Sony's lineup, Sorcery promptly faded from view, only emerging recently after the Move initiative seemingly hit a brick wall. Likely hoping to hit a nerve with fans of Harry Potter, Sorcery has come a long way since that early tech demo, and last we saw the game seemed much more like a full-fledged experience. Skewing away from the typical hack-and-slash approach of many action games, Sorcery relies almost entirely on casting spells, with waves of the Move controller used to launch fire, wind, and ice magic, as well as lightning bolts. Can this Move exclusive reignite interest in the dusty plastic wands?

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