The games of May 2012

Big franchises come out to play as summer inches closer

May 29

DiRT Showdown

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
EU: May 25

DiRT Showdown takes the celebrated off-road racing franchise onto some new terrain, moving away from the traditional rally focus to tackle some more arcade-oriented fare. Racing is still here, though it's now found on tight, closed tracks (or crash-prone figure-eight courses) with nitrous boosts at hand, though it's flanked by sumo-esque knockout events atop raised platforms, as well as destruction derby-like rampage challenges and trick-centric hoonigan trials. DiRT Showdown also introduces Codemasters' new RaceNet system, which goes beyond a single game to encompass all of its racers going forward – including the inevitable DiRT 4, which the publisher has said that Showdown is not a replacement for.

Resistance: Burning Skies

Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: June 1

Insomniac's core Resistance trilogy concluded on the PlayStation 3 last fall with the stellar Resistance 3, but the franchise lives on this month on the Vita, where the advent of a second analog stick may make this the first portable FPS that actually captures the feel of its console siblings. Resistance: Burning Skies takes place in 1951 (near the time of Resistance: Fall of Man), and stars Tom Riley, a New York City firefighter aiming to save his family amidst the Chimeran invasion. Developed by Nihilistic Software (PlayStation Move Heroes), Burning Skies includes a cinematic single-player campaign flanked by eight-player online action – and the ability to use a fireman's axe, in addition to familiar human and Chimeran firearms.

Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

We had some fun mocking the overstuffed box art for this Game of the Year Edition, but we don't have much negative to say about what's held within. Arkham City is a remarkable action game and an absolutely peerless superhero experience, and this quick-turnaround re-release bundles together the main game with quite a bit of DLC at a price $10 cheaper than the original release. Included within are the Catwoman Pack, Nightwing Bundle Pack, Robin Bundle Pack, Challenge Map Pack, and Arkham City Skins Pack, along with the brand new Harley Quinn's Revenge Pack, which can also be downloaded on the same date as DLC. If you missed Batman's finest hour the first time around, do not make the same mistake twice!

We recommend