The games of May 2011

A meaty month with some potential fat to trim

Remember back when the summer used to be a barren wasteland for game releases? Dark days. This month kicks off what looks to be the busiest summer break in years, with more games coming in May than we can reasonably get to. We're getting a healthy mix of surefire hits and potential surprises across PC and all consoles - even the 3DS is picking up some steam. Pour one out for your bank account, a true friend who simply can't survive the overwhelming demand of May...


May 3


Motorstorm Apocalypse

Platform: PS3
EU: Available now

After a slight delay, Motorstorm Apocalypse hits North American stores weeks after its European release. The urban-end-of-the-world is a completely new setting for the typically nature-inclined racing game, and it brings a heavier dose of action and aggression to a series that already had plenty of both. Problem is, as our reviewmentions, it doesn’t quite come together as well as the last few games. The online multiplayer rocks, though. It’s missing the spectacular destruction and changing tracks that give the single-player its own identity, but betting experience points against high-level opponents gives a hell of an incentive to play smart multiplayer.

After a slight delay, Motorstorm Apocalypse hits North American stores weeks after its European release. The urban-end-of-the-world is a completely new setting for the typically nature-inclined racing game, and it brings a heavier dose of action and aggression to a series that already had plenty of both. Problem is, as our reviewmentions, it doesn’t quite come together as well as the last few games. The online multiplayer rocks, though. It’s missing the spectacular destruction and changing tracks that give the single-player its own identity, but betting experience points against high-level opponents gives a hell of an incentive to play smart multiplayer.

After a slight delay, Motorstorm Apocalypse hits North American stores weeks after its European release. The urban-end-of-the-world is a completely new setting for the typically nature-inclined racing game, and it brings a heavier dose of action and aggression to a series that already had plenty of both. Problem is, as our reviewmentions, it doesn’t quite come together as well as the last few games. The online multiplayer rocks, though. It’s missing the spectacular destruction and changing tracks that give the single-player its own identity, but betting experience points against high-level opponents gives a hell of an incentive to play smart multiplayer.

After a slight delay, Motorstorm Apocalypse hits North American stores weeks after its European release. The urban-end-of-the-world is a completely new setting for the typically nature-inclined racing game, and it brings a heavier dose of action and aggression to a series that already had plenty of both. Problem is, as our reviewmentions, it doesn’t quite come together as well as the last few games. The online multiplayer rocks, though. It’s missing the spectacular destruction and changing tracks that give the single-player its own identity, but betting experience points against high-level opponents gives a hell of an incentive to play smart multiplayer.


Thor: God of Thunder

Platform: PS3, 360, Wii, DS
EU: Available now

We’re not entirely enthusiastic or optimistic about this one, to be completely honest. For those desperate for something like God of War to fill that void, well, Thor sure does swing his hammer at things in God of Thunder. The game even comes complete with cinematic executions and experience orbs, so it has the potential to tap into certain aspects we enjoy from its, ahem, inspirations. On the other hand, it’s another Sega-published Marvel movie adaptation turned generic-looking third-person action game. Great.

We’re not entirely enthusiastic or optimistic about this one, to be completely honest. For those desperate for something like God of War to fill that void, well, Thor sure does swing his hammer at things in God of Thunder. The game even comes complete with cinematic executions and experience orbs, so it has the potential to tap into certain aspects we enjoy from its, ahem, inspirations. On the other hand, it’s another Sega-published Marvel movie adaptation turned generic-looking third-person action game. Great.


Section 8: Prejudice

Platform: PC

This top-notch approximation of Tribes is heavy on the jetpacks, customization and objective-based multiplayer. It’d be a tough sell if it were just another online, sci-fi-space-marine-guy game, but at $15, Section 8: Prejudice is a damn good value. It hit Xbox Live Arcade last month, and it impressed us despite its crummy campaign – it made up for it with big multiplayer battles and a variety of modifiable weapons. This isn’t going to light the fires of the Call of Duty faithful, but for the PC gamer who likes to bounce from one love affair to the next, this could be the next killer fix.

This top-notch approximation of Tribes is heavy on the jetpacks, customization and objective-based multiplayer. It’d be a tough sell if it were just another online, sci-fi-space-marine-guy game, but at $15, Section 8: Prejudice is a damn good value. It hit Xbox Live Arcade last month, and it impressed us despite its crummy campaign – it made up for it with big multiplayer battles and a variety of modifiable weapons. This isn’t going to light the fires of the Call of Duty faithful, but for the PC gamer who likes to bounce from one love affair to the next, this could be the next killer fix.


Call of Duty: Black Ops %26ndash; Escalation

Platform: Xbox 360

Alright, what the hell? The Escalation Map pack could be the first Call of Duty DLC that’s actually worth its price tag. Never mind the content, which is more substantial than the highway robbery/tomfoolery that was the Modern Warfare 2 map packs – this could be worth it for the WTF alone. The “Call of the Dead” addition to Escalation includes actual, seriously real playable video game versions of Robert Englund (the dude who played Freddy Krueger), Sarah Michelle Gellar (complete with Buffy’s red pants), Danny Trejo (yep) and The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker. Huh? Oh, four multiplayer maps, too (Zoo, Convoy, Hotel and Stockpile).

Alright, what the hell? The Escalation Map pack could be the first Call of Duty DLC that’s actually worth its price tag. Never mind the content, which is more substantial than the highway robbery/tomfoolery that was the Modern Warfare 2 map packs – this could be worth it for the WTF alone. The “Call of the Dead” addition to Escalation includes actual, seriously real playable video game versions of Robert Englund (the dude who played Freddy Krueger), Sarah Michelle Gellar (complete with Buffy’s red pants), Danny Trejo (yep) and The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker. Huh? Oh, four multiplayer maps, too (Zoo, Convoy, Hotel and Stockpile).

Alright, what the hell? The Escalation Map pack could be the first Call of Duty DLC that’s actually worth its price tag. Never mind the content, which is more substantial than the highway robbery/tomfoolery that was the Modern Warfare 2 map packs – this could be worth it for the WTF alone. The “Call of the Dead” addition to Escalation includes actual, seriously real playable video game versions of Robert Englund (the dude who played Freddy Krueger), Sarah Michelle Gellar (complete with Buffy’s red pants), Danny Trejo (yep) and The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker. Huh? Oh, four multiplayer maps, too (Zoo, Convoy, Hotel and Stockpile).

Alright, what the hell? The Escalation Map pack could be the first Call of Duty DLC that’s actually worth its price tag. Never mind the content, which is more substantial than the highway robbery/tomfoolery that was the Modern Warfare 2 map packs – this could be worth it for the WTF alone. The “Call of the Dead” addition to Escalation includes actual, seriously real playable video game versions of Robert Englund (the dude who played Freddy Krueger), Sarah Michelle Gellar (complete with Buffy’s red pants), Danny Trejo (yep) and The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker. Huh? Oh, four multiplayer maps, too (Zoo, Convoy, Hotel and Stockpile).


Man vs Wild

Platform: Xbox 360
EU: N/A

This adaptation of the Discovery Channel reality TV series sees main man Bear Grylls struggling to survive frigid weather and dangerous animals. Much of Man vs Wild is based on the wacky things Grylls does in episodes of the show, of course, but given that it’s essentially Bear moving from one set of mini-games to another, we’re assuming he won’t be chasing down, wrangling, and drinking the blood of a reindeer. Although that sounds like a pretty sweet mini-game, right there. It’s reasonably priced at $30, although launching at half the price of most retail games justifies as much concern as it does anticipation. It’s tough to turn down a game that pits you against a bear, though. Fighting grizzlies was the real reason we all loved Red Dead Redemption, let’s be honest. That shit was terrifying, and Man vs Wild is a game built around the idea that animals will ruin you.

This adaptation of the Discovery Channel reality TV series sees main man Bear Grylls struggling to survive frigid weather and dangerous animals. Much of Man vs Wild is based on the wacky things Grylls does in episodes of the show, of course, but given that it’s essentially Bear moving from one set of mini-games to another, we’re assuming he won’t be chasing down, wrangling, and drinking the blood of a reindeer. Although that sounds like a pretty sweet mini-game, right there. It’s reasonably priced at $30, although launching at half the price of most retail games justifies as much concern as it does anticipation. It’s tough to turn down a game that pits you against a bear, though. Fighting grizzlies was the real reason we all loved Red Dead Redemption, let’s be honest. That shit was terrifying, and Man vs Wild is a game built around the idea that animals will ruin you.


May 4


Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury

Platform: Xbox 360

Flying robots lots of bullets crazy difficulty PEW PEW WHAT IS HAPPENING OH GOD AHHHHHH. Ahem. Sorry. Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is just too ridiculous to articulate without freaking out a little bit. The first co-op edition of Bangai-O is apparently able to display 5000 things on screen at a time, so forgive our temper tantrum. This XBLA exclusive is a wild action game that’s above and beyond our comprehension and skill level, but damn it if it isn’t a wicked game that we love to let kick our asses. Treasure’s revered series also makes its high-def debut, so the thousands of missiles raining death on us over and over again will at least look rad. We expect things to get even more soul-crushingly difficult as players build and share obscene levels in Missile Fury’s level editor. Send help. Seriously, send help – we’d love a co-op partner.

Flying robots lots of bullets crazy difficulty PEW PEW WHAT IS HAPPENING OH GOD AHHHHHH. Ahem. Sorry. Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is just too ridiculous to articulate without freaking out a little bit. The first co-op edition of Bangai-O is apparently able to display 5000 things on screen at a time, so forgive our temper tantrum. This XBLA exclusive is a wild action game that’s above and beyond our comprehension and skill level, but damn it if it isn’t a wicked game that we love to let kick our asses. Treasure’s revered series also makes its high-def debut, so the thousands of missiles raining death on us over and over again will at least look rad. We expect things to get even more soul-crushingly difficult as players build and share obscene levels in Missile Fury’s level editor. Send help. Seriously, send help – we’d love a co-op partner.

Flying robots lots of bullets crazy difficulty PEW PEW WHAT IS HAPPENING OH GOD AHHHHHH. Ahem. Sorry. Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is just too ridiculous to articulate without freaking out a little bit. The first co-op edition of Bangai-O is apparently able to display 5000 things on screen at a time, so forgive our temper tantrum. This XBLA exclusive is a wild action game that’s above and beyond our comprehension and skill level, but damn it if it isn’t a wicked game that we love to let kick our asses. Treasure’s revered series also makes its high-def debut, so the thousands of missiles raining death on us over and over again will at least look rad. We expect things to get even more soul-crushingly difficult as players build and share obscene levels in Missile Fury’s level editor. Send help. Seriously, send help – we’d love a co-op partner.

Flying robots lots of bullets crazy difficulty PEW PEW WHAT IS HAPPENING OH GOD AHHHHHH. Ahem. Sorry. Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is just too ridiculous to articulate without freaking out a little bit. The first co-op edition of Bangai-O is apparently able to display 5000 things on screen at a time, so forgive our temper tantrum. This XBLA exclusive is a wild action game that’s above and beyond our comprehension and skill level, but damn it if it isn’t a wicked game that we love to let kick our asses. Treasure’s revered series also makes its high-def debut, so the thousands of missiles raining death on us over and over again will at least look rad. We expect things to get even more soul-crushingly difficult as players build and share obscene levels in Missile Fury’s level editor. Send help. Seriously, send help – we’d love a co-op partner.

We recommend