May might not offer the largest stack of new releases we've seen thus far this year, but compared to last month it certainly has some huge titles in the pack. Long-anticipated titles like Diablo III, Max Payne 3, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier are all launching later this month, while the rest of the schedule is stocked with promising fare like Starhawk, Dragon's Dogma, and DiRT Showdown. Nearly every platform has a couple games that warrant strong consideration in the weeks ahead, and as the days start heating up, you'll want something to keep you planted within range of a ceiling fan and A/C unit. Surely these games will suffice!
EU: May 3
The MMO space is incredibly competitive, but considering how positive our recent previews of TERA have been, we think there's reason to be excited for one more entry. What immediately struck us about this fantasy-themed RPG was its fabulous Unreal Engine 3-provided visuals, which stand in stark contrast to the usual lo-fi characters and environments used by many online games to scale well across systems, though it's not the only standout feature from our early time with the game. The action-oriented approach puts you in full control of combat against huge, ghastly beasts, causing us to liken the game to "Monster Hunter fused with the fantasy world of Aion" while listing the best moments from the beta.
Platform: PlayStation Vita
EU: May 4
This week's PlayStation Vita release of Mortal Kombat seems poised to not only be a stellar port of a great console fighter, but also potentially a handheld port that adds enough to warrant a look from fans of the original. No doubt, Mortal Kombat is well represented on Vita, running at 60fps while maintaining quite a bit of visual fidelity, but it also adds 150 new Challenge Tower missions – some of which utilize the bundled-in DLC characters (like Skarlet and Freddy Krueger) and others that offer touch and accelerometer-based activities. Add in touch-based fatalities, more classic costumes, and an MKII-based stage that utilizes the Vita's back camera, and you've got a port that may well become one of the early go-to titles for the handheld.
Sniper Elite V2
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
EU: May 4
It's surprising to see a game that shipped to little fanfare seven years ago get a fresh sequel, but Sniper Elite – originally released in 2005 – is back in action this week on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. We actually quite liked the original, which featured an engagingly deliberate pace despite middling production values, but Sniper Elite V2 seems to be a much slicker package than its predecessor. Set in World War II, you'll navigate disheveled buildings to find the best locations for precise shots, plus some missions may give you a choice between the easy shot that exposes your position, or the tougher one that lets you keep going. New online co-op should add an interesting new twist as well.
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
EU: May 2
Following the conclusion of the role-playing trilogy, Fable is taking a couple new paths this year. First up is Fable Heroes, a cartoonish four-player beat-'em-up that features playable puppets and a board game-like abilities panel. It's a colorful new take on Lionhead's franchise, but one that maintains familiar enemies and locations from Albion, albeit viewed through a much different kind of lens. The hack-and-slash combat can expectedly be enjoyed in both local and online co-op, and it's made to be accessible for all manner of skill levels while offering deeper investment through ability upgrades. Then again we weren’t that excited for it.
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
EU: May 2
Ronimo Games never quite got the acclaim it deserved for the stellar Swords & Soldiers on WiiWare (and later PSN, PC, and iOS), but that may change with its next original offering, titled Awesomenauts. Labeled an arena-based battler, it's less like Super Smash Bros. and more akin to a strategic, side-scrolling deathmatch in which each three-man team battles to destroy the other's base. In essence, it's a 2D MOBA game, and online play will no doubt drive its success as you can drop in and out of public matches with A.I. players taking over the empty spaces. As with its first game, Ronimo has packed Awesomenauts with plenty of personality, and it looks to be a highly entertaining multiplayer affair.