The games of August 2010

Platforms: 360, PS3, PC
EU release: August 27

While we're loving Rockstar's recent willingness to try out new genres – tragic Westerns, hard-boiled detective noir, gay nightclub dance-offs, etc. – we still need our fix of classic crime from somewhere. 2K's Mafia II ought to fill that mobster-shaped hole in our hearts quite nicely, with a large cast of tough-talking macho men, an open-ended city based on mid-century New York and San Francisco, an arsenal of Tommy guns and WWII rifles and even a minigame of collecting old Playboy magazines from the era.

August will also be console owners' first chance to actually enjoy a Mafia game. The original PC version in 2002 was very highly regarded, but the Xbox and PS2 ports a couple years later were badly botched. Based on our hands-on time with Mafia II, that mistake will not be repeated.


Platform: PSN, XBLA
EU release: TBA

The bloodiest and goriest game of the summer will not be mobster-murdering Mafia II. Or heist-gone-terribly-wrong Kane & Lynch 2. Probably not even the zombie-blending puree that is Dead Rising 2.

Nope, that award will almost certainly go to Shank, an independently developed, beautifully animated and shockingly violent 2D beat 'em up for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. We could attempt to describe the brutal yet somehow graceful evisceration on display – Shank stuffing grenades down enemies' throats or pile driving chainsaws into their chests – but the video above will do the game a lot more justice.

(XBLA version releases the next day, on August 25)