May has arrived, and the Roundup is back to usher in this month’s video game releases. May features a little bit of everything, from sequels, to new franchises, to the return of a fan favorite from the 8-bit era. We also have a few previously released games coming to new regions and platforms. As always, please keep in mind that the list is not inclusive of every release for a given month, release dates are always subject to change, and some games release on certain platforms before others. Now let’s take a look at this month’s releases.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (PC/PS2/PS3/PSP/Xbox 360/DS/Wii)-May 1 ( www.uncaged.com)
As we mentioned in our preview back in February, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is much more than just another movie tie-in. While the game will certainly incorporate much of the movie’s plot, it also expands on the film and elaborates on some story elements that aren’t in the film. The gameplay is visceral and violent, as Wolverine will be dismembering foes with a wide array of claw attacks and special moves. Fans of the character can also expect to see some things taken from the comics as opposed to the movie, such as the battle with the gigantic Sentinel that was teased at NYCC 2009.
Patapon 2 (PSP)-May 5 ( www.patapon-game.com)
Released in Japan last November, “Patapon 2” finally makes it way to the US this month. This sequel to last year’s rhythm strategy game will have players once again taking on the role of a god and directing the Patapon tribe in battle against other tribes and monsters. While the game picks up the story from the original, “Patapon 2” takes place in a strange new land upon whose shores the tribe has washed up on. More units, new abilities and a multiplayer mode offer fans of the franchise plenty to get excited about. Interestingly, the game will be available only as a download through the PlayStation Store in North America. Retailers will be selling a download voucher for the game.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner 2: Raidou Kuzunoha versus King Abaddon (PS2)-May 12 ( www.atlus.com/devilsummoner2)
Another game that was first released in Japan last year, “SMT: Devil Summoner 2” arrives here in May. As with the original “Devil Summoner” game, the story follows the exploits of series protagonist Raidou Kuzunoha, a detective within the Narumi Detective agency in 1920’s Tokyo. Raidou and his colleagues are called in to investigate a missing persons report, and they quickly find out that the case is anything but ordinary. This RPG’s gameplay features a mixture of weapon based combat and, as you might imagine, devil summoning, where Raidou can call upon the services of demons he’s recruited. The game boasts over 80 hours of gameplay, not too shabby for 40 bucks.
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (PS3/Xbox 360)-May 12 ( www.sacred2.com)
Originally released in November for the PC, “Sacred 2” makes its console debut this month. In this epic RPG, players choose whether or not to follow the path of light or shadow, as they adventure in the fantasy world of Ancaria. The story serves as a prequel to the original game, and involves a struggle over the source of life and magic in the world, allowing players to either try to set things right, or make things worse. There are six playable classes, over 20 square miles of game world to explore, and hundreds of quests. One of the most anticipated features however, is the ability for up to four players to adventure together online via the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Rewards earned in a friend’s campaign will be carried back into a player’s home campaign.
Punch Out!! (Wii)-May 18 ( www.punchout.nintendo.com)
The beloved NES boxing classic has been updated for the Wii, but still manages to keep all of the ingredients that made it a hit in the first place. Little Mac, Doc, Von Kaiser, King Hippo and several other original game characters will be joined by newcomers like the Disco Kid. Players can choose to use the Wii’s motion controls, or opt to turn the Wiimote sideways and play the game NES-style. “Punch Out!!” will also support the use of the Wii Balance Board. Gameplay will be very similar to the original game (with some elements of “Super Punch Out!!” as well), with each fighter having unique strengths and weaknesses that can be exploited by learning their tendencies. Unlike its predecessor, however, this game will feature a multiplayer mode, though specific details have been sparse thus far.
EA Sports Active (Wii)-May 19 ( www.easportsactive.com)
EA Sports is jumping into the Wii fitness arena with a game that takes a different approachto personal health than “Wii Fit.” The 25+ exercises in “Active” are aimed at burning calories and building muscle, and the game is not reliant on the Wii Balance Board (although it does support the peripheral). The game comes with a resistance band and a leg strap, which holsters the Wiimote so it can measure your movements. “Active” also features minigames built around particular sports (baseball, volleyball, basketball).
Bionic Commando (PS3/Xbox 360)-May 19 ( www.bioniccommando.com)
Last summer’s “Bionic Commando: Rearmed” reminded gamers of just how awesome the original Bionic Commando was while setting the stage for Nathan “RAD” Spencer’s proper next-gen debut. The sequel’s story takes place ten years after the NES version of the game, with Spencer having been falsely imprisoned and stripped of his bionic arm. When Ascension City is attacked, the government must turn to Spencer once again for help. For those looking to get a sneak peek, a multiplayer demo of the game is currently available on Xbox Live.
There are also two comics that tie into the game. The first is an online comic called “Chain of Command,” written by Andy Diggle with art by Colin Wilson, and it can be read in its entirety over at the game’s official website. Additionally, a print copy of the collected webcomic will be given to those who preorder the game through the website. The second comic is a series from Devil’s Due, written by Justin Marks, which should be coming out sometime after the game’s release.
Terminator Salvation (PC/PS3/XBox360)-May 19 ( www.terminatorsalvationgame.com)
Being released alongside the movie of the same name, Terminator Salvation takes place in between the events of “T3” and the highly anticipated summer blockbuster. In the game, players will take on the role of John Connor before he becomes the leader of the resistance. The third-person shooter action will be accompanied by some on-rails vehicle sequences. The game will feature local, split-screen co-op. There is also a version planned for the iPhone, which should be hitting the streets around the same time as the other versions.
UFC 2009 Undisputed (PS3/Xbox 360)–May 19 ( www.ufcundisputed.com)
THQ ushers in UFC’s return to consoles this month with a very ambitious game, featuring 80 UFC fighters from across all weight classes. In terms of presentation, all of the commentators, referees and personalities from UFC will be making appearances in the game. A spectrum of mixed martial arts disciplines are represented, and the gameplay features a “Constant Control” system, where players will have specific moves and options available based on their positioning at any given time. “UFC Undisputed” will also allow players to create their own fighter and use them in both the single and multiplayer modes. There is currently a demo available on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
Damnation (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)-May 22 ( www.damnationthegame.com)
Set in an alternate steampunk-style reality, Damnation is a third-person shooter that incorporates platforming elements into the action. The game is centered around the concept of “verticality,” and players will be scaling and climbing their way through levels, taking fire from all directions. The story involves a power hungry industrialist named W.D. Prescott, who has used his resources to amass an army and bring the civilian population under his rule. Players will be a member of the Peacemakers, a group fighting against Prescott and his forces. In addition to the single-player campaign, the game will feature multiplayer modes that take place on multi-tiered vertical maps.
inFamous (PS3)-May 26 ( www.infamousthegame.com)
Easily one of the most anticipated PS3 titles of the year, “inFamous” is another game we were lucky enough to get our hands on at NYCC 2009. Described as an “open world super hero action game,” “inFamous” puts players in the shoes of Cole McGrath, the lone survivor of an explosion who is left with electricity-based super powers. The game takes place in “Empire City,” a fictionalized version of New York, where gangs have taken over in the wake of the disaster, and the government has quarantined the city. How players decide to use Cole’s newfound powers will determine how the world reacts to him, and how the game’s story progresses. Players will generate good or bad karma for Cole, and his moral alignment will be reflected in the color and nature of his powers.
Fuel (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)-May 26 ( www.fuel-game.com)
An open world racer with 5,000 square miles of terrain to cover, “Fuel” is set in an alternate future where global warming has ravaged the landscape, and wastelanders compete in races with fuel as the prize. Players will be able to race in 70 vehicles that span six categories, from cars to buggies to dragsters. The game will also feature weather events like tornadoes and sandstorms that will affect race conditions, as well as a day/night cycle. Up to 16 players will be able to face off online.
That brings us to the end of the Roundup for the month of May. If we skipped your most anticipated game of the month, head on over to the boards and let us know! And remember to keep checking CBR for exclusive interviews with publishers and developers. Until next month, good gaming!