CBR Games Roundup May, 2011: "Thor," "D&D" & More

First come the smaller screens of the video-games consoles, from handheld to HD sets, and then come the much larger screens of movie theaters. Any way you cut it, May gets off to a rousing start with the release of "Thor: God of Thunder" for video-game enthusiasts as well as film fans. Historically speaking, games based on superhero movies have not been all that amazing, but from the perspective of comic-book fans, both the game and the movie are worth a look.

Thor hammers (pun intended) his way into video-game lore to kick off the month, but there is a lot more to May than the coming storm out of Valhalla. It's a transitory month, leading into summer releases when publishers hope to divert attention from the outdoors with a fair bit of indoor gaming,or offer up handheld treats for travelers. There's something for every taste in May, so without further ado, let's get to the list!

Thor: God of Thunder (Wii, NDS, N3DS, PS3, 360)

May 3, 2011

The story for the game, according to press releases, will not mirror the movie, but is culled from the comic books, which means that fans of the latter might find some interesting creatures and challenges here. It is a single-player game, with typical role-playing elements such as leveling up to acquire new abilities and powers, as well as upgrades for Mjolnir, Thor's legendary hammer. The game spans numerous worlds and features epic creatures and monsters as well as legendary enemies such as Ymir and Ulik. And, of course, in addition to the hammer, Thor will also be endowed with elemental storm powers, which could lead to some rather amazing effects in the first standalone game featuring Odin's son. The game is available now with the feature film following with a midnight showing throughout earthly realms on May 5.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse (PS3)

May 3, 2011

Get your motor runnin', head out on the -- hmm, well, not highways. More like everything but highways. For the uninitiated, SCEA's "MotorStorm" series is about as off-road as it can be, and "Apocalypse" is certainly no different. The festival for off-road maniacs takes place in a coastal city that is the epicenter of a natural disaster. The environment is falling apart, affecting racing routes as the races are occurring. This is an exclusive to the PS3 and features 16-player online versus mode as well as four players competing on the same console.

Call of Duty: Black Ops - Call of the Dead (360)

May 3, 2011

Yes, this is an add-on for the "Black Ops" game, but what makes this 360 exclusive notable is that it is inspired by legendary horror writer and director George Romero, who appears in the game as himself, along with Robert Englund, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Michael Rooker and Danny Trejo. It's a level, but comes with a new multiplayer map. This FPS should be ideal for those that like to get their zombie on.

Virtua Tennis 4 (360, PS3, Wii)

May 10, 2011

SEGA offers this up with full-on motion applications through consoles with motion-sensitive controllers. Why? Because you don't just sit back on the couch and pretend to swing a racquet; SEGA wants players on their feet, shuffling and working their arms to return shots, volley and overhand smash their way to victory. There is a new career mode with off-court fame making its debut in the series. Online, the game offers both competitive gaming as well as casual, with a newly designed online hub and tournaments set to entice players to hone their cyber tennis skills.

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (3DS)

May 10, 2011

Ahoy, maties, Jack Sparrow is leading the charge into the realm of the 3D NDS generation with an action-adventure from Disney Interactive. More than 70 characters will be available, and the sails are unfurled on irreverent humor, creatures from the Pirates film franchise, more than 20 levels of game play, two-player cooperative mode and a free play (aka sandbox) mode.

Brink (360, PS3, PC)

May 10, 2011

Bethesda Softworks puts players on a floating city called the Ark in this first-person shooter. Originally built as a green habitat, the Ark became a refuge for humanity when the oceans began to rise. Now the utopia is on the brink of total collapse. Someone has to step up and decide the future of the city and humanity; guess who gets nominated for the job? The game features single-player, cooperative and multiplayer game modes with dynamic battlefields, and extensive customization modes in which players can build up their character across all modes of play.

Fable III (PC and 360)

May 17, 2011

Featuring unprecedented power over your character and environment, the third entry in the series follows some of the notions of the earlier games with a land divided, tyranny run rampant and so on. You, as the focal point of this role-playing game, step up to either become the benevolent leader the people need or the dark tyrant the people fear will lead Albion into the abyss. The game is set five decades after the events of "Fable II," and players will start as the child of the hero from the second entry in the series. The themes may be familiar, but the challenges are still inherent and morality hangs in the balance with every choice made.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC)

May 17, 2011

Whoa, a PC exclusive?? CD Projekt and Atari are serving exactly that up with the second installment in the RPG story of Geralt of Rivia. This is a mature game featuring themes not suited for younger players, non-linear narration and a new and brutal combat system on a new game engine. The original game was not without its faults, but still was a remarkable take on the RPG genre and this should be no different. High fantasy could be on vivid display with this title and players looking for a deep and engrossing story, with plenty of side quests and a fair share of challenges, will likely find it here.

L.A. Noire (PS3, 360)

May 17, 2011

Los Angeles in the days following World War II was a playground for the criminal element looking to gain control over one of the shining gems of the West Coast. When you take an environment with that thought in mind and toss in RockStar Games as the publisher, you just know the potential is there for an amazing bit of gaming. Players take on the role of Cole Phelps, a decorated war veteran who rises through the ranks of the LAPD and finds himself as the epicenter of the crime wave that threatens to engulf LA The game features a new interrogation system that allows players to read emotions as they search for the truth. Of course, the game will also have its share of blood and gore, nudity, sexual themes and violence.

Kung-Fu Panda 2 (PS3, Wii, 360, NDS)

May 24, 2011

Just mention the name, and the mind -- well, unless you were living under the temple garden -- conjures up images of fun, cartoon violence and the bumbling martial arts of the slightly rotund panda hero. Po is back to lead the Furious Five in an adventure that picks up the story where the first movie and game left off. The NDS version will also have a card-game mode included that can be played with a friend. Of course, this game may skew toward the younger crowd, but there are probably a few smiles tucked away for everyone from the rookie to more experienced gamer.

Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale (PC)

May 24, 2011

The Dalelands are threatened by the Zhentarim under the command of Rezlus. Players are tasked with restoring order to the lands, unlocking the secrets of Mines of Tethyamar and overcoming the evil in the Tower of the Void in this role-playing title. Four player cooperative play is available and the general gameplay follows the formula of other D&D titles.

Hunted: The Demon's Forge (PS3, 360, PC)

May 31, 2011

A pair of mercenaries linked by a common need to escape the evil that shadows the world and enslaves the people. "The Demon's Forge" may distinguish itself as an ultimate cooperative action RPG. The game allows players to take control of one of the two central characters, who must work together to solve puzzles, and battle a vast array of enemies as their journey through the dark lands. Early looks at the game revealed an impressive visual style and dynamic combat elements that make this a game to check out.

Dungeon Siege III (PS3, 360, PC)

May 31, 2011

The balance between the two main factions of Ehb has been broken and the world wobbles on the edge of a consuming darkness. As one of the last of the disgraced protectors of the land, the 10th Legion, the player must find companions and save the kingdom. "Dungeon Siege III" is published by Square Enix and should offer yet another role-playing experience that may give RPG fans something to salivate about as the month surrenders to June.

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