It’s a very good year for video games. One spectacular game after another has come out. Let’s take a look at the best five games of 2010, so far.
5. “Heavy Rain” (Sony; rated “M”) for PS 3 is an interactive novel, a mystery where you portray different people in various chapters, during a hunt for a serial killer. (This is my first review of “Heavy Rain.”)
This slow-paced adventure looks and moves mostly realistically. You even go potty in a realistic way. (I know: gross.)
It’s slightly futuristic. One character is a detective who dons sunglasses that spot clues on the ground and processes them in a computer built into the glasses, which act like a computer screen in front of your face.
The action is reminiscent of the old games “Dragon Slayer” and “D”: When you talk to people, or punch and dodge, you press buttons as they appear on screen.
Body movements are a bit jerky. Parts of it can be as simple as playing boomerang with your kid. And be prepared for adult stuff. At least one dead kid. A naked guy butt. A woman in a compromising position. And an assortment of deep thoughts.
4. “Dante’s Inferno” (EA; rated “M”) for Xbox 360 and PS 3 is a “God of War” copycat. Based on the old poem, you portray Dante, sneaking into hell by killing Death, taking his weapon, then slicing and dicing armies of demons, as you wend your way through all layers of hell to try to rescue your doomed lady love. I’ve played it twice.
3. “Mass Effect 2” (EA; rated “M”) for Xbox 360 and PS 3 is another epic cinematic game, a blend of shooting and role-playing.
You’re a space commander in the late 22nd century, traveling to planets, completing missions, shooting baddies, rescuing victims and solving minigames. It’s a beautifully drawn universe (huge) where you do a lot of talking and killing.
2. “Just Cause 2” (Square Enix; rated “M”) for Xbox 360 and PS 3 is bigger, more inspired and sleeker than the past few “GTA” games.
On a gorgeous island nation, you hijack cars, tanks, helicopters and even planes — during missions and in your own free-roaming sandbox adventures. You blow up military bases to cause chaos, and consort with militias, to take down the evil government.
The game-changer: You’re able to parachute when you want, and shoot a zip line anywhere, giving you that speedy Spider-Man swing through jungles and across cities.
1. “God of War III” (Sony; rated “M”) for PS 3 is a deliciously art-rich epic. Once again, you play as Kratos, the one-time god of war, accidental murderer of your own wife and child. And you’re hell-bent (literally) in a quest to bring revenge to Zeus, the hubris-filled god of all, who has stripped you of power.
This game looks absolutely stunning, and it’s unfathomably fun, slaying demons, demigods and misguided soldiers. It is addictive. Lush. And features compelling narrative. It’ll be a feat if any game this year plays this entrancing.
(“Heavy Rain” by Sony retails for $60 for PS 3 — Plays intriguing. Looks great. Moderately challenging. Rated “M” for blood, intense violence, nudity, sexual content, strong language and use of drugs. Four stars out of four.)
Contact Doug Elfman at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.NEW IN STORES
“Monster Hunter Tri” (Capcom) came out half-a-year ago in Japan and was a No. 1 hit and critics’ darling. Now that it’s finally coming to America, will it enrapture Wii fans here?
This sequel is for serious gamers. It’s a third-person action game. You play the role of a warrior in a sci-fi fantasy land that looks kind of like “Jurassic Park,” but set in a mythical time of elfin townspeople and dragons.
The point of the game is to roam travelogue locales — mountains framed by Montana-like skies, caves, jungles, undersea swimming paradises, and more — with your superbad weapons.
Typically, you might run across a field and encounter midsize dinosaurlike creatures. They swat their tails at you. You swing a sword as big as a baby giraffe at them. You and the monster can both receive a lot of damage. So these fights go on for minutes.
In fact, reportedly, some online battles with big-boss creatures can last 45 minutes, which sounds excessive to me but will sound like heaven to many fans of role-playing games. That’s appropriate, since “Tri” has role-playing aspects to it.
Important to win: You have to kill creatures, then magically absorb mythical properties from their rotting carcasses in order to upgrade your weapons.
In other words, a large thrust of “Tri” is to slay many, many creatures to rob their corpses of metallurgy properties. Thus, it’s not really a monster “hunter” game, so much as a monster-slaying game.
— DOUG ELFMAN