Where else can you play a game of Bocce but in Sports Champions? Call it the Wii Sports of the PlayStation Move, but that doesn't take away the fact that the ambitious Sports Champions offers a game-changing experience in the motion-controls market. Boasting a collecting of activities including archery, volleyball, and table tennis, this PlayStation Move launch title goes from conventional sports to archaic standouts like "Gladiator Duel" without missing a beat. Not only can you test your skills against a buddy, but Sports Champions also offers a a Champion Cup mode where you can go head-to-head in an Olympic style marathon to see who's the best gamer-slash-althlete in the bunch.
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Capcom's fifth installment in their renowned zombie-slaying franchise may have placed a greater emphasis on action than your traditional "undead creatures lurking in dark alleys" approach to horror, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it? We believe the answer is no, especially with the tremendous success of action titles that are dripping with horror imagery like Gears of War. Resident Evil 5 wasn't exactly leaps and bounds different from its predecessor Resident Evil 4, but it did feature a cooperative campaign, a first for the series, that allowed both you and a buddy to fight together against RE5's hulking axe-wielding killers and the rest of its fearsome cast of adversaries.
A quick follow-up sequel to one of the best fighting games in years, Super Street Fighter IV is everything its predecessor was and more. Ten new characters, improved online gameplay, and new bonus stages all come in this stacked update -- including the good 'ol "destroy the car" challenge from Street Fighter II and III. Moreover, Capcom also gave the fighting engine in SSFIV a bit of a tune-up, with new special moves, new Ultra Combos, and subtle tweaks everywhere else to give the World Warriors just a little more balance.
Bayonetta may be the sexiest video game heroine since Lara Croft debuted back in the day, but Sega and Team Little Angels put forth a stylish and action-packed product with this early 2010 release. Taking a page or two from Devil May Cry (which, like this title, was also directed by Hideki Kamiya), Bayonetta features the titular character in an explosive battle between the forces of Heaven and Hell. After losing her memory following a 500 year sleep, Bayonetta finds herself in a struggle between the Umbra Witches and Lumen Sages -- servants of the dark and light forces in the world, respectively. As she tries to uncover the secrets behind her past and birth, Bayonetta faces off against demons of every size and flavor you can image.
Luckily, Bayonetta's just as deadly as she is sexy, with the ability to wield guns on her hands and feet, along with the ability to summon demons of her own with her magical powers. All of this translates to fast paced, combo-heavy combat, complete with bondage-slash-torture style finishing moves and "Witch Time" attacks that severely test your reflexes and button mashing skills. Bayonetta doesn't let up for a second, and the entire game just gets crazier the further you go.
- Bioshock 2
Big Daddies in the first Bioshock were enough to send chills down a gamer's spine in the first Bioshock. Taking the role of Delta, an amnesiac prototype Big Daddy awoken in a Rapture that has decayed for over a decade, Bioshock 2 puts the power in your hands as you search for your missing Little Sister companion. Just like the Big Daddies in the previous title, you have access to the very things that make the big bruisers a force to be reckoned with such as the iconic arm drill and a rivet gun. Not only that, but Delta can also use Plasmids to take on foes like the Splicers and Big Sisters -- which comes in real handy when you're facing crowds of angry Rapture citizens ganging up on you.
Bioshock 2 also features a multiplayer mode with its own story, detailing the fall of Rapture during its civil war. Not only can you play the role of a BIg Daddy, but you can also play the game as one of several Splicer characters -- each one with the ability to gain Plasmids and extra weaponry. It's a welcome touch to see Bioshock 2 bring multiplayer to Rapture, and with unique modes like "Capture the Sister" and "Team ADAM Grab," it's got an identity completely unique to the game's world.
Every once in while, there's a video game that just wants to kill you -- and Demon's Souls is incredibly ruthless. Set in a doomed mythical kingdom surrounded by a force known as the "Deep Fog," Demon's Souls illustrates a world that has been overrun by monsters and lost souls. Many warriors attempt to infiltrate this kingdom called Boletaria, and just as many wind up dead, their souls now bound to the Deep Fog. From the start of the game, you're place in the shoes of one such warrior who is killed shortly upon breaching the Deep Fog. At that point onward, the game revolves around you slaying various demons, collecting their souls to increase the ablities of your own warrior. As you go further into the game, the stakes of death increase, as Demon's Sould strips you of almost everything you earn each time you die.
Demon's Souls may be merciless in the penalties for death, but it's balanced by robust features like class customization, online co-op gameplay, and combat that changes constantly depending on your class and weaponry. As you grow in strength and tackles bigger monsters, the game consistently tries to top each challenge, with each goal just a hair more difficult than the last. If you're any kind of RPG addict, the kingdom of Boletaria will surely suck you in.
Even if you consider it Electronic Arts' answer to Modern Warfare, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 still offers a lot more than the average war combat game. Pairing its trademark "capture the flag" gameplay with a variety of modes and campaigns, Bad Company 2 further separates itself from the pack with maps that emulate environments from the Panama Canal to the Alaskan Rockies to the dense jungles of South America. If you like vehicular combat that isn't present in realistic first-person shooters like Call of Duty or Killzone, Bad Company 2 also has everything from all-terrain quad-bikes to Black Hawk helicopters at your disposal.
And even that's just scratching the surface of the multiplayer game, as Bad Company 2 also includes a single-player story that takes your squad of commandos from Bolivia to Chile to Colombia. Alongside the plot of an alternate Present Day that sees the Russian government launching a world-wide military invasion of its neighboring countries, it's a wild take on modern war that only Battlefield could do. Come for the multiplayer, stay for everything else.
- Heavy Rain
More interactive story than video game, Heavy Rain is a groundbreaking title from developer Quantic Dream that makes a strong argument for video games being the new standard in interactive fiction. Presented in the style of a dramatic noir thriller, Heavy Rain tells the story of four strangers hunting down a murderer known only as the Origami Killer. Each character has a stake in uncovering the identity of this man, and depending on the actions made by the player throughout the game, each person can either live or die during key points in the narrative.
Along with Quick Time Events and context sensitive sequences, Heavy Rain also makes frequent use of the PlayStation 3's unique Sixaxis control scheme, as players will often have to mimic realistic actions during the game. Whether it's running from an armed assailant or trying to question a suspect, Heavy Rain's constantly-branching chains of events ensure that playing through the story will usually result in vastly different endings. Aside from the gameplay aspect, Heavy Rain also pushes the graphical envelope, with high-tech rendering and motion capture used to portray the cast of Heavy Rain -- making the overall experience feel more real than most other PS3 games can claim to be.