Battlefield: Bad Company 2 - ■■■■□
Taking massive open-world environments crammed to the gills with commandos and vehicles, then giving you the power to topple entire buildings or cop impromptu helicopter and ATV joyrides, the only thing predictable about this gorgeous grand-scale blaster-a heady cocktail of nail-biting tactical showdowns and giddy suicide runs-is its penchant for pyrotechnics and breathless modern-day military showdowns. For maximum enjoyment, fire up online options, pop a few energy drinks, and watch the fatalities climb.
www.ea.com / PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Heavy Rain - ■■■■□
Much as we dig paging through a good murder mystery, single-handedly solving a serial-killer drama presented from multiple characters' perspectives-and controlled using a curious blend of context-sensitive actions-proves more compelling, still. While some may take odds with the game's pacing and constantly shifting array of consequences tied to each flexibly scripted encounter's outcome, you can't fault its sense of atmosphere or ambition. No question, the tale's complicated stuff, but well worth wrapping your mind (and thumbs) around.
www.playstation.com / PS3
Star Trek Online - ■■■◧□
Beam us up, Dorky! Sorry, couldn't resist . . . but can you blame us? Boldly going where no massively multiplayer online game has gone before-into a 3D virtual world where you command Federation or Klingon starships-this epic outing promises to inspire a new generation of 40-year-old shut-ins. Explore remote planets, level photon torpedoes at enemy vessels, or travel the cosmos looking for signs of intelligent life (Hint: They're seldom found amongst other players). Cheerfully, catchy game mechanics see it deliver a Vulcan neck pinch to the competition.
www.atari.com / PC
Major League Baseball 2K10 - ■■■◧□
Though it's hardly been delivering all-star results in recent seasons, the industry's top multiplatform slugger at least sees its batting average improve with this year's effort. Thank a sweeping range of options for storming home plate solo or belting them out of the park in head-to-head Internet showdowns, plus a greater emphasis on more realistic on-field performance. Room for improvement still exists in terms of controls and occasionally questionable opponent artificial intelligence, but for now, it's still a solid base hit.
www.2ksports.com / PC, PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360
God of War III - ■■■■■
Slept through English class? No worries: Greek mythology proves much doper here anyway, as berserk warrior Kratos pounds his frustration with Olympus into skeleton warriors' skulls with giant-ass gauntlets or rips centaurs and chimeras apart using chain-mounted blades. High-definition visual overhaul and support for wielding decapitated heads as flashlights or harpies as trapezes aside, let's level: Equal parts action-based puzzle-solving and furious button-mashing melees, this one's less memorable for any major play innovations than its stunning set pieces and sheer plasma-drenched ultraviolence.