XLR8R picks the hottest videogames and gear of the month.
Blockbuster season approacheth! Robots! Mutants! More robots! But why give your hard-earned bailout money to those Hollywood fatcats? Give it to the long-suffering videogame industry. Hasn’t Silicon Valley always been there for you?
Oooor, you could always give it to both, as this month sees plenty of movie-to-game tie-ins, most of which are abhorrent. But not our first entry, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Activision; Xbox 360, PS3, Wii), which features everyone’s favorite grumpy mutant, Hugh Jackman provides the voice of the slicey-dicey anti-hero as he battles comic-book baddies in fury of hair and claws à la God of War. While most movie-to-game adaptations are quickly cobbled together and look like crap, Wolverine is perhaps the most gorgeous effort we’ve seen for the genre yet.
Our next movie game is no slouch in the looking-good department either. Terminator: Salvation (Warner Bros.; Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) takes all the metallic fury of the big screen and gives us the firepower to wipe out our artificial nemeses in a hail of bullets and explosions, third-person style. Taking place between the events of Terminator 3 and Salvation, the game puts you in the boots of rapper Common’s character, Barnes, as well as that angry guy from the internet who was also in that other movie with that one dead guy. Rose McGowan also lends her sultry pipes to game-exclusive character Angie Salter. Play it! It’s fucking distracting!
You see, the great thing about WWII wasn’t just the creation of war bonds, Rosie the Riveter, or the atomic bomb. No! It’s that we can relive all those glory years through the wonder of interactive entertainment. No one knows this better than the folks behind Battlestations: Pacific (Eidos; Xbox, PS3), who take us to the exotic Pacific Theater of War where you can play as either the American forces bent on wiping out the island-hopping Japanese or play as the Japanese in a “what if” scenario that sees them through a victory at Midway and all the way to a full assault on the good ol’ US of A. Experimental vehicles, weather effects, and online multiplayer round out this unique take on the well-tread source material.
Speaking of the Japanese, they sure are way more wacky and adorable these days than they were during WWII, aren’t they? There is no better proof than this month’s Patapon 2 (Sony; PSP). Last year’s Patapon mixed rhythm and strategy with addictive gameplay and a killer soundtrack; plus, its dancing tribe of one-eyed warriors charmed the pants off damn near everyone who played it. The sequel takes the lil’ guys and strands them on an all new island with old enemies, who you must actually work in tandem with to defeat an all-new threat, the dreaded Akumapon! New units such as the flying Toripon and Ham-Fisted Robopon will be available as you join in the chant.
Not sick of Guitar Hero yet? Metallica certainly hopes not! This month sees the release of the band’s own version of the biggest name in music games, Guitar Hero: Metallica (Activision; Xbox 360, PS3, Wii), featuring dozens of their classic tunes like “Hit the Lights” and “Master of Puppets,” as well as tracks from acts the band admires, including Slayer, Motörhead and The Sword. While every member of the band will be rendered in the game (including some of their friends), we are still morbidly holding out hope for a Cliff Burton avatar. Ever see that 1985 live video of him bass soloing into “For Whom the Bell Tolls”? Yeah, that dude ruled.
If you would rather rock a sweatband and plum-smugglers than denim and leather then give Virtua Tennis 2009 (Sega; Xbox 360, PS3) a try. Featuring over 20 of the biggest names in tennis—from Venus Williams to Roger Federer—the latest in the best-selling title also allows for all-new arenas and create-a-player options, as well as the opportunity to compete for the officially licensed Davis Cup. Had I known during my seventh-grade tennis lessons that I could have gotten myself in a videogame and been paid millions by swatting a ball over a net, I may might have tried harder. Oy, what a racket!
Pictured: X-Men Origins: Wolverine