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Old 05-16-2011, 12:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Launch Pad: the week of May 15

Welcome to Launch Pad, our weekly look at the notable video games, demos and other interactive goodies hitting stores or online outlets.

Having investigated the suspects in the case of "The Week's Big Game," I'm pretty sure we've determined who the guilty party is.

So let's dive right into this week's releases:

Retail games launching May 17

L.A. Noire
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Details: This is one of the more fascinating titles from Rockstar, featuring a World War II veteran who moves up the detective ranks in the Los Angeles Police Department during the 1940s. Considering the success of last year's Red Dead Redemption -- not to mention that little franchise called Grand Theft Auto -- any game with the Rockstar label will certainly pop up on players' radars.

The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
Publisher: Atari
Platform(s): PC
Details: The sequel to 2007's The Witcher is a role-playing epic stars Geralt as he not only tries to protect the kingdom of Temeria from a possible attack by a nearby castle, but investigate who attempted to assassinate his king. If it's as well-received as the first game, Witcher 2 should be a pretty strong RPG.

Fable III
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform(s): PC
Details: The Xbox 360 title featuring the adventures in Bowerstone makes its debut on the PC. For more details, check out our review from last October. It's too bad Fable III didn't emphasize players' roles as king more prominently.

Xbox Live

Sega Rally Online Arcade
Developer: Sega
Release Date: May 18
Details: Racing game features five different events, offline 2-person multiplayer or online races with up to six players. It's also compatible with the wireless Xbox 360 steering wheel.

Fallout: New Vegas -- "Honest Hearts"
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: May 17
Details: The second piece of downloadable content for studio Obsidian's role-playing adventure through the wastelands of Sin City. "Honest Hearts" follows an expedition into Utah's Zion National Park disrupted by an ambush.

Crysis 2 -- Retaliation Map Pack
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: May 17
Details: The first DLC for Crytek's first-person shooter features four multiplayer maps: Park Avenue, Transit, Shipyard and Compound.

Shift 2: Unleashed -- Speedhunters Pack
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: May 17
Details: The DLC for EA's latest Need For Speed installment introduces two new race modes: Drag and Standing Mile. There's also 14 additional cars and six new tracks, all for $10.

PlayStation Network

Although online gameplay and other options are available on PSN, the PlayStation Store is still down, which means no new downloads. We'll have PSN store updates again as soon as it's back up.

Nintendo Virtual Console (available May 16)

Chrono Trigger
Publisher: Square Enix
Price: 800 points ($8)
Details: The classic RPG which debuted on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System returns.

DSiWare (available May 16)

Big Bass Arcade
Publisher: Big John Games
Price: 500 points ($5)
Details: It's fishing on your DS! It features seven different lakes, nine types of lures, 42 events and lots and lots of bass.

Word Searcher 3
Publisher: Digital Leisure
Price: 500 points ($5)
Details: Because you can never have too many word search puzzle games, here's another featuring 100 themed challenges.

WiiWare (available May 16)

Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove: Monster Mix
Publisher: Natsume
Price: 500 points ($5)
Details: What's scarier: vampires or dancing vampires? This music title may provide the answer. A group of loyal zombies have disappeared, and lead character Gabrielle must use her dance moves to lure them back. Pretty sure brains would work just fine.

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