High profile releases on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are few and far between in the coming weeks. Not only are the summer months upon North America and Europe, but publishers are wisely giving May's Red Dead Redemption a wide berth. That's not to say there aren't gems to be found - look out for Peace Walker on PSP and Sin and Punishment 2 on the Wii in particular.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)
Release: Europe, June 17. North America, already out (June 8).
Age rating: Europe, 18+. North America, Teen.
Hideo Kojima, mastermind behind the simultaneously serious and silly
Metal Gear Solid series, has come up with a multiplayer spin on the series. Up to four PSP owners can take part in the same game, sneaking about in this prequel that's set in the delicate nuclear tension of the 1970s.
Peace Walker is also bundled with selected new PSPs, and Japanese manufacturer HORI are busy producing an official accessory set that includes a protective PSP pouch as well as a trinket and a code to unlock an extra character. There's also a promotional free to play web game, "Piece Walker".
MGS:PW Accessory Set: $/€24.99
PSP bundle: $199.99
Toy Story 3: The Video Game (360 DS PC PS3 PSP Wii)
Release date: North America, June 15. Europe, July 16.
Age Rating: North America, Everyone (E10+ on 360 & PS3). Europe, 7+ (3+ on DS & PSP).
A tie-in with the big-screen release of
Toy Story 3 in cinemas on June 18, Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear are joined by Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl to form the game's roster of playable characters. Story mode is self-explanatory - what the movie doesn't have is a Toybox mode, where players can create their own levels with items unlocked from the main game.
Price: $/€49.99 (360 PS3 Wii), $/€29.99 (DS PC PSP)
International Cricket 2010 (360 PS3)
Release: Europe, June 18
Age Rating: 3+
With a release date timed to correspond with a five-match One Day International series between England and Australia, June 22 to July 3,
International Cricket features licenced teams and kits for both historic sides. In total there are 16 teams and 21 stadiums to choose from, the option of online tournaments, and commentary from commentary from Jonathan Agnew and Shane Warne. Players can also rate their opponents according to how sportsmanlike they were during a game.
Backbreaker Football (PS3 360)
Release: Europe, June 25. North America, already out (June 1).
Age Rating: 3+ / Everyone
The tech behind
Backbreaker is the same that helped power animation in
Grand Theft Auto IV,
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and
Red Dead Revolver. Instead of integrating it into other companies' games, here NaturalMotion make its own debut with an American football game, aiming for a crunching realism when it comes to thumping tackles. That alone doesn't make it a good game by default, and it certainly has tough competition with the
Madden franchise king of the hill. There's an associated iPhone app,
Price: $49.99 / €39.99
Transformers: War for Cybertron (360 DS PC PS3 Wii)
Release: North America, June 22. Europe, June 25.
Age rating: Teen / 12+ (360 PS3), 7+ (DS Wii)
Featuring many recognisable names from the Transformers toys, cartoons, and films,
War for Cybertron takes place well before the shape-shifting robots make contact with earth. There's no big link with the recent hollywood blockbusters, but Optimus Prime is voiced by the same actor, Peter Cullen. Though fans have had their fingers burnt by many of the Transformers video games in recent years, the developers are making the right noises: "The goal was not to make the best Transformers game ever, the goal was to make a great game that was a Transformers game". A downloadable Xbox 360 demo is expected.
Price: $/€59.99 (360 PS3), $/€49.99 (Wii), $/€39.99 (PC), $/€29.99 (DS)
Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Skies (Wii)
Release: North America, June 7. Europe, already out (May 7).
Age Rating: Teen / 12+
A shoot 'em up with an illustrious history: Its developer, Treasure, is a small Japanese studio that stands behind many of the most influential video games of the last two decades.
Sin & Punishment 2 has been out in Europe for a month already, and the reviews have been top-notch with regard to both frantic action and great graphics. European reviewers have been effusive in their praise: "game-making at its absolute best" (Eurogamer, 9/10), "something like a true Nirvana" (Multiplayer.it, 9/10), "a brilliant risk and reward scoring system" (Edge, 8/10), "so many standout moments" (GamesTM, 9/10).