It's no secret that the summer months are markedly scarce in terms of worthy, must-play video game titles. But just because the weather is a bit nicer doesn't necessarily mean that gaming must take a back seat. Regardless of consoles owned, there's likely something for everyone this summer.
Xbox 360 owners have been lucky enough to be rewarded with what Microsoft now calls its Summer of Arcade. It's a group of download-only titles (averaging around $15) that get heavy promotion on the Xbox 360's dashboard, but have also proved themselves worthy of MS Points in the past. For instance, last year's Limbo not only won the hearts of gamers and critics alike, but took the 9 spot in our annual top 10 games of the year list.
This year's Summer of Arcade has already hit the ground running, starting off with last week's addictive action-RPG, Bastion. We demoed the game live on CNET TV's preGame show.
Microsoft's Summer of Arcade continues each week with a new title. The rest of the schedule plays out as follows: June 27, From Dust; August 3, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet; August 10, Fruit Ninja Kinect; and August 17, Toy Soldiers: Cold War.
PS3 gamers have plenty to keep them busy until new exclusive titles like Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3 see the light of day. It may have gone under the radar since it was released during E3, but InFamous 2 is definitely worth the time of PS3 gamers. We love that the game picks right up where the first title left off, with our hero Cole already possessing the electricity powers he worked so hard to earn in the first go-round.
Even better news awaits fans of PlayStation Network titles. After an entire year, Limbo is now available on the PSN, making it a must-play for anyone who owns a PlayStation 3.
My, what an uneventful summer this has been for Nintendo. After anticlimactically launching the 3DS eShop, Nintendo has not been able to generate much interest in any of the company's platforms, save for a 3D reboot of a Zelda classic. While we had some fun with the hidden-item game Mystery Case Files: The Malgrave Incident (Wii), the anticipated Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (3DS) did not impress.
Retro gamers with a 3DS may find fun in Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, but Nintendo fans will really need to scrape the bottom of the barrel to keep themselves busy during the wait for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which is due out before the end of the year.
Our favorite game of the entire summer is still Shadows of the Damned (Xbox 360, PS3), but we're also looking forward to the twisted love story in Catherine (Xbox 360, PS3), due out today.
Football fans can rejoice to know that their season has been saved, but the die-hard pigskin faithful can kick off early with NCAA Football 2012 (Xbox 360, PS3).
If you think you've maxed out all the gameplay in L.A. Noire, think again. The title's downloadable content has really hit its stride this summer with various add-on cases to tackle.
Finally, just before summer's end, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) will hit, signaling the end of the seasonal drought. After the last week in August, things pick up once again starting with games like Gears of War 3, Resistance 3, Dead Island, and many more--most of which are outlined in our top games of E3 2011 slideshow.
What games are you playing this summer? Sound off below in our comments section and share with other CNET readers.