By Kenny Mahoney

It’s finally the end of the semester.  Classes are almost over and finals are about to begin.  Soon, you’ll be chillin’ out, maxin’ and relaxin’ all cool for the summer, but you’re going to need something to fill the void between all of those parties and trips to the beach you’ll be taking.  What’s better at filling that void than anything else? You know what, don’t answer that.  The answer is videogames; get your mind out of the gutter for christ sake.  That’s why I’ve compiled this list with my top 11 games of the summer because 10 is so overdone.  I didn’t include actual release dates for these games because they’ve been known to jump around quite a bit, but they all should be out between the time you read this and by the time you get back for the fall semester.

Prototype (360, PS3, PC)

In Prototype, you play as Alex Mercer, some guy who wakes up one morning and discovers he has superhuman strength, agility and the ability to absorb people’s bodies and change his own–and now you’ve got to figure out why.  The game is set in an open-world New York City, which means you have free reign to explore the city and cause as much destruction and mayhem as you want, or you can absorb someone’s identity and use stealth and espionage to take down your foes.  The idea is hard to explain on paper, but after seeing it in action, it looks fantastic.

Ghostbusters (Everything)

Well, it’s uh, it’s Ghostbusters! If you don’t know Ghostbusters, then there isn’t much hope for you.  I had a chance to see some of this game in action at the NY ComiCon, and it looks great.  The game takes place after the movies, and the city is yet again overrun by ghosts.  Obviously, it’s up to the Ghostbusters to…. well to bust them, and it’s your job as a new recruit to help out the old gang.  That’s right, many of the original actors have lent their likeness and voices to the game (except for Rick Moranis, what a dick).  Join Egon, Peter, Ray, and Winston using all of your favorite gadgets and gizmos, but remember–Don’t cross the streams!

Batman: Arkham Asylum (360, PS3, PC)

Batman is a pretty huge badass and he has been known to lay a beat down on crime every now and again.  In Arkham Asylum, that’s exactly what you do!  On your way to bring the Joker to Arkham Asylum, things go horribly wrong and the super villain inmates have taken over, and it’s your job to take them out.   It’s your classic beat em’ up style game (think Double Dragon or Streets of Rage) with a few twists.  Since you are Batman, it goes without saying that you’re one scary dude and you’ll use the shadows to your advantage to strike fear in your enemies and perform crazy hand-to-hand moves.

Fight Night Round 4 (360, PS3)

EA’s boxing simulator is back, and Fight Night Round 4 follows in the footsteps of all the past Fight Night games, which means that you’ll be able to experience real life physics and animation that almost makes you feel each punch.  In addition to that, you’ll be able to play just like your favorite boxing legends, using their styles to your advantage.  The game also looks great and has some of the best looking graphics I’ve seen in a long time.

King of Fighters XII (360, PS3)

For those who don’t know, King of Fighters is exactly like Street Fighter, except a different company makes it.  And while this year’s Street Fighter 4 went into the realm of 3D graphics, King of Fighters keeps it old school with 2D animation.  Not only that, everything in the game is 100% hand drawn.  That’s right, every background, animation and special effect has been painstakingly drawn out, making the game look absolutely fantastic.

Punch Out! (Wii)

Think back to the good old days before the harsh realities of life had you by the throat.  Think back to a simpler time when your NES was the king of household entertainment, and you’ll remember Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!  It’s a new spin on a classic game, bringing the same kind of ducking, weaving, and punching to the Wii’s fancy new motion-controlled gameplay.

Bionic Commando (360, PS3, PC)

We’ve already seen the re-make of the original Bionic Commando as a downloadable title this year, but Capcom has other plans for our swingin’ hero.  This new Bionic Commando brings the game to life in 3D, which has you swinging all over the place with your fancy bionic arm.  It doesn’t seem to change too much of the classic formula, but it sure as hell looks fun.

Red Faction: Guerrilla (360, PS3, PC)

Continuing on the success of the original Red Faction games in which the environments were completely destructible, Red Faction: Guerrilla is bring that tried and true game play to the current generation of consoles.  I had a chance to spend some time with this title at the NY ComiCon, and I definitely enjoyed myself.  Breaking down a wall with a giant hammer and surprising the hell out of whoever’s on the other side just never gets old.

Wii Sports Resort (Wii)

If you bought a Wii, you know Wii Sports.  But this Wii Sports is different in a number of ways.  The “Resort” part of the title brings the sports to more outdoor/tropical/summer type of activities, like Frisbee, jet-skiing, and sword fighting.  But what’s really exciting is that it introduces a brand new attachment to your Wii remote–the Wii Motion Plus.  It’s a little thing that attaches to the bottom of the Wii remote and makes it super-responsive and super-accurate.  Just getting one of those is reason enough to pick up this game.

The Conduit (Wii)

Another game I saw at ComiCon, The Conduit is a first-person shooter for the Wii.  In it, Washington D.C. is invaded by aliens, and it’s up to you to take them down with an arsenal of both modern and alien weapons.  What makes this game really special is the degree of customizability in the controls, allowing you to tweak almost everything until it fits your liking.  It’s about time we had a decent shooter on the Wii, and The Conduit looks like it might be it.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network)

The last game I’m going to talk about is the one that I’m the most excited for.  After months of speculation and rumor, this classic fighting game is making its way to your console as a $15 downloadable title.  Why is this so awesome, you ask? Well, it’s Marvel versus Capcom!  Your favorite comic book heroes battle it out with Capcom’s cast of Street Fighter characters.  Now your friends can finally put-up or shut-up when it comes to their childhood heroes.

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