Mass Effect 3 Mass Effect 3

Video Games Plus is a weekly update on all things gaming. Check it out every other Thursday.

This week we have plenty of buzz around the new Mass Effect, a cool-new SPIN-curated soundtrack for MLB 2K12 and a review of Darkness II.

MASS EFFECT 3 GOES TO SPACE

The makers of Mass Effect 3 are sure taking this space stuff seriously. To promote the launch of the third game in the highly anticipated sci-fi trilogy, publisher Electronic Arts is launching six copies of the exclusive “Space Edition” into space using weather balloons that gamers can hunt down and play more than a week before the game’s official release.

The first package took off Thursday morning at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, with more scheduled in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Berlin, London and Paris.

The games are reportedly encased in specifically designed payloads that include HD cameras and GPS monitors that will help track and secure the copies. By monitoring the Mass Effect official website, gamers can track the games' movement via GPS over the cities and beyond. We just hope they don’t end up in the ocean somehow -- we don’t need gamers suiting up in scuba gear trying to dive for an Xbox game.

In more earthbound news, EA also debuted a 90-second cinematic trailer for called “Take Earth Back” during Sunday’s episode of AMC’s zombie thriller “The Walking Dead” showcasing the attack on earth by an ancient alien race known as the Reapers, and the arrival of the iconic hero Commander Shepard to save the galaxy.

Also, a playable demo of the game has already hit Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. But for those who want to wait, “Mass Effect 3” will finally land in our hands March 6 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

MLB 2K12 GETS SPIN SOUNDTRACK

We’re used to hearing crusty old stadium rock from the ’70s at baseball games, but the makers of MLB 2K12 have other ideas about music for America’s Pastime.

2K Sports announced recently that they’ve partnered with SPIN Media for the first time to create a 13-song soundtrack for the upcoming MLB 2K12, which hits stores on March 6, and they’ve brought in a wide range of musical genres from hip-hop and electronic, to rock and pop, and includes both established and emerging artists.

Here’s a rundown of the tracklist:

1. Bass Drum of Death, "Get Found"
2. Explosions in the Sky, "Trembling Hands"
3. The Cool Kids, "Boomin'"
4. The Vaccines, "If You Wanna"
5. G-Side, "Put Me in the Game"
6. Grouplove, "Colours"
7. JEFF the Brotherhood, "Shredder"
8. My Morning Jacket, "Holdin On to Black Metal"
9. Skrillex, "Nice Sprites & Scary Monsters"
10. Telekinesis, "Please Ask for Help"
11. The Joy Formidable, "Austere"
12. Atmosphere, "Just for Show"
13. Pretty Lights, "Hot Like Dimes"

Alabama rap duo and SPIN break-out artists, G-Side, recorded an exclusive original track called “Put Me in the Game” -- that can be downloaded for free at SPIN.com/mlb2k12. The rest of the soundtrack will also be available to stream.

MLB 2K12 features AL MVP Verlander on the cover along with a robust list of features and game modes, improved gameplay, and the return of the $1 Million Perfect Game Challenge, which will award one gamer the coveted grand prize.

REVIEW: The Darkness II

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Modern comics certainly love their anti-heroes, and it’s hard to find a hero more anti than “Darkness II’s” Jackie Estacado, a mob boss possessed by a demon spirit who grants him mystic powers in his quest for revenge for the slaying of his dead girlfriend.

Jackie isn't a guy you'd want to bring home to mom, but when the goal is to take down dozens of gun-wielding bad guys, this dude knows his stuff. Don't get me wrong though, the story in the single-player campaign is actually quite poignant in many ways -- like the darkest love story you'll ever experience. The narrative, along with the cool graphic novel-like visuals helps this game stand out in the first-person shooter genre.

nullDarkness II
  

The four-player cooperative missions disappoint, but If you don’t flinch at the idea of ripping an enemy in two, eating human hearts to gain power and other gruesome sights, “The Darkness II” is full of bloody good moments.

For more from Ryan Smith, follow him on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter

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