There are so many tactical shooters on the market right now that I wasn't very excited when another showed up for me to review this week.
But "America's Army: True Soldiers" (Rated T for Teen) -- which was co-developed with the U.S. Army -- saved me from being burned out.
This Xbox 360 game is brought to you by publisher Ubisoft and developer Red Storm Entertainment. Red Storm is best known for its work on Tom Clancy's "Ghost Recon" and "Rainbow Six" franchises, and I think it has another hit on its hands.
Game cover man Tommy Rieman, a sergeant who won a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq, worked with Red Storm to create a high level of authenticity in "True Soldiers' " real-world scenarios.
Essentially, this game offers a pretty good taste of what joining the Army might be like. Graphics are spot-on, and the action is fast. In the single-player mode, you can go from basic training to fighting the war on terror -- and it takes real skill to move up to rifleman or sniper.
But what's coolest about this game is that when you and your soldier are good and ready, you can take that specific character onto Xbox Live. Also, online players can reward you with points for honorable actions that help you move up the Army ranks. (As with most war games, "True Soldiers" is more fun with multiple players.)
One other thing worth noting: Parents can tailor settings to make the game appropriate for a range of ages.
Review: Cardo S-800 Bluetooth headset
The latest trend in Bluetooth wireless headsets is models that are small enough to fit snugly without needing to actually wrap around your ear.The S-800 will do that, but I found it more comfortable with the ear loop attached. The headset dampens outside noise very well, so the experience is perfectly fine when talking to friends via cell-phone -- or the PS3's gaming network (the S-800 pairs easily with the console).
The unit comes with a standard AC adapter and a USB cable to charge from a computer, which is a nice touch. It weighs less than half an ounce. It'll swap easily between two mobile phones and the PS3. You can also auto-answer calls, switch to a conference-call mode, or dial the last number called by using buttons on the headset (so you don't have to touch your phone).
My favorite feature is a headset location buzzer that you can activate from your paired phone when you lose the thing -- and I briefly lost the thing. Retail is $90, but it can be found for less than $50 online.
Review: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
Rated T for Teen, this sequel to last year's hit fighting game is all about more fighting and fast thumb-twitching.
There are more than 150 heroes and villains to fight with. There are 20 levels. You can also re-create some of the battles from the TV show.
I tried the Wii version, and this year, it has online capability (though I had trouble getting a game -- a problem I never have via Xbox's or Sony's online systems).
This title brings back the fun of those side-scrolling fighters we loved so much on Sega Genesis and Dreamcast. Nothing exceptional, but still thoroughly enjoyable.