The sequel to one of the greatest videogames of all time is almost as awesome as the first one. Set 10 years after the original, this time-sucking game (for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) puts you in a Big Daddy suit, whose kick-ass weapon-arms are some kind of wonderful. Like the first game, 2 looks terrific. The story — set in an underwater city — is great too.
David Bowie: A Reality Tour
Taken from Bowie's last tour seven years ago (in support of Reality, the last album he recorded in a studio), this two-disc concert souvenir is loaded with oldies. There are plenty of songs from the snoozy '00s records Heathen and Reality, but Bowie and band have never sounded tougher on classics like "Rebel Rebel," "Changes" and "Ziggy Stardust."
Evening's Empire: A Novel
(Simon & Schuster)
Bill Flanagan has written for Rolling Stone. He's also an MTV exec. So his novel — about a band manager whose career spans 40 years — is rooted in music history. The protagonist is a swinging Londoner who oversees the Ravons, a British Invasion group hanging on in the new century. Real groups and songs, like Television's "Marquee Moon," show up too.
Born Again Funk
This cool compilation gathers 18 songs by the funkiest gospel groups on the planet. Their names are long forgotten (not that Holy Disciples of Chicago, Ill. or the Sensational Five Singing Sons were ever well known in the first place), but their grooves are timeless. Most of the cuts come from the '70s, when everything R&B sizzled.
Mass Effect 2
The first Mass Effect brilliantly combined action and RPG gameplay for one of the most absorbing space operas ever. This follow-up (for the Xbox 360) offers more of the same, with plenty of emphasis on character and storytelling. There's more shooting this time around, but don't get too trigger-happy: A wrong move can come back to haunt you later.