The games we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Max Payne 3, Xbox 360
I'm enjoying Max Payne 3 more than any game in recent memory. For me it nails the kind of gaming experience I love: single-player, high on action, heavy on impressive set-pieces, with spot on gun-play. I know the game didn't sell as well as Take Two and Rockstar hoped it would, but it really deserved to do very well.
If you've been put off by this being the third game in the series, don't worry. You don't need to know anything about the previous games to enjoy this third entry, and to be honest I wonder if the game would have sold better if it had been simply billed as "Max Payne".
As I said last week, this is a gorgeous game, dripping with detail and features some of the most outrageous set-pieces I've ever played. You can't help but root for Max, as despite his failings in life he clearly still cares about people and will quite literally do anything to save the lives of those around him - unless they're pointing a gun at his head.
Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor - Jet Set Radio, Xbox 360
I loved the Dreamcast - I got one in a bundle deal with a DVD player that also came with a copy of Lethal Weapon 3, which seemed fitting at the time - but I do sometimes think the beauty of nostalgia may have coloured my impression of the games, because sometimes I could swear that Blue Stinger was the finest action game of all time. It was, right? Of course it was. How could nostalgia go wrong?
Jet Set Radio was a great game, but it was fiddly and complicated and tough. It is still all of those things, but time - or maybe just my increasingly ADHD-addled patience - has not been kind to such troublesome controls. It still looks great, though; an iconic fusion of sights and sounds. Whatever happened to Hideki Naganuma?
Still, it can be a right pain in the bum to play. I'm not even sure if I would recommend it, though another part of me absolutely would. Like Natalie Imbruglia, I am torn. Actually, if you were alive when Natalie Imbruglia released Torn you will probably enjoy returning to Jet Set Radio. On that note, does anyone (not that anyone in the world actually reads this far into VG Plays) remember Madison Avenue's Don't Call Me Baby? It was like 1995's Call Me Maybe.
But, yes; nostalgia. Sometimes you should never go back. I'll make sure I remember that when SEGA puts out Blue Stinger HD. Coincidentally, the port of NiGHTS is out in a couple of weeks.
Neon Kelly, Video Production Editor – Borderlands 2, Xbox 360
It's great to have choice, but sometimes it can be a bit stressful. Aside from the never-ending question of which gun I should be using (do I take the uber-powerful shotgun that holds four rounds at a time, or the weaker, more accurate one that takes eight?), I'm now torturing myself with Zer0's skill trees. At low levels at least, it makes sense to focus on one subset – and up until now, I've been focusing on the Bloodshed tree. I want to work my way down to 'Execute', and yet I can't help but glance at all the lovely crit-focused stuff in the Sniping tree. I could go for both, but then that'll slow my progress towards the juicy, upper-tier powers. What's a mysterious ninja to do?
David Scammell, Deputy News Editor - Dead or Alive 5, PlayStation 3
I feel dirty. And ever so slightly aroused. Dead or Alive 5's story mode has all the hallmarks of a skin flick - the filthy jazz music, an awful script, wooden (heeeey!) acting, 'eye-opening' camera pans, and a cast that puts the 'model' into character model. But instead of inviting each other in for a cup of coffee and a spot of how's-your-father, the pay-off for all of the nonsense is 30 seconds of fisticuffs.
Arguably, that's almost as satisfying. Dead or Alive, after all, is the anti-Street Fighter; a fighter that you can enjoy - and think you're quite good at - without having to put hours into learning different moves or combos. Heck, I still don't entirely understand the rules behind the new Power Blows, but I don't feel like I'm missing out by avoiding them either.
Although that could be because I'm too busy looking at Tina's assets to care.