What we've been playing this week.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, Xbox 360 and PS3
Rearmed was one of the first major games I reviewed for this site, and two years on I'm still deeply in love with its crispy electro soundtrack. The game itself has held up well too, so I was only too happy to jump in (yeah, you can jump now) to this FatShark-developed sequel. I can't say too much ahead of next week's review, but happily state right now that the sound design is top notch, and that Nathan Spencer is a ginger killing machine. Also, I love his bristly 'tache. It's a shame this wasn't released to tie-in with Movember; we could have been kindred spirits.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Pokémon Black, Nintendo DS
I went with Tepig in the end. He's the fire-type starter Pokémon; a little red thing with a snout and a curly tail. He's cute, but deceptively badass. I call him Walter. Our adventure together is off to a good start: he beat both of my rivals (or 'best friends', as they are this time around) in battle, helped me catch a further five Pokémans for my team, and has aided me in rescuing stolen Poékmon from the nefarious Team Plasma. The lovely Professor Juniper is super impressed with how quickly I'm filling out my Pokédex, and my mum recently bought me some new trainers. Life in Unova is good. Oh, I totally have a gym badge, too.
You might surmise from this that the new poké-adventure is entirely reminiscent of previous entries in the series, and you'd be right. That said, I can't help but get wrapped up in the excitement of it all over again. There are new features and refinements, of course, but not the fundamental changes the series is in dire need of. I'm enjoying it a considerable amount, but whether I'll feel the same way in ten, twenty, fifty hours time remains to be seen. Here's hoping.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Spare Parts, Xbox 360 and PS3
I was very briefly tempted back to my Xbox when someone asked me to play Spare Parts with them - a very harmless little robot game with a whiff of Ratchet and Clank about it. It's nothing that's going to tear the world of buddy-based platforming apart, in fact it plays like a very simplified amalgamation of most games in the genre. But considering its status as a bargain XBLA title for kids it's a fine little platformer romp. You get Simon Pegg on vocals as the only speaking character in the game, you get Pixar-styled cutesy bots, you get basic co-op gameplay. You also get a bit of a finicky fixed camera that doesn't exactly inspire that co-op work. But you could do worse.
Tom Pearson, Video Producer - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, iPhone, DS
I have real issues with Mr Wright's investigational technique; he has absolutely no idea what he's doing most of the time. Any game that causes you to inevitably become stuck is immensely frustrating. It would never happen in real life (unless of course, you're hideously rotund and lumbering through a passageway would be inconceivable). For example, when you need to relieve yourself, you don't get up off your arse and immediately start looking for clues as to how you get to your toilet. It's discouraging to say the least and definitely not my favourite aspect to the Ace Attorney series. What I do love, however, is nailing someone with sweet, sweet justice; an objection here, some proof slammed down there and BAM! Job's a good'un. Watching them try and squirm out of the ineludible jail time has me in giggles. Sometimes I wonder if I should forcefully slam my desk at work more often to get some results.