The games we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - New Star Soccer, iOS
I've been away from my consoles for a while now, but have been dabbling with New Star Soccer on my iPod touch. I'm still quite useless in terms of stats, my social life is appalling and the fans hate me, but hey, I've transferred to a new team, my salary has gone up and I now get a goal bonus.
There's no denying that NSS is very addictive, but I do sometimes think that my team mates are useless and don't do me any favours. Sure, I might pass the ball fractionally to the side of a team mate, but they could attempt to move at a speed faster than an England break in order to get on the end of it. I'm slightly fed up of getting poor ratings because my cross-field pass that dissected two defenders wasn't collected by Christiano Slowcouch.
I've just bought a house, which helps my player recover after matches, but it's a shame I can't by brain transplants for my team mates.
Neon Kelly, Deputy and Features Editor – Borderlands 2, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
I have to tread carefully here, but I think I can get away with talking about Borderlands 2 in general terms. If I'm completely honest, my first encounter with Gearbox's sequel left me feeling satisfied, but little more: the game seemed solid, with notable improvements over the original... and yet somehow my heart failed to explode into flames of love.
As I say, I'm not in a position where I can discuss details – but let's just say that I'm at least four times more enthusiastic about Borderlands 2 now. I'm not even sure there's a specific thing that's stoked my fire; it could just be that the release date feels closer. Whatever the cause, I have a hankering for bandit midgets, loot hunts, and stupidly-powerful firearms. And that Zer0 guy? He's a BAMF.
Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor - Battlefield 3, Xbox 360
Had a few blinders this week - at times it's felt like I've tapped into some kind of mystical Battlefield Force. I feel like DICE has made the game part of the public consciousness again, though perhaps for some of the wrong reasons - I've been reading everyone's comments about the game over the past week and there's certainly some disgruntlement brewing there. I'm still having a blast, however. For all the faults of the dedicated servers, and the nastiness of the two-tier system that Premium creates, I really do think Battlefield 3 is better now than it was at launch.
David Scammell, Staff Writer - Battlefield 3: Close Quarters, Xbox 360
I know, I know... In last week's VG Plays I suggested that I'd all but given up on Battlefield 3 thanks to those flippin' privately-owned servers. But - being a stubborn bastard - I decided that I wasn't going to let anybody else's crazy online behaviour ruin my fun.
I've got Close Quarters now, which I'm enjoying far more than I ever thought I would. I had assumed DICE's mishaps with Medal of Honor's online were enough to suggest that Battlefield given a tighter, faster Call of Duty-inspired twist would never work, but thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case here.
I think it's the mixture of Close Quarter's terrific map design and persistent destruction that does it. I didn't think the gradual deterioration of the scenery would add all that much to the overall experience, but it does seem to impact the atmosphere somewhat as the glass starts flying and office blocks gradually become reduced to rubble.
Ziba Tower's my favourite of the four maps as, it seems, is everybody else's. It seems to have become the Nuketown of Battlefield 3 maps. I reckon it's because everybody likes red and white offices - especially DICE.
But DICE's idea of themed expansion packs continues to hold up incredibly well when compared to the randomised map packs we've become accustomed to. I do feel like I'm playing something far greater, more expansive and better considered than, say, one of Modern Warfare's Content Collections, even if it includes a similar amount of content. So yeah, if you're still on the fence, I'd recommend it. Even if you do have to put up with some stupid servers.
Also, Lauren saw that Dead or Alive 5 Extended Play that we recorded earlier in the week and now I'm in trouble. Come Monday, I have no idea whether I'll be dead or alive myself.