What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Dead to Rights: Retribution, Xbox 360 and PS3
I'm not sure how I feel about liking Dead to Rights: Retribution. I hadn't played any of the previous games in the series and, if I'm being honest, expected this to be pretty mediocre at best. I had a lot of fun with the game earlier this week, though, with the brutal combat, ridiculous action and smart visuals combining really well. It feels old-fashioned in a good way, and should bring a smile to the face of anyone who doesn't take gaming too seriously. And you can make a dog bite a man's balls off. These are bad men you're dealing with. They deserve everything that's coming to them. Don't feel any remorse.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
SEX! Now I've got your attention, listen carefully: sex in games is crap. We're just not there yet from a graphical point of view. Clipping, bizarre facial animations, creepy movement, dodgy mo cap, unrealistic eyes - with all these visual failings working against video game sex scenes, it's hard to take them seriously. But, while playing Dragon Age: Origins expansion Awakening this week, I was surprised to find myself missing the absence of romance. It's got nothing to do with some juvenile desire to perv over badly animated porn - if Origins' sex scenes are anything to go by, I'd more likely wet myself laughing than wet myself in that way. No, it's to do with the chase. The chase, which relies more on writing and character - two of BioWare's qualities - than it does impressive visuals, I can take seriously. I loved trying to convince (desperately nag) sultry mage Morrigan to welcome me into her tent in Origins, and I would have loved the opportunity to do the same with boobalicious elf Velanna in Awakening (likely with similar levels of desperate nagging). I know the actual sex scene would have been an embarrassing mess of clipping arms and legs, but everything up to that point would have been thrilling. Well, as thrilling as convincing a virtual elf to shag a knight dressed in tier nine armour can be.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Phoenix Wright: Justice For All, DS
My DS has been getting a lot of attention lately. I finally polished off Professor Layton and Pandora's Box (what the hell is up with that ending?!), and then swiftly moved onto the second Phoenix Wright game. I know that the Miles Edgeworth thing has just come out, but I'm still working through the early parts of the over-arching Ace Attorney story. To be honest, I have no idea why it's taken me so long to play this. I love the Phoenix Wright titles: they're genuinely funny, the puzzles are often very sharp, and I absolutely love the characters. There's no other franchise that lets you cross-examine a parrot in the middle of a murder trial, or which features scary German women who whip your face in court. Great stuff.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer - Just Cause 2, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
The original just didn't do it for me. I picked it up for something like £3.50 in a pre-owned games bin somewhere and played it for a solid 45 minutes before trading it right back again. The strange thing is, Just Cause 2 hasn't changed loads from its older brother, but it's just bang awesome every step of the way. Giving you the grappling hook and parachute combo from the outset seems like a risky move, but it just opens up the world so effortlessly. One time, I actually flew a helicopter to the top of the map (five or six kilometres up!?), bailed out and grappled my way back in before crash landing.