Games

BORDERLANDS (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Rating: NN.


BORDERLANDS (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Rating: NN

Every now and then, in an attempt to push boundaries, a developer releases a game with an identity crisis. Borderlands can’t decide if it’s a post-apocalyptic shooter, a role-player or a twist on a randomly spawned dungeon crawler. The result is a bland mix of half-baked ideas that quickly grow tiresome. The lack of a compelling story doesn’t help either.

Much of the game content is randomly generated, great for infinite weapon options but less awesome when you’re faced with annoying baddies continuously repopulating the world. On the plus side, Borderlands’ beautiful cell-shaded artwork distinguishes it from the many games that go for ultra-realism. Co-op fans may find something they like via split-screen or online modes, but most should skip the game entirely.

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV: THE BALLAD OF GAY TONY (Xbox 360) Rating: NNNNN

Rockstar knew what it was doing when it built the hugely detailed Liberty City for the original GTA IV. This follow-up release takes you into the seedy nightclub world of Luis, faithful sidekick to Tony Prince, owner of the biggest straight and gay clubs in the city. As with The Lost And Damned, the story parallels the previous tales, letting you weave in and out of the major story arcs.

New activities, including golf at the driving range and base-jumping from tall buildings, make use of the city’s many features. You can download TBoGT on XBox Live or buy it as part of the Episodes From Liberty City disc, which includes The Lost And Damned and doesn’t require the original game to play the new episodes. With more guns, more explosions and new multi-player experiences, there’s no reason not to take a trip back to Liberty City.

UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES (PS3) Rating: NNNN

One of the commercials for Uncharted 2 jokes that the player’s girlfriend thinks she’s sitting down to watch a movie every night when, in fact, he’s playing the game. This ad nails the game dead-on. Uncharted 2 is an interactive cinematic adventure done almost to perfection. Nathan Drake embarks on an Indiana Jones-type journey through acrobatic challenges, puzzle-solving roadblocks and intense gunfights.

The action in this visually stunning game is non-stop, backed by a score worthy of a big-screen film, with writing and voice-acting to match. The downside is that the game only lasts about 10 hours. Despite a few glitches and one major system crash, Uncharted is just short of perfect.

Still, Uncharted 2 is the excuse you’ve been looking for to buy the newly price-slashed PS3.

DJ HERO (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) Rating: NNN

Rock music isn’t for everyone. DJ Hero puts fans of electronic music behind the wheels of steel. Let’s be clear: you won’t be beat-matching or dropping epic eight-hour sets of minimal techno. Nor will you be in a DMC scratch competition any time soon. This game, which could be titled Mashup Hero, is more akin to a Diplo performance than anything else.

The track selection is pretty solid. Well-known artists like DJ AM and DJ Shadow provide some outstanding – and some mediocre – mixes to play along with. The unique turntable controller offers a range of difficulty levels as the player becomes more skilled. Unlike most music games, this is a single-player, though some tracks do let a guitarist join in. Music fans and anyone into alternative game controllers will want DJ Hero in their collection.

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