Fighting baddies between minding kids
Yakuza 3, PS3
For those who rail against violent video games, how about one that lets you run an orphanage? Step forward, Yakuza 3, and take a bow.
Fair enough, in between feeding the kids and sorting out their squabbles at the home, you bust a lot of heads as an ageing gangster drawn back into a yakuza feud.
Don't worry, it all makes sense but gamers must be prepared to sit back and drink in a lot of back story played out in sometimes awkward cinematics.
More slowly paced than the previous two Yakuza titles, Y3 takes its sweet time to get the plot rolling, doling out the brawling action so infrequently some players may just give up.
But persevere and almost unnoticed you become engrossed in its lushly detailed cities, vast spread of pastimes (golf, fishing, etc) and meaty combat.
Just overlook the clunky am-dram storytelling, soak up the authentic Japanese atmosphere and you'll find Yakuza 3 a grower.
The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom, X360
Kooky can often be a coded term of abuse but this download-only puzzler has wacky, quirky and kooky written all over it.
Our titular hero likes to mess with time by triggering clones of himself to collect pies -- and if you're thinking that sounds a lot like the classic Braid, you score one point.
Incorporating platforming, devious puzzles, off-kilter soundtrack and a distinctive art style, Winterbottom mixes delight with frustration -- but in a good way.
The idea may not be new but the execution is wholly original.
Guitar Hero: Van Halen, X360/PS3
Notable for what's not here as much as what is, GH:VH faithfully follows the Guitar Hero template, focusing on the hair metal antics of Eddie Van Halen and his crew.
Non-fans may be non-plussed by some lumpen songs while aficionados will wonder about the omission of tunes from the post-Dave Lee Roth era.
In comparison to the love lavished on GH: Aerosmith, Van Halen lacks the polish that would make it more than a rental.