Borderlands 2

Looting and shooting pretty much sums up Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 which tweaks and polishes everything that was good about the original – four-player co-op, huge variety of weapons, ridiculous explosions – and then even finds time to introduce a coherent story into the madness as player-controlled ‘Vault Hunters’ battle against the power mad Handsome Jack and his forces. There no doubting how impressive Borderlands 2 is in terms of its scope and action, but shortcomings in its shooting mechanics and an over-reliance on repetitious loot collecting mean there’s still room for improvement.

Score: 4/5

Price: £39.99-£49.99
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games

PES 2013

In times of yore it was PES which was the true digital football fan’s choice, but these past few years have been lean times for PES Productions with EA’s FIFA catching, and eventually surpassing, it with consummate ease. This year’s offering goes a slightly different way, eschewing simulation in favour of a more action arcade-like style of play; a better fit for the franchise and befitting of a game whose marketing campaign is focussed on a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. So it is that players can stop the ball on a six-pence and change direction at whim. Fun yes, but further from real life football than ever.

Score: 3/5

Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Price: £29.99-£49.99
Developer: PES Productions
Publisher: Konami

F1 2012

In a week with more than its fair share of perennially updated games Codemasters’ F1 franchise is a relatively fresh-faced newcomer, this being just the third outing of the F1 simulation. With visuals polished still further – surely as good as we can get on the current console generation – and handling honed to within staggering degrees of realism there’s plenty to recommend here. However the sim’s unavoidable issue remains: that driving an F1 car is near to impossible for the average person, and so F1 2012 is never really a true sim, but rather a diluted approximation. That’s not to say it’s anything less than a supreme drive, but beware that without dedication you’ll never experience the game the way it was intended.

Score: 4/5

Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Price: £34.99-£49.99
Developer: Codemasters Racing
Publisher: Codemasters Racing

NHL 13

EA’s ice hockey series while just as long-standing as its football and NFL ones somehow seems to be lagging behind in the development stakes – particularly as regards this current-generation of consoles. NHL 13 does at least look to bring in improvements to the skating itself, as the so-called ‘True Performance Skating’ system improves the game’s physics so that momentum and speed govern how easily players can turn, or shoot, for example. However a puck so sticky that it might as well be covered in velcro taints this move toward realism, so leaving this latest face-off as a fun diversion, but one unsure of whether it’s an arcade game or full-on simulation.

Score: 3/5

Price: £49.99
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: EA
Publisher: EA