If it looks, cuts and sounds like a light saber, then it's got to be a light saber, right? And if it's a light saber, then it must be in a new Star Wars game, huh?
Well, not exactly.
Oh, wait. The star of the game is a sassy, foul-mouthed assassin who explores the wide-open city, solving various open-ended missions as he climbs the ladder of success. This must be a new version of Grand Theft Auto, right?
Instead, it's the new release for the Wii, No More Heroes, in which Travis Touchdown wields a mighty "beam katana" as he slices and dices his way to the top of the United Assassins Assn.'s 10-best list. Yeah, when he swings his power sword thing, it's as gory and violent as you'd expect.
But what Heroes lacks in originality, it compensates for with an unusual, original visual style (big blocky colors and shapes) and an ingenious new way to use the Wii remote (when Travis gets a call on his cellphone, the caller is heard only in the Wii remote speaker).
The writing is solid, the controls are simple and intuitive, and the 8-bit sounds and graphics sprinkled about add to the flavors, even if we've tasted them, over and over, before.
Grade: B- (as fun as it is unoriginal).
Details: Nintendo Wii platform; $49.99; rated Mature (blood and gore, crude humor, intense violence, sexual themes, strong language).
Been there, done that
Turok is the best game you've ever played (if you've never played any other games)! Explore dense jungles and secret army bases (like you might find done better in Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell)! Shoot two different guns at once (like Halo 2 did four years ago)! Fight an endless stream of similarly attired bad guys (like every other generic first-person shooter)!
Did we mention there were dinosaurs running around? (Whoop de do.)
Pointless and derivative, this latest incarnation of the Turok series takes so long to unfold, and without any sense of drama, that it's hard to justify investing time playing it when there are so many other first-person shooters that do it better.
The best thing about this one is probably all the recognizable voice actors in it -- Ron Perlman, Powers Boothe, Timothy Olyphant, William Fichtner and Donnie Wahlberg, to name some -- who unfortunately are given next to nothing to work with.
Grade: D (don't bother).
Details: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms; $59.99; rated Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, language).