Chase a Puck or a London Robber With New Games

Sherlock Holmes a wanted robber? A beat-em-up game with a 40-hour backstory? The newest console games are throwing things a little off-kilter this season.

Persona 4: Arena, from Ubisoft, sets itself apart from other action games in that the action comes second to the story. Players can expect about 40 hours of story, with old, familiar characters from previous versions.

The game's developers promise plenty of appeal to returning players, but also say there will be some basic action to help those just getting into the franchise. With versions planned for the Playstation 3 and XBox 360, it will cost about 50 euros (63 dollars).

If that's too big a departure from regular action games, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 from Namco Bandai is more conventional. Players can choose from among more than 50 characters.

However, unlike earlier versions of the game, it's not every man for himself: Players can form tag teams, taking turns in the ring. The trick is finding the right moment to make the switch. Sometimes that comes in the middle of an attack.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 costs about 60 euros and is available for the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3.

Players can expect their fair share of fights with NHL 13 from Electronic Arts, all part of perfecting the ice hockey experience. A system called True Performance Skating is supposed to make the characters' movements as realistic as possible. The intelligence of the game's computer opponents has also been boosted.

Additionally, much more controlled movement of the puck and stick is now possible. If that's too much detail for beginners, it's possible to lower the difficulty settings to a more manageable level. Teams are based on real-life teams, though gamers can change the line-up. The game should cost about 70 euros.

At first glance, Borderlands 2, from 2K Games, looks like a standard first-person shooter with comic-style graphics. However, the complicated role playing quickly proves that impression wrong.

As in the game Diablo, the game is about besting monsters, either alone or with a team, and acquiring their weapons. A randomness generator makes it near impossible for two players to get the same items.

The story is about the distant planet Pandora, the inhabitants of which are oppressed by an evil company. Players can choose from four characters with various skills: One can become invisible; a second can use two weapons simultaneously; a third has special defences.

Despite the comic-book-style animation, the level of violence makes this game inappropriate for children. Available on September 21 for the Playstation 3 and the XBox 360, it should cost about 65 euros.

Koch Media's The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, due September 21, should be quieter. Available for the Playstation 3 and XBox 360, it requires players to take on the role of British master detective Holmes, solving puzzles as he proves his innocence in a crime that has even turned his loyal ally Watson against him.

The game is designed to show the dark side of Holmes. It is not based on an original story by Arthur Conan Doyle, which means it is full of surprises for long-time fans of the detective. Selling for 50 euros, a PC version is also anticipated.

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