Skate It - DS
Rarely have we felt so instantly at home with a game's controls. While the d-pad steering was inevitably a little clunky, performing tricks by 'drawing' their motions across the board illustrated on the bottom screen became second-nature in the time it took to pull off a single ollie.
Vertical lines for the aforementioned, sideways flicks for kickflips, backward slides for nollies... What should feel like patting your head while rubbing your tummy starts to come on instinct in no time at all. Although the visuals are undeniably a little rough, what we've experienced of Skate It on the DS is a remarkable achievement, and brilliantly tactile fun to boot.
Sonic Unleashed - Xbox 360
Sonic Unleashed plays like a highly polished retrospective, remixing elements of Sonic Adventure, Sonic and the Secret Rings and the original 2D games. The only problem with that? Only one of those elements was any good in the first place. So while the 3D, into-the-screen sections control fairly responsively and with much more flexibility than the blue ballistic's Wii debut ever offered, they still fall victim to the "Am I actually playing this?" syndrome inherent to the 3D Sonic games.
Automatic speed boosts, springs set up in unavoidable positions, grind-rail after grind-rail... Yet again we just set Sonic running and left him to it. And worst of all? The 2D sections we've been so excited about worked the exact same way in this particular demo. And don't even get us started on the werehog combat sections. We didn't get to play them, but they looked painfully sluggish and made up of some of the most generic platforming we've seen in ages.
Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels - Wii
Frustrating game to rate, this one. On the one hand, it does not a single thing to offend and works better than you'd probably ever expect it to, Wii MotionPlus be damned. It's an earnest little game and you can tell that it really wants to be great. But on the other hand it just doesn't do enough to be particularly interesting. A full exploration of the differently-balanced characters might reveal more rewarding depths, but right now, running around in circles whacking people with glowing sticks just isn't that exciting, however well the controls might work.
Street Fighter IV - Xbox 360
To those of us who first bonded with Ryu way back on the SNES, Street Fighter IV has the potential be a nigh-religious experience. And to anyone else, it could still be a shimmering example of everything that is good and true about 2D gaming. Planning and spontaneity. Brutality and psychology. Extravagance and perfect game-balance. All of the contradictory beauty which made up Street Fighter II is here in abundance.
It is familiar and it is comforting, but it offers just enough of the new to be an endlessly tantalising prospect. Street Fighter is back in a way which reminds us why it never really went away in our hearts. And it and looks and sounds as good as anything else out there. No arguments.