Plugged In

So what’s in your console?

OK, I give up. After two weeks of attempting to post a full-fledged review of “Grand Theft Auto IV,” I have thrown up my hands in surrender. It is simply not meant to be.

In fact, after Wednesday’s storms knocked out the power at my house and, in the process, fried my laptop which — you guessed it — contained the aforementioned “GTA” review, I am convinced that there is some higher power at work here.

Rather than tempt fate again, I concede.

So, in place of a full-blown review of “GTA IV,” today I’ve decided to give a few quick hits on some of the games I’ve been playing lately, “GTA” included:

“Grand Theft Auto IV” — There’s not a lot left to be said about Rockstar’s flagship franchise’s first foray onto next-gen consoles. Is it a great game? Absolutely. Is it the greatest game ever made? Not hardly. That said, “GTA IV” deserves all of the praise being heaped upon it by critics around the globe. The pseudo-fictional setting of Liberty City is an amazing creation, perfectly capturing the look and feel of its inspiration, New York City. Niko Bellic may be the star, but Liberty City steals the show. Score: 9.2/10.

“Ninja Gaiden 2” — So this is what it would be like if Quentin Tarantino made a video game. With tons of blood, guts and severed limbs, “Ninja Gaiden II” raises the bar on brutality. And make no mistake, dismembering bad guys has never been more fun. The action here, as in past iterations, is lightning quick and sometimes unforgiving in its difficulty as wave after wave of Black Spider Clan ninjas stand between you and your goal of saving the world (or at least I think that’s the plot. To be honest, Ryu doesn’t really need a reason to kick butt.) The difficulty may frustrate some, but hang in there and you’ll be rewarded in this super sequel. Score: 8.6/10.

“Professor Layton and the Curious Village” — Yeah, I was a little late to the party on this one, but I couldn’t put my DS down once I started this gem. The story is predictable, but the style and polish here more than make up for any shortcomings. The animation sequences look fantastic, especially for Nintendo’s handheld. The brain teasers range from simplistic to maddening, but the stories behind the questions are generally amusing. You shouldn’t be puzzled about picking this one up. Score: 8.5/10.

I’ve also been spending time with “Condemned 2: Bloodshot,” “Rainbow Six Vegas 2” and “Lost Odyssey.” I highly recommend all three, especially “Lost Odyssey.” As far as traditional Japanese RPGs go, this is far and away the best currently available on the Xbox 360. I’m lost as to why this game hasn’t been a bigger hit.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. How about you? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s spinning in your console right now.