The sun is shining, there's a half-finished copy of Bioshock Infinite back home, I've got a third-hand 3DS in the post (it cost £80 - sucks to be you, launch buyers!) and another long Easter weekend is upon us. How are you spending yours - engaging in religious ceremonies? Decapitating make-believe rabbits? Dying of chocolate? Visiting your drunken excesses on relatives? Or playing videogames?
If it's the latter - and assuming you haven't picked up one of this spring's top contenders, such as Bioshock Infinite or Tomb Raider - I suggest getting ahold of one of the under-sung, not-quite-perfect but well-fleshed titles below. Feel free to make a recommendation or two in return.
1. Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning
It's tempting to look kindly on 38 Studios and Big Huge Games' somewhat flaccid open-world RPG, in light of the developer's bankruptcy and demise - but we are Men of Stone, uncompromising in our desire for excellence. So yes, the universe remains elaborate but boring, the graphics are fugly to the point of PS2-era blandness, and the quests are all "walk here, collect/kill this". But the third-person fighting is startlingly worthwhile for a game that looks like just another stat cruncher - as limber and fluid as that of Fable, but far meatier in terms of abilities, spells and weapons, and thus supportive of many different techniques. Definitely worth adding to your end-of-generation clean-up list, if you're keen on this sort of thing. Here's my review.
2. Magna Carta 2
This one comes care of the forum and Grummy. "In many ways it's standard JRPG fare," he writes, "The typical JRPG style of writing and characters, typical aesthetic, but the world is just very well realised." After reading that I looked up our review, which notes that "the plot marks its twists with all the subtlety of a dog urinating up a tree", but describes the game as a "guilty pleasure" with "deep and accessible" team-based real-time combat that "doesn't take itself too seriously". Colour me just about sold.
3. Overlord 2
If you take one horde of gibbering, rancorous hellfiends home this weekend, make it that of Overlord 2 - a bulkier, more complex version of the game that made it Good to be Bad. Triumph's sequel casts you once again as an agent of darkness backed by legions of minions, and asks you to claim an offensively syrupy fantasy world for evil. Those minions! They're such characters - levellable ones, in fact. Point them at something using the right stick and they'll sweep across the screen in a rainbow tide and trample it to dust, returning moments later decked out in the spoils of war. In Overlord 2 it's possible for minions to ride mounts, doubling the tactical variations. With around 20 hours of playtime in store, you'll need to get a move on if you want this done and dusted by Monday. Check out our review for more.