#4 L.A. Noire (PS3, 360, PC)

Publisher: Rockstar Games – Developer: Team Bondi, Rockstar Leeds

Our Review

Every year, Pads & Panels list of top games is dominated not only by quality titles but also by a special few that try their damndest to reinvent what we can expect from mainstream games. It’s no surprise that Rockstar Games has found itself perennially among those special few. This year’s offering from the publisher is L.A. Noire. In addition to a ridiculously detailed recreation of 1940s Los Angeles and a plot worthy of its name, L.A. Noire works to reinvent what we can expect from gaming by pioneering facial technology that allowed its creators to add in-depth, emotional interrogations to what might have otherwise been a simple third-person action title. The DLC support for the title cannot be ignored, but even without it, L.A. Noire would stand out as one of the year’s absolute best. (more…)


#5 Portal 2 (PS3, 360, PC, Mac)

Publisher/Developer: Valve

Portal 2 trades the surprise of the first title for anticipation the second time around, but it manages to live up to the hype. While the plot may not be quite as a shocking, it is still funny as hell, with fantastic voice work driving things from start to finish. Portal 2 falters a little in the variety and quality of its single-player puzzles but adds a few new elements to keep things interesting. The real selling point for Portal 2, though, is its new co-op mode. Valve gives us the opportunity to prove that two minds are better than one in a series of much more complex puzzles that involve four portals, rather than two, and seek to drive apart our friendships in the process. (more…)


Title: Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Platform: DS

ESRB: E10+

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Level-5

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Sarah Kumley

Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, have found another mystery to solve, with plenty of puzzles and strange characters to meet along the way. In this new story, the Prime Minister disappears after Dr. Stahngun demonstrates his new time machine. Other scientists disappear over the next couple of weeks, and Luke and Professor Layton receive a strange letter that is dated 10 years in the future. They follow the directions to a local clock shop, where a portal transports them to London, 10 years from their present. (more…)


2010 Holiday Gift Guide – For the DS Fan…

By P&P Staff


Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

For those that like their puzzle games served up with a healthy amount of narrative, the Professor Layton series has been a definite favorite. The newest title in the series, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, finds the professor and his apprentice Luke in a tale of time-travel and mystery after receiving a dire warning from the future. Combine that with over 165 puzzles to solve, and you’ll lose some time yourself in solving this mystery. (more…)