Nowhere swaggers quite like Los Angeles: threatening, provocative, "show me what you got", the city leers lasciviously over a backdrop of money, of murder, of madness.
Last week, with two major manufacturers displaying new next-generation consoles, the bombast and the clamour were back in force. Microsoft presented their Xbox One console (out November, £429) with the focus firmly on the games. They did not disappoint. That the new Halo will be a forthcoming release was unsurprising but it was nonetheless greeted with raucous approval, as was the announcement of a new open-world Metal Gear Solid title – The Phantom Pain.
Driving favourite Forza's new iteration will launch with the console, and looks and plays beautifully, the detailing a real step forward allied to an intriguing AI "Drivatar" concept that learns from your play.
Ryse: Son of Rome, also a launch title, played as an extremely high-intensity God of War, the demo level portraying legions landing from the sea, an impressive variation on a theme – Omaha beach, with ballistas.
Fighting fans can look forward to the new Killer Instinct, with shooters also strongly represented by Battlefield 4 playing brilliantly in the 64-person multiplayer mode it supports, while Titanfall, an Xbox exclusive, offered a frenetic but also innovative take on the genre, with players switching between roles as foot soldiers and mech pilots. But for guns on the go, it was Bungie's combat-thriller, Destiny, that captured the imagination.
There was innovation, too, in the form of Project Spark, a genuinely intriguing build-your-own-world RPG controlled by the vastly improved Kinect sensor that is included with the console; the noisy and imaginative shooter of Sunset Overdrive and in the standout game/TV crossover concept of Quantum Break.
Also likely to be popular was the announcement that the console has the ability to broadcast games live on streaming video platform Twitch – functionality that many gamers will love. An impressive broadside then, but tempered by much disgruntlement because Microsoft have adopted a system that could allow publishers to block or charge for resale of games; how, if or in what form remains to be seen. The console will also require daily internet connectivity for verification purposes, again a contentious decision but one that at least has some basis in where they believe the future lies.
The Xbox One's hardware architecture has been designed to utilise processing power within the cloud and to that end 300,000 servers will be live at launch. It will be down to developers to best use this resource but the potential is huge. Bigger, more detailed worlds, more characters and more interaction beyond the processing abilities of the console itself are all possible and in that sense Xbox One may represent not only next generation but an entirely new generation.
Rivals Sony were also in bullish mood to showcase their PlayStation 4 (£349, out pre-Christmas in UK). Announcing that their console would not require internet authentication and that there would there be no restrictions imposed on the pre-owned games market proved a popular bookend to an impressive array of titles and a competitive price .
PS3 fans should look forward to what is a magnificent swansong on the console for Gran Turismo 6, before it is reimagined for the PS4, itself boasting a fine array of games. Standouts on show included the glorious-looking steampunk shooter of The Order: 1886, and new launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall, whose looks and play befit its place on a next-gen platform as superior to all its predecessors.
The new console will share the Battlefield and Destiny titles, and a stunning-looking Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, the latest pirate-themed romp of the series, with Xbox, but also boasts real standout exclusivity as well.
Young-gamer-friendly The Knack is a simple but imaginative action-adventure, while InFamous: Second Son, a third-person superpowers-themed title, really looked a step ahead of the current platforms, presenting a glorious and inventive spectacle.
There is, too, to be a host of indie titles for the PS4 and the opportunity for developers to self-publish on the platform is certain to be popular. But not everyone was happy with the news that gamers will now have to subscribe to the PS+ service (£39.99 per year) to access multiplayer on PS4. However, all subsidiary entertainment is still free online, while the console price also reflects that it does not ship with the camera.
Nintendo, with no new device, perhaps wisely chose discretion over valour, but did show a ream of new software for the Wii U. The beautiful, stylistic fighter Bayonetta 2, a console exclusive, was particularly eye-catching, as was Zelda: The Wind Waker but perhaps most intriguing was The Wonderful 101, a lovely kid-friendly title in which a troupe of miniature superheroes fight evil by combining to form themselves into tools and weapons. It made a colourful and pleasing coda to the sound and fury of new hardware doing battle.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010