Tom Orry, Editor - Rabbids 3D, 3DS
I've got a fondness for the Rabbids, especially their underappreciated platformer Rabbids Go Home, but this side-scrolling platformer for the 3DS really doesn't make use of the little guys. It's a shame that the Rabbids' quirky personalities have been shoehorned into a game as generic as this, with barely a hint of humour seen throughout. While there's nothing terribly wrong with Rabbids 3D, there's a sense that this was a game rushed out for the 3DS launch. A port of Rabbids Go Home would have been excellent, assuming the 3DS is up to the job - and I think it is. By churning out mediocre titles like this Ubisoft is risking turning off the franchise's, in many cases, rabid fans.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - Grand Theft Auto IV, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
While most of my working week has been spent in the company of Hulk Hogan and WWE All Stars, I've been using my free time to revisit Niko Bellic and chums. I know the critical adoration heaped upon GTA IV left some people bemused, particularly those who preferred the lighter tone of San Andreas, but for me this is still one of the best games of the current generation. Three years have passed since its release, and yet there's still hardly anything that can compare to its dynamic, emergent gameplay. The cross-city car chases remain particularly impressive - especially when they're the result of your own tomfoolery outside of a mission. You get into a scrap with a pedestrian, shoot the cop who turns up to investigate, and then the situation snowballs into an epic running battle against half of Liberty City. Wonderful.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Call of Duty: Black Ops, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
I abandoned a Veteran run of Black Ops' campaign at the end of last year, mainly because I think I got distracted with the multiplayer and then moved on to attempting Super Meat Boy. Such is life. Returning now - after Crysis 2, Bulletstorm, Killzone 3, and Homefront - makes for some interesting points of comparison, and I've just reached the point where 'ice cube' Hudson takes a team up to the Ural Mountains - one of my favourite missions in the game.
I was spurred back to the game after it was declared the second highest-grossing title of all time in the US this week, which is absolutely staggering when you realise it hasn't even been out for six months. While I'm a big fan of what Treyarch has done to the FPS mould Infinity Ward created, my main worry now is that too many other publishers will now devote time and resources into chasing Call of Duty's shadow. Double points, however, will go to the first studio who manages to combine the jaw-dropping whizzbang of modern warfare with the thrill of rhythm-based music gameplay.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Rift, PC
As a rule of thumb new entries into the MMORPG genre are almost completely rubbish, so I'm happy to say that the first 10 levels of Rift actually aren't. Where most games desperately try to recreate the World of Warcraft formula Rift goes a different path and at least tries to create the illusion that it's its own game. Imagine WoW's Burning Crusade if it were covered with a tarp and had a bizarre steampunkian village planted on top of it. The game looks like an individual while basically maintaining what worked for WoW. Shame it hadn't come out 2-years earlier, considering where the genre seems to be heading these days. With both Guild Wars 2 and Old Republic taking an RPG approach to the genre, Rift seems to be happy enough to deal out a slightly more antiquated style of game. But ah well, so far so good anyway.