Simon Miller, Editor-In-Chief - The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, 3DS
If you're an avid listener of the podcast or have just been keeping up with things, you'll have noticed I really like the latest Zelda on 3DS. A lot. It's not just because I've always been a fan of the series, either. I'm happy to admit that the recent DS games were not particularly my cup of tea or, for my money, good games in their own right.
A Link Between Worlds is different, though. It undoubtedly benefits from the fact it's based on A Link To The Past's template - it's been 22 years and that still hasn't aged - but these foundations have been freshened up more than enough to make it feel new. In many ways, it's as if you're seeing LTTP for the very first time. That in itself is a wonderful thing to experience.
Outside of this I've also been toying with Super Mario 3D World. I can't say much, but I can say for me, Nintendo has won Christmas. Well done Nintendo…
Tom Orry, Editorial Director - Oceanhorn, iOS
With all the hype around forthcoming 3DS spectacular The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, I thought I'd check out iOS Zelda-alike Oceanhorn. Costing £5.99, this falls into the premium price bracket for iOS titles, but on first impressions it's clearly worth the money. Not only does the game look pretty swanky (certainly something that wouldn't look out of place as a downloadable title for consoles), but the early gameplay suggests this will offer neat combat and exploration. Things may go downhill from this point, but for now I'm impressed.
David Scammell, Deputy News Editor – Call of Duty: Ghosts, Xbox 360
It's difficult to work out where it all went wrong for Ghosts. Is Infinity Ward's collapse still creating difficulties at the studio? Did development of Ghosts' 'new' tech take too much time away from actual game design? Did the arrival of next-generation consoles cause an even greater struggle than the studio expected? And how much of the project was actually developed by Neversoft and Raven?
Whatever the reason(s), Infinity Ward's fall from grace is a crushing disappointment. The campaign is a trashy combination of dullard characters and ludicrous noise, while the multiplayer seems far weaker than usual, with maps that are far too big for Call of Duty's player count and too poorly structured for any decent firefights. My early impressions suggest that a lot of the maps are huge, chaotic warzones that encourage all-angle free-for-alls and overly-frustrating deaths, rather than tight battlegrounds with well-defined choke points and killzones. Put Ghosts alongside Modern Warfare and you'll struggle to see how one team could create two titles with such an immense gulf in quality.
The worst Call of Duty yet, then? Not quite. That title is still reserved for last year's Black Ops Declassified (or perhaps the disastrous Call of Duty N-Gage). But with little keeping me compelled after just one week in, Ghosts seems like a colossal misstep from a team who were once kings of the genre.
Brett Phipps, Staff Writer at Sportra.com - Need for Speed Rivals, PS4
I recently got the chance to check out the first few hours of Need for Speed Rivals on PlayStation 4, and while the game looked very impressive, I didn't quite get the thrills and excitement that I had with Most Wanted.
Rivals feels much more aligned with Hot Pursuit, with the ability to play as both cops and racers, taking on different events in an open world filled with AI drivers and up to five human players. The thing is, as expansive as the world feels, there just isn't as much road as I was expecting. Most Wanted offered a very compact and dense urban landscape, filled with as many side roads and shortcuts as there were main streets. Rivals has a greater emphasis on freeways, with far fewer side paths and places to hide. If a racer wants to beat the cops, more than likely it's with outright speed.
Developer Ghost Games say that this was a deliberate decision, removing too much choice for the gamer to keep police chases flowing and intense, but it seems, to me, to take some of the thrill away of the cat-and-mouse run as I'm only ever driving forward at great speed, never looking for an alley to hide in or a garage to quickly park my car until the heat dies down. There are alternate paths, and Ghost has made the great decision to remove them from the mini-map, encouraging players to go out and look for them, but there's just too few.
The Need For Speed Network stuff is very cool, though, with players able to use their mobile devices to help or hinder drivers by repairing cars or deploying choppers and Pursuit Tech on the fly. It's a great addition that really showed me why the social connectivity is important for next-gen systems.
I'm hoping that once I spend a few more hours with the game it'll open up more and I'll find more events and secrets to keep me interested. I've been really looking forward to Rivals, and would hate to be this underwhelmed at the end.