Tom Orry, Editor - Quantum Theory, Xbox 360 and PS3
I wanted Tecmo's third-person shooter to prove me wrong. I hoped the early reviews had missed something, that hidden beneath a fairly grubby looking game was a fun cover-based shooter that could be the start of a new franchise. Sadly, beneath those muddy visuals is an incredibly dated game that lacks imagination and fails to copy a single thing Gears of War did right. You can throw a woman at enemies though, which is novel, albeit a bit odd. It'll be interesting to see how well it sells, as the draw of a man with a big gun is often too much for the games buying public to resist.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - Dead Rising 2, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
Dead Rising 2 offers all the fun activities of a trip to Las Vegas, without the hassle or expense. You can dress up in silly clothes, drink neat spirits in a variety of gaudy locations, and eventually spew up all over your shoes. Unlike the real Vegas, there's very little chance that you'll exhaust your life savings on the spin of a roulette wheel - although you might well exhaust your patience, at least temporarily. Dead Rising 2 is a wonderful game in many ways - a sandbox title that actually gives you stuff to play with, for once - but every so often it likes to torment the player with something unexpectedly cruel or annoying. Still, it has enough good stuff to keep you coming back for more, and that's arguably the most important thing of all.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow, DS
I'd like to be talking about Reach right now; about my awesome skull emblem, the addictive nature of daily challenges, and the miraculous fact that I don't suck at it - but Halo discussion is reaching a point of saturation, I feel. Instead, I'll talk about the steaming pile of drivel that is Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow. I'm actually in the process of writing my review right now, and I'm slightly concerned I'm about to run out of derogatory adjectives. It's the script that annoys me the most, and the fact that every other word spouted from my character's stupid mouth is either 'huh' or 'woah' - which aren't even real words anyway. I was cringing so dramatically as I played it on the train the other day, I got the impression other passengers thought I was ill. I suppose I was in a way, for Awakened Shadow makes me feel sick to the very pit of my stomach.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Civilization V, PC
Civilization has never really changed, but I'd never really want it to – tweak the formula a bit here and there and I'll probably be happy until we actually invent giant death robots in real life. But the simple shift of moving to hexagonal tiles (and limiting each tile to only one unit) has quite a profound effect on the way the game plays out, and there's more than enough here to make me rack up ridiculous amounts of playtime. I love it. It's the perfect binge game: you'll play it solidly, with no respite, for two weeks and then quit for a few months. But you'll go back. You always go back.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Alan Wake, Xbox 360
Sure it's pedantic to judge a game by its dialogue. But as much as I appreciate Wake for being a game about writing, it's impossible to play without being continuously battered with a checklist of heavy-handed references to the game's own theme. It's an infinite loop of references to Stephen King quotations, of events being described in terms of other books and films. People coming through a doorway like "something out of The Shining". Wake ends up feeling like a long-winded recreation of its own reference material. The music is ace though.
Tom Pearson, Video Producer - Minecraft, PC
If someone were to come to me and ask me to provide the ultimate sandbox game, the only choice I'd have would be to give them Minecraft. Now, Minecraft was first released in mid 2009, over a year ago, and it's only now that I have been caught up in this indie storm. Simply put, it's a building sim, wait no... a survival game, no no er... well. It can ultimately be anything, that's the beauty of sandbox. In its current Alpha stage, the game consists of you building a safe haven to hide out in, and also mining to find rare materials which can be used to make better tools for the job at hand. Tools aren't the only thing you can create, a boat for example will, well I'm sure you know what a boat does, and a mining cart will allow you to descend the depths with great speed (plus you'll feel like Indiana Jones) . It's hard to explain the game in a single paragraph, so all I can suggest is for you to get it, and mine until your heart's content.