What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor – Alice in Wonderland, DS
After what has seemed like a great run of great games, this week has been a bit more like what the early part of the year is normally like. Not that I haven't played some good games, mind. Most surprising was Disney's Alice in Wonderland on the DS. The game combines simple platforming with equally simple puzzles, but it does so in a quite brilliant style. It's most definitely a game aimed at kids, but the quirky visuals and inventive puzzles made the adventure a very enjoyable one. It's not a game I'd recommend for adults over one of the many triple-A releases we've had over the last few months, but if your kids want it, maybe give it go before handing it over.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, DS
If you own a DS, and you like strategy puzzle games, then Clash of Heroes is a must own. Its Lord of the Rings-lite fantasy setting and 16-bit JRPG style lend it a SNES-era Final Fantasy look, but it plays more like PuzzleQuest. It's devilishly addictive, with some wonderfully balanced combat and head scratching one-off puzzles. The developer, little-known Canadian studio Capybara, deserves credit for taking a stale license and not only breathing new life into it, but whisking off in an entirely new, refreshing direction. Clash of Heroes has just been announced for XBLA and PSN, and it looks beautiful. With any luck, we're witnessing the start of something wonderful.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor – Mafia II, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
As my recent preview notes, I'd been waiting a long time to play Mafia II. Thankfully, my first hands-on with the game didn't disappoint: there are still bugs that need to be ironed out, but when it comes to atmosphere, dialogue and attention to detail, this game has buckets of potential. Empire Bay is a subtly-drawn celebration of 1950s style, and the period soundtrack is seriously classy too. Weirdly one of my favourite moments from the demo was also one of the quietest: between jobs I stopped into a bar, stuck a tune on the jukebox, and stood at the bar knocking back brandy till the screen started to go blurry. Rest assured, the gunfights are great too – I just get a kick out of the open world that 2K Czech has created. These guys love gangster mythology, and it shows.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer - God of War III, PS3
I hadn't bought a ticket for this hype train (heading non-stop to Kratos City) quite simply because I had never played the first two in the series. I wasn't avoiding these games, I just never found myself with a copy, and a free moment to play in at the same time. I wish I had, because I'm sure it would have improved an already mind blowing experience. The opening 45 minutes alone may well go down in history as some of the finest gaming has to offer. Whether it's from the visceral fights, the breathtaking graphics or the downright gruesome disembowelment quick time events, even the biggest hack 'n' slash haters will have trouble keeping their jaws off the floor.