What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Xbox 360 and PS3
I do like what I've played of The Forgotten Sands, but it just feels a bit safe after what Ubisoft did with the game it released in 2008. I know it got some hate from people who wanted a more traditional Sands of Time style adventure game, but I loved it. The platforming was incredibly fluid, the characters were excellent and it looked absolutely stunning. The Forgotten Sands just feels a little bit like a step back, albeit towards the kind of gameplay long-time fans were calling for last time around. There's no doubt it'll be a decent action adventure game, complete with some superb production values, but I do miss Elika and the wise-cracking Prince.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - NIER, Xbox 360 and PS3
When you complete NIER, the mental action adventure game from cavia, you get a new game plus option. Loads of games have this feature, but NIER goes one step further. Play the game again, and you get more story. You get new cutscenes, new dialogue, and even new endings. In fact, the more you complete NIER, the more of its story unravels, up to a maximum of four completions. This, I've decided, is utter balls. On the face of it, it sounds great, and adds loads of replay value. But in NIER's case, the story's so mental that it's almost impossible to understand from one playthrough. Why should I have to play a game four times to get the whole story? That's not something I'm prepared to do with NIER, so I feel a little cheated. By all means tinker with the traditional new game plus cavia, but leave story out of it.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Dead to Rights: Retribution, Xbox 360 and PS3
Yup, it's the game where you get to play as a dog who can bite off people's balls. I'd love to say that there's a lot more to Dead to Rights: Retribution than that, but to be honest there isn't much. It's a linear shoot-em-up / beat-em-up hybrid with a decent spread of moves and lashings of violence, and while this is no bad thing in of itself, the whole affair gets tiresome all too quickly. Still, Shadow the Dog boasts some nice animations, and the voice acting is pretty good, even if the story is largely non-existent. Still, there's an early scene where (SPOILER ALERT) one of the few friendly characters gets killed, and renegade cop Jack Slate goes to pieces. He's crying and screaming and flipping out, and in a really weird way, it's kind of fun to watch. Then again, maybe I'm just desensitised from all the mindless violence.
James Orry, News Editor - Football Manager Live, PC
My first season since the controversial Football Manager Live gameworlds reset has come to a disappointing end. The 38 game season saw my Juicy Danglers win only eight times, draw 12 and lose 18. However, things are looking up. The signing of a new striker will hopefully result in a much improved tally of only 25 goals in the first term. Likewise, a new rock at the back should bolster a backline woefully lacking in the air. There's also the prospect of more youth coming through from the Little Danglers Youth Academy - though the four graduates so far aren't encouraging. Still, the club's finances are in good shape so we're at least in a solid position from which to move forward.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer - Pokémon: Platinum, Nintendo DS
I do actually own a copy of Pokémon: Heart Gold, but I can't bring myself to start a new adventure before my current one is finished. For the first time ever, I have completely slacked off my starting Pokémon, Piplup, because it truly sucks. Look at Blastoise; he is one seriously mean, H20-launching water bully with enormous guns on his shoulders. Empoleon, on the other hand, looks like the damned, illegitimate lovechild of Pingu and Neptune, so he had to go. I have a pretty monstrous Gyarados as a placeholder, but the more battles he gets the more I think he's a keeper. Dragon Rage be bringing the pain, yo!
Tim Empey, Guest Contributor - Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, PSP
Metal? Gear? I played a mech-load of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker at the preview event this week and actually really enjoyed it. There seems to be a hell of a lot of game in there, what with all the different levels in the single-player mode and then the side missions and all the co-op and multiplayer. The problem is you're playing it on a PSP and that makes controlling the camera a bit of a nightmare no matter what control system you select. And while my scrunched up face stared back at me when the screen went black during the loading screens I really wished it was on the PS3. It might have been better if it was downloadable title from the PSN because at least then you'd have a right stick to point to where you're going. Oh and Super Street Fighter IV still rules!