What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Alan Wake, Xbox 360
There was a point during Alan Wake where I felt genuinely creeped out. I entered a dark room (most rooms are dark in Alan Wake) and my torch revealed yellow writing on the walls. This is common throughout the game, but here (and you'll find out why if you play the game), it really got under my skin. Sadly, most people won't have this reaction, but it only had such an impact because of how unnerved I'd been during the hours leading up to it. Alan Wake is a brilliant, brilliant game that I urge everyone to try. It's the spookiest horror game I've played in years, features stunning visuals and one of the most well-told stories in video games.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Super Street Fighter IV, PS3 and Xbox 360
I've been hammering Super this week. Hammering. Guile is my main, of course, but I've found barmy Turkish oil wrestler Hakan to be much more useful than I thought he would be. My success probably has something to do with Hakan's "newness" - people just don't know how he works yet. It's pretty easy(ish) to surprise people with his anti-air Ultra, the Oil Combination Hold, and Focus Attack on wake up. And people, I find, are still puzzled by the Oil Shower and how it changes his game. So, while the surprise factor lasts, I reckon Hakan will be my go to character online. While it lasts…
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Alpha Protocol, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
Last week I spent almost half an hour having a nervous breakdown over Mass Effect 2's character creation screen. This week I've barely had a chance to play it at all, and yet the game has been very much in my mind. Leaving aside the change of setting, Alpha Protocol has a lot in common with BioWare's blockbuster. It's an action RPG that makes heavy use of third-person shooter antics, and as such there are going to be a lot of close comparisons between the two. Obsidian's game is going to suffer a bit during these match-ups, but it still seems to have a lot of things in its favour. Spy-games are relatively rare, for a start, and there seems to be huge amount of scope for twists and branching points in the plot. There's also a very flexible set of character creation options, so I'll probably suffer yet another breakdown when the game launches at the end of the month.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer - Halo: Reach (Beta), Xbox 360
I swiped the only office copy of Halo: ODST. I hope everyone realises I'm keeping it. When you load up the beta a few screens of text greet you; a reminder that what you're about to experience is incomplete and the odd bug is probably going to pop up. Then, you can jump straight in. It was a bit odd at first. Most players seemed to have little idea what the objectives were and how to go about completing them. After spawning into my very first game of new mode Stockpile I ran off in what looked like a safe(ish) direction, and was quickly met by an unguarded flag. Errr… take, I guess? I Robin Hooded that bad boy and nailed it back to my start point, only to see two other flags placed within a glowing red ring. It was as if a bulb lit on the top of my head - the objective suddenly became clear: to get as many flags as possible into that ring before the game "counts" them. Then I was shot. And teabagged. Yeah… Halo's still Halo.