What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Sports Champions, PS3
This week I've played a lot of PlayStation Move titles. The best of the launch games is definitely Sports Champions, but it's not the essential purchase that Sony would like it to be. While it might be a boring choice, my favourite is the ball-tossing Bocce - -combining the easy mechanics of bowls with an extra layer of skill thanks to the ability to lob, throw and spin. It's not going to topple bowling in Wii Sports, but it's good fun and a great example of Move technology.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - Dead Rising: Case Zero, Xbox 360
I think that Case Zero was a smart move on Capcom's part. Given that the original Dead Rising was released four years ago, I suspect that there are quite a few gamers who aren't that familiar with the zombie-bashing franchise. Sure, the steep difficulty won't be for everyone, but at 400 MS Points a lot of people are going to give this a go - and I'm sure that many of them will be converted to the cause. The Dead Rising games are quite odd, really. They're funny and encourage the player to muck around, yet every so often the action will take on a really dark (and sometimes quite sad) tone; they're full of old school design choices, and yet their satirical tone is sharper and smarter than most other mainstream efforts. I didn't really need much convincing, but Case Zero has further whetted my appetite for the full-on bedlam of Dead Rising 2.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Civilization IV, PC
I won a Conquest Victory this week. Not an easy task, by any means - especially when you've got Napoleon being a complete tit for thousands of years. Still, he eventually fell (much to his chagrin) to my incredible military might – just like all the others. There's something to be said for the slow, winding pace of a game of Civilization, and the dramatic way each faction slowly expands its imperialistic tendrils across their domain is still very impressive. Too many contemporary games are trying to condense their experiences into brief, action-packed nuggets and completely forgetting there's virtue in patience. Long live Civilization - it's always a relief to spend some time with a title that gives you room to relax, unwind and give that little French imp a jolly good thrashing.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Lara Croft: Guardian of Light, Xbox 360
I spend most of my time pretending it's the mid '90s, so the fact that I'm able to play a new Croft-centric game helps the delusion. It's not Tomb Raider proper, mind you; that explains why the franchise name has been dropped from the title. Instead you're given a quite different but entirely excellent little downloadable co-op game. It's 70 per cent shooting, 30 cent puzzle-solving, and pretty much completely an exercise in obsessively trying to unlock achievements, repeatedly, over the course of a few hours. It's basically a game with the morish quality of eating crisps, while fighting dinosaurs.
Tom Pearson, Video Producer - Dead Space, Xbox 360
It's Monday and the clock has just clicked past midnight. I am shitting my pants at what I've been playing in the dark on an overly large television for the last hour. Yes, it's Dead Space. My first natural reaction is to turn the gamma settings up so I can see what the hell I'm doing. However, after an hour of playing and settling into the game, I have become far more comfortable with the story and creatures that reside on the USG Ishimura. I've put in a few hours over the past week and have only reached the third chapter, but I am relishing the fright Nonetheless. Every chapter sees a new mechanic enter, such as flying through zero-g, running out of oxygen in the vacuum of space or using stasis to stomp on those green globules when you don't have a flamethrower to hand. Every corner has me on the edge of my seat as I wonder what comes next. Most likely it'll be more four-armed creatures, or possibly something with six. Who knows?