What we've been playing this week
Neon Kelly, Video Production Editor – Plague Inc., Android
Thanks to the fact that I have an Android phone, I've only just gained the chance to play Plague Inc. Still, I'm glad to have the opportunity, and over the past week I've been having lots of fun. In fact, most of the world has been having fun – because Fun is the name of my genetically-engineered killer virus. Or at least, it was; Fun proved to be so successful that it spread all over the world via birds and dust particles. Fun infected everyone, gave them a rash and a violent nasal infection... followed by insanity, comatosis and major organ failure. (My uncle was in the army with Major Organ-Failure.)
So yeah, the whole world is dead now, and there's no more Fun to be had. Sorry about that...
Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor - Dota 2, PC
Look, I'm back on Dota. Yawn, I know. I get that none of you are going to read this so I won't keep you long - I think Dave's writing about Call of Duty, though none of you are probably interested in that either. What's cool these days? Lord knows. Minecraft, probably.
Anyway, this week our Greevils - promotional little couriers that Valve gave away to everyone as part of their Halloween event - hatched. VideoGamer.com webcoder man Andy Cole got a fancy one. I got an okay one. That's life. I also played a fair bit of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, but not as much as I would have liked. I hope people are enjoying the multiplayer, because I think it's really strong.
But, really, my point is this: I like the effort Valve goes to with time-limited holiday promotions. I wish more developers did it. In an industry determined to turn everything into an event, it would be nice to see more actual events. Something with a bit more meat on its bones than bog-standard XP multipliers.
This week's Dota 2 patch notes showed Valve already hard at working on making a Christmas event. Roll on December!
David Scammell, Deputy News Editor - Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Xbox 360
I'm all for games getting better as they go along, but the contrast between Black Ops 2's mind-numbingly dull opening and its excellent final act is absurd.
By the time you reach the end point of Black Ops 2's campaign, the dreary jungle jaunts and shoddy sand-swept treks will have crescendoed into an explosive circus of high tech toys and superb set-pieces, complete with all the bombast, noise and intensity of previous Call of Duties, and the endearing cheese and character of an 80s action thriller.
It gets great, in other words, a surprise considering that after the first few missions (including 'dat log' level and the mission Martin described perfectly as "incomprehensible bollocks"), I had almost written it off as one of 2012's most underwhelming campaigns.
Inconsistency, then, is Black Ops 2's biggest problem. But the twists and turns, and surprisingly meaningful narrative choices in the game's second half spin Black Ops 2's campaign into an entertaining - albeit still fairly mindless - sci-fi shooter. Stick with it: You'll be amazed at how much better it gets.