The games we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Xbox 360
Things are progressing in my XCOM campaign, but I'd struggle to say I'm doing well. While my casualty numbers have fallen, I've had numerous countries leave the XCOM initiative in recent days. I think this is down to a general lack of understanding of the base building. I'm ok when out in the field, but my base looks like one of those hastily thrown together Christmas stores that appear on high streets in October and are gone three months later.
I have a bad feeling that this lack of base management will cost me in the end. I've just encountered some bigger enemy ships, and my interceptors only managed to down one after numerous attempts. Still, my two snipers are doing nicely for me at the moment, and I've just bought a couple of laser weapons, so maybe my crew can just go on a worldwide tour and clean up all the mess without the help of engineers and scientists.
Neon Kelly, Video Production Editor – Hotline Miami, PC
I love this game. I love everything about it – the way it looks, the way it plays, the way it makes me feel really uncomfortable. When you get fully immersed in a Hotline Miami binge, every fibre of your being is concentrated on getting though the stage. You'll make a plan, sure, but that plan will almost certainly go awry, and then it's down to reflexes and lightning decision making. Do you have time to grab that shotgun in the corner? Or would you do better to take a stand where you are – even if it means fighting with your bare hands? Eventually, it all collapses into a mad scrabble to kill everything that moves, by whatever means possible.
It's hard to shake off the inherent wrongness of what you're doing, and yet it's impossible to stop playing. You have to keep playing, keep killing, even as your conscience tugs at your sleeve. Hotline Miami is out on Tuesday, and I heartily recommend that you take a look.
Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor - Forza Motorsport 4, Xbox 360
As 2012 starts to wind down a smidge before kicking it into games overload (I'm so excited for Assassin's Creed, have I said?) I've started playing Forza 4 again. Which is weird, seeing as everyone in the world is now getting themselves jazzed up for Horizon and NFS: Most Wanted.
I've easily spent more time playing Forza than any other racing series, so I always find it easy and delightful to slip back into each game every now and then. Playing a racing game is all about getting the mix right, I find, so at the moment I do about four events a night and then go off and do something else. I tend to enjoy racing games the most before the cars get too speedy, too - hovering around Forza's A/S categories, so powering around the track with the aggressive Carrera GT feels like my perfect way to play a racing game. I'm playing with assists off, and every time I apply the right amount of countersteer when taking a hard corner I feel like the world's coolest dude.
It's good, yeah. I've said this before, but Forza 4 is such a rich and complete racing game that it essentially kills off the rest of the genre for me. I'll probably get into Forza Horizon because it looks brilliant, but there's still so much content left in last year's Forza that I really don't have to. I've often wondered if Horizon heralds Microsoft's intent to annualise the Forza franchise, but there's just so much content in these games you really don't need to buy a new one every year.