Tom Orry, Editorial Director - Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2, Xbox 360

Mass Effect 2 screenshot

So, I wish I'd played Mass Effect a lot earlier. It's brilliant, and the fact that it still stands out as different to most games almost six years after its release is incredible. Forcing people in the office to talk to me about it despite them finishing the game eons ago probably felt a bit like torture, but it's amazing to hear other people's tales about what happened and who survived. I'd been so blinkered to the Mass Effect series that I knew next to nothing about it going in, so it was a genuine surprise when major events took place.

The day after finishing Mass Effect I jumped straight into the sequel, and boy is that a very different game. It's undeniably a sleeker product, with a massive jump in production quality, but the shift to Gears of War controls took some getting used to. The mechanics are smoother, but it just doesn't feel very Mass Effect. I'm sure this feeling will pass (Mass Effect 2 is widely considered the best of the trilogy) once I meet up with some of the old crew.

Simon Miller, Editor-In-Chief - Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Xbox 360

Splinter Cell: Blacklist screenshot

If I were a game - I'm not, by the way - I would never choose to be released when Splinter Cell: Blacklist is currently scheduled for. Stuck between the end of this generation and the next, it also has to contend with all the other last hurrahs of this console cycle including Batman. Lovely, wonderful Batman...

While it can easily hold its own, it's just a shame that everyone focuses on this aspect because Blacklist is pretty good. There's a definite sense that it's more stealth-orientated than Conviction, and the returning Spys vs. Mercs is just excellent. I'd buy it just for that. The fact it's been broken into pieces - so you'll be rewarded more for hiding in the shadows and less for playing it like COD - means some concessions have been made, but it's definitely entertaining.

The days of Chaos Theory may never return, but I still do like what Splinter Cell is this year.

David Scammell, Deputy News Editor – Pure Football, Xbox 360

Pure Football screenshot

I know, I know. It's a rubbish football game, right? Well, as much as everybody else on the team disagrees with me, not entirely. I've owned Pure Football for a number of years now, but other than getting the impression that it's a little bit shite, I've never really known what it's all about. I mean, I've had an idea: I've always expected it to be a spiritual successor to the no-nonsense PS2 footie-fouler Red Card. And in a way it is. You can still blast in with bone-crunching slide tackles and get away scot-free. But it isn't a 'proper' football game. It's a fast-paced, five-a-side, third-person arcade footie 'em up, a little like FIFA Street crossed with Libero Grande.

The box makes no mention of this. In fact, there's no way of knowing that Pure Football isn't actually about pure football until you load it up. But – and this is where it starts to get a little more interesting - it should never have been released in a box in the first place.

Pure Football strikes me as one of the first casualties of 2010's emerging digital distribution market, when publishers still weren't entirely sure how best to split their product ranges between retail and digital. Had this launched as an 800 point download rather than a £40 disc, it could have been accepted as a cheap and cheerful arcade kickabout rather than a deeply flawed big box release. Misunderstood gem? Certainly not. Mishandled throwaway fun? Absolutely.

Steve Burns, Reviews and Features Editor - Dark Souls, PC

Dark Souls screenshot

It's Steam sale time, and so far I've bought... nothing. There are two reasons for this: one is that I seem to own a lot of the games on offer. Two: I missed out on Football Manager 2013's sale. So I've had to resort to downloading the demo - a sad state of affairs, but one that's probably for the best. Because even from this small chunk of the game I can see myself becoming hopelessly addicted, and there's only room for one time-sink at the moment: Dark Souls. Sorry, Manchester United.

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Mintyrebel's Avatar

Mintyrebel

Steve, if you read the comments, I have a 50% off voucher for FM13 if you want it, I already own the game so just gimme a shout and I'll DM it over to you :)
Posted 15:28 on 22 July 2013
Grammartron's Avatar

Grammartron

Mass Effect 2 Insanity run continues. Avoiding spoilers in case TomO reads this, but I'm rapidly approaching the fight with 'the platforms', which I'm reliably informed is the hardest bit of the game at higher difficulties.

Bit scared tbh.
Posted 13:13 on 22 July 2013
BC_Animus's Avatar

BC_Animus

Been playing tons of games on my end too, partly due to the Steam sale, and partly due to me being on holiday atm.

Tow main games atm though for me would be Divinity II: Director's Cut on the PC and Injustice: Gods Among Us on the PS3.

Played through the story mode in Injustice and it was brilliant. Not surprisingly though, I have always been a fan of the stories in the Mortal Kombat games, and I'm a bit of a geek so I love all things superhero-ish. Playing through some of the challenges now, trying to unlock all the concept arts and costumes. For those who have played this, just wanna say two things - the credits... OMFG, best credits ever. Also Godfall Superman costume - nicccee.
Posted 04:31 on 21 July 2013
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH

Since I'm on holiday over the last few weeks I've trying to through a much of my steam backlog as possible. It's gotten to the point now though where I have to finish up some of the smaller stuff now, before I start long hauling some of the bigger things I want to play (namely torchlight II, Crysis/ Warhead expandalone, cave story, gunpoint)

So this week, I've been playing a lot of the games that are either fairly short or games I would never have gotten around to if I wasn't determined to clear my backlog. These include: Mark of the Ninja, Ikachan, Toki Tori, Darwinia, Multiwinia, World of Goo etc. I also need to get round finishing Bit Trip Runner, and Dustforce. These are all really good games (some more fun then others), but I need to get them down now, before I do anything else.

Once I get those out of the way, I can start on the major games I mentioned earlier. Which reminds me I still need to play the portal games...
Posted 13:34 on 20 July 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

Only two games for me this week:

Torchlight II - the ultimate dungeon crawler. Forget Diablo, forget Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance, forget everything else in the genre, if you want a hardcore game that you can play in little casual chunks, or maybe even just log in an do a little fishing in town, or something you can spend nail-biting weeks with as your hardcore insta-death-never-play-again-if-it-dies character progresses towards the final boss, Torchlight II has everything you need. For £3.74 on Steam, currently, £14.99 back when I bought it originally.

and

To The Moon - I was in the mood for playing something cute to take my mind off Outlander character builds, and £2.09 got me just that, again on Steam. 4 hours of great story telling, a plot that sticks in the mind for long afterwards, all beautifully delivered with classic retro gameplay enhanced by modern day nods and some self deprecating humour. Time and money well spent.

I rather envy Tom who is savouring the delights of the Mass Effect series for the first time, now that he's a fan I've no doubt he'll froth at the mouth once he finishes the third one and wonder what the hell they're going to do next with that great universe.
Posted 17:54 on 19 July 2013
munkee's Avatar

munkee

Still struggling to get back into The Last of Us. I'm going to blame it on the beautiful summer were having and not wanting to sit indoors playing video games. I'm not going to blame it on the slightly monotonous (whoah there, fella) gameplay as I have enjoyed other monotonous games in the past. I'll finish it eventually. On some cold, dark, lonely night.

I have been playing Frozen Synapse on iOS. Wow-wee that sure is a lot of fun. The Sci-fi/Tron styling is very pleasant to look at and the gameplay is deep and tight (exactly how I like my coffee).

I will plan my moves very strategically. Every last detail has been carefully structured so that I can tactically kill my way through the level and save all of my soldiers. I confirm my actions ready to watch mine and the enemies moves play out.. Absolute chaos ensues. It's wonderful. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Sometimes your plans came to fruition and sometimes you have no idea what just happened. It's a lot of fun and the music is good, too.
Posted 17:22 on 19 July 2013
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612

I completed The Last of Us, dabbled in the multiplayer side and then started the New Game + mode. Very good game.
Posted 16:21 on 19 July 2013
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Rediscovered how much I enjoy Risen 2: Dark Tides. Pure Euro-jank, and a little clumsy, with difficult combat - but the theme, story, and sense of exploratio are all exceedingly well done - where else can you tame a monkey to steal *and* a parrot to flutter in enemy faces at the same time? Plus it has some fantastic lines!

'Don't f*** this up, or I'll put a banana skin on yer c*** and call fer the gorrilas!'

'Don't mess about about w' them - they can voodoo yer bits off - in the BAD way!'

^_^
Posted 16:20 on 19 July 2013
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

So the one game I picked up in the Steam summer sale Hotline Mami isn't too bad. Can only be played in short sittings which is good as I can only play it at work.

Since finishing The Walking Dead which was an office lunch time game State of Decay is the new Zed killer. I'm enjoying it a lot, don't really want to progress with the story as I just want to make sure all my groups needs are taken care off. But I have this Dead Rising in which I need to attack all the missions asap as not to loss them.
This is not a game I'm going to keep to just work, it will be played at home.
Posted 16:12 on 19 July 2013

Game Stats

Release Date: 21/01/2011
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 156 5
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