What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - ModNation Racers, PS3
I wasn't blown away by the actual racing part of ModNation Racers, but the rest of the package is shaping up to be quite excellent. The track design tool is by far the best I've ever played with, letting me, a man who struggles to draw a identifiable stickman, create a fairly nice little race track. It's so simple that I imagine almost anyone could do it, while the tools let you fine tune if you want something that doesn't resemble a race car driver's nightmare. Hopefully developer United Front Games will inject some more excitement into the actual karting before the game hits stores in May, making the thousands of inevitable user-created tracks hard to resist.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Super Street Fighter IV, PS3, Xbox 360
Fighting games have always been about competitive multiplayer. Story isn't the point (the less said about Street Fighter IV's animes the better). Campaign modes aren't the point (the less said about Tekken 6's Scenario Campaign the better). Indeed, traditionally, single-player has never been the point. But both Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV have an offline single-player game mode that bucks this trend: Challenge Trials. In Super, each character has 24 trials to compete. They act as a tutorial of sorts, teaching you target combos, link combos, and devastating ways to link Ultras. But there's an addictive quality to the trials, too. Some are fiendishly difficult, requiring android-like hand-eye co-ordination to complete. But you can't help but keep trying until you hear the glorious sound of "SUCCESS!" - and then you move on to the next one. 24 X 35 characters = bliss.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer - Batman: Arkham Asylum, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC
My god, 3D is so hot right now! I have no idea why, it's not like the technology behind the effect has changed much over the years, but it is still this season's must-have video accessory. Batman: Arkham Asylum is one such game to get the treatment, and after playing through the initial five minute opening sequence, it was obvious that the effect of depth works incredibly well on your average HD TV. Obviously it does nothing in terms of altering how the game plays, but I did feel vastly more immersed in the experience. One gripe, however, keeps me from feeling 3D was necessary in this case; loss of colour detail. The glasses that you wear have one green and one pink lens, and it leaves a garish tinge on everything you see. Whether this gets more bearable over extended periods of time, I don't know, but for now I'll take my comic book characters in two dimensions and full colour thanks.