What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Interpol, Xbox LIVE Arcade
When someone at VideoGamer.com has to take a bullet for the rest of the team by reviewing a less than stellar game, more often than not that person is me. The latest near death incident came when Interpol was released on Xbox LIVE Arcade. As I played it in the office at one point a group had gathered behind me, with each of them shouting out where objects are. To the casual observer it might have appeared that we were having a good time, but only seconds later we'd realised what we were doing - essentially playing reverse I-spy. Interpol is undoubtedly a game aimed at the more casual end of the Xbox 360 user base, but if you bought an Xbox 360 to look at images you should probably question why you bought one in the first place.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Fallout 3, Xbox 360
The lengthy Christmas break awarded me the time to do a number of things. One: Stress over catering for my entire family on Christmas day. Two: Stress over buying presents for the ball and chain. And three: Stress over surviving in the Wasteland. No, I'm not talking about Streatham High Road, but in fact post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. (although the two are not dissimilar). Bethesda's Fallout 3 is an absolutely incredible game, and fully warrants the 9/10 Neon gave it in his review, BUT, it's one hell of a slog. For me, the first 30 or so hours of play were some of the most difficult I've experienced in a role-playing game. Why? Because my guns were crap, my armour in bits and my combat skills akin to a baby-rattling two-year-old. So poor was my ability to kill even the most basic of Super Mutants, that venturing more than five minutes from the safety of Megaton was practically suicide. Then Neon popped round and told me you could repair weapons and armour by combining them, and convinced me to put more points into the Small Guns skill. Now I'm 40 hours in and I'm strutting around the Wasteland like I own the place, actively seeking out enemies instead of avoiding them. Fallout 3 is one of the best games ever made, but it does a horrible job of telling you how it works.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Fable II, Xbox 360
Fable the Second is one of many games I caught up with over the Crimbo break. I know I'm a bit late to the party with this observation, but I can't quite get my head around the way this game pushes things forward at the same time as limiting your options. I can seduce an entire town by dancing and farting, I can organise an impromptu gypsy orgy... but I can't complain when Zoë Wanamaker sends me on a "little errand" that takes a decade of my life. Oh well. This week my accomplishments included the murder of a transvestite goblin-wannabe, and helping a gay farmboy to come out of the closet. Peter Molyneux has his critics, but the man knows how to shake things up a little.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer - Flower, PS3 PSN
In truth I have done very little gaming this week, most of my time has been occupied with planning and producing the podcast that we are starting fresh off the bat this New Year. That said, I was drawn away from my desk when Neon began playing through the demo of Flower, and when the opportunity presented itself I promptly commandeered the controller for a go. I hope I don't sound like a total failure when I say that guiding a swarm of flower petals around a meadow on a gentle breeze really appeals to me. Playing it is like participating in one of the more arty final fantasy cut scenes, with little more to do than tilt Sixaxis and relax. It really is quite beautiful to just look at, and I probably spent more time swooping down through the tall grass than really attempting to complete each stage. After playing so many of the action-heavy, heart thumping games of late 2008, this is quite literally a breath of fresh air!