What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Harms Way, Xbox 360
This week I've been trying to weigh up how much price counts towards a review score. Harms Way is a completely free XBLA game - one that is very well made - but it's severely lacking content. While I didn't really want to play it for more than the four or so hours I spent reviewing it, that time didn't cost me a penny, but it did eat up my own time - which some people would argue is even more valuable. In the end, just because something's free, it doesn't mean it's worth playing. Harms Way is worth a go, but it's a very short lived experience.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, PS3, Xbox 360
Taokaka is a strange cat-lady with lengthy blonde pigtails, massive paws, and a face that merely consists of two red eyes, peering out from under an oversized hood. Arakune used to be some form of magician (I think) but is now nothing more than a big purple blob with a face mask. Taokaka and Arakune are characters in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, the latest game from Arc Systems. When they meet each other in a pre-fight cutscene, they try to have a conversation: Arakune can only speak in fractured gibberish, while Taokaka substitutes the word "meow" for "me" at every available opportunity - as in, "I think you're making fun of meow." It's a wonderfully odd moment, and the game itself is pretty damn good, too. Expect our review next week.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Halo: Reach, 360
Addiction has been all the rage this week, hasn't it? If you're a certain type of gamer - one with a built-in OCD trigger and unwavering completionistic tendencies - Halo: Reach's daily and weekly challenges are chuffing brilliant. Seriously. I have a window opened to Bungie.net right now, and I'm genuinely quite annoyed that one of today's four challenges involves playing Firefight. Boo. I don't really like playing Firefight with randoms over matchmaking, but I will almost certainly spend an hour or two working on it.
Unlike Black Ops' frivolous (but still entertaining) Contracts, Bungie has made it so accomplishing these challenges is actually a central part of the game - they're one of the easiest ways to grab significant wads of XP. And I'm seriously excited about the fact that tonight I will be able to afford a new hat. I've been eyeing up World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, too, but judging from my addiction to Halo playing an MMO would probably kill me.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer – Final Fantasy XIII, PS3
After a three month break, I've finally got back into Final Fantasy XIII. Returning to Cocoon was bewildering at first; I had no idea what I was doing or where I was heading. Given the weight placed on story and characterisation, this was something I needed to put right. My first twenty minutes or so were spent in the menus, trawling through the Datalog to familiarise myself with the events leading up to that point. This was less of a chore than I initially thought it would be. There's so much history, politics and inter-weaving storylines, that merely reading about the game was good fun. I'm approaching the thirty hour mark now, and incredibly glad I took another punt at a game that I really struggled to get on with the first time round. Perhaps I should go back to The Last Remnant at some point, too...
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, PC
World of Warcraft is the most fun you can have while on your way to developing serious deep vein thrombosis, so if you don't hear from me next week it's likely because I've died. Which will be a shame considering I already poured my money into a monthly subscription. Is it too much to demand Blizzard send me some sort of live-in nurse or a Blizzard office temp who I can use as a footstool?