The games we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Xbox 360
It's easy to hate on CoD, but I think it's one of the most consistently entertaining franchises around - especially if you break the Modern Warfare games away from the rest. I'll admit that I'm more or less ignoring any depth to the story in MW3, instead focusing on taking in all the insane set-piece events and enjoying the thrilling combat. I'm only about a fifth of the way through the campaign, but it's great fun - albeit a bit grisly at points when I'm not sure it needs to be. I've just finished the London Underground sequence and while there's an argument for it being overly sensational, cheaply latching onto the kind of events we fear most, it wasn't half a good rollercoaster.
Neon Kelly, Deputy and Features Editor – Mass Effect 2, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
I've been largely resisting the buzz and hype, but there's only so long that I can hold out before curiosity gets the better of me. I need to play Mass Effect 3, and I want to import my old character. But there's one problem: My Mass Effect 2 Shepard turned out to be a bit of a tool.
I tried to play him as pure Renegade, you see, but it didn't work out. I couldn't stick to the toughest decisions, and he ultimately turned into a bit of a ditherer. It ended badly: he screwed things up with Jack, annoyed Miranda, and got Tali exiled. Kelly got blitzed in the frappé machine, and when Dr Chakwas had a go at me I sent her back to the ship alone (I knew that would kill her, and I still feel bad about it). Worst of all, I handed over That Thing to the Person Who Probably Shouldn't Get It. I blame Mordin for this: He initially said it might be a good idea, then changed his mind after the fact. Screw you, Mordin!
This is actually my third run through, after an aborted attempt at playing as a Vanguard. This time I'm an Infiltrator FemShep, and this time there will be no mistakes. I'm going Renegade all the way: I've roughed up Veetor, decked the reporter, and now I'm bitching my way across the galaxy. Never mind the Reapers, I'm the one who's going to ruin your day.
Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Xbox 360
Does anyone even read this anymore? I don't know. I don't care. Skyrim is the best game. I never want it to go away, which is probably why I'm putting off finishing it so much. I've been forced to endure loads of other (mostly terrible) games this week, but I only really played Skyrim. I'm so far off the beaten track I literally have no idea where I am - I spent about an hour clearing out some Dwemer ruins (Mzulft, Tamriel fans) and hoovering up loads of cogs for some chap who wanted them. Why is this fun? I don't know, but I love it. I'm very confused. Skyrim?
Emily Gera, MMO Editor - Mass Effect 3, Xbox 360
It's no secret that I love character creators with a passion no human being should ever commit to character creators. I spent about 40 minutes creating the most hideous FemShep I possibly could, obsessing over how far apart I could make her eyes, how grotesquely elongated I could make her jaw, how improbably huge I could make her nose until the end result was something that looked like Bruce Forsyth after a nuclear holocaust. Brilliant so far. Oh and apparently there's a game bit that happens after the character creator, I'll try and remember to check that out.