Tom Orry, Editor - Biology Battle, Xbox 360 (Community Game)
To be honest I haven't been impressed by many of the Xbox LIVE Community Games released to date. The pricing is often a problem for me, with the games often costing the same as a more professionally produced Xbox LIVE Arcade title. One game that manages to elevate itself above the rest of the titles is Biology Battle. It's pretty clear that the game owes a lot to Geometry Wars, but some impressive visuals and a unique gameplay mechanic make it more than just a straightforward copy. The problem it faces is that it costs 800 MS Points - the same price as Bizarre's brilliant Geometry Wars 2. As impressed as I am with the game, I'd choose Geometry Wars every time.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Street Fighter 4, PS3
Something special happened this week. A preview build of the console version of Street Fighter 4 arrived. I was very, very excited, so much so that Neon whipped out his phone and started taking pictures of me ripping out the disc from its plastic sleeve like a kid tearing the wrapping paper off a Wii on Christmas morning. I've not stopped playing it (except to go to the toilet and eat home made cookies). It's brilliant, of course, just as it was in the arcade when I played it in Tokyo a few months ago, or at Battle of Destiny in London, or at Leipzig Games Convention in Germany. But it's a different sort of pleasure this time. Playing it at home, playing it at the office, playing it with a d-pad and not a fighting stick, it's somehow made the game feel more like a real thing that's actually going to have a massive impact when it's released in February 2009. Special. Very, very, special.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Braid, Xbox Live Arcade
Braid is one of those games that tends to divide people. Bring it up in conversation with someone and they'll either start sneering, or else they'll start to dribble as they rush to vomit superlatives all over you. In other words, it's a bit of a Marmite game - largely because it goes out of its way to be different. Braid has aspirations, and some people don't like that. Personally, I do - but it still took a while before I really got into it. Braid truly "clicked" for me somewhere around the start of last week, and I finally finished it two nights ago. I'm now left with a mixture of feelings: I'm genuinely proud of the fact that I got through the whole thing and only cheated once ("Crossing the Gap" was too obscure for me), but I'm also quite sad because I probably won't ever play it again. With hindsight, I'm comfortable in saying its one of the most interesting games I've played all year. Some of the puzzles are out-of-this-world in the way they screw with your brain, and as for the plot... Well, it's pretty confused - but it's also trying to do something genuinely bold and inspiring. I'm not entirely convinced it pulls everything off, but one thing's for certain: I'll be keeping a close eye on what Jonathan Blow does next.