What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - The Conduit, Wii
It's great when developers are enthusiastic about the game they're working on, but at times you do have to question if they should be saying quite so much. High Voltage bigged up Wii exclusive FPS The Conduit as a game that would be visually comparable to titles on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and when that's just simply not the case it doesn't look great. The Conduit is a fairly run-of-the-mill shooter, and High Voltage should really have spent more time shouting about the impressive multiplayer functionality than the average visual presentation. 12-player support with a ranking system isn't found in every Wii game, and it's something most people probably aren't even aware of.
Wesley Yin-Poole, deputy editor – Bejeweled 2, Xbox LIVE Arcade
One evening this week, the ball and chain and I sat down to play Bejeweled 2 on XBLA. The Pop Cap puzzle game is single-player only, but works well with one person “driving” and the other person “reading the map”. Trying to work out how to clear the screen of jewels together was great fun – say what you will about these so-called “casual” games, but they have their place. There’s no way we’d be able to play, for example, Gears of War 2 or LittleBigPlanet, together. What’s interesting, though, is how we came to play it. She found it on Facebook, gave it a shot, enjoyed it and mentioned it to me. Facebook, it seems, is a video game platform as well as a social networking website.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Resident Evil 5, Xbox 360 and PS3
Well, I finally got around to finishing Resident Evil 5 this week. I reached the start of the sixth act roughly two months ago, and for some reason my interest in the game went to sleep and died. I think it says a lot that this happened at the very point in the story when everything is supposed to building to a crescendo. Resi 5 is far from a bad game – indeed, I think it’s damn good in certain parts – but overall I feel there’s something lacking from the whole experience. I have a few minor complaints – the controls could be better, and I hate the fact that Chris refuses to punch enemies unless they’re standing in a particular way – but the biggest problem is simply that the game lacks atmosphere. It looks beautiful, but the plot is just too daft to create any meaningful sense of tension. I do miss the zombies of the old games, but the plaga-infected guys would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that they start wielding guns and missile launchers in the story’s second half. It just feels weird, and it makes the game feel less like a horror film and more like Action Man Meets Scooby Doo. Ah well, I can’t wait for Dead Rising 2.
James Orry, News Editor - Football Manager Live, PC
With the staff versus forumites Street Fighter IV tournament now a distant memory it's been business as usual, and for regular readers you'll know that means Football Manager Live. The seventh All Evening FA season has just begun, with it a big change at Juicy Danglers. Many of the stars of the Danglers' U21 team became 22, pushing them out of the youth gamer forever. With contracts up for renewal I've also found myself in a slight financial pickle. In a desperate attempt to bring the club's finances back to black I've been attempting to flog club captain John Heitinga; while his departure would be a huge blow, his £34,000 a week salary has become too much of a burden. The only problem being, that at 32 I've not had much interest. According to the club accountant the Juicy Danglers have a current cash balance of £-155,775 and a projected cash balance of £-934,519 in 28 days. One way or another Heitinga must go.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Wii
Don’t laugh; I’m a fan of Harry Potter. In fact, I actually queued up for the midnight launch of the sixth and seventh books a few years back. This of course meant that no matter the quality of EA’s latest Potter game, I was going to enjoy myself. There’s technically not a great deal to do in the Half-Blood Prince, in a nutshell you are lead around Hogwarts to either make potions, play Quidditch, or get into duels. Other than that you basically just soak in the overall authenticity of the game; Hogwarts School still looks incredible, and there are cut scenes every five minutes to help drive the story. The Quidditch is basically a waste of time, just guiding Harry through gates to catch the snitch, but the duelling and potion making actually had me pretty engaged. In duels you actually hurl your spells at your enemies with the Wii controller, and your wand-like gestures define the spell type. My method was to get them hanging upside down, and then batter their defenceless bodies with other spells. The budding alchemist in me loved the potion side of things too, although this could just as easily have been my unfounded love of colourful and shiny things. The aim is to follow the recipe perfectly with stirring, boiling and adding ingredients to change the concoction to the correct colour. Much like Peggle, success will have sparks flying and joyous music playing while your score is given, making you feel like the almighty potion king… which I am.
For more on what we've been up to this week check out the brand-new VideoGamer.com Podcast.