What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - After Burner Climax, PS3 and Xbox 360
I'm crap at old arcade games. This is obvious every time I try to play a classic game on any of the consoles' download services. Afterburner Climax is actually fairly modern, but its gameplay is a throwback to the classic original game from the 80s. It feels, to me anyway, just like the game I played in an arcade while on holiday in Weymouth in 1990, albeit with some much nicer graphics and a greater sense that you're going to lose your lunch as you barrel roll. It's not a hugely deep arcade experience, but for some instant fun it's well worth a look.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Dragon Age: Origins, Xbox 360
Something special happened this week: Aerith, my level 18 mage, finally shagged would-be-king Alistair. This earth-shattering romp was 50 hours in the making - a helluvalot longer than your average Tiger Tiger pre-bonk courtship. What a shame, then, that the sex scene between the two Grey Wardens lasted, what, twenty seconds, and was about as erotic as a XXX puppet show. I'm no stallion in the sack, but Dragon Age is an epic fantasy role-playing game. So I was expecting some epic fantasy… fantasy. Oh well. Further evidence, if it were even needed, that video games still have no idea how to "do" sex.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Super Street Fighter 4, Xbox 360 and PS3
Oh my, it's good – so very, very good. Despite an early love affair with Cody, I'm now gravitating towards Guy as my pick of the new fighters. They're both a lot of fun, and Cody's jailbird getup looks extremely cool, but Guy seems a little bit more versatile, with nice leaping attacks that help him cross the screen at speed. Still, Blanka remains my number one boy. I've been putting the red-haired wild child through his paces this week, honing my skills in an effort to become even more annoying. Ol' greenskin doesn’t have a lot in the way of sophisticated combos, so I'm forced to rely on psychological warfare… largely in the form of jumping around a lot while making noises like "Ook! Gaw! Ook! Gaw!" It works surprisingly well, especially if you make the same sounds in real life as you play. Bruce Lee did something similar, so I'm told.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer - Splinter Cell: Conviction, Xbox 360
Sam Fisher is an angry, angry man. I suppose you would be if your daughter had been run down, and word surfaced that it was no accident. It more than justifies smashing someone's head through a urinal, which everyone under the sun must have seen by now, as well as popping multiple caps in an assortment of asses. So far, I'm really enjoying the balance of traditional Fisher stealth, and the odd bit of straight up assault gameplay. The cover system has a real Uncharted 2 vibe about it, and Splinter Cell fans (and there are an awful lot of you) will still find the stealthy action extremely familiar. I actually got the first Splinter Cell game bundled with a PC way back; sometimes I wish I could go back and give it the time it truly deserved.
Tim Empey , Guest Contributor - Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle, PS3
So I'm here doing work experience for a course I'm doing. And I'm not sure if this is a somewhat cruel "ha ha! Let's see what we can palm off onto the workie" type of thing, but yep, I've been playing this nonsense for the review. I mean I have been out of the gaming loop for a bit and had never heard of it before, and even showed some enthusiasm when asked to review it, but in a week where there's been nonstop Splinter Cell, Street Fighter and Lost Planet going on around me, it does smart a bit. I haven't finished the review yet but be sure to check that out. In my own time I've been doing Super Street Fighter IV and Bayonetta. Oh and Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade because I have it on my laptop and it's still pretty awesome. But for now it’'s all about the Blue Turds (thanks Neon!).