What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor – Football Manager Live, PC
I've been sucked in. After a few months of dabbling with Sports Interactive's FM Live I've realised that it's now become my main evening activity, running on my laptop for easy access. It's not really a game that can completely take over your life as there's a limit to what you can do – there's no seemingly endless line of quests to go on – but it's definitely got long-term appeal. I've just completely rebuilt by entire North stand, giving that part of the stadium a capacity of over 20,000. It's going to take some time to get that built up properly, but by starting such a lengthy expansion process I've more or less guaranteed my involvement in the game for a long time. If I quit now I'll never know what my increased income from a bigger stadium could mean for my ever improving team. Roll on season three.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Xbox 360
Why the hell can't we save wherever and whenever we want in Japanese role-playing games? For some reason, JRPG developers seem hell bent on forcing you to save only at certain points, usually just before you enter a big dungeon or when you discover a new area. It's been like this for donkey's years. I've been playing the DS remakes of Dragon Quest 4 and 5 recently, games that are nearly 20 years old, and they do it. And Star Ocean: The Last Hope, a game due out exclusively for the Xbox 360 this June, does it too. Why? WHY? "Technically speaking it would have been perfectly possible to make it possible to save at any time in the game, but it is actually a bit of a Star Ocean tradition to have to save at certain points. We opted for this option this time as well so not to confuse our fans", Star Ocean producer Yoshinori Yamagishi told me in a recent interview. Time to consign that tradition to the past, I think.
James Orry, News Editor - Football Manager Live, PC
So I got relegated from the All Evening Premiership. A bad start to the season proved too much to turn around, so despite a strong run towards the end the Juicy Danglers could only manage 19th place and a trip to a lower division. While the season as a whole has been a disaster, with plenty of the first team claiming to have lost faith in me, there have been a few positives seeping through from the youth. French striker Lemaire has come on leaps and bounds and is now pushing for a place in the seniors. Likewise defensive midfielders Marques and Grisales are also on the brink of playing at a higher level. So while the club is heading down, there's plenty to be hopeful about in the coming season.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Street Fighter IV, PS3 / Xbox 360
How many times have I beaten Wez at Street Fighter IV? Once, just once. And on that lone occasion he was hungover and mostly asleep. No, I'm still not even close to defeating him in a true contest. I'm getting better though, picking up Blanka skills and developing a reflex for diving to the floor whenever I hear 'SHORYUKEN!' Chris and I had a quick bash at King Wez earlier this week, and we both managed to steal the odd round off him. There were even a few occasions where it looked as though we might win… but I know the truth: he was barely trying - half of his mind resting while the other side shut down our noobish efforts. My aim isn't to beat him; it's to make him really pull out his A-game and THEN beat him. An impossible challenge? Perhaps, but I'm going to give it a go... and I'm going to use the 360's analogue stick, to boot.
Sebastian Ford, Video Producer – Pixel Junk: Monsters, PSN
This week I was lucky enough to find enough free time to go back to my old University and catch up with the team there. During the time not spent drinking, or otherwise damaging our systems, we found ourselves playing an assortment of games including Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3, TrackMania, Crash Bandicoot: Warped and a wonderful little tower defence game called Pixel Junk: Monsters. I haven’t played one of these in a long time, and it consumed me for the few days I spent there. If you can complete a level without any of your little, defenceless townspeople dying then you get a rainbow over that stage. This rainbow soon became our Holy Grail. Sometimes we replayed levels over and over to get it. One particular level, classified medium, only allows you to build four defences in total. We hit retry like... twenty times? Maybe twenty five?