Tom Orry, Editor - Pac-man CE DX, Xbox 360
I'm not really that good at Pac-man CE DX, but it's the perfect game for 30 minutes here and there. After struggling to get a score over 850k I've now managed to consistently score in the 1.2 million range. I know that's nothing compared to the top players in the world, but it put me in the top 8,000 which I'm actually quite happy with. Death is my big problem. I've got a lot better at playing Chicken with the ghosts that don't simply follow you, making them change their direction at the last moment, but I still find myself accidentally charging down the wrong corridor at to my doom.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - Bionic Commando: Rearmed, PC, PSN, XBLA
As 2010 draws towards its end, I find myself returning to Bionic Commando: Rearmed, one of the first games I ever reviewed for this site. I've been listening to Simon Viklund's soundtrack, you see, and eventually it simply wasn't enough to just head-bop along with the crunchy electro goodness - I had to break out my bionic arm and start swinging. The game itself is as slick and challenging as it has always been; in particular, I'd forgotten just how good the epic boss fights are. Funnily enough, Rearmed 2 is coming out early next year - and I'm happy to say that Vikilund is once again handling the tunes. I can't wait, but I guess I'll have to. In the meantime, have a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Splatterhouse, Xbox 360, PS3
Splatterhouse does a fairly good job of letting you punch monsters into thick and chunky gibs, and the game douses itself in crimson paste more than a decent Dolmio advert, but bloody hell does it take a long time to load. Whenever you die - often from falling into tiresome insta-kill traps, but that's a problem for another day - the game seems to spend half an evening loading back up. I've never designed a game, but surely this is a bit of a problem. I'm a busy man - I have YouTube videos to watch and forums to post on, after all. There's also some seriously inept checkpointing going on here, too, which means you'll have to repeatedly wade through areas over and over again before getting randomly skewed on some spike that turns up from nowhere. Balls to that.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Castlevania Lords of Shadow Xbox 360
I'm in two minds about Lords of Shadow. I love Gabriel's Combat Cross, and how satisfying it is to unleash its impressive range of attacks and abilities. I love the design of the environments, the fantastical architecture and stunning vistas. I love the boss fights, too - the Shadow of the Colossus-esque battle against the ice titan being particularly impressive. What I don't like is the shoddy attempt at storytelling. The developers may well have enlisted the vocal talents of Patrick Stewart and Robert Carlyle, but the narrative feels flimsy and much too airy-fairy for my liking. It's guffy, for lack of a better word, with every line of dialogue involving "God", "spirits" or "destiny". I'll stick with it, though, because I've heard good things. Ultimately I'm a lot less impressed than I thought I'd be - [burn]it's certainly no Enslaved. [/burn]
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - WoW: Cataclysm, PC
Take a wild guess at what I'm playing this week. Yeah, no prizes for anyone who correctly answered "Cataclysm". I'm levelling slowly but surely after making a different character on a new server halfway through last week. PiersWorgen has been replaced by WereGrills in my ongoing attempt to one-up myself in rubbish celebrity puns. I've finally gotten the Running Wild pseudo-mount, which means I can manage to get across Darkshore without the tedium of having to partial-jog across every beach. Managed to ride a Treant at one point, which is the ideal way to spend an hour when you're bedridden with a cold like I've been.