Tom Orry, Editor - Heavy Rain, PS3
Now, I haven't played this, but I did watch it being played in the office for a while. The opening scene did a tremendous job at showing just how skilled developer Quantic Dream is in the visuals department, but, and this might sound too harsh, they are perhaps a little too realistic at times. More than any other game I've ever seen, uncanny valley reared its scarily realistic looking ugly head. So what was it that caught my eye to suggest that the main character wasn't actualy real? His eyes? His hair? His boxer shorts? No, all of these things looked pretty great. It's his occasionally floppy, puppet-like arms that stood out. It's really a compliment that I'm even discussing uncanny valley at all, and I'm sure I'd get used to the arms after a while.
Wesley Yin-Poole, Deputy Editor - Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, PS3
Christmas came early this year. The missus forked out 285 quid for a 250GB PS3 Slim, Uncharted 2 and FIFA 10 from HMV - my reward for being such a good boyfriend this year. Somehow, and I'm still not sure how I managed it, I convinced her to let me play it before December 25th (she may now own my soul, and have a certificate signed in blood to prove it). So, this week I've finally had the chance to find out what all the fuss is about and get my grubby mitts on Uncharted 2. I have to admit, it looks incredible. It's not just the fidelity of the graphics, but the attention to detail. Every room is packed with furniture and knick-knacks and the kinds of things you'd expect to see in a world lived in by human beings. Every vista is a cacophony of colour. I haven't seen this level of detail in a game world since Fallout 3. I find the story a bit too cheesy for my taste, and the shooter-heavy sections are often out of place (the helicopter boss battles are awful), but the climbing is stunning, the puzzles are ingenious, and the voice-acting is out of this world. As blockbuster adventure games go, Uncharted 2 is the best I've ever played.
Neon Kelly, Previews Editor - Fahrenheit, Xbox LIVE
Having spent a fair bit of time with Heavy Rain lately, I decided to download Fahrenheit - David Cage's previous attempt at narrative-led gaming (or, if you're of a more cynical disposition, his last attempt to sell us a load of interactive cut-scenes). I've been meaning to play this game for some time, and in the interim I'd heard a lot about its perceived strengths and weaknesses - particularly the way that the story goes off the rails after an excellent first act. As it turns out, I largely agree with this assessment. Fahrenheit kicks off with the main character murdering an innocent bystander in the toilets of a restaurant. It's a shocking opening, and the panic you feel as you try to clear things up is genuinely unnerving. It's certainly a bit disappointing when the story develops a supernatural focus, but personally I was more irritated by the lengthy Simon Says QTE sequences, which seem to have no relation to what's happening on screen. Rest assured, Heavy Rain does this kind of thing much better. Oh well, I like the fact that you have to preserve the hero's sanity, and that the only way to do this is to do really mundane things. Remember kids: if you've stabbed someone to death while your body was being controlled by an unknown demonic force, taking a piss will stop you from going mental. Merry Christmas!
James Orry, News Editor - Heavy Rain, PS3
In my view Heavy Rain has gone from being just another game out in 2010 to my most anticipated release of the year. After spending an hour or so watching Neon get his hands dirty with a preview build, I decided I needed to have a play of the early sections myself. The controls certainly take some getting used to, often resulting in some awkward navigation of your character, but even this can't dampen my enthusiasm for Quantic Dream's Game of the Year contender. I played through a section in a convenience store, but having seen Neon tackle events in one style I chose the complete opposite - thankfully, this resulted in a very different outcome, one of the many story variables I hope will feature in the final game.