Tom Orry, Editor - Dark Souls, Xbox 360 and PS3
This game is doing my head in now. Over a week of evening gaming sessions it feels like all I've accomplished is the lowering of a ladder. I can't imagine many people playing this are much worse at it than I am, considering I seem to spend more time looking at the Death screen than anything else. For some reason I equated a shortcut ladder (which lets me get to a bonfire in double-quick time) to the game becoming easier as a whole - which simply wasn't true. My brain decided I could tackle enemies like I can in God of War, which resulted in many rapid-fire deaths. Oh, and the armoured-pig-boss-thing, which I was told was one of the easier bosses to take down, killed me. My game time now stands at approximately five hours, yet I'm probably about a two-minute walk from the start of the game.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - Dark Souls, PS3, Xbox 360
This is the way Dark Souls works: you start playing, you screw up, and you fail. On your next attempt you make it back to the site of your previous death, reclaim your souls, and then press on... until you die again, 10 yards down the road. Your repeat this cycle, inching further into the world with each fresh excursion, until you finally hit a brick wall - usually in the form of a boss, or a particularly harrowing area.
Like many players, my first brick wall was the Taurus Demon, the bull-headed creature who guards a walkway high in the Undead Burg. After 45 minutes of solid defeat, earlier this week, I called it a day; I was simply getting frustrated, and when that happens it's that much easier to screw up on something simple, like a persistent Hollow spearman. The next day I returned with a calmer state of mind, and I slew that ugly bastard on my first try. I pushed on, escaping the nearby dragon and claiming his tail as a sword. Moments later, I slew that metal pig-thing in the Parish. I'm now wearing his face as a mask, stomping about like a homicidal reject from a Terry Gilliam film.
Patience is a virtue in Dark Souls, but so is the ability to remain calm. And while I'm flying high at the moment, I know it won't be long before the game makes me its bitch once again. So it goes.
Martin Gaston, Previews Editor - Killzone 3, PS3
Here's one of life's great riddles: Why is Killzone 3 not a better game than it is? While the game managed to hoover up its fair share of decent scores, it can be an absolute nightmare to play. Why does it take so long from starting the game to get to the main menu screen? How come it takes so long to go from pressing 'multiplayer' to actually getting into a game? Why, when the console actually starts to cache the level, does it take so long to load?
Over the last few months I've tried to get into Killzone 3 numerous times, but time and time again my desire to play has been eroded by the dire loading times. Say what you want about Call of Duty, but at least it can get you into a bloody game on the same day you try and play it.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - SpaceChem, iPad
SpaceChem feels like an appropriate choice for my last VG Plays of all time ever. It's genuinely one of the best games I've played this year, and my departure from VideoGamer.com means that it's significantly less likely to appear on the site's Top 10 Games of 2011 list - which it totally deserves to be on. I figure it could make it onto the community's list, however, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to implore you to play it. Consider this little anecdote as a proof of how awesome it is:
I was sat on the train the other day, playing SpaceChem on my iPad like a total dude, which had caught the attention of the chap stood next to me (who was all up in my personal space as it was packed and all other seats were taken). I'm pretty sure he had no idea what was going on at first, but over the course of the journey I like to think he was gradually getting an idea of things. Anyway, the moment the train pulled into the station I was getting off at, I completed the puzzle, and when I got off, I'm pretty sure the bloke behind me was clapping. I couldn't actually hear this (I had my headphones on), but it probably happened.
Moral of the story? SpaceChem is totally boss and makes you look like an absolute lad, so you should buy it and play it and vote for it so I feel less guilty about leaving. Thanks. Bye.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Final Fantasy X, PS2
Now that Jamin's heading out the door, we figured somebody needs to pick up the baton and practice masking their contempt for 98-hour JRPGs. It's lucky that Final Fantasy X is one of my favourite games of all time anyway, so it makes sense for me to try and fill the whopping and ever-noticeable gap in his coverage, re-immerse myself in the wonder of Joe DiMaggio's voice acting as Wakka, and start pretending to like Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom.