What are we playing this week?

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Editor-in-chief: MasterAbbott

This week I’ve been quite busy organizing E3 appointments and up-keeping the site.  I haven’t played much which isn’t very good.  I did manage to get my hands on Spicy Horse Studios new upcoming sequel to American McGee’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice Return To Madness, I also got to speak to American McGee about the game and brush up on my Chinese (as their main offices are located in China). I have to say that Alice Return to Madness is a great platformer, a lot of people are saying it’s like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, but personally I think it’s step up from both of those titles. The amount of work that Ken Wong (Art Director) and the team over at Spicy Horse have put into the level design and enemies is amazing, playing the game on nightmare mode will have you pulling your hair out as the enemies are very challenging.

I also got to play an hour or two of Suda Goichi (51)’s punk rock adventure, Shadows Of The Damned, which I must say is once “KICK-ASS” game.  You can see Suda 51’s influence in the game almost immediately with the crazy tongue in cheek humour and politically incorrect dialog (which I absolutely LOVE) that makes  Shadows Of The Damned stand out from your run of the mill action adventure games.

Shadows Of The Damned is a third person shooter that feels and plays a lot like Resident Evil and Alan Wake, two games I truly love.  The gameplay over the shoulder feels exactly like RE with one extra added improvement that a lot of people out there will appreciate – you can now AIM & MOVE at the same time. The action element of the game will have you taking down enemies protected by “Darkness” Instead of using your trusty flashlight to burn off the Darkness, you use your Demon Torch that also doubles up as your fire-arm (gun) weapon called “The Boner” (Yes, and it does get bigger and better and more powerful as the game progresses).

Senior Editor: Travis Bruno

Let me just get the lesser titles that I have been playing this week out of the way first. I’ve nearly completed The First Templar and am honestly surprised at the content that contains. Sure there isn’t much of a challenge to the title and it really doesn’t stand out much as an action adventure game but it has a decent enough storyline to keep me playing. Also I was surprised by the amount of gameplay that there is to the game… it never quite seems to end. Besides that I’ve still been working on Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, both on the Xbox 360 by the way, and have enjoyed the different perspective that the Lego universe applies to that of Pirates.

Besides that I’ve picked up my 3DS again to play some Pokemon White. Yes, not exactly a 3D game but still quite enjoyable. I’ve been using the Pokemon Dream World a lot more frequently and it is great to see some old favorites of mine being imported into the title via the dream world system. Also they just released the Eevee evolutions through the dream world so it is a good time to access it.  Also I’ve played some Star Raiders for my review, but honestly it isn’t a title that I would play again short of trying for achievements because it really does not have any lasting appeal, nor lasting enjoyment.

Now onto the big one that I’m sure will be appearing all over the place this week. L.A. Noire on the Xbox 360. I’ve only just started my role as Cole Phelps but I must say that this is going to be a title that will be hard to put down. I’ve tried out the Black and White mode that the game offers but I found it to be more difficult to find clues so I chose to stick with modern color, also I feel as if the world loses some of its appeal with the whole black and white feel, could be because I hate old movies. The whole scene searching mechanic for finding clues and interrogating suspects and witnesses is absolutely amazing and it is going to be hard to find any game that can rival the animations that Team Bondi has made for it in the future.

Senior Editor: Dustin Spencer

This week has had some great experiences, and some flat out horrible ones. Thor for the Xbox 360 is now behind me, and looking back it can stay there. In my opinion I believe games based on movies have it tough as they have to take a character and world everyone likes, and make it into an original experience. As I mentioned in one of the two reviews though, it has been done before and could be done again if more time was taken and more love was given. I liked the DS version as you could feel the heart put into it and there is a lot of attention to even the smallest details. Even though some of the moves may seem out of character, Wayforward just wanted to make the game fun, and succeeded greatly in that. The 360 version on the other hand was a shallow disaster. The upgrade system is about the only depth found and combat is clunky and nearly unplayable. I would rather have a game have working repetitive mechanics than a jumbled mess of the varied ones that Thor for the 360 gives. I still have a lot of hope for future licensed titles as they can get better, but Sega need to be a bit wiser in choice for developers next time around.

Now that I have that small rant out of the way, I have begun L.A. Noire and am loving every second of it. I went into it thinking I could get a GTA experience or something close to Mafia II (which isn’t a bad thing with the latter), but instead the game is like nothing I have ever seen before and as Kelly said in her review, L.A. Noire is simply a breath of fresh air for the market. I also put in more time with Mighty Milky Way, which is a really well made puzzle/platformer so far. I also invested some more time with Pokemon and Mortal Kombat.

Editor: Jared Hilliers

I haven’t really deviated from last week’s plan to finish old games in the library, I’ve just picked up my free copies of Portal and Portal 2 which I’ll plough through, as well as looking to download infamous when the PlayStation store is finally back up. I’ve gotta prepare for Infamous 2, I had the original Infamous but traded it in for something more epic, what that was I don’t remember. Atleast now I’ll be getting Infamous back for free, it’s great that we’re getting free games, but seriously it’s been so long that I’m starting to get sick of the store being down. Every time I try to log in and it fails, a little something dies inside, get your act together clowns! You’re killing my excitement to consume freebies.

But we have to remember it’s a free service, so complaining is sort of like being a spoilt brat. I’ve also downloaded APB Reloaded, a game currently in its BETA stages, but it’s an MMO action shooter and is quite interesting! I recommend it if you’re bored and looking for something to play.

Editor: Kyle Moore

I have had such a sad and gameless week this week. I have honestly spent only a few hours this week playing anything. The majority of my time dedicated to games was spent playing Roger the Flying Pig. It didn’t really take that long to get through, it is a rather short game, but with some whacky animations and nice simplistic gameplay. If you want an in depth (slightly more in depth look) check out the review I wrote for Roger and his many attempts to fly here. Other than this, I have spent thirty minutes of the week playing Pokemon White. I am at that point where all the challenges are done, and all you have to do is chase around Pokemon and do some after the game side quest type things. Basically I just tracked down the other six sages, which I found to be really unrewarding. I must say I also find the whole cramming of 500+ pokemon into a few different areas that open up after you beat the Elite Four a little weird. Obviously I’m a little behind on my pokemon though and the majority of people beat this long ago. Other than this, I downloaded Legends of Yore for the iPhone, which I played for a whole five minutes before I fell asleep. This isn’t due to the game, although I wasn’t really impressive, but rather due to the fact that I can only find time to play in the late hours of the night/early hours of the morning right before I sleep. To end on a positive note, my DVD player recently broke. Okay, so that didn’t sound positive, but I soon realised I still own a PS2 that can play DVD’s. I’ve pulled it out of the garage, dusted it off, and am about to plug it in. I plan to re-play all those Sonic the Hedgehog games, that were amazingly re-released for the PS2, whenever I get time. So hopefully next week I have a bit more of an interesting list of gaming experiences to share!

Editor: Michael Marr

This week has been a little busy for me work-wise, so I haven’t had much of a chance to play anything beyond a few hours of Team Fortress 2. Even though the title is a little bit old by gaming standards, it still stacks up as one of the greatest competitive shooters of all time. While bot functionality is useable, it doesn’t replace the straight-up chaotic nature of full multiplayer competition. Mind you though, to this day I’m still only a familiar with a few different maps. For the games I was playing, everything seemed to be stuck on either Dustbowl or 2Fort. As for my performance… wel, I’m not the GREATEST PC gamer by a long shot. Most times I only rank around the middle of my teams score. Not the best. But certainly not the worst. I still find the use of a handheld controller more my speed. And since my play style tends to favour the up close and personal, other players will often see me take on the roles of either the Pyro, Spy or Heavy. And for those who are interested in such things: NO, I DO NOT use hats… -__-

Editor: Ben Webb

The first game that I have picked up with this week is CounterStrike: Source. It’s an old game, but it’s pretty fun to play. I also noticed someone by the name Lingling, who seemed be related to this site somehow. I want to know your connection to me Ling; and I want to know it immediately.

The other game that I have picked up is Spiral Knights, which was published by SEGA. You may have noticed that I had put up an article detailing that the game had just implemented some new features, like the auction house. That’s when I started the game. It seemed to look okay from what I was writing about, and I had the site bookmarked from before it’s release because I like to look into upcoming MMOs, especially by SEGA. The game is pretty fun so far, and I quite like how they limit your play time with the energy system, it keeps you from getting hooked. You can buy more energy, using crowns or real cash, but, as a lunch-time diversion, you don’t need to. If you play, add me – My name in-game is Ayexe.

Again, I have my usual game QuakeLive, which I actually did amazingly well on this week. See attached picture for more details.

The last thing that I’ve been playing is the latest Yu-Gi-Oh! DS game, World Championship 2011, which is really fun! I’m absolutely loving it so far, but some of the duels can be insanely tough, especially towards the beginning (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you have the game). Expect a review up for this soon.

And last thing that I have been playing this week, is anything that I have put a review up for since the last one of these. That is all.

Editor: Michael Irving

This week I tried out Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, and was extremely disappointed with the buggy mess I found myself in. The game itself looks fun, although it loses some of the magic of the first two, but I can’t play it. I fall through solid ground and die, only up, down, left, and right work on the thumbstick – trying to go diagonally, which you often do in a 3D game, slows movement to a crawl – and the game frequently crashes to desktop. I’m hoping I can find a way around this, or that a patch is released soon, because I really want to play this game.

Also this week I finally caught up with the bandwagon, and began Portal 2. Usually, if something gets really popular and I don’t think it deserves it, I end up hating it (you may have noticed my dislike of CoD). But Portal 2 deserves every word of praise it receives. The puzzles are really clever, the new elements, such as the gels and the light bridges, are expertly implemented, and of course, the writing is fantastic. If the gameplay was weak, it would be worth playing through just to hear the dialogue. But thankfully, Valve have balanced excellent writing with excellent gameplay, something very few games have managed before. A new bar has been set for gaming.

Editor: Kelly Teng

What else could  have been possibly playing but L.A. Noire? Instead of talking about it, I’ll just let you read my review: check it out here! I am going to say though…I absolutely love that game. I haven’t been able to put it down, and it’s gotten to the point where I even dreamt about it one night!

Aside from that awesome game, I’ve also rocked out to a little New Super Mario Bros. and Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics on my DS, but really it’s my Xbox 360 that’s been getting the workout this week.

Editor: Alexis Ayala

This week I’ve had to suffer through a horrible trial of patience and will. Yes, I’ve gone a week without the internet… I know, the horrors are unspeakable, so I’ll pause for a moment so you can compose yourself, then we can talk about what I’ve been playing.

This week I’ve finished World of Goo for iPhone, which I’ve gushed about before and is fantastic on any platform you can get it on so I’ll spare you any further fellating. I’ve also been slogging through Storm in a Teacup and Orions 2: The Deckmasters on iOS for review. I’ll save all the chit chat on those for when the actual reviews go up. Also new on iOS is Foodies, which is a wonderful little game with inventive controls and some misguided music. Aside of iOS titles, I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about playing full console games. Since all of my personal effects are still in transit somewhere adrift on the Atlantic Ocean, thinking about playing a game with a controller is about the best I can do. Expect further deterioration and withdrawals in the coming weeks.

Editor: Darren Resnekov

I’ve been playing LA Noire since its been released and I have to say it’s not what I expected, but its awesome. It’s very reminiscent of Heavy Rain in my opinion. I’m finding it hard in the interviews but besides that, it’s all good. I’m also getting beaten at Fifa 11 by mates who dont even own consoles is a bit disappointing but I am letting them use Spain and international teams. Other than those games I have also been playing a fair bit of Virtua Tennis 4 which is surprisingly good. It’s much more simplistic than Top Spin 4 but arcade in nature.

All kinds of awesome :) That's all you need to know.

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