DOM CAREY - Xbox PR, Microsoft
Dead Space 2 (EA)
As a huge fan of survival horror, I couldn’t wait for this to release at the beginning of the year. When played with the lights out and the volume cranked up, Dead Space 2 offered some pants-threateningly scary moments, made especially creepy by the return to Ishimura in the second half of the game. Even the sound and movement of the standard Necromorph enemies still makes my hair stand on end and, coupled with some of the more sadistic ways Isaac can meet his maker, I thought this really raised the bar on the first Dead Space. I mean, who doesn’t remember their first encounter in the Eye Poke Machine?
Gears of War 3 (Microsoft)
Gears of War is one of my favourite franchises ever so, as trite as it may sound, it’s been an absolute dream to be able to lead the PR campaign for Delta Squad’s final outing. I think Gears is very honest about what it strives to be: a brutal, unapologetically action-driven series of violent confrontations. The satisfaction from goring a Locust grub on the end of your Retro Lancer is a pleasure that never ceases to earn a smirk. Ultimately though, it’s the huge multiplayer suite that makes it one of my GOTY choices, as I’ve probably put more time into Horde alone than any other game this year.
From a professional point of view, meeting so many of the passionate Gears fans over the last 18 months was a real eye-opener, especially the guys that queued up for hours at the midnight launch. Epic have a very close-knit and passionate community, and it was a pleasure to experience that first hand.
Pokemon Black (Nintendo)
I’m quite bullishly shameless about my enjoyment of Pokemon and have been known to argue down anyone who professes that it is merely a ‘kids game’. Despite its colourful appearance and insistence on pushing the moral thread that Pokemon are our most cherished friends, the combat and breeding mechanics of the game get surprisingly complex depending on how deep you want to dive. Let’s also remember – we’re getting animals to claw, bite and flamethrower each other until one passes out. It’s brutal.
Though the fifth generation of Pokemon did introduce some bizarre little creatures (I don’t care what you say, Musharna is based on an ovary) it also represented a new beginning for the franchise by removing the familiar Pokemon until the game was completed. I couldn’t possibly comment on the rumours that myself and a couple of friends took time off work the play this at launch.
Honourable Mentions: Modern Warfare 3, Bastion, Dance Central 2, Zelda: Skyward Sword. I’m also hugely looking forward to getting stuck into Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City over Christmas.
JAMES HONEYWELL - Marketing Manager, Nintendo UK
Zelda Skyward Sword (Nintendo)
For me Zelda is one of the most exciting new games this year. It shows an amazing amount of creativity, re-imagining everything about Zelda that I have loved since first playing it on the SNES, yet keeping it familiar. The music is also truly epic, beautifully adding to the emotions generated by the story and action.
Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo)
Super Mario 3D Land is amazing, showing a level of imagination only seen in games once a generation, every level feels fresh and exciting. I been playing this game non-stop in an attempt to find all the hidden coins and extra level. It just keeps me coming back for more.
Skyrim is a really amazingly realised virtual world that draws out the hard-core gamer in me. With so much to do I know I'll be playing for a long time.
Honourable mentions: Deus Ex, LA Noire, Mario Kart 7
RICH EDDY - Director of Communications, Codemasters
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda)
Never played an Elder Scrolls game before. Never got it, never got fantasy much. Too many orcs and goblins poncing about trying to impress the Great Thragg of Bonaomipalone with their sodding magic for my liking. But wait. While sat on games sofa watching work chum playing Skyrim one afternoon, its magic gets me. A story that sucks you right in, conversation that opens new possibilities, stunning scenery, beautiful locations teeming with things to prod, steal, empty and general muck about with. It has treated me to all manner of diversions – well, with side quests that don’t actually feel like side things at all - enemy encounters with real ‘get ‘em!’ moments and bloody huge dragons flapping about the place. It was also the realisation that I don’t have to push on and on forever chasing a quest completion... I can just wander around, slay a few bandits, nick their horse and gallop off into the mountains for the afternoon. And THAT’s how this flaming game steals time from the universe. Day turns to night IRL and you get shouted at a lot by a v grumpy Other Half for ‘walking around in the wilderness picking flowers.’
Quarrel Deluxe (UTV Ignition)
It’s a word game on the iThings. But LOOK (10) at its darling characters – they’re PERFECT (15) examples of gaming cuteness; every piece of Quarrel’s production values OOZES (14) perfectly designed presentation and adorable character animation. It’s Scrabble and Boggle and Countdown but with extra happiness and opponent crushing and territory invasions. Even the Other Half has been playing it (this is much more of an achievement that its BAFTA Award).
Uncharted 3 (Sony)
I’m sorry. I know I haven’t been around much for you this past month. You barely had the chance to take me across London (pretending to be dead was NOT funny, btw) and reminisce about your childhood. Yeah, okay so I moaned that trailing along the London tunnels but, come on, it went on a bit. Then France and... well, you know the rest. Look, it really isn’t you. How could it be? We spent the most amazing winter together last year. It’s me. I just needed to do something different, I had to get away for a bit and Skyrim just seemed like a good place to be. I’ll be back soon – definitely for Christmas, I promise. I’ve missed you like hell and can’t wait to see you again (just gotta sort out a few more dragons first).
Your videogame boyf,
Honourable Mention: Batman: Arkham City (I AM BATMAN. That is all, obv.)