Digital Life: Great atmosphere let down by the gunplay
Published 06/04/2010 | 05:00
Metro 2033, X360/PC: It must be something about the hostile weather in the former Soviet Union that begets the gloomy fiction on which Metro 2033 hangs its hat.
Springing from the same geographic well as Chernobyl shooter Stalker, this Ukranian-developed FPS shares a similar hellish vision of life in a nuclear winter.
Communities of survivors have retreated to the relative safety of Moscow's metro stations but, faced with constant attack from mutants, inevitably you're forced to take up arms.
Freighted with claustrophobic atmosphere as you creep warily through darkened tunnels or draw ragged breaths through a gasmask when venturing to the surface, Metro 2033 nails the nightmare effortlessly.
Where it's less surefooted is when the creatures burst out and the gunplay kicks in.
MotoGP 09/10, PS3
Too easily dismissed as the poor man's F1 on two wheels, MotoGP works harder in this year's update to bring on the adrenaline rush.
Early bikes are incredibly stable, throwing you a lifeline as you struggle to master the cornering.
Purists may argue the simulation angle gets lost amid the pursuit of cheap thrills and casual players may find the supernatural abilities of the AI riders hard to take.
But if motorbikes get your pulse racing, you know where to go.
Napoleon: Total War, PC
The magnificent Total War series reaches one of history's most charismatic generals, following the pint-sized terror's rampage though Italy, Egypt and, finally, the whole of Europe.
The sweeping strategy feels as compelling as ever and new to the series is the welcome ability to play the campaigns in multiplayer. It's no revolutionary but a fine introduction to the series.
Revisiting the Escher-imitating, brain-melting 3D of the excellent Echochrome puzzler, Echoshift introduces clones to further wreck your head.
Like Braid, you must cooperate with "echoes" of yourself to reach various platforms and the exit within a time limit.
The original's use of 3D perspective was novel but frequently confusing, so the switch to (mostly) 2D softens the puzzles while costing Echoshift some of its edge.