Sniper: Ghost Warrior has PS3 gamers in its sights this week, while the Plants and Zombies continue their battle on Nintendo DS and The First Templar fuses ancient history and co-operative action on Xbox 360
GAME OF THE WEEK: HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROWL?
Title: Plants Vs Zombies
Platform: Nintendo DS
A rip-roaring success on pretty much every other system it's appeared on, now you can zap zombies on the go on the DS! For the uninitiated, you must defend your abode against a zombie onslaught, using a crazy collection of garden goodies to bat back the seemingly endless waves of enemies. From frozen peas to super-hot jalapenos, the mix of weaponry is brilliant and it brings a deep tactical element to gameplay, particularly as the different skills of the zombies ramps up after the early levels. There are also a host of mini-games, a Versus mode, and the create-your-own Zombatar feature, all of which provides probably the most powerful, portable way to play this award-winning game.
QUEST FOR THE HOLY GRAIL
Title: The First Templar
Platform: Xbox 360
Where Ezio and the Assassin's Creed Brotherhood amassed huge acclaim in Renaissance Rome, here The First Templar flings action gamers with a historical hankering full-length into 13th century Europe. The game follows the story of a French Templar and his companion, a noble lady who has been proclaimed a heretic, as you struggle to uncover the mysteries behind the Templar Order and discover the secret of the Holy Grail. Featuring authentic historical locations, The First Templar provides gamers with an immersive RPG-action experience that places strong emphasis not only on character skills development but also co-operative gameplay, really flourishing when pals get into the game world together to complete the wide variety of missions on offer.
Title: Sniper: Ghost Warrior
The title of this game should be enough to explain what's expected of you here. Find a vantage point, set your sights and pick off the enemies with ultimate precision. And when this is what you're actually doing during this all-action military adventure, you'll have an absolute blast. However, when you're in the 'run-and-gun' or stealth passages of play that break up the more testing target practice, Ghost Warrior falls a little flat, particularly against the obvious Call Of Duty comparisons that will be made. It looks perfectly good, and the level of detail when sniping - from controlling your breathing to the wide range of hi-tech super-sights - shows that this level of love and attention will reap rewards in game development. It's just a shame that the rest of it didn't benefit from quite the same polish.
Ah, the top-down tilting genre has been served well on iPhone, from traditional Labyrinth titles to Super Monkey Ball. Gears feels reminiscent of the latter, as you guide your golden ball through a host of beautifully designed levels, which show off some of the best 3D graphics you'll have seen on Apple's handset. The odd sci-fi storyline provides a slightly out-there narrative to keep you interested, but it's the pursuit of perfection on each level - collecting every token and smashing your best posted times - that will keep you coming back for more. The game physics work really well, and present an unforgiving yet rewarding challenge; just don't get distracted by those gorgeous graphics!
PORTABLE PUZZLING PERFECTION
At first glance, Percepto looks like one of those basic airplane safety instruction cards and, with your main aim to get your stick-man quickly to the nearest exit, the comparisons continue. However, tap the iPhone's touch-screen to switch from 2D to 3D and you'll quickly discover that Percepto's basic graphical looks are backed up by a fiendish flurry of puzzles that bend the laws of physics and perspective. As always, a gentle tutorial start quickly escalates into a series of full blown brain benders, with transporter cubes, staircases and traditional blocking obstacles all presenting a hypnotic gaming experience that challenges gamers' speed of thought, touch-screen dexterity and tactical planning. Perfect for the iPhone platform, Percepto is a prime example of portable puzzling.
WHAT'S HOT AND WHAT'S NOT
Following the worrying revelations around the PlayStation Network breach of security over the Easter period, Sony has now revealed the steps it will be taking to restore the online gaming service back to its original state - including increased security measures.
A number of key features such as online multiplayer, account management, chat and PlayStation Home are due to be back in business early this month, while a statement from Sony on May 1 explained that close working with external security firms has led to the implementation of significant security measures that will not only provide consumers with greater protection of their personal information but also enhance the network's ability to detect any future software intrusions or unusual activity patterns.
In the charts this week, the brilliant Portal 2 held onto top spot for another week, with Mortal Kombat also standing firm at two. In a quiet week for new entries, Just Dance 2 was the only title to re-enter the top 10, climbing five places from 15 to 10.