Picture of Keza MacDonald

Keza MacDonald

Contributor

Keza is the Guardian's video games editor. Previously she has been the UK editor for Kotaku and IGN, and a Eurogamer contributor.

The news that Devil May Cry was to get a renovation was probably the most controversial announcement of this year's Tokyo Game Show. The words 'series reboot' are enough to jangle any fan's nerves, and the trailer proved divisive.

The trailer for Asura's Wrath has got to be one of the most awesomely weird announcement videos of all time. Developed in collaboration with Capcom's newest partner, CyberConnect 2 - famous in Japan for the .hack games and Naruto fighters and in the West for, well, nothing in particular - the game is a bizarre and ambitious hack-and-slasher. It's seeking to redefine the action genre, though it's leaving us guessing as to exactly how. Take a peek at the video for a clue.

Dead Rising 2: Case Zero has been a resounding success, breaking Xbox Live Arcade sales records - and all along it was just half of a two-part Capcom experiment.

Sonic Free Riders

The least dignified game demo of my life.

Remember Sonic Riders? No? That's probably because it was awful. It's the worst racing game I've ever had to play except Donkey Kong Jet Race. It was convoluted, impossible to control and inflated beyond all sane proportions by one of the most nonsensical stories in game history (even by mid-noughties Sonic spin-off standards), narrated by voice actors with the cadence of malfunctioning robots.

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd

Too big for its dragon-leather boots.

Whenever there's a new Monster Hunter to show off, the Tokyo Game Show belongs to Capcom. The floor is theirs, to do with as they please. A stuffed Felyne and immaculately dressed-up girls greet the patient players who've made it to the front of the hours-long queues that snake around the play space – a specially constructed, elaborate mini-village made out of paper and wood. The triumphant brass of the theme music booms out across the halls, drawing yet more attendees. Battles are broadcast on a huge screen, tantalising those still at the back of the endless queues with epic four-player face-offs against fantastical beasts. Don't let the tiny system fool you – this is the biggest game of the show.

Sony unveils rejigged Monster Hunter PSP

Features new analogue stick, speakers, grips.

A new, slightly rejigged PSP unit designed to launch alongside Capcom's Monster Hunter Portable 3rd will be released in Japan on 1st December this year.

Sorcery

It's a kind of magic.

Apart from LEGO Harry Potter, which truly warms the cockles of my childish heart, there's been a surprising dearth of wizard-themed action on consoles recently. Motion control should already have ushered in a new era for this sub-genre. You'd think somebody would have spotted the potential for wand-waving with a Wiimote by now - although Billy the Wizard might have driven any inspired developers to suicide.

Virtua Tennis 4

How Move and 3D change the game.

Virtua Tennis 4 is an ambassador for Sony's vision of the future of gaming, a confident demonstration of the benefits of Move and 3D. And unlike most early ambassadors, it's polished. This isn't a tentative experiment with mysterious new techniques – you can tell that right from the first serve – but a wholehearted attempt at building a professional-looking sports game entirely upon new technology. It doesn't work seamlessly just yet, but it's already doing a lot better than most.

Dead Rising 2

Apocalypse new.

As well as being bold, unique and interestingly divisive, Dead Rising was one of the most baffling games of its generation. It constantly teetered on the edge of parody. Was it intentionally making fun of America and its zombie films, with its obese lesbian police officers and chainsaw-juggling clowns? Or was it an honest but strange homage, a Western horror staple viewed through a Japanese cultural filter?

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Whipping up a storm.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow has to be something rather special to really spark excitement, and not just because I had to get up at 8am on a Monday in order play it for this preview. Previous Castlevanias Judgement and Harmony of Despair have both left everyone justifiably wary of the words 'series reboot'. Perhaps only the words 'family-friendly remake' could be more dispiriting.

Squeezing an entire new Tomb Raider game into a downloadable nugget - admittedly, a rather chunky one, at just over 2GB - has necessarily involved some downsizing. Guardian of Light's opening cinematic is a series of stills with none of the acrobatic action-heroine antics or sharp delivery that we've come to expect from Crystal Dynamics' take on Lara Croft. Before you take your first steps into Guardian of Light's first temple, you wonder whether Tomb Raider without the pizazz can possibly be the same.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Attack of the Clone?

Even the most enthusiastic developer will tell you making games is damned hard work. Nonetheless, it's hard not to be jealous of those who get to play around with the Star Wars licence. Imagine creating your worlds as a level designer and then getting to fill them with the iconic motifs of a beloved and instantly recognisable universe – shiny Stormtroopers, swooshing lightsabers, the ominous rasping respirations of Darth Vader. And then there are all those other characters. It must be awesome to witness someone you've designed having a chat with Yoda in a cut-scene.

DJ Hero 2

Mixing it up?

My local HMV is affectionately known as the Plastic Graveyard at the moment thanks to its full-to-bursting window display of heavily discounted, unsold, mostly Activision-published peripherals. There are ad-hoc sculptures made out of Band Hero boxes and Beatles: Rock Band guitar packs next to disarrayed stacks of justifiably neglected Tony Hawk: Ride skateboards, presumably mirroring the precarious piles of dust-gathering, obsolete guitars and drumkits in the corners of living rooms and lofts across the country.

Nintendo 3DS Roundup

Nintendogs and Cats, Pilotwings and Hollywood 61.

You can forgive Nintendo for leaving 3D alone for more than a decade after the brain- and eye-breaking abomination that was the Virtual Boy. This time, they really have got it right. The 3DS needs to be played to be believed, and a post-E3 showcase this afternoon gave us the chance to have some hands-on time with the handheld's first playable demos.

Mabinogi

When Korean MMO and Welsh mythology meet.

Saying that Mabinogi looks like a Korean free-to-play MMORPG from 2004 isn't an elaborate insult, just a statement of fact. It was originally released in its homeland six years ago. The Americans have had it for two years. On the plus side, though, we're theoretically getting an MMORPG already a half-decade into its life, with all that early tweaking and refinement well behind it.

Sonic Colours

Back to black?

Sonic Colours, then. It's another return to the hedgehog's roots, but in a different way to Sonic the Hedgehog 4's elaborate sprite tribute to his Mega Drive days.

Vanquish

We were promised jet-slides.

SEGA hasn't done badly out of its four-game deal with Platinum Games, certainly not in terms of variety. We've had a score-chase playground for sadists in MadWorld; Infinite Space gave us a space-RPG for obsessive-compulsives; Bayonetta is an action heroine as gloriously over-the-top and under-dressed you could possibly hope for; and Vanquish, a third-person shooter set on a space station in the grip of a future Cold War, is nothing like any of them.

Games for Android

Ten picks for Google OS.

I was an early Android phone adopter, which means I've spent even longer than most people boring my friends with reasons why Google-OS-powered devices are better than the iPhone. Unfortunately, it also means that I'm stuck with Android 1.6 until Eurogamer quadruples my pay to enable me to buy a lovely, shiny new HTC Desire; I had to delete everything off my phone so that I could do this review roundup because I can't save apps to my SD card. It's still better than the iPhone, though.

FeatureSouls Survivor

Director Hidetaka Miyazaki discusses the origins and ideology behind From Software's masterpiece.

Since we reviewed it in March last year, Demon's Souls has gone from potential cult hit to wildly acclaimed classic, earning itself a US and, soon, European release, several Game of the Year accolades and thousands more enthusiastic disciples. It is one of the greatest unlikely success stories of modern gaming, and proof of the power of community in the internet age.

Zangeki no Reginleiv

Norse nonsense.

Zangeki no Reginleiv is a terrible game, but don't hold that against it. Some of my favourite games are terrible, like Sumotori, or Michigan: Report from Hell, or Raw Danger, or Jambo! Safari, or indeed Earth Defence Force 2017, developer Sandlot's previous game. Zangeki - a Japanese-only, Wii-exclusive release - looks like a low-budget arcade game from the late nineties, it has ludicrously awful physics that send dismembered enemies whizzing comically across badly rendered landscapes, its trees look like seaweed on a stick, its cut-scenes stutter and jerk, the main characters spend half their lives caught on scenery and the camera doesn't work. Sometimes, it's enormous fun.

Yakuza 4

Beaten into shape.

Made in less than a year with the same engine as Yakuza 3, you'd be forgiven for thinking Yakuza 4 would be a rehash or a lazy update. The similarities are plain to see; there's not much to differentiate the teeth-smashing, limb-snapping combat or fastidiously detailed setting from its predecessor's, at first glance. The differences, though, particularly the introduction of three new characters with which to roam the neon-lit streets of fictional Tokyo, have a huge impact on a series that's notoriously resistant to change. It's a notable improvement.

Pokemon HeartGold / SoulSilver

The golden days return.

Like FireRed and LeafGreen on the GBA, Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver are updated remakes of older Pokemon games - in this instance, the original Pokemon sequels, which first arrived in Europe in 2001 on the Game Boy Color. I first played them when I was twelve years old, which, distressingly, was nearly a decade ago. Reaching the stage at which your own childhood classics start getting remade to delight a new generation is a sobering milestone in one's gaming life.

Alice in Wonderland

Curiouser and curiouser.

We often talk about videogame bastardisations of films, but games' relationship with literature isn't often pored over - mostly because games rarely dare to engage with, plagiarise or sully written source material with the same wanton abandon.

Alpha Protocol

Diamonds take forever.

In the genre-bending world of modern videogames, things are not always what they seem. Alpha Protocol looks, walks and talks like a shooter, but it's not - under the hood it's a skills-based RPG. It's far more about character stats than firepower, and interactive cut-scenes form a substantial portion of the action.

Fret Nice

Don't fret.

Being a platformer controlled with a guitar peripheral, Fret Nice presented me with a unique problem: which one to use? The trusty old Guitar Hero 3 Les Paul? The sunburst World Tour Strat? The limited-edition Band Hero one with metal pegs? Or the ridiculously lifelike Logitech deluxe one made out of actual wood and metal, which I got as a somewhat extravagant present last year? I've got so many of these damned things lying around now that I'm desperate for new uses for them.

530 Eco Shooter

Flaying waste.

The Wii-propelled renaissance of the on-rails shooter is in no way unwelcome. Both Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles and House of the Dead: Overkill have reawakened an affection for laying uncomplicated waste to the undead that had lain dormant since the golden days of lightgun games.

White Knight Chronicles

What's changed for the international version.

Coming back to White Knight Chronicles' world after nearly a year to see what's changed for the international version has been altogether very confusing. I'd forgotten that the game makes you bumble through about two hours of introductory nonsense before letting you play with the excellent, creative combo system and rockin' giant robot transformations that I fondly remember, and lost 20 minutes hunting around in menus for all the missing options like a halfwit.

3D Dot Game Heroes

Pixel tart.

If an artform comes of age when it starts getting self-reflexive, then games like this, Half-Minute Hero and Retro Game Challenge suggest that we're definitely getting there.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks isn't my game of the year. Demon's Souls is. In fact Demon's Souls is my game of the decade. If I could, I would be Mrs Demon's Souls. But I've written and blithered and shared and pored over so many words about bloody Demon's Souls over the past eight months that I'm completely spent and literally everyone in my acquaintance is bored to death of hearing me talk about it, so instead I'm going to write about my second-favourite game of the year.

Sin and Punishment 2 looks like what would happen if a music visualiser developed sentience and tried to kill you. It envelops you in sweeping patterns of bullets, elegantly criss-crossing lasers and lens-flare, a deadly visual cacophony that puts you into a comforting trance as you flit defensively around the screen. But hidden behind these familiar graphical patterns is a deceptively innovative and flexible shooter; developer Treasure plays with your expectations and your instincts, and Sin and Punishment 2 comes out feeling at once like a genre greatest hits compilation and completely fresh.