"We tried sticking the Wii Remote to the bottom of a sock. I used a needle and thread." This is how the producer of FIFA 08 chronicles the back-to-basics approach to football using Wii hardware. Brad Porteous is downbeat about the 'FIFA sock' - he thought it'd work. "It felt strange kicking air, if you didn't have contact with a ball. I still have it at home, though."
"When you see a guy running around in his urban camo with a camo weapon, you're gonna know that guy is a real badass." These are the words of Grant Collier, Infinity Ward president and the man in charge of ditching the successful WWII setting of the Call of Duty series and leading the fourth game into a terrifying near-future setting, already occupied by Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. There are no antique firearms here, just high-tech assault rifles, thermal goggles and enough pocket-size explosives to kill a planet. The custom camo that Grant talks about is an unlockable extra, which along with the custom gamertags, will let you know that you're dealing with a professional killer and one who's likely to snipe you from 200ft without breaking a sweat.
It's the eternal struggle. You do a footy game, it comes out every year and it sells loads. Why reinvent the wheel, risk a fan backlash and face the critics who accuse you of inventing needless gimmicks to appear fresh and new? The reason is simple. EA are fixed on moving the beautiful game forward, even on the PS2, which most developers have either deserted or prematurely classed as a Fisher Price toy, suitable only for games involving angular-pant-wearing heroes and bobble-headed French ragdolls.
It's hard to imagine a world without Civilization - and by that we mean Sid Meier's landmark life simulator. The series has been around, in one form or another, since 1991, and its bloodline is undeniably linked to numerous digital offspring from The Sims to World of Warcraft. With this new expansion, the ever expanding Civ universe has actually gone the whole hog and embraced The Universe, star systems, planets and Star Trek-style leaders and all.
So you've read the first impressions here. This Beginner's Guide walks you through each of the three new maps, pointing out scenery of note, general level structure and the odd tip that could possibly stem the inevitable early shame of being owned by someone with a gamer tag such as Wank Static. Or Girls Gun Wild. Think of this as a Rough Guide travel journal, relayed by Louis Theurox running around like a headless chicken in an intergalactic warzone.