Long read: What might the ultimate character creator look like?

Baldur's Gate 3, Street Fighter and Lost Ark developers discuss.

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What's New? (27th April, 2007)

This week's PAL releases.

Unless the worst comes to the worst, and they settle their differences and agree to form a new brand of "superworst", and then successfully defend themselves against the Bavarian wurstmacher ubermanguild's charges of copyright infringement and get some swanky business cards printed on the cheap by the man who painted my entire house for £50 and claims he can get me all sorts of crap even though I didn't ask for it GUNS I kid you not, God of War II really should be out this Friday. Not that that's any guarantee of anything, since it could also go cock-a-hoop. The extrapolation of which, in hindsight, would have made for a funnier rambling introductory paragraph.

Still, no time (or inclination) to redo it, so let's get to the meat: I haven't played God of War II. I wanted to, but Kristan has our copy. Plus his review's due up today, so I'd feel a bit silly undermining all his points based on what people on my MSN list have written in their stupid status joke bit. So go over there to read about that; I spent most of my evenings this week starting a new character on Puzzle Quest. Sir Coxelot is a level 22 warrior already. And don't mess with his griffon. Then I played Eets: Chowdown on Xbox Live Arcade, which is sort of like Hanna-Barbera Bridge Builder, although probably not as clever as it thinks it is. Bit like me.

Puzzle Quest and Eets aren't the only things I played this week though - I also spent some time, though it shames me to admit it, trying to get the final 20 gamerpoints for Viva Piñata. Now, I'm as wearily unpleasant about the achievements system in public in a vain attempt to sound as though it's all about the gameplay for me as any of the other insecure hacks struggling to assert their integrity by having a go at it, but having got 980 of Piñata's points I do feel the need to round things off. Just to tidy things up. You know. Unfortunately, the only one left is "play for 50 hours". Now I have played for 50 hours; I'm as certain of this as I am that Kristan will have edited out the sentence about bukkake from further up the page [yep - Ed]. And since I've completely drained the game of all its content and other entertainment value - and there's a lot there, to be fair - I've no real compunction to create new gardens. So I need to cheap it to whatever measure of 50 hours it's after.

I've tried all sorts of things. Originally I just left the game on overnight. Didn't work. I woke up and discovered that the game had paused itself because the controller had turned itself off. At this point I realised that I couldn't find the pad's charging cable, which presented another problem. Then it hit me. A rubber band actually hit me, because I was trying to make a rubber band gun with my hand and have the grace and composure of a mad cow. So I twisted one end of it round the left analogue stick and one round the right, so that the cursor was swinging in one direction and the camera in the other. I'm not proud of this, but it kept the controller alive and also gave me something repetitive and visually draining to watch to knock me out, which was handy, because I've run out of Grey's Anatomy. Then I woke up again and discovered an alert pop-up. Apparently there was a fox in my garden. For the love of Mike.

So, I built a garden into which NOTHING could get. Picket fence most of the way round, then obstruction after cheap-to-erect obstruction. And then I went to bed again. (I did actually do some other things in-between all this sleeping, incidentally. I went to the doctor, for instance. He told me that if I continued to drink two litres of Diet Coke a day, washing it down with beer, wine and microwave dinners, I would probably have to start looking around for a new liver within the next few years. Or die. So that was good.) And then I woke up again, and there was another alert interrupting my efforts. It told me that animals were struggling to get into my garden.

Which means that I haven't got that achievement yet, and that in an attempt not to waste my entire week playing Viva Piñata, I have in fact wasted my entire week not playing Viva Piñata. And apparently Kristan's God of War II review won't be up until later, so I've also just wasted the last few minutes hurling myself down a cul-de-sac of misanthropy for no reason. There's a lesson there somewhere, but I won't try and locate it for you, or I'll probably end up deleting the rest of the text by accident and kicking my computer into a pool of acid. Which would, I suspect, actually be when the worst hits the worst, and give me cause enough to run myself that bath full of toasters I've been promising myself all year.

Now, go buy some games. It's why we're here.

This week: