Splash Damage Blog
Currently Hurling Controllers/Mice At... Rainy Company of War
Welcome to the latest edition of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at what games we're playing here at Splash Damage. These past few weeks have seen numerous anticipated game releases, with Heavy Rain, God of War 3, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 all being released into the wild. Here at the office, Left 4 Dead 2 and Rock Band 2 maintain their iron grip on lunchtime gaming, though the Blur multiplayer beta has been making regular appearances in our gaming area, as well.
Let's find out what games our guys and gals have been getting up to in their spare time, shall we?
Flavius 'Flawe' Alecu (Programmer):
I had to play Heavy Rain since everyone in the office spoke in code to spare the...dry*...people massive spoilers. I was pleasantly surprised by both the game play and the story. I tend to like games where the story is a big part of the experience and this game was a joy to play and filled with great drama. At one point I happened to shoot a person by mistake and it was an awesome “What have I done?” moment.
Also, Lord of Ultima has launched. It's a web based strategy game based on Richard Garriott's Ultima universe. It's been great fun to play so far, though I've only been at it for a week or so. It reminds me of the earlier Age of Empire games, which I loved, but I think that's mostly caused by the graphics. Nevertheless, building stuff and recruiting armies is strangely addictive. I just need to find some towns to pillage now.
Tim 'Huntle' Rose (Production Coordinator):
My evenings of late have been spent in the pursuit of sodden young boys, illicit drug consumption and heavy-handed persuasion techniques. Like Gene Kelly, I can't stop singing [praise] in the [heavy] rain. This wonderfully welcome precipitation has me gripped in a song and dance routine, tapping out my symphony of merry consequence upon a polished backing track of intrigue, mystery and murder. It is an extremely absorbing and engrossing game; creating an experience unsurpassed by any other digital entertainment in recent years. I love it!
I've also been squad'ing up with Olivier in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The game is awesome, seriously! DICE have improved upon the already great Bad Company 1 to create a really solid feeling multiplayer game. The distances between spawns and objectives have been tweaked, map design is more in-tune with the Rush game-play mode (Squad Rush is a great addition too) and the audio is just stunning. The finest Battlefield release to date!
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Neil 'Exedore' Alphonso (Lead Game Designer):
I haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like to be playing games of late, but I finally finished Mirror's Edge after additional prompting from some friends at DICE. I really enjoyed it, and think it's a very important widening of the FPS genre. I also started playing Ghostbusters, but I've barely managed to scratch the surface of that one.
Other than that, just picking up the sticks and drumming on GH: WT/Metallica/5 every now and then... still a great stress reliever, and WT has Tool songs!
Ed 'BongoBoy' Stern (Lead Writer):
Things have been hella busy with matters Brinkish, so haven't had much time to play the games of computer and video. In fact, I only just got round to playing BioShock 2, and just loved it. I'd have happily settled for More Rapture, but it delivered so much more. Possibly spoilerific (if you're as games-tardy as I), but if you haven't read Stephen Totilo's piece on the Daddening of games, and Tycho's wonderful response to it, you really should.
Also very much looking forward to Eskil Steenberg's amazing-sounding Love.
I know, I know, it's out already, I just haven't been able to make the time to mess with it, what with one thing (Brink) and another (more Brink). You know, we're going to look back at this period as some sort of Golden Age of Indie Game Development. Have something to tell your grandchildren: play this stuff while it's fresh!
Olivier 'Nosebone' Leonardi (Art Director):
I've been playing a fair bit of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 recently and found the single player experience very engaging. I was happy to see that they kept a lot of the tongue-in-cheek stuff from the first one. The multiplayer mode is awesome - being revived by Huntle when you're sniping snipers to help your troops progress (and eventually mortar-striking those two jerks that camped on that rooftop over there all game long) is a great experience!
If this sounds a bit like Sniper Company 2, it's not! All the classes are interesting to play and Rush mode with its moving frontline forces you to play differently througout the same match. The way your actions are rewarded, the well balanced maps, the very effective weapons and vehicles make this game highly addictive...
...buuuut I had to put it on hold to play God of War 3, which is truly EPIC! It's challenging without being frustrating (though I haven't tried the Titan mode yet), the boss battles are absolutely amazing, the combos and attacks are spectacular and the puzzle parts are well integrated. All this is wrapped up in hugely impressive presentation... I found myself having the same kind of reaction as when I played Uncharted 2: "Wow! How did they manage to do THAT!?" So Kudos to Santa Monica Studios!
God of War 3
Richard 'Rahdo' Ham (Creative Director):
I have gone boardgame crazy! Since we've been crunching for awhile now, I get very little time at home with my wife, so we've been making the most of what time we do have by playing a wide variety of board games. In the last few months, we've gone through Roll Through the Ages, Carcassonne: The Castle, Dominion, Lord of the Rings Co-op, Castle Panic, Pandemic: On the Brink, The Island of Doctor Necreaux, Citadels, and we just got Agricola the other day. These are all amazing experiences to share with someone you love, and playing them is, I think, turning me into a better video game designer, because I'm flexing my creative muscles in ways I never have before. I strongly recommend to all videogame players out there to every once in awhile, put the controller down and pick up some dice. There's a lot of fun to be had you might never have known about…
Steve 'badman' Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
I'm happy to report that I recently engaged in copious fist-bumping for the greater good in Army of Two: The 40th Day. I've really enjoyed it thus far - especially thanks to the varied (and often impressive) set piecess and the extensive customisation system. Unfortunately my Xbox 360 recently deemed outputting video signals uncool and promptly stopped doing so, so finishing my Shanghai adventure will unfortunately have to wait until that's sorted.
In more historic news, I've also been doing a positively huge amount of battle in Napoleon: Total War, the excellent latest installment in Creative Assembly's long-running series. If you like strategy games, you pretty much have to give this one a go. Lastly, I picked up Torchlight this weekend (thanks, Steam sale!), and promptly spent a lot of time underground / setting things on fire / carrying bow-wielding ghosts around.