Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At … Assassins and Creeds

December 7, 2009

Welcome to another edition of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at what games we’ve been playing here at Splash Damage and what we’re looking forward to. 2009 is slowly but surely coming to a close but it’s going out in style with a huge crop of awesome games across all platforms. With Assassin’s Creed 2 now out there, we get to enjoy a few weeks of quiet before things heat up again in January. This works out as it’ll actually give us time to actually spend time with all the great games that appeared in the past few weeks.

Anywho, in this edition, Philip is all about osmosis, Ed breaks up with his Rogue, and Tim spends a lovely weekend with the Ghostbusters. Oh, and as the title might imply, there’s a fair bit of hidden blade action.

Neil ‘Exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
I’ve been on a bit of a renewed kick on music games, I played a bunch of Rock Band: The Beatles, and have more recently started with Guitar Hero 5. Both are very good, but it definitely shows that there’s a lot of different directions the genre can still go in. GH5 was a bit of an impulse purchase… I happened to notice that they released Gor-Gor by GWAR as Halloween DLC, and it just had to be purchased.

We’ve shot some zombies on Dr. Ned’s isle in the Borderlands DLC, and I somewhere in there found the time to play through the Thieves’ Guild questline in Oblivion (just the Dark Brotherhood left now). I just got word that my copy of Assassin’s Creed 2 is in the mail as well, it’s the season that keeps on giving!

Aubrey ‘Bezzy’ Hesselgren (Technical Game Designer):
After finding out that StreetFighter Girl has a boyfriend (I’M NOT A STALKER), my spirit was buoyed by playing Assassin’s Creed 2, and hot star garden am I impressed! The game starts a little slow, but then really does deliver the promise of variety. Crowd mechanics, while all a bit similar (essentially occupying guards) work nice and consistently, and proper big brawls can ensue as a result. There’s a huge amount of content. I’m 8 hours in, and still have most of the new weapons to unlock, and no-one’s even hinted yet at the hidden pistol. One minor quibble (and I’m sure this is just co-incidence) it RROD’d my launch day Xbox! BOO!

Assassin’s Creed 2: May contain sandbox gameplay, beautiful visuals, variety, and lots of sharp objects.

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
Assassin’s Creed 2. My, my, my. I didn’t need much convincing to pick this one up, having liked the first one quite a bit. But boy, did it exceed my expectations. Great visuals, fun missions, variety (and lots of it!), and loads of improvements over the first game. Especially digging the armor upgrades and the enhanced combat system. Really, really good stuff, definitely one of my favorite games of the year.

I also just started Dragon Age: Origins, a game I actually put off buying because its immense scope was rather terrifying to me. I’ve merely scratched the surface of it, but so far the voice acting and witty dialogue writing really stand out to me. Looking forward to spending more time with it.

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
I finally picked up (and subsequently completed) Assassin’s Creed 2 on the Xbox since everyone and their mother has been going on about it – well ok, mainly badman and Smooth. It doesn’t disappoint and is leaps and bounds (no pun intended) ahead of the original. The control system has been refined to perfection, and the story is engaging and kept me hooked wanting to play on to find out what happens next. Oh and the cities are just MASSIVE (and beautiful to boot).

On my little iPhone, I have been reliving classic adventure games of yesteryear with lovely Charles Cecil’s Beneath a Steel Sky Remastered. I’ve played it at least three times since it’s been released and still love it – they’ve got the same guys that made Spitting Image to do the voices for goodness sake! At just 59p, you really can’t go wrong. This is a classic that needs to be replayed!

Ed ‘BongoBoy’ Stern (Lead Writer):
Dragon Age continues to delight, even though my wretched Rogue has mistakenly turned out to be merely a crime-averse archer, possessed of such impeccable moral integrity that he’s incapable of picking a lock or a pocket or anything other than helping old ladies cross the road, picking up litter, caring for injured animals etc. My party is leaving a trail of unopened caskets chests and wardrobes, transforming a densely populated fantasy landscape into a giant deserted furniture warehouse, or an enormous, widely dispersed and entirely inviolate safe deposit facility. Am glumly trying to level up his Lockpicking skill but I’m starting to suspect it may be time for The Talk. You know the one: “I really enjoy the time we spend together, and we’ve had some great times, but I think it’s time for me to start playing with other characters. It’s not you, it’s me, etc”.

Ongoing affair with Borderlands is still going strong. Diablo with guns! And L4D2 beckons, with its misshapen nomm’d hand. What an awesome pile of games we get to play this winter. Nearly makes up for the crappy, rainy, floody weather.

Arne Olav ‘ao’ Hallingstad (Programmer):
More Dragon Age! Finished the Broken Circle quest line and I’m now onto the human quest line – Arl of Redcliffe. I’m a level 9 Rogue, going for the Ranger specialization (I’m a fan of bows and arrows). I must say the humor is quite good, with my fellow party members quipping at each other now and then. Also played a lot of Heroes of Newerth – the new engineer ulti is very good.

Spoiler alert: There are ghosts in Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

Philip ‘pipster’ Barnell (Production Tester):
This week, I have been mostly been delving into oscillating world of Osmos. It’s a complex and crisp chill-out experience, in fact creating a total relax-factor of 1 gazillion. The mesmerising tension-relieving music, spine-tingling graphics and simple yet deep game-mechanics makes it an addictive, fun and endearing experience. In fact its so addictive that my colleague now commandeers my PC at lunch-times to play it, boo hoo. 🙁 Osmose yourselves today!

Tim ‘Huntle’ Rose (Production Coordinator):
I had a wonderfully funky weekend in the company of the Ghostbusters (The Video Game). All the old gang was there, Egon, Ray, Winston, Peter, Janine, and my favourite Walter Peck. The characters look and sound great and the attention to the script and storyline (by the original writers) has certainly helped create an absorbing and atmospheric game. Catching ghosts is great fun, playing across between Sega Bass Fishing and No More Heroes, with the proton beam and trap effects looking spectacular. It’s the closest I’ll get to being Louis Tully…

In other news, Left for Dead 2 is highly addictive. ‘Nuff said. It’s *bleep*ing awesome! Versus FTW TBH!!!111one

Jared ‘jRAD’ Hefty (Lead Tools Programmer):
In preparation for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves I decided to start with its predecessor – I’ll leave it up to you to guess the name. it has a nice mix of combat and platforming, with a couple of token vehicle sections to break things up. The firefights are tense and satisfying, though I usually ignore the heavier weapons in favour of 9mm pistols.*pop pop pop* Platforming is straightforward, usually involving some inhuman leaping skills as Drake lunges from ledge to vine to rickety platform. I’m nearing the end of the game and it feels about right in terms of length. After it wraps up it’s onward to the sequel!

Stephen ‘Crispy’ Etheridge (Production Tester):
Before I got my paws on a Game Boy solus, the long car journeys of my childhood seemed a dull and interminable event, mitigated only briefly by the giddy highs of a Bender-in-a-Bun or some such at a roadside eatery (I jest). In situations like these escapism to an alternate reality is the only logical choice. So when I found myself in a similar predicament I was happy to be armed with the perfect antidote – Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the DS.

Also, with more weapons, more special infected, more campaigns and more game modes, there can be no doubt Left 4 Dead 2 has more than justified itself as a full-blown sequel. Only the most miserly of men would boycott such an improvement over the original.

What have you been playing and what are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!