Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… Bad Company Edition

October 23, 2008

Tapir 'nadeIn a somewhat odd development, Battlefield: Bad Company appears to be making the rounds here at the office some four months after its initial release. Initially, the single player demo with its, shall we say, lengthy mission design seemed to put most people off, but now that a few of us have actually played through the game and dipped our collective toes and trigger fingers in the game’s multiplayer, the Bad Company virus seems to be spreading from one employee to the next. Thanks to the simplicity of Xbox Live, we often hop into each other’s multiplayer games in the evening and proceed to grief each other in the most hilarious and obnoxious ways possible. It’s therapy of sorts.

Anyway, if you ignore the numerous Bad Company posts below, it almost sounds like we’re playing the latest games. We’ve also got a few new faces in this update, with Richard ‘Rahdo’ Ham and Mattias ‘dof’ Engström making their blog debut.

Richard ‘Rahdo’ Ham (Creative Director):
Just finished Battlefield: Bad Company’s singleplayer campaign, and overall I really, really enjoyed it, and look forward to a sequel where they smooth out the trouble bits. It was quite clever how they meshed their core multiplayer experience into a single player one.

Also been playing the DS version of Guitar Hero on the train. My left wrist is killing me, and I refuse to shout “ROCK ON!” to activate star power. I just sort of politely cough, which doesn’t really feel very rockstar-ish, I must say. Still, enjoying it a lot. So far the song list has been a better fit for my tastes than previous games in the series (but then, I have no great desire to “bang my head” while “shouting at the devil”).

Mattias ‘dof’ Engström (Technical Designer):
I purchased Crysis Warhead and have been playing it lately. It’s actually a very immersive game – while more linear than the original it still manages to keep an emergent feel to the combat with room to explore different tactics in each encounter. I don’t care too much for the story and the camera work could have been better in the cinematics, but that doesn’t take away much from the overall experience. The graphics are, both technically and artistically, mind blowing with some truly spectacular and imaginative levels. Great game.

Fuel is apparently in high demand in Crysis Warhead. Oh and things explode.

Stephen ‘malarky’ Gaffney (Development Manager):
This isn’t something I’m generally a fan of (probably because I’m normally on the receiving end), but I’ve mainly been sniping in Battlefield: Bad Company on the 360, and Team Fortress 2. It’s almost no effort, has barely any positive effect on my team’s progress, and it’s endlessly frustrating for the snipe-ees, BUT! it is helluva fun, very satisfying, and I will not apologise.

Paul ‘MoP’ Greveson (Technical Artist):
I participated in a closed playtest on Arcanox’s “Tribal Wars” mod for Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars recently. For a free-time production by a very small team, it’s turning out remarkably well! The art is all very polished and stylish, and the gameplay is very interesting and “different.” As someone who never really played much of the original Tribes games, it took me a while to get used to the control system, which is inspired by the “skiing” style of movement found in those games. Once you’ve got the hang of it, though, it’s a blast – players flying everywhere at crazy speeds, heavy weapons trying to blast them out of the sky, all based around a fast-paced CTF game type. While it’s still early days for this mod, I can see it being very successful once the minor bugs are ironed out and more maps are added.

Oh, I’ve also been playing vanilla ETQW too. Shout out to the owners of the OCB ranked server – I’ve always been guaranteed a good game there!

Tim ‘Huntle’ Rose (Production Coordinator):
Spawning a little later than my peers, I have only recently been hooked on Brucie’s Evolution game, Spore. From my juvenile beginnings creating dubiously conical-shaped freaks, I have persevered through the Age of Enlightenment, Past the Industrial Revolution to a time of economy space flights. After a week of late nights, I reached the centre of the galaxy and can now go back to producing aliens with questionable appendages!

I have also been playing Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise and attacking everything I can with my spade. More of the same, but I hope to make the most of the online Co-op features – only time will tell if the same level of devastation to plant and piñata life can be caused over the internets.

Looking forward to reliving those heady days of the Dreamcast with Samba de Amigo on the Wii, released this Friday. Cup of Life has never been a wiser choice!

Edward ‘BongoBoy’ Stern (Senior Game Designer):
It’s always interesting to see what our fellow Euro/Scandi-FPS-smiths DICE are up to, and I was particularly curious about Battlefield: Bad Company following the very funny Snake Eyes, Bad World and Rainbow Sprinkles trailers. If the game itself doesn’t quite maintain that level of entertainment, Bad Company certainly takes itself less and less seriously until it’s effectively a parody of SP shooter games, and the NPC dialogue is a sort of running commentary on how silly most game VO is. Top marks to the writers, voice talent and voice directors. First person weapons are good, and the audio is very nice indeed. And it’s not every game that lets you tootle around in a golf buggy on a presidential palace golf course, or fly a gold-plated Mil-24 Hind.

Alas, the destructible geometry didn’t add as much as I’d hoped. Like an 80’s action movie, things just blew up all the time, and you’d just pick yourself up and carry on shooting. Like Command and Conquer – you’d destroy a massive building and there’d be one little guy emerging unscathed from it to pop at you with his tiny, angry rifle. Speaking of which, NPC AI was fairly awful, but at least your buddy NPC’s said funny things while they capered about, quivering and occasionally teleporting. Here’s hoping the MP is more fun.

Battlefield: Bad Company‘s tanks are excellent tools to flatten your co-workers’ faces with.

Gordon ‘digibob’ Biggans (Senior Programmer):
Having been on holiday, and generally traveling a lot, I’ve been playing on my DS quite a bit. First off, I’ve been racing through the newest installment of Trauma Centre. It’s quite good, but feels rather too similar to its previous DS outing. The storyline is quite silly, as before, but overall it’s still fun trying to operate on people in a car (in the game), whilst in a train (in real life). I’m not sure surgeoning it up in real life can really compete with that!

Next up is Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The game basically consists of lots of brainteasers tied together with a very over the top storyline, which seems like an all too familiar pattern for DS games. The brainteasers are very good for the most part, though a little too many are actually trick questions for my liking. The addition of weekly downloadable puzzles was a great idea, and the cut-scenes and art in general is very nicely styled, for what is not a very visuals focused game.

And finally, for a departure from the DS, I’ve been playing tons of Castle Crashers on the 360. I’ve always loved these kinds of games, and they’ve managed to pull it off very well here, especially the frequent jokes. There are still a few little niggles here and there though, such as it being difficult to see where you are some of the time, especially in multiplayer.

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
Battlefield: Bad Company multiplayer remains the order of the day for me. It’s one of the few multiplayer shooters on the Xbox 360 that actually managed to hold my attention for longer than two weeks and I suppose that’s really thanks to the versatile and (thanks to destructible geometry) dynamic level design. My latest favorite thing to do is hogging various TOW missile launchers around the maps and hurling exploding freedom sticks at incoming tanks and unfortunate infantry. For some reason it takes people a few goes to actually consider trying to take out the guy in the TOW launcher, which works in my favor.

Also continue to work my way through Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, which has gotten a bit less annoying thanks to watchful dragons and money-spewing wells. Still not as good or captivating as the first game, though.

What have you been playing? Let us know in the comments!