Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… Clashing Zenos

April 30, 2009

Zeno ClashHello and welcome to another edition of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at what we’ve been playing lately here at Splash Damage. New releases are still few and far between, though independent game Zeno Clash has managed to make a rather lasting impression around these parts. Let’s have Ed explain why, shall we?

Ed ‘BongoBoy’ Stern (Senior Game Designer):
Zeno Clash: just trying to describe this game is itself something of a psychedelic dream sequence. One suddenly finds oneself being stared at in fascinated horror as previously unconnected syllables tumble from one’s lips. “Look, the Chicken-Head guy is throwing skulls at me”, “See how the blind sniper hurls squirrels on parachutes and they have barrels of gunpowder on their back?” etc.

ACE Team are clearly destined for great things, get on board the bandwagon now so in five years’ time when World of CorwidCraft tops the charts, you can airily admit to having liked their early stuff. And if you don’t think the aforementioned Corwids of the Free are the Best NPC’s EVER, then you’ve played a lot more and much stranger games than I. Yaay Bosch-inspired Chilean First-Person-Punch’em-ups! More! Soon!

Also, I’m still feasting steadily on Men Of War. I’m not even halfway through the SP, although Digs, Nifty and Anti and I have probably played most of it in Co-Op, and we’re just starting to mess with MP which is a whole new world of tension, tactical fiendishness and “Ah, he still has one tank left” hilarity. There’s just more and more to find and marvel at and I increasingly suspect that it’s one of those games I just didn’t pay enough for, even though I stumped up full retail RRP.

Arne Olav ‘ao’ Hallingstad (Programmer):
Played a lot of Civilization IV recently and I finally got into the Beyond the Sword expansion. It’s great! Corporations, spies, unique unit models for different civilizations, vassal states and a lot more.

I’ve been reading a few strategy guides and I have tried all the unique rushing units. The ones I like the best is the Indian unit that replaces the Warrior and can be mass produced from the start to take the closest civilizations, and the Praetorians for Rome with a very good attack of 8 compared to the Swordsman’s 6.

Zeno Clash
Best not to ask what’s happening in this particular sequence of Zeno Clash.

Ed ‘mred’ Reid (Programmer):
Left 4 Dead is being nudged into a little dark recess of my PC at the moment that Dawn of War II‘s bolters and dreadnaughts open up in a cacophony of splattering alien gibs all over my screen. The tactical ebb & flow of Relic’s Company of Heroes has been put aside here though in favour of something very much more like Syndicate in its play. RPG squad load-outs and picking up loot to enable frying enemy waves by the thousands. Hours of my life are slipping away as my fragile squads of plucky recruits have smashed and blasted their way into unstoppable death-dealers.

Syndicate – now there’s a game long overdue a remake.

Neil ‘exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
I was bummed to find out that Guitar Hero Metallica was being released 2 months later in Europe than in the US, so I got impatient and imported it… and it’s awesome! I’m quite possibly having too much fun with it; it feels like a game I’ve been waiting decades for. I’m also beginning to wonder how any other rhythm game is going to be better, as I certainly think for my peculiar tastes (read: quite thrash-y), it is a very tough set list to beat!

It seems to be a bit like the slow period of the year in the new releases front, so I took the opportunity to finally finish off Assassin’s Creed. I found the game a pleasant surprise overall, especially the story. I’ll go as far as to say I’m looking forward to the sequel – bring on the Medicis!

Other than those, I’m still having fun with GTA: Chinatown Wars, as running some virtual dope is a great way to pass the time whenever the London public transport system decides it has the hiccups. Which is quite a bit. I’m imagining I’ll still be taking out my frustrations over the real world of football in FIFA ’09 until the end of the footballing season, and I’m about to start on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed to see how it holds up to the previous Jedi Knight games, which I’ve always been a big fan of.

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
I’ve been powersliding, boosting, and shooting my way through UbiSoft’s Midway’s Vin Diesel’s Wheelman, which, despite of it nearly being a movie tie-in, has been good fun. The game is like a combination of Burnout Paradise’s open-world approach with added guns, on-foot bits, and a story wrapping it all up. Check out the demo if you haven’t already, it should give you a good idea of what to expect from the full thing.

Still haven’t picked up Dawn of War II (though I’ve been playing the demo extensively) or Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, but definitely still planning to. Also, the holiday season is already shaping up to be another insanely packed assault of great titles – I can’t wait!

Vin Diesel shoots at lots of people in Wheelman.

Ronald ‘conine’ Koppers (Programmer):
Ulduar! Yup, the new 3.1 patch for World of WarCraft. Now applaud me for being brave enough to admit to the general public I’m a WoW-addict. So far I’m quite loving most of the changes, especially the dual spec option and the new argent tournament “get your city rep for free” World Event. Ulduar itself brings a nice amount of new challenges and one of them, XT002-Deconstructor, has instantly become one of the most memorable bosses in gaming for me. With his child-like behaviour and spoiled brat vocals, he’s very funny, but then starts to annoy you when you whip him a couple of times. Going to equip my epic dagger of nerdy addiction now and fight my way to the Old God – see you all when Batman: Arkham Asylum comes out. Portal plix…

Jared ‘jRAD’ Hefty (Lead Tools Programmer):
I picked up Zeno Clash on Steam last weekend and have really been enjoying it for the 3 or 4 hours that I’ve played so far. The unique art style is very refreshing to see and the fist-fighting mechanics work quite well. Larger scale fights can be a bit overwhelming, but can usually be overcome after a couple of tries. The settings are varied and the gameplay gets changed up enough to keep it from getting repetitive. It’s definitely worth a peek if you have £15 to spare.

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
Hmmm, I haven’t been playing a lot to be honest. To help counter this lack of steady Xbox Live achievement points, Steve kindly brought in the amazing game of Avatar: The Legend of Aang: The Burning Earth. Three minutes later I had 1000 more points.

I’m looking for something new to play on the DS having completed GTA: Chinatown Wars, which was great. Anyone have any suggestions?

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