Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… Condemned Sam & Mario Kart

May 1, 2008

Gather ’round, children, it’s time for another installment of Stuff We’re Playing. This past week saw the release of Nintendo Characters In Tiny Vehicles, which has since become a popular lunch and evening distraction here on the Splash Damage Peninsula of Productivity.

For those keeping track, we’ve got a new face joining us this week, with Ben ‘Randles’ Hopkinson of Rackage fame strenghtening our ranks as IT Manager. *applause*

Ben ‘Randles’ Hopkinson (IT Manager):
I’ve been trying to keep up with my girlfriend on Patapon for the PSP, an absence of rhythm on my part makes it one of the most challenging games I’ve ever played and a sure fire win for the Mrs.

It’s a quirky little hybrid game; part war-like strategy, part trance inducing rhythm and part RPG style classes and character advancement; an odd but strangely satisfying combination that’s hard to imagine being developed any where other than Japan.

As one of the much maligned PS3 owners at Splash Damage I’ve been stretching my vocal cords with my friends on Singstar with new songs arriving more and more frequently. Placebo – Pure Morning can be blamed for the hordes of cats and dogs wailing outside my flat this week. Also on the PS3 side of things Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is of course regularly on the play list despite the teleporting vehicles on Multiplayer.

I’m a multiplayer FPS junkie at heart so my mouse has been getting thrashed around in attempts to bayonet on-rushing rebels in Battlegrounds 2 a source mod in an American war of independence setting; Being restrained to 1 Shot Muskets and 30 second reload times makes for some classic Mr Stabby type moments.

Richard ‘fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
Mario Kart Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeee! has finally arrived and it’s a lot of fun. We’ve had a fair few lunchtime and evening races in the office already and even managed to rope Steve (the Wii hater) into playing a game or two, although I did have to literally drag him to the TV. Four player split screen is a lot of fun, but where it truly comes into its own is online. It comes with that same cool realisation I had playing QUAKE online for the first time – you are playing against other human beings, but this is at Mario Kart!

Still slogging away at Lost Odyssey on the Xbox 360. 18 hours in and only just onto the second disc out of four, so it’s definitely value for money πŸ™‚ Condemned 2 drew a fair crowd when Tim was trying out the multiplayer last week, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to just spectate as guys in pig masks beat the crap out of each other (well there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say).

On the horizon there’s just enough time to get ‘Wii Fit’ next Friday before the GTA 4 Marathon ensues, San Andreas had me forgetting to sleep for days at a time, so I fear for my work productivity in the coming weeks πŸ™‚

Matt ‘Anti’ Lowe (Production Assistant):
Despite thinking I’d finally broken free I’ve gone back to playing World of Warcraft. The new 2.4 patch introduced some great new dungeons at the Sunwell and I’ve really enjoyed the daily quests they’ve introduced. Bombing runs all the way!!

I’ve also been flirting with Viking: Battle for Asgard. I’ve not got too far through it because I quickly became underwhelmed by the whole thing. I loved the hack’n’slash of God of War so expected to enjoy this, but it just doesn’t have the same pace or depth of moves. Perhaps if I’d stuck at it it would have gotten better but the initial impression just didn’t leave me wanting to play more.

This week the new (and again free!) Trackmania Nations Forever is going to be released and I’ll be on that like a shot! Hopefully I’ll be able to get some cool custom cars from Trackmania United working in it as it’s adding some new compatibility, finally I’ll be able to cruise around in one of the vehicles from Wipeout! πŸ˜€

Jared ‘jRAD’ Hefty (Senior Programmer):
I’ve finished playing the season finale for Sam & Max Season 2, “What’s New, Beelzebub?” It’s a great close to the broad set of stories that were told through each episode in the series. They somehow manage to tie off the loose ends in a way that actually makes sense. Well, “sense.” It sounds like the series is taking a longer hiatus before we get Season 3. I’ll be waiting eagerly for its return.

I’ve also just tucked into Condemned 2. I’m really enjoying the combat mechanics; sparring with your attackers is very satisfying and engaging. I caught myself yelling at the TV a few times during particularly intense fist fights. Investigating crime scenes is also entertaining; I’m always looking forward to finding the next investigation. These are just my first impressions; I’ll probably have more to say after I’ve completed it.

Tim ‘Huntle’ Rose (Production Tester):
Driving games have never been my favourite genre, mainly because I suck at them and they don’t reward me for constantly holding down accelerate. No longer. Mario Kart for the Wii was made for me! I can hold down accelerate throughout the whole race, drive like a sherry-soaked pensioner and, ultimately, win through no skill of my own. It’s fun, pure and simple, a racing game that rewards bad driving.

I am still hacking my way through Viking : Battle for Asgard. For all its limitations and missed opportunities, I haven’t yet got tired of slashing away in slow-motion, creating quadruple amputees out of my enemies. If only I could master the combo attacks…

And, of course, another month another Sam ‘n’ Max adventure, What’s New, Beelzebub?. The cliff-hanger ending from the previous episode is picked up, and with an abundance of Mole-men. May it never end!

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
I finally completed Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 the other day. The final two or so levels didn’t quite hold up to the rest of the game (Helicopter boss battles? Really?). Overall though, I really liked the game, much more so than the first Vegas.

Aside from my continuing and apparently never-ending Guitar Hero exploits, Rich put a Wii Zapper to my head last night and made me play 4 player Mario Kart. It was a lot of fun, but more or less the same Mario Kart that’s available for every other Nintendo platform ever. Still though, an entertaining party title that no Wii library should miss. Just don’t let anyone photograph you using the wheel (wiil?).

As far as future purchases go, Grand Theft Auto 4 now occupies the top spot of my ‘Want to Lick’ list. I played an unhealthy amount of Crackdown coop, which has me all the more excited about the multiplayer in GTA4. It’s like another bit of icing on top of the already copiously laced GTA cake.

That’s it for this week’s installment. What have you been playing recently and what are you looking forward to?