Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… Downloadable Things

July 15, 2009

Hello and welcome to another edition of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at what games we’re playing here at Splash Damage. With Fallout 3‘s steady stream of DLC , the just-released Battlefield 1943, and the supremely awesome Friendly Fire, download-only titles are ruling the office this week, though there’s plenty of other stuff, both new and old, being played.

In this update, Tim enjoys long walks on the beach in Battlefield 1943, Neil T-Viruses it up in [PROTOTYPE], and Steve has a severe case of Efficiency OCD. On to the words:

Flavius ‘Flawe’ Alecu (Programmer):
Battlefield 1943 brrrmmm, woosh, pew pew, BOOOM!

Tim ‘Huntle’ Rose (Production Coordinator):
Currently, I’m jumping and gliding around the city in the awesome [PROTOTYPE]. For a game that encourages extreme violence, and equips you with the means to inflict mass destruction on New York, I’m having the most fun staying on the down-low, out of sight from the Po-Po. Systematically working my way through the streets, stealthily consuming all inhabitants, my goal is to cleanse the city and allow me to recreate my favourite scene from I am Legend. So far so good, although I think I may have just run over my dog.

I’ve also been enjoying Tales of Monkey Island, Telltale Games’ new outing for Guybrush Threepwood. Of all Telltales’ episodic games, this feels the most solid and polished offering yet and goes a long way to capturing the excitement and romance of the original series (including the best music found in a video game).

On Xbox Live Arcade, it’s been all about Battlefield 1943. It may only be 4 maps and 3 load outs, but at £9.99 it’s well worth it. I just have to find someone else to share my passion for long walks on the beach, and ill-advised cliff-top detours in a jeep.

Jared ‘jRAD’ Hefty (Lead Tools Programmer):
I recently picked Fallout 3 back up so that I could play the DLC and continue to advance my second character, the evil Magda von Bumshow.

Operation: Anchorage was an interesting departure from the standard Fallout 3 gameplay. I had several tense moments where my health was almost gone and the next health station wasn’t anywhere in sight. It was disappointing that couldn’t loot the bodies of fallen enemies since they disappear right away; doing so is almost a reflex by now!

The Pitt kicked off with a nice and dangerous bridge crossing while flame belched towards the sky in the distance. Very cool! I enjoyed roaming around abandoned factories finding steel ingots (I might be easily amused.)

Broken Steel gave me a chance to level up past 20 and get some awesome kit as well (Tesla was a genius.) It’s satisfying to see the effects of my decisions at the endgame played out in the world. Broken Steel carried me across many more environments, so it had a nice diverse feel to it.

I haven’t played the latest – Point Lookout – yet, but it’s downloaded and ready to go. I’m looking forward to it!

Fallout 3‘s DLC features more Giant Robots, morally ambiguous quests, and pew pew lasers.

Laurel ‘Tully’ Austin (Senior Concept Artist):
Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS): I absolutely loved this game. Beautiful style, extremely well-produced cinematic cut-scenes, cutely mysterious plotline, puzzles that are challenging but not hair-pullingly so. They nailed it. I am eagerly awaiting the sequels, of which I hope there are many. I wish it had been a bit longer, as I finished it in a couple of evenings, but I can’t complain too much.

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
Fallout 3 DLC is still taking most of my attention. I’ve just polished off Broken Steel, which is actually my favourite piece of Fallout add-on content to date. The whole thing is quite diverse and has a really cool ending (that’s all I’m saying). Having seen the Mothership Zeta shots earlier in the week, I am sufficiently eager to blast away some alien scum.

On the DS there be Dragons, in the form of Dragon Quest: The Hand of the Heavenly Bride. I’m 15 hours in and have yet to figure out the true meaning of the title. I’m enjoying it, though – there’s a lot of depth to keep me interested. Later in the game, you gain the ability to recruit/tame monsters to join your cause, which is cooler than it sounds as they continue to improve and level with you. Oh and you can also train and race slimes (a more squidgy Chocobo of sorts).

On the iPhone (yes, I’ve finally succumbed and bought one, damn peer pressure), I’m enjoying MyBrute, a cool little stats battling game where you pit your brute(s) against like-minded bloodthirsty fighters. You’re allowed 5 fights a day per brute and as you level up, you get cool new weapons and abilities. Definitely worth checking out. Oh, and if you want to join my Splash Damage Dojo of Awesomeness, my Master code is FIEJJHFE 🙂

Joanne ‘Bossyboots’ Eldon (Office Manager):
Monopoly, Twister and Cluedo.

Edward ‘BongoBoy’ Stern (Senior Game Designer):
I promise I’ll stop talking about Men Of War soon, but it’s still surprising me. I really wasn’t expecting this splendid WWII Real Time Tactics game to turn into an over-the-shoulder third person rail shooter, but set faces to stunned, it just did.

Other delights have included the ever-entertaining Team Fortress 2 (especially now I’m nomming my sandvich), and the rather splendid iFighter on the iPhone. I’ve always been terrible at scrolling schmups and now, thanks to iFighter, I can be terrible at them on public transport. I don’t care who you are: that’s progress.

But the main discovery of the last few weeks has been the frankly astonishing Friendly Fire. Guns + Mumbling + Puppies + Guns + Top Hat + Monocle + an Achievement for just reading the instructions = the goriest and most gruesome game I’ve ever played. The audio is so good, not only can I not prevent myself from making the noises myself while playing it, I can’t prevent myself making the Friendly Fire noises while playing other games, or during normal conversation.

Try it and see if you can refrain from making the running and jumping noises with your own personal mouth, or trilling “Crrrrritical!” the next time you make a headshot. Now it seems deeply, grossly unfair that no other shooter games allow you to choose as a weapon…a minelayer ship. Which you, er, sail around. On land. And lay mines with. Inspired.

Matt ‘Anti’ Lowe (Production Coordinator):
You should never really have to spend £40 on a digitally distributed PC game, but such is my love for Blood Bowl, Games Workshop’s awesome board game of fantasy football (Orc and Goblins, not the other type) that I had to grab the early release of Cyanide’s PC version.

It does everything you’d expect, all the old rules packaged into an easy-to-use, neat-looking game, multiplayer opening up thousands of potential opponents to play and gain experience against. It’s an absolute must buy if you ever played the board game, and if you didn’t, it’s the best place to try it, although maybe wait until September when it hits retail, the US and Steam (and is a touch cheaper!) .

Battlefield 1943 brings tanks, planes, boats and bombs to Wake Island and other places in the Pacific.

Neil ‘Exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
It’s a bit later than for most around here, but I spent a lot of last weekend playing [PROTOTYPE], and quite enjoyed it. It’s nice to have an open world style game with a good melee system, and I like the forgoing of a strict blocking mechanism in favour of quick dodges and leaps. It’s been a surprisingly fun time overall, but I also just like that you’re essentially almost playing a boss from a Resident Evil game who is all T-Virused out, so instead of being an underpowered ‘normal’ character against an uber boss you’re the badass, and you have to fight hordes of zombies and soldiers.

Finally, I decided to put Tony Hawk’s Project 8 into the 360 again, as a bit of a last hurrah for standard controller-based skating games now that the new board peripheral for Tony Hawk: Ride has been unveiled. Time was flying as I was playing and it still has a great soundtrack, and hopefully the future is even brighter.

Arne Olav ‘ao’ Hallingstad (Programmer):
I’ve gotten into and played a few rounds of the Heroes of Newerth beta, a Defense of the Ancients (the WarCraft III mod) styled game. It’s a lot of fun and builds on the DotA gameplay with a lot of good improvements. Looking forward to more from it.

Being quite late to the game, I’ve played quite a bit of Left 4 Dead in versus mode. Great fun!

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
Finally grabbed Dawn of War 2 the other week and have been playing through the single player campaign. With RPG-style leveling and item drops and a meta-campaign that lets you choose your next mission, this is a really fresh take on RTS games and I’m absolutely loving the thing. Can’t wait to get some co-op action going!

In a somewhat surprising blast from the past, I impulse-bought the SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition, which contains the main game as well as the excellent Rush Hour expansion set (which I hadn’t played before). It’s every bit as addicting as I remember, which is perhaps not unrelated to the fact that it allows me to generously pour German Efficiency all over everything in an almost OCD-like manner.

Rounding out my gaming trifecta for this update is Overlord 2, which I’ve spent a few evenings with. I’ve not played the first game, so I have no frame of reference here / am out of my element, but it’s a fun hack’n’slash romp complete with very pretty fantasy visuals and my own private army of underlings. I like underlings.

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