Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… iPhones, Prototypes, and Tennis!

June 26, 2009

At three weeks, E3 is now officially far enough in the past that it’s once again safe to talk about games that are already out. We’re totally exploiting this with the latest edition of Currently Hurling (which is incidentally what you’re reading now), shamelessly looking at what games we’ve played recently.

In this update, Paul dominates Monopoly, John tries to play horror games with a tennis elbow, and Neil goes for some double bass action. Also, [PROTOTYPE] and inFAMOUS bring us lots of spare uppercase characters.

Richard ‘Rahdo’ Ham (Creative Director):
Very much enjoying inFamous! Great game overall. And I checked out the XBLA Magic the Gathering title the other day, and it stirred… rumblings, of a time long past. I’d best walk away, best not open the box in the attic. That way lies madness.

Paul ‘Locki’ Wedgwood (CEO / Game Director):
What with E3 and other travel, I seem to have spent the last six weeks either in hotel rooms, airport lounges, taxis, or green rooms, but thankfully the iPhone has been my respite. Given all that, I’m pretty proud to have achieved ‘Peggle Master’ while also beating Monopoly‘s three AI enemies on hard!

Yes, that’s how deep my gaming on other released games has been 🙁 Then again, I have also played several hundred hours of BRINK! w00t!

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
Now that E3 is out the way and BRINK announced, I can finally catch up on all the Fallout 3 DLC that I’m behind on! Right now I’m playing through The Pitt and Broken Steel; and as with Operation Anchorage they are a refreshing setting change from the wastelands. I am knee deep in Trogs trying to fight my way out of the carnage that I’ve invariably caused and loving it.

On the Wii there’s Grand Slam Tennis, which is remarkably fun, particularly when playing online doubles (I’m #192!). Whereas with most Wii games you may begin by playing standing up, by about 10 minutes in you’ve usually already retired to the sofa. Grand Slam is different, probably in part due to the extra feeling of control from its use of the Motion Sensor Plus (MSP), but it definitely keeps you animated and there’s even a calorie counting summary graph; perfect for shifting post-E3 podge. :)

On the horizon there’s Wii Sports Resort which after my experience of the MSP I am eagerly looking forward to, and of course there’s still loads more Fallout 3 for me. I had a little play of Point Lookout in between BRINK demos at E3 and am looking forward to battering its zombified swampland hillbillies in the foreseeable future. 🙂

Flavius ‘Flawe’ Alecu (Programmer):
I was on the road this last week and since they wouldn’t let me take my PS3 and TV on the plane, I turned to my DS instead. I managed to finish GTA Chinatown Wars, which thinking about it is actually the first GTA game that I have finished. I thought the whole affair was great fun and I really liked the ending

I’ve also been playing a lot of Fallout 3 since I got back from my holiday. Since I’m playing it on the PS3 I’m currently preparing for the expansion packs by playing through any and all missions I might have missed earlier. It took just a couple of minutes to yet again be sucked into the game and I can’t wait to grab the first PS3 expansion. I wonder where to get Microfusion ammo when all the Enclave dudes are dead…

inFAMOUS brings open world action and lots of lightning to the PS3.

John ‘nifty’ Molloy (Game Designer):
This week has had me cowering behind my chair as I dived into the horror genre with Penumbra Overture and Call of Cthulu. I haven’t gotten very far in either but so far I can say this: I love the character design in CoC and also how closely it sticks to H.P. Lovecraft’s story, there’s been some great shock moments and the (in)sanity system is great. Penumbra is amazingly atmospheric, I’m spending more than my fair share of time hiding behind a box with a hammer in my hand and the lights turned off. I’m also behaving somewhat similarly in game.

To lighten my mood I’m also having a bash at Virtua Tennis 2009 on the Wii. I think I’m getting the hang of it now and thankfully have 3 days to replace the living room light bulb before my girlfriend gets back from a holiday! The Wii motion plus controller makes a big difference to how it all feels and my actual movements seem to pass more directly into the game. So in summary: crazy fish people, fading torch light and tennis elbow!

Dann ‘SRS-Kap’ Yeung (Programmer):
I have been playing Left 4 Dead religiously every day for quite some time now, perfecting my 25 damage hunter pounces and generally owning n00bs at lunch time (i.e. the Splash Damage art team :P).

A lot of us are unhealthily addicted to this game and it seems no matter how many times I end up rage-quitting, I’m back for more the next day. I also recently discovered the very nice L4D profile game stats and as a result have decided to pay particular attention to my average damage to teammates (43.00!).

Neil ‘Exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
I played my first song with the double bass action of Expert+ on Guitar Hero Metallica just last night, and I’m still surprised about how much more fun it was than with one pedal. I’m now eagerly awaiting the Greatest Hits release tomorrow… much rock will be had this weekend!

I also decided to pick up GTA4 again, as I didn’t make it very far into it during my first playthrough before my savegame was accidentally nuked. I’ve passed the point where I was previously quite quickly though, and I’m hoping more of the game mechanics will start opening up as its all still fairly limited. I get to carjack much nicer rides now, at least!

I’ve also put a good bit of time into Crackdown, which I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t gotten around to playing earlier. I’d heard so many positive things about it, and I haven’t been disappointed. They did a particularly great job with making the collectibles actually fun to go out and get, and it’s a very good way to reward the player for the jumping around the city, which is already fun to begin with… it’s a reward cycle of pure win!

[PROTOTYPE] is full of claws, exploding bits and severed limbs.

Aubrey ‘Bezzy’ Hesselgren (Technical Game Designer):
inFAMOUS made my PS3 purchase worth the asking price. I normally get pretty bored with cover shooter type combat, but since it’s pretty easy to unleash powers fairly simultaneously (no switching between weapons etc.) I was pleased with the control scheme and could string together some really enjoyable impromptu street fights. Movement’s pretty excellent (responsive, and with lots of clever real time animation blends going on), and the plot twists and turns nicely.

I was already a huge fan of Hulk Ultimate Destruction for the Xbox – a near perfect combat system and an open world which did little more than act as a playground for over the top forays with massive enemies. [PROTOTYPE] is massively similar, sticking with what worked, and trying a few new things: It adds a few new mechanics (vehicles and stealth) which work well as part of a larger tapestry. One thing I especially love is their approach to open world missions. Once you’ve tried basic missions once or twice, these become “passively available” in the environment, so you can, say, pop into a military base during an entirely unrelated mission and refill your artillery strikes or level up your abilities.

As far as the inFAMOUS vs. [PROTOTYPE] thing goes, I’d say they’re both excellent games, worthy of a look, but my personal preference is for the wonderfully mastered over the top combat of [PROTOTYPE]. I really haven’t enjoyed a game this much for ages.

Jamie ‘Fishbus’ Manson (Level Designer):
I went out and bought ArmA 2 on Saturday. Wow, I love, yet hate, the heck out of the realism exuded by the game. I have been playing it quite religiously in co-op with a couple of the others at work with full voice and…. semi… thought-out tactics (running at an oncoming tank with a rocket launcher through an open field spanning 300m is not considered a worthwhile tactic apparently). And that’s really where most of the fun comes from: when a plan comes together! The game comes with 4-player co-op single player which is a much welcomed addition.

My iPhone pick of the crop has to be Zenonia. Not having touched an RPG of any kind in goodness knows how long, I thought I’d get something light to get me back into the zone. Zenonia surprised me by being a lot deeper that I could have ever imagined, it feels sort of like an RPG hack and slash with buffs, active/passive powers and the usual leveling up business. It also has very appealing graphics, albeit somewhat encroaching the jRPG side of extreme hairdos, but I don’t mind at all to be honest. It’s a surprise find that I’ll play it at any opportunity where I’m not close enough to ArmA 2!

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
I hacked, slashed, and leapt my way through X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which actually really surprised me. It’s a really fun brawler that’s kept fresh throughout thanks to an extensive, multi-tiered unlocks system. Yeah, it’s a movie license, but this one’s one of the good ones!

I’ve also just started playing [PROTOTYPE] and getting my feet wet in that. I was a huge fan of Crackdown and [PROTOTYPE] is not only 100% more all-caps and bracketed, but also delivers a fun, over-the-top open-world superhero experience. Recommended!

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