Currently Hurling Controllers/Mice At… (Space) Aliens, Predators, & Splicers

March 1, 2010

Welcome to the latest installment of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at the games we’ve been playing here at Splash Damage. 2010 has been a spectacular year for games so far and with great new releases continuing to appear on almost a weekly basis, there’s no sign of that changing any time soon.

Among at least several other things, this edition features Crispy flailing about in the dark, Mikkel being trapped in his dosbox, and Locki practicing all-female intergalactic warfare. Just another day at the office, really.

Let’s dive right in:

Paul ‘Locki’ Wedgwood (CEO / Game Director):
Having recently completed Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Assassin’s Creed 2 (and loving them both), I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Mass Effect 2. I’d played through around 22 hours of the first game, and while I’d enjoyed it, I found myself interrupted by needing to judge a dozen multiplayer games for last year’s BAFTAs (where we all agreed L4D should win), and didn’t get back to the first Mass Effect. Nevertheless, I just completed Mass Effect 2 (360) in a single weekend, and it was, and I’m not saying this for effect, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

The execution, writing, research, art (especially for the size of game), shooter gameplay, RPG mechanics, space exploration, et al, were all great. I played a female paragon which I modelled on my wife (pregnancy excluded!) and I’ve since confirmed that this is where the best acting is to be found. Aside from being my first experience leading an all-female assault on an alien race (which was truly compelling), my first game where a developer _finally_ delivered on the promise of branching narrative, it simply rates as one of the highest ‘lose myself’ moments in my short gaming life. I have no idea where the 28 hours went, but each morning when I woke up, I just couldn’t wait to get right back to it, and by 4am I was still mining planets and looking for my next upgrade in anticipation of another great mission. Buy it now.

Mikkel ‘mig’ Gjoel (Graphics Programmer):
Inspired by a great remix by Olof Gustafsson, I decided to search out Pinball Fantasies from the my big box of all-but-forgotten-games (also containing Prince of Persia – Sands of Time, UFO: Enemy Unknown and Need for Speed: Underground 2). Empowered by dosbox I spent the next hours immersed in pure euphoric nostalgia – someone should dig pinball-games out of their gra… oh, Pinball Dreams for iPhone o/ – now all I need is an iPhone…

Aliens vs. Predator
Aliens! Predators! Marines! Aliens vs. Predator has all three.

Stephen ‘Crispy’ Etheridge (Production Tester):
I played the Alien vs. Predator demo on 360 and ended up getting hooked on it for hours at a time. I was particularly impressed by the atmosphere the game exudes through very good use of sound, lighting and ‘over-the-shoulder’ canned animations for the execution moves. As a Marine, there is a genuine feeling of paranoia as you flail about in the dark with your flashlight trying to catch a shadow that just scuttled across the ceiling.

Neil ‘Exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
It’s not exactly the Xmas holidays, so I haven’t had as much time, but of course still managed to get a little game on! I’m a little late to the Bayonetta party, and after a slow start I’ve realized why it has gotten such praise for mechanical depth. I prefer both having a female lead character and a dodge button instead of a block button, so I like the stylistic choices as well.

I forgot to mention last time that I picked up the God of War Collection for PS3 when I was back in the US over the holidays, so I’ve been playing through the original God of War in lovely 1080p. That disc is simply a tremendous deal, I highly recommend!

Philip ‘pipster’ Barnell (Production Tester):
After hearing everyone big-up Mass Effect 2, I thought I’d give the first one a try (I’m so behind the times, silly me). To say I’m impressed would be an understatement; all aspects of the game are extremely good but the mesmerising music and gorgeous visuals will stay with me for a long time. If any of you haven’t experienced the empowering effects of Mass Effect yet, experience them en-masse immediately!

BioShock 2
Rapture awaits your return in BioShock 2

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
I just played through BioShock 2 and Rapture was every bit as captivating as it was in the first game. The entire game was very polished and littered with improvements that make it feel like a slicker version of its already fantastic predecessor.

I’ve also been playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 a ridiculous amount. Given that there’s only one map available at the moment, that should tell you pretty much everything you need to know right there. 🙂 Will definitely pick this one up when it falls into stores next month.

Lastly, Napoleon: Total War comes out this week! Can’t wait…

Paul ‘MoP’ Greveson (Senior Technical Artist):
Still playing Left 4 Dead 2 versus. It makes me angry, in a very good way!

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
The iPhone has been my platform of choice recently. So much time has been spent routing around the AppStore that I’ve been able to compile a top 5 of my recommended buys:

Angry Birds: Very hard to describe in a sentence, but you essentially catapult a limited number of birds at fortified green pigs. It’s awesome!
Broken Sword Directors Cut: Arguably one of the best adventure games ever made. Originally released in the late 90’s but now remastered for hand held usage, there’s even some added puzzles from the DS version. Highly recommended!
Plants vs Zombies: My latest addiction. If you haven’t played the PC version, pick this one up – it’s an awesome tower defence game.
Mystery Mania: A cute room puzzle adventure. You’re a redundant robot that is trying to solve the mystery of the mansion.
Robocalypse: An RTS that is reminisant of ‘Z’ (the one with all the robots). A word of warning: it can get quite involved so make sure you don’t miss your stop when playing on the train. 🙂