Currently Hurling Controllers/Mice At… The Middle of Summer

August 2, 2010

Watch out, it’s the latest edition of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at what games we’re playing in our spare time. Despite the undeniable presence of Summer, there’s been a steady trickle of releases over the past few weeks, including Red Dead Redemption, Blur, Split/Second, Crackdown 2, Limbo and of course StarCraft II. Next to the ever-lasting Left 4 Dead 2 and Dawn of War II, our current lunchtime favourites are the multiplayer modes in Blur, FIFA, and Halo 3. But let’s see what else people have been up to, shall we?

In this edition, one of our Eds feeds flowers in SPACE, while the other is lost in limbo. Also, Paul mounts and blades and Flavius mods an entire nation.

Ed ‘BongoBoy’ Stern (Lead Writer):
Slightly perversely, given how many amazing games have been released recently, I find I’m still chewing upon the fine marrow-crammed game-bone that is Men Of War: Red Tide. Wonderfully fiddly WWII tactical real-time tactical sim/RPG/Third Person Shooter. With tanks. And per-soldier inventory. And hats. And boxes of matches. It’s hilariously hard. I saw one review that pretended to believe that the complete lack of a tutorial was a deliberate historically-accurate simulation of the lack of training afforded to Soviet officers. I cannot quite leave it alone, and it’s really worth checking it, or the previous Men Of War game. And oh look, Men Of War: Assault Squad is on the way. More! Soon!

Also have been bewitched by new studio Strongman Game’s Ka-Bloom. It’s a really fun, pretty Flash thing, where you get to wake up a flower, and chain together lumps of excellence and then the flower pulls them towards her and eats them. There seems to be quite a lot of depth to it, even more than the initial tutorial suggests. And the Music is delightful. Try it and leave it running.

Neil ‘Exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Designer):
I’ve found the time to finish off Ghostbusters, which was a surprisingly entertaining nostalgia romp. They did a really nice job of tying in the stories from both the movies, and it was great to have all the real actors doing the voices. I’m currently playing through Dark Sector when I can find the time, which I’d always meant to give a go as I’ve been a fan of Digital Extremes since Silverball.

Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time to catch up in the future, the Games To Play stack is growing ever more intimidating!

Dark and gruesome: Limbo

Ed ‘MrEd’ Reid (Online Services Programmer):

This game is so much fun, the mechanics are so deceptively simple and yet once you get the hang of the idea they start being really clever about things. I really love the style of this game and I don’t just mean the really beautifully shadey look with the way fog descends over water or water spurts from pipes but also the darkness of the gameplay and humour, the way the world unfolds to make you wonder, ‘Who are these people, who built this place and what am I doing here?’ The way sound always triggers an instant response in you to drive you to do things, the way everytime you learn a new trick the game plants another twist so your little blinking guy flops onto another spike forlornly – never has death been so sad since the lemmings cried, “Oh no!”

Limbo is Sonic the Hedgehog for the gamer whose reactions are numbed with unfamiliarity but whose sense of exploration and wonder is sharper than ever.

Flavius ‘Flawe’ Alecu (Programmer):
I’ve recently tried ModNation Racers and it’s been great fun. Reminds me of Mario Kart 64! I’d like to play some multiplayer when I get a chance. The level/track editor is awesome and it was dead easy to create fun tracks to play on. It focuses on the racing parts of the track and auto-generates the details like foliage and houses and the likes. This makes it easy to use with the end result being very presentable.

I’ve been playing through the single player mode of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 as well. I loved the first one and this is even better. I would have preferred the mission to be a bit shorter but that’s just a personal preference. I’ve yet to try multiplayer though I expect it to be nothing less than great.

Tim ‘Huntle’ Rose (Associate Producer):
Late at night, when no one is watching, I’ve been firing up the Special Edition of Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck’s Revenge. I love it! And now a whole new generation of gamers has the opportunity to enjoy this god among games! Full talkie support (complete with familiar Guybrush voice supplied by Dominic Armato) and brand new graphics and enhanced music make this an awesome experience. A great touch is the developer commentary supplied by Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman – it’s great hearing their take on puzzles, characters and what inspired some of the stranger ideas! I can only hope the rest of Lucasart’s back catalogue gets this loving treatment!

Red Dead Redemption
Wide and open: Red Dead Redemption

Paul ‘MoP’ Greveson (Senior Technical Artist):
So it turns out I finally have something to mention besides Left 4 Dead 2

I picked up Mount & Blade: Warband on Steam last weekend and I’ve become curiously addicted to it – the visuals are good enough to immerse you, and there’s so much detail in the game mechanics that it really draws you in.

Every character has links and relationships with every other character, and how you behave towards one person can drastically affect how others treat you, and how likely you are to ascend through the ranks. Gathering and training armies is quite enjoyable, and plundering enemy villages to sell loot and upgrade your guys is pretty cool.

If you like medieval stuff or RPGs, I’d recommend giving it a try!

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
After spending well over a solid day in the Wild West (according the in-game stats, anyway), I’m at last getting close to Red Dead Redemption‘s end credits. I can honestly say that it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played, offering a huge amount of Fun Stuff You Can Do, all set in a very authentic game world. Pick it up if you haven’t already.

To keep my gaming diet as varied as possible, I orb-collected my way through Crackdown 2 and have so far triggered about half the power-plays in Split/Second. I’ve also developed a curious addiction to EA’s 2010 FIFA World Cup (only two months late, eh?) and recently picked up the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Settlers 2. Oh yeah, there’s StarCraft 2 business to attend to as well. Fun times all around.