Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… Wars and Sequels

March 18, 2009

The latest edition of Currently Hurling is here and packed with new releases! After the rather quiet patch that was January, a truckload of great new games including Dawn of War II, Street Fighter IV, Halo Wars, Resident Evil 5, Empire: Total War, Men of War and of course Killzone 2 has arrived and they all need to be played.

Without further ado, let’s get to the Good Stuff and find out what we’ve been playing:

Jamie ‘Fishbus’ Manson (Level Designer):
Welp. I’ve had a good time with some new games over the past couple of weeks. For starters I got to play Killzone 2 with 4 of us in the same room on four PlayStations. It was pretty ridonkulous to say the least, but it was indeed very fun. The graphics for the game is simply staggering in most areas; I can’t get enough of the light-exposure-burn-in-your-eyes effect!

I also had a crash course in Street Fighter IV (and the series in general). I’ve never touched Street Fighter in any form; it’s just that fighting games were never on the top of my list when I was younger. I’m really enjoying the game for how it unleashes the competitive part of me, rage-quitting and trash-talking has never been so much fun when playing with friends. We all have a good time, it’s all about pulling off cinematic Ultras when both players have nearly no health. Awesome.

Oh, and I am playing through Grand Theft Auto 4 again, I will no doubt buy The Lost and Damned at some point, but I want to complete the game again on my swanky new Xbox, you know, why not? The ragdolls are just fantastic, and there’s also no shortage of hilarious quips that come from the pedestrians of Liberty City!

Neil ‘exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
I’m spending some time with Killzone 2 now that I can finally play it at home. It goes along with healthy doses of Street Fighter IV and Guitar Hero: World Tour, in preparation for the upcoming Guitar Hero: Metallica release. Double bass, rawr! I’ll probably also be picking up Chrono Trigger for the DS sometime this week, as with GDC coming up there will be some boring trans-Atlantic flying to be done.

Aubrey ‘Bezzy’ Hesselgren (Technical Designer):
Hello, my name is Kenneth. I’m a Shoryuken addict.

I used to think I could handle it. I thought that I’d just occasionally throw one out in an emulated game of Alpha 3 – you know? I used to think I channeled my ki like a pro. Thought I could win with grace, or fight and lose, and not feel like a loser. But now, 4’s here. 4 changes everything. 4’s the Blanka on my back which I just can’t shake (even if I focus-cancel). 4’s the last moment Ultra Combo which you saw coming, but couldn’t do a damn thing about, because you jumped too early.

I guess I wasn’t ready for the internet, that constant drip feed of fleeting enabling relationships. Every time a new challenger has entered the ring, I’m like pavlov’s dog. Instead of slobbering, my palms start to sweat and my thumbs start to blister. Somehow, I bust through that wall of pain, and try taking the world on, one fighter at a time. And typically I’m humbled. It makes no difference in the long run: Every lost match tells me I must try harder. Every win tells me I deserve another hit. Then, it’s already 4am on a Saturday morning. I drag myself away to sleep in my empty double bed. In life, I fail, but in Street Fighter 4, I’m… actually pretty mediocre also. Doesn’t matter. Even in my dreams, I’m pulling hadoukens.

Street Fighter IVStreet Fighter IV handily commands our daily lunch break here at the office.

Paul ‘Locki’ Wedgwood (CEO and Game Director):
My short abstinence from writing about what I’ve been playing here was due to my role as a BAFTA judge. I lucked-in, getting a seat on the multiplayer jury, and had a great time playing through 15+ multiplayer games (and I’m very happy that we chose Left 4 Dead as the winner), but it would be unfair for me to comment on the other nominees (the BAFTAs being shrouded in mystery, as they well should be). However, I’ve have also just completed BioShock and the new Prince of Persia, both on the 360.

Prince of Persia has been accused of being repetitive, but then so are racing games and I think you need to approach this game without any free-climbing/boss combat expectations, and then you’ll find it fun. The dialogue and subtle animations between the main two characters are what probably stand out most for me.

BioShock gets my absolute recommendation. The first time I played it I had other distractions and it wasn’t able to suck me in, but I got back to it this in the past month and it was mind-blowingly cool – particularly the story, art direction, and depth. I’m now a card-carrying fan, and can’t wait for the sequel.

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
After what seemed like years of anticipation, I finally got my hands on 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand and boy, it does not disappoint. Random mental notes taken while playing: Everything explodes. Like everything, including your bullets. There’s a skull that’s of some importance. There’s tons of cussing. And ways to unlock even more cussing. Fiddy has massive arms. And if you’re a bad guy, even a minor one, your own helicopter gunship is a must. In short, I want more.

I also strategized (and mostly in real time!) my way through Halo Wars and for me it’s hands down the best RTS available for consoles. The gameplay has just the right amount of depth and the control system is probably as perfect as it can be with a controller. The single player experience delivers pretty much exactly what any Halo fan would want out of an RTS and it’s all packed up in absolutely stunning CG cinematics. Get it if you haven’t already.

Lastly, Peggle has arrived on Xbox Live Arcade. Goodbye, evenings.

Richard ‘Rahdo’ Ham (Creative Director):
Killzone 2… single player wasn’t really for me, but the multiplayer is addictive as all get out. It’s a stellar experience.

So, anyone out there in a decent sized, active KZ clan? Would love to get in and get involved! Let me know! πŸ™‚

Arne Olav ‘ao’ Hallingstad (Programmer):
Been playing a lot of Empire: Total War lately. I started on the Road to Independence campaign and finished that in about 28 hours which is rather decent for a single player campaign. I find the ground battles the most interesting, though naval battles are also really good. Up next are the grand campaigns, which I’ve heard take a lot of time to finish so there’s enough to look forward to for the next few weekends.

Also played through most of Defense Grid: The Awakening. It’s a tower defense style game which is quite fun. I’ve yet to try the harder difficulties which is unlocked when a map is beaten, it could be quite challenging.

Killzone 2Killzone 2 is finally here and looks fantastic indeed.

Paul ‘Digs’ Saunders (Senior Game Designer):
Ed and myself have been playing co-op games of Men of War, which is a mad, very detailed RTS game set in the second World War. I think it’s slipped under most people’s radar but it’s one of the best RTS games I’ve ever played.

I just love the way all of the maps start out in pristine condition and then by the end of it everything is trashed – every element of the map is destructible so the landscape ends up with huge craters scatter all over it and buildings can be destroyed almost brick by brick.

Oh and I’ve just picked up Crysis Warhead (I got an uber machine over Christmas so I figured now was a good time to test it) so no doubt I’ll be getting hooked on that over the weekend.

Lastly, I’ve been playing an amazing little game called Slam. it’s a fast-paced arcade game which changes as you play through it and I really don’t have a vested interest in. Honest. πŸ™‚ (well you *almost* had me convinced -ed)

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
Resident Evil 5 has just replaced its predecessor in my top 10 of all time favourite games. It looks simply stunning. I was a bit put off by the demo, but having watched the trailers and seen just how diverse and hugely cinematic the game experience is, I’m glad I decided to pick it up. Amazingly, it’s a game that my fiancée will willingly play for 10 hours in co-op and still be eager to play on after that. Those of you with partners will know games like this are damn near impossible to find. πŸ™‚

GTA4: The Lost and Damned was great; I particularly enjoyed the Road Rash style races where you can batter your opponents off their bikes. There are some cool story crossovers, much like The Getaway did it all those years ago. I would recommend it to any of you that enjoyed the original game and are thirsty for more.

On the DS, both Professor Layton and Civilization Revolution are complete, and I’m looking forward to GTA: China Town Wars on Friday, which looks very reminiscent of the early GTA’s and so should be loads of fun. In the meantime, I may just pickup Chrono Trigger just so I stop playing Civ so much. πŸ™‚

Ed ‘BongoBoy’ Stern (Senior Game Designer):
Men of War, Men of War, Men of War. Do yourself a favour and walk, don’t run, and buy it now. Yes, yes, I know it’s not a great name for a game, and it was released at the same time as two other very good and very-much-marketed RTS behemoths (Dawn of War II and Empire: Total War) and you perhaps not coincidentally haven’t seen much marketing for it but please trust me, Men of War is an absolutely extraordinary game.

If you have even the most cursory interest in WWII, tactical or RTS games, you owe it to yourself and all that is healthy to check it out. As Digs has said, we’ve been dipping our toes into the Co-Op and it is a thing of wonder. Never before have I been able to watch tanks fall through river ice in an RTS. Or steal hats. Or plant bushes for camouflage. It’s THAT good. The MP just plain blew our minds. We need to get a lot, lot better at the SP before messing with that again, but ohhhhh we will.

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