Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… Zombies in Chinatown

July 15, 2009

Oh zombies, we love them and they love us back. Needless to say, Left 4 Dead is still being played on an extremely regular basis here at the office, with the Character Team regularly facing off against our Production Testers and whoever else is willing to be pounced on by Huntle. As far as new releases go, only GTA Chinatown Wars and MadWorld seem to be willing to do battle in the Great Retail Arena and both of them have actually been getting play time from us and are covered in an undisclosed location in this update.

We’ve also got several new faces, with Programmers Ed ‘mred’ Reid and Ronald ‘Conine’ Koppers both throwing their assorted words into the mix. Welcome guys!

Ed ‘mred’ Reid (Programmer):
As the newbie in the company, my first week was greeted with cries of “Where’s your copy of Left 4 Dead?!” Since then, my life has descended into lunchtimes filled with a cacophony of ghostly, distant wailing, Swedish curse-words and pitiful, emasculated cries of “Huntle on me!” My days are now defined by the flailing and gnashing of teeth of grown men as they give their lives in the cause of leaving that safe room to make sure no one gets left behind!

Ronald ‘Conine’ Koppers (Programmer):
Picked up MadWorld recently to see what all the fuss was about and it truly is as violent as they say. I’ve always had a thing for the Mortal Kombat fatalities and MadWorld feels like one big chain of brutal fatalities, all coupled with a very unique visual style. Anybody seen my chainsaw?

If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch and like shooting down waves upon waves of monsters, get iDracula; it’s a great game to kill some time with during lunch or on your commute. The latest version has some new environments, monsters and, most importantly, new game modes which really add enough entertainment to last me through my 40 minute train ride.

Still on Street Fighter 4 as well, although I don’t seem to get any better at it. Perhaps it’s time to actually put some effort into it and stop looking at the “purty” colours. Just don’t tell Aubrey I’m still playing, otherwise him beating me may become a long-term lunch break embarrassment. πŸ˜‰

Neil ‘exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
I picked up GTA: Chinatown Wars when I was out at GDC and have been really impressed with it so far. I loved the GTAs pre-GTA3, so the return to top-down is a welcome bit of nostalgia.

That was while travelling, but at home I’m splitting time between the Be a Pro mode in FIFA 09, multiplayer in Killzone 2, and checking out the single player in Bad Company… with doses of drumming on GH: World Tour in between. I’ll probably be checking out the new patch in World of Warcraft later on in the month as it seems like a hefty bunch of content, and I still need to check out Resident Evil 5 (even though for me it can never live up to the sheer awesomeness that was Resident Wiivil 4).

Paul ‘Locki’ Wedgwood (CEO / Game Director):
The last two weeks have been pretty hectic, but I have found time for a little Left 4 Dead (360), and it continues to impress me. I thought I’d write this update for the old-school clan scene… my fellow low-latency, competitive, Razer-mouse toting, hardcore, MP, PC shooter fans. There are many things about L4D (360) that shouldn’t work; 1) Playing shooters on an analogue console controller, 2) Playing online over a wireless connection, 3) Actually hitting your target, despite being supine on your sofa, 12 feet from your plasma, with your view obstructed by beer, and a 200ms ping 4) Playing a zombie game on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and 5) Having fun playing cooperatively against a computer, when there’s nobody real who will suffer. Well, it’s time to bin your mouse, your Ethernet connection to your QoS’d layer-three architecture router that ensures a ping of 5, stop hunching three inches from your screen, and actually relax while playing! What?!?! I hear you say… Yes! I reply…

This past weekend, I darkened my lounge on a sunny Sunday afternoon, lined up beers on the coffee table, got my plasma and audio tweaked, called Richard Ham (our Creative Director), and then after waiting for him to work out which of his endless Xbox 360 setups (his riverside castle, I’m sure, is equipped with 20 different rooms in which he can view output from his consoles – projectors, TVs, flip-books, slaves with crayons, he has it all), so I could then follow him around and constantly save his arse. Ok that’s a lie… Mr Ham is actually pretty good at console shooters. Now, as with many MP games, L4D can show you a side of a friend that you’d prefer not to have known about (your best friend will run to the safe house and lock you out, while he steals everything), but luckily for me, Mr Ham is a very nice man to play MP games with. May we live long in Left 4 Dead. And may our Producer Greg Hounsom (Lego: Star Wars, Killzone 2) buy a copy for god’s sake so we can play with more than two people! I bet he’ll steal all the drugs….

Richard ‘Rahdo’ Ham (Creative Director):
I finally got around to playing through the whole Fable 2 DLC expansion, and I was very impressed! Even more so because I know how small the team of guys was who got it out the door, and it’s an amazing accomplishment considering how quickly they put it together. I really think it should have a credit crawl of its own, so the guys can get their day in the sun! πŸ™‚

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
On the DS, I did indeed pickup GTA: Chinatown Wars and it’s a lot of fun! If you were a lover of the old school top-down GTAs, then this one is for you. It’s not simply a re-hash, as there’s a lot of cool new ideas and ingenious use of the stylus that give it a fresh feel, and there’s even a whole side Elite inspired trading element that should keep all wannabe peddlers occupied. πŸ™‚

Still loving Resident Evil 5. I have gotten right to the end of co-op with my partner, and am planning on playing through again on the next difficulty. Not wanting to preach about the visuals again, but I believe it is probably the best looking game on consoles at the moment.

On the Indie scene I’ve been having yet another adventure game stint, this time with a game called Dirty Split (no not that!), there are some great amateur adventures around and this one is no different it even has speech! Check it out here, it’s free!

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
I somehow got sucked back into Mass Effect and am playing through it a second time with my old character on Hardcore difficulty. The nice thing is that you get to keep your character stats and equipment from the last playthrough, so you basically start pretty much where you left off. I missed a ton of content the first time through, so I’ll be a bit more thorough this time.

I’ve also been working my way through Peggle‘s challenge mode, which is just an insanely fun and surprisingly addicting way to kill some time. I’m getting quite close to the end of it now, so all that’s left is the pretty much impossible stuff.

Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor comes out this week at last and after spending countless hours skirmishing in the first two games, I’m really looking forward to this one and all the new multiplayer modes Relic are adding. “How is that tiny shield going to protect us?”

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