Currently Hurling Controllers / Mice At… Zombies in Space

December 4, 2008

The deadly onslaught of new releases is finally winding down a bit, though our backlog of games we still need to chomp through is still about three nautical miles long. There’s no consistent gaming theme for this installment (our daily Left 4 Dead multiplayer matches notwithstanding), as people are slowly catching up on on all the games they missed in the past few months.

This week, Dann ‘SRS-Kap’ Yeung, freshly beamed over from Lionhead Studios, makes his first appearance on the blog, while Media Director Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly is the first to get all Fallout 3 achievements and Splash Damage’s Captain Paul ‘Locki’ Wedgwood gives us a quickie summary of the games he’s played this year.

Dann ‘SRS-Kap’ Yeung (Programmer):
I have been playing Crisis Core recently on the PSP, the prequel to the fantastic Final Fantasy 7. As usual, SquareSoft have done an amazing job with the story, characterisation and depth and the game feels well polished and is definitely a worthy successor to FF7. Unfortunately, as fantastic as the in-game and pre-rendered cut-scenes are, why oh why cant we skip them? And why oh why are the save points just before the 10 minute cut scenes that go straight into tough boss battles? 🙁

Richard ‘Rahdo’ Ham (Creative Director):
With Left 4 Dead and Resistance 2 out now, it’s a co-op Christmas! I think I’m the only person in the office playing Left 4 Dead on 360 instead of PC (I’ll always be a console gamer at heart), so I have to pair up with my old Lionhead buddies, and we’ve been loving it, staying up till 1 or 2 am most nights. I can’t help but think we’re playing at a real disadvantage compared to my PC enabled SD brethren. With the near constant “surprise attacks from the rear” the game uses, it’s obvious I should be compensating for the lack of a mouse with the “180 spin” button, but I never remember to use it, and neither does anyone I’m playing with. Anyone out there using it? I’d really like to know… if people find it a worthwhile use of a button, I’d seriously consider putting it into the next game…

As for Resistance 2, I’m mostly playing the co-op stuff, taking a break every once in a while to go through the campaign. Really a lot of fun, but at first I was really pissed about the spec ops guys not doing their jobs. But the more I look into it, the more it seems that class is kind of borked… they don’t get anywhere near as much XP for ammo distribution as medics do for healing, and at low levels, they don’t have enough to give around. Definitely feels a bit broken. Will have to play more for final judgement, but so far, I find I prefer medic…

Left 4 Dead is filled to the brim with our brain-eating friends.

Dean ‘Deano’ Calver (Lead Programmer):
I’ve been catching up with a few games I missed first time around and also a new one. Dead Space is the new one and I’m loving it. The dark brooding atmosphere is perfect and it feels like a game version of the film Event Horizon. Of particular note is the sound, I think I can say it’s the best use of sound in a game so far. The clank of metal on metal and other atmospherics, makes it feel like you’re in a haunted space station and then the contrast of the silence of a vacuum, gives it an audio scape similar to the film 2001.

I’ve played a bit of an old Xbox (original!) game called The Suffering, thats fairly fun and also started on Assassins Creed because the PS3 version was on sale, so I finally grabbed a copy. Very pretty but not sure about the controls yet…

Gordon ‘digibob’ Biggans (Senior Programmer):
This week I have both started, and finished the story side of Mirror’s Edge. I really enjoyed the running around like a crazy man in Assassin’s Creed, so I was looking forward to more of the same here. The movement in Mirror’s Edge is obviously a lot more directed however, but I don’t see that as a problem, it’s still fun to bound around. My main gripe, and it is a big one, is everything else in the game. The combat was just no fun at all, I would spend 5-10 minutes doing a huge jumpy section, maybe failing a couple of times, then spend half an hour or more trying to complete a small room with a 4-5 bad guys in it. I just didn’t see the point. I’m slowly working myself through the time trials and speed runs now; hopefully I’ll manage to finish most of them before I end up throwing a controller through the TV.

Paul ‘Locki’ Wedgwood (Owner / Studio Director):
Completed Battlefield: Bad Company on PS3. Good, but haven’t played MP yet.
Completed EA’s Dead Space on 360. Great, absolutely beautiful in places, a little shocked as I’d heard nothing about it before.
Played Little Big Planet on PS3. Very well executed, great for platform fans, but sadly I might not be one of them any more – will keep at it.

Earlier in the year:
Completed Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune on PS3. Great, incredible production values.
Completed Heavenly Sword on PS3. Amazing in places, frustrating in others, but good overall, and definitely recommended.
Completed Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction on PS3. Was my first game of this type on the latest consoles – great fun, incredible depth for a game of this type.
Stopped playing Resistance: Fall of Man. Err… wtf?
Played Mass Effect. Lost save game at 20+ hours in, but loved it, wish I had time to go back – will try again next year.

And finally, I completed Fallout 3 on PS3 after about 40 hours – simply brilliant. Well deserved of its spot alongside Oblivion in the ‘Top 10 of All Time’ on 360 and PS3 over at Metacritic. I’m so proud of our new business partners.

Somewhat predictably, Dead Space features a lot of dead things in space.

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
Fallout 3 is 100% complete (*cough* 1000 achievement points *cough*) until the DLC starts to arrive in a month or so. Managing to amass a whopping 110+ hours of play, it’s definitely value for money :). I’ve tried to return to my Fable II game (that I put on hold), but despite the huge sum of property income I received on entering the game while I’d been away, it wasn’t enough to hold my attention and I’m now left with Fallout withdrawal.

On the DS, I’ve picked up Lock’s Quest on the recommendation from the folks in the SD IRC channel, and I must say it’s pretty cool, if not annoyingly linear. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a game called The Horde on the Amiga, but missing the often comedic exploding cows :).

Still playing loads of point and click adventures on the PC, most notably So Blonde (fitting for me), The AGON series and a strange game set in Wales featuring a ghost horse (don’t ask). I only wish there was something decent to play on the Wii, as its gathering dust at the moment. Anyone have any recommendations other than Wii Music? 🙂

Dave ‘ducks’ Johnston (Senior Level Designer):

Joe ‘Joe Gibson’ Gibson (Knowledgeable Computer Person):
Recently I’ve been playing Saints Row 2 in co-op, and I absolutely love it. There’s so much packed into the game, from flying helicopters, throwing couples off the top of massive skyscrapers, all the way to spraying poo on entire city blocks to lower house prices. This is what I want to do when I’m playing a sandbox game! I want to go crazy and cause mayhem, the likes of what GTA4 never allowed me to do and the fact I can do this with a friend just doubles the fun.

I also messed about a bit with the Xbox Avatars. First, I made a psycho mime complete with tight leggings, followed by Mr T and finally myself. Sadly, People complained that they wanted the mime back and I had to restore him complete with bright red hair. Now everyone’s happy, yay!