Currently Hurling Mice/Controllers At… Braid: Bad Company

August 28, 2008

BraidSummer and the associated drought of games are still in full swing (as if you couldn’t tell by the gap between this installment and the last one), but we’re now back in action! We’ve had a few games come out in recent weeks, with Xbox Live Arcade serving up the excellent Braid alongside Geometry Wars Evolved2. Soul Calibur 4 appears to be the only notable retail release to hit lately, but September (and with it a fresh crop of games) is drawing ever closer.

In any case, let’s see what we’re playing, shall we? We’ve actually got several new faces in this installment, with recently crowned Audio Director Chris ‘peaceful warrior’ Sweetman and freshly spawned Lead Programmer Dean ‘Deano’ Calver hurling peripherals for the first time.


Aubrey ‘Bezzy’ Hesselgren (Technical Designer):
What a fantastic month for XBLA games! Geometry Wars Evolved2 had me trying, in vain, to keep my score at the top of my friends leader board, and once again showed masterful use of achievements to spin each and every mode on its head. Braid also captivated. Even re-playing the game (looking for super secret stars) is enjoyable in of itself – all those puzzles you fluked first time around become clearer.

Apart from that, Team Fortress 2 has taken a big chunk of my weekend. I love the design overall (especially visually, and in terms of stat tracking), but I do feel like it’s fairly difficult to do anything other than play your role. There’s not a massive amount of wiggle room for expression once you choose a class. In Battlefield 2 I was harassing enemy bases on my own while getting people to believe that there was more than one of me by switching class with dropped kits. TF2 makes me feel like meat for the grinder. I probably just need more practice.

Dean ‘Deano’ Calver (Lead Programmer):
Having time due to commuting has meant catching up on some portable gaming, so currently playing Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins, nice old skool gameplay but surprised they haven’t made it any easier than the original, also having to get used to all this new fancy armour, weapons and inventory screens. It’s a good little game, perfect for 10-15 minutes on the train.

I also have been playing PixelJunk Eden on the PS3, lovely style but the controls take some getting used to, the difference between hang onto silk and spin around and jump off seems to cause me to miss what I’m aiming for most of the time.

Chris ‘peaceful warrior’ Sweetman (Audio Director):
I have been playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion again (for the third time). It’s the only game I’ve ever played that has given me a different experience each time. The world is so rich and immersive it rates as one of the best games ever made and turned me onto RPGs.

Also playing Battlefield: Bad Company, which – though a little linear and scripted – is good fun and has a fantastic audio accompaniment.

Jared ‘jRAD’ Hefty (Senior Programmer):
I thoroughly enjoyed playing through Braid on XBLA last weekend. The manipulation of time is a great gameplay mechanic, and it’s solidly presented throughout the course of the game. Some of the later variations on time manipulation just about did my head in (“Let’s see, I need to do this, and then rewind time and then the ghost of my character will do this while I’m doing something else, but THIS element is time-resistant, so it will stay here….AAH!”), but that only made solving them all-the-more satisfying. In addition to being a fun puzzle game, it also has a lovely visual style and a superb ambient soundtrack. Wins all around.

Braid – Xbox Live Arcade

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
I totally agree with Aubrey – Xbox Live Arcade is serving up some great stuff these days and my thumbs are now close friends with both Braid and Geometry Wars Evolved2. Both are excellent and great buys.

I just worked my way through Battlefield: Bad Company‘s single player, which was a surprisingly fun romp. After BF2: Modern Combat, my expectations were supremely low, but Bad Company I can easily recommend to shooter fans. Spent some time playing Scene It: Lights, Camera, Action as well – it’s not as polished or quirky as Buzz!, but still pretty entertaining.

Matt ‘Anti’ Lowe (Production Coordinator):
Over the last weak I’ve been doing lots of hacking and/or slashing at various opponents from around the office in Soul Calibur 4. My technique has evolved into a mix of furious button mashing spliced with various distracting questions or complaints towards my enemy mid the battle; needless to say the results haven’t been great. The game looks awesome though, I like the over the top old school characters and story and the character customization seems to have a lot of depth. All in all it’s good fun!

I’ve also been playing a lot of FIFA 2008. I want to love it and I want to be good at it but frankly I suck. Nothing pains me more than having to listen to some 12 year old Mexican kid on Xbox Live doing his own commentary as he runs past five of my players to score, “GGGGGOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!”. I’m going to stick at it though.

Paul ‘MoP’ Greveson (Technical Artist):
Over the past week or so I’ve been giving Soul Calibur 4 a spin! It’s an incredibly cheesy and contrived game, but then again I didn’t expect much else… and the main part is, it’s fun! The battles are great, and often end up being very very close, making for a really intense experience. The character customisation is pretty fun too, and sometimes just downright weird (Ivy’s Magical Sausage, anyone?).

In addition to this, we’ve experienced a WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne revival in the office recently, having anywhere up to 4v4 multiplayer matches at lunch time, which is great fun. The WarCraft series has always been one of my favourites, and Warcraft 3 has really shown that it stands the test of time extremely well.

Oh yeah, and I’m still playing ETQW 🙂

Richard ‘Fluffy_gIMp’ Jolly (Media Director):
It’s that slow time of the year where there’s very few new games out, so I’ve taken to playing a few from my ‘should really play’ list. On the DS there’s The World Ends With You, a remarkably fun RPG/Adventure affair. You’d be forgiven for having put it back on the shelf, as the back of the box sells it short as basically a clothing fashion beat em-up?! Thankfully, it is much more (not wanting to give away the real story); once you’ve got past the fairly steep learning curve turns out to be a pretty awesome game.

Most looking forward to Fallout 3 at the moment; the new shots are looking awesome – here’s hoping our good friends at Bethesda send us a few early copies 🙂

Fallout 3 – Continues to look stunning!

Aaron ‘Hoffa’ Hoffman (Lead Environment Artist):
I finally finished Metal Gear Solid 4. Loved it, but was a little confused as to why at a particular moment the game, it changed to street fighter. After finishing it I want to play the whole game again! Especially with puppets! Oh and I wish I had popcorn for the end, a movie in itself!

Started playing Battlefield: Bad Company last week and am nearly finished. It’s quite a fun and entertaining game to play. Only had a couple niggles with the AI. The enemy would know exactly where I was if I were to miss a sniper shot, and could also see me through bushes/foliage. I guess I was playing with an inherited gameplay style from MGS4 that didn’t suit the action of Bad Company. Will probably jump online this weekend and check out the multiplayer, which should be fun!

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