Currently Hurling Mice/Controllers at… Well, Mainly Batman: Arkham Asylum

September 17, 2009

Welcome to the latest installment of Currently Hurling, our semi-regular look at what we here at Splash Damage have been playing lately. The traditionally slow Summer period seems to be officially over, thanks to a swift kick in the face courtesy of Batman: Arkham Asylum. The Caped Crusader is backed up by several of his closest peers, including Shadow Complex, DiRT 2, The Beatles: Rockband, Wolfenstein and many others, all fighting the good fight and making sure our thumbs get the workout they deserve.

In this installment, Batman gets lots of love all around, the Dawn of War II office tournament gets underway, and Rahdo obsesses over a board game. This and more after the break.

Joe ‘Rex-TheGrunt’ Gibson (IT Support Technician)
I was given Batman: Arkham Asylum as a birthday present and it has to be one of my favourite games of all time – I literally can’t think of anything done wrong with this game.

The combat system is amazing, giving me the ability to pull off some amazing combos. Taking out masses of people without pausing feels like the most rewarding thing you can do in a game; and that was before I found out I could take out rooms of people without being seen with the array of gadgets at my disposal. I found myself setting elaborate traps and then sitting in the shadows as I watched my plan come together. Out of everything, this was actually the most rewarding aspect of the game for me.

Arne Olav ‘ao’ Hallingstad (Programmer):
I’ve been deeply involved in Heroes of Newerth for the past couple of weeks. With over 200 games and an awesome kill/death ratio of 0.6 (ok it’s not great) I’m having a lot of fun. It’s still in beta and I’ve got loads of invites if anyone is interested in trying it out. Also played The Beatles: Rock Band and Rock Band 2 during lunches; The Beatles have made some really weird songs I discovered.

There’s lots of kicking and punching in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

John ‘nifty’ Molloy (Game Designer):
This week I’ve been getting my co-op hit playing through the campaign of Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II with Digs. Lots of frenetic action, reminds me very much of Cannon Fodder from many years back. The co-op is the key element as I can focus on the melee units and Digs handles the firepower.

In the evenings at home I’ve been wandering around a dangerous space hulk in Dead Space on Xbox 360. A good mix of third person shooter action and survival horror suspense, I don’t think I’m even a quarter of the way through, so plenty more scares to come.

Stephen ‘Crispy’ Etheridge (Production Tester):
The past two weeks has seen no less than 10 members of the office competing in the first season of the ‘Splash Damage Dawn of War II Head-to-Head League’ (that’s SDDoW2H2HL for short!), featuring much face-palming, smack-talking and fist-slamming from all. It’s also been taken to super-serious levels of business with per-match stat collection, leading to eventual player awards such as the Zapp Brannigan (most units lost) and Mr. Blobby (most units produced) awards.

Jared ‘jRAD’ Hefty (Lead Tools Programmer):
Batman: Arkham Asylum is a solid, polished brawler full of satisfying moments and fun combat. The moves are simple and fluid and the judicious use of slow motion during the many fights really punches it up a notch (pun intended.) If I l ever lost a fight it was because I wasn’t paying attention or was being sloppy; the game was never frustrating if I had to redo a segment. I think I might have to give it another play-through on Hard!

Neil ‘Exedore’ Alphonso (Lead Level Designer):
A bit later than everybody else as usual, but I just finished the retro-licious Shadow Complex. Prior to that I blasted through Batman: Arkham Asylum in a weekend, it was too good to put down. I’m still planning on going back to complete all the Riddler puzzles, I’m glad they left the island open after finishing so the player can run around still. Really an awesome game and I can’t think of a better use of a license.

My getting back to older games has continued as well, lately it’s Fable 2 and Ninja Gaiden 2. It’s a bit tricky to jump back and forth as the combat is so different, but it’s especially interesting to try as they’re both well polished in completely different ways.

Playing in the mud has never been as much fun as it is in DiRT 2

Steve ‘badman’ Hessel (Community Relations Manager):
Completely going against the Batman-soaked grain in the office, I’ve been drifting all over the place in Colin McRae’s DiRT 2 and am actually having a hard time putting it down. It’s a very, very polished affair with presentation that is beyond slick and an effective player progression system. Oh yeah, the actual racing bits are great fun too. 🙂

I’ve also been Blazkowiczing my way through Wolfenstein‘s single player, which turned out to be a great throwback to RTCW with its fun gunplay, compulsive gold-hunting, and obligatory supernatural bits. The veil powers put a refreshing spin on the whole thing and it all makes for a fun shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like shooting Nazis, Nazi scientists and Nazi experiments in the face, this one’s for you.

Lastly, Forza 3. Anyone else as excited about it as I am? Demo in a week!

Richard ‘Rahdo’ Ham (Creative Director):
I’ve been on holiday, driving around France for the last week, and every evening, the wife and I have been playing Pandemic, a FANTASTIC co-op boardgame. Can’t recommend highly enough, tons of fun!

Terry ‘Salteh’ Seidler (Occasional Honourary Intern Producer):
Lagging behind the rest of the pack a bit, I have been playing the excellent Shadow Complex recently. I love that they give you upgrades and new abilities regularly, allowing the player to explore new areas and defeat tougher enemies. Currently I’m playing through the game a second time, collecting 100% of the items this time around.

I’ve also spent some time with Beatles: Rock Band. The funky colours and graphics look amazing! Unfortunately I haven’t had time to play the game online with friends yet, but I’m confident that it’ll be just as colourful as the singleplayer game.

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