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  1. http://www.gamespot.com/news/steam-may-allow-game-sharing-report-6410433?tag=nl.e607&s_cid=e607&ttag=e607 This would be awesome.
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Week Long Deals for September 2-9

    Are you ready for a (slightly delayed) list of the current weekly sales on Steam? Despite the Labor Day holiday, Valve still made sure to get their list of titles up yesterday. Thankfully, they're all games although some people may fear at least one of the chosen titles. Here's the list of titles: The 39 Steps - $4.99 Chrome - $1.24 Chrome - SpecForce - $1.24 Deep Black: Reloaded - $7.49 Fireburst - $2.49 POSTAL - $1.24 Postal 2 Complete - $2.49 Shad'O - $2.49 Star Trek - $14.99 Tiny and Big: Grandpa's Leftovers - $2.49 Unmechanical - $2.50 So there we are! It's a great deal of indie titles, although we've got some non-indies in there as well. Aside from a few titles, they're also all heavily discounted. In fact, most games here match the prices they were going for during previous Summer/Winter sales on Steam.
  3. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Ittle Dew

    Developer: Ludosity Publisher: Ludosity Platform: Windows/Mac (Steam, GOG, Direct), Ouya Release Date: July 23, 2013 ESRB: N/A (E suggested) A download code was provided by the publisher for this review The Legend of Zelda started something big when the game first graced Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom in the 80s. The template designed by this action-adventure game with a top down perspective was loved by players everywhere and, as we all know, the series persists to this day. Of course, things have changed since then. Since then we“ve seen a handful of games attempt to rekindle Zelda“s old flame, to varying degrees of success. Ittle Dew is the latest indie to try and utilize Zelda trappings in a more entertaining way. Without playing the game, it might be easy to write off Ittle Dew as nothing but a Zelda clone. After all, checking out the screenshots reveals much the same top down colorful dungeons to explore. And that's the point! Ittle Dew is very much riffing off the existing formula that many of us are well aware of. Instead of using pixelated graphics though we“ve got some really cute hand drawn-style art to accompany the world. Everything is bright and cartoony just as we may have imagined when playing the blockier The Legend of Zelda. It might seem unfair to compare an indie game to a classic but when they are purposefully attempting to connect to the game it seems fair. In any case, much of the gameplay is focused around pushing blocks, flipping switches, and a few other puzzle types to open up new doorways. Block pushing is the main feature though as you“ve usually got to get blocks onto pressure plates or other specific spots. These puzzles start off relatively simple and amp up in difficulty as players go along. Although you may consider yourself a puzzle powerhouse, you“ll still have to wait until buying at least two items from the shop before tackling them all. Dungeon rooms sometimes require one or more of these special weapons and you“re effectively locked out until they are purchased. The items include a fire sword, portal wand, and ice wand. And although the game says you can beat it with using only two, it seems much easier to do it with all three. Of course, to buy them players still need to find some amount of gold in the dungeons beforehand. On one hand, Ittle Dew is designed to be accommodating to all ages and skill levels. Hint-giver Tippsie is always available to ask for help. Unfortunately, Tippsie does not give hints in every puzzle room (unless you“re in a room that cannot currently be completed). On the plus side, hints are always available with solutions to boss battles. There is also a feature to quickly reset a puzzle room in case you“ve destroyed all your bombs or pushed blocks into the wrong alignment. The negative side of the game is simply that most puzzles reset when you leave the room. This does make sense but caused a lot of issues for me. Perhaps it was due to being raised with games that allow you free roaming back and forth, but it was quite annoying. One instant I would get fussed with a puzzle and try to backtrack, only to see the previous path was now blocked due to the puzzle resetting. The only way to proceed was to figure out those puzzles that were vexing me! It“s not the worst thing, but certainly a little annoyance that grew more annoying the longer I played. Unlike its inspiration, Ittle Dew is a very short experience overall. Beating the game requires around 2 to 4 hours of your time (even if there“s an achievement for finishing it in 15 minutes!). After this, you are free to go back and try and fully explore dungeons and collect all in-game trading cards. Just so you know, this means trading cards within the world of the game and not Steam Trading Cards - although it has those too! After touching on the gameplay and visual aesthetic, there“s still one topic to discuss, and that is the humor of the game. This is the main selling point (aside from art) that it offers to potential buyers. Good jokes are pretty hard to do in games but you“ll at least get a chuckle out of various moments. Tippsie in particular is amusing, as his name also seems to play off his habit to swig potions behind Ittle“s back. Overall, you won“t be laughing your head off but it“s still a cute little game. Ittle Dew is best described as a cute and briefer Zelda adventure. With a host of easy to difficult puzzles, boss battles, and various amusing enemies you“ll likely find something to like while playing. However, there“s not too much depth here beyond solving every puzzle to get to all the cards. Play Ittle Dew if you have any affinity for classic Zelda games and you“ll have a pleasant few hours. Pros: + Cute art and designs + Good deal of puzzles + Collectible cards to search for add length to game Cons: - There aren“t hints for every tough room! - Resetting puzzle rooms can keep you from “quitting” a current puzzle Overall Score: 7.0 (out of 10) Good Ittle Dew is a mostly fun little adventure that should bring a smile to the face of many gamers.
  4. This week Steam saw another huge batch of game releases. As we head closer to the coveted holiday buying season we can only expect this trend to increase. Both indie games and big name launches were present which means there are likely games for everyone available now. First, there was the PC release of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Ultimate Edition. Of course, the game originally came to consoles and focused on a very interesting take on the Castlevania series. A sequel is coming soon so you can prepare with the original for $29.99. Amiga fans will likely be the only ones to recognize The Chaos Engine. This remake of this steampunk Victorian top-down shooter comes with both a classic and remake mode, meaning everyone should be pleased. It can be had for $9.99 or $16.99 for the two player set. Game Dev Tycoon is one of the successful Greenlight candidates released this week. As the name implies, you take control of a developer and seek to make successful games and basically keep your company from crumbling. It is 20% off for a week at $7.99. MOBA fans may be willing to check out the latest addition to the genre: Guardians of Middle-Earth. Of course, it's based on The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings worlds and characters. Although the game itself is only $19.99, the DLC-filled collection cranks the cost up to $79.99. Lost Planet 3 was the main "big" release this week. The series, which began on consoles, has now seen life on PC. Players must explore alien territories in harsh weather and generally kick butt. Fans of the series or newcomers can both jump into it for $49.99. Memoria is one attractive new adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment. The point and click adventure title looks so good because the art is hand drawn! In any case, it mixes fantasy and RPG elements in to create a unique experience for $17.99 (which is a 10% discount). If you feel like most of these games aren't offering a more relaxed challenge, then perhaps Perfection will be up your alley. The puzzle game is all about cutting up shapes and features a simple, colorful visual aesthetic. The game costs $2.99 and that's without any discounts. PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate is a fancy smanchy rendition of the older PixelJunk Monsters game. This tower defense title has some cute, cartoony graphics and multiplayer. Single players can grab it for $19.99 or invest in a two player pack at $34.99. Another Greenlight success is Shelter. Developer Might and Delight created an intriguing new adventure game where players are immersed in nature. As such, they see the difficulty of life for animals up close and also get to do so with a seriously attractive landscape. The game is discounted to $8.99 currently. Sid Meier's Ace Patrol is the latest game from Sid Meier (duh). Over nearly 200 missions, players must handle World War I planes and succeed in dogfights. Whether you play in single or multiplayer, the game costs a fair $8.99 until September 4th. Dragon's Lair has a less popular "sibling" and that game is Space Ace, which is now available on Steam. The Don Bluth-animated title certainly looks good, and takes much from its predecessor in regards to requiring rapid movement to survive each cutscene. It is currently 10% off for $8.99. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is another non-indie release. Instead of the turtles we're fond of, they have been redesigned into something far more realistic. Multiplayer can be had via local or online play although there is no two/four player purchase option. Instead, you can buy it for $14.99.
  5. Developer: KING Art Publisher: Nordic Games Platform: PC (Steam, Web) Release Date: July 23, 2013 ESRB: N/A (M suggested) A download code was provided by the publisher for this review. In the current generation of gaming there are only a few developers still focused on creating new adventure games. Only ones such as Telltale Games are embraced by the masses though. Developers such as KING Art are the outliers - catering to the hardcore adventure fan. Of course, they seem to have a bit of a rocky history, with their previous title Book of Unwritten Tales faring poorly with some reviewers. Is The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief an excellent new brand or a forgettable experience? As far as I“m concerned, this seems like a nice new face in adventure gaming. The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief is an episodic series consisting of three episodes. Right now only the first episode, The Eye of the Sphinx, is available but the others are said to arrive in August and September. For the first episode, not only do we get introduced to the world but also tread knee-deep into the story. The first chapter provides 3 to 6 hours of gameplay, depending on your puzzle skill level. The game begins at the scene of a museum robbery. Despite the best efforts of the night security, a criminal snags a priceless diamond right from under their noses. We catch a glimpse of this thief in the darkness. They“re dressed in all black and wearing a raven mask. Yes, this is the titular "Raven," who is a criminal mastermind. From there, we jump to a train which is carrying incredibly precious cargo. The diamond at the museum was only half of the famous Sphinx“s eyes and the train has the other one. What would otherwise be a leisurely cross-country train ride is now a high-stress situation as it is expected The Raven will strike again. However, players do not take the role of The Raven. They aren“t even assuming the role of a famous detective. Instead, they jump into the shoes of portly and cheerful Constable Anton Jakob Zellner. Part of the Swiss police force, you are assigned to help take care of things while the train travels through your jurisdiction. As far as Zellner is concerned, this is going to be just another train ride. Of course, the proceedings become incredibly dangerous. Story is certainly the biggest factor in any adventure game and The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief provides quite the interesting one. Although it may be treading expected territory, it does so in a refreshing way. The characters are an interesting bunch, even if some of them seem to fall under classic mystery novel tropes. Funnily, as this game was not made in North America, there is even a very stereotypically presented American character who emerges late in the story. With an intriguing story, the next important aspect of adventure games is their actual gameplay! If one can“t offer up reasonable puzzles and clicking interface then the whole project might as well just resign itself to obscurity. Most of the puzzles in here are easy enough to understand. There are a few times that you might be unsure of what to do thanks primarily to bad hotspot triggers. For example, you might want to touch an item but find that the area you want to click doesn“t result in anything. Instead, you must radiate out from where you think the click trigger is and find that it“s actually assigned to a different, unexpected part of the object. The game offers up hints as well as hitting the spacebar to pull up all hotspots on the screen. Unfortunately, utilizing either of these newbie-friendly tools spends points. These points accumulate with progress and you begin with a ton of them but some players might still run out due to abusing the hotspot check. This is easier to do than you might expect primarily because the hotspot notification itself is very subtle. There were multiple occasions that I pulled it up to check an area to find that I could only catch one hotspot graphic for the few seconds it was active, if that. Other aspects of the interface are odd as well. Until you get used to it, discerning how to use objects with each other as well as observe versus talk, you might feel confused. There also happens to be a very cool but also slightly complex book which keeps track of all story information. As neat as it is to have a character chart to refer back to, the interface is kind of annoying to navigate when you know what you want to look up but don“t know where to look. Visually, The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief really stands out among its brethren. It doesn“t seem to ooze any particular style, but it does look fantastic. Areas are bright and colorful or dim and creepy. The 60“s setting also lends itself well to the attractive design aesthetic of the train, character outfits, and the like. The world might not be one of fantasy, but is still fun to investigate. Even the voice acting is pretty darn good. You might not expect it from a German developer but they manage it incredibly well. There are a host of voiced languages available from English to German to Russian and I played through in my native English. Characters all have their own accents but they are easy to understand. They also appear to (mostly) grasp the concept of voice “acting” and emote appropriately. If there“s anything odd about their speech patterns, it may be that some characters talk rather slowly. With understandable puzzles, great visuals and voice acting, what really is there that could hold this game back? Like previously stated, the controls are a bit awkward for an adventure game veteran so one must wonder how they fare for newbies. Then there was the bad choice of locking hints away to points when some people may really need continuous access to them. Finally, and most importantly, the game is just so incredibly slow. Although the story is interesting, it drives along at a snail“s pace. So too does poor Constable Zellner. Sometimes you can double click to leave the screen immediately but other times you have to watch him walk all the way across a room. Beyond that, the puzzles are often incredibly tedious rather than entertaining as they should be. Sure, there is room for some tedium, but not when the majority of puzzles fit under that term. If all you want is an entertaining and mysterious tale, then The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief definitely delivers. If you want to experience an adventure game with high production values that isn“t The Walking Dead then this is a good choice as well. However, if you can“t stand tedium then look elsewhere. For all the good that The Raven offers, it shoots itself in the foot with pacing. Only at the tail end of Chapter I do we get that rush of adrenaline which leads directly into a cliffhanger. Here“s hoping that Chapters II and III pick up the pace because that would help make the game an easy recommendation for many. Pros: + Intriguing characters with their own stories + Attractive 60s era backdrops and designs + Hints available to struggling players Cons: - Why are hints tied to a point system? - Story drags on so slooowly - Somewhat awkward interface Overall Score: 7.0 (out of 10) Good Although there are some glaring pacing issues with The Raven, it still stands out among its peers as a worthwhile new adventure game.
  6. Marcus Estrada

    100 Titles Greenlit Today

    So you know how Valve have been posting updates every once in a while with 5-15 new Greenlit games? That's been working fine and all but they wanted to stress test their new system of developer tools. To that end, Valve decided to Greenlight 100 titles all in one go so their tools could get seriously tested. There are so many games that we can't post them all. Here's the link to check them out and here are some of the highlights: Armikrog Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils (Review) The Cat Lady Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos (Review) Escape Goat Gray Matter Knytt Underground (Review) Megabyte Punch Oniken Paranautical Activity Ray's the Dead Shantae's Risky Revenge Toribash Unerrail Zafehouse: Diaries Of course, there are many more games listed as well. It's exciting to see some titles finally getting Steam recognition. Here's hoping this clearing out of the top 100 also leaves room for slightly more "niche" games to get their chance in the Greenlight spotlight soon.
  7. Harrison Lee

    Review: Company of Heroes 2

    Developer: Relic Publisher: SEGA Platform: PC (Steam required) Rating: M for Mature Release Date: 6/25/2013 The most fearsome German tank of World War II, the Tiger, is creeping around a small, snowy village. Obscured by foliage and low-rise buildings, the tank is silently hunting my nine squads of Russian infantry. It circles ponderously, preparing to mow down every man I have at my disposal with its turreted MG-42s. The only hope I have left is to lure the Tiger onto a carefully placed det charge. All I need to do is sacrifice a squad of conscripts and we're in business. Of course, my plan goes horribly awry when I detonate the charge too early. The Tiger then happens upon my entire unit of infantry, killing every soldier in sight. Well, Company of Heroes 2 isn't getting any easier so it's back to the drawing boards for me! In fact, the mission I just described is the sort of desperation you'll experience throughout Company of Heroes 2. Set in the bloodiest battlefields of World War II, the Eastern Front, the embattled Russians are anything but a company of heroes. The numerous but devastatingly under-supplied Russian army is forced to resort to the worst of tactics to stay alive. Company of Heroes 2's campaign follows the depressing story of a young Russian commander and his attempts to protect his men and win the war. You may know how the war ends, but the journey there is as heart-wrenching and gut-punching as any war story you'll see. The campaign's story is a massive step up over Relic's previous effort in the original Company of Heroes. You'll come to know the flawed but human Russian commandants, as well as the blasted landscapes, extremely well. Relic has done an admirable job of trying to tell a more cohesive story, though the writing can seem a bit forced at times. The voice actors are convincing and the on-screen action perfectly conveys the drama and chaos of this bloody front. And while the story is a tad predictable, it's also a definite improvement for World War II real-time strategy games. However, the story isn't just for show; it has a visible impact on the campaign missions. When Order 227 is issued (infamous to history buffs), the game forces you to push your men on at the risk of being gunned down by Russian commanders if they retreat. While I didn't experience any intentional friendly fire, 227 definitely forces you to micromanage your troops and ensure they don't break under the stress. Missions also feature intense difficulty spikes, such as the Tiger hunt mission I mentioned earlier. When you're given such limited numbers of invaluable units, a single mistake can easily lead to mission failure. The feeling of relief when you finally defeat your German adversaries is immense. If I have any complaints about the campaign, it's the uneven difficulty. The game can border on nerve-breaking when all of Germany's mightiest units swarm small squads of infantry. It's a bit like Men of War, minus the aspects of realism. In an amusing but cheap move, fresh conscripts can be ordered at virtually no charge. Order 227 will be activated for a short time but it's incredibly easy to abuse this power to amass an overwhelming number of troops. True to Russia's style, you can throw your troops to the meatgrinder and hope for the best. It's a bit unfair but (unfortunately) useful when the odds are impossibly stacked against you. Other single-player content includes the great challenge maps, which multiply the difficulty and create incredible tactical scenarios. While they're much harder than the campaign, they offer a lot more replayability and enjoyment to the formula. If you get bored with the campaign, I must advise going to the challenge maps for insanity and rewarding stress. Visually, Company of Heroes 2 is fairly similar to its predecessor. New explosion and smoke effects have been added, in addition to better textures. The game isn't a huge step over the previous entries but still looks incredible for an RTS. The audio is what truly shines in Company of Heroes 2. Rifles will crackle in the distance and the muffled thumps of artillery instill panic when the rounds hit your troops. It's immersive stuff, showing Relic's expertise at crafting an intense and visceral experience. As you might expect, Company of Heroes 2's multiplayer is largely unchanged from the original. It still focuses on base-building, point capture and swarms of powerful tanks. The Russians, however, add a new wrinkle. You need to fully equip their infantry and micromanage their abilities to truly be effective. Russia's vehicle stable isn't as reliable as the Germans and needs to be supplemented by powerful anti-tank infantry. Master these tips and you'll be well on your way to victory. You can also play co-op against the AI, but Company of Heroes 2 is best with the competitive side. Adding a slightly new twist is the addition of commanders. While they function the same as the affinity trees from the original game, the commanders may also offer minor stat perks for troops. These perks have little impact as far as I can tell, which makes their inclusion a bit puzzling. This is still an incredibly balanced experience. During my playthrough I experienced very few bugs. That said, you will need a pretty impressive rig if you want to see the best of what Company of Heroes 2 has to offer. With anti-aliasing on and smoke clouds, my framerates dipped into the single digits. It ran much more smoothly off but I felt like I was missing some of the nicer visual touches. At least I didn't experience any CTDs ("crash to desktop" for the uninitiated). I won't tell you that Company of Heroes 2 is a massive departure from the original. Relic took the stance of maintaining the status quo while offering a few improvements. This is still the amazing, addictive, balanced formula the original was known for. The differences may be subtle in-game but the new campaign improvements and the ever-strong multiplayer make this a must-buy for strategy game enthusiasts. Pros: + Same great formula + Welcome changes to the campaign + Still as beautiful as ever + Fairly bug-free and stable Cons: - Not a revolutionary update - Somewhat useless perks Overall Score: 9.0 (out of 10) Fantastic Fans and newcomers alike will find a lot to love with Company of Heroes 2's violent, powerful take on World War II.
  8. Are you in the mood for buying and playing some slightly older games? If so, then this week's batch of Weekly Deals on Steam might be to your liking. Or you might already have some of the included titles. In any case, let's show what's up for sale this time around. Here are the games: APOX - $3.74 Cargo Commander - $1.99 Droplitz - $0.99 Lords of Football - $12.49 Rock of Ages - $1.99 Supreme Commander - $3.74 Vegas: Make It Big - $1.24 Zombie Pirates - $3.74 There's a lot of content here although not all of it is likely exciting to everyone. If we had to sugest just a few, then those choices would be Cargo Commander, Droplitz, and Rock of Ages. However, many gamers likely already have these titles from previous sales on Steam or elsewhere.
  9. Where do you turn when you want to find a new game to play? Do you obsessively refresh popular gaming sites for new announcements or releases? Do you follow various YouTube or streaming personalities who cover the types of games you like? Are you lucky enough to have a group of friends who keep up on the news and share the most pertinent with you? Or, if you aren“t fortunate to have many gaming connections in person, maybe you connect with them over Twitter or other sites. Likely, you may use a mix of the above, substituting various forms of information-gathering and recommendations for another. As humans, we are incredibly social animals. When titling ourselves as “gamers” or game-players, or what have you, we share our love of video games to the outside world. However, there are far too many games to ever play and new ones continually arrive. This has only been increased by indie games which become a more relevant part of the hobby with every passing year. Sites that would rarely ever cover an independently-developed title without a large following already were passed over. Now, we see tons of sites and players discussing indie games alongside Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. More coverage of indies doesn“t inherently make them all a sudden success, though. Just like with triple-A titles and other popular games, we are now seeing ourselves ignore certain indies. After all, there just isn“t the time to play through them all even if they seem very neat, just like with every new $60 release. How do we then decide on what is most worth investing time and/or money in? We look to friends and others to see what they have to say. They might not sell you on every game, but they are great at showing you at least one new good title. In an age where Twitter and other social networking services flourish, we are even more able to be influenced by others' opinions. Not only that, but by interacting with people different from yourself, you may be discovering games and genres you never thought you had interest in before. Why humans are so receptive to the opinions of friends is a large topic by itself, but we don“t need to discern why - just be aware that it does happen more often than we consider. So what is important about this? Indie games are fighting a tough battle for recognition despite increased presence and reporting. Not every indie game is viewed as “deserving” of a post or is even known about by the news editors. There is so much ground to cover that one person could never unearth it all. When a developer puts their time and effort into a game, they hope for players, but those players don“t arrive from nowhere. They see a title played on a YouTube personality“s stream, or click a link from a list, or otherwise get referred toward it. This is powerful and those who have people listening to them should make use of their sway with others. They can choose to promote famous games but why? Everyone is already aware of these games, hence their fame. We all have heard of certain series regardless of having played them ourselves. Resources would be better spent showcasing indie games that aren“t getting the attention they actually deserve. The world of indie games is not one of friendly camaraderie all the time. Sometimes developers are more than happy to talk about their enthusiasm for other projects. At other times however they must focus entirely on themselves. Just look at Steam Greenlight, which practically forces the latter attitude for those who strongly desire for their projects to be Greenlit. You don“t just get Greenlit by placing a page online and hoping votes will trickle in. You have to work up a serious amount of gamers to vote you up in mass amounts for a while. That tends to happen via smart marketing, and sometimes, the luck to be featured on a massive site or stream. In a way, this is another reason that more people should praise the games they love. Of course they can talk about the newest games from a big company but also think of using their voice to help out those developers who have no budget for social media work. Just look at what successes we have seen through natural stratification of discussion for previously niche games. Minecraft was small before everyone was telling their friends they needed to buy the game. In more recent news, no one was really prepared for Rogue Legacy before they heard from buddies or watched a video about how “addicting” it was. Without others sharing their enjoyment, these titles would have remained as unknowns. What can you do if you want to show support for your favorite games? Talk about them! Obviously, this is bound to happen naturally over the course of conversation. However, it was when half of the two person team of Analegsic Productions, the developer of Anodyne, spoke about how he was going to help other developers in situations similar to his own. He decided to host an “indie store” of sorts where he uses his voice to promote games he cares about that aren“t getting talked about everywhere. His idea is that personally-curated game stores are far more inviting and successful than other methods of selling games. He seems correct since we do like to hear what games our friends enjoy. Through this method, if everyone had their own little indie game recommendations page, they would all be able to share the word of great games that are being severely under appreciated. It“s a fantastic idea. As such, I encourage anyone reading this to do exactly that. If you“ve played any games that you feel are unknown or have a small audience this is your chance to say thanks for the hours of fun they“ve provided you. The suggestion given in the blog entry was to host a page on your site for indie games with links to purchase them. If you don“t have a site you can use a free blog and post the names/links there. With that said, these indie “stores” won“t lead to a sudden reversal in gaming where everyone wants to play indies as opposed to triple-A titles, but it is a start to a more comprehensive collective knowledge of the games.
  10. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Early Access Adds Three New Games

    Are you so interested in video games that you need to play ones that aren't even fully released yet? That's where Steam Early Access comes in and it looks to be presenting a constant stream of new games weekly.This week, we're graced with the likes of three new games, as well as the graduation of Electronic Super Joy from Early Access to release! Insurgency is one of the new Early Access games and looks to already be a fairly polished game. The multiplayer-focused FPS is currently in alpha. Developer New World Interactive is using their spot on Steam to make sure the community's voice is heard in the direction Insurgency is updated. For a few hours more, it can be had for $9.99, which is 50% off. Might & Magic X - Legacy is one of the first "non-indie" titles available through Early Access. Coming from Ubisoft, this single player turn-based RPG is attempting to call upon old school traditions of the genre. Bugs and balancing issues are the main reason the game isn't complete yet. Players can pick it up for $29.99. Finally, we've got Sir, You Are Being Hunted which has already drawn a fair bit of interest from gamers. In the game, you are a character being pursued, or hunted, by robots. Their pursuit could be considered silly or scary but overall this seems like a neat new survival game. However, it is a single player only experience. Feel free to jump into Sir's world for $19.99.
  11. Harrison Lee

    Review: Rise of the Triad

    Publisher: Apogee Software Developer: Interceptor Entertainment Release Date: July 31, 2013 Rating: N/A (M suggested) Platforms: PC A Steam code was provided by the publisher for this review If I could make a motto for Interceptor's reboot of the fabled classic FPS Rise of the Triad, I'd say it's all about "no frills, more kills, all thrills." Or, better yet, "Faceshooter: The Game", because you'll be doing a lot of face-shooting in this ridiculously gory and tough-as-nails shooter. With a slick coat of paint, a bargain price point of $15, and a storied past, can the new Rise of the Triad match the revelry of its predecessor or is it a sordid reminder of why 1990's shooters are extinct? The plot for Interceptor's reboot is simple; infiltrate a mysterious island-thing and kill a bunch of pseudo-Nazi soldiers. You can choose from one of several UN soldiers, each with his or her own unique stats. Some characters are faster or stronger than others, but all have their own play styles. No one character is particularly better than the other; the choice is all based on how you want to kill bad guys, whether it's speed assassinations or tank-like massacres. I'm happy to report that Rise of the Triad is almost as good as the trailers and previews show. Combat is fast, frenetic, frantic and filled with as much circle-strafing as you can handle. The reboot is at times painfully faithful to the original, down to the terrible first-person platforming that should be abolished. Thankfully, the excellent gunplay and lighthearted action more than make up for the aggravating platforming sections. The plot won't win awards but if you were coming for the narrative, you're looking for the wrong kind of experience. Levels, which are well-designed and match the originals closely, revolve around killing as many enemies as possible and stealing loot hidden throughout the environments. Ammo for powerful weapons is liberally placed and plenty of hidden secrets are scattered throughout. Levels are broken into smaller sections that feature an end-set boss. These guys are brutally hard to kill and will test your mettle at every turn. Their new looks are also a welcome change from the originals. All of the bosses have silly things to say, but that doesn't make them any less terrifying to fight. When you defeat one and progress forward, you feel like a burden's been lifted off of your shoulders.....until the next boss fight. It's a good thing ammo and health packs are abundant, as Rise of the Triad will bring you to your knees. The game is classically difficult, meaning the default Normal settings will kill most players quickly. You can't camp and enemies will swarm in droves. In fact, the only thing you can do is circle-strafe until body parts and organs are all that remain of your foes. The campaign will last about 12 hours on the Normal and Hard difficulties, longer if you dare to take on anything harder. You'll need to unlearn regenerating health and many other modern shooter sensibilities. Rise of the Triad is old school, and pretending it's anything else will lead to your untimely death. The visuals and sound design are decidedly new-school, with decent-looking objects and textures and a pulse-pounding hard rock remixed soundtrack. And while the character and weapon models won't win any awards, the environments are suitably dreary and detailed. If your rig can stand the heat, beta Ludicrous settings are up for grabs. I tried them once and got an achievement, but the settings didn't seem to cause my PC that much trouble. As you might have guessed, you'll rarely have time to admire the visuals in the middle of combat. And the new musical score does a great job of capturing the essence of the original while adding a modern flair. The guitar riffs in particular are great and channel pure 90's rock while still feeling like something from this generation. Interceptor has done a good job of making the game stable, though I do wish some of the settings ran better. Oddly enough, I experienced framerate drops and slower performance on High and Medium while Ludicrous generally ran smoothly. It's reverse logic that I don't get, but it could be less-than-perfect optimization. I'm guessing these minor issues will get patched later on. Otherwise, I didn't run into any game-breaking bugs or serious glitches. Rise of the Triad's campaign is its bread-and-butter, but what of the multiplayer? Thankfully, it isn't some tacked-on addition that Interceptor kicked out the door. It's classic deathmatch and CTF as you remember it, with the addition of insane speed and endless chaos. Players will run around like chickens with their heads cut off, frantically spamming rockets and green baseballs to stave off opponents. It's crazy and hard to keep up with but an absolute joy. Sure, the multiplayer is nowhere near as deep as modern titles and has limited maps and modes, but at the price the game offers more than enough content. A couple of years ago, id Software tried to reboot Wolfenstein. I was one of the few people to like it, but it was far from the Wolfenstein I was hoping for. Interceptor took no chances and completely remade (re: updated) Rise of the Triad for a modern audience without sacrificing the gameplay or essence. At $15, you really can't ask for much more, save for a bit more variety in the multiplayer. Check your brain at the door and embrace profanity, violence and ludicrous gibs! Pros: + Faithfully recreated + A blast in multiplayer + Great remixed soundtrack Cons: - Random performance bugs - MP could use more variety - Platforming still sucks Overall Score: 8.0 (out of 10) Great If you like spraying lots of bullets at walking bloodbags, Rise of the Triad is for you.
  12. Marcus Estrada

    On Steam This Week: Divekick, Skullgirls, and More

    This has been one heck of a week for gamers. Not only have we seen a handful of neat independent titles launch, there have also been some big names on the scene as well. Well, let's get to looking at the list of new games available on Steam this week. First there is The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. This title has been receiving mixed reviews and takes the XCOM brand into its own direction. Instead of being in a futuristic space landscape you're in the 60s - but still engaging with the game via third-person tactical shooter controls. It is available for $50. There are two fighting games which were released this week on Steam and the first is Divekick. Iron Galaxy Studio's game is a fighter with only two buttons - dive and kick. With these you can create a handful of combos and fight with a very unusual cast of fighters. You can buy one copy for $9.99 or two for $18.99. Hate Plus is the latest visual novel from Christine Love which directly connects to her previous title - Analogue: A Hate Story. Of course, you don't actually need to have played that game to enjoy this one but it might be a good idea. It's currently 10% off, making the game $8.99. Of course, the massive release for this week is none other than Saints Row IV. Taking the role of the US president, you and your partners are free to cause wanton destruction while experiencing trademark Saints Row weirdness. The current price is $49.99 and some $12 worth of DLC is available as well. Finally, we've got the other fighter of the week which is Skullgirls. Initially a console exclusive, Lab Zero Games' title has generated a very devoted fan following. If you buy it then immediate access is also granted to the first DLC character named Squigly. One copy costs $14.99 but a four pack is available at a discount of $44.99.
  13. Game Dev Tycoon will soon be available for purchase on Steam... very soon, in fact. You can grab the game making simulator next Friday on the digital distribution service. After being Greenlit for Steam back in May, developer Greenheart Games decided to spruce the title up a bit before putting it up on the Steam storefront. This updated version of the game includes: A longer story line, extending the playtime and adding new story elements as well as new platforms. New artwork (by our original talented artists). Ability to unlock multi-platform games. Rebalanced topics and platforms to make choices more interesting and results more understandable. Rebalanced review system to address sudden spikes in difficulty. New game mechanics (Post-release game reports and company expertise) to provide more feedback to the player. Small but often requested changes such as support for longer game names and ability to edit game name before release. That's a lot of changes for this new release! Also, Game Dev Tycoon will release with a 20% launch discount, bringing the title down from $9.99 to $7.99. You can check out the full announcement from Greenheart here. Will you grab Game Dev Tycoon for Steam?
  14. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Week Long Deals for August 19-26

    For some reason, Steam had not been publicly posting (or hosting?) Week Long Deals for a little bit. Now they appear to be back in working order though so we can all benefit from the discounts. A whole ten games are on sale for the week and at least a few of them are excellent. Here are the latest Steam Week Long Deals: 7 Grand Steps, Step 1: What Ancients Begat (Review) - $11.24 Avencast: Rise of the Mage - $2.49 Bad Rats: The Rats' Revenge - $1.24 Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! - $3.00 Evil Genius - $2.50 Go Home Dinosaurs! - $2.50 Gothic Universe Edition - $4.99 Razor2: Hidden Skies - $2.49 Slam Bolt Scrappers - $2.49 Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - $14.99 Of these, my most recommended game is 7 Grand Steps, but it is unfortunately only 25% off. If there were one game from this list that you must ignore with all your might though that would be Bad Rats. Of course, many of us already have the pleasure of owning that one thanks to Steam gifting. Does anything stand out for you with this week's Steam sales?
  15. Marcus Estrada

    Hate Plus Now on Steam

    A year after Christine Love debuted Analogue: A Hate Story, the sequel is now out. What was first teased as DLC grew into something much larger with Hate Plus. Although the title is a sequel, it is designed so that both players of the original and newbies can start playing. Hate Plus can be defined most easily as a visual novel. That means players are subject to a great deal of reading, but if it's anything like Analogue then the story should be deeply engrossing. The game is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux and even includes achievements (but Steam Trading cards are not coming). You can buy Hate Plus at a 10% discount today which cuts the price down to $8.99. Truly adventurous gamers can shoot for the Cooking by the Book achievement which forces players to take a photo of a real cake while character *Hyun-Ae is on screen - and send it to the developer!
  16. Developer: 3909 Publisher: 3909 Platform: PC Release Date: August 8th, 2013 "Papers, Please!" "Wait.....what's this? You weigh 5kg extra? Eh, whatever. *APPROVED*" Congrats, you just let a terrorist into your home country, and they just blew up some of the guards inside. It's the little mistakes like these that really define the monotonous and yet at the same time interesting gameplay of the recent indie hit "Papers, Please". This is not a game for those who don't pay attention certainly. However, I can say with definite certainty that this is a game nearly anyone can learn to love. You start as a random citizen pulled from the labor lottery in your fictional home country, Arstotzka, and you're forced to work at the border letting people in and out of the country. It starts off easy, just look at their passport and if they don't have the correct information you give them the deny stamp or else they pass. As the game progresses though, you really can't trust anyone. An old grandmother claiming her child is on the other side with sufficient papers may turn out to be a bomber and end your day early, giving you less potential pay so you can't feed your family. Keeping relationships maintained with others is a good way to explore the 20 different endings, actually. Siding with certain people, or keeping your family well-maintained can lead to different outcomes. I ended up with just my wife and niece alive, and I escaped Arstotzka (no spoilers) to a hopefully better place. I acquired some of the other endings, but they were all bad endings that ended up with me being killed or imprisoned. One of them was of my character being sent away because my family all died of starvation and illness. This is a moderately difficult game if you don't clearly look at everything on each person's papers so you manage to get paid. Getting mistakes too many times will seriously punish you, and just as equally awful is when you let someone dangerous in. This game isn't afraid to tug at your heart strings, for sure. However, I'll admit that the gameplay is not without fault. The monotonous nature of the job your character takes on even shows through to the player, in my opinion. I was really getting bored after long sessions of playing Papers, Please, (excuse the multitude of commas) and that can't be good. There's some excitement in the game, but it's few and far between I suppose. A lot of the characters seem like repeats, for example. Also, your job is 30 days long- with each day taking anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete. Some days are event-less with just randoms being accepted or denied, while others have "fun" characters like the above gentleman (he is seriously the best, I swear) or the heartwarming couple (if you take certain actions like I did). I just wish every day was filled with at least one amusing or serious situation. Perhaps then I could have played through the game in one or two sittings. Aesthetically speaking, Papers, Please is a unique game to look at. The colors are bleak, dull, and there isn't much to look at. Sounds are mostly papers moving around, certain effects like gunfire or explosives, or people "talking". I don't remember any music besides on the endings and in the title screen. However, all of this combined precisely fits the tone and setting of the game, so while it might be a little lazy to have this little technical polish, at least the gameplay is fine-tuned. If this completely makes up for that is up to the player though. Personally I think the pixel art is great but the inclusion of no music is disappointing, though maybe that's just personal preference. Papers, Please does not disappoint, however if you want an experience that will last with you I doubt this would be one. While the story is very interesting and full of both humorous and shocking events, the dull gameplay and unnaturally quiet background noise may be turn-offs, if you enjoy a good adventure game or want to try something unique this is the perfect title to add to your library. I give this game a: 8/10
  17. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Early Access Adds Three Interesting New Titles

    Despite how many games are currently available on Steam Early Access there are always more to come. This week we see the addition of three more games - each with their own unique style and gameplay. First up is Betrayer by Blackpowder Games. The distinctive black and white visuals play into the story as players must discover what sapped color from the land to begin with. Right now, only an introductory area and a level are included. Players can buy into the beta now for $13.49. Dream is another game now available thanks to Greenlight and the Early Access program. Right now you can jump into the alpha build, which developer HyperSloth acknowledges is incomplete and has bugs. All the same, it looks like quite the intriguing adventure/puzzle title. Dream is currently $14.99. Full Mojo Rampage is the final new Early Access game for this week. It's a cartoony, voodoo-themed roguelike. Developer Over the Top Games have committed to bringing out updates for the game every few weeks until it is finally ready. You can buy into it now for $17.99.
  18. Marcus Estrada

    On Steam This Week: Gone Home, Payday 2, and More

    If you don't use Steam then you may very well be missing out on a lot of PC gaming content this week. A whole host of new games were added and at least a few would make excellent additions to your collection. First, is Catan: Creator's Edition. This digital version of the popular board game includes the main game as well as expansions Seafarers and Cities & Knights. Curious gamers can check it out for $15.29 until the 10% off sale ends. DuckTales: Remastered is the game many nostalgic fans have been waiting for. It has hit most major platforms already and Steam was no exception. As you might expect, this version has gamepad support as well. Without a discount, the game is available for $14.99. Tacticians are probably more interested in Europa Universalis IV. According to buzz, this is by far the best rendition of the empire-building strategy series yet. Unfortunately, there are no discounts currently available for the game or its DLC. The game is going for $39.99. A game seeing a lot of press right now is Gone Home, which just came out this week. We reviewed it highly due to its creative storytelling techniques as well as the story it does tell. If you're willing to give it a shot then pick it up for $17.99 while the title is 10% off. Guncraft is the latest Minecraft-looking title to land on Steam. Of course, it isn't Minecraft, but a game with voxel graphics focused around shooting other players. It's simplistic but possibly fun. It costs $14.99 if you're interested. Hammerwatch is a game that was made available on Steam thanks to Greenlight. The hack and slash game can be played in single or multiplayer locally or online and looks like a great bit of fun. Right now it is 10% off, making the game $8.99 for one copy and $26.99 for a four pack. One of the big releases of the week is PAYDAY 2. Coming a while after the original, it ups the ante with more exciting robberies as well as ways to handle them. The game can be purchased now for $29.99 or $89.99 for a four pack, which definitely comes in handy. Warhammer 40,000 fans might just want to grab Space Hulk. It's a turn based strategy title set in the 40K universe and is available in single or multiplayer modes. You can buy it for $29.99 or get two copies at the slight discount of $49.99. Worms Clan Wars is the latest in the long-running Worms franchise that is now out on PC. All the upgrades you might expect are included (such as more worm types and weapons). You can pick it up for $24.99 but the main allure of Worms is always multiplayer, so try to enlist a friend as well.
  19. Marcus Estrada

    Ittle Dew Screenshot 3

    From the album: Review Images

  20. Marcus Estrada

    Ittle Dew Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  21. Marcus Estrada

    Ittle Dew Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images

  22. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Gone Home

    Developer: The Fullbright Company Publisher: The Fullbright Company Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux (Steam, Web) Release Date: August 15, 2013 ESRB: N/R (T suggested) A download code was provided by the publisher for this review If you“re someone who has left the home they were raised in, then you likely know the feeling of becoming separated from that world. Although you may call home occasionally or write letters and emails, there“s nothing like actually being in close proximity with those you call family. After a while, coming “home” becomes an almost alien experience. There are familiar tchotchkes around, but so too are examples of how different everything has become. As you have moved on with your life, so too have your family members. Gone Home wallows in this concept as players take on the role of a young woman named Katie who is finally coming home after a year abroad. Her adventures across Europe may have been great, but they didn“t stop time from ticking back in her family“s home. She returns to the house during a storm with no one to greet her. Leaving her bags at the porch, Katie finds her hidden house key and enters into the home her family has been inhabiting without her. Only your younger sister Sam appears to have prepared for your return, leaving notes for you to explain the goings on. Beyond that, the story is what you make of it. Rather, the stories of your mother, father, and sister are what you come to explore through traversing the house. With no one around you are completely free to snoop around. No monsters will come out of the closet and no timer will hurry your progress along. You are free to spend the entire night in this empty, dark house just combing through their rooms and belongings. It might not seem like the most compelling game, but Gone Home is incredibly interesting once you begin to scratch that curious itch. As boring as the house may initially seem, its hugeness hides many, many rooms which beg to be explored. When looking through old notes, drawings, and other items you begin to piece together the lives of your family members. Things are not as dull as they might have outwardly seemed. Although it does not feel like every one of them gets an equally enthralling story, they all have their joys and sorrows bared for your edification. Exploration is a fairly stress-free endeavor. As you explore the house, flicking on lights as you go, rooms reveal interesting tidbits of information. Sometimes you have to lift up a book to find something revealing underneath or simply read a crumpled up note in the trash. For the most part, discoveries feel natural. The more you discover, the more you learn about what happened on your year away. The more you learn, the more you want to know, and that fuels searching through the extravagantly large home. As for the story, it is revealed in pieces, and it is your job to put them together in a meaningful way. The game is primarily a point-and-click styled adventure experience, but without the stress. There are a few locks to find the key for, as well as locked objects, but they do not require solving riddles. Instead, you just need what makes sense for the situation. You need a key or you need to find the note that has a locker combination scrawled on it. As long as you“re investigating the house thoroughly then this is never an issue. You might miss a few secrets, though, if you“re not looking hard enough. Although explaining the story in Gone Home is something one simply can“t do in a review, it is worth noting how incredibly well done it is. Everything does not need to be spelled out because The Fullbright Company showcase their skill at providing multiple narratives which are pulled together from pieces. Without a completely clear picture I was still able to become wrapped up in the narrative and even felt my own teenage memories resurface as I found similarities between Sam and myself. Then there is the music which solidifies the themes present in the story as well as placing it all in a very specific 90s timeframe. Throughout your wanderings you'll come across homemade cassette tapes containing tracks from riot grrl artists Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy. They fit right in, adding a new layer to the characters, as well as infusing exciting tracks into the game. There will certainly be people who dislike Gone Home but they are people who are at odds with video games being anything other than shooter/action fests. Anyone who has grown up should be able to connect with pieces of the story, and yet others will appreciate the '90s memorabilia. As a whole, the narrative experience is definitely one of the better I“ve experienced in a game and it is hard to express just how engaging it truly is without playing. As such, I urge you to give the game a shot whenever possible. It may only offer a few hours of content, but those hours are completely worth it. Pros: + Focus is on stories that are unlike what the rest of the gaming medium provides + Great soundtrack + Story told via player interaction is very well done Cons: - Fairly short experience - Lots of extraneous objects that confer no story tidbits Overall Score: 9.0 (out of 10) Fantastic Playing Gone Home is an incredibly interesting experience which takes players into the lives of four family members. This minuscule description does no justice to the game, but check it out if you“re at all intrigued.
  23. Marcus Estrada

    Gone Home Screenshot 3

    From the album: Review Images

  24. Marcus Estrada

    Gone Home Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  25. Marcus Estrada

    Gone Home Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images