Last Day Steam Summer Sale

It’s the last day of the Steam Summer Sale, so if there were any deals they’re back and this is your last chance. Here is a list of games that are on special, and if you don’t own them yet – SHAME ON YOU.

(all prices are AUD. Click to jump to Steam.)

Tomb Raider – this was an amazingly good game, now only $5

The Stick of Truth – It lived up to the hype, now $37

XCOM: Enemy Unknown – One of the greatest games ever made for $13. Steam is crazy.

Civ V – the crowning jewel of the Civ series… and that’s saying a lot. $13.50

State of Decay – An amazingly fun, and unique, take a zombie apocalypse. It is a bit rough here and there, but for $5 it’s a bargin.

Banished – An extremely fun and challenging city builder. Nothing like starving a fledging village of outcasts during the winter! $10

Payday 2 – I’ve been getting a LOT of mileage out of this game. Get a crew together for an fantastic co-op experience that has great theme, depth, and RPG-like elements. You’ll get many hrs for your $6

Stanley Parable – I’m not going to try and explain this one… but for $6 you really should try it to see what all the fuss is about.

Batman: Arkham Origins – It was missing a little something-something from the other Arkham games, but it was still worth sinking 22 hrs into. $7.50

Dragon Age: Origins – A good RPG, you’ve probably heard of it. I go against the grain and claim the second was better. I mostly suggest this one now, because the upcoming Inquisitions is looking really good so for $7.50 you could catch up on the “story so far.”

Wolfenstein: The New Order – Just a straight up fun FPS. Captured “Wolfenstein with modern computing technology” really well. A-grade fun here, boys! $40 (expensive, I know, but that IS 50% off.)

Portal 2 – Who would have thought they could improve on the original? Well they did! Play it now. With a friend is a good option too. $5

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare – a standard multiplayer FPS with a easy-to-use-hard-to-master melee system. Plenty of fun to be had here for $5.

Games for a Girlfriend

My girlfriend doesn’t play games. Neither the video nor board variety. I’m always trying to get her to join me, though, and I have the occasional success, but not too often. Well, for my birthday one of her presents to me was to play any game I wanted. Moo ha ha!

I went easy on her. There are my current-favourite games, of course (Wargame Airland Battle at the time of writing, and I’m also playing a lot of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, although I hesitate to call it a “favourite.”) but they wouldn’t suit her personality so they wouldn’t be a good idea in any case.

A casual game, like BeJeweled, could garner a passing interest, but it’s not really what I’m looking for anyway. I once thought maybe “artsy” games (such as Flower or Journey, both by Thatgamecompany) would be a good gateway to full-time gaming, but actually she tends to find them boring.

So! I needed games that were simple, quick to pick up, but fun and exciting.

First up I chose Ikugara.

Such a classic. I described it to her as “pew pew pew.” “Let’s play Pew Pew Pew,” I’d say. We lasted until the first main boss. It ticks all the right boxes, and it even has the advantage of having quite a lot of depth to it if it happens to sink its claws in. So, while fun, it didn’t quite last.

Next I suggested “chop chop chop!” Which you might know as Castle Crashers.

This is a game I hadn’t even heard of until it hit Steam (massively discounted of course) recently. Have I mentioned that I don’t play consoles much? I don’t, but that’s a post for another time. Well, this game was fun. We chopped, and we chopped some more, until eventually we had to fight over the red princess. It reminded me very much of Double Dragon – ah, the good old days.

It was simple, fun and had just the right level of humour but our fingers got sore. I can see the appeal: that’s a fun little co-op game.

Well, what now? I had time for one more, I figured, and I had a game I thought she’d actually like if she gave it a chance and today… she couldn’t say no.

So I fired up Civilization V.

The real beauty behind Civ is that its depth and complexity is hidden behind a simple, streamlined interface. Basically all you have to do is click the messages that pop up on the right-hand side and make a choice – and at the easier difficulties you can’t even make a mistake. You just pick whatever appeals. Do you research Pottery, or Writing? What does your little tribe of people believe in? Do you build an archer or a monument? This is something she approves of too – she doesn’t play games to be challenged, like me, but to build things for the most part. A quick, easy, game of Civ is just right.

So we played that for a while – well, she did, but I helped. This was the biggest success I think, and although eventually she declared she was bored, she did concede that I “could save the game… if I wanted.”

If she does come back to it, she has a lot of stuff Civ can slowly reveal (something else it’s good at) and if she gets into it, the multiplayer is top notch too. I could see us having quite a bit of fun with it and in particular its latest expansion, which is getting rave reviews.

Wish me luck!

Steam Sale Ends With A Last Hurrah

Well the Steam sale is technically over. However it’s doing an “Encore” day where they’re bringing back the most popular deals.

As such, there’s nothing new, but you should probably cast your eyes over the store page one final time in case you missed one of the deals I mentioned in my previous posts. I noticed Dishonored, is back, for example. 75% off Tomb Raider, Chivalry, and Civilization V; all excellent, excellent, games.

 

I might just spend a quick moment to explain why I haven’t recommended Bioshock Infinite yet, though. It’s 50% off and had many, many rave reviews.

To me, Bioshock is a series that – like Halo – is mostly redeemed for being a half-decent shooter on console. Console just doesn’t do FPS very well, so when one that is pretty good comes along it gets a lot of attention. The original Halo was like that, and has spawned a very long-running series. Who knows? It might have actually got pretty good by the end, storyline-wise, but I never saw anything terribly inventive when it came to the actual First Person Shooting to make it stand out.

I was excited to try the original Bioshock. The world of Rapture was pretty interesting, and the storyline not to shabby at all. The gameplay though… eh. As an example, everyone was so excited about the magical powers called plasmids. Do you know what plasmids were? Weapons. There was absolutely no difference between a plasmid in Bioshock and picking up the rocket launcher in Doom. Just a different tool to shoot enemies with. You know who else took the idea of “rebranding a weapon as a spell” ? Hexen. 1995Do know which game did it better? Hexen II. 1998.

So, OK, Bioshock had a cool world. Do you know what’s a quicker way to experience a cool world than playing through a so-so shooter? Read wikipedia.

I heard Bioshock 2 was significantly worse than the original, so I certainly didn’t pick it up. I have heard that Bioshock Infinite has an excellent storyline with many interesting twists and turns… but even by console shooter standards the combat is pretty so-so. So – once again – a so-so shooter with a good story and world.

One day, I might tear through the game on easy just to see the story and experience the world. I don’t think reading the wiki is going to quite do it justice. Having said that, I’m surely not going to pay $80 for a pretty poor game. With Steam Sales knocking games down to less than $10 regularly, I’m not even going to consider it at 50% off (which it is right now as part of the “Encore.”)

Maybe next year. I tell you what, Bioshock Infinite. I’ll put you on my wishlist, and if you drop below $15 like Dishonored, I’ll pick you up to see what the fuss is about. I even promise to avoid spoilers online.