STOP ASKING ME WHAT STEAM GAMES TO BUY

This is a living steam sale document I will be updating periodically so I can have a link when people inevitably ask me what they should buy. I do not recommend that you buy any DOSBOX or compatibility issue games on Steam, that’s what GOG is for you sillies.

 

Alpha Protocol (RPG)

Why: The jank is part of the charm. Obsidian made it! If you send creepy emails to girls they tell you to fuck off!


Amnesia: Memories (Otome Visual Novel)

Why: Cute idiot boys in glasses who cry (crying not pictured, you have to play for that privilege) (boys not in glasses also cry).


Bad End (Horror Visual Novel)

Why: 

Also it is short (good for people who are busy) and cheap (good for people who are cheap).


Cat Goes Fishing (Cat Goes Fishing)

Why: Because you are a chill cat who goes fishing on a boat and it’s very relaxing. The title is what the game is!


Corpse Party (Horror Adventure)

Why: Because you like violent horror adventure games. If you don’t like violent horror adventure games, you should not buy Corpse Party.


Defender’s Quest (Tower Defense)

Why: Because you like tower defense games with RPG elements. The story is pretty cute. Enjoyable game.


Divinity II (RPG)

Why: Because you want to play a good third person action RPG that nobody knows about for cool points. Also you can transform into a dragon and fly around.


Dragon Age: Origins (RPG)

Why:

And because you want to continue being my friend.


Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (Monster Killing Game)

Why: There are a lot of games floating around now where you can fight large creatures but none of them have pawns around to tell you what’s going on.

 


Dust: An Elysian Tale (Platformer)

Why: You like very good platformers and are willing to not think too hard about whether this is a game for furries.


Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition (RPG)

Why: Because it’s the fucking greatest goddamn game how do you not own it already?


Grandia II (RPG)

Why: Because you enjoy JRPGs with sometimes goofy voice acting and amazing battle systems.


Grim Dawn (Clicky click click)

Why: Because you enjoy Diablo 2 clones that are superior to Diablo 2. Made by the people behind Titan Quest which also fulfilled this condition.


Gurumin (Platformer)

Why: Because you enjoy cute things and hitting people with sticks.


Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy & Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming (RPG)

Why: Because you have played enough JRPGs to get the jokes and like action RPGs.


Inquisitor (RPG)

Why: Because you like CRPGs with a lot of text where you can and sometimes must torture heretics.


Legend of the Heroes: Trails in the Sky First Chapter & Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Second Chapter (RPG)

Why: Because Estelle is the greatest, that’s why. Or maybe you have a lot of time on your hands? Great games, but the second is 60 hours long even if you don’t do all the things (I did all the things).


Knights of the Old Republic 2 (RPG)

Why: Because it’s probably the best Star Wars story out there and has all the good points of an Obsidian game even with the rushed ending I will always hate LucasArts for forcing.


Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (Puzzle Strategy RPG)

Why: Because it’s a sorta RPG puzzle strategy game with a super fun battle system. Plays well in small chunks and I’ve heard that the multi-player is very good but that would require human contact which is frightening even over the internet.


One Way Heroics (RPG)

Why: Because you enjoy running to the right and dying over and over. Yes, folks. It’s a rogue-like.


Ray Gigant (RPG)

Why: Because you’re looking for a pretty easy dungeon-crawler with great art. And you don’t want to get 100% because the PC achievements are broken (RIP Leo’s 100%).


Reus (World Building)(/h3>
Why: Because sometimes you need a world builder that seems simple but is actually pretty complex and can be played in small chunks when you need to drool on yourself in the evening.


The Royal Trap: Confines of the Crown (Otome Visual Novel)

Why: Because you have always wanted to be in a scandalous relationship! It’s not that kind of trap.


Space Channel 5 Part 2 (Rhythm)

Why: Because it’s Ulala’s swinging report show?!?!?! The best game Sega has ever made, don’t talk to me about any hedgehogs thanks.


Sword of the Stars: The Pit (RPG)

Why: Because you like rogue-likes that you will never beat.


Tales of Symphonia (Best Game) (RPG)

Why: Because it’s my favorite game in the Tales series and you want to please me.


Tropico 4 (Banana Republic Builder)

Why: Because tt’s the best of the Tropico games, which are the best city building simulators around right now. It’s a great $/time value, take it from me:


Wasteland 2 (RPG)

Why: Because you want to play a game where you can’t rescue everyone in a nuclear wasteland. Sounds familiar!


Ys: The Oath in Felghana (RPG)

Why: Because you’re into redheads in their first jumping adventure! Action RPG that is much more action than RPG, many of the boss fights are put together pretty similarly to a SHMUP actually. Also, it has a fab soundtrack.

A Gallery of Mysteriously Inaccessible Doors in Dragon Age 2

I’m replaying Dragon Age 2 after five years at the behest of a friend who said the Legacy DLC was worth it. There are definitely thoughts going on in my brain, but the whole “doors that are unable to open because we just reused the same five maps” is still very much true.

The reason it’s an issue is because the doors just…don’t open. They’re there, you can see on the map there are paths and rooms beyond them but there’s no indication that they’re locked or acknowledgement that they’re unable to be open. You just follow along and then, oh! you can’t go here this time, sorry. Initially I was capturing every one I came across but there were too many to keep it up.

The Games of 2012: Ys Origin

Ys Origin originally came out in 2006 but only in Japan, leaving poor suckers like myself who desperately wanted to play it in a language we could understand waiting for a fan translation. The fan translation finally materialized in September, 2011 but by that time there were already rumors that XSeed was getting ready to release it digitally so I decided against importing it like I done with some other Ys titles.

For those unfamiliar with the series–it is, afterall, a niche franchise beloved by gigantic nerds like me but unknown to everyone else–it’s a long running series of action RPGs with lots of remakes and ports and re-releases. Origin is the first of the games to break from telling the story of red-haired Adol having adventures all over the place and finding bits of the leftover Ys civilization while solving other, more urgent problems. Origin is not about the origins of Adol and his gang but rather the tale great civilization of Ys fell.

The gameplay in Origin is pretty similar to the titles since The Oath of Felghana. You hit things with weapons, you have some spell options and there are platforming and puzzle elements. There’s not really any level grinding required as long as you don’t just blow past enemies without bothering to defeat them, which I think of as a huge plus. Overall, Origin plays like your standard action RPG, but it is so competently made and charming that it overcomes the run-of-the-mill press-x-to-attack gameplay and enter the really fun zone. The Ys games have a formula that has been pretty much perfected and just own it completely.

The other thing Ys games always do well–and it’s an element of Origin that I enjoyed a whole lot–is giving you tough, interesting boss battles. In Origin once you are about a quarter way done with your long climb up the tower they suddenly become something like a SHMUP. The bosses have several attacks, shoot a whole lot of different stuff at you and require a tactical approach. It’s not R-Type Final, but here’s a video of the first boss that does this in the game:

I love it! There’s not a really a moment where you can just stand still (which in Ys means no healing!). It’s intense, and it’s fun. When I beat bosses in Origin I was very pleased with myself.

As it goes on the bosses become more and more like they were ripped out of a SHMUP. When you get to the final boss there is stuff all over the place and you are constantly running and reacting to whatever attack he’s queued up. The frenzied music works perfectly with what’s going on in the game. It’s just amazingly well put together.

If you don’t mind spoilers, or don’t think of a boss fight with no story context as one, here’s what that last battle looks like:

Ys: Origin is a niche game because of the market it inhabits, not its appeal to a wide audience. If you enjoy hitting monsters with weapons, sometimes setting creatures on fire and light puzzle fare then this is a game (and series) you’ll dig.

Buy Ys Origin on Steam. I get nothing out of this and you get a good game!

The Games of 2012: Sine Mora

Grasshopper Manufacturer has been playing around a lot with different genres in the last few years, with Sine Mora being their first SHMUP. A joint effort with the European studio Digital Reality it’s an okay game but not the extreme pewpew-fest I was hoping for. There are tons of annoying small breaks in the action to show off scenery; it seems the developers were very worried that players might miss how cool everything looks.

The boss battles are particularly disappointing as they are somewhat slow and you spend a lot of time not moving anywhere or thinking very hard.  Here are some examples I grabbed using FRAPS:

Compare that to the first boss fight from random SHMUP Ether Vapor: Remaster that I bought cheap on Steam (you may also observe that I am not very good at the game):

Sine Mora got a lot of praise in reviews all over the place but I found it to be very pedestrian and not very challenging. Substituting time for shield or health is interesting but the main impact it had was to make me not bother to try and get out of the way of fire/ships/insect puke in the very few crowded levels since your time increases goes back up as you blow enemies away. There were also way too many ripped-out-of-Gradius environmental obstacle areas. It’s a pewpew game, I want to make things explode.

Very Quick Reviews – The Baconing, Costume Quest, and Sequence

I’ve had a busy, busy last few weeks and fallen behind on Dragon’s Dogma (which I was really enjoying) but I decided to sit down and finish up/play through some of the indie titles that I’d purchased from Steam.

The Baconing – The third DeathSpank game, this time with no Ron Gilbert involvement and it shows. It’s an okay game but falls kind of flat. It feels like it was written by a Gilbert fan who was trying way too hard and though the core gameplay is the same as DeathSpank 1 and 2 they ramped up the difficulty to a pretty absurd degree. Worth a pickup on sale if you like action RPGs and don’t mind dying a lot.

Time Spent: Steam says 8.6 hours and that sounds about right accounting for pausing and bathroom breaks.

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Costume Quest – Adorable short RPG from Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine. A mean witch has kidnapped your brother (or sister if you play as the boy) on Halloween and you have to get him back. You collect candy, battle bad guys and put together costumes with new powers along the way. The battle system is simple as can be, you either attack or have a special move that depends on the costume you’re wearing (they can buff, heal or do extra damage). You can (should) also trade in your candy for battle stickers that you can equip your party with, they give your trick-or-treating pals extra boosts in battle (regeneration, do poison damage, etc).

Although Costume Quest is at face value an RPG like an adventure game the thing that keeps you chugging through is a fun story you want to see through to the end. It’s full of pop-culture references that are executed well and  the designs are charming. The price is a little steep at $15 but you are paying for the production values and it’s worth it.

Time Spent: About 5 hours to get everything in the normal game, have not done the (free!) DLC yet.

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Sequence – A rhythm action game I grabbed for something like $2.50 during one of the big Steam sales. This game is definitely worth the $5 it normally goes for but is flawed. First, it’s very repetitive because the way the game is structured you fight a small number of enemies over and over for materials to craft items. Second, you will want to set the game’s main characters on fire because they are really smarmy.

The battle system is the core of the game and works like this: Each enemy has a song attached to him which plays during the battle and sets the time limit. During the fight you flip between three boards while fighting enemies big and small hitting notes to the rhythm of the music. One board recharges mana, one board is where notes for the spells you cast show up and one is the enemy’s board where you hit notes to avoid damage. It works pretty well, but like I said fighting the enemies over and over to get drops and level up is very grindy and makes it nigh impossible to play for long periods at one time.

Time Spent: 15 hours, this is bloated by a few long pause and wander out of the rooms and having to start the game over after a bug. I’m currently attempting to get the true ending, I would guess it really tops out at more like 10 hours if you want all the spells/achievements/etc.

Q1 2012: Three Months of Boring Releases

Recently a big old scare report about how down video games were in Q1 2012 vs both Q4 2011 (Christmas time!) and Q1 2011 came out. Scare reports are fun and there is probably some truth to thinking that the ridiculous highs in sales were unsustainable but a quick look at the releases from Q1 explains a whole lot.

Here are the games I bought in Q1 (non-indie):

  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (DS)
  • Tales of the Abyss (3dS)
  • Tales of Graces f (PS3)
Shocking that I bought three niche RPG titles, I know.

Looking at the highlights list on Wikipedia I’d say the “big releases” of the quarter were Soul Calibur V, The Darkness II, and Mass Effect 3.  The only one of these with significant selling power on name is ME3 which sold a large number of copies before the whinepocalypse.

Compare that to Q1 2011 where the following came out:

  • Crysis 2 (PS3/360/PC)
  • Dead Space 2 (PS3/360/PC)
  • Dragon Age 2 (PS3/360/PC)
  • Killzone 3 (PS3)

Those are significantly higher profile releases (all selling about a million copies a piece). And even though Dragon Age 2 was underwhelming it sold a lot of copies before people caught on.

Game companies tend to stack most of their high profile releases in Q3 and Q4. You can’t release virtually nothing in a quarter and expect people to buy random new titles for the sake of buying something. This is especially true if people have less money to spend than in the recent past.

The good news is that Q2 2012 has some good releases including Diablo 3–which actually is the kind of game that can float the industry numbers (I believe it’s already sold 3 million copies)–Max Payne 3 (now a sexy Rockstar game), the Civilization V expansion and the new Ghost Recon. Most importantly the Pokemon/Nobunaga’s Ambition crossover game comes out here in June and I expect you all to purchase it.

Behold: The Tex Murphy Kickstarter

Kickstarter has become a great place for devs of out-of-style (but still awesome) game genres to appear and plead their cases for pledges and Tex Murphy is the latest to make an appearance. Don’t know what Tex Murphy is? There’s an easy two-step process to remedy this.

1) Watch their amazing Kickstarter pitch video (just click on the player to play and pause, I had to remove the JPG for the fancy chrome because it was broken)

[gigya src=”http://www.kickstarter.com/swf/player.swf” flashvars=”backcolor=000000&file=http%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Fksr%2Fprojects%2F111784%2Fvideo-110891-h264_high.mp4&image=http%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Fksr%2Fprojects%2F111784%2Fphoto-full.jpg&project_creators=A+Video+Games+project+by+Chris+Jones+%26+Aaron+Conners&project_title=Tex+Murphy+-+Project+Fedora&project_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kickstarter.com%2Fprojects%2F251414413%2Ftex-murphy-project-fedora&screencolor=000000&amp”]

2) Head over to GOG.com and buy Under A Killing Moon. It’s a really great game and unlike most of the other titles to come out of the FMV craze it’s well acted and well written.

After you do these two things, head on over and pledge so this game happens.

(extra explicit link: Tex Murphy: Project Fedora on Kickstarter)