35 games and a mod make for an interesting end not only to this week, but the month of March, 2015.
Crazy to think that this month is coming to an end. And just a little bit depressing. This will be the last post of A Journey Through Steam for the month of March because the earliest I will probably do the next post is the 1st of April. I highly doubt I’ll prank anyone on that day. Today was a fun day looking through Steam releases. Which is great because the last couple of post days have been a bit of a slog.
This post is part of my new series where I take a look at the most interesting games on the new releases list for Steam. Learn more about this series at this blog post.
Feature: Spirits of Xanadu
My eyes usually glaze over when I see low-fi graphics in an indie game. A lot of games with small budgets use low-fi graphics to keep under budget. I don’t blame them necessarily but at the same time there’s been a lot of them lately and it gets a bit old. So, I mostly hope the concept or gameplay shown is enough to really grab my interest. It rarely is. In this game’s case? I think there might be something to it.
I’m taking a look at the first trailer as the second trailer mostly repeats what the first trailer shows. It’s just shorter. The Publisher’s pretty logo shows up on screen. If you don’t recognize the publisher, they’ve published a ton of games to Steam. A lot of them are older titles such as the Putt-Putt/Freddi Fish/Pajama Sam edutainment titles, the Tex Murphy adventure series and most notably: System Shock 2. Seems they are now adding newer games to their catalog. Right, back to the trailer. It shows off the graphic’s engine and there’s a bunch of distorted audio logs talking about some sort of virus. The music is rather atmospheric. I get this intriguing vibe of a dystopian sci-fi game. It’s pretty vague about the story and combat but something about the music…
Steam description mentions non-linear gameplay & narrative, a fully interactive environment and even a “peaceful” mode which makes the robots passive, allowing you to enjoy the story. It’s pretty rare to see an FPS allow you to turn off the combat. I’m really intrigued for whatever reason by this title so I’m going to have to give it a look-see at some point. Added to Wishlist.
Side Note: Half Life 2: Update Mod
Am I the only one that’s a little bit disturbed that a bunch of people did a major bug fixing and graphical update patch for Valve and did it unpaid? It would be one thing if Valve didn’t exist anymore but they are one of the biggest game developers for the PC platform right now. And you willingly do their job for them. I mean, sure, the community commentary nodes spread throughout the game are probably not something Valve would do. So, its got that unique feature going for it. But the rest? I dunno. I know it’s a bit of a double standard and I’m certainly not condemning them for making this mod. It’s just a bit…weird. As for the mod itself, I’ll probably check it out whenever I replay HL2 (which is planned) just to take a look at it. And the community commentary really does make it interesting to me.
Feature: Pillars of Eternity
Obsidian Entertainment. I actually thought you developed another game called Planescape: Torment but I was uhh…quite wrong. *coughs*. Anyway, I’m not entirely sure my featuring of this game is entirely necessary. The game is currently exploding in popularity, being that it’s probably one of the best Kickstarter releases to come out of that website. On the gaming side of things. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to a dense CRPG like this one in the near future. If I did, I would pretty much need 60+ hours uninterrupted in order to really enjoy it and I rarely set aside that much time for a single game. It seems to have a rich lore to chew on, a complex combat system and a lot of content to get through. Games like these take time. Time that I so very rarely have. Maybe at some point I’ll give it a look-see.
Feature: Please Don’t Touch Anything
I’m getting the feeling that this was inspired by Paper’s Please. But at least the puzzle aspect is something entirely different from that game. Otherwise I wouldn’t have given this a long glance. But, as far as pixel-art games with multiple puzzle paths are concerned, it definitely seems interesting. The intrigue aspect is definitely the selling point of the game and I won’t deny that it pulls at me to solve it. What is the red button for? Why was someone stupid enough to let me of all people guard a giant red button? Why does this desk have all these switches? All these answers and more I’ll solve…someday.
Anti-Feature: Asteroids: Outpost(TM)
Oh Atari. I’m so glad I don’t have fond memories of your games because wow have you fallen to the wayside. I’m not entirely sure why you’re involved with this project. Other than to cash-in on this genre’s strange popularity. The opening paragraph of the store page’s description is incredibly generic to boot:
Asteroids: Outpost™ is an open world sandbox survival game. Craft, customize, and upgrade your equipment. Asteroids: Outpost™ is an EARLY ACCESS title! We’re constantly adding, tweaking and improving the game.
Welcome to every early access open world sandbox game description ever. The rest of it is the same as every other game in this genre. Just swap names in and out. Oh Atari… Also, that trailer is the most generic trailer I’ve seen for a game in this genre yet. You get absolutely no idea what’s going on in the game. Just things exploding in your face. Lovely.
Anti-Feature: Age of Fear 2: The Chaos Lord
Seeing a succubus with big boobs in your game’s title art isn’t good for first impressions. Taking a look at the screenshots doesn’t help your case either. This is clearly a budget indie RPG title. And normally I’d give it a pass because I’d much rather comment on such a game after I’ve played it. As hideous as the graphics & UI may seem, there might be a really solid game underneath. But then, then I start the trailer and well… You have to see this trailer so I’m going to embed it here.
You know, I can’t recall the last time I saw an indie game with a live-action trailer. I’m probably forgetting some titles but it’s really rare for an indie company to do marketing this way. Probably for good reason too because hiring an actor/actress, getting the equipment in place and everything else is probably more expense than it’s worth. But clearly, these guys want to go the extra mile. I’m not really sure it was a good idea. But I’ll give them some credit, it’s not a terrible trailer for a top-down RPG. The digitized voice is still pretty easy to understand. It shows off some of the gameplay and gives you an idea of what you’re getting into. Just not really sure I’d want to play it even after all of that.
Mixed-Feature: Star Ruler 2
Star Ruler 2 is a sequel for a five year old RTS/4X mixed game. You know, I never really did hear much about the original game. I saw quite a bit about it on Steam and it had plenty of prominent sales but I never heard a solid review on it. Didn’t hear anything awful either, so, I guess that’s something. Only trailer thoughts I have is that it shows fights that don’t stay at a solid 60FPS. Which is always worrying for a low-fi game such as this. Would I get this title? Only if I had more feedback from people who play in the 4X genre more. Especially as the game just came out of Early Access. Still, mixing 4X and RTS seems like a pretty good idea, on the surface, so I might look into this title more in the future.
Thanks for reading!