I’ve been subscribed to Humble Monthly for several months now. As a service, it’s a heck of a deal. For $12/month, you get a bundle of games and for the most part, the value of the games bundled is at least ten times what you paid. That’s the major upswing, while the downfall of the service is that you don’t get to choose what games you receive and if you’re an avid game collector slash over-spender, you will likely end up with extra copies of games. Great for your friends, but takes away from the overall value a bit, in my opinion. Overall though, I can’t complain because that $12 investment is usually more than worth it. The remaining issue is having the time to actually play the games that are thrown at me each month. Much like with my Playstation Plus subscription, I get too many games each month to give them all their proper due. I will try them all, but few will be played as much as they deserve, and others won’t be played at all due to not falling in line with my interests. But I will never complain about free games, and instead will aim to give you my initial impressions of the titles that I’ve given some time to from this month’s bundle which contained the following games:
Warhammer End Times: Vermintide + 2 DLC
Mother Russia Bleeds
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
It goes without saying that I already owned the fantastic Vermintide game, as I have talked plenty about that in the past year. There are actually a few DLCs for the game that have released that I have purchased without playing, and that is something I hope to rectify, as I gave my sister this extra copy of the game and hope to do some co-op in the near future. One of the DLC’s packed in this bundle is for some fancy new hat, so I took that bit for myself, but haven’t checked it out just yet. It also came with the mouthful of a name DLC Schluesselschloss, which was released at the same time as the survival mode. Eri and I played that a bit, and it was challenging to say the least. The other two DLCs are additional story bits that I really need to go check out. Hell, maybe I’ll play it today. I should also notate that I won’t be giving an impression of the final two games on that list, because I haven’t tried Trails in the Sky yet as it’s a traditional JRPG and those eat up a lot of time. I’m too busy playing Destiny right now for that. HoPiKo didn’t look like a game I’d even remotely like, so that key is collecting dust until I find someone to dump it on. With that said, let’s jump into the rest of this list.
Mother Russia Bleeds
If you’re somewhere near my age, you likely played or saw a Sega Genesis played. This game is so much an homage to old school side-scrolling beat-em-up games from the 80’s and 90’s. Think games like Streets of Rage, or even titles like Golden Axe. Those types of games were in their heyday on 16-bit consoles, and I loved so many of them. As tastes changed, so has the technology and gaming has trended away from this style of game, but if you even so much as mildly enjoyed titles like that, you’ll enjoy Mother Russia Bleeds. It’s fitting that the PG-13 rated titles from my childhood can now be recreated to appeal to 34 year old me. MRB takes everything that worked in those old games, and applies it to a modern gaming platform. This is still pixellated goodness, and has the same basic control scheme, but ends up being backed by a far more mature storyline and all kinds of gore.
If nothing else, it’s pretty easy to run through, and I’m certain that you could beat it in a few sittings. There’s also co-op for up to 4 players, so that’s a bonus as well. I give it an 8/10.
I didn’t play this one much, admittedly. The description appealed to me; a twin stick shooter with cyberpunk elements. The graphics were definitely low-poly, though animations were smooth and fast. I wasn’t instantly turned off there. However the mouse and keyboard controls felt a bit wonky, and I played a lot of Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon with this control scheme with no issues. I assume a controller can be configured, but after a few minutes of not being impressed with it, I just farmed out the cards and deleted it from my PC. No thanks. 4.5/10
This game looks to be a great racing entry on the PC. To be fair, I’ve played almost every racing game I’ve ever enjoyed on consoles. Lack of good controller support in my formative PC gaming years led me to believe that racing games were simply better on console. The Gran Turismo and Need for Speed series held most of the titles I enjoyed the most, and for different reasons. Gran Turismo was the ultimate driving simulator, and I loved how long it took to complete your career. The Underground portion of the NFS series also holds a special place in my heart, due to my interest in the street racing scene at the time, and the customization and equally lengthy career mode. Project Cars looks to be the first racing title I’ve played on PC that actually feels like it gets things right. It defaulted to a controller input, and the controls felt on par with the technicality of Gran Turismo. Bonus points there. It’s also very pretty, and runs smoothly on my PC. I’ll be putting some time into this one, for sure. 9/10
This one came out of left field for me. I don’t recall ever seeing this game before, and it has a very nice hand-drawn style in the vein of The Banner Saga (though not quite as pretty in my opinion). It’s an action RPG sort of affair, and feels similar to titles like Bastion. There is some narration, some basic puzzle-like sequences, and some low level action combat. Overall it’s an intriguing game if nothing else than for the beauty of it. I don’t have much else to share save for some pictures, but I intend to see this one through to its end. 7/10
That’s it for my thoughts on this month’s bundle, but there were some games that I also received recently I wanted to touch on as well. I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I was astonished that I made it through the entire Steam Winter Sale without spending a single red cent. Impressive as that is, given my track record the past few years, it’s sort of a lie. See, I didn’t spend any money during the sale, but my father was kind enough to gift me a few games for Christmas, and that means I did still benefit from the sale. The past couple of years he usually just buys me one of the full price games on my wishlist and calls it a day, but this time he picked a bunch of the smaller titles that had discounts so I ended with four new games to check out, which I did after I recovered from one hell of a cold. So here’s impressions of those as well:
March of the Living
This is a title that I had on my wishlist for quite some time. It appealed to me because I’ve always enjoyed Zombie games (though I am starting to tire of them from over saturation), and it had that same sort of Oregon Trail meets Faster Than Light feel to it. I enjoyed both of those games, and games like The Banner Saga that used the Oregon Trail formula. This is sort of get from point A to point B scenario, but has the element of choice that Faster Than Light excelled at. Picking branching paths can be more direct but more dangerous, and supplies run short rather quickly. Random events can be rather brutal as well. Honestly it’s not a bad concept, nor is it a bad delivery, but in the end I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing. It felt like an exercise in futility, but perhaps that’s just how it goes. A for effort, but my final score is 5/10.
Grimm: Dark Legacy
So this was one of those titles I saw in my discovery queue and it looked interesting enough to add to my list. I had no idea that it was tied into the TV Series Grimm, which I have seen a time or two and consider complete garbage. There were cutscenes at the beginning with characters from the TV show and I already knew that was going to affect my opinion of the game. However, I still ran with it. This is an action RPG at heart, but has some rogue-like elements, though I’d call those optional. See, you can set the game to give you the ability to respawn at the last check point after dying, which is more like a traditional ARPG, or you can put on settings that will kill you permanently if you fall during battle. Otherwise it’s pretty generic. The art is pretty, but nothing spectacular. I wasn’t overly impressed, but I’m not overly impressed with much these days. 6/10.
Killing Floor 2
You may recall some of my play time with the original Killing Floor. A couple of years ago I hosted a gaming event and invited a bunch of blogging community members to play a few rounds as it was a free to play weekend on Steam. It was a great game, and we all had fun running the missions. This game takes the same formula of the original but has better graphics, and some differences in delivery. I played through some tutorial missions and did a few rounds solo and it felt much like the original, but was still enjoyable. However, when I tried playing multiplayer, I wasn’t finding matches no matter how much I messed with the settings. I checked Steam Charts and it seems like there’s a semi-healthy population of players, so I don’t know what the deal is. So I can’t really rate the co-op experience fully, but it still looks like a good game. 7/10.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Another random discovery queue find, this game seemed interesting in that it is based off of the old Fighting Fantasy books from way back when. Those were choose your own adventure books, complete with stat sheets and inventory that could be used throughout the story. What a great concept this was back when I used to read them in the early 90’s. I was fascinated. This is apparently the first even book that was written by the guys responsible for Fighting Fantasy. From what I’ve read, Deathtrap Dungeon was the most popular book in the series, but that was made into a video game already. So this team aimed at recreating the first book in video game form. Illustrations from said book are thrown in from time to time, and I assume the writing is either copied word for word or is similar enough. Aside from making some basic choices and generally following along with the story, there are dice rolls for particular checks, and breaks in the story for combat. That’s the weakest point of the game, in that the combat is a bit wonky. You basically play a guessing game and hope for the best. This isn’t too frustrating until you get to later portions of the story and fight some enemies that are a bit overpowered, particularly if you are unlucky in your selections. Outside of that one weakness though, this is my favorite of the bunch that I was gifted. 8/10.
That’s all I have for now. Happy gaming everyone!