State of the Game: Monster Summer Sale

sotg

I should go on record and say that this round up, despite originally being planned as a weekly update to my gaming life, isn’t necessarily going to come out each week. I’m relegating it to the same status as my State of the Tweet series, where I only put it out when it’s necessary, i.e. when I have good stuff to share to warrant a round up post. Since weeks past were taken up by the NBI and building my new computer, I didn’t have as much to write about (though that didn’t stop me from more normal posting, just didn’t feel a round up was necessary on top of those posts). This week I pre-planned what I would throw into this post, so here were are. As I said, don’t expect this each week, but it will still be fairly regular.

It’s that time of year again, yeah it’s summer. That means it’s hot outside, the sun is too damn bright, and a myriad of sales are hitting digital storefronts. GOG’s summer sale is winding down, Humble Bundle has always got something great, and of course, the Steam Monster Summer Sale is going on right now.

It never fails, when the summer sale comes along I don’t have the hundreds of dollars I would like to spend, picking up all of the games on my wishlist on the cheap. However, this is probably good for my backlog, which I can’t seem to keep from expanding. I probably finish one game for every 2-3 I pick up. Some of the games I’ve earned through bundles or found for free aren’t all that great though, so I really only count the games I actually want to complete. The deals are still pretty much the same, and the flash deals tend to be a deeper discount than the daily deals, but you never know what’s going to pop up there, and a couple of times I was pleasantly surprised. But I digress.

The promotion this year is a little different, in that there’s an actual game to play, rather than just making votes on what games go on sale. I much prefer this to last year’s event. It’s not much of a game, but it’s a fun little diversion, and you earn cards for participating. So far I’ve reached level 280 at my max, but I have seen people in the 1,500 range, so that’s not as impressive. Either way, I’ve earned the badge that comes with the event, though I haven’t bothered with trying to make the badge with the cards. I just sold those off for more funds to put towards games, as I typically do.

summersale

Again, it’s not the most amazing gaming experience, but I still feel it’s an improvement over last year’s sale. I picked up a few titles, some of which you’ll probably recognize:

I picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $4.99, down from it’s original $20 asking price. It’s actually an old PS3 game that came out quite some time ago, and I had already seen it in action as my brother-in-law had picked it up a few years back. It was only ported to the PC at the tail end of last year, and though I had toyed with picking it up before, I couldn’t pass up the $5 price, especially since I already had that on my account. I have only played through the first few missions, but I like what I have seen so far. I talked about that in more detail on the last episode of Couch Podtatoes though, so I won’t go into it further.

My Dad was in the giving spirit as well, and had told me that he was going to gift me a copy of a game that we both had on our wishlists, but when he purchased the game and tried to play it, it wouldn’t run. So he’s utilizing the new Steam refund service, and gave me the option to pick out a game that was a similar price. I decided to get two less expensive games, and ended up with Ironcast and CS:GO. I’m sure you all know what Counter-Strike is. I actually already own a copy on my PS3, but I wanted it on the PC, where updates are more likely to happen more often. Plus, me and eSports go hand in hand these days, so I figured I’d get plenty of hours into this version. I played a bit earlier and it looks better on the PC as well, in my opinion.

Ironcast is a title you might not recognize, I just happened to catch it when it released and added it to my wishlist. It’s tagged as “Puzzle Quest meets FTL” and has a victorian steampunk feel to it. If you’ve played Puzzle Quest, it will instantly look familiar to you. I loved PQ2, so this was a no-brainer. I don’t have any match-3 type games on my Steam account outside of PQ2, so I figured it was time I got for when I’m in the mood for that type of gameplay. I have yet to try it, so more on that later.

Lastly, I picked up the How To Survive Storm Warning bundle. It’s the base game + expansions. I also noticed that in a couple of weeks there’s a 3rd person mod version coming out that also might be interesting, but I didn’t buy that. I want to make sure I actually like the game before worrying about it. I pulled the trigger simply because I typically like action RPGs, survival games, and zombies. Plus, the whole package was only $.99, so how could I refuse?

Outside of the sale, I have been playing League of Legends and H1Z1 pretty regularly. I’ve been doing a bunch of streaming, recording and video editing recently (outside of the blog posts and podcasting as well) so there isn’t going to be much else for me to talk about, though I have been enjoying all of it very much. My last post contained my H1Z1 gameplay video that I slapped together, and I just finished up making this one for LoL:

I picked up Ekko about a week after his release with IP I had been saving. I also had some RP lying around and picked up a few skins, one of which you’ll see in the video when I’m playing Nautilus (and it’s an awesome skin!). There’s some normals and some ARAMs in the video, and it’s mostly just highlights of big plays, but nothing too amazing. I’m really just putting it out there for feedback on things I can do to improve my video edits. So please, leave some commentary here or on my YouTube channel. Thanks!

That’s all I have for this week. Til next time.

#stateofthegame #steamsummersale #gaming

The State of the Game 11/5-11/11

This week I split my gaming time up between three different platforms. No, I haven’t purchased a new system, I still only have my laptop and PS3, but I finally found a mobile game that I’m playing religiously on my phone. This week’s playlist was as follows: Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, Awesomenauts, Dragon’s Dogma, League of Legends and demos for How to Survive and CastleStorm.

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
This is the first time I’ve reported playing a game on a mobile platform, and for good reason. My first smart phone was an Android, but was an older phone and didn’t have the capabilities to run the better games. My new-ish smart phone is on the Windows platform — the HTC 8x. It is powerful enough to run new games, but the Windows store isn’t quite where the Android market is. As such, there really hasn’t been any games that I wanted to play, besides ones that cost more than I was willing to pay for a mobile game. I never wanted to pay for mobile games mainly because I never really play games on my phone, but also because I was always stuck in the mentality that I wasn’t earning achievements by playing them. I’ve moved away from that mindset, and as a result have found a truly engaging game. SW:TDS is a city building game, but rather than building a city, you build a Death Star. I love Star Wars, have been falling in love with retro gaming, and though I never was a huge fan of sim-builder games, I’ve played my share of them. This game combines so many elements that I can enjoy, but can be played in short increments, or for hours at a time. It doesn’t require you’re attention all of the time, because when you stop playing, the game persists. When you come back to the game at a later time, you are greeted with this message:

This was after a short break
This was after a short break

The fact that the game persists without your actions is a great feature, as I can just come back to it when I know certain timers are going to expire. Levels of your death star are all dedicated to certain functions, but the vendors have to be stocked, and stocking takes time. Selling takes time as well, so leaving for a time rewards you with larger chunks of credits. The stores have to be employed, so housing must be built for employees, so they in turn can sell your wares. Imperial levels are built so that supplies can be crafted/researched/what-have-you. All the while the emperor is giving you side missions, and Darth Vader is ordering you to gather materials. Aside from some button pressing here and there, an easy to use menu system adds to the depth, but really the most action you get to control is the elevator:

Up or down? Weeee!
Up or down? Weeee!

Despite the simple graphics, interface and overall premise, SW:TDS is a fantastic game, and it’s completely free. I’m sure it’s available on Android and iOS as well. Microtransactions are available in the form of the secondary currency, bux. You can buy bux with real-world money, and those bux can help you to move things along faster. But if you’re patient, you can just take a break from the game and things will complete themselves. I have been patient and don’t intend to buy virtual currency. I’m just curious now if there is some sort of winning parameters, or if it becomes endless. I have 13 levels as of right now, and there hasn’t been any indicator of limitations or a victory sequence. More on this to come, I’m sure.

Awesomenauts:
The only notable occurrence in this game was that I prestiged again, for the 7th time. Aside from that, I had one superb game, and I’m gonna brag:

Team PWNED
Team PWNED

As you can see, I dominated all categories in the scoreboard (K/D, Minion kills, Towers destroyed). My team didn’t die a single time, their team didn’t even destroy a single tower.

Dragon’s Dogma:
I have much too much to say about Dragon’s Dogma to fit it into this post. Great game from what I’ve seen so far, but I really wish you could play multiplayer, rather than just being able to use your friend’s main Pawns. Oh well, perhaps there will be a sequel with that sort of option. The game comes with a built-in screen shot software, so I have a picture story to tell that I’m going to push into another full post. Look for that this week.

League of Legends:
Season 3 officially ended yesterday. As I already mentioned, I promoted into Silver tier. As a result, I was rewarded with these items:

Silver Border and Icon
Silver Border and Icon

Aside from the Season 3 Silver Summoner’s Icon and the Border on my profile, there will also be a Silver border around my character on the loading screen. Also, a new ward skin to add to the collection:

Add it to the collection
Add it to the collection

I’ve mostly been playing ARAMs since I reached my Ranked goals. I did play a couple of games in other modes, and also earned a couple of the new Harrowing Summoner’s Icons:

Icons galore
Icons galore

The top row depicted here are all icons that I have earned, below that row are the default ones. From left to right: Season 3 Silver, Vilemaw and Statue from Harrowing 2013, Lissandra clan from ARAM release, and the last one is from the Lunar Revel last year, though I don’t remember how I earned it exactly.

CastleStorm Demo:
This game is basically a mash up of different physics games and reminds me of Swords and Soldiers from Ronimo (the guys who made Awesomenauts). Basically you control a turret that shoots various ammo, and you are trying to destroy an opposing force’s castle before they destroy yours. They send soldiers, so can you. You can send your general to the front lines and use him to combat enemies. Destroying their castle turns into an Angry Birds style fling and smash. It was interesting, but nothing that I would want to buy. Ideas that work on their own don’t always work when mixed together. This feels tacked on.

How to Survive Demo:
The idea of an Action-RPG that is set in a different setting besides High Fantasy is rare indeed. Rare enough that I can’t think of another one off of the top of my head. Maybe the original Fall-out, but that was still turn-based. Anyway, the game looks gritty like Path of Exile, but is a modern setting, and there’s Zombies. As much as I have loved Zombies over the years — I watch the shows/movies, read the comics, play the games — it is starting to become tired. There’s shining examples of how the concept can be used to create a great show/game/movie, but for every good example, there’s another ten games with zombie themes that are awful. This game isn’t exactly awful, it has elements that I can enjoy. It just doesn’t have personality, and that keeps me from feeling immersed. Try the demo before you buy it.