Steam Summer Pickups: The Good, the Bad, the Curious, and the Unplayed

So thank you for bearing with me in my absence last week. Like BioBreak, I take my youth on a summer mission trip, and last week was the week! We had a good time and were introduced to some wonderful local groups in the inner city destination of our choice. I am always amazed at the infrastructure of non-profits that has sprung up to help with all the many needs that people find themselves in. But I digress…

I promised a check down on my Steam purchases, and so, here ya go:

The Good

Blitzkrieg II Anthology – This was a re-buy for me on the original game, but since I had none of the expansions, it was worth it at $5 to pick up the whole thing in digital format. Blitzkrieg is not without its weaknesses, but it plays out fairly realistically and does away with base building, one of the things that I struggle with the most in RTS games (I tend to turtle ’til I die). I like particularly how you can specialize and train and gain XP by unit type rather than unit itself. So if you lose your favorite Panzer IV in the battle – no problem. The skill level of the crew is tied to your Medium Tank commander and his level, so any new Panzer IV you pick up will show that same veteran panache, so you don’t have to stare at the screen in horror if you didn’t click fast enough to get your best people out of that ambush in time…

Agarest: Generations of War Collector’s Content – This tactical RPG is itself something I have had and enjoyed for awhile now. The “fanservice” is there in small doses, but mostly because the game takes a silly soap-opera approach to choosing your spouse each generation. The collector’s upgrade allowed me to grab the excellent sound track. I’m glad because the music (that I only payed $2.50 for) is good enough to make up for the sorely lacking Digital Artbook – which is basically just pictures of all the potential spouses in the game. Gee, thanks.

The Bad

State of Decay – Holy smokes was this a bad purchase, even at $4. I thought I was getting a zombie sandbox where my base of survivors could struggle and grow together and interact with each other RPG style. Instead I got a terrible story that railroads you along and limits your base and options. It would be like buying an RTS like Warcraft or Command&Conquer, and then only being able to play the story mode. Not to mention that the combat feels vary tacted on, and the FOV is awkward as all get our for a 3rd person shooter. Especially since you can’t zoom it at all when playing.

Eador: Genesis – I had heard that this was the successor to Master of Magic, and I was all gung ho for it and its rich complexity which built on the original. So I logged in, and realized after 2 minutes that the complexity was so awesome I needed a manual. Which for me, is great. So I went digging through local content. And then the web. And then realized that when they ported this bad boy in from Russia, they never ported the manuel. How the hell does that happen? It may be a great game, but it killed it for me because I have no idea what I’m doing or what options move what parts. Its really sad because this looks like a great strategy game and should be right up my alley.

The Curious

This is a hat tip to one of the community aces in WoWp, who uses this in the forums in place of “the ugly” with the new definition that this is a plane (or in this place a game) that is not critically or commercially well received necessarily, but is one that, for whatever reason, you hang onto and find some joy in.

Long Live the Queen – I payed less than $4 for this little choose your own adventure type game, which is basically a digital version of the old Lone Wolf game books by Chalk and Dever. Remember those?

So basically you play a young princess whose mother was murdered and who has a year before reaching the age of coronation. In that year, each week is a turn, and you get to take two classes during the week and take one free time activity each weekend. Once you choose those, in between each turn/week the game gives you some dilemma or action that is either part of the main storyline (and thus always present in every game) or a random one (changes from game to game). The game then consults the skills from your classes and makes a roll to see if you succeed or fail. To complicate matters, your ability to learn depends on your mood, which is affected also by in game events and your weekend activities. If you feel Pressured, that makes it hard to succeed in something empathic, like horse riding, but it provides a bonus to something stressful and queen-approved, like public speaking. Its a hell of a lot of fun, and while I haven’t made it through to the basic ending yet (I’ve died every time), I can see this one being a constant replay just to see all the pathways. Its not for everyone, but I love it.

Might and Magic X: Legacy – this was a late pickup, technically after the Steam Sale, but for a lower price than it was during the sale (which is why I skipped it the first time around). As a a life long M&M fan, who played the series early on while very young, this one completed my digital collection. And it does play and feel much like Might and Magic does. But it also lacks the polish of the rest of the series, and also…the spirit of the original. I keep playing it, but there is something there I can’t quite put my finger on that doesn’t feel right. Which may be good, because its also prompting me to go back and play through some of the earlier titles in the series!

The Unplayed

Space Hulk, Sleeping Dogs, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – I’m sure I will eventually get to these games, and I have high hopes for all of them, but so far, I haven’t gotten there yet. If Space Hulk plays like a computer version of the board game, its a done deal. If Sleeping Dogs is like Just Cause or GTA but with martial arts action, that’s a done deal. And with Scream, if the game sucks, the package deal also came with Harlan Ellison’s short story, which is worth more than the $1.50 I paid by itself…

2 thoughts on “Steam Summer Pickups: The Good, the Bad, the Curious, and the Unplayed

  1. I think I brought “ignoring Steam sales” to another level this season: not only didn’t I buy a single game, I didn’t even realize that there was a Steam sale until it was already over! It probably helped that I was on vacation for most of the time, I guess.

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