The 2014 Steam Summer Sale

  • Posted on: July 4, 2014
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:

Another Steam Summer Sale has come and another Steam Summer Sale has gone. I used be be super jazzed about the Steam sales during the first and second iteration but at this point, I am fairly certain that I have graduated past the point of caring beyond checking  Steam once or twice a day. I highly suspect that this newfound lack in interest is mostly in part to me already owning virtually every sub $5 title that I could really ever want and well, not really having that much free gaming time.

There is a Steam library calculator floating around on the internet somewhere that is quite good at depicting the sad reality of having purchased hundreds if not over thousands of dollars worth of games and not having played many of them. On paper, my played status isn’t too bad; The site stated that about a third of my library has not been played. If you factor out all of the games that I have played for under 10 minutes, then it is probably  closer to half of my library, which isn't too great. I did end up buying two things. So this year’s haul:


Borderlands 2
I stopped playing Borderlands 1 about the time that I realized that it was effectively, a cheeky FPS non-massively multiplayer version of World of Warcraft; grindy questing mechanics and all. That said, it is clearly a game that was designed to be played in co-op versus single player and I probably should have played it as such but the disadvantage of picking up multiplayer games way past the peak is that there is frequently no one to coop with. Dave and I picked Borderlands 2 up during the Steam Sale: More of the same but more fun with other people.


To The Moon
I didn’t know too much about this game other than a handful of the YouTube streamers that I watch had said that the story was pretty decent if not kind of sad and that it was made using RPG Maker. Technically speaking, I am unsure if I can really classify To The Moon as a game in the traditional sense since I am not sure if it even has a failure state at any point. Regardless, this is probably one of the only games that I played and finished immediately after purchase. Gameplay is pretty basic to say the least, but I really enjoyed the story and the music. It was also only around $2.

Sims 4 Neighborhood Details

Cautiously excited about The Sims 4 as it seems to be, at least according to the limited information that they have released so far, a blend between The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 which was exactly what I was hoping for. Each world will be divided into 5 neighborhood, each neighborhood having a distinct feel and characteristics. I think the example given during one of the interviews was somewhat akin to Hollywood and Bel Air being neighborhoods that are fairly different than each other but exist within the same city.

Each neighborhood with have up to 5 different lots which can either be residential or commercial. Public spaces are not considered lots and are persistent in that sims will continue to simulate even if you are not present. From my understanding, a public space would be something like an outdoor park whereas a commercial lot would be something like a gym. There will be a “short load” between words, neighborhoods, and lots. Really pretty interested in knowing how short.

Though 25 lots seems like a pretty small size for a world, sims will have the ability to travel between words while retaining personal information (such as belongings, relationships, etc). So, that is actually seems pretty nifty. On the other hand, it sounds very similar to what they did with Sim City in terms of scale: Multiple small cities on a single map for the sake of improving simulation. Simulation appears to be persistent across all zones within a world (world -> neighborhood -> lots and spacing between lots (public places). I am not sure if simulation persists between worlds.

Apparently for jobs, sims will walk off the neighborhood and come back later that night. There was something about a “big surprise” that they weren’t ready to announce so I guess careers and rabbit holes are up in the air at this time.

Odds and Ends: June 7th 2014

I guess June is turning out to be a fairly heavy media month in the sense that I have more free time and there are actual things that I want to watch and play, yay!

  • Orange is the New Black season 2 is out on Netflix. I am impressed by the Netflix originals; For some reason I had half expected them to the half-assed web series. If the other Netflix originals are anything like OITNB or House of Cards then I look forward to watching them.
  • Space Brothers is quite good: I’ve been marathon viewing this show on Crunchyroll for the past week or so. I’ll probably write a separate post about this series at some point.
  • As stated previously, I am currently playing Transistor and Wildstar; The above two shows, primarily the later being the reason why I haven’t beaten Transistor yet.
  • I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Sims 4 (in fall?) but am really interested in seeing or at least hearing about gameplay that isn’t just related to building houses or creating sims. EA has seemed suspiciously coy about providing any details about core gameplay (genetics for example). Even though it will most likely be a blatant money trap, I will most likely still play it and still enjoy the crap out of it.
  • I picked up Protector of the Small (young adult fiction) for my Kindle because I have a soft spot for coming-of-age fantasy stories. It’s a fairly predictable but good story following Keladry, who wishes to become the first female knight.
  • Just realized recently that I kind of skipped over the Liveship Traders Trilogy, which apparently was supposed to be read between The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies.
  • Pretty sure this game was made specifically for me.

On a general tangent: About a month ago I was bored and checking on a few things and ended up impulse registering a vanity domain, Cheeseism.net because it was “on sale.” I am not sure what else to do with this site at this point.

Wildstar: Days 1 and 2

One of my awesome friends gave me one of her Wildstar guest passes, which has been allowing me play without having to drop $60. I am a human exile medic, soldier path. To be honest, I really don’t know what any of these character choice mean or imply in terms of leveling or end-game, but I figured that I would just roll with whatever and then reap the consequences of my decision later, assuming that I even choose to purchase the full game.

The character designs are a little too much on the cartoony side for my tastes, but that it a personal nitpick at best especially given my WoW background. That said, the game as a whole especially the outdoor environments look very well polished; Everything is vibrant and smooth with lots of detail to the point where many of my screenshots look like they were taken straight out of a concept art book. Pretty awesome.

Questing so far seems pretty typical to what one would expect from a modern MMO; I am unsure if there is much else to say about questing other than I am not sure that it is a good thing that quest trackers are pretty much a default feature in all new RPGs. Is this really what questing has come down to? Following the arrow? ...but that's more of a criticism of the genre as a whole than of the game itself.

The combat system has an action RPG element that is pretty fun. Most abilities are "free-form" in the sense that you don't have to click and select a target to attack. Instead, most attacks are AoE spells using something called the telegraph system. When you cast a spell, the area of effect will be layed out on the battlefield in the form of a colored shape, which will also indicate casting time, channeling, spell type, etc. The unique thing is that, when targets attack you can see their telegraphs as well, allowing you to move out of the way.

All-in-all there seems to be a much greater focus on action (light platforming, no auto attack, sprinting, etc). I look forward to exploring this system further. From what I hear, status effects will actual effect the way you play the game in the sense that when you are blinded your area of visibility is greatly reduced and so forth (versus being a statistic on the screen).

Transistor (PC)

Two new games that I have been interested were released recently: Transistor and Watch Dogs. Transistor was cheaper so I picked it up on Steam. It is an action role playing game by Supergiant Games, the studio behind Bastion. Transistor and Bastion share a lot of common denominators and at the surface level, appear to be fairly similar: Same colorful isometric stylized cartoon aesthetic, same genre (action roleplaying), very little exposition, same style of narrative style in that much of the story is dynamically narrated but this time in the form of an actual character (err talking word).

Transistor diverges from Bastion in terms of gameplay and overall tone. Though they share a similar aesthetic, Transistor is more technological noir in contact to Bastion’s apocalyptic wild west vibe if that makes any sense. Bastion was more or less, twitched based action whereas Transistor is fairly strategy oriented. Combat gameplay is split into two parts: There’s a real time combat aspect typical to any action game and then there is a planning mode that allows you to pause combat, queue up actions and moves, then resume combat to execute your plan.

As a whole, it’s a great game so far. But that said, it’s just not a game that grips on to me and makes me yearn to play it for more than about 30 to 45 minutes at a time. I am unsure if it is the game or of it is just me and my increasingly small game attention span/free time. I don’t know. Regardless, definitely worth a play.