tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

Holiday Steam sales will be the end of me

Here’s what I picked up, during both the Thanksgiving and Christmas sales on Steam:

  • Mirror’s Edge (already beaten – they weren’t kidding when they said this was a short game)
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
  • Prince of Persia (the new one)
  • Crysis Maximum Edition
  • Torchlight
  • Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition

Backlog doubled, just like that :(

In any case, I’ve put a little time into Crysis, Torchlight and PoP Warrior Within. Crysis is pretty awesome so far – not only does it look nice, but there’s a fair amount of open-endedness in how you can approach enemy encounters. You can run in guns blazing, or you can choose to play Solid Snake and pick off enemies one-by-one. And of course with either approach there are different ways to go about it as well. So far I’m favouring a stealthy approach since it’s just a lot more fun.

I still don’t like PoP Warrior Within’s darker aesthetic, but the improvements to the combat system are appreciated. I wish they hadn’t added the ability to do the platforming tricks in battle, though; while trying to roll out of the way of one of the enemies the Prince decided that he needed to take a jump off a cliff instead. Bleh.

Mirror’s Edge was short, but it was pretty good. That said the combat is not the strong point of the game – I had the most fun when I was running around and actively trying to avoid combat. On top of that the time trial stages are pretty much exactly what I expected them to be – exercises in maintaining momentum and finding the best route to hit all the checkpoints – very old-school Sonic.

Torchlight is basically a single-player Diablo II clone with some elements from Diablo I chucked in – namely spell scrolls/books. I’m playing a Vanquisher on Hard, and it’s fairly entertaining in short bursts. Without online I can’t see myself playing this for extended periods of time, though.

Anywho, on to something a bit more topical.

I’ve been playing a fair bit of TF2 since the new patch hit, mainly because my primary class (Soldier) got updated. I’m kind of at a loss when it comes to understanding how Valve designs their updates – on the one hand the Soldier got a set of very useful, if a little buggy, items that added new ways of playing the class, but on the other hand the Demoman got completely shafted with a new sticky launcher that limits his offensive potential, and a pair of melee items that encourage them to run around and engage in melee clusterfuckery (and subsequently get gunned down by Scouts, shotgun-wielding Soldiers and Heavies).

I suppose the Demoman is already good enough that he doesn’t need any new weapons, but at the very least it means I have to deal with less sticky spam as idiot Demoman players run around with their swords and shields, trying to hack people’s heads off. It’s also proved to be a great way to improve my aim with the shotgun!

I wrote up some quick impressions of the new Soldier weapons on the TF2 forums, which I’m reproducing below:

The Direct Hit
This thing shoots rockets ridiculously fast – think Quake III rockets fast. That said, it has virtually no splash damage so awesome aim is pretty much a requirement. That said the faster rockets make airshotting a lot easier – so much so that I think the fact that it minicrits on midair opponents is a little overpowered. Particularly since the game treats anyone not standing on a solid surface as being in midair. So if someone walks off a ledge and you hit them with a rocket from the DH, you just got a 35% damage bonus.

The Buff Banner
I see a lot of people use this, but honestly I’d rather have my shotgun. The minicrit effect depends on you being in the Soldier’s general radius, which can be tricky if you’re trying to flank or sandwich the opponent.

The Gunboats
This is the fourth item that the two classes were competing for. It doesn’t have a corresponding achievement so the only way to get them are to hope for a random drop or to use the new crafting system (more on that in a bit). They’re quite nice, if you want to play roaming soldier – using these, my regular horizontal rocket jump only takes off 10HP. Losing the shotgun is a big deal though, so you’d better have really good aim with your rockets.

The Equalizer
This is a straight up upgrade over the shovel, but then again I don’t really care. It’s really handy for the roaming soldier – I actually played a round of ctf_well where I ran into the intel room, killed all the defenders with 40HP left, grabbed the intel, whipped out the Equalizer and sprinted all the way back to my base unchallenged.

As for the other parts of the update:

Crafting System
You can now combine your excess items to make new items (think Diablo II’s Horadric cube). This is pretty much how I got my Gunboats (although the first time my crafting failed and I got another Buff Banner, argh). The list of ‘recipes’ is located here: http://www.tf2items.com/crafting/blueprints.php
There are tons of people whining about how it takes so many items to craft new hats, but honestly I don’t really care too much about that stuff. Although it would be nice if the game would give me another hat already…

New Maps
cp_gorge is rather nice – Lots of open spaces so there’s less spam, and lots of flanking routes. I like it.
ctf_doublecross has a metric ton of alternate routes, making it possibly the first CTF map I’ve ever played that hasn’t ended in stalemate all the time. Quite a fun map, I have to say.

1 comment

One Response to “Holiday Steam sales will be the end of me”

  1. PenPen says:

    Oh ho, good way to spend up your moneh!

    Torchlight being $5 simply cannot be resisted. It’s just a great bargain for the price. Even though I bought it when it was $10.

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