Category Archives: Features

Features are the pieces of writing that express opinions on one subject.

Bargain Exchange: Steam Summer Sale Day 3

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim in Bargain Exchange for Steam Summer Sale

Another day; another sale. And today’s a big one. That’s right, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has gone on sale! And it’s absolutely… underwhelming. A fifty percent discount leads the game to be about £17 here in Britain. While it’s a good discount, I mean they did cut half of the price off, it’s just pretty expensive compared to anything else in the sale. That may just be me though, but I go by the rule of only buying games during Steam sales at -75%. Sometimes I pick up a title for 66% off. 50% though? I mean, if I waited this long to get the PC version I’m sure I could wait for it to get even cheaper. It just seems more like one of those special sale weekends. It’s not really that special at all.

Orcs Must Die! for Bargain Exchange on Steam Summer Sale

Anyway, without further delays, the first thing that tickles my fancy this time is Orcs Must Die! Developed by  Robot Entertainment, is an indie game involving tower defence mechanics. It launched around a similar time as the acclaimed Dungeon Defenders, which often lead to people to debate the two as to who is better. The general consensus? Orcs Must Die is usually regarded as a better tower defence game – at least for the single player campaign. Unfortunately, Orcs Must Die lacks multiplayer, but at a 75% discount, I heavily recommend this title. You can find a review here.

Borderlands Game of the Year Edition for Bargain Exchange on Steam Summer Sale

A frequent occupier of daily deals, Borderlands Game of the Year Edition is also heavily discounted at 75% off. Developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K games, Borderlands is an AAA first-person shooter title that combines elements from the role-playing game genre. It looks spectacular with its use of cel shading, has a fantastic four player co-op experience, and is an all round good game. Unfortunately, the bland environment can lead to the game progressively getting tedious – especially in the single player campaign. I’ll suggest this to anyone who has friends who they can play this with, as it’s still great fun to play. And remember, if you do pick it up: make sure to grab the Game of the Year Edition. You may find a review here

Frozen Synapse for Bargain Exchange on Steam Summer Sale

Frozen Synapse is a game that many should have by this stage as a result of the Humble Bundle. For those who missed it, Frozen Synapse is a turn based strategy game developed by indie studio Mode 7. The title is on sale at a whopping 80% discount, making it incredibly cheap and an amazing bargain. The game also has a demo available for download through the Steam client, so it’s always cool to try it before you buy it. You can find a review of this award winning title here

Two Worlds II for Bargain Exchange on Steam Summer Sale.

Next up we have Two Worlds II, a role-playing game developed by Reality Pump Studios and published by Zuxxez Entertainment, is the sequel to the notorious Two Worlds – a game made famous for being terrible. Two Worlds II is a vast improvement, but still features a myriad of problems. While this would normally result to the game just being ignored and not even getting a mention here, Two Worlds II still does some neat stuff. It’s no Elder Scrolls, but it’s worth taking a look. I can’t help but feel the need to suggest that you look at it, but I’m not so confident as to just outright recommend it completely. It certainly helps that it’s discounted at 75% off. You may find a review for it here.

Dead Island for Bargain Exchange on Steam Summer Sale.

Also relatively notorious for being broken, we have Dead Island on sale at 66% off. While being pretty disappointing, especially at launch, Dead Island is an interesting action game with the same ever-so-popular role-playing game elements that seem to make their way into a vast number of games lately. Furthermore, it also followed the standard theme at the time – it was filled with zombies. To its defence, it has a good four player co-op experience and is handled fairly well minus a few hiccups. I suggest checking it out. You can find a review here

Lastly, we have Tropico 4. While being a pretty poor sequel, being that it doesn’t really add too much more, the game is certainly worth picking up should you not own the third title. Tropico 4 is a strategy and simulation game where the player may build and develop their city and land. It features social networking integration, a reasonably good campaign, and a number of natural disasters. It’s certainly a fun game, and well worth the 75% discount. Tropico 4 is a game that I recommend. Take a look at a review here.

And that’s pretty much it. Skyrim could have been reduced more (a comment that’ll probably upset a number of people), Dirt Showdown isn’t really worth much of a mention as far as I’m concerned, and the Indie Bundle this time was good, but nothing we’ve seen before. If you don’t often buy indie bundles, pick it up. Otherwise: I’d avoid the remaining three items. 

Bargain Exchange: Steam Summer Sale Day 2

Steam Logo for Steam Summer Sale Bargain Exchange feature.

Where’s my next Steam Summer Sale post? It’s nearly day three and I’ve still to get Gaming Advance’s sale guide! What can I do?! Well, have no fear, for Today’s Deals continue on until mid-day tomorrow. The reason for the delay in this post is, frankly, my lack of enthusiasm for the titles on sale today. Let’s take a look.

Sonic Generations Header from Steam for Bargain Exchange

To start us off, Sonic Generations by SEGA is on sale at a -66% discount. Considering the PC version (and superior version might I add) was cheaper, this is a pretty good discount. In all honesty, this is probably my most favourite Sonic game for the past two decades. Considering his reputation, that wouldn’t be too hard, but Sonic Generations was an absolutely fantastic and fun title that even manages to resolve the issues many had with 3D Sonic. This is one that I recommend. You can view Totalbiscuit’s WTF is Sonic Generations here.

Binding of Isaac logo for Bargain Exchange on Steam Summer Sale

Next up, we have The Binding of Isaac. Whilst being a relatively creepy game – maybe the creepiest since I started gaming – with extremely dark religious themes, The Binding of Isaac is a great Adventure game of similar style to the original Legend of Zelda game.  It’s already incredibly cheap, and so the -75% discount makes this worth picking up even just to give the game a try. I will add, however, that the game may be too much for some people. A review can be found here. This is another title that I recommend.

Payday the Heist Logo for Bargain Exchange on Gaming Advance

Gaming fans of the co-op experience may want to pick up Payday The Heist, developed by OVERKILL software, with its 75% discount. Players group together to rob from a bank and escape. The whole experience is said to be similar to Left4Dead. Whilst I don’t have the game, I do hear a lot of great things about it. If that type of experience interests you, it’s a title that I recommend. You can find a review here.

SpaceMarine logo for Steam Summer Sale on Bargain Exchange feature

Coming to the end of the best of the offers, Warhammer 40k: SpaceMarine is heavily discounted at 75% off.  The game itself is fairly competent, albeit extremely linear. The combat works out pretty well, as does the melee; however fans of the lore may find the occasional problem. I did enjoy this game, but I find it hard to go back and finish it. That being said, at the price it’s going for I would say that it is worth picking up. It does a good job at making you feel strong and invincible, and it can be a blast. You can find the WTF is SpaceMarine here. I suggest this title, should you enjoy third person shooters.

Lastly, we have Tribes: Ascend. I know, I know. Tribes: Ascend by Hi-Rez Studios is a freemium game, meaning that it’s a free PC download. The developers are funded solely by micro-transactions. The starter pack is available for a 75% discount and delivers bonuses that I heavily recommend anyone adopting the game to purchase. It’s always nice to tip the developers, as well. Tribes: Ascend is an absolutely brilliant first-person shooter that is widely regarded as the best PC FPS game currently on the market. It’s the best game on offer today. If you’re a PC gamer (and I’d assume you are if you are reading this), you must have Tribes: Ascend. It takes FPS gaming on the PC to a new level. You can find a review here.

As for what remains, most of them are good titles. I do suggest that you wait for another sale to pick them up, as they are not discounted enough to be worthwhile picking up in a Steam sale.You’ll undoubtedly see them even more heavily discounted in six months time during the winter sale. If you haven’t picked them up by now, then there’s no harm in waiting that little bit longer, is there?

Bargain Exchange: Steam Summer Sale Day 1

Steam Logo for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

The Steam Summer Sale needs little introduction. Every year, for the past three, Steam have delivered some incredible sales. The format is relatively simple. A massive selection from their enormous catalogue will be reduced in price, with a smaller selection of nine titles reduced even more as ‘Today’s Deals’. This year sees an addition to this daily deal – the Flash Sales.

The Flash Sales collect an even smaller number of titles than anything in Today’s Deals. Furthermore, these titles are also on sale for a shorter period of time than the Daily Deals. This means that users will have to check even more regularly for new sales. This covers even more ground than the previous sales. I won’t be looking at Flash Sales, as they get outdated far too fast; however, each day I will be writing a brief article for each daily deal which will explain the titles on sale and link the reader to a review or first impression of that title – should there be one available.

Total War Shogun 2 Header on Steam for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

Today’s Deals include Total War SHOGUN 2, published by SEGA and developed by The Creative Assembly; Shogun 2 is the latest in the popular Total War franchise comprised of very high quality Real-Time Strategy games. The title itself is 75% off, but you can get the game and both expansion packs in a collection at 67% off the already discounted price. Shogun 2 is a game I absolutely adore. It’s beautiful, it’s very well crafted, and it has tons to do. It’s well worth the price. I heavily suggest getting this game.

Terraria Header on Steam for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

Next on my most noticeable list is Terraria, a side scrolling platformer with treasure hunting and building game developed by indie developer Re-Logic. A personal favourite, Terraria is selling at a 75% discount leading me to state that if you haven’t already purchased this game then do so now. In the UK, the discounted price is a measly £1.50. It’s dirt cheap, and well worth it. I managed to rack a good eighty hours in the game.

Portal 2 Header on Steam for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

Not to be ignored, both Valve-developed Portal titles are on offer for 75% off. A game with little need for introduction amongst gamers, Portal has spawned countless memes and took the gaming world by storm. Both Portals are physics-based puzzle games which involve the player placing portals to reach the exit for each test. The game is fantastic, even for those not usually interested in puzzle games. That being said, it still shares the same frustrations as well. We actually have our own Portal 2 review.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Header on Steam for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

Probably the most popular video game title to be released, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 is on sale for 50% off. Developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision, Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t fail to live up to expectations. The expectations that it’s the same game as the previous lot. If you enjoyed it, you’ve probably already picked it up. If you haven’t gotten the game yet, I would avoid picking it up for now. A 50% discount is good, but it’s relatively poor in a Steam sale. Bide your time more. It will get cheaper yet.

Crusader Kings II Header on Steam for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

We also have Crusader Kings II by Paradox Interactive. Whilst a game I have yet to pick up and will not pick up this time, my excuse is that I have a heavily limited budget for the sale this year. It’s a strategy game that is meant to be incredibly good, but of course this information is second hand.

Legend of Grimrock Header on Steam for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

The last noticeable thing, as far as I’m concerned, is Almost Human Games’ title: The Legend of Grimrock. Grimrock sees a return to the old-school approach to the first-person Role-Playing Game genre. I’ve just picked the title up, so I can’t really comment on how well it plays but it’s praised as an absolutely fantastic and brilliant game. If you have any interest in the RPG genre, this game is one you should pick up, apparently. That was enough for me. 

Might and Magic Heroes VI Header on Steam for Bargain Exchange of Steam Summer Sale on Gaming Advance

That’s really it for any mentions I feel compelled to make. Ridge Racer Unbounded looks like it could be fun, but severely lacks content and I still feel it’s unlikely to be worth the 50% discount. Might and Magic Heroes VI is also widely considered a disappointing title and so I’ve been given the word to avoid it. I intend to share this advice with you guys. Avoid it.

The final title in Today’s Deals happens to be an indie bundle. The only title included in the bundle that I would absolutely recommend would be Cave Story+. Still, in the UK the bundle goes for £7 and includes five games. I’d still reckon that’s worth picking up if you enjoy indie games. There’s not really any real excuse there.

Conference Round-up: Sony

Sony Logo for E3 Conference Round Up on Gaming Advance

The Sony conference was a mixed bag. Whilst it was certainly a poor conference, it did have far more meaningful titles and news to show off than the majority of previous conferences. To sum it up: Sony actually showed off some neat gameplay demos for almost everything they were presenting, with the exception of the only true unveiling.

As a publisher of whom is often capable of announcing exclusive new IP’s or, at the very least, sequels to recent exclusive IP’s, their conference can’t help but make me feel disappointed at the outcome. The only real unveiling was Beyond: Two Souls, which was a cinematic trailer and revealed nothing in regards to gameplay at all. Whilst this is undoubtedly going to be another quick-time event based game much like Heavy Rain, it still tells me nothing worth getting excited over. The only impressive aspect shown off was the graphics, which is honestly at a level I expected after Quantic Dream’s recent CGI movie. One can argue that it’s impressive because it’s gameplay, but considering that the entire game could very easily be pre-rendered, that’s just not an incredible feat. The sad part was that this was still one of the highlights of the show for me.

Sony seemed to have focused on a shorter presentation. I actually wish they didn’t. I don’t mind their long presentations because they normally have stuff to show off, but they literally omitted some of their most vital components that was expected from the conference. The Vita had nothing to show, and it sorely needs the support right now. Yes, Tretton announced after the presentation that the Vita would have sixty titles, but that wasn’t actually during their presentation. Instead, they spent fifteen minutes on Wonderbook.

Wonderbook is a title that, whilst I have no issues with children getting games with this as I actually feel this was a good thing, it just felt like it should have been shown off at a toy convention or something. At the very least, fifteen minutes on Wonderbook was a minimum of ten minutes wasted; although some would argue that it wasted all fifteen minutes.

The best thing that came from the conference, without a doubt, is from the demo of The Last of Us – an exclusive and brand new IP for the PlayStation platform. The Last of Us looks different, and sounds different. And for those complaining, it doesn’t look that scripted at all. It reminds me of Uncharted 3 in how it handles all the contextual fighting and the like. It also looks like it’s the first survival game done right in quite some time, although I may be forgetting something with that statement.

Overall, Sony delivered barely enough to make the presentation worth witnessing. Next time Sony, remember to show off your support for your brand new system. I’d hate to see the PlayStation 4 announced with no titles. It’s a pattern you need to give up some day.

Bargain Exchange: Indie Gala 6

Indie Gala Logo for Bargain Exchange Feature on Gaming Advance

This is slightly old news, but I thought it was worth addressing all the same. Especially when we have six days remaining. That’s more than enough time to take advantage of this bundle. Yup, that’s right! Bargain Exchange is back so soon, and round two brings you the sixth Indie Gala bundle.

The Indie Gala is a bundle where you may pay however much you want from a minimum of one dollar. Those who choose to pay more than the average also get bonus titles, which serves to encourage higher donations. And yes, I said donations. The money that you purchase the bundle with supports charity. Of course, it will also serve as to support the developer and you can even give a tip towards the indie gala organisers. The entire system is pretty identical to the Humble Bundle.

The sixth bundle comes complete with Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty, and The Void. Paying more than the average can also bag you Commandos 2: Men of Courage, Commandos 3: Destination Berlin, Cargo! The Quest for Gravity, Air Conflicts: Secret Wars, Ion Assault and Trauma – all of which are available on Steam.

All of the Commandos titles, all of which are developed by Pyro Studios, are real-time strategy games set during the second world war with a pretty damn good aesthetic. The Void, developed by Ice-Pick Lodge, is a first person adventure game that comes across very ‘arty’. You’re lingering in the void, the realm before death, where the most important but exhausted resource is colour. Speaking of colour, that brings me to Ion Assault.

Ion Assault is by Coreplay GmbH an incredibly colourful and seizure-inducing shooter that’s very arcade-esque and has a similar flashy style to it as Beat Hazard. It’s flashy and crazy, and it definitely looks very fun.

In keeping with the world war theme that half of the bundle comprises of, Air Conflicts by Games Farm is a flight simulator where the player must survive a number of scenarios whilst fighting a variety of enemy units – which includes infantry, tanks, ships, trains, you name it. It does look pretty fantastic.

Cargo is another title developed by Ice-pick Lodge, and it’s completely different in tone to the relatively dark ‘The Void’. The game revolves around a creepy looking race named ‘Buddies’ who just want to have fun. There’s a pretty interesting crafting component to the game, according to the trailer, in which you can create crafts to fly in and so on.

Last, but not least, is Trauma, developed by Krystian Majewski. Trauma is an adventure title that uses photographic visuals, where you experience the dreams of a recovering survivor of a car accident where she subconsciously deals with the tragedy and her trauma.

So there we have it, Indie Gala VI. It looks like a mighty fine bundle. Currently, the minimum price to receive all the titles lands on $6.24. I’d say that’s a perfectly reasonable price for all that it offers. I will admit this, though. I wasn’t really that interested in the bundle until I really took a look at what was available. The games all look pretty fun, and each have something that interests me. And let’s also remember that this is for charity too. I definitely support this bundle.

Indie Gala – Indie Gala VI

Bargain Exchange: Summer Bundle

Indie Royale Logo for Bargain Exchange feature on Gaming Advance Website

I’m starting up a new (currently irregular) feature today – The Bargain Exchange! Here we will be looking at any fantastic offers or bundles going on the internet, and what better way to start this feature than with the latest Indie Royale Bundle. We’re going to be taking a brief look at the Summer Bundle currently available for purchase over at the Indie Royale website.

The Indie Royale is a webpage put together by the founders of Desura, a digital distribution client for gamers similar to Steam, and is the location of a number of great bundles which feature heavily discounted indie video games. This is their seventeenth bundle release and also happens to be their biggest yet as it currently sports nine titles.

The first title is the real-time strategy game published by Oxeye Game Studio, named Harvest: Massive Encounter. Coming second place in the Swedish Game Awards in 2007, the title involves the player attempting to harvest materials from the planet while fending off an alien attack. This game will be available for Desura, Steam and will also be downloadable completely DRM free. It may also be played on Windows, Mac and Linux, so it’s certainly portable!

Our second title is The Journey Down: Chapter One, is an episodic adventure game developed by Skygoblin, available for Linux, Mac and Windows via DRM free download or Desura. Bwana and Kito are falling behind on bills as they work at a run-down gas station before they find themselves hunting a lost journal that leads to the sercret Underland. The other chapters have yet to be released.

Serious Sam 2 is the third title and should need little introduction, but for those unaware of it – Serious Sam 2 is a fantastic arcade-esque first person shooter developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital. Unfortunately, it lacks the portability of the previous two titles being that it remains available only on Steam for Windows, but it’s absolutely worth getting.

Next on our list are the three Gundemonium Collection titles developed by Rockin’ Android and featuring particularly fantastic soundtracks and crazy side-scrolling bullet hell styled gameplay. The games are all available for Steam, Desura and DRM free download, exclusively for Windows. Set in an alternative history during the 18th century, humanity is at war with hell as a result of experimentation with Alchemy. Each game has it’s own quirks, and serves to continue the storyline but deliver an alternative experience to your chaotic shooting.

Acceleration of Suguri X-Edition is another computer game that anime fans will appreciate the graphical style of. Suguri X-Edition is a curious blend of both bullet hell shooters and fighting games, also developed by Rockin’ Android and is available on Windows for Desura, Steam and is also available for a DRM free download.

Dino Run SE is the Special Edition of the platformer and flash game, ‘Dino Run’, developed by pixeljam. The game involves the player assuming the role of a dinosaur as you must outrun your death in a game that looks like it’s from the Atari age for that retro feeling. This title is available on the Windows, Mac and Linux platforms for Desura or DRM free download.

Lastly, we have the action-strategy game Airmech by Carbon Games, featuring transformable robots. Although the game is free-to-play for Chrome, this title serves as a bonus in the Summer Bundle. Anyone who purchases the Summer Bundle will get the beta key for this game on Steam. It is also available for download and through Desura.

So there we have it, the Summer Bundle. There are certainly a number of gems in there, but be quick! The earlier you purchase the bundle, the cheaper it will be. Of course, if you’re lucky, maybe someone will pay a large sum resulting in the price dropping.

Indie Royale - Summer Bundle

E3 Conference Roundup: Ubisoft

Ubisoft Logo for E3 Conference

Notorious for their DRM and punishing consumers to combat piracy, the infamous Ubisoft actually had the most surprising conference out of the bunch. Bundled with their expected display of Assassin’s Creed III, and Far Cry 3. They also gave us a splendid display of Rayman Legends, which I’ll be undoubtedly touting as the next coming of Christ.

What initially surprised me was how much support Ubisoft were giving Nintendo’s Wii U, but given that it’s a new platform that will need support then it makes perfect sense. It’s always good to see a publisher support a brand new system. Some people seem to find issues with that, but I don’t understand why. Should they just ignore the new system or just port their older games onto it? I’d rather see them try to make use of the system’s features early in the console’s cycle.  It needs support to be worth buying.

The big unveiling came at the end with the surprise announcement of Watch_Dogs. The game looks intriguing, and has potential to be absolutely fantastic. Even just walking down the streets at the start of the gameplay demonstration, it was obvious that something was different. Of course, at the same time, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with Rockstar’s RAGE Engine. The way the animations worked, the way the city and UI looked, the way the cover and shooting looked. It all reminded me of Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto IV and LA Noire at the same time. But despite all that, it looked like it was doing something relatively unique. At the very least, you could be a far better assassin than you were in Assassin’s Creed.

Ubisoft made significant guest appearances at everyone else’s conference, with the exception of EA. They showed off the most surprising and interesting title. And, putting aside their awful hosts, they also focused the most on video games. They were the best at E3.