Steam Winter Sale 2020 Haul

So, last year (wink wink nudge nudge) I posted about the games that I was eyeing this sale. There were a bunch of great deals in there but I decided to not go for certain sales.

For starters, I was quite excited about Humankind… but I’m hesitant now about pre-ordering it. I doubt that the 10% discount is all that worth it for a game that I haven’t seen much from yet. I think I’ll rather wait for it to come out, maybe get a few patches, and eventually, I’ll get into it. Until then, I’ve got plenty of time to get through other titles by Amplitude like the up-coming Endless Dungeon or the Endless Space games I own… or Endless Legends (which I actually enjoyed so far). 

Fe and Sundered were both available for four euros but I wanted to decide for just one of them. I wasn’t too sure on Fe as, while it looked interesting, I’m not too sure how it feels and plays. Alas, I decided to go for Sundered instead as it’s a roguevania and I’m sure I’ll like it.

On top of purchasing Sunset Overdrive, I also got Yakuza 0 to play it before the other Yakuza games that I own. Yakuza 0 was available for about five bucks, so I felt quite good about that purchase, especially as it looked like a ton of fun from what I’ve seen so far. I’m looking forward to getting into Sunset Overdrive eventually, although there are a bunch of other games lined up before it. 

Moons of Madness was 50% off but as Jeromai pointed out there was a bundle available on Humble Bundle that included Moons of Madness and a bunch of other games at the same price. Alas, I decided to go for that instead as it featured Deep Sky Derelicts, Tacoma, Still There, and Moons of Madness. All of these are nice additions to my library and my ever-increasing backlog. There are also a bunch of keys in there for games I’m not interested that I may give to friends that like games like that. On top of that, there was a key for Breathedge in there but as I already own that game, I’ll have to give it away, too. Incredible game, btw. 

Instead of buying Ni No Kuni, I ended up going for Doom Eternal. In hindsight, this was a great choice as I’m enjoying Doom Eternal quite a bit right now. I also bought Doom 2016 as it was available rather cheaply and as I’ve been told that some like that title more than Eternal… so I’m looking forward to trying that out after playing through Doom Eternal! 

If I don’t count the Bundle that I got, I spend 40€ on games this sale. I spent 13€ on the bundle (I added a bit extra because of the charity stuff there and the value that I got out of it), so that adds up to a total of 53€. The games that I got on steam alone were worth about 140€ with Doom Eternal being the priciest at 60€. The games in the bundle that I registered to my account were worth 74.50€, resulting in a total of 214.5€ worth of games acquired this sale for a price of 53€, so basically 75% off.

Honestly, I’m glad that I got some of these games but I want to make an effort to play through more of my titles. Right now, I’m getting back into Ratropolis and Hades again but also playing a fair bit of Doom Eternal and Minecraft. Next week, I’ll start my playthrough of Bioshock 2 on Twitch. After I’m through with either Doom Eternal or Bioshock 2, I’d like to play Sunset Overdrive and potentially the first Yakuza game. After that, I’ll have to try out other games and see where things will lead me. Streaming and blogging are helping me chunk away at that big backlog of mine, slowly but steadily. Alas, I hope that I get to go through some of those in this year.

What did you guys buy? Is there a purchase you decided against? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Others on the topic:

Naithin
Krikket

Indietail – Hades

I’ve always been a sucker for mythology. From Norse to Egyptian to Greek mythology, I’d take everything in and read up on all sorts of articles and myths and thoughts. I honestly loved it to bits. In the same manner, I love it when games incorporate mythology into their lore and build a universe around it that brings life to these old legends and stories. A game that does that really well is Hades!

Developer: Supergiant Games
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Genres: Action, Roguelite, RPG, Indie
Release Date: December 6th, 2018 (Early Access) - Left Early Access on September 17th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased.

Dive into the underworld where the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, Hades, is reigning with an iron fist and where his son, Zagreus, is trying to escape hell. Meet a bunch of different characters, interact with them, romance some of them, gift nectar and ambrosia to your favourite people and the Gods of the Olymp themselves, and experience the story of Hades, one run at a time. Hades is an Action-Roguelite by Supergiant Games and in this review, I’ll tell ya why it’s such a great game!

Well, in this game, we play as Zagreus, who very much has a reason to leave Hell and to be angry at his father, which I won’t get into. Zagreus uses one of six different weapons in each of his escape attempts powered by Boons of the Gods of the Olymp. These weapons were used to slay the titans and are, alas, strong on their own already but as you progress further into the depths of Hell, you have to face stronger foes and more challenges, which is why the Gods help you. A variety of gods are there to assist you in your dangerous endeavour, most likely since they’re bored. From your uncles, Zeus and Poseidon, to your grandmother, Demeter, there are a plethora of interesting characters ready to provide you with their assist.

Your weapon tends to have a normal attack and a special attack which both are quite unique. Each weapon has four different aspects that each play differently and make use of different mechanics. On top of that, some weapons (like the shield) have other move sets that make use of holding buttons down or timing attacks properly. On top of that, you have dashes and the ability to perform dash strikes.

The various boons you encounter offer bonus effects to your character, making you stronger or more sturdy, or they change how your weapons work. Demeter is the goddess of the seasons, fertility, and death. Her boons help you afflict enemies with the “Chill” status effect, making them slower or dealing damage at certain conditions. Aphrodite helps you weaken enemies while Ares, Zeus and Artemis are all about that damage. There are a plethora of status boons, passive boons, and raw damage boons in the game and they all synergies quite well with each other, to the point where there’s also duo boons that combine the boons of two gods into one stronger perk. If you have high DPS, you may consider stacking Dionysus’ “hangover” status effect on enemies, while you may consider going for raw damage with Ares if your weapon is slower.

These boons can be acquired by getting through rooms. Gods tend to give you a selection of three boons and you don’t know what you’ll get beforehand. Rooms also can feature other rewards such as Gold to purchase boons and other items in the shop, gems and darkness to use after the run has ended, maximum health, hammers or other rewards. Each run can feature up to two Daedalus Hammer boons which basically change how your weapon is working, making each build stand out even more.

What I love about Hades is that a lot of it feels rather intuitive. You see enemies, you strike them. You see boons, so you go for ones that sound nice. You don’t really have too many “noob traps” in the game and generally, you can progress quite well, especially once you invest your Darkness into that mirror of yours – aka permanent character progression that helps you get stronger after your runs.

But apart from combat being very fast-paced and fun to play with and apart from the plethora of possible builds with each of the four aspects of the six weapons available to you, the game also has another component: The Story.

The Story of Hades evolves whenever you talk to characters. From Achilles to Nyx to Thanatos (I love him), there are a plethora of characters ready to assist you by guiding you or helping you out with trinkets. By giving nectar to the different characters in the game, you receive trinkets that grant you benefits in the run. On top of that, each of the characters in the game has a ton of voice lines and a quest of sorts where you try to help them get through some of their problems which ends up benefitting you as well. Simply speak to characters after your run whenever you see an exclamation mark on their heads and enjoy the fully-voiced and witty lines that both refer to mythology but also have a lot of character. Each of the figures that you encounter has its own problems, traits and personality, which is awesome as it brings life to the mythology that people often refer to as “boring”.

And the game isn’t over yet once you’ve completed a run successfully and escaped Hell as there are various things to do like renovating hell, helping the characters out, fulfilling prophecies, fishing, achievements, and completing the runs with higher difficulties that you can assign yourself to the run. Once you manage to leave Hell once, Hades puts up a pact of punishment onto the gate, resulting in you being able to complete runs again with rising heat levels and more challenges such as more challenging bosses and special enemies. But if you’re actually struggling with beating runs, I can also recommend activating God Mode with grants you a 2% damage reduction bonus whenever you die. You start at 20% already which is A LOT but you can gain up to 80% damage reduction to help you experience the story without getting frustrated with the runs.

And I haven’t even gotten into the amazing art style or the fantastic soundtrack or the wonderful voice acting. I haven’t even gotten into the romance options and the further challenges as well as all of the different secrets in the game and the different areas that each have their mini-bosses and mechanics and traps. There is a ton to talk about in Hades and while I once thought that it was a bit “grindy” at times when it comes to gems, that thought simply vanished after unlocking a few of the house contractor projects. So, I don’t have anything bad to say about Hades and I can understand why it was nominated as Game of the Year, among other titles, and why it won “Best Indie” and “Best Action”. I really can understand that as I haven’t seen a game as polished and as wonderfully crafted as this one in ages.

And more updates are coming out here and there, as well, adding a ton of things, which shows the love and care that Supergiant Games puts into their titles, to the point where I had to rewrite this review about nine times so far. I hope that you enjoyed reading about this game and that you’re checking it out yourself eventually.

For me personally, Hades might very much be my Game of the Year 2020.

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Is another review needed?

Some games out there are real gems but will never get any attention. And that’s sad, so I started reviewing games on this blog and recommending underrated games to friends and eventually, this became a big part of my life. It’s a hobby that I’ve been doing for more than a year now and it’s always fun to find gems and recommend stuff and write down my thoughts about all of these things. Lovely!

Meanwhile, other gems out there are well-known and have their own dedicated communities. People know titles like Slay the Spire, The Binding of Isaac, Stardew Valley, etc. already. Do they need more reviews or should I even write about titles like that?

Note: Since I forgot to take any screenshots for most of the games I’m mentioning in this post apart from Hades, I’ll only use screenshots from Hades. I’ll keep it spoiler-free, though, so no worries about that.

That’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot for the past couple of months. I’ve got countless posts sitting in the drafts about titles that I wanted to review and that I wanted to talk about. Just when I was about to get ready for the finishing touches, I ended up hesitating: Do I add something to the world by just saying what is already known? There are too many reviews for me to add any new thoughts to the same topic, after all, right? 

And that’s where my opinion changed recently: The fact that it’s a review by me should be enough to make my review different from other reviews.

The Steam Curator “Can you pet the dog?” would now say “yes, you can pet the dog”, I guess.

Even though everyone has probably said everything about every popular game out there, I can’t be 100% sure about that without having read all of the reviews out there. Obviously, that’s not possible. I can’t read every review out there and honestly, I don’t want to. In the first place, I don’t read reviews on games that I’m reviewing until after I’ve posted them as I don’t want to get influenced by other people’s opinions on the matter. I feel like that’s quite important, especially as I don’t want to accidentally or subconsciously write something similar or maybe even the same sentences as someone else has. 

Alas, I kind of changed my opinion on the matter. Of course, countless people probably know about Graveyard Keeper, Monster Train, Celeste, and the like, but I think that my opinion should matter as well. Maybe I actually do have something to add to the giant pool of reviews out there. Maybe I actually do have a different point as to why a game should or should not be bought. 

Every opinion matters, after all, and alas, every review is important. There probably is someone out there that hasn’t played Celeste yet or that has been hesitating to play it because they don’t like Platformers… and only recently, I played it for the very first time and enjoyed it a lot! It made me feel good about myself as a person that plays games as I was dashing through the air in levels that other people thought were really difficult. Meanwhile, Celeste was thought-provoking and challenging in other rooms when people said that it was an easy level while I was struggling to figure out what the intended way was and whether or not my way was doable, at all. There are countless reviews on Celeste out there but I’m not sure if any platformer-haters out there have taken a look at the game only to say that it’s actually great as an introduction to platformers. I don’t know if people that hate the genre would pick it up. Alas, my opinion as someone like that, as someone who hates and sucks at platformers, matters! My opinion matters and in that instance I probably have something meaningful to add to the ocean of reviews.

Well, who would have thought that there’s lava in hell, eh? What a surprise… /s – no spoiler. 😛

Or take Hades, for instance, the game that got updated so much during Early Access that I ended up having to rewrite my review a total of nine (!) times because things that I didn’t like got changed or updated and suddenly with new implementations old weapons and boons actually were incredibly strong or powerful. I suddenly enjoyed those, so I rewrote a few paragraphs, only to realise that it all didn’t work out too well, as my style changed in that time. When I was done with rewriting it for the ninth time, it has already been released with its version 1.0 and everyone hopped onto the hype train, resulting in me feeling like my review wasn’t needed. Again, that mindset is bad. 

I can praise and love Hades as much as I want to and I’ll do so eventually. I’ll be able to add a lot to the discussion as I’m a mythology-crack and as I love Transistor and Bastion. I probably have other takes on the game that other reviewers may not have had.

Alas, since I have had different interests in my life and since I’ve been enjoying different games, movies, books, poems, shows, and other media, my reviews may already have a different take on things. Just because I am obsessed with mythology, I may already have different bits and pieces of information to add to the discussion. Just because I’m into Drama and plays and stuff, I may already be able to connect lore pieces together or laugh about something that other people may not get. 

No turning back now.

I’m not saying that I’m better at reviewing games than other people or that my reviews are better or worse. I’m just saying that every review is unique and that every reviewer has different tastes, interests and takes on the same topic, making them unique and special and alas, their opinions are important. 

What does this mean for me and my blog? Well, I’ll revisit all of those drafts and try to publish some of my older posts throughout the year and rework them to fit my current style and you’ll probably see some newer games in there as well as some more popular ones. There will be the odd one here and there with a very underrated and unknown game and I’ll just hope that it’ll get more attention. 

I hope you liked my take on the matter. I feel as every take on a topic is important even if some if not all points are the same. As long as it’s written independantly it should be allowed to exist. As long as it’s a different person writing it, it already should be able to provide some new thoughts and opinions on it. And well, obviously, the people that read my blog posts are not the same that read Frosti‘s or Krikket‘s, right? 

Alas, I hope you enjoyed this post and the next few on other stuff. Have a nice day and stay awesome!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

2020 hasn’t been that bad EA-wise

2020 wasn’t that bad when it comes to indie titles that left EA. While the world is going to shits, the gaming industry pumped out a fair few titles. Hence I thought I should maybe write a piece about a few of the games that reached their 1.0 his year and that I really enjoyed playing for th past couple of months.

For starters, Hades just recently got out of Early Access and its 1.0 launched, introducing an actual ending, new music, artwork, late-game unlockables, a new aspect for the twin fists and a lot of other stuff. Honestly, the last time I played Hades was in March after some update but I forgot which one it was and there have been a few bigger updates between then already. Hence, I’ve got to visit Hades again to leave Hell for good… again. Especially since achievements seem to only now have been introduced, I can’t wait to unlock more stuff. The new weapons seem really cool and the addition of Hermes and Nyx seem quite interesting, although my sources are just hearsay at this point. I just updated it and I have yet to play it, though I may do that some time this week.

Hades is one of those titles that seemingly did everything well. It’s a fun and fast-paced action-rogue-lite with nice progression, some interesting customizable parts and items that you can change each run and on top of that it’s depicting mythology more or less accurately which I really adore. The characters in the game are fun, each with their own stories and quirks and perks. The music is just awesome… but personally, I don’t like the aspect of traversing the same “biomes” over and over again, so that’s something that I don’t like about Hades, although I know that it’s hard to change that since we’re in Hell, after all, right? The switching bosses, though, with their own lines and everything are really nice and the favour system? A ton of fun to play around!

Just a while ago, on August 4th, Littlewood also got out of Early Access, adding a whole bunch of new events, new characters, new special moments, and other features and I’m quite glad about that. I started playing Littlewood not too long after it got released into Early Access and I was done with all the content after a few hours, so I decided to wait for more updates… and then August came and I spend an awful long time in this game.

The problem I have with Littlewood is that time moves a lot faster outside than inside. Just like with Stardew Valley, I ended up binging it a whole bunch for a while before eventually just not bothering with it anymore since I didn’t have the time for it just yet. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy Littlewood and Stardew Valley to bits… but then RL stops by and you just never really feel like playing it again until you start it up, binge it for six hours, and then close it again for another few days to weeks. Oh well.

And at last, my favourite title to leave EA this year is probably Risk of Rain 2, whose 1.0 dropped on August 11th, 2020. The 1.0 added a whole new boss enemy, some new mechanics, a new survivor, and an actual ending, which I find really nice. For the past couple of days, I’ve been playing a lot of RoR2, especially as I’ve discovered a few neat builds that I do enjoy playing a bunch and especially as I unlocked some more character perks and the latest survivor, the Captain!

I’m looking forward to the updates are to come in the future, but overall, RoR2 did really develop quite nicely, from a game where the teleporter was hard to find in the swamp area and where some bosses would just oneshot you (rip magma worm) and where fire was super op… to a game where can still get oneshot (ugh, void reavers) but it got balanced quite a bit and it’s essentially a ton of fun. Right now, I’m trying to unlock all of the artifacts on top of some of the items that I’m missing… and then I’ll attempt to get some Monsoon runs going before eventually heading into the new alternative mode: Eclipse!

Either way, that’s it for today’s post. I probably forgot some other titles that came out of EA this year but these few were quite memmorable and I did look forward to their release. An honourable mention would be Factorio but I didn’t play that game at all, yet, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get into it at all… and then there’s also Terraria 1.4, although that one wouldn’t fit the theme, would it? I mean, it’s not a 1.0 but it was as hyped up as an actual new release.

Cheers!

Blaugust Prompt #8 – My favourite Protagonists?

Today’s post starts a bit different from usual… first of all, the title is all weird, isn’t it? It is in the Stray Sheep category but… I’m dropping the numbers and all of that. If it’s in the Stray Sheep category, it shouldn’t need the “Stray Sheep” name in the title… followed by a number, like an issue or whatever… and it then is followed by a title, subtitle, and whatever… it just gets a bit messy and not that clean, so I thought I’d get rid of it. I may include the “number” or the “issue” somewhere as a note for anyone that wants to keep up.

Note: This post would be TSS#73. 

That being said, today’s prompt was (again, we’re in the future!) handled by Tessa over at Princess In The Castle! Check their original post out! The prompt’s “Tell us about some of your favourite protagonist/s and explain why!”

Favourite protagonists… that’s a tough nut. I personally am a huge fan of games where you create your own character and play them the way you want to… Thus, my favourite protagonist would probably be Lizz Winterfield also known as my Guild Wars 2 character with the noble background and uh… I honestly, don’t remember what backstory she had… she had the most human-sounding name ever though! Really liked that!

But while this sounds like a valid response, I doubt that it’s in line with the prompt to just take a character you created yourself. Instead, I’ll probably have to take a character that has an actual story and that actually changes over time and all of that. 

In that sense, Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn is quite cool so far, though I haven’t gotten to know her too much just yet… Aloy is strong and developed. She already has gone through a lot of things and the story hasn’t even picked up all that much so far. While her ultimate goal is to find out who her mother was and what is going on in the world, she seems to make connections and learn more about herself and change her priorities. Despite being brave, strong-willed and passionate, she never seems inconsiderate, impatient or any of that. She’s still kind, strategic and mindful – hence, an overall really balanced out character that slowly evolves over time and I’m looking forward to getting to know her even more over the next few hours of the game.

2B from NieR: Automata is insanely cute as has that small romance going on with 9S and I really like her character due to her changing over time. While strict and obedient at the beginning, over time she begins to question the orders she receives from above and starts to think for herself, which is not the most original, I guess, but it still made her quite applaudable. I liked 2B – on a platonic level of course. 9S also was quite funny and cool, though I haven’t played around with him too much. 

Athena and CL4P-TP/Claptrap from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, on the other hand, where just fun to play as. You’re this awesome and funny character that just always has a line ready for enemies that are about to die… or you’re playing as Athena, the strong, independent mercenary that Handsome Jack hired to overtake Hyperion! I don’t know. I loved the Pre-Sequel more than BL2 and can’t wait to play the third game. I really enjoyed Lilith in the first game but I feel like Athena and CL4P-TP… and even Timothy/The Doppelganger was more fun than Lilith. 

Athena’s such a powerhouse of a character, always fueling the story with fun, sarcastic remarks while bashing through the front lines with her shield and weapon in hand. She’s strong-willed and brave – qualities befitting a gladiator!

Claptrap on the other hand is just… claptrap. I love him to bits. People find him annoying, I do disagree… but it’d be bad of me to try to explain while exactly he’s so awesome. You either love him or you hate him. If you’ve played the series, you’re on either one of the sites.

Apart from that, I loved Zagreus in Hades, though Supergiant Games have really always been great with their protagonists. Zagreus, the son of Hades and Persephone, tries to escape hell in an attempt to find his mother and find out the truth about her, after having been lied to by his father for all of eternity… and he’s always witty and, yet, somehow quite childish and rebellious when it comes to his father. He has a kind heart but is strong despite all of that. He’s got different relationships with the different characters in the game and responds to them accordingly… but what I mostly love about him is the respect he has for the recently parted… just adorable!

And then there’s also plenty of other characters… but while you’re able to name all kinds of cool characters when you’re talking about them freely, you surely cannot do so when asked to. I’d be able to add more another time for sure (though I prolly won’t do that) but right now I just can’t think of any other cool characters, which is a bit of a bummer, honestly, since there are so many more cool characters!

Either way, that’s it for today’s post. I hope you enjoyed this one! Here’s Tessa’s post again for anyone who hasn’t read it, yet,… and the next blogger in line is Paeroka over at Nerdy Bookahs, so check them out over there! 

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!