This weekend, from June 7th – June 10th, 2012, Steam is having a sale on titles by Paradox. If you’re not sure who Paradox is, that’s alright, it took me a second as well to remember. They don’t have a gigantic selection in their stable of games, but two titles stick out that I highly recommend: Majesty and Magicka.
Magicka straight-up is one of the most fun action titles I have ever played. It combines an ever-present satirical humor with a “discover the best combinations on your own” dynamic gameplay. The premise is that you are a wizard from from a sacred order and have to use an elemental spellcasting system to stop a big bad evil. You have eight general schools of magic: Water, Fire, Lightning, Earth, Cold, Shield, Arcane, and Life that you combine to create devastating effects. Combine Arcane with Fire to create a burning laser beam, combine ice with earth to create a huge snowball, combine earth and shield to erect a wall of spikes surrounding you. The combinations are numerous. You also have to be a quick typist as you set up spells by typing them in with the Q,W,E,R,A,S,D, and F keys. Then on top of this, you get higher “magicks” that require a specific combination. Think you’re a fast typer? Here are a few spell combinations I wrote down for quick reference.
Thunderbolt: QFASA ; Tornado: DQFQQF ; Conflagrate: FQFFQFFQ ; Thunderstorm: QFQFASA ; Napalm: QFDWFF (Napalm is only available in the Magicka: Vietnam DLC, but it’s well worth it).
Now how do I get my rogues to stop stealing…
The other title I recommend Majesty is a fantasy, real-time strategy title with one gigantic caveat: you don’t have direct control of your units. Essentially, you build a castle, then you start building “guilds” around your castle. A warrior’s guild, a thieve’s guild, a ranger’s guild, etc. Through these guilds you hire heroes who will show up and then meander around your town. They’ll wander off on their own, find monsters to slay, and acquire gold. Well, now you have to give them something to do with this gold, so you build inns, blacksmith shops, marketplaces, and trading posts. Your heroes buy stuff and upgrade their equipment, then you collect taxes generated by the sales and put it back into your town’s infrastructure. You convince your heroes to explore and attack by placing reward flags. Want that dragon killed? Put a nice bounty on it’s head and your heroes will rush for the reward. You still have scenarios to accomplish and foes to fight off, but it adds a nice twist to the standard real-time strategy model.
Game well, my friends. Game well.
P.S. – If you are an MMO player like myself, another title recently introduced to Steam is the Lord of the Rings Online, and a Starter Pack. Although the game is accessed pretty much the same way as before, I like using Steam as a platform not only for easy screenshots, but also for the nice extras thrown your way for using Steam. The Starter Pack comes with a Noble Grey Steed, Northdowns, Evendim, and Misty Mountains quest packs, a token that gives an extra 25% experience on monster kills, and 1,000 Turbine Points on top of that. Right now, it’s still at its introductory price of $15, which isn’t a bad deal at all, especially if you’re a new or free player.
I’ll flat out say it: If you don’t pick up the HumbleBundle.com deal, you’re probably not even a gamer. Really, look at this list!
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Steam price: $19.99)
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP (Steam price $7.99)
LIMBO (Steam price $9.99)
Psychonauts (Steam price $9.99)
And if you pay more than the average…
Bastion (Steam price $14.99)
Do the math! That’s $62.95 worth of games.
Now, I can’t really speak for Amnesia, Superbrothers, or Bastion, but I have played Limbo and Psychonauts and I can guarantee that they are worth Whatever-price-you-want-to-pay-for-them! I don’t know if there is a minimum, but that means if you even donate $1, you get the top 4 games, but you shouldn’t only donate that as the money is going to good causes like Child’s Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you pay more than the average, which is currently at $7.49 as of this writing and climbing quick with every purchase made, you also get Bastion, too, which looks pretty sweet.
Psychonauts: From a little known studio called “Double Fine Productions”. Oh, wait! They’re known by everybody!
Well, what are you waiting for! Go donate!
I love a good Steam sale. No, really, my collection is rather ridiculous. It was during one of these sales that I saw and picked up The Baconing, an indie title from Hothead Games. With a title like that, how could I not? It wasn’t until after I started playing it that I realized it was the third of a trilogy, where the first two were made by the legendary Ron Gilbert, creator of the Monkey Island series, which I also highly suggest picking up. Even without his genius, The Baconing is still a fun as heck game, and I’m now waiting for the first and second of the trilogy to go on sale so I can pick them up as well (C’mon Steam! Get on that!).
The 2D/3D effect is a killer art style.
After listening to the last STOked episode, I jumped into Star Trek Online and played a bit of the foundry. Personally, I love the Foundry. I haven’t created any missions myself (yet), but the creativity that other players come up with is amazing. The good stuff is a little tricky to find, though, so I mainly get my Foundry playlists from trusted sources, like StarbaseUGC, STOked, and finally Cryptic themselves. I’m glad that Cryptic has started promoting specific missions because then at least you know they are going to be good. For the record, I went in to play two missions specifically: ‘The Worst of Both Worlds’ and ‘Temple of Pah-Wraiths’, both made by Captain_Revo, and both are more than worth it.
Bajor never looked so… Borg-y.
Finally, I haven’t yet gone back into Lord of the Rings Online for the Spring Festival. I know, I know, I was just complaining about not having time for special events, but this one I will make. It’s on until June 11th, though, so I got plenty of time. I’m even considering starting a new character. I do like the Loremaster, but its not as up-close and personal as I prefer.
This is a new segment I’m working on. Essentially, it’ll just be a quick update about what I, as a casual gamer, am currently playing. It won’t always be MMOs, and it won’t always be the latest and greatest game, but hopefully you get a kick out of it. I call it GameTime.
Well, last night I decided to throw in a game I haven’t played in ages, a game that is well in my Top 5 of shooters: Max Payne. The original. When I first rolled through Max Payne, it had already been out for a while, but the story and the grittiness just blew me away. To this day, the drug-fueled hallucination level is by far one of the most disturbing levels I’ve ever played in any game. Right behind Bioshock, Max Payne is my second favorite shooter of all time. I had some issues getting the sound to work right, as I was playing through Steam, but a quick Google search and sketchy download and I was good to go.
I stepped into Lord of the Rings Online the other night and it ended up being the last day of the 5th Anniversary celebration. I was shocked to see a whole bunch of gifts, including those for players who have been playing since the beginning. Apparantly, I’ve been playing LotRO for the past 5 years! Shocking, right? Maybe I should finally get a character to level 30… But as soon as I came on, even though I’ve been on a hiatus from LotRO, I was very warmly greeted by my guild like I was coming home. I really need to play LotRO more often. It really is one of the best MMOs out there.
Finally, as a last entry, I found myself playing lots of games on my new cell phone. I’ve never found myself to be a cell gamer, but since my new Lumia 900 Windows Phone has full integration into XBox Live, I find I’m playing more arcade style and other games on it just for that reason. Minesweeper, Sudoku, Assassin’s Creed, Fruit Ninja, Civilization Revolution, Sid Meier’s Pirates, and a bunch of other games. For a cell phone, thats a pretty great list. Now Windows Phone just needs a decent mobile MMO and I’ll be all set.
So what are YOU playing? Since you stopped by, drop a line in the comments letting me know, and as always, thanks for stopping by!