It’s officially Christmas. That’s right, I dictate Christmas rules now. Hope your trees are going up, your presents are being wrapped, and your cakes are being wished into and fed with sherry/rum/sambuca/whatever. Or is that a British thing? One sherry for cake, two for me….
If you don’t celebrate Christmas, but festivities are still upon you, I hope the feeling is warm and glowy for you! It’s hard not to love this time of year, right? Unless you’re out shopping. Shudder.
As a result of last week’s rather epic special offers, Steam is a little more quiet, but there are some big names on the front page this week, for sure! Let’s have a look at some of them.
Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition
Darksiders II is on a fantastic offer at 80% off, alongside the franchise pack, and the original title remastered for no extra cost. Darksiders Warmastered Edition was released this week, and was free for all who already owned the original game, and is now priced no more expensive than that title would be, for those who haven’t grabbed it. This offer is a celebration of that.
I’ve picked Darksiders II to talk about, as you’ve probably heard about Darksiders in the news already. We all dream of playing the villain, or being the antagonist at times, though nothing quite comes as close at this, where you play as Death. Not that Death is a villain, however. It’s something which has been evident in many hack ‘n’ slash titles for a long time. There is an element of darkness, internal struggle, and desires to follow the path of traditional sinful ways. All the while, the character is fighting an – arguably – noble fight. It’s just that in this game, you play as the ultimate darkness, the last horseman; Death. It’s a fantastic imagining of our everyday good and bad, which is always far more interesting than vanilla, right?
Death is seeking to clear his brother’s name, encountering foes from other planes of existence, and discovering that something more ancient and powerful than anything on Earth is now threatening all of existence. How ironic…. It’s a hack ‘n’ slash primarily, though there are some great elements of RPG levelling, and customisation. Similarly, the world is far more open than most hack ‘n’ slash titles, allowing you to explore and take some time for yourself, which is not often a thing. The gameplay is more like Prince of Persia or Devil May Cry than God of War, as cumbersome as Death appears. I mean, he’s huge, but he’s got some agility, I tell you.
It’s a great title, though if you haven’t played the first one, that’s good too. Why not get the Franchise Pack? It’s got both games, and an awesome soundtrack for you to download.
The mega city simulation powerhouse Cities: Skylines is on offer for a quarter of the usual price, thanks to the new expansion bringing players back to the game. The expansion is Natural Disasters, so it’s a great incentive to pick it up if you haven’t already.
Natural Disasters allows you to literally pick a weather type, click on your map, and watch the madness unfold. If you click more than once, you’ll get more than one occurrence. How many tornadoes can you create before crashing your hardware? What was I saying earlier about playing the villain? The expansion is not on offer, but at least it won’t feel like such a sting if you were wanting to play it, but don’t have the game yet.
Cities: Skylines is the best city simulation game I have played. I love the character and humour, which is subtle, but enough to make you not want to stop playing. Ever. Every city is unique, and you can create a replica of New York, or one of Prague, or one of anything in between, or even something new. Every area is customisable, as you want to see it, and there are no limitations. There isn’t a particular method in order to maintain success, it’s simply down to how you can balance the hellhole you have created.
Castle Crashers® is on offer with 80% off this week. It’s a fun and frantic beat ’em up in which co-operative play is so much more fun and engaging than playing on your own. Similar to modern Rayman titles (Origins, Legends) in more ways than one, this title is deserving of all the praise it’s gained on Steam.
It’s classic gameplay, but the setting and art is unique, and the game features mini-games, really humorous animations, and forest animals with bowel troubles. The textures are beautiful, and there is zero slow-down, as fast as the animations are. There’s a real “adult swim” kind of vibe to it. You know, those grown-up cartoons that release the endorphins like nothing else quite does.
As a result of its popularity, the game is usually around £10/$12US, so 80% off is awesome. Plus, there is a bundle offer, also with 80% off, in which you get four copies of the game; one for you and one for three friends, which is a great idea.
Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine
Ever wondered what it would be like if Metal Gear and Ocean’s Eleven had a baby? No? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. It’s Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine. It’s a heist, action loot hunter, and you can get it for 68% off.
Again, this one is more fun with multiplayer, but it’s great single player too. You wrangle up some high-skill criminals with different attributes, and grab some of that sweet Monaco wealth, using tactics and stealth. It’s a top-down pixel graphics indie title, much like Hotline Miami, but with less colour and oddness. It needs to be dark, as stealth is key to keeping everyone safe and grabbing the loot in good time. The points system reflects this, and leaderboards are your ultimate goal.
It’s been hailed as one of the best co-op games ever, and as contender for game of the year in 2013. So it’s gotta be amazing. It is amazing.
Special Mention: No Man’s Sky
Woah there, don’t go nuts. With everyone sort of doing a pursed-lipped, hold-your-breath, clench-your-buttcheeks thing around this game since the whole “false advertising” debacle that came from nowhere, unless you’d been following the game’s reactions since launch, it’s weird to see it on the list. However, Hello Games were cleared, the game has had an update, and more is promised to come. No Man’s Sky has 40% off.
I know what some are screaming, “We can’t trust any promises, we won’t play this game because of these issues,” etc, and I get you. I really do. I haven’t even tried the game. A friend of a friend was a play tester for No Man’s Sky, and warned of it before the news started coming out. I don’t usually follow reviews, but it was hard to ignore this one. Something I had been overwhelmingly excited for was so suddenly made meaningless. It was a shock.
However, staggering as it may be to some, I am going to take advantage of Steam’s offer, and purchase No Man’s Sky. I want to see what’s next, I want to experience it, and by golly, I want to give it a chance.
Note: All assets are courtesy of Steam. May not be representative of actual gameplay….
I’m off to put the tree up, and decide who is going to top it this year. Last year it was John Cena. Pics to follow.