Steam

Destiny? I chose the original Half-Life instead

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Life has been busy lately – my lack of updates here is not for a lack of effort – and no, I haven’t been wasting my free time playing Destiny along with the millions of other FPS fans across the world. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it is a great game for what it is, but I’m just very tired of the online multiplayer FPS genre and it’s over abundance of foulmouthed preteens. What have I been doing lately? After dropping Ubuntu 14.04 LTS on my ASUS gaming laptop, I took a look at the 100+ games in my Steam library that were Linux compatible, noticed that all of the Half-Life games were available, and decided to start back at the very beginning: the Black Mesa Transit System in the original Half-Life.

I recall playing the original Half-Life on the PS2 in the early 2000s. I also recalled beating the game; yet, oddly enough, approaching the final stretch of the game, it became quite clear that my memory had not served me correct. Hey, it happens to the best of us – some of us a bit more than we want to admit, really. Anyhow, settling back into the game once again after all these years isn’t sore on the eyes, thanks, in part, to the HD resolution and updated graphics found in the Steam release. While new-age atmospheric titles like Dead Space make these older games’ scares a bit laughable, the environment and atmosphere of Black Mesa is still creepily enjoyable to explore – especially when there’s half a game here that I thought I’d seen before.

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If you’ve somehow missed the Half-Life series, it’s a FPS game from the masterminds at Valve. The game pushed the genre further than few thought possible at the time of its release and even still today it’s an enjoyable experience that’s well worthy of blasting back through. The game didn’t reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but instead brought excellent shooting mechanics, graphics, narrative, and environmental and atmospheric effects all together into one intentionally designed package. The combined effect of all these elements coming together creates an experience that immerses the player into its world in a way that no shooter before had done so before. Even in its age, the game sucked me in completely until the end credits rolled, which is more than I can say for Destiny – okay, okay… no more sly japes at Bungie’s new shooter; it’s unfair, I know.

Half-Life runs pretty well on Linux, with only a few minor noticeable hiccups that I can recall. The most memorable of these was a few non-interactive walls that had a tendency to blink when moving the character around. Aside from that, there were a few (and I mean a few) instances where I had some limited frame rate drops for a few seconds. Aside from these minor compatibility issues, there was one specific issue that brought back memories from another classic FPS title: Turok (N64). Considering that you can see further than three inches, err…feet, in front of your character in Half-Life, that would mean that it would be the jumping sequences that can be quite an annoyance at times. While so much of Half-Life is near perfectly designed, there are few baffling jumping segments that disrupt the smooth flow of the game play. There’s nothing too terrible, for sure, but the annoyance is there nonetheless. Now that I think of it though, having the bow from Turok to silently take down some pesky head crabs would be ace – can we get the modders on this, like, ASAP?

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If you’ve never played the original Half-Life, you probably should. Even if Halloween is already over for this year – the time that many people choose to play creepy games – there’s never a bad time to jump back into this classic shooter. If you’re a Linux fan like myself, retro PC titles just feel great to play on the platform. Can’t really pinpoint the reason why that is, really, but hey, some things are just the way that they are, I guess.

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Preview: Wrack (PC)

 

People that grew up in the late ’80s and early ’90s undoubtedly have fond memories of arcade-style FPS corridor shooters. Wolfenstein and Doom were all the rage (no pun intended) and for good reason; the pure fast-paced nature of these games is, simply put, a lot of fun. Indie developer Final Boss Entertainment’s Wrack reanimates the old-school corridor shooter once again in a fantastic cel-shaded style. Fans both new and old alike should indeed be looking forward to this one.

The speed of the game play in Wrack is instantly captivating. Swiftly running and gunning through the corridors might bring back a bit of nostalgia for some, but it feels great still today. In a more modern touch, putting down baddies finds kill count combos quickly becoming commonplace, significantly increasing the level score with intentional combo chains.

 

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Preview: Altitude0: Lower and Faster (PC)

 

Nearly two years ago, when Steam Greenlight was in its infancy, several of our team pitched our most anticipated titles that we wanted to see receive the elusive ‘green light’. One of my two picks was Altitude0: Lower and Faster. This air plane racing title looked to be right up this wannabe pilot’s alley.

In those early chaotic days of Steam Greenlight, the duo indie team of Gugila made the executive decision to remove the game from the service and has spent the past two years hard at work bringing the game to life. Today, it’s now available in beta access on Desura and has finally been greenlit on Steam, bringing the beta action onto that platform later this year. We’ve gotten the chance to strap in and take to the skies of Altitude0 and I can honestly say that the long wait was definitely worth it.

 

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Review: Croixleur Sigma (PC)

 

The gaming industry today is filled with a vast array of indie games, and they offer unique alternatives to major AAA releases. The recent indie movement has not only disrupted the industry, but has fundamentally changed it for the better, because now a talented development team can find great success, regardless of its size.

We’ve become accustomed to the indie scene in the west through such games as Gone Home, Dear Esther, Proteus, and so forth – but have you ever wondered about the indie scene in Japan? Lock your eyes to Nyu Media, a specialist in bringing quality Japanese indie titles outside of its native shores for the world to enjoy. And then take a look at its latest; Souvenir Circ.’s Croixleur Sigma.

The majority of DDNet readers are well-accustomed to the differences in Japanese and Western games. A lot of Japanese retail titles have niche appeal here, because they tend to focus on appealing to a specific niche group through excellence in design for that specific group, instead of the mass appeal and accessibility that’s the typical western game aims for. Croixleur Sigma falls right into its niche then. It delivers 60 FPS of glorious high-speed hack-and-slash action right to your fingertips and it’s okay with the fact that not everyone will love it. [Review Score: 3/5 Stars]

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Hittin’ the Open Road, Indie Style – Euro Truck Simulator 2

 

Buy the original base game

Guess what? I’m still alive and kicking – yes, I know that it’s been far too long since my last post here at Tired Gamer. A mix of life and minor narcolepsy issues over the past few weeks, as well as my acquisition of an ASUS gaming laptop – courtesy of my younger brother – have kept me doing a lot more updating drivers and tweaking settings in my spare time than, well… writing. Excuses, excuses, I know.

Being an avid indie gamer, I’m not overly enthused with the current state of console gaming. I’ve not yet purchased a next generation console and have no intention of doing so in the near future. I had, however, planned to build a decent gaming desktop this year, as the vast majority of what I care to play over the course of the next year is indie developed, and therefore, finding itself landing on PC. Well, I’m in the PC game now, so there will be a drastic shift from console titles to PC titles here now; that means a lot more indie love!

The first indie title that I’ve stumbled across that really has taken me by surprise is SCS Software’s Euro Truck Simulator 2. I drove a Class A CDL truck for Pepsi Cola for about six years and I know very well what it ‘feels’ like to drive a commercial vehicle. I’m amazed at how well the team has replicated what it is like to drive a truck in a virtual environment. It isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s believable enough to keep my interest for hours on end, and I’m still truckin’. Hooking up to trailers, backing the into designated delivery docks and feeling the weight of the load on the truck’s engine on inclines, the game simply ‘feels’ right.

Yet, there’s another part of this game that’s completely shocked me, and that is that you can build a truckin’ empire. Yes, what starts off as simple contract deliveries, turns into bank loans, truck and garage ownerships and eventually hiring and managing drivers – all while you’re on the road yourself. It’s brilliant and something that you would never find outside of PC gaming. If you’ve not tried this gem yourself, I highly recommend giving the game’s demo a download on Steam and trying it for yourself.

Future Euro Truck Simulator 2 updates are sure to come.

 

Freeware Focus: The Plan (PC)

This is a new feature of my design for DDNet that I’ve had in mind for sometime, as I’ve always enjoyed freeware indie titles and I wanted to see them given a ray of light on the site. I thought about doing this exclusively here at Tired Gamer, but decided that DDNet is a much better place to do so, and well, I’ll always be dropping the links to my work there here for the finding. Enjoy!

 

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Krillbrite Studio’s homepage for The Plan reads: “Every word you read of this useless print is another second of your life.” If that doesn’t intrigue you, then feel free to move along. There’s truth in those words – how much time in our short and fragile lives do we merely waste to nonsensical ‘filler’? We think that our lives will be long and fruitful, but there is never any guarantee, really. It poses the question – Is there something else that I should be doing right this very second? Something, well, more important than this?

The Plan is a side project from the same team that’s bringing the psychological first-person thriller that puts you in a terrifying world as a mere two year old child: Among the Sleep – it’s quickly apparent that this isn’t your typical development team. From start to finish, The Plan took me six short minutes to complete. Within that small time frame, it created a multitude of emotions within me, and is yet another argument for why people would be more concerned with the quality rather the length of games.

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Interview: The Game Atelier: “The PlayStation Vita has been good to us”

The Game Atelier is one of those indie developers that punches well above its weight. Starting out with the PlayStation Minis and iOS environments, the company has since become a full-fledged PlayStation Vita developer with some gorgeous HD titles, like SunFlowers and Flying Hamster. It even publishes games now.

Digitally Downloaded’s Chris Ingram had the good fortune to sit down and chat with the driving force behind the budding company; Fabien Demeulenaere, Producer, and David Bellanco, Lead Developer. He spoke at length about the team’s confidence in the PlayStation Vita, the challenges in supporting the emerging platforms such as the Ouya, and the emerging opportunities in moving from a dedicated developer, to act as a digital games publisher as well.

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Editing and intro written by Digitally Downloaded’s Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Sainsbury. 

Gateways celebrates positive Steam release with XBLIG sale

 

Here at Digitally Downloaded, we’re Portal fans. That might not come as a surprise to many, but many of us here are big fans of its mind-bending environmental puzzles. When Smudged Cat Games sent a review copy of its 2D Portal-like title Gateways, needless to say, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.

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Feature: Steam Greenlight Staff Picks #2

 

It’s that time again. Today a few of us here at Digitally Downloaded have decided to share with you a few of our favourite Greenlight picks that we feel need to be available for purchase on Steam. We implore you to take a look at our picks and if you like what you see, by all means, take the few seconds it takes to click the link and give the game thumbs up – every vote counts!

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Review: Shad’O (PC)

Tower defence games are a dime a dozen these days, as they’re a perfect fit for touch controlled games. The creatively name Shad’O, from the small French indiedeveloper Okugi Studios, has opted to not stick with the smartphone/tablet platforms with their title, bringing their creative take on the genre to another well-fitting venue instead: PC/Steam.

We find ourselves taking the role of a young nine year old boy named William, who’s lost deep within his own mind where his memories are threatened by shadowy creatures. With the help of mysterious luminous creatures and his companion teddy bear, he uses light to try and save himself from his own nightmares.