The Great Steam Roundup – Episode 4

So today I’m going to be a little more positive, which should be easy because like I said, it’s actually pretty hard for me to find stuff I absolutely cannot recommend in my own personal library. I’m going to attempt to focus on games that you may not have heard of or in general may not know much about and have been wondering about. Let’s get started!

A.R.E.S. – Extinction Agenda

Current selling price: $9.99

A.R.E.S., in my opinion, is best described as Metroid, but feels more like Contra, and has RPG elements. Basically you’re a robot for mankind fighting evil robots against mankind. Yeah, the story gets a little more complicated than that, but really that’s all you need to know. It does feel a little awkward not playing with a joystick, but I can’t seem to get mine to work correctly with it for some reason.

All the same, it plays exactly like what a modern run n gun shooter should with the ability to fire in any direction at any given time, having multiple weapons and weapon types available, implementing all kinds of special moves, and with several enemy and boss types. It’s very fun, challenging, and has lots of great visuals and sound design overall.

The best part, I feel, is the price. You get all that for only $10.

BIT.TRIP BEAT

Current selling price: $9.99

I’ve described this game as Pong on crack. The worst thing about this game is I can’t really say much more about it other than…well, what I just said. It’s simple, yet it really isn’t. Even the trailers don’t do it justice, honestly. Basically it is Pong, but there are several interesting elements thrown at you and it’s also an 8-bit musical all at the same time.

I really don’t know how to describe it other than that. Some people may feel that $10 is too much for a modern Pong, but I disagree. This is the kind of game that’s so addictive and for reasons you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s the kind of game you just keep playing and playing, if nothing for the visuals and music.

ClaDun X2

Current selling price: $19.99

Honestly, this is the only one I feel is overpriced and I’ll explain why right off the bat. Yes, it is Nippon Ichi, but it is very, VERY basic. Maybe that’s a good selling point for some people, but I feel it’s still overpriced all the same. ClaDun X2 is basically a never-ending dungeon crawler with a lot of interesting and fantastic elements such as the ability to utilize multiple party members in a formation to enhance base character statistics, adding artifacts to do the same, allowing for several different weapon types and mods, and so on.

But I wouldn’t quite call it a Diablo clone. In fact, the dungeon crawling is really the only element anywhere similar to Diablo. The game is entirely bitisized, which gives it an interesting look and feel. You can create your own music, totally customize your characters and weapons from the ground up, and level up various features about your characters constantly.

I can’t even say there’s necessarily an end to the game as they say right from the beginning that there’s no way to get home. Could be, but doubtful. This game is designed to be an infinite dungeon of sorts while adding in newer, minor story elements here and there. All in all, it is very fun, but I think it would’ve been better priced at $10 or $15.

Dungeon Siege Complete

Current selling price: $29.99

Really I just wanted to highlight the original Dungeon Siege, but hey, the others are cool too. I initially got into DS because of DS2, but I still think the original is my favorite. Why? Because it has a remarkably simple concept that it continuously builds on in a way that reflects what Diablo 2 has done, but from a more organic and interesting angle.

Okay, with the Diablo/Torchlight games, you’re encouraged to delve into dungeons or wherever and continuously build up your default class. You’re even given skill points when you level up to allow for additional customization. DS works quite a bit differently. There is no class. You’re just a simple farmer when this all starts and once shit goes down, you are absolutely NOT proficient in absolutely everything.

Over the course of the game you decide what you’re going to be proficient in by USING stuff. In other words, if you continuously use certain types of weapons, you get better at them and your stats level up to reflect this. If you use more spells, you become more of a mage type. It’s really interesting how it all plays out because the game very much leaves it up to you to decide how this is going to work.

This isn’t really as strong of a concept in the later games, but they’re still very fun all the same. I honestly feel that DS3 is the weakest of the bunch because even though it strikes a chord viscerally and from an overall high production angle, it loses a lot of what made the originals fun. Still, $30 for 3 classic dungeon crawlers…you can’t beat that.

Gothic Universe Edition

Current selling price: $19.99

Same thing applies here…I just wanted to talk about the original Gothic. Gothic is…a very mixed bag. Made from the creators of more recent titles such as Arcania and the Risen series, Gothic is a tale about a prisoner thrown into a magical barrier prison on a mission from a king…and is immediately sidetracked by being robbed and thrown into all kinds of internal power struggles that you can choose to or not to participate in.

The keyword to Gothic is depth. There is a ridiculous amount of choice and exploration available in Gothic. In fact, it’s very easy to get lost in everything that’s going on, but you’ll never feel overburdened either. If there were any two things I would say you’d need to know about the game before trying it…well, it would be that the game is devoid of quality and the controls are terrible.

Now no, I’m not simply trying to lead you on. The game’s overall production values are terrible and feel very basic. The controls, pretty much regardless of how fine you tweak them, are always going to feel off. You get a similar feel when playing the Risen games, but as these are more recent products, it’s not as bad of a feel. Gothic is very dated and as a result, may not appeal to everyone.

However, those it does appeal to will get WAY more out of it than almost any RPG released in the last 5 years alone. It really is a great idea, just having barely fallen short of what it intended to do, possibly due to budget constraints. All the same, $20 for THREE of these is an incredible deal that you should definitely participate in immediately.

Conclusion

The only game in this list that would be hard to recommend is ClaDun X2 and only because of the price. For those of us that like dungeon crawlers, quirk, and Nippon Ichi in general, it’s an immediate no-brainer. Honestly, the rest of them are worthy titles for any gamer’s collection. Thanks for the read!

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Filed under PC, Steam Roundup, Videogames

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