Just like that, 2011 draws to a close. Sunday will be 2012 and waking up will feel absolutely no different. Interesting, isn’t it, how we give meaning and value to dates and time according to a calendar*?

*Did you know, a couple of professors at John Hopkins university have devised a calendar system where every date will fall on the same day of the week? Read about it here! Personally not too fond of the idea, since it’ll make life feel so rigid.

I don’t really have anything to post up tonight… today… I don’t know, it’s 4:30AM — day-time for us nocturnals. Still feeling a little bummed this week, so have been busying myself with Steam and my plethora of new games.

So you know what, I’ll just list the things I’ve got from the Steam Winter Holiday Sale. Purely for me to take a step back and look at everything that’s happened, game-wise, in the past two weeks. I’ll also write some bits and pieces of commentary for each, on the off-chance somebody does decide to go take a look.

[Note that aside from the said lists, there won’t be any other content after the cut.]

So here’s wishing you a happy new year! May the surprises 2012 bring be mostly pleasant.

Links bring you to the relevant page on Steam’s store.

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent [Link]
    I have heard great things about this game. Very famous for it’s scare factor. I haven’t really played a scary game since Fatal Frame back during who-knows-when. It’s turning into a niche genre these days, with lots of titles being more action-oriented. I’ve always wanted to buy Siren for the PS3 but I’ve been too much of a wuss to get it. Besides, PS3 is dead.

  • Audiosurf [Link]
    This is an interesting take on the music-genre front. There are a few games that create levels and such using the music you select and this is one of them. It blends racing and puzzle elements to an extent and really, you’re better off looking at the video for yourself. It’s pretty fun. While I’ve always been curious about the game, it being a Great Gift Pile qualifier pretty much sealed the deal for me.
  • Bastion [Link]
    Okay so I got this game just before the Holiday Sale started, but it was on discount back then too so I’m putting it in as well. I LOVE IT! Well worth the money even at full price. In sum, this is everything, and I mean everything, that I want in a game. Highly recommended, more so now that you can even play it on the Chrome browser.

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum (GOTY Edition) [Link]
    I’ve already played this on the PS3 but it was during rushed NS weekends. It’s a great game and I really look forward to replaying this at a comfortable pace. That and because I’m trying to make my main gaming focus the PC now, I aim to slowly build up my library with awesome. They nailed the whole atmosphere of Batman with this title. If you ever need to look at how comics can be turned into games, this is it.

  • Brink [Link]
    I was looking forward to this game when it was first announced years ago. There was barely any news or hype leading up to its release and it was met with lots of mixed reviews when it finally did. I ended up being a little skeptical myself. Decided to try it out for kicks during one of the free weekend promotions it had on Steam and man, I really enjoyed it! Brink, being a class-based game, really needs to be played with friends as a co-operative party. Can’t wait to get this started.

  • Bunch of Heroes [Link]
    Also known as Bunch of Crap. In all seriousness, I’d like to get this removed from my library, but redeeming the Humble Indie Bundle has made it a little messy already so what the heck. More on that later. As for this game? Please. Stay away.
  • Company of Heroes (Complete Pack) [Link]
    Tried this title out when it was first released for a bit. Loved every minute. Have always wanted to own this RTS  to play it myself and well, here we are! Highly acclaimed too. The studio, Relic, is busy working with the W40K Dawn of War franchise (by all means, carry on :D) but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they give us a sequel to this!
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening [Link]
    I remember when tower defense first hit the scene. Along with DoTA. I never found myself interested in either of them. A few years later, after some short dabbling here and there, I got to try out this tower defense game on the Android Market back when it was still new. I’m not sure whether it was because I was stuck in camp and hence had no better games to play but it got pretty addictive. Defense Grid here is a tower defense game. The first I’ve bought. Lots of people say this is the best (classic tower defense) they’ve ever played. I’m a little hard-pressed to disagree. Top production too and look, Portal-related DLC!
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Augmented Edition) [Link]
    It’s frickin’ Deus Ex. Wanted to buy this AT RELEASE but my PS3 died. Well, few months later I have it. At a great price too, haha. Haven’t played it but I’m utterly confident it won’t disappoint. If fellow gamers and Deus Ex fans approve of it, I’m all in. Got the Augmented Edition because I actually like art books and the soundtrack, which I’m listening to right now, is beastly — it ranks up there together with Bastion and Skyrim! (Cannot be compared to film scores, such as Hans Zimmer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows which I watched recently.)
  • Duke Nukem Forever [Link]
    Impulse purchase, I regret it already. It’s just so damn nostalgic, you know? I miss the whole old-school FPS genre. I loved how the cover-system was introduced years ago in manshooters, but now that it’s so prevalent, these games where you run around soaking up bullets with your big badass guns have become so rare. Maybe it’s because the gaming community has grown up; its one of the commonly-held reasons behind it. Shall see how this turns out but I’m not keeping my hopes up.
  • Dungeon Defenders [Link]
    I heard some great things about this game but never did jump into it because the friends who recommended it in the first place have already moved on, haha. A cross between action games with tower defense in the mix. Currently playing it and loving it! I’m a little sad that there’s so little skill progression in the game, though. I already have all the abilities; now it’s just to raise my stats and get better gear. And the campaign of course. There’s an expansion coming soon, shall look forward to that as well!

  • Dungeons of Dredmor [Link]
    Fun little indie RPG with hilarious content. Played it for quite a bit then stopped. I like it but I feel it’ll suit the mobile platform better.
  • Fable: The Lost Chapters and Fable III [Link]
    The first one is awesome. Played it sometime around 2006 or 2007 on my laptop. Some fans have been disappointed by Fable III (mostly because of false promises) but I’ve always wanted to play it nonetheless. The fact that it wasn’t on the PS3 stopped me. Not now though! Time to play with the chickens, haha.
  • Fallout 3 (GOTY Edition) [Link]
    Like Arkham Asylum, this is one of those played it -finished it-sold it gamesI had on my PS3. It just made better sense to sell them while it was still new. Now that its on PC, I can play it again on a far better medium suited for this. Lets not forget the mods! If nothing else, Fallout 3’s introductory levels are truly memorable. Would suck for repeat playthroughs but hey, mods.
  • Killing Floor [Link]
    It’s a shame, really. This game has so much potential. It’s really fun, especially as a group, only for you  to be let down by its poor user interface and hell, just trying to run the damn thing. I’ve played it three times and on all three occasions I had to restart my PC simply because it would refuse to close. Think Left for Dead, but with a store and waves of enemies instead.
  • Metro 2033 [Link]
    Oh hell yes, finally! Been waiting for this to be on sale. The whole premise has been highly intriguing and I think I can overlook some of the bugs mentioned.
  • Mount & Blade: Warband [Link]
    Been curious about this one for some time. Despite the poor graphics, given usual standards nowadays, it seems to have some pretty interesting gameplay up its sleeve. Refrained from getting the pack because the following release introduced firearms and kinda messed up the whole balance.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Bundle [Link]
    All three STALKER titles at a great discounted price? Why yes, yes please! Haven’t played it yet I’ve read up a lot about it and have seen some gameplay. Very excited for this one. Probably only after I complete Skyrim though — it’s a loooong game.
  • Serious Sam HD: Gold Edition [Link]
    The Gold Edition includes the classic versions of First Encounter and Second Encounter, which I hear are pretty much similar aside from the updated graphics engine. It was just an extra dollar so what the heck. Playing the first one in classic might bring back some nostalgia, haha. Never played two though. Or was it the other way round? Hmm… In any case, this game is of the Duke Nukem/Doom/Quake flavour, so lots of shooting awaits!
  • Trine [Link]
    I played this already on PSN although it wasn’t on my console. Didn’t get to finish it either. Seemed like a fun platformer. The main reason I’m buying this, however, is beacause of Trine 2. That game is absolutely gorgeous. It is visually mind-blowing. Figured I might as well get to know the back-story. But seriously, go look at Trine 2! Video here!
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II Retribution [Link]
    The only title I haven’t played from the Dawn of War II series. Felt no need to buy the other two since this basically has all the playable armies so far in multiplayer and it also has the other game-mode, Last Stand. I’m still a little upset that it doesn’t have at least nine of the armies like in Dawn of War: Soulstorm, to better match the W40K setting but eh, they’ll get to it eventually. I hope.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine [Link]
    Didn’t get it from Steam but it was during the same period and also on discount (before Steam had theirs) so figure I’d put it here as well. Haven’t played it yet because you know, my PS3 died. Haven’t started on it yet because I’m still distracted by a bunch of other games and this cannot do. Need to focus 100% on one title, like I have to for Skyrim as well. Multiplayer is surprisingly not too bad. Played it for the Great Gift Pile Achievement.
  • X3 Terran War Pack (X3 Albion Prelude and Terran Conflict) [Link]
    Mr Neo recommended this game after I asked him for some suggestions. He tells me this is basically EVE:Online but in singleplayer. I bought it immediately after he told me that. The only reason I don’t play EVE is because it’s an MMO, which I try to avoid now. Got this pack and not the complete set since after consulting the forums, this seems the better introductory experience. There’ll always be future sales, need to remember that.

  • Humble Indie Bundle #4 [Link]
    Yes it’s not from Steam but it gets added to my library. Ended up redeeming this bundle for myself, much to mixed feelings. Some games are great, others not so much. I got it just when they decided to add-on Bundle #3 and all the sountracks as well, for free! Wow. They’re kinda spoiling the market, I think, haha. But it’s good they’re mostly older games. And charity! Yes aside from all those b*stards — I hope their accounts get suspended.

    1. Gratuitous Space Battles (Fun!)
    2. Cave Story + (Confusing.)
    3. Jamestown (Fun!)
    4. Bit.Trip Runner (Frustratingly fun!)
    5. Super Meat Boy (Haven’t tried.)
    6. Shank (Haven’t tried.)
    7. NightSky HD (Haven’t tried.)
    8. Crayon Physics Deluxe (Haven’t tried.)
    9. Cogs (Haven’t tried.)
    10. VVVVVV (Haven’t tried.)
    11. Hammerfight (Haven’t tried.)
    12. And Yet It Moves (Not bad.)

As for the Great Gift Pile? What have I been rewarded for my honest efforts? I’ve gotten 20 Achievements, which isn’t a lot. Here’s how they break down in terms of gifts received:

  • -33% Valve
  • -25% Sega
  • -50% Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • -50% Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  • -50% L.A. Noire (Something I can actually use!)
  • 7 coals crafted = -50% Hacker Evolution: Duality
  • -25% Lord of the Rings
  • -50% Roller Coaster Tycoon: Platinum
  • Rock of Ages [Link]
  • 6pcs of coal

Haha, man am I glad I didn’t put in extra effort for the others. Although I am very grateful for Rock of Ages, it’s really fun! As people have said, its akin to Monty Python’s style of humour, which is just ace.

Like all lotteries, there’s bound to be some lucky few with good prizes. People have won Saints Row: The Third and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I kid you not. I hope they appreciate it, because having games like that for free is really something. Lots of people still too caught up in it, demanding for more items. Seriously…

I’d be fine if we could craft our coupons into coal, and crafted coal turn into golden coupons, which are basically discounts you can use together with the holiday prices. That’ll be epic and something rewarding. But I understand it’s not Valve’s call. Though I have to agree, the Summer Sale did seem better.

And that shall be all for my last post of 2011. Excuse any errors you might have come across; I’m feeling a little tired. It’s now morning and the birds are up and awake. Glow of the sun. Mornings can be nice and this is the only time I can appreciate them. I’ve taken a few breaks in-between typing this of course. Watched some machinima, good and bad. The term is used pretty loosely nowadays, as compared to when it was still new and even I was meddling with it. Heck I still would. I just need my new PC, haha.

Happy new year!


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