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WildStar's 3-day head start, AJLARSR June 1st, 2014 Edition

Aside from the now-typical bouts of cyber-terrorism to be expected at a major Internet event, WildStar's launch appears to have gone relatively smoothly.  (Honestly, Internet, this is why we can't have nice things.)

I've committed wholeheartedly to the release.  Following a slight insult, I even requested a month-long ban from my favorite forum haunt.  Sometimes, it seems that if I could reclaim all the time I ever wasted on Internet forums, I would have had enough time to figure out a way to solve the greatest mysteries of mankind... in a sort of "give enough monkeys enough time on enough typewriters and they'll eventually reproduce the complete works of Shakesphere" sort of way.

In a remarkable bout of productivity, in meager few hours of locking away my forum habit, I already solved my WildStar character indecision.  It's quite simple, really... just look at the get ups they make you wear in the end game
Determining which outfits I would not be caught dead in certainly narrowed down my choices considerably.  (After all, Nexus is a dangerous place, so one will likely be caught dead frequently!)  Although, two caveats here:
  • I'm pretty sure these are just the PvE sets.  I know there's a PvP set, and possibly other end game sets as well.
  • You can actually customize your appearance based off of anything you can wear by sticking it in an overriding costume slot.
Still, just by looking at those outfits, I think I get a really good idea of what the developers were going for, not just in the appearance of the class, but the overall things the classes should be capable of.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I would say that I can read more with a glance at those armors than I could pouring over ability sheets in a strategy guide.

A Jaded Look At Recent Steam Releases, June 1st, 2014 Edition

Steam dropped about 20 titles after I finished my Thursday entry... a fellow might suspect they decided to roll out the boats after the storm has passed.  I think the best time for me to do this blog serial would probably be Friday night, after business hours, but my work schedule normally prevents me from doing so.  Consider this an addendum to the last entry so we're square with the week.

In a combined interest of trying to keep my time investment in doing this list down (more time for WildStar) and trying to accommodate the Internet's generally low tolerance for reading, I am going for an extra terse format.  Lets see how it works out.

Interesting Tier

This tier is reserved for games that appear to be worthy additions to this jaded gamer's Steam wishlist.
The Floor Is Jelly - I generally am not a big fan of arsty 2D platformers - there's just so many of them these days that it's hard to be excited about the idea.  However, once in awhile, we get something that looks just plain gorgeous enough to transcend the limitations of its genre, with some novel-looking gameplay to boot.  Ladies and gentlemen: The Floor is Jelly, a game whose title tells you everything you need to know about it.

Semi-Interesting Tier

A tier for good efforts, and yet, I can't see myself adding them to my wish list.  Your results may vary.

Battlepaths - "A loot-centric and addictive 2D-RPG," this is a graphical roguelike with comical graphics styling.  A re-release of a 2012 PC and XBox Live game.  Despite its cheap appearance, it seems the important game fundamentals are down pat.

Pixel Boy and the Ever Expanding Dungeon - A top-down roguelike shoot em up.  It's basically The Binding Of Isaac with less grossout factor, more neon-colored bullet hell.  I suspect the main motivation to make this game was that they wanted The Binding Of Isaac on an engine that would not drop as many frames.

Astebreed - Do you like anime mecha combat?  Astebreed is your dream come true.  Hardly have any idea what mechas are?  Well, maybe you will appreciate that this is a gorgeous 3D bullet hell game with novel mechanics.

Pandora: First Contact - My first assumption upon seeing this game is that it's Alpha Centari, which was basically the game of Civilization on an alien planet, but this time developed by a third party and looking more like Civilization V.  In actuality, Pandora: First Contact plays hardly like any of those things, so it's better to consider it a 4X game on a space planet.  The important question is, "Is it a good game?"  Well, that's debatable, it's generally been panned by reviewers, but it has no shortage of avid players defending it.

Kill Fun Yeah - This 2D platformer multiplayer fighting game has its tongue so far in cheek that it grotesquely protrudes from the other side.  Still, I will say that I like how the developers have put effort into deeper mechanics by allowing players to manipulate projectiles in motion and actively build blocks on the map while fighting.  Kill Fun Yeah is probably exactly what it says on the box, provided you can find somebody to play with.

The Fall - Here you're playing a guy in a high-tech-combat suit working his way through a side-scrolling combat action adventure in the style of games like Flashback and Out Of This World... only, you're not actually the guy in the suit, you're playing the advanced artificial intelligence in the suit trying to protect the unconscious guy inside of the suit.  So basically, it's a Cortana simulator.  That's a pretty interesting angle, I guess, and the game itself looks like it's really well wrought.  A fellow could do much worse with their $10.

Franchise Hockey Manager 2014 - Did you like Out of the Park Baseball, a game about managing a baseball team?  What if I were to tell you that the same developers made a game where you get to manage a hockey team?!  I'm not a sports fan, I can't be arsed, but I guess these kinds of games have a pretty big following on Steam because there's usually at least one of them on the top-ten games played list.

HTR+ Slot Car Simulation - I don't know, this racing game seems like it's on rails to me... seriously, though, it's a game about racing toy cars on electric tracks.  I'm not entirely sure how this "offers an adrenalin packed racing simulation experience," but it's worth a shot.  One thing I really like about this idea is that they give you a track editor, as let me tell you: those mostly-plastic tracks aren't that cheap in real life.  As an added bonus, you can't accidentally shock yourself on virtual slot car tracks.

Ampu-Tea - This is one of those silly physics games where the whole joke is about how hard it is to do everyday tasks with intricately modeled limbs that are controlled with our primitive computer input devices (e.g. keyboard, mouse, gamepad).  See Octodad or Surgeon Simulator 2013 for other examples.  The grisly task Ampu-Tea sets before you?  Make a simple cup of tea.  What could possibly go wrong?

Spirited Heart Deluxe - Sep, 2011.  An indy stab at making one of those visual novels where you choose a girl (you can pick from a human, elf, or demon) and try to get her to make the decisions that lead to a happy ending, sort of like the Princess Maker style games, but this is a little more standard in that the ultimate goal is just get her to marry one of the bachelors... or bachelorettes, because yuri is fun!  If you get the best ending, your heroine ascends into becoming a goddess - well, that's certainly setting your goals high.

Shovelware Tier

This tier is for the games that are harder for jaded, hungry old gamers like me to suffer than they were for the developers to make.

International Snooker - Why bust this well-crafted 3D Snooker game down to shovelware tier?  Well, it's merely pool, exactly how much fun am I expected to get out of a virtual pool table?

Manhunter - A 2013 Polish-made Call Of Duty clone.   You know, I probably would have put it in shovelware tier if it were an actual Call of Duty game, considering how Activation ran that franchise straight into the ground.   This knockoff product won't improve that situation at all.

Sport1 Live: Duel - It's a trivia game about sports that features an online scoreboard that accurately measures who is fastest at Googling the answers.

Defense Zone 2 - Tower defense with realistic military graphics.  If it's so realistic, why do the drivers of those tanks keep driving in range of the gun emplacements?  This game looks much simpler than the many better entries into the genre.

Fossil Tier

These games are not necessarily bad, but they're ancient, over 3 years old, but at least the publishers had the decency to admit it when they submitted it to Steam.   Due to their age, in most cases, you should not be expecting any of them to support a widescreen aspect ratio, and it is possible that a modern computer will have difficulty running them.

Salammbรด - May 2003, this is basically a point-and-click adventure game that controls similarly to the Zork remakes - you have a panoramic view of each room and hotspots to click on to take things, put them down, or otherwise interact with them.  Of course, the star of the show here is the trippy visuals that skirt gothic horror.

Wings Over Europe - May 2006, "Realistic air combat is waiting for you."  True enough, it's a modern flight combat simulator.  Judging by its metacritic score, it's nothing remarkable.

Battle Mages - Nov 2003, suffice to say the real time strategy horse was not a completely beaten dead in 2003, and this one does by putting you in control of magic users with some RPG mechanics thrown in for good measure.

Automatic Boycott Tier

I am upping the criteria of this tier to every game I noticed is announcing an immediate release date when it actually had an easier release.  Even if it was an accident, it seems dishonest to the consumer.

Lost Marbles - A 2012 game announced as a May 30th, 2014 new release.  Mind those submission templates, Binary Takeover.

Fall Weiss - A 2013 game announced as a May 30th, 2014 new release.  What gives, Wastelands Interactive?

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