Arma 3 Free Weekend

It’s an Arma III free weekend! Arma III is the most realistic military simulation out there. If your rig can handle it, that is. The game begins at a pep rally in high school, one in which the military has come to recruit students looking for a sense of purpose in their life. Or, as the recruiting officer explains, a scholarship, exclusive technical job training, the chance to travel, etc. He makes it sound very convincing, and despite the fact that you were going to try and play ball at State a swelling of patriotism deep within you makes you decide to enlist. 
Flash forward to bootcamp where you are awoken at 3 AM by a shouting drill instructor who has informed you that you will now hike for 25 miles, in real time. There is no quicksaving or autosaving and if at any point you are unable to complete the full hike, you will have to start all over again. During this time, the drill instructor will shout various morale-boosting slurs at you. He will insult you with words like “Mary” and/or “pansy.” But it’s all in the name of country. The only thing that keeps you going is nightly letters from your high school sweetheart, who promised to wait for you to return from your Call of Duty. Except those nightly letters start coming less and less frequently, and you start to worry that something might be wrong. However, you told your best friend Billy to make sure to take good care of her while you were gone and Billy is a stand up guy so everything is probably fine.
From there, Arma III is all about the waiting. Waiting for deployment. Waiting to find out where you’ll end up. And then waiting to travel. And then you wait for your flight, and it’s lonely. Sure, there’s other soldiers there but really, you’re alone. And then you wait for your first taste of combat. Your finger sits on the side of the trigger, waiting to be used for the first time in a real life or death situation. And you wait for the first sign of the enemy. And you wait for someone else to fire first because you want to make sure that you’re doing the right thing. All the while, thinking of Suzy, back home, waiting for you too.
pretty lonely out here, just the two of us
Only she’s not waiting for you, oh no. I got bad news for you, Private. Suzy got tired of waiting and she got herself knocked up. Billy took care of her alright. So if this sounds like a game you might enjoy, give it a shot! Arma III is currently on free weekend until Sunday, Oct 26th! 

The Free Weekend Weekend: Payday 2

As you can clearly see, we have entered The FREE WEEKEND WEEKEND. It’s time to play for free Thurs 10/16 – Sunday 10/19. This is great news! There is almost always one free game on Steam every weekend but now we get to choose from so many, it really is great. So bask in the glow of free gaming goodness, and try them all out.

Payday 2 has been on a few free weekends already so you may have had a chance to try it at some point. Unfortunately Payday 2 is one of those annoying games where you purchase it in the first place, for real life money, and then they shove a bunch of DLC down your throat. Like a shotgun. Why the hell should I have to pay for a shotgun with more money if I already bought the game? The world may never know. So we’re already off to a misstep. However let’s talk about the game itself.

If you didn’t know, Payday 2 is the official video game sequel of Point Break. Which is already a good thing, because Point Break is the best movie (excuse me, FILM) of all time. It stars the greatest actor of all time, Keanu Reeves, and he beats up a bunch of suit wearing bankrobbers donning matching rubber masks that look like ex-presidents. The FBI calls them The Ex-Presidents. Payday 2 puts you in the shoes of the bad guys instead of in the shoes of Keanu which would be way cooler but whatever.

Anyways, you should buy Point Break The Movie before you buy Payday 2 because that’s where the coincidences stop. First of all there is no surfing! How can you have a bank robbery team that doesn’t surf? They are supposed to be a real tight unit and nothing brings bros together like surfing. Also, Keanu Reeves is nowhere to be found, and neither is the ghost of Patrick Swayze (???). So let’s talk about gameplay. Basically this game is like Left 4 Dead 2. Well, actually it’s like Left 4 Dead 1 before Valve nerfed shiva stacking. You sit in a closet and just mow down wave after wave of idiotic police and SWAT officers. There’s supposed to be some kind of heist going on but the whole thing just feels silly and there’s not much strategy. There’s also not a ton of weapons of less you buy them.

Keanu Reeves is an FBI agent, sadly missing from Payday 2.

However, Payday 2 is currently on a free weekend and if you have 4 friends you can give it a shot and it might be fun if you try and dick each other over. It’s probably not worth the purchase though, even at 75% off. Verdict: Skip it.

Serious Sam 3

If you have never played a Serious Sam game, what the hell is wrong with you? Do you hate the FPS genre? Do you hate computer gaming in general? Why do you even have Steam at all? You are not a bad person, but man, it is time you turned your life around and experienced what this is all about. Everyone has their own personal Serious Sam experience- I was but a scared boy when the original came out, and it was a discount title. It was one of the first times that I realized that “discount” and “video games” didn’t necessarily mean bad, and one of the reasons Steam Daily Deal exists to this day. After I played the game, I emerged a grizzled, beer-guzzling man.

The Serious Sam games play like Doom or Painkiller on cocaine. There is no cover and there is no regenerating red jelly health, it’s just hordes of enemies and your wits, big guns and reflexes. All you do is run around in circles (we call this Circle Strafing) while shooting at screaming, headless, bomb wielding terrorists. Yes, screaming AND headless. Again if you have never played a Serious Sam game, the first two hold up great. Go purchase one immediately, they are $1.49 and it is the best $1.49 you could possibly spend on a video game and possibly in YOUR LIFE. Yes that’s right, there’s not a lot you can get for one dollar and forty-nine cents these days. As far as deals go, the best possible things you can get for less than a dollar fifty are two tacos from Jack in the Box and Serious Sam the First Encounter. You know what you can’t get for $1.49? Actual food that isn’t ramen, any tall can of beer that isn’t expired malt liquor, a single shot of liquor, or a pack of condoms (3). As if you needed any more reason, go buy Serious Sam The First Encounter right now, dammit.

So after you’ve played that, the question is should you play Serious Sam 3 BFE? Let’s look at the facts. What does BFE stand for? Nobody knows. Doesn’t matter. Why is the game 90% off? Well, the starting price of $39.99 for a three year old game is a little silly so they had to knock 90% off of it. And the most important question of all: is the game as good as the previous installments? No, but it is still really fun.

What is a cyclops without an eye?  

There are some Serious issues to this game, for starters, the fact that you can’t dodge a lot of the enemies’ attacks, i.e., they are hitscan. This is bullshit, and who knows why Croteam put this feature in the game? But honestly it just ups the difficulty level, you don’t need to dodge if you kill the enemy first and it is just more of a test of your mettle. Also, the beginning of the game is not very fun, there are iron sights involved, which is the antithesis of the Serious Sam games. However I think Croteam put that in as a joke, because as soon as newer weapons are introduced the iron sights go by the wayside so I think they were messing with all of us. Basically, Serious Sam 3 BFE plays like the other Serious Sam games eventually but with better graphics- it might not be exactly as good but it is still really damn fun. For this reason the Verdict: BUY IT

Deus Ex Human Revolution

Deus Ex Human Revolution: Director’s Cut was the Steam Daily Deal back in March or something and I wrote about it then, things haven’t changed too much. Check it out. Even the price is the same, $4.99. I like cyberpunk and I like FPS RPGs but something about the way this game plays doesn’t sit right with me. I prefer EYE Divine Cybermancy for it’s god awful 99 cent scifi paperback story French voice acting that I can’t even understand and the ridiculous cyber medieval setting. I don’t much like the sneakin and I don’t much like the shootin in Deus Ex Human Revolution Director’s Cut but I definitely think I’m the minority when it comes to that believe.

In case you forgot, you play as an Oakley-sunglasses wearing IT specialist named Adam Jensen, who gets a radioactive robot wang or something that he has to use to repopulate the future by making love to cyborg women. Just kidding, the game is actually about an Oakley-sunglasses wearing IT specialist named Adam Jensen who decides to fulfill his dream of becoming arm wrestling champion of the world while simultaneously winning back the heart of of his estranged son, and in order to do so he gets an unbeatable, radioactive robot super arm. Just kidding, you actually play as an Oakley-sunglasses wearing IT specialist named Adam Jensen who one morning gets a strange message on his computer telling him to follow the white rabbit, and he does and finds a sexy kung fu-wielding elite hacker who opens his mind to the fraud of the world around him, the fraud being that the world we all live in is actually a computer program and the real world is a miserable place where robots raise humans for food.

Jensen displaying the flight augmentation

If you like the color orange and semi-interesting ethical/philosophical dilemmas regarding the positives and negatives of mechanical dongs, Deus Ex Human Revolution Director’s Cut is the game for you. Otherwise, the Verdict: skip it.

Natural Selection 2

Maybe you played the original Natural Selection back at the day, possibly in some dank, smelly, cyber cafe, knocking back Dew after Dew in between spawns. But you probably wanted to play CS but nobody else wanted to play CS and instead everybody was playing some weird game about Darwinian theory. Or maybe that never happened at all and Natural Selection II is just another cool looking Source mod. Well it is pretty cool. Natural Selection II is one of those multiplayer FPS games that is more about strategy than it is about skill. But you still have to be skillful in your strategy. If that makes any sense.

The game pits players against each other as humans versus the zerg, or aliens from some other planet, who knows. In the beginning, the humans have an advantage over the zerg team, as they are weak and die quickly to gunfire. However, the alien players have an easier time ambushing people so they can take down unaware players pretty quickly when given the right opportunity. It’s all about taking advantage of the right situations in this game. If as a tiny, puny zergling you attempt a full frontal assault you will get destroyed. As you get kills you can evolve into more interesting, more deadly creatures, and the game gets more fun. If you stayed a zergling the whole time the game would not be as fun, but it gets pretty exciting as you move up the evolutionary chain. Imagine going on killstreaks in the Modern Warfare games except instead of calling down airstrikes you can morph into an Ultralisk and stomp people into the ground instead.

everyone starts as a vagina dentata

 Natural Selection II is pretty fun once you get going, but there is definitely a learning curve. If you can’t figure out how to kill people to move up the evolutionary chain then it can become more frustrating than anything else. Natural Selection II is currently on sale for 75% off at $6.24. I wish it was a little bit cheaper, but if you like team based multiplayer gameplay featuring aliens and lots of biting you can’t really go wrong here. Verdict: Buy it.

Dishonored

Steam daily deal today is Dishonored from our friends over at Bethesda and also Arkane Studios. Bethesda published and that’s how we like it in these parts. Have you played Fallout New Vegas? It’s like everything that was fun about Fallout 3 only better in every way. That’s right, I said it. New Vegas is better than Fallout 3 in EVERY WAY. Ahem. Now that that’s out of the way. You might remember Arkane Studios as the devs who make sequels to popular games that are relatively different than their predecessors, and generally critics and fans don’t remember them so fondly. The two big examples: BioShock 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. Neither of these examples were bad necessarily but they weren’t the same games as the originals and were not as good. 
All they needed was another chance at an original triple Ayyyyyy title and they got it with Dishonored. Dishonored, for all in tents and porpoises, is a solid game that dreams big and never quite reaches the lofty heights it aims for but is still really good and ultimately leaves you wanting more. As well as wondering more.
The coolest part of the game is probably the environments and the world that has been created. This includes the lore, which is where the originality in the writing comes through. It’s an alternate reality type situation where the world runs on whale oil, and technological advancements are abound due to combustion. But the whales are also magical, and none too happy about getting speared. Also they have weird tentacles or something but you really don’t get to see them. Sadly, the whales, their fisherman, the magical bones they leave around, and a massive plague destroying the population of the city all take place mostly in the background of the main story. Books of lore left around are actually worth reading which is always a nice change, especially in an FPS. But nothing you learn really has anything to do with the storyline- which is a mere kidnapping/revenge/government overthrow tale. Each locale and mission teaches you more about the world around you, but ultimately this information is only useful because it’s just cool. And it is cool, but it would be way cooler if the plot was intertwined with the details.
There is another whole world/dimension where some cocky asshole lives that you get to visit, he gives you powers and it’s weird and trippy and surreal but you don’t spend enough time there to get completely acquainted. This too could have played a much bigger role in the story.
The game can be played in many different ways, although I recommend stealth because it gives time to really soak up the ambience and to gather all kinds of interesting backstory- you sense a theme here? You have a sword and a gun and a crossbow with different darts. I didn’t fire my gun a single time my whole play through, although I did use multiple darts every now and then. But there’s just something about teleporting behind someone and stabbing them in the neck and then teleporting up onto a rooftop for a quick escape. You hardly have to talk to any assassination targets if you don’t want to. There are scripted events that can be completely bypassed if you so choose.
Combat itself is fine, if a little bit clunky. But that makes stealth all the more fun. The key is to actually use the special abilities to vary the experience more, and to find the most interesting ways to take out targets.
Dishonored is definitely not perfect. It’s a flawed gem that gets better the more effort you put into understanding the world you are in. At 75% off for only $4.99 it’s a hell of a bargain. And definitely better than the sum of its parts. Verdict: buy it.

From Paris With Games/ E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy

Apparently the French are good for more than just wine, cheese, and fine dining. Yes, apparently the City of Lights (I heard that’s what they call it) is a hotbed for game development. After all, Peter Molyneux is French right? And he made Fable and Black and White. WRONG. Because I just looked it up and according to Wikipedia he is apparently British. I thought at the very least he was French Canadian but nope. So scratch him off the list.

If you just click the From Paris With Games button it automatically takes you to E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy which is perfect because it is the cheapest game on the list and also one of the more interesting ones. First of all it is $1. That’s reason enough but let’s get into it. At first glance Divine Cybermancy reminds me of an FPS from a bygone era. It uses the Source engine which is usually, but not always a good sign, but everything is dark and angular and circuity. The walls are are all as massive as the rooms are. The aesthetic is cyberpunk, and I mean pre-Matrix cyber punk. The characters look like some combination of special forces/medieval knights/Final Fantasy. And the game plays mostly like the severely underrated dystopian Christian Bale movie Equilibrium in which said hero saves puppies and blows away government agents in helmets.

Combat is pretty much like that except not quite as fluid and also you have a sword and you can fly around and cut people up. E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy is also really complex, in more than one way. For one the translation is awful and it might be awful on purpose. It definitely makes it hard to tell exactly what is going on but it only adds to the intrigue! There are also a million different stats you can choose to level up and it is relatively unclear as to what exactly the stats do, Dark Souls-style. For example there is a stat called Mental Stability, and the description of it states that higher Mental Stability raises your Mental Stability. Helpful! There is a video tutorial system but it is also unclear how to tell which video to choose when. But you don’t really need them it’s more fun to wander around and bang into stuff until you figure it out. S.P.E.C.I.A.L., this is not. There are also loads of special powers to use, some more confusing than others.

Christian Bale is: some guy in a suit made of tin cans

E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy is currently on sale for one dollar. You should definitely buy it. Because it is ONE DOLLAR. If you’re into FPS RPGs it’s worth a shot, it’s a little rough around the edges but you just gotta pretend it’s a better looking game from 1998 and then it becomes pretty cool. Plus there’s co-op. Verdict: Buy it.