Yes, we literally just had a Steam sale. Yes, there is another one starting this week (reportedly). No, I didn’t buy anything in the last sale. Yes, I will almost certainly buy something in this sale just because it’s cheaper than my daily cup of coffee.

That said, I have some great games at the ready to play this week. We really are spoiled for choice in this, the year of our lord Gaben 2014. What will you be firing up this week? The Gamentary team + extended family will be playing some Insurgency on Tuesday, but otherwise, I’ll be playing The Crew, LittleBigPlanet3, Destiny and Far Cry 4. Probably not all at once.

Thursday, 10:16 am – Ricky

The week of gaming continues!

I’ve actually had a bunch of “me time” this week, which means a bunch of gaming time. Gavin highlighted the Tuesday night session of Insurgency – I really enjoyed the look and feel of the game, but I also suck at shooters these days. That said, we played against AI, which made things a little less intense. I’ll definitely be diving back in for some more co-op sessions, though the PVP portion will probably continue to get a pass from me.

Speaking of PVP… I played my 4th ever Dota2 match with people! Up until this point, I had only played against bots. I… probably should stick to that. I had a good time, but of course, we got crushed. I made some mistakes, and I think it’s cool that I recognized them as they happened. I also didn’t get yelled at, which was nice. Last night, I jumped back in against bots with a couple different heroes and took down both games with another buddy playing co-pilot. I love the game, but I know I’ll never excel at it, nor will I ever be able to dedicate the time to it that would help me play it well.

That’s partially due to my limited game time, but also because I have a ton of games I like to play, and enjoy rotating them in and out of the lineup. I also played some The Crew this week, which I’ve been having a blast with. Different game, different system, different experience than Insurgency and Dota2, but I love it all the same. Yay choice!

This afternoon, we’ll see the Steam sale launch, including any “meta” game they’ve developed. Tonight, I’ll be back in Destiny, The Crew, and possibly LittleBigPlanet 3.

Wednesday, 8:19 am – Gavin

I suppose I’m not surprised, but I quickly (re)learned just how bad I am at twitch-shooters last night, as the Gamentary crew played Insurgency, another entry in the team-based modern military shooter genre last night.  Perhaps it’s a testament to good game design, and that my approach in a video game would very quickly get me killed in real life.  More likely, it’s just that I’m terrible at the game.

Admittedly I blasted through the training session in a matter of minutes so that I could join the game, but the game’s systems aren’t fleshed out for you. The point-based gear acquisition mechanic feels hackneyed and unnecessarily video-gamey – you don’t start out with full kit, but rather you start out with very basic gear (i.e. just a pistol) and then upgrade as you accomplish certain tasks.  In the world of multiplayer modern military shooters, this feels out of place to me.  That type of grind just doesn’t appeal to me, especially not when the grind just serves to replace basic real-life logic.

It’s a chaotic game – very little information is fed to you while you’re playing, except that your screen goes blurry when you’ve been shot, and your gun won’t fire when you’re out of ammunition.  There’s no HUD or much in the way of UI.  The end result is a very clean interface – more visible space to get clouded by dust from bullets striking barriers, or smoke from explosions.

We also had significant server issues, trying to find one that matched what we wanted and dealing with a Steam client that didn’t want to cooperate for Ricky.

In the end, it’s a decent experience, not entirely without its faults but if you’re a fan of the multiplayer modern military shooter, it’s definitely got its redeeming factors.  I’m not sure I could pick it out of a lineup, but if it’s your bag, then at $10, it’s really not that bad at all.

Monday, 11:40 am – Gavin

I, on the other hand, will be hard-pressed to buy anything this time around except for presents, even if the deals are spectacular.  With 100 titles in my library, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker waiting for me under the Christmas tree, I can probably skip out on most games.  Maybe a small game here or there, something disposable that I can be done with in an hour or two, but nothing major.

I’m hoping for a sale sometime on some 3DS titles.  I know that Nintendo is typically reticent to drop their prices, but I don’t desperately want to pay full price if I don’t have to.  Plus, I don’t really want to play a turn-based RPG, so that knocks out Fire Emblem, Bravely Default, and Shin Megami Tensei.

Anyway, I beat Metroid Prime yesterday, for the second time.  Needless to say, I was much better at it the second time than the first.  It’s amazing how much of that game I didn’t remember, but I do recall that I wasn’t super-crazy about it the first time, and that was five years ago anyway.  Flash forward to the past month or so, and I’ve adored it.  It gets much further into the lore than Super Metroid did (to be fair, the “lore” of Super Metroid is established entirely during the first five minutes of the game), so if you’re a fan of that sort of stuff, there’s a LOT to be discovered.  Comparatively, there’s very little lore in SM.  It’s just pure gameplay from pillar to post as soon as you take control of Samus.  I like being told a nice story, but it was wonderful in SM to see things and to not have any clue what they were or why they were there, because you got to create your own story about them.  Typically I’d call that lazy game design, but as part of the total SM package, it’s hard not to call it wonderful.

I don’t know if I’ll go back and play Echoes.  I liked it, but I distinctly remember it being very padded towards the end, and I recall a lot of backtracking and difficult movement.  We’ll see how I feel, but I have a lot of other games that I’d like to (re)play.  Next stop on the nostalgia train: Deus Ex or Half-Life 2!  CHOO CHOO

Monday, 10:31 am – Ricky

My Steam library is now over 400 titles. It’s a sickness.