Pick 5: What to remember when staring at a Steam Sale

Steam Summer Sale day 7 We are halfway into the Steam Summer Sale and like always - It's a test of discipline or patience. As much as we love seeing the games we want to play go down in price, we should always keep our head straight and think before going crazy on each item on sale. 


It will get cheaper, don't worry

No, seriously. 50% off? Don't be trigger happy with the purchase button. Once the Steam Sale goes live, a good number of games go on a discount. But keep in mind that if that precious game you've always wanted is not in either the daily deals, flash deals, or community choice deals, there's a huge chance it can go cheaper once it gets its turn in one of those categories.  Last thing you want is to buy a game at half price, then see it go down 75% the next day. I know it's hard, but trust us, patience will pay off.

Summer Adventure

Each sale has a gimmick, ignore it

What gimmick? Those mini games Valve adds to make each Sale a bit...unique. Currently, we have Summer Adventure that divides Steam users into a colored team. You can earn points by doing specific tasks like craft the badge for this sale, buy a game that's more than 10 bucks, or make a game's badge. Now those points contribute to the overall score of your team, competing against other teams also racking up the points. The team with the highest point at the end of the day wins and each user in that team gets in-game rewards, more cards, and even games. The strongest incentive to do this is of course getting games for  free. 30 users from the winning team is rewarded with the top 3 games in their wishlist. Know how it works? Good. Now ignore it.

I know it's tempting, but crafting badges takes money and time. Do you really want to spend a few extra bucks just for the slim change of wining three games in your wishlist? Ignore these gimmicks, and focus in getting the game you want, with the least amount of damage to your savings. You're wallet will thank you for it.


You most likely have Steam Cards, Sell 'em!

If you are a collector and get a kick out of this feature, then ignore this one. But if you don't care much of those virtual cards that have small value in them, then we suggest you toss them to the Steam Market to get a few pennies for them. For those unaware about Steam cards - These game cards earned when playing games that support the feature, and is used to make badges to unlock cosmetic items for your Steam profile.

Check out your Steam account's inventory. Yes, you have an inventory. If you have a couple, sell them, especially the Sale Cards that show up only for the sale (They disappear once the sale ends). Cards usually sell from .10$ to even .30$ per card if you're lucky. Seems a bit small, but it's better than nothing. Heck, you never know, all the cards you've sold at the marketplace might rack up to a dollar or two, which might be enough to grab a cheap DLC  that's 75% off.  Or better yet, you might have enough in your Steam Wallet thanks to the cards to get that 90% off indie game you've always wanted.


Prioritize the games you have the urge to play, not the games you might play in the future

It happens to the best of us. For me, I knew Fez was a good game, but I never had the urge to buy it. Last year it hit 75% off and I bought it because I was thinking I'd play it in the future. I Never did up until now. We get certain games because it's cheap right at that point, but all it does is stack up your backlog if you don't have the urge to play it. Don't bother with those games and focus on the games you can't wait to play. Update that wishlist or make a personal list yourself. Going crazy with the cheap games that isn't in your radar might hinder you from getting the game you really want in the coming days.


Have a backlog from the last sale? Play those first!

Yes, the last thing to remember is looking back at your backlog and play what you've bought in previous sale. Why not? Give your previous purchases some love! You did buy them to play them, not to populate your library. Don't be pressured to buy anything because it's currently at a great price. Steam will always have seasonal sales, so those crazy cheap prizes will come back, the game might even go cheaper the next time the sale comes around too. Also remember that Steam have regular sales even after the big sales have ended. They have the weekly midweek sales around Wednesdays, the daily deals, and the weekend off sale that is usually paired with a free play of the game that's currently on a discount. You will have that opportunity again to buy let's say Far Cry 3 at 75%, so calm down, check your library, and play those awesome games waiting to be played.

Have any other reminders for those going through the sale? Hit the comments below and remind us before we send money over to Gabb and company.

Pick 5: Problems with Downloadable Content


Problems with Downloadable Content Lets face it, Downloadable Content(DLC) are everywhere in video games nowadays. No matter what, you will be bothered with new DLC promos and free ones to "enhance" your experience in a given game.Some are great, like the added content giving 2-3 more hours into your game time, but most of them are completely useless or flat-out done poorly. DLC is fairly new, and it will get better in time, but there are just very bad practices that make DLC a waste at times.

Downloadable content already on the damn disc


Yea, I'm talking about you Capcom. There's a reason why it's called "Downloadable Content", its content made after completing the final product, which is then purchased separately and then downloaded to include in your game. But when the added content is already finished and is actually on the disc? Do we really have to pay for it? It really feels like I'm paying for it twice if it's on the disc.

Big example is of course Capcom's approach with their DLC's. On the release of Street FIghter X Tekken, I guess they didn't realize that there are people in the world that actually look into the game disc files to hopefully find something useful. well, they struck gold when they noticed that all the planned DLC characters are already on the disc and is actually playable, with only a simple code to unlock(which is pretty much what you're buying, the key).  Capcom got a lot of bad rep from this one and they keep saying that it's still not complete. Well, don't add it in the disc then, and don't say complete because we see footage of the characters very much playable. bad Capcom, bad.

Map packs are always overpriced 


I love competitive online games like Call of Duty or Battlefield. It can be quite relaxing at times and at first, I was excited to "enhance" my experience by buying a couple of map packs. Well, I never did in either of my purchase of either Call of Duty or any game that has 'Team Deamatch' because it turns out to be a waste in a couple of months. Thanks to the yearly release of the popular Call of Duty and whatever FPS game EA cooks up for that year, buying map packs feel like  a waste to be honest. It's hard to justify a $15 bundle with 5 new maps when I have a lingering thought that a new game will be released next year. You also lose a good portion of players flocking over to the next best thing making you regret your purchase even more. Plus, these map packs come out more expensive that any other DLC.

Season Pass DLC can be a risk at times


Get the season pass now and get the first 5 DLC for free when released. That's pretty much the gist of what a Season Pass does in most games. Getting the pass comes out cheaper than buying the DLC one by one, that's the catch, but sometimes some of the DLC included in the pass maybe something you might not want, or simply just suck. A lot of big titles do this now like Assassin's Creed or Uncharted. I remember the pass for Uncharted 3 and looking back, I was pretty thankful I didn't get pulled into buying it. Why? because all I wanted is the coop DLC, I'm not interested in the rest.

But this method of releasing DLC isn't so bad, some can just be risky and pointless. Best application of the Season Pass? The Walking Dead game. An episodic game series that has the game divided into 5 episodes. It makes sense in getting the pass if you want the game, and you need all 5 anyway to get the most of every episode since choices get carried over.

Content that shouldn't be DLC's in the first place


I have this theory that some studios literally hold off 10% of the full game for DLC. As much as they say all DLC is done after the completion of the original content, we all know that's a load of bull. Two games come into mind that supports my theory. First, Mass Effect 3. As much as I loved the game and series, the day-one DLC that gives you an extra squad member and additional mission felt like it shouldn't be placed as exclusive content. Why? Well, because it's Shepard finding the last living Prothean and knowing their history a bit more is a pretty big deal. Mass Effect fans will agree with me on this, and for those that don't and haven't played that DLC, you are missing out, which is why it should have been added into the full game.

The second that comes into mind is with the worst Resident Evil game I've ever played. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City has this free DLC that includes a campaign of the other Spec Ops team that entered Raccoon City when all hell broke loose. What's the problem? Well it felt like they made it DLC just because the content wasn't ready. It's hard for me to think Capcom would allow DLC like that to go free, and I was right because additional missions had a price tag on them. if only the Echo Six campaign was included int the original game, maybe it would have been a better game...nah who am I kidding.

Some pre-order DLC incentives are useless


True story, and this is actually based on my latest purchase, which was Tomb Raider. Let's have a look at my free DLC shall we?

- Additional "Agility" upgrade for Lara Croft - Additional multiplayer map "Shanty Town" - Tomb Raider Combat Strike Pack, which includes "Animal Instinct" and "Headshot Reticle"  skill upgrades and the "Pistol Burst" and "Pistol Silencer" weapon upgrades.

Granted, the added map is pretty cool, but the rest is literally obtainable if you actually play the damn game. Why call it DLC?  Additional "Aglility" upgrade? It's an actual upgrade in the game and the DLC just unlocks it for you for free? Awesome. Can't you give me a golden pistol at least? That would be pretty cool...I think. I'm also not that interesting in skins, especially for my first playthrough since I'd like to see the game in its original state, that's just me I guess.

As much as they are called "DLC incentives",  most of them are usually cosmetic and I'd rather have a free mug or something at least. Some pre-order DLC are exclusive, but usually they become available for purchase anyway in a few months. So it comes out a lie, but you won't care really since you have already forgotten.

In the future, Downloadable Content will get better eventually. It's inevitable, thanks to the world slowly evolving in a digital format. Some are actually good like Red Dead Redemption's Undead Nightmare DLC, now that's "added content". Or How Gearbox Software does their DLC for Borderlands 1 and 2. But there are some that are just really bad and question some studio's if they even know the meaning of DLC.  Right now, it feels like another way to get a quick buck, and the sad part is we occasionally take the bite. So hopefully in the future, majority of the added content released will actually be worth it.

Pick 5: JRPG's I'd like to see make a return

JRPG return I've been playing a lot of JRPG's lately. Mainly because I missed the Japanese style and concept. While I was playing Final Fantasy XIII-2, it made me look back and think which series would I like to play again? Better yet, what series would I like to see make a return as next-gen. 

I was first exposed to the genre through Final Fantasy VII, and from there on, anything RPG I picked up. Back in the PlayStation One and PS2 days, there were tons of JRPG's in the console, with the western RPG's dominating the PC platform. But now, JRPG's are quite rare. The market isn't what it used to be, making it a big risk for most developers. Some still continue like Square Enix with Final Fantasy, but even they are struggling to stay afloat. But not all is lost. The latest JRPG released was Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch receiving good reception all across the board. Ni No Kuni shows that there's still a market out there. With the  whole industry slowly converting to the next generation, I'm hoping to see some of these JRPG series to make big return. All you can do in the end is hope really...

Breath of Fire series


This series has always been great. Breath of Fire is well known for it's recurring characters. Each game has an entirely different story, but always have the dragon shapshifting silent protagonist named Ryu and Nina, a girl with wings. The latest release for the series was Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, released in 2003. Since then, nothing new came out. Capcom has forced this great series to go on hiatus, Why? no one knows for sure. Maybe it's the now crowded RPG market making Capcom think it's a bad investment, or the lack of confidence that the series would be well received by the modern crowd today. Whatever the reason, if Capcom would stop thinking like a business for 1 second and just give a go signal for a new game, I'd buy it in a heart beat. Imagine a Breath of Fire game with Capcom's new game engine for the PS4?

Chrono Trigger


A true RPG classic. Chrono Trigger is considered one of the best JRPG's of all time. Actually, some might even consider it one of the best games of all time. With its multiple endings(around 12), memorable characters, and having a two dimensional world, it left a lasting impression that was hard to shake off until now. Even some of the endings were quite shocking as a kid. Time travelling is tricky to pull off and Chrono Trigger had a story that was actually good. Chrono Trigger were the many games that embraced the ATB(Active Time Battle) system and is the game that had the exact art as Dragon Ball. There has been no new title for the series after Chrono Cross. That's 13 years Square Enix, get to it!


Suikoden II cover (US)

The one thing I haven't seen lately in current JRPGs is a lot of playable characters to choose from, and I mean a lot. That was Suikoden's trademark feature - 108 playable characters. Suikoden gave players the option to collect playable characters and I remember getting hooked because of it. Talking to every NPC I find in hopes to recruit all of them for my army. The strategic war battles is also something that I miss - A part in the game were it becomes a strategy game, with the protagonist commanding his newly formed army to go against the enemy nation. There was also base building. It had a fairly simply turn-based gameplay, but everything else made it unique. The series is still alive to this day, but now lives in hand-held devices such as the PSP and Nintendo DS.

Jade Cocoon

Jade Cocoon-ss01

This is probably a personal favorite. Not many knew about Jade Cocoon back in the day. I myself had no idea what it was all about, but with me addicted to anything RPG at the time, I picked it up and tried it out. After a few hours I was already a fan. It was Pokemon with a more tribal setting. Come to think of it, Ni No Kuni is somewhat similar to Jade Cocoon - having the ability to summon monsters to fight your battles. It had a sequel in 2001 on the PS2, but after that, gone. From what I know the series did not die from failure, but rather the studio Genki decided to focus on another genre, racing games.  Not even sure if the company still exists.

Wild Arms 1 and 2 


This series is pure nostalgia. I remember those late nights of me trying to figure out the puzzles as a kid and humming to the Wild Arms intros. The Wild Arms series lost steam quickly after the second game, making me consider that the series only have two titles(It actually has five).  There's a lot going for Wild Arms - The western setting, the anime cutscenes, gameplay focused on guns, and the damn good sountrack. I'd love to see Wild Arms get a new face for next gen though, and if they can make me hum while playing, it will be worth every penny. Instead of just posting gameplay footage of the game, I'll just dump one of the game intro's below and if you get goosebumps from hearing it, you know you want the series to return in a big way.

Wild Arms 2 intro

What about you? What games would you like to see make a big return?

Pick 5: Reasons why I've lost faith in Resident Evil

Lost faith RE Resident Evil is considered the franchise that started it all. The survival horror genre was born when that iconic cutscene of the very first zombie was seen and Capcom knew they had something special. From 1998 to present, we have seen this survival horror franchise spawn numerous titles, sequels, and prequels. It even has a movie franchise that now has a total of five movies released. It's definitely a success, but as the series progressed, it slowly lost it's identity and eventually evolved itself into something we see all too much in either movies or games. I love Resident Evil, but at this point, I have lost all faith. 

Resident Evil 2 was my introduction to the survival horror genre. When I was in grade school, I experienced Resident Evil 2 for the first time and from there on, I became a fan. I can still remember the first time I encountered the Licker in the Police Station - As it shows it slowly turns it's head to reveal its long tongue, it then detaches itself from the ceiling to engage you. I was scared, but definitely hooked and determined to see it through.  The whole concept of treading lightly and saving valuable consumables and ammo for future use kept the game intense and most of the time frightning. Not anymore though, as the story moved forward, the series changed and turn out to be less appealing after each release. Here's are some reasons why.


Hollywood Movies

The first Resident Evil movie was released in 2002. From there, it spawn 4 sequels. The movies weren't all that bad. The action was good, and the Story was expected to be horrible since..well. the whole story of Resident Evil is a big mess to begin with. My big problem with the hollywood infused Resident Evil series approached this as an action movie, and to top that all off, they add a leading protagonist completely made up just for the movies. Not only do most generation gamers and non-gamers now consider Resident Evil a monster slaying flick, we have all those memorable characters like Claire, Chris, and Leon taking completely useless roles in the movie, only placed for fan service. It completely changed the image of Resident Evil, and the games for some reason eventually followed suit with all the action.

Removing unique game mechanics

The evolution to what the franchise is right now began with Resident Evil 4. For the first time, Capcom has scrapped the still camera seen in previous games, and placed the camera over the shoulder. They removed the perspective mostly used in survival horrors.(Silent Hill, Fatal Frame) I did have a great time with the 4th game I won't lie, but it didn't feel the same anymore. At the time, the change was welcome, but the changes kept going as the number beside the title went up. Once they revealed RE 6, it was actually unrecognizable.  They removed yet another gameplay mechanic - being unable to shoot while moving. Staying still in order to shoot added tension, when they took that out, it was hard to call it an RE game anymore, especially with all the rolling and dodging.


Action Adventure > Survival Horror

This is the franchise that started the whole survival horror, but also the one that abandoned it in the end. Back to RE4, it slowly turned out as more action-oriented, but still more about running away and picking your fights. Only during the 5th and 6th, even Operation Raccoon City(completely shit game by the way), did it really feel like a third person shooter, making me do mindless shooting to no end. RE5 was still tolerable, but RE6 went all out.

Cooperative Play 

Co-op. First introduced in RE5, coop destroyed any form of tension or fear. It made it a bit more linear, and eventually felt like a great coop game with a friend. I had a blast playing it with a buddy, but it felt wrong getting that kind of impression from a franchise I once got goosebumps when playing it.

Resident Evil 6/ Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

When Resident Evil 6 was released, the evolution was complete. Everything that made the franchise great is now gone. What replaced it was hollywood explosions and mindless gunfights. The only thing that made it Resident Evil was the characters and the herbs still used as a healing item. It became a third person shooter, plain and simple. It lost it's edge, and it was hard to swallow, since other games that bring the same thing can do better. We then have Operation Raccoon City. A game that I thought would be an amazing game, turning out to be the worst game of that year(for me). There was so much wrong in that 4-player coop that to this day, I still regret buying it on day 1. Both of them came out the same year, and I was really hoping for a good RE game.

In a business standpoint, yes, making it more action than scary would reach a bigger market. But when you slowly do a complete makeover, that's a whole different story. It made a divide in the fan base; People that love when it was a survival horror, and people that enjoy how it is now. It's hard to see how Resident Evil would be in the coming years. Not even sure If I want to know. Will it Capcom continue to move forward as is, or take a few steps back and bring back elements that made the games great? My guess is that they will just keep moving forward with what they have. If that does happen, I'll just accept it and keep praying for some kind of reboot.

What do you think about the Resident Evil as a whole?


Pick 5: Must Play Indie Titles

Must play indie titlesEvery time I browse online game stores whether it's from Xbox Live, PSN, or Steam, I always get tempted to get independent titles. I've experience great indie games that come out just as good or even better than some retail games priced at $60. Maybe it's the freedom they have to make the game? I'm not too sure, but indie games is always a breath of fresh air with an industry filled with sequels and games all about shooting people. 2012 was another great year for indie developers, but my Pick 5 is a mix of new and old games.

Super Meat Boy - $14.99 Release date: November 2010

To this day, if I want some good old fashion platforming that would really test my patience, I head back to Super Meat Boy on my Xbox 360. It was released in 2010, but I only got my copy of the game around 2011 and I'm glad I did. It's simply a 2D platformer with the goal of reaching the end of the stage, but don't think this will be easy. They have one of the most ridiculous stages and game mechanics, and since you die in one hit, the tension never goes away. There are around 300 stages in this game, and have a good amount of characters with unique abilities,  so this title has a good amount of content.

FTL: Faster Than Light - $9.99 Release date: Sept 2012

This is actually one of the newest title in the bunch. FTL: Faster Than Light is a PC indie title that can kill your whole afternoon if you're not careful. This Real Time Strategy game let's you take command of a space ship that must deliver vital information to the allied fleet. You manage everything in your ship from, ship upgrades, ship repairs, which crew member mans a station on the ship, and do battle against other ships that you come across. This game is a time sink. When I finished downloading the game(only 157MB) I couldn't stop playing. This also has one fo the best soundtracks from an indie game so far.

Terraria - $9.99 Release date: May 2011

Terraria is a 2D action adventure platformer with a hint of RPG elements. This game is all about exploration and experimentation. You simply start with nothing and slowly create what you need to survive with the materials around you, Sounds familiar? There's no story, or objective. But as you go deeper into the world, more monsters and items will unlock, bosses will show up, and you instantly find yourself invested in this game.

Legend of Grimrock - $14.99 Release date - April 2012

Legend of Grimrock is old school dungeon crawlers return to modern gaming. This game is greatly inspired by past titles like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master. You hardly see games like this anymore, but it's good that a very new indie developer took the challenge at bringing it back. As you go deeper in, you find weapons, level up, figure out clues, find hidden rooms, and trigger traps that will instantly kill you. The way the combat works may feel awkward for people unfamiliar with games like this, so have an open mind when you give this game a try.

Binding of Isaac - $4.99 Release Date: September 2011

This is one game that's disturbing and addicting at the same time. It's a top down 2D action adventure with a very strong replay value. It's a pretty tough game and every time you finish it, new items, bosses, and stages unlock, as well as more endings to see once you reach the end. Each time you play the game, your play style always comes out different thanks to the many random item upgrades you pick up, making each playthrough appealing. It's worth the investment if you are looking for a game that will never go dull after your first run through it.