games / Columns

Crossing the Steams 01.12.13: Steam Sale Thoughts Part Two

January 12, 2013 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome to part two of the continuing series of recapping even more of the games I acquired during the Steam sale (and a bit before). Again, the thoughts contained below aren’t meant to be explicit reviews, just kind of my own feelings on each of the game. This little feature may continue on to a part three, depending on if anyone is really interested or not. With that said, let’s begin:

The Amazing Spider-Man


Technically I didn’t buy this game during the Steam sale, but during the Thanksgiving sale. Still, I’m counting it for this column since I’ve been playing it off and on since I grabbed it. It’s an extremely solid Spider-Man game, all told. The combat is a bit iffy, but that’s been an issue in most (if not all) past Spider-Man games. The web-swinging is fun, and the city feels appropriately large and like a jungle gym for Spider-Man’s unique skill set. The real big innovative idea in this game is the web zip line move you can pull off. When you click the RB button you enter a first-person mode (slightly distorted due to Spider-Man’s mask) and you can choose where you want to zip to. A yellow silhouette of Spider-Man appears when a spot is viable for you to zip to, to give you notice of where you’re aiming at, or a particular target. Really, it’s this gimmick that is a fresh idea for a Spider-Man game, and makes the entire game actually interesting. It’s not a perfect game by any means, the combat in particular is bland, and the boss battles are a frustrating mess. But it actually is a nice return to form for Spider-Man, especially since the last two games (Shattered Dimensions, Edge of Time) were unmitigated disasters.


Max Payne 3


This is another game where I got it before the Steam sale but failed to write a full column up about it. The simple reason is because the game is unplayable on my current computer. I originally tried it on Windows 8 and got a weird glitch where in the 2nd mission (during a dance club/sniper sequence) the voice audio started to desync from what was going on in the game. Basically a line would be said (in subtitles) like “Max, get to the chopper! We have to go now!”, but the actual dialog would just be “Max Max Max Max Max Max Max”, until the scene had a cut, and the dialog changed. The first mission had none of this, but the second one started to, about 10 minutes in. The longer I played the game, the worse it would get, and at about the 30 minute mark (of a game session), the game would be unplayable. This happened on both Windows 7 and Windows 8, so that’s not an issue. Nor was my computer at fault, since I well exceed the recommended specifications. There have been numerous other people with similar audio issues with the game, so I’d recommend not buying it….ever, until someone actually releases a patch to fix this issue. Don’t look to Rockstar to fix it either since they no longer care about the game at all.


Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in Northpoint DLC


I was/still am a big fan of Sleeping Dogs. In many ways it’s my favorite open-world city game, beating out GTA 4 handily, and out-classing Saints Row 3 in some spots. It looks beautiful, had a great story/voice acting, extremely satisfying combat, and plenty of cool moments to keep you interested throughout the main story. With all that said though, the Nightmare in Northpoint DLC is fairly disappointing. The first mis-step is that it’s a separate option on the menu, as it loads into its own scenario. This means that none of your upgrades, cars, or gear from the main game comes in with you. That can be ignored somewhat, but the actual gameplay in Nightmare is abysmal. You only ever do three things in the (under 2 hour) runtime. The first is that you punch zombies until they get dazed, then you grab them and punch them with mystical energy so they explode (it’s not explained how Wei can do this at all). The second is you throw the zombies into these demonic pit things, three times, in order to close them off (and stop anymore zombies from spawning in an area. The last thing you do is beat up zombies to build up your face meter. Once it’s full, you can take on the stronger demon in the area, which you can only injure while in face mode. This is ALL you do in this DLC, outside of one shooting mission (which ends too short), and a few boss battles that aren’t challenging at all. There are side activities, but they only involve closing the demon portals, or freeing held people (by beating up the zombies around them). All told, it is just a depressing piece of content because they failed to actually do anything interesting. If you think it’s going to be like Red Dead’s “Undead Nightmare” DLC, you’re in for a very rude awakening.


Geometry Wars

Well, the good news: It’s a port-perfect game that was on the 360, it looks great, and plays the same. The bad news: it barely runs at all. The game, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t actually run at all. I’ve tested the game, booting it up 20 times, and only managed to actually get into it once. With an average of 1/20 to get the game to start, those aren’t particularly great odds. The other 19/20 times I get a “Failed to find Steam” error, and it boots up a web browser window to Steam’s website. The only fix is to restart Steam, but it’s not a full-proof fix. Even if it was, this trick only works the first time you boot it up, so if you close it, and want to play again, you’ll have to restart Steam again, and hope it boots. The likelihood of Steam fixing this error is none, so this is another game where a recommendation isn’t warranted. Try one of the many Geometry Wars clones for Windows, notably Waves on Steam, or Echoes from Binary Zoo.


Expect to see this screen a lot when if you try and play the game

Other Steam News

Well, that’s enough out of me this week, let’s move onto new releases where’s only one “game” (DLC) listed for next week, SpellForce 2 – Faith in Destiny Scenario 2: The Golden Fool….yeah. It’s due on the 18th of January. Three games written about and only one of them is actually worth your money. That’s not exactly a great batting average. Still, next week I shall endeavor to look at Don’t Starve, Mark of the Ninja and a few others.


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Marc Morrison
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