Splinter Cell DLC maps on Steam

Posted in Gaming, Uncategorized on September 27th, 2009 by samuraisam

As I have posted on the Steam forums (here) there is a way to get the DLC maps (Kolacell, Vselka Infiltration, Vselka Submarine) on your Steam copy of Splinter Cell.


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell on PC

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell on PC



This may also apply to you if you have a copy of Splinter Cell and cannot get the DLC maps/update to install.

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Age of Chivalry review

Posted in Game Reviews on July 17th, 2009 by samuraisam

As a game based in medieval times, the game has taken a risk by choosing FPS as its format, conventionally swords and arrows has been limited to the RTS/strategy genre. In my opinion, the risk was well taken and the game is an unbelievably good one, I actually have to say based upon fun in this game during multiplayer that this is a really great game.

The game is 100% free for download via the steam platform but requires that you own a source game.

This is a very high quality game; the menus are well designed, the models are well designed, the maps are simply bad ass and everything fits in really well. In my opinion the sound quality in particular for a free mod is well done, the battle taunts are great. What makes the game fun is that it has taken a pre-gun/electricity time in history and made it fun, it doesnt bore you with historical crap or taking 20 minutes to position your soldiers, it is just fun.

Skill

The game is undeniably easy to get into but hard to grasp some of the finer points (not relating to complexity of the game, rather the skill required). By this I mean I could give this game to most people and they’d be able to get into it easily, everything is straightforward and I don’t think it’d ever be one of those “whats going on” situations.

AOC: Age of Chivalry screenshot bridge
Many aspects of the game are based upon traditional gaming styles (i.e. capture the flag)

Spawning is nice and fast, however the walking speed for some classes (like the crossbow) is slow; this is good, this keeps classes balanced and makes the game fun to play.

Rather than give you a class by class analysis of the game i’ll sort it into two categories

  • Guys with arrows (longbow, crossbow, javeline)
  • Guys with swords and shit

That pretty much sums up the classes; you have your ranged guys (archers all have swords), and then your close combat guys (some of whom have small daggers etc for throwing from medium range).

AOC: Age of Chivalry screenshot class selection screen
Class selection screen

The arrows are nice, but it does take a while to figure out the aim; this game doesnt use conventional crosshairs and also arrows don’t travel as fast as a bullet from a .357 magnum. The same thing goes for swords; you dont really connect during combat, so if you swing you have to be constantly aiming at the person and you have to be within range, if that makes any sense.

I have been getting more used to the arrows and swords within the game however I think part of the issue may be that I’m a high ping player (140 or so on EU servers) and the game possibly isnt optimized too well for such a ping.

AOC: Age of Chivalry screenshot swords castle
Castle invaders

Manners
In some maps the gameplay is somewhat like Sven Co-op where one must work together with other players to achieve objectives; players must essentialy display courtesy to other players (‘raise the bucket’ is a good example of this) and overall this is always a great thing to have in a game.

The other display of courtesy and manners is with team killing, many servers have friendly fire on and it you kill someone on your team you are expected to apologize. It is common to kill friendlys as when there is a ruckus it can get quite crowded.

The manners displayed in the game are something that make it what it is: a great game.

Fun
You might ask yourself what is fun about medieval in FPS.
Ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Have you ever seen someone bunny hopping or teabagging in chainmail?
  • Have you ever had someone say “mason sappin’ ma captives!~”
  • Have you ever headshot someone using a crossbow?

The game really has its own special crowd, seeing as the game doesn’t require such a time investment from players (unlike WoW etc) everyone is nice and casual. I am reminded a bit of Rune, however the combat isn’t as tense as in Rune. One of the fun things for me is running away from enemies (you have the ability to sprint using the shift key), usually however they catch up and kill me but sometimes it does lead to funny cat + mouse shenanigans. There is actually a ‘warm up’ before you start playing properly, during which time you are free to roam the map with other players–more often than not this leads to hilarious team killing all around (everyone’s scores are reset by the time the warmup period is finished so it’s all good.) So based upon fun alone, I’ve really grown to enjoy this game. I would go so far as to say it is epic. The game itself is serious, but it is the crowd that makes it fun. I would also say a high proportion of players use microphones.

Technical Shenanigans
Overall the game’s technical side is great however one problem I had initially was constant crashing upon launch; this was most probably due to the intro video. I managed to fix this by using the novid launch option from within steam. The game still crashes quite often when ALT+TABing in and out of the game, in fact I havent managed to do so once without it crashing.

System requirements are a little bit higher than other source engine games, though not that restrictedly high. The game will run fairly well if you are able to run HL2 well. High FPS really isnt that necessary or apparent in this title.

Conclusion
This game is fluid. It all matches well. It is high quality. It is fun. It is entertaining. It is a great game.

I rate this game

9.9/10

You can find more about the game Age of Chivalry at the following links:
http://www.age-of-chivalry.com/
http://store.steampowered.com/app/17510/ (Steam page)

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Steaming success

Posted in Game Reviews on July 8th, 2009 by samuraisam

I remember Steam’s first steps, there were so many puns involving steam engines, steam rollers, and all manner of other steam technology and everyone saying how it was going to fail, and how it wasn’t working. I think it was such a difficult step in 2003 to launch such a service, it was a drastic move that would have been devastate to Valve if it had failed, but instead they took the step and steam is the biggest most bad ass success in gaming today. I buy practically all of my games on Steam.

While we’re all pointing very angry fingers towards the MPAA and RIAA and their relevant industries for trying to spread draconian DRM, steam has managed to slip somewhat similar DRM right under our eyes, but to be perfectly honest with you I do not at all feel threatened–I line up with everyone else and order anything that remotely interests me. To say I’ve spent a bit of money on games using steam would probably be a bit of an understatement. I’ve also enjoyed exploring older games like the early Doom incarnations and wolfenstein too; although I have played all of these I have never owned them myself and never gone through the entire games.

It’s unfortunate that the film and audio industries can’t put their collective heads together and see just how well steam works, why can’t I just buy a movie I want online and not have it be such a big issue? I know services are out there already, but none are like steam.

Finding old games on there like Deus Ex has been such an absolute joy (My steam copy counts as my 3rd copy of that game, at last no more having to buy the game again and again because of stupid Cd scratches)

Sadly the only limitations with a service like Steam are from those companies stuck in their old ways who have regional agreements (that prevent the sale of old as fuck games that aren’t available anywhere anymore to me in the middle of the desert) and also those that can’t seem to agree on better pricing agreements (that would make steam even in price to most major releases of games).
The perfect example of the regional restrictions would be the x-com series which for some unknown reason aren’t available for sale globally, despite being from around 1993 and being apparently unavailable for sale anywhere else; It’s like do you want my money or not?. Fortunately these issues seem to be outside of Steam/Valve and instead relate to other companies.
The other great thing so far and in the future will be mod support (blackmesa soon and sven coop v2 sometime in the next decade or so after that if we’re lucky), by being able to support games like these via distribution on Steam it is just the best damn service ever. i don’t think any other service hosts mods for free just because they’re good mods. Good on Steam.

If only every company could operate like Valve/Steam they might be able to see why Steam is such a success. Sadly, it is unlikely any of these companies will ever change their tone in at least the next 5 years or so.

Having said all this I’m not without my criticism, I still think they could make Steam even betterer by taking most of the suggestions people leave in the official forum and acting upon them or responding to them. I myself have left at least a few suggestions in there that have had no official response, most notably,Steam plugins which is my hope that one day steam will launch a plug in ability for the overlay (think IRC on the overlay, plus media center controls plus whatever you could ever want).
There are also some older games in the Valve catalogue that have small bugs that would only take a few hours to iron out (though admittedly I know nothing of programming); obviously non Valve games can’t be fixed by Valve so you can’t really fairly count those as being faulty.

Of course most people interested in gaming on PC would’ve heard of Steam by now, but to those who haven’t hopefully this is of some help.

Overall I rate the Steam service an even

10/10

because it’s the best damn thing ever.

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