Leave it to the Steam Discovery Queue to turn me on to games I’d never heard of. Sometimes I’ll absent-mindedly add games to my wishlist, and then sometimes I will just buy them on the spot, particularly if something new and shiny has a bit of a discount. This time around, two games struck my fancy, and both for very different reasons.
If you were as much of a nut as I was for Half-Life, you’ve likely played a mod or two. The original game released in the 90’s when the Internet was becoming a thing and multiplayer PC gaming over-the-internet was in a state of growth but wasn’t an always-connected proposition just yet. Half-Life was a smash hit, and a great game to play but once you were bored of the campaign, traditional deathmatch was there for you. That didn’t last long though, and soon we had mods from creative people with plenty of time on their hands. Mods grew in popularity, but only a select few became stand alone titles, and only a few saw new iterations when Half-Life 2 released. The two biggest mods for the Half-Life era were easily Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat. I played both for countless hours through beta on to release — at school, at home and even at Internet cafes. Between the two Day of Defeat was always my favorite, and Day of Defeat Source to follow. Eventually the games grew old and people moved on, but even with the older Medal of Honor and Call of Duty games, the feel was never quite right. I absolutely loved Day of Defeat and that has been a missing part of my gaming DNA for a decade or more at this point.
Enter Day of Infamy. A project put together by the people behind Insurgency. A game I never played, but had definitely seen around and thought about purchasing a time or two, but with a modern era combat scheme that I’m just sick of. Even Call of Duty has moved beyond the modern and into Sci-Fi realms, so this just felt like more of the same. It turns out that I may have made a hasty judgement there, because if Insurgency plays like Day of Infamy, it surely must be an awesome game. A Server lobby? In 2017? I’m shocked and appreciative! Realistic combat as opposed to bullet sponges? Tell me more! A “hardcore” experience, with less information on screen and no kill confirmations (outside of your own visuals)? I’m sold.
The graphics are nothing spectacular, this isn’t AAA quality but it still runs well and feels optimized. Things are serviceable, and the focus feels to be right where it should — on gameplay. There are several game modes, including the standard Day of Defeat format of pushing (similar to Rush in Battlefield) and capturing objectives, with a tug of war mechanic allowing one team with an edge to win, or be pushed back. There are other modes as well, including coop, though I haven’t tried that out just yet.
There seems to be a progression of sorts, where gaining experience opens differing skins. Classes have their own unique abilities to master and the games are over fairly quick, with a best of 3 format. MVP style awards are given at the end of matches for your e-peen’s growth to boot. Overall the game feel like a spiritual successor to Day of Defeat, so if that was your bag, this game is sure to be as well. For $20 you’ll no doubt have a good time. At least you can use it to break up other multiplayer experiences, and simultaneously travel back to a simpler time.
Monster Slayers is an indie game that recently came to Steam, but I suppose I should admit that it is only new to Steam, not a new game. Apparently it is a port of a Newgrounds flash game, but that isn’t to say it feels like a rip off, which one might say about paying for a free flash game. It does have a “lite” feel to it, but to be more specific, it feels like “Darkest Dungeon Lite.” Less complexity, but a similar feel. The game touts being part Rogue-like and part deckbuilding. From what I’ve seen, it melds the two concepts quite well.
You’ll start by picking a class (out of 6 with 6 more being added very soon). Each will have its own sorts of abilities in card format. Each class will start with some cards pertinent to their play style, and some other generic cards. For instance, I started with the Wizard class, and he came with basic attacks like any other class, but then had mana charge and magic missile, both of which can be found otherwise but are nice to start out with. It seems that there is some overlap, but planning your deck to work well for your class is part of the strategy.
Battles play out in a turn based format, with 3 cards being drawn for you. You then choose how to spend your action/magic points based on cards in hand. Each card will resolve and then you’ll end your turn allowing the enemy to play their cards until one of you is dead. Death is permanent, but like Rogue Legacy, you’ll be able to use fame from your forebears to improve new characters allowing you to make it further and further each run. After a brief tutorial, you’ll jump to a new level and have a map that looks familiar to Rogue-like players:
Clicking on one of the available spaces will take you to the next room, where a variety of events will occur or monsters will be present to battle you. Gaining experience allows you to open perks, there is loot to find and equip and new cards will make their way to your deck. You even get a companion with special abilities and their own skill trees. There’s clearly plenty to do, but a single run can be mere minutes if you aren’t careful. Still, there is constant progression and it’s a blast to play. I recommend it if you’re done with your current Rogue-like fling and are looking for a new one to try, or if you were a fan of Darkest Dungeon. It’s under $10, so what do you have to lose?
That’s it for this edition. What do you guys think of this column? Want more new and noteworthy games talked about more often? Let me know in the comments!