It’s been a while, so there’s a lot of gaming news to catch up on.
First, as my regular readers know, I’m a big fan of game developer Valve’s digital download store Steam and they have some big news for the gaming community.
The folks at Steam have just released their Big Picture Mode feature — an option for gamers who want to play games from their Steam library on big screen televisions. It’s a neat feature and gives PC gamers an option to enjoy a more console-style experience — not to mention an incentive to take a second look at some of those sweet holiday deals on TVs. But even more importantly, in honor of the release, Steam is hooking users up with some incredible deals.
PC gamers look forward to Steam sales like addicts to a fix and for good reason — we’re talking everything from indie games to major league-status titles at great prices. The sale’s still going so log in and check it out for some great games — or gifts for the gamer in your life.
Another regular source of gamer glee is back as well — the Humble Indie Bundle (humblebundle.com), usually a source of fantastic and fun indie games at low prices (and that also helps benefit charities for kids) has gone mainstream. Big-name developer THQ has partnered with the Humble Bundle crew to offer some of their titles at a killer deal. The pack includes some great games: “Darksiders,” “Metro 2033” and “Red Faction” among them.
And by paying more than average (currently hovering just under the ridiculously low price of $6), buyers also can pick up “Saints Row: The Third.” It a great deal and helps a great cause.
“Star Wars: The Old Republic,” a “Word of Warcraft” style massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG or MMO for gamers), which reportedly cost at least $200 million to produce, saw its subscription base draining shortly after release and now, just a year later, is free to play up to level 50.
Developer Bioware is one of my favorite gaming outfits and has produced some stellar titles in the past so I badly wanted it to be great. And in truth I initially gave it a good review, with some caveats.
Going with the free-to-play option isn’t necessarily a bad idea. There are several fun MMOs out there with quality game play that have improved by dropping the monthly subscription model and relying instead on convenience-based micro-transactions.
But “SW:TOR” takes it too far, into the free-to-play but pay-to-win territory by forcing players to purchase basics like extra hot bars for skill buttons. The game went free-to-play last month and after a few weeks of giving it a shot I can’t say I recommend it. While other games, like Turbine’s “Dungeons & Dragons Online,” have encroached into the pay-to-win territory and still remained fun and playable for the free player, “SW:TOR” simply takes it too far.
For a game that’s supposedly now free, I found the lack of free disturbing.