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Checkpoint: Steam Summer Sale 2012 Edition

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This year’s Steam Summer Sale started a bit late. It had people worried but for the next week or so, folks will be far too busy refreshing Steam on a daily basis and then some.

Valve introduced 8 hour Flash Sales and Community Choice sales that have people checking the site more than once per day for new deals and new opportunities to give them more money. I’ve visited multiple times in hopes of something new and exciting but I only came away with: 1) Trine 2 and 2) the Alan Wake Collection.

I wanted to play the American Nightmare standalone expansion for Alan Wake. I already own Alan Wake and the first two DLC on the Xbox 360 and was waiting for the expansion to go on sale. But since it was cheaper to buy the Alan Wake Collection on Steam than to buy the standalone expansion on the Xbox Live! Marketplace, I made the sensible choice.

I may even repeat that similar decision with Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. I own SSFIV for the PlayStation 3 and it’ll cost me $15 to upgrade to the Arcade Edition. I could have, however, just plop down $9.99 for the SSFIV: Arcade Edition off of Steam. Unfortunately I missed the sale. Hopefully I can catch it again during the recap day at the end.

Still replaying Max Payne 3 on “Old School” difficulty and still enjoying it. It’s easier than “Hard Mode” and I don’t miss the omission of the Last Stand mechanic. I’m also playing Battlefield 3 on a regular basis but that’s boring to recap.

Let’s talk about Nightfall, another one of those deck building games brought over to iOS by Playdek. I picked it up for just $0.99 and while I like the game now, it has its share of issues that will keep me from buying additional expansions for it.

Chief among the list of issues is the complexity of the game. It’s too involved for an asynchronous multiplayer game — there’s too much back and forth between players. I’m in a four player game right now and we’re still drafting cards. There’s so much back and forth per round that days could literally go by before we finish a round. And with no way to see a log of events, I don’t see how anyone could employ an effective strategy across multiple days.

The second issue is probably a byproduct of the first where I’m finding it really difficult to find live opponents. And this is during a sale event which should be teaming with new people. I’ve seen one of my created games go unfilled for hours which isn’t the case for Ascension.

And finally I some gripes against the UI design. The menus are fine — in fact I think they’re better than Ascension’s — but the main board is a bit difficult to read. I’d like to read the cards without squinting or double tapping them on the new iPad — something I could do with Ascension. I think the needlessly curved layout of the cards hurts their legibility. I’m used to it now but it’s unfortunate to see them take a step back in this area of the UI.

I’m going to continue playing Nightfall for the foreseeable future but I don’t know how long I will continue without competition.

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