As you’re all probably aware, most of the GamerSushi staff are in the throes of Alien Swarm addiction. The game is really engaging, and it manages to wedge itself nicely into the niche left in my gaming life by Diablo 2. Valve was even kind enough to give it to us for free, and judging by how their servers got the crap beat out of them on its release day, they’re probably kicking themselves for not charging at least five dollars for the thing.
Even though we all love Alien Swarm, it’s not a perfect game. There are a few issues I’ve had with it, but my mind keeps glossing them over because of the price tag (or lack thereof). So I pose this question to you guys: can you even review free games? Price is definitely something that has affected the perception of past titles (ODST comes to mind), so will something that only costs us hard drive space be given an automatic pass in the grading department?
Something else I’d like you to consider is DLC. I’ve played all of the Mass Effect 2 content packs, and, when stacked against ME2 proper, they come up very poorly. Even Overlord, the most recent and best of the DLC, is kind of lack-luster compared to the main game and its selling price. Can DLC be rated on its own merits, or does it have to take the larger picture into account?
Well, you’ve listened to us yap about what we’re playing on the podcast, so it’s time for you all to jump in with it, too.
Fortunately for me, we seem to be in a very brief gaming drought, while we wait for the fall releases to start dropping on us. I suppose this begins in September with Halo: Reach, so that gives me a good couple of months to catch up with some of the games on my backlog. These include Alpha Protocol, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Starcraft II (when it comes out), Dragon Age: Awakening, and even more Red Dead Redemption.
However, in the immediate future I will be playing both Alien Swarm and Alan Wake, two games that are polar opposites in terms of budget, scale and style, but both equally as engaging, I’m sure. While I haven’t officially started Alan Wake just yet, I watched my brother play about a quarter of the game a couple of weekends ago and I was mesmerized. In addition, Alien Swarm has commanded the last couple of nights, and I still can’t get over just how fun this free game is.
It’s really hard to believe that we’re now on podcast number 6, but we’re back this week with a brand new edition The GamerSushi Show, ready for your ears and scrutiny. You’ll notice a couple of things that are different in this episode, namely the awesome new theme song that Jace Ford wrote for us, which to me is absolutely perfect. Anyone that speaks against it will face the back of my hand. Also, Anthony was sick so he couldn’t make this week, and his absence was definitely felt, but he’ll be back for the next one.
In this episode, we cover a variety of topics as always, which may or may not include the death of 1 vs 100, remakes of old games and Alien Swarm. Apparently when we recorded this, the phrases “fresh coat of paint” and “free” became our favorite words ever, because we say them no less than a million times each during the course of it. Seriously, if you are of drinking age, you should play a drinking game that revolves around each time we say either of those things. You will get plastered.
Today, Valve is releasing something special that many PC gamers are sure to freak out over. I have to admit, I am not one of the rabid denizens of the Unreal 2004 community that played the junk out of the now famous mod known as Alien Swarm, but I’ve heard all about it from friends of mine who swear that it is one of the most fun multiplayer co-op games that they have ever experienced.
If you don’t know of the history behind it, Alien Swarm was a top-down mod for UT 2004 that allowed 4 players to battle it out, Diablo style, against legions of aliens with totally awesome weapons. Valve then hired the team behind its inception to help them build Left 4 Dead. Apparently the team has had some free time on its hands these days, and have produced a good and proper Source engine version of their beloved classic, which releases today on Steam.
The best part? It’s absolutely free. I’m going to be playing this tonight for sure. Who’s with me?