Holiday Gaming Thoughts

Steam Link & Steam Controller

I picked these two up for Christmas, and so far I’m very happy. The Link might work well over wireless for you, but it didn’t for me. The issue wasn’t just lag, but also the stream just dropping completely; it was essentially unplayable. I’ve since pulled some Cat 5e from my router to my desk and my TV, and now it’s perfect (this should also improve my TF2 ping flakiness). YMMV on the network issues though. The only other annoying thing is that if your computer locks itself while in Big Picture mode, streaming will start but won’t actually work. Thus, it’s not really something you can just leave running and have ready to go on your TV; it requires a little active work on the host machine first.

The controller works well, and is quite customizable. I started diving into that a little bit with Borderlands 2, but got derailed by the network issues. I’m currently playing Transistor, since I want to actually finish that, which doesn’t use any of the fancy touchpads, gyro, etc, and it’s working well. The DLC for Talos Principle is next on my list, and from what I can tell, the touchpads should work well, but just take a little getting used to. Given that getting used to playing FPSs with a traditional controller took some time (back when I had a 360), I can accept that.

One side benefit of any controller is that you can play games with cats on your lap, if you can put your laptop somewhere nearby. I took advantage of this when going over to a friend’s to play with their cats while they were away. Playing Transistor lying on the couch with a cat on my chest was great. And at home, getting to use my large TV, speakers, and couch, is a very nice option to have again.

Steam Sale

I picked up the full Endless Legend pack, Banner Saga, and Door Kickers. Banner Saga is on the list for TV games after Transistor and Road to Gehenna, so nothing to say about that yet.

Door Kickers is good. I’m playing in “old-school Rainbow 6” mode, where I make the entire plan while you’re paused at the start, and am then completely hands-off besides triggering go-codes and sniper fire. I’ll spend more time with the real-time/on-the-fly mode when I go back to try and complete levels with a single trooper, which should also give me a chance to try things like spy cams. I’m enjoying it, but I don’t think there’s enough depth for the full price; glad I got it on sale.

Endless Legend is great, and has successfully gotten the “one more turn” hooks into me after a shaky start on my first game when I realized I didn’t expand fast enough. Game 2 is going much better, despite some military snafus, and a really annoying main quest step now. Starting off as the default Vaulters, who have some cool special abilities (like teleporting armies between cities), but also looking forward to trying the other factions, which all look very different (unlike Civ). Very happy with this.

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