Valve knows me too well
At the moment Valve is having a pre-order deal on two of it’s “Steam Hardware” items. If you pre-order either a Steam Controller or a Steam Link before November 10th (the date they will be released), you get a free copy of Rocket League and Portal 2. For those of you who are excited about that…go pre-order, I’ll be here when you get back. But, for those of you who some of these titles mean nothing I’ll offer up some quick explanations.
First the hardware:
The Steam Link – Valve’s answer to getting your PC gaming on to your TV without stringing cables between your office/computer room, and your TV. This is basically a Roku-esque device that will stream your Steam library to your television. For those who already have a decent computer and have no need for a multiple hundred dollar Steam Machine (basically a Valve console for those who don’t own a gaming PC), this will cost $49.99 (plus a few dollars for shipping and handling) and can be bought from Valve here.
The Steam Controller – Say you buy a Steam Link; Are you going to hook up a controller and a keyboard-mouse in case you want to play a First Person Shooter and a Platformer in the same sitting? Probably not. But if that premise appeals to you, Valve is boasting a controller which (they say) does it all. Early reviews have been optimistic – but guardedly so. A lot of reviews say that players should expect a learning curve. Speaking as someone who hated the original X-box controller but uses the 360 controller almost exclusively for my PC, hopefully I’ll survive. Another complaint is that Valve’s claim of that it works for every game is quite a reach. It will set you back is $49.99 as well with a little over $7 in shipping and handling. I went ahead and ordered one, so when it comes in I’ll give a thorough review for you guys here.
Now the software:
Portal 2 – If you haven’t heard of this game: Congratulations on your escape from North Korea! Portal 2 is a first person puzzle game where you get around obstacles by creating wormholes all while being taunted by sociopathic computers. Alternating between fun and frustrating, the story is interesting and will have you thoroughly engaged. This game also has a co-op mode for even more insanity. It was also one of Valve’s last before they decided to focus on hats, hardware and Steam rather then games. So, it comes as not a huge surprise that Valve can offer it for free to push their hardware. Unfortunately the game’s popularity means almost everyone you know has it on one system or another. Outside of this offer, Portal 2 can be bought for $20 on Steam (when not on sale).
Rocket League – Do you like soccer? How about demolition derbies? In what may be the 21st century’s most surprising Reese’s moment. Rocket League is a game which puts the fun in dysfunctional. You drive (RC?) cars and try to push a giant ball into your opponents goal, but the cars can soar through the air and do a variety of flips and maneuvers to score a goal. The matches are super fast paced at only 5 minutes, but can include a ‘sudden death’ if tied. With that in mind, it’s probably not ideal for those who want a real length match, but this makes for a fun frantic time with friends. The cars have a ridiculous amount of customization options that get unlocked as you play. According to the wikia.com for this game the cars all handle identically except for hit boxes, and skidding mechanics. This title was released in July and has already graced more then one Major League Gaming tournament. Hopefully this is a game that will be around for a while. Outside of this offer, Rocket League is going for $20 on Steam.
But why these two games? Well, first they’re both games that work well with a controller. I’ve never played Rocket League with a keyboard but I can’t imagine it improves the experience. Portal is possible with a keyboard/mouse, but ultimately is more comfortable with a controller. Second they’ll look good on a large television. Portal 2 despite being nearly 5 years old still holds up on the graphics end, and Rocket Leagues’ bright colors and speed should look great on a large HD screen. Plus if you were on the fence about either of these pieces of hardware and wanted one or both of these games getting $40 in free games for a $50 device is a pretty good deal.