Ola Everyone. Due to external factors I took a bit of a break on Boiling Steam (and there were not tons of news either to be honest) but it’s time to review what has happened recently. A few renowned games were released in the past few days.
First, together with the previous Humble Bundle, Shadow Warrior made it to Linux. It may sound like a new game to you but it’s actually a remake of an old game based on the original DukeNukem3D Engine back in the 90s. Graphically, it’s not spectacular, but it’s reasonably well done and it runs fine in the few levels I did.
The game is quite fun because your hero is such a brutal asshole (and keeps making comments about what happens on screen a la Duke Nukem). Xpander released a video of the native version on youtube, so that you can how it runs. It’s only available on Steam so far.
Next, Age of Wonders III (from Triumph Studios) received an update recently and added Linux support at the same time. I have never played AOW3 before, but from what I could gather it’s a mix of Empire construction, Heroes of Might & Magic, with some elements of RPGs as well. This game has received quite a lot of praise from Steam users so it’s probably a good candidate if you miss a Heroes-like kind of game on Linux at the moment. Here’s a gameplay video that may give you a better idea of how it plays (this is not the Linux version below - apparently very few videos on Linux available right now):
The Banner Saga (from Stoic Studios) has surfaced as well for Linux just a couple of days ago. That one is more for Tactical RPG amateurs, although it’s not made by Japanese developers (who are pretty good at this genre of games, with FF Tactics & Disgaea just to name a few…). I have started playing it and I have now something like 4 hours behind me. It runs pretty well even on a mid-range system (and I suspect it would run well even on integrated graphics since it’s mostly a 2D game). It features a lot of dialog and choices to make across each chapter of the adventure - so it’s not just one fight after another. The game art is pretty good and consistent (the music score is great!) but I can see a couple of issues with its mechanisms. Unlike more traditional tactical RPGs where you move all your characters in each turn, in this game the turn changes after each character move, making it difficult to establish a group strategy. Enemies are not too varied either (at least where I am in the game), and sometimes discussions in cut-scenes feel a little boring. Here’s a video from the native Linux version in case you wonder how it runs (this is not mine):
Even if it is not the best Tactical RPG ever, I consider it to be quite decent, and you should probably give it a try. It’s apparently going to be a trilogy, and the second game is on its way for 2015. I wonder if we will get native Linux support for the second episode right on launch. We will see.
That’s all for the recent news. If you like rumors, Aspyr is apparently working on a single port at the moment with all of their resources - so it may be a pretty big title coming for Linux this time. Some people think it might be Skyrim. Whatever it is, I’m certainly looking forward to their next announcement.