PIXEL BURN – Dark Souls 2 Cash-Grab edition, new Squeenix RPG, Steam sale tips

In which Matt offers sound purchasing advice via special effects.
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[TRANSCRIPT]

Hello my name’s Matt and this is Pixel Burn, where I look at some of the more important, interesting or irritating things to have happened in gaming news this week. And with the November Rush over and done with there’s precious little news of any bloody worth, but I’ll try and make it entertaining for you nonetheless.

For PC owners the biggest news was the Steam Autumn sale which emerged on Wednesday this week to feast on bank balances worldwide, like some unspeakable Lovecraftian star-god that devours money instead of souls.

No! Bank account…dwindling! Poverty…looming! Bargains overwhelming!

Which of course is a perfect opportunity to clog up your Steam library with even more games you’ll probably never find the time to actually play. At least not before the conclusion of your inexorable march towards the grave. Thankfully the sale is due to last only until December 2nd, whereupon it’ll doubtless soon be followed by the Steam Holiday sale right before Christmas, or your cultural equivalent.

Now before you start throwing cash around like a chimp in Scrooge McDuck’s money bin, there’re some informal rules to abide by if you want to get the best bang for your buck. They’re not compulsory…they’re just sensible.

Firstly, and this is the number one rule of any Steam sale, never buy a game unless it’s on a daily deal, flash sale or community choice. The last two apply more to the Summer and Holiday sales but they’re still part of a good habit to get into. Games in a daily deal are usually 75% off and that’s about the best discount Steam will ever give you besides the rare 80% discount. If you see a game on regular, non-deal discount for 40% or 50% off then don’t fall for it, it’s likely a trap. What’ll happen is you’ll buy it for 50% off only to kick yourself when it goes on sale for 75% off the following day. Otherwise known as “The Law of Sod.”

Another thing to do during this time is add games to your wishlist if you haven’t already. Steam will send you an email when that game goes on sale, so if there’s loads of games you’ve got your eye on it’s a great way to keep track of which ones are going for less.

Although if you’re interested in so many games you need a list to keep tabs on them, you’ve probably already added them to your wishlist. So that last point was a waste of both my time and yours.

Another handy hint is if you see a bundle on discount then go right ahead and buy it, even if one of the games in it is part of a daily deal. Bundles rarely go lower during a sale, plus you get a whole bunch of games for a little bit more than you’d pay for a single one.

The exception to most of these rules is the last day of the sale. Daily deals traditionally come back for an encore and anything else on regular discount likely won’t go any lower, so if you see something you want at a discount on the last day, go hog wild. No-one will judge you for it. Unless you buy Alien Colonial Marines

One game you might not want to buy in the sale, 75%-off or otherwise, is Dark Souls 2. Because From Software and Bandai Namco…

Or is it Namco Bandai? I can never remember.

Announced this week that a game of the year edition for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and PC is due for release in April next year, called Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. No, I don’t what it means either and I finished Dark Souls 2. As well as containing the Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King and Crown of the Ivory King DLC, this new version will also reportedly feature better graphics for Xbox One, PS4 and PC owners.

Which will likely be the graphics fans were originally promised in Dark Souls 2. Specifically these great and moody lighting effects first shown at E3, only to be removed shortly before release because the 360 and PS3 couldn’t handle them.

For those who own the original Dark Souls 2, From Software will also be patching in some new NPCs and something they’re calling “augmented item descriptions.” Which just sounds like a fancy way of saying they’re making item descriptions a whole lot less vague.

Even though item descriptions being vague, yet ultimately interconnected as part of a wider story that players have to piece together themselves is only, y’know, one of the main appeals of the Dark Souls series.

But what about people who already own the PC version of Dark Souls 2? AKA “The Best Version” of Dark Souls 2, with its better resolution and higher framerate. Which caused your weapons and armour to break much faster than they do on consoles but I digress! Can PC owners upgrade for free with a patch, minus the DLC? Or will they have to buy an entirely new version of the game in order to enjoy the kind of lush lighting effects they’ve…probably already modded-in anyway?

Well that’s where things get a bit confusing. For PC owners at least.

For console owners it’s all pretty cut and dried. If you’re a 360 or PS3 owner then Dark Souls 2 – Schooner of the Fish Sticks is basically yer standard Game of the Year Edition. Dark Souls 2 with all DLC, bish bash bosh, job done. If already own Dark Souls 2 and all the DLC on either of those platforms there’s no point in you buying Dark Souls 2: Scallops of the Feisty Son. All the new stuff you’re eligible for you’ll be getting for free in a content patch. Simple.

Now If you own an Xbone or PS4 and you buy Dark Souls 2 – Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you get the complete Dark Souls 2 experience with all the DLC, 6 player multiplayer and snazzier graphics. You also get another actual game to play on your glorified Netflix box. Multiplayer will not be cross-gen however, so PS4 owners can’t go jumping into the games of PS3 players and Xbone owners won’t get their arses handed to them by invading veterans of the 360 version.

Which also splits the multiplayer community somewhat, but again it’s all crystal clear. You get a game that wasn’t previously available on your system, in a complete package with all the DLC, and some extra graphical bells and whistles to impress stupefied onlookers with. It’s so simple even my nan could understand it.

Conversely Bandai-Namco-Namco-Bandai have been a far more vague about what this means for PC owners. The initial announcement refers to the existing PC version as the DirectX 9 one and Dark Souls 2: House of the Rising Sun as the DirectX11 one, implying they are entirely separate versions. So if you own the original Directx 9 version and all the DLC you’d literally have t o fork out- AN UNSPECIFIED AMOUNT OF FUCKING QUID! Just for some spiffier lighting effects.

Yet this tweet from the Ban-Nam-Nam-Ban-whatever twitter account tries to spin it somewhat, “clarifying” that PC version owners will get some new features for free but not all the DLC.

Firstly I wasn’t expecting to get the DLC for free. Anyone who did is frankly far too innocent for this cold, cruel world. Secondly we already know we’re getting some new stuff for free. That’ll be the new NPCs and updated item descriptions. What we really want to know is if Namco are trying to charge PC owners full price all over again for the same sodding game.

A question that Namco’s flustered twitter manager basically answered with “Erm, we’ll get back to you on that one!”

Great. Thanks. So, shall I lube up my wallet or does a bit of resistance only make you harder?

In a best-of-all-possible-worlds scenario the expanded multiplayer count, graphical bells and whistles and other non-DLC gubbins would be patched into the existing PC version. I certainly wouldn’t ask nor expect From Software to hand all that DLC to me free on a silver platter.

The next best thing would be to charge a small “upgrade fee” for existing PC version owners to upgrade to Dark Souls 2: Shamelessness of the Cash Grab. Steam certainly has the ability to let you do that, and it’s precisely what Eidos Montreal did for the director’s cut of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Finally the worst scenario is Dark Souls 2: Scalper of Wallets will be a standalone release for which PC players have to pay full-price, again, if they want to play with more than two friends, have prettier lighting and don’t know how to install mods.

Guess which of those options I’d put my money on Namco-Bandai going for.

Elsewhere in the news, Square-Enix revealed they will be announcing a new console-specific RPG in December that isn’t a remake of an existing RPG.

Is it a sequel to The World Ends With You, one of the best JRPGs of the last ten years? Because if it isn’t then whoop-de-fucking-do. You might as well have announced

“Square-Enix employees not just dossing around with their thumbs up their arses!” for all I care.

Actually there are some more details than that. The news in question came from a leaked interview from Famitsu magazine with Square-Enix president Yosuke Matsuda, in which Famitsu asked

Looking at your company’s recent lineup, I get the impression that there’s been a lot of dragon quest or final fantasy related remakes or smartphone version rereleases, but square enix still has a lot of other ips doesn’t it? I’m always wishing you’d revisit such ips.”

To which Matsuda replied

That’s… Currently in the works.

Now maybe I’m reading too much into this, but that sounds an awful lot like Square-Enix maybe going back to some of their non-Final Fantasy franchises. But then there’ve been so many Final bloody Fantasies I’ve forgotten they actually have other properties.

Except The World Ends With You of course.

Look, I just want a bloody sequel to The World Ends With You, okay?

The game that, in my mind, could have blossomed into a franchise capable of being Square-Enix’s answer to Atlus’ Persona series. That is if Square-Enix hadn’t chucked it in a bloody storeroom somewhere to gather dust. What wasn’t there to love about it? For starters it was a brilliant concept: a cross between Death Note and Battle Royale set in a contemporary, urban setting with a strong sense of magical realism rooted in Japanese youth culture. It was an action RPG too so battles were dynamic and not a series of timed menus. The difficulty was customisable so you could progress through the game for the story at a steady pace, or increase the risk in exchange for greater rewards. The obligatory Square-Enix RPG minigame was actually fun and didn’t suck, unlike Triple Triad in Final Fantasy VIII. Oh, and the soundtrack: did I mention the soundtrack? It was fucking awesome

I mean really, what else could be better than a sequel to this fantastic game on home consoles?

Well, I guess there’s always a chance of a proper sequel to Crono Trigger. That would be nice too. But then I’m sure plenty of you out there have your own ideas about other properties Squeenix should dust off and bring out of the cellar.

They’re all wrong of course but you’re still entitled to have them.

Back in April when Sony sold all of its 9.5 million shares in Square-Enix, I said that if I were in charge of Square-Enix then I would have taken that as a wakeup call. Perhaps Matsuda has done just that. We’ll find out more in December.

That’s all for this episode of Pixel Burn. If you liked it then please do let me know, and let your friends, family and Namco-Bandai-Bandai-Namco know as well. At the very least I hope you found it tolerable. And if you didn’t like it then I’m sorry, but I had to remove the fancy enjoyment effects at the last minute for performance reasons. Either way you can go now.

 

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.