Hi, this is Steam A to Z. 

I can’t use too many words on this introduction for reasons that will become obvious almost immediately. Suffice it to say, I got a bit too into one of these write-ups.

Enjoy!

 

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

SteamBlazBlue

This is a fighting game and, as such, I can offer no nuanced critique of its virtues. All I can tell you is how well it holds up with a quick succession of near-random button presses and joystick movements. Pretty well, actually.

What really stood out, though, was pretty much everything other than the actual fighting. So if you are one of those weirdos who reads game reviews to hear about how the game plays, then go ahead and skip over this.

Still here? Okay.

THIS GAME IS SO DAMN WEIRD.

It begins with an anime music video, which is always a fantastic sign of things to come. We’re shown characters at breakneck speed with no prior introduction, and then we’re in! Naturally, I wanted to know as much about the lore as was humanly possible, so I jumped into story mode.

Oh boy, story mode.

There’s a series of images accompanied by full-on voice acting. We focus in on one of those weird expansive research labs that don’t exist in real life. Lots of scientists are very excited because they, and I’m not making this up, are on the verge of literally opening a gate to Sheol. This leads me to my first question.

Why on Earth are scientists literally opening a gate to Sheol? Who sanctioned that?! In which bureaucracy would this be sanctioned?!

Grant planning permission for picket fence? Check! Allow research into newly discovered daffodil-like species? Check! OPEN LITERAL GATE TO SHEOL? Uh, it’s almost lunch, sure, check!”

So in a shocking turn of events, opening a gate to Sheol doesn’t work out as well as one might have hoped. This information is relayed to us via concerned research assistants shouting, “Seithr concentration is X”, where X is a number that is continually rising.

Seithr concentration is 8,000!”

Oh, okay. Is… Is that a lot?

Seithr concentration is 12,000 and rising!”

Oh, oh deary me. That… That’s more than previously. That is… Hmm…

Seithr concentration has reached 25,000!”

NOT 25,000! I’M LOOKING AT THIS “ARBITRARY GUIDE TO HOW MUCH SEITHR OR WHATEVER YOU CAN HAVE IN YOUR LUNGS” PAMPHLET AND THAT’S THE DANGER POINT, THAT IS DEFINITELY THE DANGER POINT, EVERYONE GET THE FUCK OUT NOW VIA YOUR NEAREST ‘IN CASE OF SEITHR OR WHATEVER EMERGENCY EXIT’!

Then there’s a spaceship, and it opens, and there’s a creature that spits out some… shapes?

And then there’s nuclear fallout.

Fin.

BUT NOT FIN!

It’s at this point you can play each character’s story. I tried it for ‘Ragna the Bloodedge’, who by name alone I felt was a kindred spirit. There’s a bit of story, a few images, some voice acting. Then there’s a battle, in which the manner that I button-mashed led to Ragna screaming out ‘INFERNO DIVIDER!’ repeatedly before winning. Then there’s more story.

And more story. And some more story. “INFERNO DIVIDER! INFERNO DIVIDER! INF– INFERNO D– INFERNO DIVIDER!” More story. Some more story. “INFERNO DIVIDE– INF– INFER– INFERNO DIVIDER!” Then it, too, ended.

I guess there’s a lot to be said about a game that has inspired me to type so much drivel that is near meaningless to anyone who hasn’t played it. I mean, I haven’t even talked about everything I found brilliant. The voice at the beginning of each battle, for instance, says “The wheel of fate is turning” with all the enthusiasm of someone alerting customers over the store tannoy that there is a poorly parked Ford Focus out back.

It’s brilliant, I guess.

Rating: “INFERNO DIVIDER! INFERNO DIVIDER! INF– INF– INFERNO DIVIDER!” / 10

 

Blocks That Matter

SteamBlocksThatMatterAlright, I apologise in advance but these will necessarily be very, very brief.

This is a neat little puzzler in which you play as a tiny robot drill on a mission to rescue Minecraft developer Notch and Tetris developer Alexey Pajitnov. There is a plot reason for that, but I honestly couldn’t care less.

You have to break blocks (Minecraft!) and build them again in specific (Tetris!) shapes in order to progress. Its puzzles are at times surprisingly fiendish, it’s pretty adorable, and, overall, it’s definitely worth picking up.

Rating: Alright, but it’s no story mode of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger / 10

 

BloodRayne: Betrayal

SteamBloodrayneHow in the hell have I not played this game before now?! It’s freaking awesome.

You’re a badass vampire, and she’s badass. She arrives in a steampunk coffin, then slices and shoots and sucks the blood out of any enemies that happen to cross her path. It plays like a dream, the animation is bloody brilliant, and it was all utterly brilliant.

It’s just a shame I can’t talk more about it, but hey, them’s the breaks.

Rating: Really, really fucking good, but still, it’s no story mode of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger / 10

 

Borderlands

SteamBorderlandsI mean, this is Borderlands. You want me to describe Borderlands to you? Get out of here! I haven’t even got Borderlands 2, which is the only one anyone bloody cares about.

ERGH, FINE.

Cell-shaded, shooty-shooty, looty-looty.

There. Happy? Good!

Rating: You know it’s good, but it’s no story mode of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger / 10

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