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Most-Played Steam Deck Games Costs Less Than $3

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A brand new writer in the fields, Fatima has been taken under my electric spark's RGB- rich and ensures she doesn't engage in excessive snark on the website. It's unclear what command and Conquer are; however, she can talk for hours about the odd rhythm games, hardware, product reviews, and MMOs that were popular in the 2000s. Fatima has been creating various announcements, previews, and other content while here, but particularly enjoys writing regarding Products' latest news in the market she's currently addicted to. She is likely talking to an additional blogger with her current obsession right now.

Valve’s Steam Deck device has a ton of verified, playable Steam games by now, and if you’re wondering which among them is currently the most popular, you don’t have to wonder any longer. Another rundown of the most-played Steam Deck games ranked in terms of the hours spent playing them was shared this week, and if you want to be among those playing the most-played Steam Deck game right now, all you need is around $3.

That’s because the most popular game on the Steam right now is Vampire Survivors, a game which you’ve probably heard of once or twice if you’ve been browsing Steam’s various charts tracking what’s good at any given time. Vampire Survivors is certainly no stranger to these charts and has remained popular due largely to its gameplay but also its exceptionally low barrier of entry. The game sports “minimalistic gameplay and roguelite elements, developer poncle says, and only costs $2.99 with no special editions or microtransactions to dangle in front of buyers afterwards.

Vampire Survivors is another example of an early access game on Steam that took off seemingly out of nowhere. It was originally released back in December 2021 and still gets updated fairly frequently now that so many people are playing it both on the Steam Deck and on Steam proper.

As it turns out, the minimalist gameplay the developer strives for seems to be a perfect fit for the Steam Deck and its on-the-go capabilities. While it topped the Steam Deck charts for August, Steam’s stats for the platform overall show that Vampire Survivors barely cracks the top 100 there.

Its Steam Deck performance isn’t a fluke either. Last time the most-played games were tallied at the start of the month, Vampire Survivors was second only to MultiVersus, the fighting game that had just recently launched in beta form and expectedly attracted a lot of attention. MultiVersus dropped down a few spots with Stray disappearing entirely in favor of more new releases like Cult of the Lamb and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, but Vampire Survivors managed to stay above even all of those.

GTA 6 Release Date Could Be Impacted by Massive Leak

It seems likely that the release date of Grand Theft Auto 6 will be impacted by the massive leak associated with the highly-anticipated open-world sandbox game. If you somehow didn’t already hear, a substantial leak tied to GTA 6 began circling on the internet earlier today in the form of roughly 90 videos that showed off gameplay clips from an early version of the project. And while Rockstar itself hasn’t commented publicly on this situation just yet, the leak coming about in the first place likely isn’t a good thing for those hoping to play GTA 6 sooner rather than later.

The reason why the release date of GTA 6 could be impacted by this leak is because of the nature of this reveal. Based on what we currently know, the leak seems to have come about due to a successful hacking attempt that was directed at Rockstar Games. The person in question who claims to have been the one behind this hack has gone on to say that they have in their hands the source code for both GTA 6 and GTA 5. Assuming that this is true, it means that Rockstar has a pretty serious situation on its hands that will need to rectify quickly. Not only could this all lead to internal delays of the game, but Rockstar might also have to push back marketing and promotional plans as well.

Based on what we’ve seen in the past, cyber attacks like this are never beneficial for video game studios and only lead to development moving more slowly. Last year, CD Projekt Red fell prey to a cyber attack that ended up delaying the studio’s plans for future updates and DLC with Cyberpunk 2077. All the way back in 2003, Valve also had the source code for Half-Life 2 stolen which led to a lot of turmoil within the studio and eventual legal action against the hacker behind the theft. Assuming that these previous situations are reflective of what could be happening now at Rockstar, it seems feasible that GTA 6 could get pushed further out than once thought.

It’s obviously worth stressing that Rockstar Games itself has never announced any sort of release date or release window for GTA 6 in the first place. Based on previous rumors that have come about, though, it was said that a launch in either 2024 or 2025 could be likely. Whether or not GTA 6 will release in this window remains to be seen, but we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with this ongoing situation.

What do you think about this substantial leak associated with Rockstar Games and GTA 6? And do you believe this event will have an impact on when the next Grand Theft Auto game is going to release? Be sure to let me know what you think either down in the comments or message me on Twitter at @MooreMan12.

Asmodee Reveals Star Wars: The Clone Wars – A Pandemic System Game

The DioField Chronicle Review: Charting a New Course for SRPGs

When someone mentions the strategy or tactical RPG genre, it typically conjures up visions of turn-based combat taking place on a grid. Sure, there are exceptions, but the battlefields of games like Tactics OgreFinal Fantasy TacticsDisgaea, and Fire Emblem, with their planes squarely divided into rows and columns, have come to define the genre. The DioField Chronicle looks to break free of that grided prison. Developed by Square Enix and Lancarse (best known for Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey) and published by the former, The DioField Chronicle brings a fresh feel to strategic combat, even if what comes in between battles is underdeveloped.

The DioField Chronicle takes place on the island of DioField, located off the coast of a landmass referred to as “the continent.” Two warring factions, the Schoevian Empire and the Rowetale Alliance, have been fighting for years, becoming deadlocked. They both turn their attention to DioField, which is rich in Jade, the fuel for modern magic. The sudden unwanted attention from the continent sends the balance of power on DioField into disarray as games of intrigue unfold between domestic rivals and foreign interlopers.

the-diofield-chronicle.png
(Photo: Square Enix)

Players take control of Andrias. Once the chamberlain to a young prince of the ruling family on DioField, Andrias has since become a mercenary. Through the game’s earliest events, he and three other principal characters — Andrias’ close friend Fredret, a knight errant named Iscarion, and a young noblewoman named Waltaquin — come together to form the Blue Foxes mercenary company. Players experience the upheaval on DioField through their eyes, along with plenty of the internal drama among the group’s various characters as the ensemble grows in size and reputation.

The narrative feels almost impenetrable at first. There are a lot of made-up words and unfamiliar proper nouns thrown around, and few of the political machinations playing out seem to have any meaningful impact on the lives of these characters. Throughout the game, many of the story’s events are communicated through monologues from an unseen narrator between battles instead of seen or received through the characters’ eyes, making it all feel a bit impersonal.

the-diofield-chronicle-story.png
(Photo: Square Enix)

Given time, however, the story proves engrossing. It keeps players guessing who is manipulating whom as loyalties clash with ideals. It’s all wrapped in a certain irony as it lays bare the corruption of one societal institution after another even as the integrity of the Blue Foxes company itself struggles beneath the weight of its increasing size and influence.

For fans of the SRPG genre, the game’s narrative will be reminiscent of Final Fantasy TacticsTactics Ogre, and Fire Emblem. For more mainstream-minded audiences, the touchstone will likely be the television series Game of Thrones, which seems to be a comparison Square Enix is leaning into by hiring the show’s composers, Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell, to score the game. Djawadi and Campbell turn in subtle work that fits the narrative and is easily listenable to for hours at a time.

The DioField Chronicle tosses turn-based grid combat in favor of the “real time tactical battle” system. That sounds brand new but should feel familiar to anyone who has played a game in the MOBA genre like League of Legends or Defense of the Ancients. Combat takes place in real-time, though time stops while giving commands.

Players control a group of four characters, giving them orders as they charge into battle with opposing forces, alternating between auto-attacking and activating skills. The strategic elements don’t revolve around strong positioning (though attacking from behind yields increased “ambush” damage, and players will want to learn how to pull enemies away from large groups and cannon turrets). Instead, most of the players’ strategic energy in combat goes toward synergizing as they try to use their units’ skills to maximize DPS, area of effect attacks, timed buffs, and refresh rates.

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(Photo: Square Enix)

Speaking as someone who has never been particularly good at MOBAs, The DioField Chronicle posed little in the way of challenge. I could practically sleepwalk through battles on normal difficulty while hard yielded only a few setbacks, mainly suffered due to minor mental lapses rather than because I faced a difficult opponent. Players can up the game’s speed to 1.5x or 2x the norm, increasing the difficulty proportionally as it requires players to make decisions faster.

However, I found this an unsatisfying challenge as it relies on hecticness rather than craftier tactics or fiercer enemies. Also, playing on a PlayStation 5, the increased speed highlights the limitations of the console-based control scheme, which has players using shoulder buttons to scroll through characters one at a time or otherwise finding them amidst the chaos on the map with an analog stick-controlled cursor. But it speaks to the solid fundamentals of The DioField Chronicle‘s combat that I never got bored and continued to find battles engaging even dozens of hours into the game.

In between bouts of bloodshed, players are free to roam the halls of the Blue Foxes’ home base, Elm Camp. Here, players can have Andrias speak to the other characters, take on sidequests, buy items, and upgrade skills and weapons. At first, it seems comparable to Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s Skyhold or Fire Emblem: Three House‘s Garreg Mach Monastery, but players will quickly learn that it lacks the depth or personality of those other bases.

the-diofield-chronicle-skills.png
(Photo: Square Enix)

Conversations between characters are not interactive, and there is no system for character bonds. Instead, each conversation is like a sidequest that yields resources to fund unit upgrades or otherwise unlocks an optional battle that, upon completion, will yield resources to fund unit upgrades. Conversations are entirely linear and only nominally optional (conversations and sidequests are the only way to gain the funds for upgrades). Elm Camp is, physically, little more than a few dark rooms and hallways, and the upgrade and store functions are accessible from a menu at the start of a battle. Thus, the base’s existence feels like a vestigial limb, as if the designers planned to do more with it initially but then ran out of time or money, but only after they reached the point where it’d be too costly to remove it entirely.

However, while the home base aspect of the game is underdeveloped, the combat at the core of The DioField Chronicle is a breath of fresh air. Paired with a story steeped in intrigue and drama, The DioField Chronicle will likely satisfy fans of the genre while possibly charting a new path for it in the future.

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