Shacknews - Daniel Perez
Hatred is one of the most powerful emotions any living being can have. It can fuel us to do irrational things at times, although it can also be the catalyst that forces us to improve on something we really don’t like. Wars have been started. Relationships have ended. Lives have been wasted. All because of one’s hatred towards something else they don’t understand, don’t trust, or outright have given up on. Hatred has us assuming the role of a man who is completely consumed by his anger and disgust of human beings. He’s an equal-opportunity hater, so if you end up crossing his path, you can be sure he’ll want you as dead as the guy next to you. And for a game fueled by so much hate, I didn’t end up hating it. I was just bored and frustrated.
Player Hater’s Ball
Hatred's an extremely shallow game that should be considered to be more of a murderous-rampage simulator than anything else. For a man who has so much hate inside of him, the main character doesn't go into any detail as to why he hates humanity so much. Did he get cut off during his daily commute again? Did he not get onions on his burger? Was he wronged by the government in some way? We'll never know because he's so wrapped up in being angry that Hatred forgets to give us a viable reason for thousands of people to die.
It also doesn't help the main objectives are as shallow as Hatred’s story. The vast majority of time I was playing, I was instructed to kill a specific number of people, then kill law enforcement, and then proceed to the next location. Side objectives, fortunately, offer a bit more variety as I can cleanse customers from a local coffee shop, “visit” the launch of a new phone, and set money inside of a bank’s vault on fire. Completing these side objectives rewards me with the ability to respawn, which often comes in handy as Hatred can get difficult. The Unreal Engine 4 shines at times as the physics in Hatred, specifically explosions, look nice and also destroys anything caught in its blast.
What makes Hatred such a controversial game is its lack of empathy. I spent hours killing innocent civilians who ran away from me in terror. Begging me not to kill them. Many of them pleading that they had families. I didn’t want to continue my murderous rampage, but I wouldn’t be able to proceed if I didn’t slaughter any and every person I came across in order to progress through the game.
If killing innocent civilians is all there is to Hatred, then I question why it even exists. There are countless games out there where I can harm random people if I wanted to. I can perform a hit-and-run in Grand Theft Auto 5, throw an old woman at my opponent in Mortal Kombat X, and beat up random villagers in The Witcher 3. And the games I listed are way more fun than Hatred is as they have other, more meaningful activities to complete. Hatred isn't just heartless. It's pointless.
Aside from the obvious ethical considerations, I also didn’t want to continue playing Hatred because it was filled with noticeable bugs. Civilians ran towards me while waving their arms in terror, law enforcement would empty entire clips of ammo attempting to shoot me through walls, and vehicles are absolutely useless due to their low health and terrible handling. And those are just the tip of the iceberg. Frankly, it's an outright mess.
A game like Hatred will always be seen as controversial because it isn’t filled with zombies, nazis, or terrifying monsters to combat. The protagonist isn’t attempting to save the world, leave the world of organized crime, or save the princess. In Hatred, you’re the monster, "The Antagonist," and as much as they try, no one can stop your rampage. Not heroic citizens shooting at you with random weapons they find, nor trained members of the military. And that’s what makes the general population afraid of games like Hatred. It empowers the monster, at times, even glorifying their efforts.
Hatred is a premise that may have worked if we had some understanding of motivation--either on the part of the player character, or a more satirical or social point envisioned by its developers. Instead, the violence is so arbitrary that it oscillates between disturbing and boring. When you’re asked to kill over a hundred civilians just because the game asks you to, it gets really old, really fast. If Breaking Bad had Walter White cooking meth just because he wanted to, viewers would have found themselves bored with his adventures. It was his backstory, motivations, and deteriorating condition that made his criminal activity entertaining to watch.
Hatred is a game that basks in controversy for the sake of controversy, while doing nothing to keep the curious interested in seeing it through.
This review is based on a PC code provided by the publisher. Hatred is available in digital stores for $19.99. The game is rated AO.
Shacknews - Steven Wong
The Chalice has named you as the immortal ruler of a nation, and your sole responsibility is to help defend the kingdom from an encroaching Cadence invasion for 300 years. That's when the Chalice will have built up enough magical energy to eradicate the creatures for good. But that's a long time to wage war. Here are some essential tips to help ensure your kingdom's future.
Go Forth and Multiply
Massive Chalice is very upfront with this. You need an army strong enough to fight a war that will last centuries. That means building Keeps and matching together young fertile couples. It might seem a little offensive to regard your heroes as baby factories, but you're immortal, and they're not. It's your job to ensure that your nation survives the test of time, so that perhaps one day their descendants can marry out of love.
You'll want at least three Keeps preferably with diverse family names, because the game doesn't allow inbreeding. Build as many as you can, but not too quickly, since regents and their spouses can't go into battle. Also account for random events, like family feuds, which prevent future generations from marrying each other.
When it comes to selecting pairs, your priorities should be: 1. Age, 2. Experience, 3. Class, 4. Personality. You'll also want to keep an eye out for bonus properties like high fertility or a disposition toward a specific gender. You can try breed as selectively as you can, but ultimately, you'll have little control over what personality traits you'll end up with. Heroes can start reproducing at age 16, but they'll be too inexperienced to pass many worthwhile traits on. Generally speaking, you'll probably get the most reproductive value from your heroes during their early to mid 20s, after they've gone out on a few missions.
Even with a bunch of thriving Houses, you'll occasionally need to use the chalice to recruit new heroes or adopt orphans to introduce some new blood or replenish missing genders or classes. Keep in mind, it takes 16 years for a child to become battle and breeding ready. During that time, the previous generation will grow old and die. You'll have multiple phases when children will come of age as the elderly die in groups. You'll need to recruit to ensure the generation gap doesn't grow too wide.
The average age of any given hero is around 60, although some may naturally die much younger, and a rare few might make it past 80. Time will take its toll on your heroes at around 50, but some might start to feel old in their late 40s. That's when their movement points significantly decrease, their eyesight starts to fail them, and they can't hit as hard as they could in their youth. Another possible side effect of age is decreased fertility. But keep an eye out for the Young at Heart personality trait, which negates many of the negative effects of aging.
Remember to check your hero roster from time to time to make sure you have a good age spread. The last thing you want is the majority of your army dying of old age with no one to replace them. If the majority of your heroes are getting up in years, it might be time to get recruiting.
However, the elderly can still be very productive members of society. Those who can fight, teach. Put your smartest in the Sagwright Guild, where they can increase the speed of research. Take care how many people you assign to the Sagewright, because you could end up with nobody left to defend the kingdom. Meanwhile, assign your most experienced heroes to the Crucible, where they can share their knowledge with all the growing kids of the kingdom. But be careful, because even though the kids will gain more experience in their youth, they could pick up some a few personality traits (good or bad) from their teacher.
Watch Where You Throw Things
Friendly fire is a always a danger depending on your loadout, especially when you're using explosives. But those Alchemists have a very useful trait: they can lob grenades over walls. So, they can potentially stay behind a wall where it's safe. Then, if you don't have the Honed Hearing skill, stealthily move your hunters in to act as spotters. The Cadence won't know what hit them.
Balancing Between Armor and Arms
Balancing research is always tricky, but Cadence will never get any easier to fight. You'll soon find yourself in need of proper weapons and armor. Although the first technologies you should pick up are faster recruiting methods, try to focus on armor before moving on to firepower. You'll eventually need to upgrade your weapons, but things to get really intense until the first 150 years, at which time you should at least have medium armor and weapons, along with one or two health items.
The reason you should focus on armor is because many of the battlefields have indirect means of dealing with enemies, including the Cadence themselves. For example, Ruptures will explode when killed, damaging all adjacent creatures. The explosion from a Lapse death has a chance to stun anything that's nearby. If you focus your firepower and time things right, you could set up a nice chain reaction.
There are also a number of special armors, weapons, and items that can be built from remains of dead Cadence creatures. Of these, one of the most important is the Veil Armor, which lets your hunters move in stealth anywhere on the map. You can use it to scout maps and set up ambushes. Everyone has access to a technology once it has been researched, so you won't have to get any additional resources to outfit your Vanguard members with Veil Armor.
Knowledge Through the Ages
Knowing when to kill something is just as important as killing it. Try to keep in mind who needs the most experience so that they can get in the killing shot. If your hero grows up to be a legend, they'll pass on special Relics to their family members when they retire or die. More importantly, you'll want to groom a few choice heroes to take over as Regents or partners after the current ones die.
Additionally, settle on a flexible tactic and stick with it. If you like sending in a couple Caberjacks to draw attention while your hunters pick off the smaller targets, focus on research to support that strategy. If your kingdom barely has a Caberjack in sight, then there's no point in researching armor or weapons for that class.
Massive Chalice has a nice positive feedback loop when it comes to passing on experience. Once you get far enough into the game. Between the experience of the parents and whatever is gains you get from the Crucible, kids will have a very decent skill set once they come of age. Some may be proficient enough to become Regents and partners as soon as they turn 16.
Shacknews - Tad Huempfner
The Destiny House of Wolves DLC that was released last month is receiving a few tweaks from Bungie today. The major changes from patch 184.108.40.206 give players greater chances of picking up precious treasure keys.
Bungie’s blog announced the hotfix by saying, “Ever since House of Wolves was released, we’ve been following player feedback on multiple fronts. These changes to the player experience are being deployed to correct a few issues you’ve noticed- as well as a few we noticed.”
- The first Wanted Fallen Bounty completed each week is now guaranteed to drop a Treasure Key
- Greatly increased the drop rate of Treasure Keys from the small chests at the end of the Prison of Elders
- Increased the drop rate of Treasure Keys from Ether Chests
Prison of Elders
- Greatly increased the drop rate of Treasure Keys from the small chests
- Class Items will now drop from Level 32, Level 34, and Level 35
- Fixed a bug in which the Ship (Hildian Seeker) did not drop under certain circumstances
- Fixed a bug in which the ‘Elder Cipher’ Bounty could not be acquired if your Bounty inventory was full
- You will need to defeat Skolas again to receive the ‘Elder Cipher’ Bounty
- Damage caused by Qodron’s Gaze is reduced by 25%
- Damage multiplier for the Jailbreaker buff increased by 100%
Trials of Osiris
- Fixed an issue in which Trials of Osiris emblems were not sent to the Postmaster if your Emblem inventory was full
- Passage Coins can now be dismantled
- Fixed an issue where the Weekly Heroic strikes did not award engrams (Note: Tooltip will not display them as rewards)
- Increased the drop rate of Treasure Keys from Ether Chests
- Ether Chests may only be looted once per spawn
- Ether Chests will no longer grant ammo consumables when opened
- Ether Chests will now grant a small amount of Queen's Wrath reputation when opened
- Ether Chests now have a chance to drop Tokens of Flight, Identity, and Judgment
- Petra will no longer display a quest waypoint for players who have not purchased House of Wolves
- Fixed a bug in which players abandoning the ‘Gone to Ground’ quest were still being directed to the Venus Patrol
- The first Wanted Fallen Bounty completed each week is now guaranteed to drop a Treasure Key
- Fixed a bug in which the 220.127.116.11 hotfix mistakenly did not contain the 1.1.1 Fusion Rifle balance changes. As a result, players were playing with its pre-1.1.1 weapon balance state. The original fix has been re-applied.
- Tokens of Flight, Identity, and Judgment can now be dismantled to gain +10 House of Judgment reputation each
- Ammo consumables can now stack to 100
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD hit PlayStation 4 earlier this year, offering a slightly upgraded version of the original PSP game. That doesn't look to be the game's only destination, however. It now appears that Type-0 will also get a PC version.
According to the Final Fantasy Twitter account, a Steam version of Type-0 is in the works and it will not be a simple port of the PS4 edition currently available.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is coming to PC/Steam with new graphical options, improved battle & camera controls and more! More info coming soon!— FINAL FANTASY (@FinalFantasy) June 2, 2015
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD on PlayStation 4 was not particularly good. Among the criticisms were the graphics and the camera controls, which the PC version will look to address. Square looks to be crafting the definitive version of this game for PC audiences, but that's not the first time the publisher has taken on such a task with subpar results.
Look for more information on the PC version of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD to come soon.
Shacknews - Steven Wong
It seems like a lot of fuss was raised about nothing. Hatred, the grim action shooter where you play as a mass murderer who kills civilians, released yesterday. Then... quiet. Despite Twitch's ban of AO rated games (instituted days before Hatred's release), GOG's refusal to sell the game, and Steam's temporarily delisting its Greenlight page, all the effort was spent to minimize exposure to a generally mediocre game. But Hatred isn't the first murder simulator to shake things up, and serves as a more extreme example of common video game tropes.
The Manhunt Begins
In 2007, Manhunt 2 got its own share of controversy when it got an AO rating, which was essentially equivalent to the kiss of death, since it meant major retailers like Walmart, GameStop and Target wouldn't stock the game. Furthermore, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all issued statements that said no AO games would be allowed on their consoles, effectively banning the game in the US before it even released. On top of that, the BBFC (the British ratings board) refused to rate the game, which meant the game wouldn't be sold in the UK either. Under all that pressure, Rockstar (the developer) relented by cutting out parts and blurring executions, which was enough to earn an M rating. However, some hackers developed a crack to remove the blurring effect from some of the console releases, and you can still purchase the uncut AO version online.
Manhunt 2's violence is said to be little different from popular "torture porn" movies of the time, like Hostel and Saw, but that's actually incidental, as is the AO rating in and of itself. It's how companies can suddenly converge to decide what content is allowed to the public. Neither Manhunt 2 nor Hatred are anything to get up in arms about, but imagine this sort of policy applying to other entertainment devices. A DVD/Blu-ray player that won't play Hostel or any other gory horror movie. A tablet that won't stream The Interview. A digital music player that rejects rap music, heavy metal, or anything else the manufacturer deems too explicit. The point isn't whether or not you would watch or listen to any of these things. The point is, you should be allowed to choose for yourself.
In Hatred, an 80s death metal band reject goes on a murder-spree, motivated by an irrational hatred of the world. His primary targets are unarmed civilians, who he kills with brutal executions, but he quickly escalates to police and military. As it turns out, the game is actually like playing the monster from some slasher horror movie. The guy (named "The Antagonist") is powered by hatred, like the Sith from Star Wars. He can absorb a ton of bullets, and executions allow him to regain health. Reaching a kill quota enables respawning. In a sense, The Antagonist is little different from Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, except he doesn't have the courtesy to keep quiet while killing.
To be clear, the game doesn't target specific people of any gender, race, religion, ethnicity, or class. It spreads its bloodshed equally, but draws a line at children and animals. Fair enough, I suppose.
Putting its gimmick aside, the game's artificial intelligence is a mess. Civilians will actually run toward your gun or stand around waiting for you to shoot them. In some cases, they'll simply drop their weapons and resign themselves to death. Police and military don't follow any tactics. No one fires from cover or moves in formation. Oftentimes, they'll come running straight at you and make for an easy target. That's when it really hits you: it's just a stupid game. Not even a great game, or an especially deep one. Just one where the developers didn't care to add any trappings to justify the violence.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Hatred is how unremarkable it seems to be. The main character, self-described as "a man of hate of disgust," is a complete caricature who is taken way too seriously. He uses the same moves throughout the game, and largely sticks to the same weapons. The game's civilians don't act like human beings, and neither does its law enforcement characters. It also features a ridiculous plot involving a one-man army with an unending well of burning hatred, who wants to wipe out all of humanity. Clinically speaking, it's a black and white, isometric, twin stick shooter, where enemies are dressed as civilians and law enforcement, and features some nice physics and explosions. It also happens to be what subversive art looks like.
My initial impression of Hatred, upon seeing its early trailer, was one of revulsion. See a pale, long-haired, psychopath take to the streets to brutally murder innocent bystanders for no reason simply disgusted me. Clearly, the developers are counting on whatever controversy the game can stir up to gain extra sales. But after seeing it in action, I can appreciate it in context of other games.
Grand Theft Auto 5 has a lengthy torture sequence, and there are numerous opportunities to kill civilians and law enforcement with similar escalation results. Except, the end result of your killing-spree is spending a night in jail and losing some money. The fighters of Mortal Kombat X has a number of creative and gruesome ways to finish off their opponents. Then there are games like Postal and Saints Row, where you can "comically" abuse civilians to your heart's content. Hotline Miami has players killing off members of organized crime... except for those missions where you don't. The list of games where innocent civilians and cops become collateral damage to your actions goes on.
What makes Hatred stand apart is that it doesn't dress its violence up. Some people, like me, prefer characters to have a little more motivation than unending hate. But that's also why mindless games like Hatred are also kind of brilliant. They remind us that there's little difference in running through a fortified police station and gunning down everyone in sight (a mission that's in both Hatred and Hotline Miami 2), and blasting up a room full of Nazis, zombies, demons, or whatever, to reach a door. In fact, if you substitute the Hatred characters with Nazis, the game takes on a whole new context.
Games like Hatred shed light on the mundane mechanics that drive pretty much all shooting games. It doesn't much matter what you're shooting, because you're always shooting the same things: digitally generated virtual characters. It also demonstrates how you can only be shocked by something so many times before it gets old. All things considered, the visceral reaction might be more absurd than the game itself, but it reminds us of how much we rely on story trappings (like an Assassin's Creed) or an omniscent penalty system to guide how we treat bystanders in games. You can slaughter everyone in Fallout 3's town of Megaton before blowing the place up, but you're bound to lose a lot of karma for it.
That's why it's good to have games like Hatred come up every so often. It's nice to have a game shake up the status quo, however insignificantly. Hatred is satire in its most base form, and restricting it from sale or streaming is silly. Treating the AO rating as a censorship label undermines the spirit for which the ratings systems is meant to serve, which is to inform parents about what games are appropriate for different age groups. Not force everyone's purchasing decisions. So, let people see Hatred for what it is: a rather bland action shooter, with exactly one shock gimmick that quickly wears thin. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the game. In fact, I think it's kind of boring, but I wouldn't stand in the way of someone else enjoying it. As the game's marketing has been stating all along, it's just a game.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Animation fans may recognize the name Man of Action. This is the group (consisting of Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau, and Steven T. Seagle) behind such animated shows as Ben 10, Generator Rex, and Marvel's Avengers Assemble. Now it looks like the group is setting their sights on Capcom's Mega Man.
According to Deadline, Man of Action and Dentsu Entertainment USA will partner up on 26 episodes of an animated series based on the Blue Bomber. The show would look to air in 2017, which would coincide with Mega Man's 30th anniversary. Details on distribution, whether it be a standard TV deal or a digital distribution deal via channels like Netflix, were not revealed.
Mega Man, of course, is no stranger to television. He, along with his supporting cast and rogues gallery, were featured in a mid-90s animated series that ran for two seasons. It faithfully recreated the atmosphere of the games, highlighting many of the series' favorite characters (including Proto Man and Mega Man X) throughout its run.
With Man of Action's pedigree, there's good reason to believe that they can create a series that does the Mega Man franchise justice. Whether this means that there are other plans for Mega Man's 30th anniversary (whether creator Keiji Inafune is on board or not) remains to be seen. In the meantime, let's look at that old 90s theme song together.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
Today is the day for Mortal Kombat X players to get their hands on Tanya, but there may be something more important on the horizon for PC players. It's a brand new patch that promises to address some of the continuing issues with this version of NetherRealm's fighter.
The latest patch will dole out fixes for some nagging issues, including a memory leak fix, matchmaking fixes, and wonky crashes and loading troubles. Here are the full patch notes, as noted on Mortal Kombat X's Steam Announcements page:
- Memory Leak fix
- Fixed Ermac Spectral meter issue.
- Fixed Kitana Mournful infinite combo issue.
- Added unlock counter for Krypt.
- Online Chat Room, challenge, and Ranked ping meter enhancements
- Ranked match cancel if ping meter is not 3 bars or better.
- Match making improvements
- Krypt switches fix.
- Fixed crash occurring when receiving online VS challenge while editing Kombat Kard.
- The Faction War Page is now accessible.
- Improved navigation in the controls menu.
- Fixed input for the Recording prompt in Replays.
- Updated Lin Kuei Faction Kill 2 to properly display all shurikens.
- Two players can no longer use preset commands bound to the same key.
- The initial Choose Your Faction screen call outs now update properly when switching between keyboard and controller.
- Attempting to leave Online Rooms no longer cause occasional crashes.
- Frame Smoothing option no longer causes issues on High-End PC configurations.
- Hourly Towers are now available in the Living Towers menu.
- All player Kombat Kards show the backgrounds, borders, and icons.
- Audio Option test will no longer distort.
- Fixed an issue where sometimes the game would load to a black screen (with audio only.)
- Fixed an issue where viewing recorded videos would bring up an incorrect message instead of the video.
- Changing the Screen Resolution without rebooting the title will no longer cause visual issues.
- Invasion Towers now display player names correctly.
- Fixed an exploit that broke the Shrine of Dead Koins.
- Updated controller input prompts.
- Players can now go online while in offline mode on Steam.
- Move Lists now update when characters switch sides.
- In Online, challengers no longer receive an accept button prompt after a challenge is declined.
- Kombat Kard background “Dry Heat” now unlocks after meeting the requirements.
- Backing out of any game mode to a main menu while Offline no longer displays an erroneous error message.
- Fixed several resolution and image issues with Cassie Cage’s Selfie Fatality.
- AI that performs Brutalities or Fatalities no longer counts towards progression.
- Unlocked costumes now display on weak/no internet connections
- Fixed the damage information displaying incorrectly while in Practice mode in Fullscreen Mode.
- The map in the Krypt can now be moved when using a keyboard.
- Fixed Kenshi’s Spinning Hell move when attacking opponents at the edge of arenas.
- Users no longer lose control when going to Tower Select or Character Select from the in-game menu of a tower.
- Improved custom control’s stability when transitioning from spectating to match.
- Using K’s and L’s no longer closes the chat window.
- Players can now edit the left stick’s controls.
- Opening the Controller Preset menu no longer causes the control scheme to revert to Custom1.
- General Kombat Kard updates and fixes.
- General player history fixes.
The patch should be available on Steam right about now. Meanwhile, Tanya and Klassic Pack 1 is available to all Kombat Pack owners.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
The Bat-Family won't be the only ones getting in on the action in Batman: Arkham Knight. Remember that there's still a Harley Quinn Story Pack available for anyone that decides to pre-order. To give people on the fence a little more of a push, Warner Bros. and Rocksteady have released a new trailer centered around the Joker's main squeeze.
Watch as Harley deals out her own athletic combos and parkour flips, as she doles out punishment to Gotham's finest. She also has her own Joker-themed traps to help her get through stealth sequences. Tara Strong reprises her role as Harley after her debut stint in Batman: Arkham City, continuing her takeover of the role from long-time Harley voice actress Arleen Sorkin, who left the series after Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Of course, Harley Quinn will only be playable to those that pre-order Batman: Arkham Knight, with all others likely having to wait several months for a DLC pack. Pre-orders are still something to be heavily cautious about, regardless of Rocksteady's spotless record. So to take some of the sting out of that, Shacknews would like to issue a reminder that Green Man Gaming is offering 40 percent off for the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight with the code BATMAN-ARKHAM-SAVE40. For all others, pre-order with caution and enjoy the trailer below.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
For this week's list of new Guitar Hero Live tracks, Activision and Freestyle have offered up a healthy blend of rock classics and overplayed radio hits. If you haven't heard enough of "Everybody Talks" or that "Harlem" song that keeps asking you to shake it like a black girl up in Harlem, are you in for a treat!
Here's the full list of tracks for this week, which also includes Alice in Chains and Queen, to help wash out the taste of millennial rock:
- Queen - "Tie Your Mother Down"
- Alice In Chains - "Stone"
- Bullet For My Valentine - "Temper Temper"
- Deap Vally - "Lies"
- Wolfmother - "Sundial"
- Weezer - "Buddy Holly"
- Angus & Julia Stone - "A Heartbreak"
- Catfish and the Bottlemen - "Kathleen"
- Neon Trees - "Everybody Talks"
- New Politics - "Harlem"
Guitar Hero Live is coming this fall to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and select mobile devices.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
The words "Steam" and "refund" often aren't seen in conjunction with one another. The closest instance is where someone buys a broken game and yells out, "Steam, I want a refund!" At which point, they would not get one. Well, Valve has now overhauled Steam's refund policy and adjusted it so that consumers could be refunded for any reason within a 14-day window.
"Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours," explains the Steam post (via Polygon). Refunds can apply to DLC, in-game purchases (provided they have not been used), pre-orders, Steam Wallet funds, bundles, and unredeemed gift purchases.
There are only a few exceptions to this new policy. Convicted cheaters banned by the Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) system are not eligible for a refund for the game in which they've been banned. Movies are not eligible for refunds. And of course, Steam keys purchased through a third-party site like Green Man Gaming, Direct2Drive, or Humble Bundle are not eligible for refunds. Each of these individual retailers have their own standing refund policies, which can be found on their respective sites.
It should be noted that Steam's refund policy, as currently stated, compares favorably with its competitors. GOG.com offers a 30-day money back guarantee, though it will only come after a round with technical support and after determining that a game is broken. PlayStation Network has a similar policy. The Xbox Store/Marketplace does not have a specific refund policy in place, but if this Reddit thread is any indication, users are only granted one authorized refund for digital purchases. When placed against its competition, Steam's refund policy appears to be fairly magnanimous.