The RPS Bargain Bucket

By RPS on April 4th, 2009 at 3:28 pm.

It’s sunny! But don’t go outside. There are dangers there – you will surely perish. Instead, remain safely inside your dark, dank bedroom, enjoying one of these agreeably-priced PC games – temporary bargains identified, as always, by SavyGamer’s peerless discount-hound LewieP.

Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy – £6.99/€9.99/$9.99
I love a bit of piracy as much as the next PC gamer, and this indie action game has just had a huge multiplayer update. To celebrate, that game’s available for 50% cheaper. Try the demo here.

Sword of the Stars – €9.99/$9.99
Large scale space eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate game. Never got around to playing this, although it does look fascinating. These type of games always intrigue me, but they all seem really inaccessible. Would this be a good starting point for someone who’s new to the genre? RPS coverage here, and try the demo here. UK gamers can get it for £5.99 delivered here.


Fantasy Wars
– €7.99/$7.99
Turn based strategy game with derivative name. It’s from Russia’s 1C Company, the publisher of recent RPS-faves King’s Bounty: The Legend and Men of War, so it might similarly be worth your attention. RPS coverage here, and try the demo here.

Left4Dead – £13.95
Bargain price, especially considering the large update that is on the way later on this year. Zombies and panic, I’m sure you know the rest by now. A undeadshedload of RPS coverage here.

Deal of the week
Tomb Raider: Anniversary – £3.50/€5/$5
It’s pretty hard for me to decide if Tomb Raider is good any more [imagine your own silent rage from Walker here - RPS]. I definitely liked a lot of things about Legend, but it baffles me that after having finally making a game that played like it was made in the last decade, their next move was to do a remake of the first one. Pretty backwards thinking, but I suppose it’s nice to have a prettied up version of old games. It has QTE boss fights, which aren’t very well done, and you’ll probably want to play it with a controller. It is very cheap though. Try the demo here.

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40 Comments »

  1. rob says:

    I had a lot of fun with Anniversary, despite not thinking I would and having not enjoyed any of Lara’s excursions since 2. It had some incredibly satisfying puzzles and was only incredibly frustrating a couple of times. Definitely worth £3.50.

  2. sinister agent says:

    Fortunately, I have an east-facing bedroom on a hill, so can bask in glorious sunshine while playing games without even needing to get off the bed. Envy me, mortals.

    I like the sound of that pirating one, though steam can lick a socket. Cheers for the tip, gents. I will away, to shop and barg.

  3. Optimaximal says:

    Unfortunately, Steam is having lots of problems with the Store Cart at the moment – there’s a thread about it on the forum but no official word yet.

    Seems like there’s a Javascript error on the cart page that crashes the script before its loaded.

  4. bansama says:

    I’m having trouble with GamersGate right now. Want to pick up Fantasy Wars but it’s refusing to accept my credit card. Which perfectly when I then used it on GOG for the $9.98 deal on Broken Sword 2 and 3 =/

  5. bansama says:

    Oh and for those interested Frontlines Fuel of War is 50% off this weekend, also on Gamersgate (so that’s $14.99/£10-ish (before VAT)).

  6. Smurfy says:

    Yeah, some crazy stuff’s going down with Steam. The stats were down, and for some people the whole thing was down, now Friends is down…

  7. bansama says:

    Yeah, Valve have really lost their touch these last few weeks in regards to overall server stability.

  8. Alex says:

    “I love a bit of piracy as much as the next PC gamer”
    -Controversy-baiting quote fun

  9. bansama says:

    Well, I just managed to purchase Fantasy Wars, but there is no serial number. Looking at forums provided by Paradox, this tends to happen when a games sells too well. =/ Guess I won’t be playing it until next week.

  10. Carra says:

    Too bad shop2 doesn’t have free delivery outside of Brittain.

    Bought the Tomb Raider game. Been a while since I’ve played a good platformer game :) Now, where did I put that controller?

  11. Gexecuter says:

    Hey you forgot to mention the GOG.com weekend deal of Broken sword 2 & 3 for only 10 dollars, also if you have both games before monday you get added to a lottery for a free game. GOG is awesome edit your post now!

  12. Bet says:

    Fantasy Wars is a lot of fun, I love these kinds of games. Looking forward to Elven Legacy now. Hope you get your key for it soon, bansama!

  13. theleif says:

    Gog is evil:

    ” The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army–your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords.

    Ezekiel 38:1-4

  14. malkav11 says:

    Sword of the Stars, when last I played it, was not remotely the game to start with when it came to space 4X. For the very simple reason that it didn’t provide anywhere near enough information to the player. They patched it a lot since then, so that -may- have improved, but I’m also miffed by the prospect of real time tactical battles.

    I’d probably go with Master of Orion II as a starter space 4X. It’s not that it’s less complex, but it’s one of the best and it keeps you fully informed.

    BTW, I wish Gamersgate would consistently just LIST THE PRICE for their deals like they did with Fantasy Wars. Saying 50% off is useless to me, because I didn’t know what they charged for Frontlines to begin with. Could have been $200. Then 50% off wouldn’t be any kind of deal. ;P

  15. ScottR says:

    I would tend to disagree about Sword of the Stars. It’s a great starter game, especially without the expansion packs. It’s all pretty much configure ships, build ships, move ships and fight with ships. Realtime combat is fun, and easy to do because its 2D in game logic. You can also pause and give orders in single-player.

    The ‘not enough information’ argument has been thrown around alot, mainly to do with the lack of health bars on ships. However, there is a colour-coded green/yellow/red health system in place, and its also easy to see when your ships are dying because they are missing the front section and have dozens of flaming sparks flying out of it.

    Also, there’s not much ‘information’ because at its core, it has a very simple game mechanic: ‘Go out and destroy the other guys’.

    It’s a great buy, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

  16. bansama says:

    @Bet: Me too. The demo was a blast and I want more of that action =) Well, guess I’ll take the kids out tomorrow for some Cherry Blossom viewing and hopefully, they won’t bug me next weekend when (luck willing) I’ll be able to play Fantasy Wars.

  17. LewieP says:

    I would have posted the gog deal on Broken Sword, but you can get Broken Sword Trilogy for £5.73 delivered, which is a much better deal.

    Similarly with Frontlines: Fuel of War, it can be had for £4.99 delivered.

  18. PC Monster says:

    TR: Anniversary is GREAT. I was a huge fan of the original and loved revisiting all those familiar places in this shiny new engine. £3.50 is an absolute steal.

  19. James Allen says:

    Review time:
    Buccaneer: meh.
    Sword of the Stars: OK.
    Fantasy Wars: OK.
    Elven Legacy review Monday (there was supposed to be an embargo, but apparently some review sites didn’t get the memo…damn TPS reports). Spoiler Alert: Fantasy Wars + Minor Improvements. I’d opt for FW at 7.99.

  20. A-Scale says:

    How does a game that looks as good as Buccaneer: The Pursuit of Infamy get no mainstream reviews? I can’t find a single Gamespot/IGN/RPS review of it.

  21. A-Scale says:

    PS that’s a dogicorn (dog unicorn) at the right of that Tombraider picture! Look out Lara!

  22. Tei says:

    Shit!.. Is true!.. thats a dogicorn!

  23. Heliocentric says:

    Discussion of recent savy gamer posts.

    I picked up a £2 copy of tf2 meaning to buy it for someone. Then i remembered i don’t know any gamers who don’t play it.

    Fail.

    Frontlines always interested me but the demo looked like bf2 with more invisible walls. Eh, tom chick likes it and if i had a vulva i’d probably try to marry him so i should probably like it too.

  24. LewieP says:

    I would have included some of the recent in store HMV deals, but since they are only available to people in the UK and are in limited stock, I decided to leave them out.

    Anyway, The Club, TMNT and Team Fortress 2 are all £2 in HMV, and Burnout Paradise – The Ultimate Box is £15, with 10% student discount available too.

    There is this too. Cracking deal.

  25. Panther says:

    LewieP: surely the benefit of the GOG version is that you can download and play that day, it has no DRM (no disk check or whatever) and you get bonus guides and artworks.

    Just did a little exchange rate calculation, and for UK customers the $9.98 deal is equivalent to £6.74, so thats only £1.01 more, and you get extra benefits.

  26. Ian says:

    Is it true that if I leave my house there’s a 76% chance of me being eaten by giant bats?

    No wonder the kids of today all sit playing video games indoors.

  27. Nelson says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Been wanting Fantasy Wars forever now. What a price! RPS bargain bucket ROCKS!

  28. Po0py says:

    I keep seing these european games like Fantasy Wars but I know nothing about them. Absolutly nothing. Is there some secret website that covers these games that I don’t know about yet? Because all the websites I visit doesn’t even so much as glance in their direction.

  29. malkav11 says:

    When I say not enough information I mean things like it not telling you what the results of combat were, or what’s been built on a turn, or when you’re done with research or…

    I mean, there’s a lousy little scroller at the bottom of the screen (or, again, was), but it’s not a substitute for proper reporting.

  30. Mil says:

    Is Fantasy Wars a remake of Fantasy General, as it was said in the previous RPS thread? Does it have Panzer General-style rules? Because that would be amazing.

    @Ian: not true at all. 72% percent at most.

  31. Archonsod says:

    >malkav11 says:
    >
    >When I say not enough information I mean things like it >not telling you what the results of combat were, or what’s >been built on a turn, or when you’re done with research >or…
    >
    >I mean, there’s a lousy little scroller at the bottom of the >screen (or, again, was), but it’s not a substitute for >proper reporting.

    You get the ticker, which you can click on to expand, plus a vocal cue for each event. Should be more than enough; it even breaks down combat results into how much damage each weapon type dealt

  32. Hypocee says:

    You get the ticker, which you can click on to expand, plus a vocal cue for each event.

    And a full events list tab that can zoom you to every event that took place during a turn. It’s easy to see how SotS got a reputation for hiding stuff from the player – the release version’s interface was a shambles, and they had a bizarre ideological stance on forcing manual player inspection of ships – but they’ve caved on many of the dumber decisions and made huge interface improvements in their patches.

    I would recommend SotS not so much for a ‘beginner’ – it’s so unique that it’s not really a gateway – as for someone who’s not interested in full-on 4X complexity. SotS is a universe where THERE IS ONLY WAR, to coin a phrase. It’s about growing colonies you’ve conquered with your awesome spaceships, designing awesome spaceships, producing awesome spaceships, and moving awesome spaceships around in order to fight over colonies with awesome spaceships. You don’t use AI governers to tweak peanut butter production on Distantis IV, because you don’t tweak peanut butter production at all. You work with populations, and spaceships.

    What SotS does better than any other game, for me at least, is generate story and drama; only Armageddon Empires and the Total War series come close, and all via the same contingency between strategic and tactical play. The polygon-collision combat model and four genuinely unique star drives sound like bullet points, but in reality they bubble up an enormous wealth of strategic implications from semichaotic events in each tactical battle – it’s possible for the green light on a whole multisystem offensive to hinge on the survival of a single particular ship. I wish GalCiv II felt to me like Tom Francis’ war diaries; SotS does, all the time and with every race. It simultaneously strips away the breadth of choices that often paralyse me in 4X and even ‘RT4X’, and loads up the remaining decisions with a hugely satisfying heft. (I admit I also eat up the alien races with a spoon – we see a lot of the same archetypes in video games and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but this game’s races are best described not as Tyranids or Eldar but as an Azad/Screewee hybrid, a grimly determineded Tnuctipun, and the Buggers without psionics.)

    Lead designer Martin Cirulis periodically suffers from a low-grade case of Smartitis, but this prerelease interview illustrates the kind of narratives that just fall out for free when you take the time to create a game where little things make a big difference. The remainder of this comment is a portion of an AAR I posted in a private forum during my first spin with the game.

    OK, that was pretty cool. I started out tactically inept, so going one-to-two on kills seemed normal,then improved my tactics and got up to one-to-one and at my peak, about three-to-two. Then, suddenly, most of my fleets started getting eaten alive again and I couldn’t figure out why. I was spending most of my time in tac combat zoomed out, but the game actually wants you to look at the pretty and get information on what’s going on; when I finally got good enough to start targeting individual sections, I focus-zoomed in and discovered the trick. After our first few encounters, I’d settled into a simple two-group structure of plasma torpedo boats (arty) and a “Zapper” bristling with UV lasers. The Zappers had absolutely chewed up a few fleets at medium range, as they were designed to do, but I should have noticed that enemies were suddenly surviving to close range. The bastard had done that adaptive analysis thing they were talking about, started tricking out all his fleets in reflective armor, and being the Tarka, his forward and side armor’s excellently angled. Maybe 80% of my shots were just ricocheting off.

    Fortunately, the planet smasher fleets which are about to arrive at his two forward strongholds happen to be heavily biased towards an older design using gauss and missiles. Heh heh heh.
    ————–
    He turned aside my first planet smasher, which I had expected to be a cakewalk. I failed in part because I tried to be a clever dick and incorporate a returning prep fleet, screwing up my reinforcement orders thanks to the stupid fleet management, but mainly because he reinforced and a Size 9 planet is very large and difficult to kill with destroyers to an extent I had not previously understood. On the plus side, I inflicted some very serious pain on his fleet and got a great shuttle run in to knock the planet down to an effective Size 6 or 7 for a few turns. He also completely stripped his other biggie’s defences to reinforce this one, leaving it open for my other stomper which arrives in just a couple of turns. Call it Coral Sea, I guess – I’m certainly not entirely happy, but I think in the long run it was a significant victory.

    I’m suddenly a lot less sanguine about my third stompy fleet’s chances on the other side of the map, though. I might be stretching too much by building to pound three strong points at once, but it does seem to be keeping his shipyards busy on home turf; he’s only sent one medium attack fleet so far (with Plague Missiles, the rat, which got my planet but also seemed much less effective than I expected. Maybe my defsats shot a couple of them down first; I was busy) Fortunately I just finished researching fusion drives and retuned all my classes, so my next waves will arrive much faster with nearly double the firepower per ship.

  33. cheeba says:

    Hard to pass up Fantasy Wars at that kind of money. Decided to go for it anyway, even if I have to wait ’til next week for a serial. I really wish they’d sort that crap out though, it can’t be THAT hard to keep items in stock when they don’t take up any actual tangible space.

    @Mil: I’ve only played Fantasy General in passing, so can’t give some conclusive decision on the matter, but FW does seem extremely reminiscent of it. And certainly any FG fans I’ve known have embraced it with open arms, so I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet.

    And Sword of the Stars is excellent, doesn’t get anywhere near the respect it deserves. Doubly surprising when it was created by a core group of the team responsible for the much-loved Homeworld games. Homeworld, people! Give me that over the crushingly dull Sins of blah blah etc any day.

  34. Flappybat says:

    The Club and Space Siege are 75% off (£4.95, £7.95) on Direct2Drive UK.

    http://www.direct2drive.co.uk/1/5806/product/Buy-The-Club-Download

    http://www.direct2drive.co.uk/1/6519/product/Buy-Space-Siege-Download

    Space Siege would be a joke even if it was free but The Club might work as budget.

  35. Mull says:

    I picked up World in Conflict Complete Edition in HMV yesterday for a tenner. They also have WAR for a fiver! A noob on HotUKdeals bought TF2 for £2 in there as well, but I can’t find a copy – would be good to get a couple more mates hooked on it!

  36. Optimaximal says:

    Seriously? I went into HMV Cribbs (nee Zavvi) not 2 days ago and WiC:C was £20 & Burnout was £35!

  37. Nelson says:

    @Po0py:

    Go to 1C’s website: http://www.1cpublishing.eu/
    They’re publishing most of these games like Kings Bounty The Legend and Armored Princess, Fantasy Wars and Elven Legacy, plus a few other cool games. Strategy Informer does a fair amount of reporting on them, but most mainstream game sites don’t. If you check 1C’s forum though, they always post links to every little tidbit they can find that covers their games.

  38. flo says:

    yeah, thanks for the anniversary tip/link, it is awesome so far. I played the first adventure incompletely on a friends PS back when, so playing this with much nicer graphics is really nice.

  39. Malagate says:

    It’s been a pretty sweet weekend thanks to these bargains, Tomb Raider Anniversary was a great way to finally experience what I recall only playing at a demo booth in a Virgin store at the time (so long ago…).

    Also That Buccaneer game really has me hooked in, I am absolutely dying to find the last Chimera (a.k.a. “Other”) class of ship, as it’s the only one that I don’t have! It’s simple, it’s silly, but damn if I don’t enjoy sailing around and blasting everyone else out of the water. I’ve also found zero hints online, anyone have any advice on where to find the last ship that I need? The one that’s to the right of the “Iron Whelp”.

  40. PC Monster says:

    @Nelson

    It’d be lovely if 1C’d finally settle on a release date for The Tomorrow War, though. Seems to have been “just about there” for the last year now. I mean how much longer do we have to wait for a game that’s not only been released in Eastern Europe, but also has a sequel/expansion?!?

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