The RPS Bargain Bucket: Anaemic

By Lewie Procter on September 11th, 2010 at 2:54 pm.

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Things are a bit anaemic this week. D2D have got daily specials on right now that include a PDF with pictures of ladies from video games, and a game that has just gone free to play. Impulse have got a fantastic deal on Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 and not much else. GamersGate have reduced their ridiculously overpriced Ubisoft games to be only slightly overpriced. Steam’s weekend special is a game that’s going to be superseded by a better version some point very soon. It’s the bargain bucket. Hooray. This is probably the worst week for deals I can recall in the entire time I’ve been doing the bargain bucket, so perhaps your wallets can get some respite. If you’re eager for more cheap gaming across the entire spectrum of formats, SavyGamer.co.uk is your friend.

Tidalis – £5.59/€6.29/$6.99
A saving of about a quid, nothing to set the world of fire, but if you were planning on grabbing this anyway, then now is your chance to save a tiny amount of money. This is a block matching puzzle game from Arcen games, the brains behind AI War, and it looks a bit clever. This video shows it off. Kudos to them for putting some thought into making it friendly to the 8% of males and 0.5% of females that have some kind of colourblindness. Demo here.

Blood Bowl [Dark Elves Edition] – £4.25/€7,50/$10
American football and Warhammer are both outside my area of expertise, but Kieron’s got you covered. He documented an entire season of the game here, and from the looks of things he scored lots of points, kicked and threw the ball lots of times, and did a punch at some of the other players. Whilst it’s pretty cheap, there is a “better than this” version coming out at some point, so it might be worth holding out for that. RPS coverage here.

Caesar 3 + Call to Power 2 – £5.46/€6.61/$8.38
A pair of ‘looking at cities from far above and controlling them’ games are on offer at GOG this week. 30% off if you buy both, or 20% off individually. Activision engaged their generosity subroutines a while back and released the source code to Civilisation: Call to Power 2, and the industrious modders at apolyton.net have been tinkering with it. The end result is a big old comunity patch, with various enhancements. You could (in theory) grab it here, but they appear to be mid server migration, and I can’t find a mirror. GOG have also got a paypal promotion going on, but it’s not very good, and I’d prefer to show solidarity with Notch by not linking to it.

Deal of the week
VVVVVV
Steam – £3.59/€4.49/$4.49
GamersGate – £3.49/€4.49/$4.49
Distractionware – £3.96/€4.08/$5
This only just recently got a Steam release, and a heavy perma-discount across several outlets, including direct from Terry. This is nearly half what the previous cheapest price had been, and it’s a must play, rather than a hearty recommendation, at that price. It’s a lovely little platformer with a big grin on it’s face, and a wicked laugh. I loved it, Kieron loved it, and you can play the demo here to see if you love it. It comes in both PC and Mac flavours.

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76 Comments »

  1. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Yup…a boring week, indeed…I may aswell buy Recettear now that I know there is no great bargain coming…

    • Lukasz says:

      Got Caesar 3 so frag you :D

    • Dominic White says:

      You should buy it whether there are bargains to be had anyway. I just beat the main story mode – took me about 10 hours. I was just scraping by, for the most part. Pretty challenging, although apparently if you fail, you just loop back to the start with all your stock/store upgrades/merchant level, effectively lowering the difficulty level.

      That’s not ‘beat the game’. Just the ‘little girl in debt’ story. Doing so unlocked another four playmodes, and I’ve only seen 28% of the possible items in the game, and only about 20% of the dungeons. Game has tons o’ content.

    • Dominic White says:

      Talkin’ about Recettear, by the way, before Lukasz interjected.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      @Lukasz: Caesar III is fine… but the thing is I never quite stick with those games for too long…

      @Dominic White:
      Sounds good, I’m glad to hear they don’t mean to frustrate me with too high difficulty…hooray! And 10hrs for the main story sounds about right – I’m a bit slow, so I may expect 15hrs+. And I really loved the story in the demo :) I’m in, just as soon as I get myself out of my combo “Mafia II – achievement/hard replay + Minecraft + Chime” Thinking about it now, 2 story-based and 2 sandbox/score-based games sounds about right, so today may be the day..oh and The Witcher, which I might finish at some point. Witcher, why are you so looong….

    • DrGonzo says:

      Direct2Drive are discounting 2 games everyday, and a bunch of other games every Wednesday. So it’s probably worth checking that out.

      About Recettear, I absolutely loved the Demo, but I just bought Operation Arrowhead. I think I will wait for the inevitable Steam sale that reduces it to 5p.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Dominic

      Wait, there’s no penalty for dying in Recettear? That rather takes the fun out of an RPG, is that true of all the game modes or just that first one?

    • Dominic White says:

      Oh, there’s harsh, harsh penalties for failure. There’s just no absolute ‘game over’ state.

      Wipe out in a dungeon, and you’re allowed to choose a single item (out of 20+ that you’ve probably collected) out with you. All the other stuff is destroyed.

      Fail to repay your debt one week, and it turns out that it was all a horrible dream, and the plot resets, but you keep your level, store upgrades and stock. Effectively, it bumps you down to an easier difficulty.

      Now, that’s just story mode. There’s the plot-free survival mode, where you have an infinitely increasing debt every week to pay, and your objective is simply to last as long as you can.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Dominic

      Nevermind, I misread you, it sounds like you start over in the story but retain the stuff you earned last time, giving you a “leg up.” Is that right? Can one save/reload to prevent this? I would still be interested in knowing how death works in the other modes, though.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Dominic

      Ah the joys of simultaneous posting. Alright, thanks for the clarification. This is the part where I immediately go buy the game, now…

  2. Rich says:

    More of a bargain thimble then.
    A thimble with nothing in it… except disappointment.

  3. Mr Chug says:

    D2D turns 6 isn’t bad this week- Mass Effect or Kings Bounty AP for £6 are both pretty good deals. The pictures of girls in games for £2.50 is a complete joke though.

    • LewieP says:

      Yeah, the main problem with the D2D turns 6 stuff is that it is exclusivity stuff that has been cheaper in the past, a lot of them in the recent past.

      Plus, in the UK at least, most of them are available for a fair bit cheaper for retail copies.

    • Rich says:

      As long as they’re not region locked, you can get them for a little bit less than £6 by buying them from the D2D US sight.
      $6 plus $1.05 VAT is about £4.70.

  4. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    @Dominic White>
    I lol’d…I imagined Caesar III with “a little girl in debt” story…. bwahahahahaha…

  5. Fishdinner says:

    Recettear is fantastic, a completely worthy $20

  6. Schaulustiger says:

    Steam has a nice offer for King’s Bounty: Crossworlds. Pre-order it for 9,99€ and get KB: The Legend for free. Since I only had Armored Princess anyway, I completed my KB collection for just a few bucks. Hooray \o/

    • Schaulustiger says:

      Oh, and Recettear is great! Been playing it since this morning, even though I have lots of other stuff to do. It’s just so compelling (and darn difficult until you get a clue of how things work).

    • Dominic White says:

      One of the most important things I found in Recettear is that you shouldn’t haggle everyone into the ground. You get a lot more XP and customer happiness if you make your sale on your first offer, which in turn increases your ability to buy stock, and their willingness to buy it.

      By all means haggle on the big make-or-break deals, but nobody is going to shop big at the place with the crazy little girl who bleeds them dry of every penny they’ve got.

    • Heliocentric says:

      @dom wow? The game rewards you for treating customers well? Thats actually sold me on the game.

      Early on people were bitching about having to haggle everyone, hearing that they were just “playing it wrong” has driven this game up to must have for me.

    • Dominic White says:

      Being nice is pretty much the only way to win. Cutthroat capitalism will only get you so far.

      Of course, there’s a few characters that you will never, ever please, but I won’t spoil them. They’re worth leaving as surprises.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Recettear was great but I didn’t think it was particularly difficult. I did a couple of dungeons and always sold my goods for 120 percent and I finished the demo with 20,000. Great fun!

      I’ve looked at Armoured Princess, but it looks more like an add on than a sequel to me. The first game was fun, but I gave up after getting bored of running back to the shop to buy reinforcements. Has that been changed in Armoured Princess?

    • Schaulustiger says:

      @DrGonzo: Recettear becomes difficult because the weekly payments heavily increase in size (up to 500k in week 5). The first week is pretty easy, that’s true.

      Regarding Armored Princess: No, it”s exactly the same.

    • MWoody says:

      @DrGonzo: It’s been months since I played Armored Princess and still longer since I played the first one, so I’m not sure what’s different and what isn’t, but there are a few things that help you out with not having to rush back home after every battle. It’s still going to be in your best interest, in the long run, to be a little flexible in your army makeup and try to recruit the local color – not just because they’re easier to find, but it also makes the game more varied and fun and will allow you to discover some interesting combinations.

      The big help, though, is that they took a feature that could be purchased for one of the classes in the first one (again, iirc) and made it standard: you get two extra slots in which you can keep units not in your army, and swap freely in the field. Which is better than it even sounds for one reason: leadership penalties don’t apply to these slots. They can be as large as you can afford to fill them.

      So the strategy I found worked best was to have two unit stacks that were essentially my damage-takers – something mean but fast like a royal griffon to charge into the middle of enemy territory and soak up attacks – and then just replenish my leadership-limited stacks from the larger one after each combat. The net result was an army that, even when it took losses, still stayed at peak efficiency going into each fight without running home to reload.

      An even more interesting use of these slots is for things like ghosts, which would often end battle having raised their enemy’s dead so many times that they wound up above my controllable leadership score. It works both ways, in this case: I could move my extra ghosts and/or ancient ghosts into reserve stacks after each combat, keeping the numbers under control without having to delete them outright. And in the event they got obliterated, I had these extras ready to go.

      It’s a small change, but one that – while not alleviating the need to travel back to recruit entirely – really helped handle the micromanagement.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    I’ll be getting 6V but because the discount is permanent (but for 40p) I’ll work on my back catalogue first.

    Did i just promote short term sales because they induce panic buying? I can’t tell I’m too busy channel surfing homeshopping networks.

  8. ErikM says:

    Anyone know how it is that Zavvi can be so cheap? Noticed they sold Front Mission(not saying whether or not it will be a good game) for something like 20 pounds. I hear their shipping can take time. But I mean, if you’re not in a hurry it’s super cheap.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      I don’t recommend zavvi. The shipping really takes AGES and the customer support is horrible in my experience – items get lost and you may never see either the goods or money (my experience)

      I recommend to buy it either from CDWOW (24quids, free shipping taking about one week to Europe) or Game.co.uk (24quids, shipping may apply (2.5quids for Europe), but the shipping is super fast (excluding Christmas and similar holidays) – about 3 days and they send the pre-orders in advance, so it gets to you by the release date)

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well in my experience Game.co.uk and Play.com are fairly bad. I’ve never had anything from Play take anything less than a month to arrive. It has been a similart thing with Game, but no where near as bad.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Really? Well, I haven’t bought from Game.co.uk many times and the time it got delayed…well, it was Christmas time, so hard to judge.

      But CDWOW is pretty much flawless… I swear! Got tons of stuff from them. And when it got lost (1 or 2 times], I got my money back.

    • ErikM says:

      Cheers for the information! I think I’ll steer clear from Zavvi. Might give CDWOW a look though!

    • Farewell says:

      I bought the new Alien vs Predator game from Zavvi a while back, and it took them 5 weeks to send it. Other than that, it was quite cheap.

  9. Fumarole says:

    Good Old Games has 25% off the following (aorry for the caps, I’m feeling lazy and it was a copy/paste):

    DISCIPLES 2 GOLD
    GOTHIC 2 GOLD EDITION
    THE INCREDIBLE MACHINE MEGA PACK
    JAGGED ALLIANCE 2
    MYST: MASTERPIECE EDITION
    PAINKILLER BLACK EDITION
    PSYCHONAUTS
    RED BARON PACK
    SANITARIUM
    TEX MURPHY: UNDER A KILLING MOON

    I’ll be picking up JA2 and G2 from that list.

    captcha: euuh – kinda how I feel this morning

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Thx, but no thx… :)

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Quote fail:
      It’s already in the post:
      GOG have also got a paypal promotion going on, but it’s not very good, and I’d prefer to show solidarity with Notch by not linking to it

    • DrGonzo says:

      Is Gothic 2 worth getting if you enjoyed Risen? Sanitarium also looks interesting, but I’m a bit suspicious of it as I’ve never heard of it before.

    • HarbourMaster says:

      @DrGonzo: I played this recently and wrote some non-spoilering positive blather about it on the very fabric of the internet if you’re interested.

    • Fumarole says:

      @Frankie: Indeed you are right, it was mentioned in the post. I posted details for those who’d like to buy games at a discount and are curious at what those games are, making no assumptions about whether or not others would like them.

      @DrGonzo: I have no idea as I have played neither, but it looks like the kind of game I’d like and has good reviews so I went for it.

    • Rhygadon says:

      @DrGonzo: I played and enjoyed the Risen demo, then read the reviews and decided to get Gothic II (from GoG) instead. It does feel very archaic, interface-wise, but overall it was very compelling: good freedom, a great old-school sense of exploration and challenge, and some interesting NPCs.

      Top Gothic II tip: hit GameFAQs, find the guide called “Gothic II Survival Guide”, and do pretty much everything recommended in Section 1 (Technical Pointers). It shows you how to speed up the mouse movement, enable quicksave, and fix a few other QoL issues. For me, it made the difference between “too archaic to really enjoy” and “pure, nostalgic fun”.

    • D says:

      Never thought I’d see the day someone asked if Gothic 2 was worth it.

  10. iLag says:

    You totally forgot the Steam deal on Secret of the Magic Crystals.
    Muhahahaha.

  11. dingo says:

    The most interesting thing is not mentioned:
    “King’s Bounty: Crossworlds” is UNLOCKED already.
    I bought it earlier today, downloaded and can play it now.

    The one I bought for 9,99 EUR requires KB:AP on Steam.
    Since I had KB already as well I got an extra copy to gift.

    Someone at Steam / 1c did f**k up.
    Not sure how long that will stay unfixed so you better hurry in case you are interested. :)

    • Warduke says:

      An extra copy of KB to gift? Are you sure? That’s not Steam’s policy typically (except for some Valve games only). Usually the extra copies just “disappear”.

    • Archonsod says:

      It usually is with free games. They usually put it in the advertisement somewhere though.

    • Schaulustiger says:

      Bah, it’s no longer unlocked. You can download right away but when you try to play, it says “The game is no longer free.”
      Well, five days till the official release are not that bad, especially with Recettear waiting to be played.

    • Archonsod says:

      You can still run the editor though, interestingly enough.

    • Archonsod says:

      Actually, you can still run Crossworlds. Just run Armoured Princess and you should have access to the content.

  12. Navagon says:

    Weren’t you guys told? It’s International Crappy Sales Week.

    That said, GOG have a fer better sale here. But after what happened to poor Notch, the theme might leave a bad taste in people’s mouths.

    • Navagon says:

      Okay that’s what I get for not reading properly before posting. :P

  13. Hideous says:

    Dead Rising 2 goes for 17 quid here:

    http://www.gametail.com/hold/?deal=100910

    Free shipping inside the EU, too. Damn good price for a preorder.

    • LewieP says:

      It was £20, but then I pointed out it could be had for £18 at Zavvi, and then gametail instantly dropped it to £16.95.

      Very impressive, I’m going to be keeping an eye on them.

    • Bostec says:

      Seems a little dodgy to me, the website is not even lunched yet, 17th of September.

    • LewieP says:

      Yeah, it’s a brand new site, and this is just a series of specials in the run up to the launch proper.

      They’ve had a lot of happy customers on twitter so far.

    • Navagon says:

      Interesting. But I’m just not so sure about Capcom titles lately. I’d like to know more about the gameplay of Dead Rising 2 before grabbing it.

    • D says:

      They released a version for the 360, called mmm.. Dead Rising: Case Zero? Or something to that effect. It’s a small full-game preview for DR2, sold for $10 or something, on that virtual marketplace of theirs (I don’t own a console, can you tell). But I’ve been able to see some gameplay videos out of it, looks pretty good. Just an idea.

  14. Carra says:

    Caesar 3 is a good game. But since then they made Pharaoh, Zeus and Emperor which are all better games.

    So it’s a good idea

    • Carra says:

      * to buy the bundled version with everything from Caesar 2 to Emperor. Got the bundle with all games for €25. And that was 5 years ago, you should be able to get them a lot cheaper these days.

  15. n3gs says:

    Need For Speed World is free to play now, if anyone’s interested. Just got an email this morning.

  16. Inverselaw says:

    Ceasar III Is also good to show that you are better then a graduate of Mises University, the foremost in austrian economic thinking. Or conversly prove the folishness of state control of the market (dependent on how good you are)

  17. Inverselaw says:

    Graduates of mises university are still probably better then me at linking however.

  18. Inverselaw says:

    oh i give up

    http://mises.org/daily/4633

    • D says:

      Shouldn’t that be “(depending on how bad you are)” instead? That article seemed like someone failed at Caesar III and needed to have a little cry. And also needed to write an essay about why communism is bad. (Yes, I skimmed it.)

    • Dominic White says:

      The comment tags below the article are TOTALLY worth the price of admission. The top few most common:

      ‘Retarded’, ‘Retardation’, ‘Retarfation’, ‘Specious’ and ‘WTF Idiot’

  19. The Dark One says:

    Turns out that the Crossworlds price on Steam was a mistake. It’s back up to $20/15€.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Yeah, and it’s locked again. Even so, I was able to beat one boss before they disabled the game. Also, the free KB:TL is still available to gift. As a side note, the original KB:AP is unplayable for me (Crossworlds addon overwrites some files, including main exe, and it got locked now :)) but I believe they may fix it before Sept 17th.

  20. NoahApples says:

    So what’s the deal with the Blood Bowl deal? Is it generally understood that the upcoming sparkly version is going to be full price regardless of whether you own the original? I’ve seriously been waiting for this game to go on sale since the day it came out. I would feel pretty silly buying it if (what I understand to be) a much-improved, content-rich version of the same exact game (which presumably most people will switch over to for online play) came out a month after I bought it, without any kind of discount.

    • Morte says:

      I’m in same boat (hi!). I’m taking the view that they would naturally let everyone know that you can upgrade or get a discounted legendary version (or some other worth sweetener) if you buy this, to boost sales of this current version.
      As they’re being suspiciously quiet, I can only conclude I’d be a mug to buy it. However, at under a fiver, it’s still a tempting deal, as I’ve never played (except the demo), and I’l likely get a fivers worth out of it if only to learn it.

      hmm

  21. OldGrumpy says:

    Everyone praising VVVVVV never play Metal Storm?

  22. Mark Raymond says:

    It bears more in resemblance to that mining cart level in Gunstar Heroes than VVVVVV.

    Also, fuck you, VVVVVV. I hate you for being so difficult. :(

    I do love the music, though, as well as the exploration, and the graphics, and the sound effects. Okay, a lot of things. Still, so goddamn hard.

  23. OldGrumpy says:

    Yeah but the gravity flipping mechanic is there in addition to side scrolling shooting (if you actually played it and not watch a non-interactive youtube video of someone else who hardly uses it playing it).

    I’m just sayin’ it’s not a bold new innovative mechanic that only retro-hipster indies in 2010 can come up with like other people are claiming.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      That’s it’s there in addition to all the other stuff is *why it’s less interesting*.

      This is the equivalent of the people in the Ruse thread going “Well, you can make fake buildings in C&C, therefore Ruse isn’t in any way unusual”. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding in how the game puts a mechanic at its core and then take it on a walk about its possibilities, in favour of tedious “Oh, you fired a gun in Space Invaders so it’s basically Doom”.

      KG

  24. destroy.all.monsters says:

    Champions Online is $6 for the moment on direct2drive. Is it any good? Worth the sub?

    • Jimbo says:

      Not as good as having $6.

    • MWoody says:

      I enjoyed it as a game, but not so much as an MMO. In other words, I got to the end shortly after release, and found no compelling reason to continue the subscription. It’s essentially a game where there are roughly 10-15 classes, but you don’t pick one so much as pick individual powers out of each class. Which actually works pretty well, especially in a super-hero theme.

      At launch, you could make some hilariously game-breaking combinations. I mention this because I’m not sure if I would enjoy the inevitably better balanced version that I imagine exists today. 90% of my fun was constantly tracking down, testing, tweaking, and ultimately mastering the most absolutely broken, insanely overpowered build you could imagine, cherry-picked from every class available. The only way he could die was if he was attacked by just one or two powerful enemies, as he would increase his damage output and self-healing exponentially with each new nearby creature. We’re talking a character that could just run through an instance, get to the end with an enemy train behind him, then just start the killing. I felt like a _superhero_.

      Today, though? Today it’s probably just a colorful, mildly amusing MMO. It’s strange how much fun breaking a system can be, and how perverse it makes the designers’ desire to essentially erase such hijinks.