The RPS Bargain Bucket: Cracking

All the rich folk might be gearing up for the big releases coming up shortly, but we’ve got other things on our mind here in the bargain bucket. Value is our hype, discounts are our press releases, and regional pricing discrepancies are our dedicated servers. Head to SavyGamer to fight for your right to game cheap. Here’s this week’s selection…

Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures – £12.04/€13.48/$20
Get all four episodes of Telltale game’s adventure games, based on the claymation “dog and bloke” duo, for nearly half price. If you’re not sure whether this is your kind of thing, you can grab the episode “Muzzled” for free. They are also going to donate £1 for every sale to either Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation, or Penny-Arcade’s Child’s Play, both worthy causes. You can get them to ship the games to you on a disc for just the cost of shipping if you prefer, those of you trying to conserve your bandwidth. How very nice of them. Best played with some Wensleydale at hand.

Grappling Hook – £5.78/€6.47/$9.60
Pretty much any game could be improved with a grappling hook, I dare you to try and prove me wrong. A odd quirk of the checkout process is that picking to pay in Euros via Paypal is the cheapest way to get the game, even for Brits and Yanks. Also, you only pay VAT if you tell them that you are in the UK. I think it’s fair to call it a post-portal first person platformer, or “PPFPP”. It has a kickass colour scheme too. Demo here, RPS coverage here.

Mosby’s Confederacy – £7.81/€8.75/$12.99
Kieron spent some time with this back at release, here’s what he thought:
“Clearly, it’s too early for me to make a recommendation or not, but in its light tactical way, it’s grown on me across the hour and I certainly plan to come back to it. Its best thought of a cross between Commandos and X-Com. You alternate between a strategic level map where you choose missions, improve your standings with the towns in the area and improve your characters, and a tactical level map where you run around shooting people with muskets. As is Civil War fighters wont.”
This is only slightly lower than the regular Steam price, and I can’t find any mention of a demo on the internet.

Lords of… series – 30% off
Or £2.52/€2.82/$4.19 each. Cheap price for this Turn Based Strategy series that I’ve not played. Any evangelists out there? Like all GOG games they are DRM free, and will work on all modern windows operating systems. They look like the kind of game I would put on a netbook. If I had a netbook.

Deal of the Week
Mass Effect – £6.49/€7.49/$9.99
It took me a fair amount of time to get into Mass Effect. The opening hour or so didn’t grab me that much at all. I can’t really put my finger on what I didn’t like about it, I think part of it is that the 3rd person shooting combat isn’t quite good enough for it to stand on it’s own without the RPG elements, and the RPG elements only really start to come into play after you have levelled up a bit. I am very glad I persevered though, because I love it now. It’s a bloody big game, and there is a tonne of information in it. The in game codex is full of Epic Sci Fi loveliness. Still plenty of time to play it before the sequel comes out. Protip: Have a female Shepard with a shaved head, play renegade, and imagine you are playing a Star Wars/Aliens crossover. RPS coverage here.

47 Comments

  1. Lack_26 says:

    Yeah, Mass Effect’s opening hour was pretty dull, I also found the red-hue pretty off putting. But the game quickly picked up after that. I really enjoyed the game overall, I was playing on a sub-min-spec machine at the time. Although it managed medium with ease, although the combat sometimes felt a bit laggy. It was definitely more than a sum of it’s parts.

  2. abhishek says:

    My wallet stays closed again this week (thankfully), but for anyone who hasn’t played it, Mass Effect is probably worth getting at this price. Also worth noting that the Steam version of Mass Effect is not infected with the limited activations DRM that the retail version has.

  3. lePooch says:

    Looks like its finally time to get Mass Effect.

    Note on the GOG deal: Do not buy lords of the realm 3, the crappest of the series. It required too much fiddling about simultaneously on two maps while computer kills you to make it interesting. Just stick with the Royal edition, which has parts 1 and 2. And I cant say anything good about Lords of magic, but neither can I say anything bad. Its was a “meh” experience for me as a kid.

  4. Chris R says:

    Don’t forget about Serious Sam: The First Encounter High Definition version on Steam for a slight discount ($18 instead of $20).

    link to store.steampowered.com

    Looks really nice now.

  5. Rinox says:

    Biggest problem with Mass Effect was the force-feeding of background on the universe and its history in the first few hours. It’s all “don’t you remember…” and “of course you know that”.

    Dragon Age is doing a much better job so far, much more elegantly.

    • ascagnel says:

      Mass Effect was a slow burn game. I actually bought it on PC when it first came out (but re-bought on Steam for the convenience, and because I had run out of “install tokens” and didn’t want to deal with SecuROM’s bullshit), and just couldn’t get into it. Around June of this year (after having the game for 13 months) I used up my last installation of the disc version and got into it enough to finish it.

      The RPG stuff is pretty typical BioWare fare, but the shooter bits aren’t strong enough to be fun at first. The weapons have high spread and high heat-up rates, and don’t get to a usable point until about two hours into the game. Eden Prime isn’t a very good starting level, and the Feros level I chose after the Citadel wasn’t very good either. The side missions are a bit same-y, so don’t bother unless you’re going for achievements.

  6. Persus-9 says:

    For UK folks who don’t feel like fiddling their taxes and want to pay in pounds stirling because they aren’t sure what exchange rate their bank is going to charge them when paying in Euros then GamersGate have the best price for Grappling Hook at the minute at £6.97. link to gamersgate.co.uk

  7. Blather Blob says:

    Wow the EA Store sucks. There’s a free $5 off coupon available from a Wendy’s promotion, which means you can get Pinnacle Station for free (go to the contest site where you’re supposed to enter a code off a drink, ask them to send you a free code by clicking the “if you don’t have a code click here” at the bottom, wait a couple of minutes to be emailed that code, enter that code, and you’ll be sent the coupon for entering. I used 10minutemail.com to get a temporary address, to avoid spam). “Purchasing” the DLC was pretty straight forward, especially since I already had an EA account laying around.

    But now the download manager won’t login, using the same email/password that continues to work just fine on the website. I think it doesn’t like email addresses with ‘+’s in them, even though their website was fine with it — and even sent my receipt to said address without complaint. If I go to the customer service subsite, it gives me an SSL error, saying that the certificate its using is only valid for custhelp.com. If I add an exception to allow the page to load, it gives me a page saying nothing except “System Error” when I try to go to My Account to see about changing my email address. If I click the “Email Us” link it leads me through a series of questions about platform, game, and area of problem (with no category for EA Store post-purchase problems) and then just stops, without providing an email address or a form to actually, you know, enter a question. The 1 year download limit has kept me away from their store in the past, but I can now see that there are other reasons to avoid it.

    Oh well, the receipt has my unlock code on it, and I doubt an installer will be hard to find elsewhere. I still haven’t actually decided if I want to get Mass Effect yet, but I figured I’d take advantage of the free DLC just in case. And maybe it will work better for others — I’d suggest avoiding plus-addressing in the address you give them. The coupon might only work on the US EA store though.

    • abhishek says:

      Just wanted to say thanks for posting this method, which indeed worked. Being outside the USA, I had to take the additional step of running Hotspotshield to mask my IP address and access the US EA store, but it worked just fine.

    • Jugglenaut says:

      Thanks for the info. Currently downloading. I will have to give this a try when I replay ME.

  8. blahbilicious says:

    Pretty “meh” week in terms of game deals. I guess most retailers are waiting until Black Friday to roll out the good ones.

  9. LewieP says:

    Oh yeah, there is some shenanigans going on with The Void on gamersgate too. It was down to £13, but now it is back to £20. Not sure if they just discounted it before they were supposed to, or if it was a very short term offer, but it might be available for £13 at some point soon.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Their listing for The Void is pretty wonky; it was listed for US customers for a bit, with the price crossed out, and if you tried to buy it you got the popup saying it’s not available in your area. Now the US listing has been removed entirely.

  10. gulag says:

    Anyone else having horrible trouble getting Mass Effect to work at all. Damn thing won’t even start.

  11. Fumarole says:

    Lords of the Realm 2 is a pre-cursor to the Total War series. Haven’t played the first, the second is excellent but the third is shite.

    I played Lords of the Realm 2 so much I used to hear “All your people are fed by dairy my lord” in my sleep.

  12. Carra says:

    The original Lord of the Realms 2 game is a lot of fun to play. It’s indeed a bit like Medieval War. Turn based strategy on a world map combined with real-time battles.

    Mass Effect. I found it to be a very good game but not as great as Biowares prior Knights of the Old Republic or its rival of that year, Fallout 3. It’s still well worth putting €7.5 in it. And I’m glad to see it’s priced at €7.5 and not €10.0!

  13. Kua says:

    “The in game codex is full of Epic Sci Fi loveliness.”

    This! Eventually I just got bored with the RPG-ishness of it. Which tends to be what puts me off most RPGs, funnily enough. Oh how I wish I could love RPGs and their RPG-ishness.

  14. Po0py says:

    Had two goes at this over the year and never really got round to finishing it till recently when I started playing again. I’m now nearing the end I think, just about to leave the Citedal for the second time.

    I found the loot system in Mass Effect to be kinda rubbish. I never had the feeling that I came accross a badass weapon that I could really clean up with. They all seemed to shoot the same even when you changed from one weapon to another more powerfull one.

    Art and level design could be great in some places but I found it very bland in a lot of other places. There is only so much concrete textures you can use in a game. And that kind of neo-industrial vibe is good but not throughout the entire game.

    It still a solid rpg and worth the price if you haven’t already played it. I suspect ME2 will have much bigger improvements. Unreal Engine has improved a great deal since the original ME so you wont be listening to too much elevator music this time round.

  15. Risingson says:

    If you haven’t played Mass Effect so far, this is a great opportunity to do so at a very low price. It has big flaws, like horrid inventory management, nearly comical repetition and loads of clichés, but it is an extremely beautiful game which, somehow, is oldschool all around.

  16. Psychopomp says:

    Dilemma: I have Mass Effect on the 360. I want to get Mass Effect 2 on the PC. Howe,ver I do not want to play through Mass Effect again.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I don’t get the dilemma, get ME2 on the pc. Don’t play ME1 again. Solved.

    • Oak says:

      There’s going to be a feature in ME2 that imports your character from ME1. He probably wants to do that.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Stuff from ME1 affecting what stuff in ME2.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Or not if you don’t import your save. Don’t be a slave to the system.

    • Psychopomp says:

      *But I want too!*

    • vagabond says:

      You don’t need to do a single side-quest to get a high enough level to complete the main game (at least not as a soldier, dunno about the other classes), and the main story is fun enough and short enough that replaying it didn’t seem like much of a chore to me. (I was pretty much in the same boat as you. I got it on 360 when it first came out and I will play the sequel with a mouse, regardless of the PC delay).

      As an alternative you could ask on the Bioware forums for someone to send you a PC save file with decisions and stuff that match what you wanted to happen, or hope that someone makes a mod type thing that lets you set the relevant flags and generate an appropriate save file.

  17. Robert Yang says:

    I LOVE Lords of the Realm 2 – and thus I love the macemen. Lords of Magic was okay in its own way, too. It’s amazing how absolutely primitive these games look now – I remember thinking how realistic all the 640×480 sprites in Lords of Magic were. Makes you wonder how we’re going to see Crysis in a few years – “ugh, they still used polygons back then?”

  18. sinister agent says:

    I played Lords of Magic four or five years back and was massively disappointed, to be honest. It was never difficult, and there wasn’t much room to do anything but build up your forces and laboriously crush everything one elf at a time.

    Lords of the Realm was great fun, though. It’s been years since I played it. I liked the county management system – allocating workers to specific industries and such, with bonuses or penalties applied at certain points or times of year if you had too many or too few. The trade system seemed pretty logical, too – you’d soon find yourself managing a county’s agriculture probably much as people really did at the time – try foremost to feed everyone, then hope you’ve stored enough for winter, and if you’re lucky, enough to sell a bit extra for pocket money so you can afford those axemen.

    I had techie trouble with it though, and never got past my first castle siege, so I couldn’t say for sure how it plays in anything but small, simple battles. Probably worth a look, but I’ll give them a miss for now myself.

  19. Will says:

    PC Gamer gave Lords of Magic a 40% score in a half-column paragraph, however I LOVED THE PANTS off that game, although I was quite young, so quality was a relative scale with very few other data points.

    So… that’s not very helpful, unless you count the opinion of me as a young boy. I did play it again a few years ago and either the nostalgia held fast, or it was actually good.

    Quite generic fantasy though.

  20. LewieP says:

    People with concerns about the inventory system for ME2. Someone from Bioware said basically this to me “We know exactly what was wrong with it in the first game, and why people didn’t like it. We have fixed it”

    So hopefully that is true. Would be nice if they patched it :/

  21. sinister agent says:

    Oh, and I have been enjoying Mass Effect a fair bit since I got it a few weeks ago. It’s not usually the sort of thing I enjoy, but it’s generally well done (my particular approval goes to the removal of the tediously moralistic ‘good/evil’ system – instead, you can be a dick or a nice person, or, as is far more naturalistic, both. Nice things you do are counted on a separate score to nasty things, so you no longer cancel out petting an adorable puppy every time you kick an orphan in the shin). The first hour or two is probably the worst point so far, not least as the combat takes some getting used to and the AI isn’t the best, and there are moments where you’re railroaded into acting like an embarassing idiot, but these are minor complaints in an otherwise commendable game.

    It chugs along something awful though, even if your hardware is more than the recommended, and there’s not much tweaking you can do.

  22. ManaTree says:

    Yeah, bought Mass Effect when I saw it. $50 to $10? Yes!

    Sort of a disappointing week as that and Lords of Realms are the only ones I’m really considering…But ME is definitely a nice pick up.

  23. Lh'owon says:

    That’s great to hear. My biggest fear was that they’d somehow not realise it was a problem, but if they say they’ve worked on it I’m happy.

  24. Lh'owon says:

    Er, that was a reply to LewieP.

  25. DMJ says:

    The pre-Christmas release drought now includes offers, it would appear.

  26. Perry L says:

    Actually the included DRM pack is limited to five installs.

    I just re-bought the game because EA got tired of giving me new activations (in the past year I bought/sold 5-6 laptops – all of which had the game installed).

  27. JB says:

    I’m sorely tempted by ME at that price, but according to the system requirements on Steam my GeForce 7600 GS is below minimum requirements. Anyone else been running ME on a 7600GS successfully? If so, I’d like to hear about it before I spend the cash and the downloading time on it. Cheers RPSers!!!

    • abhishek says:

      You’ll be in trouble with that card. I had a 7800go, which should be close to your card, and I couldn’t even run it at 1280×800 with medium settings without lag. You could play it I suppose with lower settings, but the experience would be severely crippled, both in terms of performance and visuals. The Unreal Engine 3 technically requires a 6800 class card as it’s minimum, but I’d say that the minimum is practically an 8800 class card.

    • JB says:

      @abishek

      Thanks for your input, I guess I’ll hang fire for now then. Time to start saving for a new card anyway I think.

  28. MaxNormal says:

    I’m loving Grappling Hook. After playing through the demo I decided to buy. It’s well worth this price and has me hooked on trying to beat the challenge times. Quite old school – the movement has the feel of the old style twitch shooters like quake 3.

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  30. Paul B says:

    What about TIme Gentlemen, Please! now half-price (£1.49 + VAT) until Tuesday, to tide you over ’til the release of Modern Warfare 2.

    All you have to do is visit the TGP website and enter the code MW2AAAAGES
    link to plimus.com

    First heard about it on:
    link to eurogamer.net

    • LewieP says:

      Bah, I am an idiot, I meant to include that (I even posted it on SavyGamer), but I forgot when compiling the bucket. Sorry Zombie Cow <3

  31. destroy.all.monsters says:

    For the USians there’s a pretty good deal on gogamer.com for Galactic Civilizations II Ultimate, Sins of a Solar Empire, Darkstar One and Space Assault ( I haven’t played the last two) for 29.99 + shipping which appears to be a pretty good deal. Link here: link to gogamer.com

    I’d say you owed it to yourself to score GalCiv and Sins if you haven’t already and I don’t think you’ll find them cheaper even on Impulse. GOG is still selling Darkstar One for 9.99 as memory serves.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Also – GamersGate is offering Men of War Gold for 34.95 which is a decent deal for both games as well as Silent Heroes: Elite Troops of World War 2 – the expandalone for SHOWW2 for 4.95. A whole lotta Direct Control.

  32. Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

    Just bought Mass Effect.

    Kinda meaning to get it for a while, so PERFECT OPPORTUNITY.