The RPS Bargain Bucket: But Seriously

Happy 2010 folks. How much did you manage to “save” over Christmas? In the wake of the epic steam sale that was, you may be hoping to avoid splashing out on some cut-price interactive entertainment software, but nay, I say, nay! Spend more (in smaller chunks) play more, that’s the bargain bucket’s new year’s resolution.

Serious Sam: HD – £6.11/€6.79/$6.79
True story: I have a friend called Sam, and I issued him the new nickname “Serious Sam”. He loves it, despite not being much of a gamer, and he’s definitely never played the Serious Sam games. That’s how universal their appeal is, even people who haven’t played them like them. Serious Sam is a man with guns. He shoots the guns at the things. Then they die. The act of playing Serious Sam puts the player in to an almost meditative mindless state, where you lose yourself entirely in the act shooting dudes, and you see nothing but the crosshair. Serious Sam doesn’t give a damn whether games are art, he only cares that games are fun. Kieron does his thing on it here.

Supreme Commander Gold – £4.99/$14.99
Frankly, I like posting discounts for Chris Taylor’s game’s because it gives me another chance to post this, possibly the best question I have ever asked a developer. Alec Euroviewed both the original game and the expansion, and in doing so, contributed to them having “Generally favorable reviews” on the metacritic, so that pretty much means you have to play them. He said about it “Built on a solid foundation of what made l’il army games so compelling in the very first place – that is, WAR! – then pumped up with ungodly sci-fi steroids, it feels like a definitive statement. In some booming, oh-so-macho voice it inarguably intones ‘This. Is. How. It’s. Done.'” it’s a big was game for big war people. Looks like UK folk are getting it at a price a fair bit cheaper than the USAians.

King’s Bounty: The Legend – £5.95/€5.95/$5.95
Is Alec colluding with the digital distributors to get his favourite game’s more attention? I suspect he is, but can’t prove it (yet!). What I can prove is that this game is cheapy cheap, and it was one of his favourite games of 2008. He said “King’s Bounty is the future of PC gaming. Stop staring in horror at all those dying MMOs and mendacious, mercenary big devs fleeing for console shores. They’re no loss whatsoever. What we have here is great ideas supported by solid game-making – a new breed of developers freed from the cheerless, focus group-governed rules and oversights of most Western publishers, but now able to pair that with experience and expertise. The Russian scene is about to become absolutely phenomenal, and this charming, thoughtful hybrid is the herald of that new age.” RPS coverage here, demo here. The sequel is also (not quite as) cheap here.

Deals of the week
Crayon Physics Deluxe – Whatever you want
You can’t make me choose, so I am not going to. The first of this week’s pair of bargain highlights is Petri Purho’s magical Penny Crayon simulator, the one what won the IGF grand prize last year. He want’s you to to tell him how much you are paying. I’d like to invoke a $3 minimum please here folks, you can all afford that, and a saving of 85% from the normal price of $19.95 seems like it’s fair all round. Here’s what Jim thought, and there is a demo here.

Overgrowth + Natural Selection 2 – £25.72/€28.58/$39.95
Preorder these two hotly anticipated indie games for the price of just one. They might not play particularly similarly, but what they do have in common is that they are both slick, professional looking updates to great, albeit a bit more amateurish, indie games. What’s really cool about this is that although you are buying direct from the developer (and they get all the monies), you’ll be able to register your serial for Overgrowth onto Steam and/or Impulse if you like. Quite likely Natural Selction 2 too, but they can’t 100% confirm that just yet. Details on that, and other stuff here.

78 Comments

  1. abhishek says:

    I picked up Serious Sam… So far it seems like a blast to play, as expected. Fired up co-op with a friend at Serious difficulty, and while playing I was virtually screaming my head off (much like the headless suicide bombers).

    Also bought Crayon Physics yesterday at Lewie’s recommended price of 3$. Their servers are understandably hammered right now, and my download of the game averaged at 14KBPs. However, the game itself is only 30MB so it wasn’t much of an issue. Played it for a while, and it seems fairly simple although I suspect it will get more challenging on the later levels.

  2. WJP says:

    If you already bought NS2 or overgrowth, then you can get the other one for free!

  3. Kadayi says:

    Crayon Physics bought ($5 paid) as I’m curious to see how it plays.

  4. Carra says:

    I’ve bought enough games to last me a year in the big Steamy holiday bargain bucket. I think I’ll skip his one.

    Also of interest is Majesty 2 for €12.50 at impulse. Nice strategy game which is certainly worth it at that price point.

  5. ShiroGamer says:

    As always this offer is not available where I live (Egypt) ,same was with the World of Goo one
    :(
    its all due to paypal not available here ,even if you skip it and go to pay with CC option it still wont list Egypt :/

    but I am sure steam will have something similar in the coming weeks
    at least i hope :(

  6. Alex Hopkinson says:

    At this point I would settle for a nice month or two with absolutely no bargains I have any interest in. Stupid bargains…

  7. Sander Bos says:

    So what bargain bounty you scored over Christmas are you most happy with?

    I got Dead Space, GTA IV, Mass Effect, Trine, The Void. Have not fired up 3 of those games yet (Dead Space is pretty but boring so far).

    I am glad I got Modern Warfare 1 when it was half off way before Christmas, because I do not think they offered a deal for it (maybe to prevent it from eating sales from MW2, that was in the Steam top 5 the whole time during the Christmas bonanza). Also am glad I got it, even though the Single Player is terribly flawed (infinite respawing of enemies if you forget to move on mostly), multiplayer is the awesome.

    But my favorite buy is Mirror’s Edge: Very pretty game, very immersive gameplay when it is working, unfortunately as a game it is a piece of crap. Never have a clue what I am supposed to do next. But I got it for next to nothing, so glad I did not have to pay fullprice for having to stand around on a roof wondering why ‘alt’ points me into some seemingly random direction….

    • balooba says:

      isn’t the infinite respawning the whole point of single player COD (as opposed to its flaw?)
      that and the automagical health recovery.

    • Carra says:

      I bought and finished Mirrors Edge. Still have to find some time for the rest of the games I brought.

      “Not knowing where to go” really wasn’t a problem for me. Follow the things that are red. When in Doubt there’s a button you can press which makes you look at where you’re supposed to go.

      All in all I only got stuck for fifteen minutes at one place.

    • RogB says:

      Im most happy with The Witcher: Enhanced edition : Directors cut : The Witchening
      i’ve been meaning to play it for months but never got round to it. It still looks ace and plays great on my ageing pc.
      And its nice to see something a bit darker than the usual twee fantasy stuff. Plus you can be intimate with many ladies. Plus you can play it with Polish speech (far FAR better performed than the english dub… And it makes the ladies sound even dirtier.)
      ticks my boxes, basically.

    • medwards says:

      IMO every award that Dead Space earned was more deserved by Cryostasis. You get this game free with most new nVidia cards so check your deals and give it a whirl!

  8. Blackberries says:

    It’s been 90 seconds since I loaded this page and I’m already at the Paypal Checkout for SupCom Gold (missed the party the first time around). Sometimes I hate/love the internet.

    Dammit Lewie!

    • Riaktion says:

      I did exactly the same. Time for enourmo download.

    • Blackberries says:

      You’re telling me. The fifteen gigabytes finally all swam their way onto my machine about an hour ago. Shame I’m far too busy/tired to play it!

  9. Richard says:

    I bought Bioshock from the Steam sale for £3.49! I was rather pleased about that.

    For the price of a pint and a pickled egg.

  10. Alastayr says:

    Over the holidays I scored a massive selection of games already. I support the motion to adjourn further discounts. It’s unfortunate for Crayon Physics, the timing is just way off, as most people won’t pay that much for it.

    The Games I got:
    L4D2 (on amazon), Morrowind, Burnout Paradise, Max Payne 1+2, Jedi Knight Pack, SW: Republic Commando, Torchlight, Braid, LucasArts Adventure Pack, Jade Empire, Crysis + Warhead and then I snapped up the Planescape: Torment re-release (pretty basic DVD) and Fahrenheit in retail.

    Couple that with the unholy amount of games I already had in backlog…

  11. Phinor says:

    For some reason Supreme Gold is 5€ in the Euro-land so for once, we get the best price. Probably better bargain than any single game in the Steam holiday sale! Ok, maybe that’s a bit too much but a great deal regardless :)

  12. archonsod says:

    Aaaaa a reckless Disregard for Gravity is £3.50 at D2D, all Geo’s.

  13. Mike says:

    Crayon Physics is excellent fun. As was Penny Crayon. Although which was cheaper I can’t sa-dies.

  14. Poppis says:

    I got 3 great games from the Steam Christmas sale(World of Goo and darwinia+multiwinia), plus I already have subcom, so I think I’m gonna skip this one, although the Crayon Physics is tempting…

  15. Abe says:

    I picked up Medieval II: Total War, despite having Rome TW still sitting in its box, not even installed yet. Osmos is a really great game, at a really great price. Thank God for demos, I wouldn’t have bought it without one. I had been wanting Garry’s Mod (if you can call it a game) for a while, and the 25% off was good enough incentive to finally get it.

    I already got Serious Sam HD from Get Games when it was £9.99, no regrets. This’ll finally encourage my less motivated friends to get it, and join me in the glorious mayhem.

    • Abe says:

      I forgot to add, I just love that cover for Supreme Commander, but I already have so many unplayed RTS games (2 TW games, Company of Heroes, Sins of a Solar Empire) that I’d just be adding another one onto the pile. I’d also rather have a retail copy with the awesome cover.

  16. mpk says:

    For all of Alec’s enthusing about Kings Bounty when it first came out I managed to not play it (or, indeed, much of anything else at all to be quite honest) since I was entirely EVE-obsessed. Now that I’m free of my addiction, I’ve just had a go at the demo which was convincing enough to buy the game. Braw!

  17. Eightyseven says:

    anyone that has some experiences with that indie bundle ?

  18. DrugCrazed says:

    I have two Steam packs (THQ and EIDOS). I’m not allowed more games for a while.

    Did buy Crayon Physics, but that was because I like to think I’m supporting indie developers.

  19. hungSolo says:

    Trine, Morrowind, The Void and World in Conflict, as well as Machinarium, for me.

    I finished and enjoyed Machinarium, but I can’t choose among the five which I like best because I decided this cold, miserable, stay-at-home month is the one in which I’ll finally complete a playthrough of Planescape: Torment. Go, go withdrawn arts majors!

  20. slaine says:

    I think the pricing for King’s Bounty: The Legend is no quite right. It is listed as being USD7.77 for me (although this might be because I am in Australia).

    I have been refusing to buy it because of the SecuROM, but I’m getting ever more tempted as the price keeps getting lower (so what if DRM makes the game effectively a rental IF you are paying no more than a rental for the game?), but all bets are off if I’m being hit with discriminatory pricing strategy from GG/1C.

    Could someone from the US confirm whether Aussies are being hit with discriminatory pricing yet again?

    • Coldstream says:

      It’s $7.77 in the U.S., although the code GG-FACEBOOK-FANS will bring it down to somewhere in the $6.00 range. Enjoy!

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Regarding SecuROM on King’s Bounty, Gamersgate has a policy of restoring your activations on any of their games with activation limits, no questions asked. You just have to fire them off an email. So unless it’s the SecuROM software itself that puts you off, I wouldn’t let the activation limit stop you at this price.

    • malkav11 says:

      Well, damn. I bought King’s Bounty a long time ago because it’s awesome, but if I’d noticed it had activation-limit SecuROM, that would have been a no-sale.

    • Vinraith says:

      @malkav11

      It’s digital-version only, apparently. I’ve got a disc version of KB:TL and all it has is a disc check.

      Fortunately, Gamersgate completely circumvents the whole “limited install” thing anyway, so as long as you get it there it doesn’t really matter.

    • Blather Blob says:

      Does it actually have activation limits, or just Securom? GG only list “DRM: Securom”, wouldn’t they mention if there were install limits too, or do they not mention them because of their customer support promise?

      Looks like none of the other digital distributors have Securom on their versions (it’s $15 on Impulse, if you want to pay twice as much to avoid Securom). Since they all list Paradox as the publisher, it seems odd that they’d stick GG with the worst version.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      @Blather Bob: Just because SecuROM isn’t listed doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Steam’s usually pretty good about listing the inclusion of other DRM, at least once a game is out, but I don’t think Impulse or D2D normally list it even if it’s on there. I may be wrong in the case of Impulse, it’s been a while since I checked, but personally I would think twice before making any assumptions.

    • Gnoupi says:

      @invisiblejesus: Impulse writes about protection as well. In King’s bounty case, it is protected by Impulse GOO, so for sure nothing else (they don’t pile GOO on other protections).

      Besides, there wouldn’t be much choice for me, as Gamersgate obviously deems France not to be worth to buy it from them…

    • Fede says:

      @Gnoupi: same thing for Italy. I wonder where in €land they’re selling it.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’m not sure what other form of SecuROM a digitally distributed game would have – a disc check is obviously out and I thought Gamersgate already did a serverside activation check when you first install from them (might be wrong about that, admittedly).

      I don’t care about SecuROM disc checks, but I generally refuse on principle to buy games with built-in obsolescence, aka server-side activation checks and/or install limits. (The exact formula varies, admittedly. I’m less concerned with my -personal- ability to access the games forever than the games being universally saddled with that sort of bullshit.)

  21. Jad says:

    I agree with the $3 minimum on Crayon Physics. More if possible.. However, if you are re-buying the game to have in a different format, and already paid $20, and don’t want to pay that much (cheapskate), please at least pay more than $0.33. Thats apparently what will come out in transaction fees, so if you pay less than that you will literally be giving the Crayon Physics people no money. And if you don’t pay a bit over that, the bandwidth you use up downloading it will actually actively harm them. And no one likes harming indie developers, right?

    This is why I’m not keen on the idea of “pay what you want” and not putting a transaction fee/bandwidth cost floor on it. If you’re going to offer a game for a cent, its better to just put it up on fileplanet or megaupload or whatever for free.

    So yeah, I didn’t love the game, but just for the music and the atmosphere (seriously the most calming, relaxing thing ever), its worth $5 at least.

  22. Diziet says:

    Heh, I played it and loved it on the PS3. I one of those people that cannot understand the hate it gets. I do agree though, for those moments when you cannot find out what the hell direction you are supposed to run in I found youtube to be ever ever helpful. Pirandello/Kruger i’m looking at you.

  23. Diziet says:

    Uh above was @ Sander Bos. Sorry reply button fail.

  24. malkav11 says:

    Much more interesting than any of the above discounts (except the Crayon Physics pay-what-you-want sale, I suppose, though I bought that ages ago in a D2D indie bundle), imho, is the fact that Gamersgate has 40-50% discounts off several Russian games, including the utterly brilliant Cryostasis and Pathologic, the promising Farewell to Dragons (which was cheaper in Steam’s sale but that’s not going anymore), Men of War’s unfortunately coopless standalone expansion Red Tide, and a few others. Combine that with the Facebook Fans coupon, and you have some pretty cool, definitively PC gaming at a rare discount.

    King’s Bounty’s SecuROM aside, it’s also been on sale for very cheap over and over and over, so an umpteenth sale isn’t that exciting to me.

    • Vinraith says:

      @malkav11

      Dammit man, I’d been waffling on Cryostasis for days but you just pushed me over the edge.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Cryostasis performs like ass, but other than that it really is excellent. BTW, speaking of Cryostasis and Gamersgate, does anyone know for sure what version of the game they have up? The log files say it’s 1.1 (the latest version), but my programs menu says it’s 1.0. And if it is 1.0, anyone know where I can find a patch to 1.1 that is compatible with the GG version?

  25. Nobody Important says:

    I bought Psychonauts, HoMM3, Gothic 2, and Hostile Waters on GOG.com, and Bioshock, Mass Effect, Portal, the Unreal deal pack, Battlefield 2, Torchlight, and probably something else I forgot on Steam.

    I had played most of those already (not the GOG stuff, though, all of which are wonderful), but converting to the Digital Distribution train was worth the pretty minimal cost.

  26. Catshade says:

    Gamersgate also still has Machinarium and Samorost2 for 50% off; Quite useful if you miss the holiday sales.

  27. Hardlylikely says:

    It will be nice to try out Crayon Physics, that one passed me by when work was busy.

    Agreed that it’s bad timing for post-xmas bargains, I just spent a bunch of cash on Steam for games I can’t even play right now (good computer in storage with most of the rest of my crap). It’s nice to know they will be there waiting though!

  28. Casimir's Blake says:

    Serious Sam doesn’t give a damn whether games are art, he only cares that games are fun.

    He must be so blinded by the crosshair not to notice that 80% of the game is made up of arenas. No new levels at all in the HD version? Forget it!

    • DarkNoghri says:

      I have a hard time biting on this deal considering I only just got my copy of Serious Sam Gold last year. If I want to play Serious Sam, I’ll go install that.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @DarkNoghri: It’s also hard to bite when The Second Encounter HD has already been announced for “Early 2010” and you just know there’s going to be great bundle deals on the HD equivalent of Serious Sam Gold. With a remake of a game I’ve already played, I think I can wait a couple of months for a cheaper, more complete version.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      That explains why they’re discounting it now…thx for reminding, I’ll wait too

  29. RogB says:

    which Kings bounty is best to go for if you dont have either? is AP bewildering to anyone other than a veteran of the first, or is it safe to just go for that? (assuming the usual rule of sequel = usually better?)

    • Vinraith says:

      @RogB

      Keep in mind that AP isn’t really a sequel, it’s an expandalone. That is, you can play it by itself, but it’s really “more King’s Bounty” rather than “improved King’s Bounty.” Sure it’s a tad more refined than the original, it was made second after all, but it’s nothing approaching a sequel’s worth of difference.

      None of this is a criticism, mind. I think KB:TL is fantastic, and a slightly tweaked expansion that adds a whole new campaign to play with a whole new character is absolutely fine by me.

  30. Bullwinkle says:

    Both are fantastic. If you absolutely will only buy one, get Armored Princess. It’s less crazy, but tighter, and the slight tweaks make it a better game than The Legend.

    Having said that, if you plan to play both, I’d get The Legend first. Not because the story matters, but because Armored Princess does away with a couple of annoyances in The Legend (e.g. backtracking, troop limitations, etc.) that might bother you too much if you play them the other way around.

  31. Fatrat says:

    Related Stories:

    * The RPS Bargain Bucket: Cracking
    * The RPS Bargain Bucket: Bundles Of Fun
    * The RPS Bargain Bucket: For A Rainy Day

    I see what you did… smartypants.

  32. MadMatty says:

    Which ONE to play? Cryostasis, The Void or Pathologic? gonna check out one of these russkie games

    • invisiblejesus says:

      The Void is the best of the three; Cryostasis is more accessible, but it’s buggy and performs poorly. I own both and like them, but I’d definitely put The Void ahead of Cryostasis. Haven’t played Pathalogic, but even the developers have criticized the English translation so I’ve shied away from it.

    • Vinraith says:

      @invisiblejesus

      Rightly. Pathologic is an amazing game, probably one of the most atmospheric games I’ve ever tried to play, but the translation makes it nigh unplayable in English. If they ever finish their retranslation project (and I dearly hope they do) you should definitely buy it, though. It really is completely unique, and one of the most unnerving games I’ve ever experienced.

    • archonsod says:

      I thought the bad translation only added to the atmosphere. It’s like Dostoevsky discovered a penchant for the works of Coleridge.

  33. MadMatty says:

    Get Supreme Commander Gold, its the best multiplayer RTS out !

  34. Mehlicious says:

    Crayon Physics Deluxe reminds me of Scribblenauts.

    Totally unique and imaginative concept but not much of a game there to do something with it. With the case of CPD, your goal is to move the ball to the star. You can create these Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions, but in most cases, there’s no need to as you can just draw something simple that solves the puzzle regardless.

    Trine took the CPD concept and made more of a game with it.

  35. Heliocentric says:

    Okay. I need to ask because no one is answering. Double you tea eff is Overgrowth?
    Why would i want to pay $20 for it? Because despite this post this is not a real discount when half the pack is available for half the price of the pack.

    • Blather Blob says:

      There’s a little orange box next to NS2 on that page saying it’s the “special edition” which is the full $40 by itself. I think that’s the only edition that gets access to the current alpha level editor, plus an all-black armor choice included when it ships. And Overgrowth is the sequel to Lugaru (that post links to a demo). Presumably Overgrowth is similar but better? It’s $30 normally, so I suppose this is a good deal even if you’re only interested in one (special edition) game or the other. Even better deal if you had already bought Overgrowth for $30, since you’d now get NS2 SE for free.

      It seems a bit odd that Overgrowth has both steam and impulse committed to allowing keys while NS2 is apparently “not far enough along” in Valve’s opinion to agree to distribute it, considering they both only have level editors ready to show.

  36. Sam says:

    I believe that one of the patches for KB:TL removes the DRM. I could be remembering incorrectly though.

  37. bhlaab says:

    Crayon Physics seems to have some of the same problems as Scribblenauts… They tell you “do anything!!” but then nothing you try actually works nearly as well as simply drawing a path from the ball to the star.

    The Incredible Machine still wins out

    • Matzerath says:

      I’ll mention, just this one last time I swear, that there are really cool fan made levels that can be found in the CPD forum.
      And I too have noticed a strange similarity between CPD and Scribblenauts – even though the mechanic is ostensibly different, it feels similar – and both with the stars! CPD came first, though.

  38. Mordarke says:

    So I bought the NS2/Overgrowth bundle (never heard of Overgrowth but it looks good) and have recieved the e-mails from the respective companies .. but .. how the hell do I add Overgrowth to my Steam list? I have a terrible habit of losing e-mails.

  39. Drew says:

    Does anyone know when this started, and thus when it will end?

    • Drew says:

      Grr. That was in reference to the Aaaaa!!! sale at Direct2Drive.

      Did I fail at using the reply button, or did the reply button fail me?

    • Blather Blob says:

      The site says “50% Off Deal Of The Week Ends Friday” right above the price, so I think it probably ends on Friday :P

      It looks like they posted it on the 8th, so it should be ending next Friday, the 15th, not last Friday and they forgot to take it down until they get into the office in the morning if that’s what you’re wondering. And when they say “deal of the week” it does mean for an entire week, though not usually starting and ending on Fridays. Maybe they’re getting stingier and combining their weekend deals and deals of the week into one single week long deal that is unveiled for the weekend.

      It’s also available worldwide from the US direct2drive if $4.95 works out to be cheaper for you, and it’s also equally DRM-free there. BTW, the DRM-free titles from direct2drive work quite well if you’ve never tried one before, you don’t even have to install D2D’s download manager if you’d rather let your browser handle the downloading. Though if I’m not mistaken you only get online leaderboards if you buy Aaaaa from steam, which seems like a large chunk of the game to miss out on.

  40. s says:

    Thanks to everyone for their replies but I decided not to buy King’s Bounty: TL on GG in the end because I realised that I have so far, by some miracle managed to avoid installing any SecuROM games on my relatively new computer and I don’t really want to break that streak.

    I have to admit that I HATE online activation systems and even disc checks are preferable. I don’t understand why I must log onto the internet EVERY TIME I want to play the DoW 2 campaign! Aaaaaargh.

  41. Drew says:

    @Blather Blob

    That was exactly my question. Thanks.

    I grabbed And Yet It Moves from D2D during the 5th Anniversary Sale, and yes, their DRM-free games seem to be perfectly hassle-free. So I think I’ll bite. Thanks again.