The RPS Bargain Bucket: Aliens Vs Bargains

There’s only one game that I have played in this weeks selection. Oh er. Lets see if I can successfully blag it, and convince you lot that I know what I am talking about. I think I’ll just rely on Alec for most of them. For more electronic cheapness get yourself over to

Dirt 2 – £14.99/€24.99/$19.99
Dirt 2 is a game where you play the role of a bloke sat inside a metal contraption. The game interprets your pressing of buttons as the bloke inside operating the machinery. As the simulated machine’s cogs turn, the metal discs coated in inflated rubber tubing at the base of the machine start to rotate, and then the device, or “car”, goes around a track. The better you are at getting around the track quickly, the more points you get. It supports DX11 (and DX9 for XP/DX9 card users), and this is half price just over a month after release. There’s no concrete verdict on this from the RPS megacomputer, so you are going to have to settle for my rating of 5 wheels out of 5 (the bonus one is for the steering wheel).

AI War: Fleet Command – Half Price (roughly £6/€7/$10)
To coincide with the release of the brand new expansion pack, The Zenith Remnant, Arcen games have Tachyon Beamed the price of the original game in half. Alec reviewed it for PC Gamer, which you can read here, and there has been plenty of rock paper chatter about it too. Alec said:

“It doesn’t ever get easier: it just gets bigger. More fronts to assault and defend, bigger ships to kill, and bigger ships to kill your bigger ships. Nukes, ion cannons, planet-sized forcefields, near-indestructible Astro Trains. A foe that never sleeps.” Demo of the original game here, and demo of the expansion here (which you will need either the original game, or the demo of the original game, to try out).

There are four places to you can buy it from (Impulse, GamersGate, D2D and Steam) all half price, so pick based on either which is cheapest for your region, or which you prefer.

Dawn of War 2 – $19.95
This deal is USA only, however DOW2 is one of those games that you just get the serial from D2D, then stick it into Steam, and then it is added to your steam account. So you could always get a USA based friend to buy it for you, and just give you the serial (although beware, if you try to buy the same game twice on one acount, D2D won’t like it). Here’s what Alec said about it:

“Dawn of War II is one of very few (perhaps even the only) strategy games I’ve played in which I could swear blind those little guys are truly fighting. They’re not just going through the motions, falling over at the right moments and flailing with intangible swords at a handful of pixels somewhere near their target. This is proper, meaty carnage. Melee troops collide with bone-crunching thuds, grenades scatter corpses outward in an orbiting ring of death that smashes through walls and vegetation, while dozens of subtle, tiny animations grant your troops a visible grim resolve: men fighting and responding to the fight, rather than robotically awaiting your instruction. Its graphics are not especially high-tech – instead they’re precise, artful, thoughtful and absolutely Warhammer 40,000.”

RPS coverage here, demo here.

Hinterland: Orc Lords – £4.95/$4.95
Sorry folks, you are on your own for this one. I’ve heard some good, and some bad things about it. What do you lot think? Kiss, Marry or push off a cliff?

Deal of the week
Aliens versus Predator Classic 2000 – £2.99/€2.99/$4.99
Or Aliens versus Predator for anyone who doesn’t work for Rebellion’s PR department. This has the advantage over the new one of not splintering the playerbase for the multiplayer from Day 1 by making some multiplayer maps exclusive to the Collector’s Edition (HMV exclusive: £40), not the regular edition (Amazon: £17.99). It’s nice to see this up for so cheap, since I don’t think we need to worry about a future price drop any time soon, and I bet you would pay this to not have to find your disc again. If you never played it first time round, when I played it again a couple of years ago, it held up pretty well. You’ve got three campaigns of single player, one as a Predator, one as an Alien, and one as a weak fleshy human, and it’s biggest success is making you really feel like you are in control of a member of whichever species you are supposed to be in control of. Hopefully we’ll see the also very good sequel up on Steam too. Alec has a look back at it here.

Note: The multiplayer isn’t working as of yet, but it is on the way.

Also of note:
Tex Murphy games – 50% off
Aztaka – £4.61/€5.21/$7.50

Bonus deal:
Preorder Alpha Protocol on a plastic disc for just £15.99

For more of this sort of thing, head to


  1. mcnubbins says:

    I never did play AvP, but I played the sequel, which I believe was made by monolith and not rebellion. How do they compare?

    • Kleevah says:

      I always found the single player better in the first, but multi much better in the second. Especially the marine campaign in the first game is really great.

    • F_t_R says:

      The marine campaign is bastard-hard in the first

    • Arathain says:

      The first AvP is one of the most atmospheric games you’ll ever play. I think the lower graphical tech actually helps it in some ways, combined with the thick, everpresent darkness. Boy is that game dark.

    • Tom Camfield says:

      AvP2 was a pretty straightforward FPS, I liked it, completed it. It kind of just fell into the same post-Half Life space as most other games around the time; lots of gunplay mixed with scripted events, fine, cool.

      AvP wasn’t really like that, IIRC I think I spent most of the time dying. It was very hard, I think pre-patch you couldn’t save during a level, so it was all or nothing, and very tense; any mistake and you had to start it all again, and I think (think) that some of the encounters were random, so it was an anti-Half Life; no scripted events and random encounters so you could never predict what was coming ([i]I think[/i]. As I said, I died, a lot.

      Also interesting: how different the next few years would have been if AvP was the darling rather than Half-Life. Well, after that, I’m off to play the re-release.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Tom Camfield:
      Yep, saving during the mission came with the millennium free expansion and the enemies (especially the aliens) have probably a random spawning and they move around the level with the help of their AI

    • mpk says:

      AvP! I havent played the MP of this since 2001 but damn it was good…

  2. crumbsucker says:

    Dirt 2: EUR25 – USD20 ???

    I know I shoudn’t complain about a price drop, but Steam’s exchage rates are beyond ridiculous.

    • Ging says:

      Remember that it’s not steam / valve that set the prices for different territories.

    • Carra says:

      Wow, €25 or €14. Go screw yourselves, evil publishers!

      Sure it’s not Valve who sets this price. But they give the bad example by asking ridiculous euro prices for their own games like Left 4 Dead 2.

  3. AndrewC says:

    I think Jim liked Dirt 2 a bunch. And I agree with him! It’s pretty good! I know this because I bought it for FULL FUCKING PRICE when it was launched a month ago!

    This is an entirely emotional response, and none too rationally worked out, but I don’t half feel gypped by this. When the price drop is soooo soon, it feels like sharp business practice where they have a product on sale at a ridiculously over-inflated price for a week, just so they can say it is a bargain when they reduce it to the price they always wanted to sell it at.


    Now if you will excuse me I will calm my nerves by playing some of the excellent Dirt 2, while crying onto my keyboard.

    • ascagnel says:

      Don’t feel bad — I got it during the sale for $30. Dirt 2 is good, although the emphasis on non-rally racing was somewhat disappointing (even with all the lip-service paid to rallying and the tribute to Colin McRae).

      If anyone wants an MP throwdown, my gamertag is lilblackdemon.

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    Dirt 2 really surprised me. I totally got into it. Definitely worth getting.

  5. teo says:


  6. Tyheam says:

    You missed the King’s Bounty Gold Edition sale on Steam I think. Both games for 11€.

  7. But It Might Not Be says:

    Ooh, Alpha Protocol for £16? Is that a bad sign then or is this still expected to be fun?

    • Nova says:

      Yes, how do they pull of this cheap Alpha Protocol preorder?
      The game hasn’t even a release date yet, as far as I remember.

    • Wulf says:

      This is Obsidian’s first game, independent of Bioware.

      This could be them saying “Look, we made a good game, but we’re not going to charge you £40 for it, we’re not those guys. You know, the guys who’d do that.” :p I wouldn’t put it past them. As anyone who’s been to Obsidian’s forums knows, they’re a pretty great bunch, so having their game at about £25 full price and £16 on pre-order wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    • bookwormat says:

      This could be them saying “Look, we made a good game, but we’re not going to charge you £40 for it,

      I would not interpret too much into the low preorder price from CDWoW: Modern Warfare 2 was about £22 on predorder. CDWoW does these very aggressive deals from time to time, maybe to promote their service or because they speculate that they are otherwise not the first choice for these purchases.

      Anyway, I find preodering videogames should be very cheap,. since it is such a high risk. Not only do we not now if this game is any good or bad, we also do not know what kind of deal Obisian is offering us here. Could be a steam subscription, or a ownership of a game license, or maybe an activation limit.

    • Wulf says:

      “I would not interpret too much into the low preorder price from CDWoW: Modern Warfare 2 was about £22 on predorder.”

      True, but it was £30-40 at full price.

      But really, this wasn’t a jab at MW2, I didn’t intend it to be. I’m indifferent toward that game, but I didn’t like the high price. The thing is though, they’re not the only ones pulling pricing shenanigans. There have been lots of games doing the £35-40 thing lately, some of which truly weren’t worth the asking price. Trine starting at £35 and Bloodbowl starting at £40 come to mind.

      One thing I’ve noticed about those developers though is that they aren’t very in touch with their market, and they didn’t seem to realise how knocking £10 off their starting prices (post pre-order) would help their position. I’m happy to pay for something that’s quality, but £35+ really is gouging and pushing it, and it’s my personal belief that this is a commonly held view.

      Perhaps being more in touch with their target demographic, Obsidian realise this, and either they set the price or they had a chat with Sega about it. That wouldn’t at all surprise me, because I think that with the market in the state that is now, a game at £25-30 is probably going to get such a higher magnitude of sales than a game priced at £35-40 that the extra sales will bring in more profit regardless of the price point.

      “Anyway, I find preodering videogames should be very cheap,. since it is such a high risk. Not only do we not now if this game is any good or bad, we also do not know what kind of deal Obisian is offering us here.”

      Agreed on that count.

      Though I am inclined to trust them because they’ve had a fairly spotless track record, but with Obsidian you really need to understand what you’re looking for. If you’re after a massive world with hours of busywork adding up to a massive time investment to be value for money or whatever, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. However, if you’re after a game with a great narrative and branching plot, and an RPG that actually can be replayed due to said branching plot, along with deep, convincing characters and so on, then you’ll be happy.

      That’s why it’s a risk, many people won’t know what they want from Obsidian, and they’ll be expecting Dragon Age. I can all ready hear people banging on now about how short Alpha Protocol was, without actually paying any attention to how good it was. The 50 hours of Last Action Hero versus the Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello comparison comes to mind, but the thing is, not everyone is going to understand that.

      Some people are going to be disappointed.

      So better £16 than £20 or £25.

      I do get where you’re coming from there. I suppose an even lower pre-order point might make sense because Obsidian isn’t a mainstream crowd pleaser, they’ve got a very niche audience, and the £16 price point might entice a few new people to take a gander, which might result in some shouty types, but could also result in a few new fans.

      Anyway, I’m hoping this is going to be a success for Obsidian, and that their smart pre-order price point helps.

  8. Labbes says:

    Is AI War fun in SP as well? So far, I’ve only played some of the tutorials, and I don’t know whether I can convince any of my friends to buy it so we can play co-op.

    • cowthief skank says:

      I’ve been playing single player and it is great. Exactly what I want from a science fiction RTS – ie, massive, massive maps, tons of units, but lots of thinking about strategy and not much micromanagement. For the $19.99 I paid for it direct from the devloper a few weeks ago, there is so much game to be had.

      If you play the full tutorial campaign and enjoy how it feels, the full game is so much better by virtue of the number of choices you always have to make.

      All in my opinion, of course. But judging by the number of posts on the official forum, other people feel the same. And the guy who makes it is constantly posting on the official forum, even posts on here when the game comes up, so the support seems pretty impressive too.

    • Vinraith says:


      It’s fantastic in single player, actually. The game scales up for co-op, so it’s not like some co-op games which punish you for not having the “right” number of players. The AI is, of course, marvelous and the scale of the thing and the extent of the choices are fantastic. The vast majority of people that own it primarily play it single player, I’m quite certain. It’s fun in co-op, but co-op is not required to make it fun.

    • Chris Park says:

      We’re definitely seeing an increase in the number of people who are playing co-op publicly (looking for games online, and organizing it that way, I mean), but that number is still south of 3% of the total AI War population, if that. There are many other people who post on forums and note that they play it with their friends or family, so I suspect the actual number of those who play co-op might be much higher, even as high as 6% of the total playerbase maybe.

      But, like most hardcore strategy games, the huge majority play solo. Even Demigod, from what I hear, never had more than 20% of their players actually registered to play multiplayer, and that was a game that had no real single player experience from what I know of it (have not played it myself). Anyway, so this is definitely a case where we support co-op wholeheartedly, and there is a healthy playerbase for that, but the majority is your typical single-player crowd as always — and we’re sensitive to both groups.

      Good question!

  9. Heliocentric says:

    Hinterland is worth a kiss.

    The potential for a hinterland sequel is exceptional though.

  10. Vinraith says:

    For strategy game fans,the entire AGEOD catalog is 50% off on Gamersgate. So far this one has cost me more than the Steam sale, and if you enjoy historical war games it’s well worth checking out.

    • MWoody says:

      Gamersgate really needs to work on how they manage sales. A bunch of seemingly random crap at random prices not even mentioned on the home page is NOT working. They need a big banner saying, for example, “50% off on all AGEOD games” that I can click for a full list.

      As it is, the only time I have any reason to shop at Gamersgate is on obscure titles like The Void (before it appeared on Steam). And those are, more and more, showing up on bigger distribution channels.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Their web site really is awful. I like Gamersgate, but it really is hard to understand why they haven’t had a look at the Steam and Impulse web sites and redesigned theirs to emulate their competitors’ setups. It’d be the easiest and cheapest way for them to expand their appeal, it’s not like out of work web designers are tough to find these days.

    • Vinraith says:


      While I agree the design isn’t the best, it’s easy enough to click the “offers” button in the top bar, which will show you all games on discount at a given moment.

      I prefer Gamersgate’s clientless distribution model to Steam’s phone-homeware system, and they also have a fairly sizable volume of interesting titles (especially European ones) not available on Steam. Oh, and their “you will never run out of installs” guarantee makes them by far the best place to buy games with restrictive DRM schemes.

      My support experiences with Gamergate have always been vastly better than my support experiences with Steam, which is a large point in their favor in my book, and I’m not exactly complaining about the “get 5% back in store credit on all purchases” model either. They should really be advertising that last point, it’s gotten me several free games over the last year.

    • malkav11 says:

      They only added the Offers button a couple months ago. I can remember being livid at the damn site trying to find the discount deals when the only clue-in was one of a dozen randomly cycled ad banners.

      And it’s a pretty shit design all around. I would really pay much more attention to both GamersGate and D2D if they hired people who actually knew what they were doing to design their websites.

      As for games with restrictive DRM, the best thing to do is not buy them, full stop.

    • Vinraith says:


      “They only added the Offers button a couple months ago.”

      Indeed, it was badly needed and I was happy to see them do it. The site still needs a lot of work, I agree, but they do seem to be listening at least.

      “As for games with restrictive DRM, the best thing to do is not buy them, full stop.”

      It’s a nice thought, but doesn’t leave one with much in the way of options in practice. I mean hell, most download services ARE restrictive DRM to one degree or another.

    • malkav11 says:

      There really aren’t that many games shackled with install limit DRM, which you specifically mention, and server activation without install limit only a few more. And one usually can choose whether to buy a retail version or the digitally distributed sort, so as long as that variety of DRM stays unobtrusive, I don’t mind it. My overwhelming concern, always, is that the game remain available to posterity.

  11. JimmyJames says:


    Perhaps a farewell kiss before you give it the push. I agree that if some things were ironed out a sequel could be great, though!

  12. Buemba says:

    I would’ve bought Dirt 2 in a heartbeat for 50% off if it wasn’t for the fact that the demo kept crashing before I could complete a lap.

  13. James G says:

    Not strictly a special offer, but I got this E-mail from Pop-Cap today, and figure it is worth a shout in case there is anyone who hasn’t got PVZ yet and wants to do some good at the same time:

    Dear PopCap Friends,

    You may have heard by now about the recent earthquake in Haiti, and all the help needed there. We’re writing today to ask everyone we know around the world to team up with us to help those in need – just by buying a PopCap® game!

    On Saturday, January 16th, PopCap will donate everything you spend on to aid the earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti.*

    We hope you’ll join us for this special one-day event at!

    *Does not include sales tax. Offer begins January 16, 2010 at 12:01 AM PST, and ends January 16, 2010 at 11:59PM PST.

  14. amishmonster says:

    I actually bought Hinterland for slightly more during the holiday sale and played my first game last night. I quite like it – a little UI roughness, but it’s pretty fun. Kind of like Majesty: the Roguelike (or what I imagine those to be like, since I’ve actually played neither >.>)

    Worth an ogle/kiss at $5.

  15. PHeMoX says:

    “Remember that it’s not steam / valve that set the prices for different territories.”

    You might not like it, but actually they very much do!!!

    Valve could easily demand for a fixed price, that translates to the same price as in other currencies.

    They opted not to do so. In fact, they decided to make US dollar prices Euro prices, without calculating the correct new prices. That’s a real shame and their policy is reason number one those prices aren’t the same for every territory!

    Stop pretending Valve doesn’t control Steam…. ;)

    • invisiblejesus says:

      That isn’t true, PHeMoX. It’s been confirmed by developers and publishers who have games on Steam. Valve recommends prices, but the developer or publisher has the final say. You’re right that Valve does control Steam, obviously; for better or for worse they’ve opted not to use that control when it comes to regional pricing. If you have evidence to the contrary, by all means please post it and I’ll be happy to eat my words.

    • Arathain says:

      As I understand it, most big publishers are unwilling to abandon brick-and-mortar retailers by undercutting them with their own products on Steam- selling boxes still accounts for a substantial portion of their sales, and thus profits.. If they set a price on Steam that is below the standard box retail price retailers will respond by not stocking their products (which will sell poorly is substantially undercut digitally). If Valve force their own pricing on publishers, the publishers will avoid Steam, so that they don’t lose the retailers.

      It’s easier for everyone if publishers can set their own prices to avoid alienating their retailers. Except, you know, the consumer.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @PHeMoX: Impulse had a “one world, one price” policy. So publishers refused to allow Impulse to sell games outside the US, and people yelled (and complained in RPS bargain bucket comments) about Impulse’s regional restrictions instead. Impulse is now going to allow publishers to set any regional prices they want.

      Steam is bigger than Impulse, but it’s not bigger than retail. They’d see publishers demanding the same outright regional restrictions if forced to use a single price.

  16. SleepyMatt says:

    One glaring omission this weekend is Planescape: Torment, at last re-released and available on Amazon (UK) for £10. Sounds a lot for a game more than 10 years old? Not a bit of it, it’s worth every penny and more…

  17. skittles says:

    AI War is also available for 50% off at the official Arcen website.

    It doesn’t say so anywhere, but when you add it to the shopping cart it gives the discount

  18. Alexander Norris says:

    You know, I’d really like to see the Hive Mind do proper rereviews, no holds barred, of all those games we loved so dearly. Deus Ex, AvP, Planescape: Torment – I’d like to see all the classics held up to the standards of new games (graphics excluded, obviously). I think it’d be an interesting exercise and probably lead to some good debate since some of the games are bound to have suffered in the X years since they came out and will thus have received lower scores than the perfect 10/10 we all wish they carried.

    Then again, it’d be funnier if they got review scores so people can get worked up over stupid numbers, so I guess it’s more something for Eurogamer (because of the scores, not the people getting worked up over nothing).

  19. malkav11 says:

    Something to note about the AvP Steam release is that it’s not just the old game slapped up for $5. They actually went and recoded it to play nice with modern systems. (Or so they claim, anyway. Can’t be sure. Haven’t tried it yet.)

    • Matzerath says:

      Works for me! Doesn’t seem to be too many problems in the forum. And – it’s fun! And cheap!
      Aliens is one of those movies that I hope whoever did the sound-effects was forever after treated like a God. Half my joy with the games is hearing them again – the pulse rifles, the scary-ass radar, the friggin’ doors even.

    • Arathain says:

      Very good point. The sound made that game. The motion sensor in particular. That constant solid pulse never got annoying, but did ratchet up the tension. When it was merely pulsing you were safe…

      I liked the smart-gun a lot. Not only was the noise perfect, but the targeting cursor drag combined with the blinding muzzle flare made for some wonderfully panicky shootouts.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “Something to note about the AvP Steam release is that it’s not just the old game slapped up for $5. They actually went and recoded it to play nice with modern systems.”

      And Lucasarts couldn’t even be arsed to put the music into the steam release of Jedi Knight. Pity.

  20. destroy.all.monsters says:

    A comment to those of us in the US – There’s an AGEOD comp here that doesn’t have the Napolean or the first BOA game and is significantly less expensive:

    link to

  21. MadMatty says:

    I´ve tried Hinterland the original and thought it was awful. Theres some interesting things in the management of your village, but they didn´t spend enough time with the core gameplay which is diablo-like, and very dull in the beginning… the expension would have to be mindblowing if i´d to play it.

  22. Psychopomp says:

    Jesus christ, 26$ for Alpha Protocol? I’m not even that excited about the game, and I’d rather get it on steam, but some deals you just don’t pass up.

  23. Gabbo says:

    I’ve heard the controls for AvP have been altered along with the updated graphics (mouse = emulated analog stick). Can anyone confirm this?
    I would love a copy that works on newer machines (getting my cd copy to work properly can be a pain), but if the controls are altered, no even $5 can make it worthwhile.

    • Matzerath says:

      The controls seem fine – pretty much standard issue FPS set-up. I don’t remember the original controlling any differently, but it HAS been a long-ass time.

    • ZIGS says:

      You mean like in the new Ghostbusters game? I couldn’t play that game precisely due to that. I was thinking about getting AvP but if that’s true, then fuck it

  24. Malagate says:

    I both love and hate you RPS for bringing a super cheap version of AvP to my attention.

    Love, as in I played through the standard Alien campaign at the weekend and found it incredibly fun to run along the ceilings, why don’t more games allow stuff like that?

    Hate, as in I had one attempt at the skirmish mission “stranded”, which I recall from a previous RPS article, and actually quit it after getting too freaked out. Thank you for reminding me of my irrational fear of Xenomorphs from when I was 8. It’s just the way they crawl up the walls, leap from the ceiling, they’re so fast…later when I played the first mission of the campaign I either ran like hell was after me or spent most of my time with my back to the corner and my eyes on the ceiling. Way too stressful for a weekend game for me!

  25. fabrulana says:

    Actually quite enjoying Hinterland. Buggered up my first game, but the second time round is a lot more fun once you realise what you should be doing. Don’t know how long I will play it still but I figure I already got more than my money’s worth and I am still keen to play it…