The RPS Bargain Bucket: Better Than Never

Running a little late today folks, sorry, chalk it down to my being unprofessional if you like. Three big with a capital B games on offer this week, a relic from years gone by, and a game that manages to keep getting featured in the bargain bucket time and time again. For more savings on your games, head to (maybe even check out the recently relaunched SavyGamer podcast whilst you’re there). On to the bargains.

Men of War – £1.95/€1.95/$2.50
I hope you ignored me telling you to get Men of War gold for £14.99/€14.99/$17.49 the other week, because that wasn’t a very good deal compared to this one. Bargain bucket regular, Men of War, is back again for extra super mega cheap. There’s even the expandalone Red Tide for £3.95/€3.95/$4.95 too. Wot Alec and Jim think here and here, demos here and here.

Modern Warfare – £9.99/€12.49/$14.99
For less than the price of a map pack for the sequel, you can buy the original Modern Warfare. It’s pretty crazy to see it this cheap to be honest, I remember thinking it would never be available for under a tenner. The single player campaign is a little better than the one from Modern Warfare 2 I think. It certainly helps that it doesn’t have no Russian (or should that be “it has Russian”?). According to Xfire‘s activity chart, it’s even being played in multiplayer a lot more than Modern Warfare 2, although I didn’t check those figures before it went on sale. It supports dedicated servers too, which is obviously a bonus.

Left 4 Dead 2 – £13.39/€20.09/$20.09
King of the zombie games? Maybe that’s a controversial claim, but I’m going to make it. I can’t think of any game I more enjoy killing waves and waves of zombies in. You can’t go all that wrong with Valve games. It works out even cheaper (£10.05/€15.07/$15.07 each) if you split the 4 pack with some other people. You’ll also be getting the brand new “The Passing” stuff for free, which adds a new gameplay mode, a new campaign, and new weapons. Remember when all those silly billys were boycotting this? John did a review of it. A review? Like what proper web sites do? Crazy stuff.

Descent 1+2 – £2.72/€3.13/$4.19
The discount comes off during checkout. I remember playing this when I was young. I really liked it, it had big missiles for me to shoot at the baddies. It didn’t have an up, and coincidentally didn’t have a down. It probably hasn’t aged all that gracefully, but there’s not really anything that plays much like it around these days, or if there is let me know. You’re in a space ship, in the middle of a three dimensional labyrinth with doors and keys and baddies to shoot. You have to find your way to the end of the level. It’s kind of surprising how Doom became the game that everyone made clones of, but not descent. I can imagine some alternate dimension where the market is flooded with Descent Clones, and the EFF PEE ESS is an undeserved genre. The 3rd game is available for the same price in GOG’s Sci Fi sim promo, as are Freespace and Freespace 2.

Deal of the week
Grand Theft Auto 4 – £3.95/€3.43/$7.50
The big daddy of open world car drivey, gun shooty games for the cheapest I have ever seen it. The PC port may not have been brilliant at release, but the recent patch should have at least fixed some of the problems, namely the Rockstar Social club nonsense. GFWL is still there. It’s a big game, rockstar seem to apply the kitchen sink design philosophy to the GTA games, where if they have an idea for a thing, then they should put it in the game. My biggest problems with GTA, any of them really, is that I don’t particularly enjoy making my own fun with them, and when it comes down to it the actual missions are pretty bad. You can feel the hand of the scripting all over them, and you have to repeat so much tedious stuff if you fail. Still, GTA4 is certainly an impressive piece of game world, and a bargain at this price.

For more cheap games, get yourself over to

Thanks to John (Arr) for the top image. Cheers!


  1. Samuel Bigos says:

    Metro 2033 is also £13, but out of stock at the moment :(

    link to

  2. Spoon says:

    In Soviet Russia, bucket makes YOU hold bargain.

  3. abigbat says:

    Also, one of the best indie bargains of recent times (not sure if this has been covered elsewhere); Mode 7’s upcoming turn-based shooter ‘Frozen Synapse’ is up for preorder. Where’s the bargain? Well, if you order now you get instant access to the beta AND an extra copy of the game to give to a friend.

    The lead was interviewed on the Gamespot UK podcast this week, lots of interesting information there. I wish more developers would adopt this sort of policy.

    link to

    • subedii says:

      By its very nature it’s pretty much an ideal 5-minute-break kind of game. You plot out your moves and test them against whatever scenarios you think are likely. Then you prime, and you can either hang around and play some other games, or just close it down and come back later and see the results. Most games are over fast, but there’s a good amount of depth to it because you’re trying to predict what moves your opponent is going to make. Since you can also have multiple games running at once, it can easily keep you occupied for a while if you want it to.

      It makes for an interesting game of action and counteraction, you need to wonder which approaches an opponent might take, which are the best ways to attack YOU, and sometimes even whether you think he’s smart enough to have spotted the opportunities you have. And if he has, whether he’s already come up with the obvious counter-plan to YOUR plan at which point maybe you should plot to take a different approach and possibly even exploit likely holes with a counter-plan to his counter-plan to your plan to…

      Usually it’s not that complex, the approaches are obvious. Sometimes it is a wheels within wheels kind of thing where you’re wondering if he’s going to go for a strong assault like you would have or do something else entirely.So far it’s been pretty good, fills a nice void for turn-based strategy games.

    • bookwormat says:

      Yes, frozen synapse is really good, I’m was playing this through the whole week. I wouldn’t really call it a bargain, though. You need someone to share, and then, while the core game works fine, it’s still very beta-ish.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Wait, so there’s no single player to Frozen Synapse?

      Aw, man. It looked like such a good game. Oh well, that’s off the list.

    • Pie21 says:

      Of course there’s single player. There’s currently skirmishes against AI and the skeleton of a Challenge mode (where you and the AI are set up in a pre-designed level with goal you have to achieve). And that’s just the beta: a more full-on single player campaign will becoming for v1.0, if not earlier.

      The real game is in the multiplayer, but if they could pull off something like Commandos, it has a pretty high awesome potential.

    • MWoody says:

      Jesus, $26? Nothing I’ve read about this game puts it in that price bracket for me.

    • Cynic says:

      What I read said explicitly that there would be NO single player campaign, knocking it off my list too.

    • abigbat says:

      The developer said in interview that they were currently working on a full singleplayer campaign. He doesn’t want to rush it, however, and is spending the time until release to polish it up (I believe it’s due out at the end of the year).

    • Jesse says:

      Yes, on the website they say explicitly that there WILL be a full single-player game. But seriously, between you and me, that’s not going to be the best reason for buying this.

      In my opinion, and I should have known this before I bought it, Frozen Synapse doesn’t have the feel of a small-unit tactical engagement. It’s a two-player puzzle game. The mid-level strategy is about time management and establishing line-of-sight, but the real ‘game’ in this game is in deciding what your opponent will do. You don’t have to guess about any part of how the game functions; during the planning phase you can lay out plans for every little dude in play, including your opponent’s dudes, and then you can run the game and see exactly what will happen. The purpose of the rules of this game is to become absolutely transparent. There is nothing to play here besides ‘what will my opponent do?’ If you’re interested because shooting is involved, save your money. It’s just like playing cards or chess. It’s purely a mind game. A well-designed, convenient little mind game.

  4. Patrick says:

    So if I was not interested at all in multi-player would Modern Warfare still be worth the purchase?

    How long is the campaign?

    • Vinraith says:


      The number I’ve usually heard is “5 hours.” Personally, as someone solely interested in the SP, $15 is still too much. In reality, I suppose that probably means I’ll never play it.

    • Bhazor says:

      About 4/5 hours and if you’ve read any reviews theres no real surprises left in it. If it’s solely single player you want then I’d recommend just replaying COD 2 where the actual shooty bits are much better . I never played Modern Warfare online so can’t really comment on it. Though I understand you shoot people in it.

    • Spork says:

      I bought MW1 purely for the sp (tried mp but gave up at the stupid number of explosions). I found a fair bit of replayability with the arcade mode and ‘cheats’ (unlimited ammo, cluster grenades, slow-mo etc).

      IMO the campaign is excellent if a bit short, one of the most polished I’ve seen. Cinematic, in a good way. Pity there wasn’t a sequel.

      If you want mp as well I’d recommend Bad Company 2.

    • Jimbo says:

      It’s one of the most brilliantly crafted FPS campaigns of all time. Sure it’s 5-6 hours long, but every minute of that is used and there isn’t an ounce of fat on it. Adding another 5 hours of padding would not make this game worth any more of your money.

      Hours per £ seems a crazy metric to judge a game on to me, but whatevs. Is the campaign alone worth £10? Absolutely. It was worth the full price.

    • CrowPath says:

      5-6 hours of gameplay that hasn’t really progressed since COD1. Huge sections of constantly and infinitely respawning enemies, followed by smaller sections where enemies actually die, but you’re compelled suicidally forward by overwhelming numbers and pinpoint accurate grenade throws, hitting F9 a lot.

      It’s cinematically nice, but gameplay-wise, awful at any price.

    • Bhazor says:

      It’s certainly not the best kind of cinematic like Sands of Time or Ninja Gaiden where gorgeously smooth animation combine with perfect controls and pacing to make unscripted sequences appear intricately choreographed. It also doesn’t try the deep characterization of Mass Effect or Bloodlines. In Modern Warfare all the good bits are so tightly scripted it’s unreal, especially the sequence of Daddy’s Footsteps you play with Price. Its cinematic in a Hideo “Shut up! I want to show you something cool” Kojima kind of way except here the cut-scenes are kinda interactive in that you walk forward as they play.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      I spent a lot more than average in CoD4’s campaign…but then again I’m not really rushing thru games, I’ve spent about 100hours with Mercs 2 for example :D
      I think it’s well-worth at this price – you will probably find some missions that you will want to replay later in the normal or arcade mode…I can’t seem to have enough of the C-130 mission or the “last” one for example… and I’m kind of a sucker for guns, so I really enjoy doing missions with different load-outs :D

    • Alexander Norris says:

      If you’re only going to play the single player, there’s absolutely no point in buying CoD4. Torrent it, wasted five hours of your life on a shiny but ultimately pointless experience that brings absolutely nothing new to the genre, then uninstall it and delete the .iso.

      The primary draw of the game is its multiplayer and if you don’t intend to play that, the game isn’t meant for you.

    • malkav11 says:

      FWIW, I think MW1’s singleplayer campaign, although like many FPS games fairly short, is an incredible experience. Beautiful, gripping and full of amazing action set pieces plus memorable things like the AC-130 gunship level and…that level. You’ll know what I mean when you play it.

      It is, imho, totally worth $15 (and I wish that they would decouple the multiplayer from the singleplayer for these games and charge $15 for the singleplayer to begin with). But then, I’m definitely one to appreciate a tightly controlled, intense gameplay experience. I’m not sure whether I’d rather a completely open-ended approach or a hugely scripted one, all other things being equal, but the idea that the latter is somehow -bad- is mysterious to me. They’re different, that’s all.

    • Randy Squirrel says:

      FWIW, I never touch multiplayer but still felt I got my money’s worth out of MW. Of course, I played it through on 3 different difficulties and then returned to do individual favourite levels with judicious use of the built in cheats (slow mo is great).

      The campaign is tightly scripted as others have said but is excellent for the (limited) duration. If your the type to replay stuff, do it, otherwise you’ll be wasting your hard earned.

    • Bhazor says:

      Tightly scripted? You have no idea.

    • bookwormat says:

      So if I was not interested at all in multi-player would Modern Warfare still be worth the purchase?

      Yes, for that price I think it is. The campaign is very entertaining (if you like us military shooters on rails that is.). I think the fact that it is short makes it even better, because you get the chance to see the end of it at some point.

    • Urthman says:

      Bhazor, that video is hilarious. Who knew that Braid was just a ripoff of COD4?

  5. FunkyLlama says:

    About 5 hours. It’s not worth it for the singleplayer alone.

  6. FunkyLlama says:

    Will GTA4 activate on steam?

  7. Jimbo says:

    If anybody on RPS still hasn’t tried the Soldiers/Faces/Men of War series, you now have no excuses. These are some of the best PC games of recent years imo, particularly played co-op. They’re quite deep by today’s standards, but not especially difficult to get to grips with. For this price you should at least give it a go.

    It’s almost an insult to the developers for it to be selling this cheaply already.

  8. CampbellDH says:

    Also worth mentioning Trine is 75% off on steam right now

  9. Andy_Panthro says:

    Men of War is a fantastic game, I can’t praise it enough.

    Well, except for the voice acting in the cutscenes… that’s pretty poor. But completely superfluous to the gameplay!

    Breathed some life into single-player RTS games for me.

  10. Dan(WR) says:

    Getgames has Space Rangers 2: Reboot for the unholy sum of £6.66

    link to

    I’ve bought it, and now it will sit amongst the ludicruosly large collection of games wot I bought on the cheap and will never have time to play.

    • pedant says:

      Space Rangers 2 is a really nice game perfect for a bit of casual gaming. Very silly, very funny at times and lets you choose your level of interest (ie skip things you don’t like and repeat what you like).

      Also some of the puzzles are lovely hard/silly, worth it almost just for that.

  11. Devrey says:

    About Descent not having aged well: DXX Rebirth. That is all.

  12. jon_hill987 says:

    I picked up Freespace 1 and 2 as I have the Descent games from last time GoG put them on sale. Anyone got any tips for making Freespace 1 look better and play at 1080p?

    • FhnuZoag says:

      Check out FS Open (the open source Freespace engine update project).

    • GameOverMan says:

      In order to do that you need Freespace Open SCP (Source Code Project) + Freespace port version 3.1.1 and its MediaVPs (better graphics). Additionally you can install Silent Threat: Reborn.

    • Taione says:

      A quick +1 for silent threat reborn. I played through the freespace 1 campaign using freespace open, then through silent threat reborn – awesome. I loaded up silent threat vanilla and it was awful. Still working my way through FS2, and then there are all the fan made campaigns. There is a rediculous amount of game in freespace for silly money.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I’m about half way through Freespace now (I think, later missions could take longer I suppose) and I must say it is surprisingly playable at VGA resolutions, I suppose the nature of space means the graphics don’t matter too much.

      Thanks for the tip though, I will give FSOpen and the Freespace port for it a look when I am not on mobile broadband (with a 5GB cap) any-more. It looks like I will need at least 4GB to install it (and download FS2)

  13. ArtyArt says:

    What about the ARMA 1+2 bundle on Direct2Drive EU? 5,- € sounds like a good price to me, is it worth the purchase?

    • Heliocentric says:

      That there is a good deal, and available world wide. I’ve only bothered installing arma2 but i’ve had excellent fun arseing about in the armoury missions. Chicken assault course anyone?

      Oh, and the project reality arma 2 mod is incoming, worth the price alone.

    • Vinraith says:


      Talk about regional pricing disparity, ArmA 2 on D2D in the US is $25 by itself.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I should add that its an injustice this is not deal of the week.

    • Sobric says:

      The bundle is £36 for UK users.

    • Oak says:

      Does Arma II scale down well? I’ve been interested but got the impression that it would make my computer throw up.

    • Heliocentric says:

      wrong wrong wrong. UK users simply go to and pay 5 euro plus tax

    • Heliocentric says:

      @sob is usable by UK customers, 5 eur only, I should know I’m UK, i bought it.

    • Heliocentric says:

      laggy browser, the first didnt show before i wrote the second :)

    • Vinraith says:


      Unfortunately the deal’s gone, have a look. :(

  14. Ricc says:

    GamersGate has a Thief 1 + Thief 3 bundle for 12,45€ . I’ve heard good things about the series, so… worth taking a look at?

    link to

  15. Heliocentric says:

    @vin its available in lots of countries, not world wide my bad.

    • Vinraith says:


      Yeah, US gamers got screwed on that one. Not that I can really complain, considering how often things go the other way.

  16. Stephan says:

    There is the FS2Open project [1] which has turned Freespace2 into a much prettier game. They also have a mod for the FS1 campaign, called FSPort [2].

    [1] link to
    [2] link to

  17. Alexander Norris says:

    Reposting from the forum PC bargains thread, again (because Lewie didn’t include my tip-offs in the Bucket :P):

    For anyone wanting to get stuff from the D2D sale, check all three sites. Some games aren’t region-restricted or have more than one region where they’re available and will therefore cost you less to get on one particular subsite.

    Non-exhaustive list, only includes what I thought was worth the look:

    Men of War is cheaper on
    Aaaaa! is cheaper on
    Eufloria is cheaper on
    These three are available worldwide.
    SupCom Gold is available in the UK and North America if bought from and cheaper than the US price.
    GTA4 is cheaper on if you’re in Western Europe.

    I couldn’t get the .eu ArmA bundle page to load when I checked for these prices at the beginning of the week, so I don’t know if it’s region-restricted or not.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Alexander Norris
      How does buying from an off-region D2D site work, exactly? It looks to me like I have to create a new account to do so, is that right? Is this something you’re supposed to be able to do, or something that’s liable to disappear at some point (thus denying you access to anything you bought that way)?
      Edit: Nevermind, I can log in with my normal account, I’m not sure what was going on there.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Nope. You log in with any IGN account, then just add products to your basket as normal. If they’re available in your region (as is the case with games available worldwide or in multiple regions including your own), it processes your order as normal. If you try to buy something that isn’t available in your region (determined by IP) then it refuses to let you check out.

      The only way this feature is going to disappear is if all future games are single-region-specific and available in three separate versions on the three subsites, and they phase out the games currently multi-region. There’s nothing gamy, exploit-ish or illegal about this.

      And if you run into any tax-related (VAT or sales tax) surcharges, I’ve heard paying via PayPal makes those go away. Can’t confirm though, as I’ve never, ever had any problem whether buying from the US or UK website, when my IP address is continental.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Alexander Norris

      Thanks for the detailed explanation, I’ll definitely keep that in mind in the future. Sadly, I don’t see that ArmA bundle sale, even when I switch regions to the EU. It shows as 40 Euros.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Ah, yeah. That seems to be because they removed it from the sale, for some reason. I presume this is as a result of the page being broken at the beginning of the week.

    • Vinraith says:


      Drat. Ah well, at least the next time I see a deal like that I’ll know to grab it.

  18. Heliocentric says:

    On the deal of the week: I’ve been playing a little of this, being a specialist at making my own fun I’m trying to unlock more real estate while playing with the various toys the game offers.

    Playing the taxi minigame is an excellent way to soak up all of the chatshows for example.

  19. Miles of the Machination says:

    Not that I don’t already own the game, but COD4 costs us poor saps an extra $10 on steam down here in Australia. Must be all that internet they have to pipe down here.

  20. Manley Pointer says:

    Even after the patch, GTA IV runs terribly on my PC. Today I went from playing Metro 2033, which looked pretty nice on my machine, to an awful-looking GTA IV, which looked worse than it does on the 360. Even if you unlock its memory limiting shit with commandline instructions, the game likes to simply not draw things (things like buildings and the ground and other textures) rather than take a framerate hit while it tries to draw them. This makes for an extremely frustrating, trial-and-error process of getting it to work on your machine, because it’s hard to predict what level of horrendous pop-up you’ll get.

    Also, whenever you change a graphics setting, you have to hit “Space” to change it, then “Enter” to confirm the change, and then “Enter” again to confirm that you confirmed it. Nice port. You also have to restart the game whenever you change the texture quality setting.

    I’m no wizard at adjusting graphics settings, but I can say at least that optimizing GTA IV visuals is no picnic. And by optimizing I mean “getting it to not look like balls.”

    • malkav11 says:

      For you. It looks great on my system, runs beautifully, and has required essentially no tweaking.

    • Manley Pointer says:

      For me, and for most users, if reviews and forum complaints are to be believed. Nobody else I’ve spoken to about the game has seen it run “beautifully.” And I haven’t had seen similar graphical issues in any PC game in recent memory, from Crysis to Dragon Age to Metro 2033.

    • AndrewC says:

      It is a sad thing. Apparently the bottleneck for performance is the processor – you need a quadcore to make it run well. I’ve got a perfectly decent duo-core and have to run it at minimum to get about 30fps when nothing is happening, dropping to 20 or less if i’m being chased by cops.

      I do love GTA4, and I abhor performance-whiners, but after Just Cause 2, or even Far Cry 2, it becomes a real grind to have to deal with such a juddery game.

      Sad face. But I do love the game.

    • malkav11 says:

      It ran just fine on my dual-core back when that’s what I had in, too. An awful lot of the performance complaints are either from back before most of the patches (when it did run like crap no matter how nice the computer), or from people who haven’t checked since the patches hit. Similarly, that’s when most of the reviews date from.

      I don’t mean to suggest that you’re making things up – clearly, you’re having problems with it. I just want to note that it’s by no means a universal issue with the game and I would encourage people to see for themselves, assuming GTA IV sounds like a game they would enjoy playing.

      (For that matter, I’ve heard people complaining about all the trouble they’ve been having getting Just Cause 2 to run properly when my own experience – and the main word of mouth I hear – is that it runs amazingly well on amazingly little hardware for how gorgeous it is.)

    • bookwormat says:

      For me, and for most users, if reviews and forum complaints are to be believed.

      When it comes to high budget (‘AAA’) titles: If you write reviews or post to a forum then you are part of a minority that is usually not representative for the typical customer of this product.

  21. Alexander Norris says:

    Also, why the hell is Deus Ex not in the Bucket? Even if most of us already own it, Deus Ex!

  22. Randy Squirrel says:

    Question, fellow cheapskates. Since this is the lowest price I’ve ever seen l4d2, I’m thinking of picking it up. Trouble is, while I love shooting things in the face and watching them bleed, I abhor and shun all multiplayer. Obviously I’ll miss out on all the teamwork, stories etc (all the good stuff, it seems) but is there enough left in singleplayer to make it enjoyable on my lonesome?

    • Vinraith says:


      Word is that the bots are even worse than they were in the original, and they were pretty amazingly horrible in the original. It’s not a game designed for, nor friendly towards, single player gaming. Hell, it’s nigh-impossible to play the higher difficulties of the original game even if you can scrounge up a friend or two, as the bots simply can’t hold their own. Basically, it’s 4 human players or nothing.

    • Arathain says:

      @ Randy

      It’s playable single player. The bots really aren’t the best, but you can make it through a campaign with them. It’ll be a satisfying enough shooter, with nice guns and some great injury modeling and ragdolls physics to make those guns feel great.

      Is it worth it, though? Probably not. All the really special stuff involves other people. Unreliable gits that they are.

    • AndrewC says:

      But on normal difficulty they’re fine. Which is good enough for a weekend of zombie blasting. Plus L4D is specifically designed to force players to co-operate, so it’s probably the most multiplayer-hating person friendly multiplayer game ever made. It depends how much you think a weekend of zombie blasting is worth?

      Maybe the money is worth it just to be able to join in with all the endless arguments that happen when L4D is mentioend? Oh wait. Actual knowledge isn’t really a requisite fo rarguing about L4D, is it? Oh well. I bet there’s a zombie blasting mod for some game you own already if you just spend 5 minutes googling.

    • malkav11 says:

      The bots aren’t any worse than in the original as far as I could tell, and aren’t actually all -that- bad, all things considered. They’re crack shots and very…aggressively… helpful in certain limited ways. The trouble is, there are specific things that are enormously useful that they are specifically prohibited from doing. They will always follow you, never take the lead. They cannot use grenade-slot items. They cannot defibrillate or rescue you if you die. They cannot trigger crescendo events nor end them. They cannot move gas cans or other carryable items. They’re pretty much there to be gun turrets and occasionally heal you or pick you back up. This makes singleplayer enormously frustrating because you have to do every goddamn thing that’s not zombie shooting and you will be the target of 75+% of the special infected, particularly the immobilizing ones. (Because you’re always in front.)

      I emphatically do not recommend either game as a singleplayer experience. If you’re dead set against multi, even coop, you are extremely unlikely to enjoy yourself.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      The bots are merely ok. They have some pathing issues, and a tendency to run up and melee things off of you rather than shoot them at range (or seemingly ignore them totally), but they should be okay on normal.

      That said, if you can play multiplayer, do so. And I know you said you won’t play multiplayer, but does that go for splitscreen coop as well? L4D2 does support splitscreen, as I recall, but you need to fiddle about with the console and config files.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Randy if you’re on the fence, get it anyways and find some people on the RPS forums to run it with.

      As long as it was during my time off I’d run with ya, as long as you’re not terribly obnoxious.

      Honestly, you can find some pretty decent people for L4D2 with a little elbow grease, and versus is always fun to play as infected.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Squirrel: L4D1 is a fine single-player experience, IMHO. The bots are good shots, they have your back, and they do what you need them to do in most situations. The end of each campaign is still a bit tricky without human companions, and I’d stay right away from the hardest difficulty setting, but you can absolutely play the game without other humans.

      L4D2 is a different story. I haven’t played it in a while now, but after numerous updates the bots were still god-awful on regular occasion. The basic problem, and the difference between the two games, is that Valve added new kinds of gameplay to the sequel but apparently couldn’t figure out how to enable the bots to handle those situations.

      This leads to idiotic situations in a really significant proportion of the levels where you have to run like crazy as a group to reach an objective (because the zombies are spawning endlessly until you reach that objective), but your three companions are all dragging their heels about 10-15 metres back, leaving you to try (and quite likely fail) to handle pretty much everything coming your way on your own. It is absolute infuriating.

      It gets worse though — on some of these occasions you can’t wield a gun. They actually make you carry something from point A to point B (on human players can do the carrying), and the bots utterly refuse to gather around you and protect you.

      L4D2 as a single-player game is almost an insult. Which is a shame, because it’s pretty close to being a really good time, otherwise.

      My advice is to stay away. Do check out the original, though.

    • malkav11 says:

      I would agree with that assessment of why playing with bots is not much fun in L4D2, but would add that while L4D1 with bots is less infuriating than 2, it’s also much more boring. Like, stultifyingly dull. I couldn’t even make it through two whole campaigns before getting bored and giving up. (I did play with other people as well on a couple of occasions and was not much impressed then either. It’s amazing how much improved L4D2 is.)

    • undead dolphin hacker says:

      I bought L4D1 from the winter sale on Steam, knowing full well I’d never even so much as attempt multiplayer.

      It is absolutely awful as a single player game. I can’t remember the last time I was so bored in such a busy game. Crescendos bring yawns. You just don’t care about witches or any of the other special infected, as the AI instantly frees you and moves on.

      This in mind, L4D2 is supposed to be even worse single-player wise.

      Playing these games single player kind of pulls back the curtain on the guts of the game, which are depressingly shallow. You need three other humans to act like they’re scared so you can act like you’re scared.

      Left 4 Dead as a series are essentially campfire ghost stories. They’re a campfire, a log, and a cheesy (in the bad, boring way) story scribbled on a piece of notebook paper. Combine them with three non-strangers and it can be fun. If you lack three non-strangers who would join you, though, it’s simply not worth the money, and especially not worth the time. Aside from one or two matches you’ll remember due to some bizarre series of events, the games are wholly unmemorable and ultimately shallow experiences.

    • bookwormat says:

      Word is that the bots are even worse than they were in the original, and they were pretty amazingly horrible in the original.

      I disagree: I think bot AI in L4D is _very_ good. The good AI is also an essential part of the multilayer experience, because it allows drop ins/outs in random match-ups).

      All in all I know Left 4 Dead as an excellent single player game.. Of course, if you compare the “artificial intelligence” to the human brain, the AI looses. But show me a similar dynamic FPS where cooperative AI is so much better before you call this one bad. Seriously, I don’t know that many games – If L4D AI is relatively bad. then I want to know about these other games I’m missing.

    • Vinraith says:


      If you could give the AI orders, you’d have a leg to stand on. Since you can’t, its propensity to lag a half room behind, to stand on the highest exposed point (as though daring the smokers to kill it) whenever a climax comes along, and its general inability to understand or execute any tactic other than “run into the crowd of zombies” makes it completely unacceptable as either a single player companion or a multiplayer fill-in. Frankly, by the standards of FPS AI I see where you’re coming from, it’s unusually good. The problem is, L4D isn’t a typical FPS, it requires far more coordination and far more tactical thinking than a normal FPS. Without the ability to either execute that kind of thinking (impossible, I suspect) or accept orders (extremely possible, as evidenced by games like UT2004 where bots even accept voice commands) it’s preposteorusly difficult to play above normal with any bots in the party. Single player mode is deliberately dumbed down to compensate for this fact.

  23. Rich says:

    Men of War and its expandalone, bought. Will download later.
    At that silly price I don’t even need to worry about the demo.

    • AndrewC says:

      Me too! And I find C&C to be a bit demanding of my brain. I imagine Men Of War will just destroy me. Rossignol can feel happy that he has this much effect on my decision-making. Plus that price – I suppose that did have an effect. Stupid price. Ridiculous.

  24. Bluebreaker says:

    got my copy of men of war

  25. AndrewC says:

    By the way – excellent image this week!

  26. the wiseass says:

    I like the new bucket, game on comrade, game on!

  27. Jad says:

    I hate the arguments about the COD games’ scripted nature as if that was inherently, objectively bad, rather than a personal preference. If a Far Cry 2 fan came on this site and said that Half-Life 2 was shit because you can’t go everywhere in the game at any time he would get ripped to shreds. COD4 is just further down that spectrum. There are incredible advantages gained by making something tightly scripted, COD4 is spectacular and gripping and intense at every moment — as said above, there is no fat, and no padding.

    On that note, the “hours” argument always annoyed me too. I play games to have experiences, not to just fill up time. I recently was playing Fallout 3 where I literally spent 20 minutes collecting items from a bunch of dead enemies, fast-traveling back to town, selling all of the items, buying more ammo to replace the ammo used in the fight, debating whether to upgrade some of my weapons, deciding not to, repairing my weapons, and then returning back to the spot I was before so I can actually continue on with the quest. I’m not saying that Fallout is bad for this, or should change. But those 20 minutes are not what one would call “memorable”.

    There are 20 minute missions in COD4 which I will never forget. There are 20 minute sections of Portal or Braid or Max Payne which I will never forget. And these games had dozens of incredible 20 minute sections, even though they are much shorter games than Fallout 3. Does this mean that Fallout is a bad game for being so long? No, of course not. But that also does not mean that Portal or COD4 are bad games for being so short.

    In closing: I cannot promise that you’ll love the gameplay of COD4, everyone has different personal preferences. But it is a fantastic experience, an incredibly well-made game, and utterly worth the money.

    • Rich says:

      Agreed. COD4, like its predecessors is good fun if you like spectacular scripted sequences and fairly dynamic combat set-pieces, even if they are arranged linearly. It’s very much an interactive Hollywood action movie.

      Not interested in Modern Warfare 2 though. It’s definitely jumped the shark.

    • Bhazor says:

      Yes but COD 2 got the balance right. No infinite respawns or enemies teleporting in behind you, no barely interactive set pieces and at least two sequences where you’re given multiple objectives to complete in any order across a wide open battlefield with dozens of self reliant AI guys battering each other and even completing the objectives for you.

      Modern Warfare was a step too far for me as far as scripted sequences go.

    • Jad says:

      I want to just follow-up on my previous comment. I don’t want to sound like I’m slagging on Fallout 3, it’s a fantastic game, and I could have made the same example with Morrowind, one of my all-time favorite games — a short list that it shares with COD4, in fact. I in fact really enjoy the whole loot-sell-buy-repeat process, and I always end up in those games with ridiculous, unspendable amounts of wealth.

      Removing that loot-sell-buy part of Fallout 3 would ruin it in the same way that adding anything to increase the length of COD4 would ruin it. Removing the loot-sell-buy part of Fallout would make the game faster-paced and more intense, but would make it not Fallout. Adding anything that was not more enemies, more explosions, more shooting, (other than the occasional sniper part) would slow down the pace of COD4 and make it more cerebral, but then it would not be Call of Duty. And if you just made more shooting sections, more explosion sections? Then you’d be just gorging. It would become too much, too repetitive, too exhausting. And the reality of modern development would also inflate the budget of the game to intolerable levels. It does not cost Bethesda anything to require you to do one more loot-sell-buy bit to increase game time by another 20 minutes. It costs millions for Infinity Ward to make a single unique, graphically spectacular 20 minute mission.

      So to change the length of either game would require fundamental changes in gameplay. You can like one type of game over the other, but the fact remains that Fallout 3 and COD4 are the correct lengths for what they are trying to do.

    • Jad says:


      I played a lot of COD2 — it was on my favorite-games list until supplanted by 4. I replayed it multiple times, so I was able to see the seams in the scripting pretty well. There absolutely were infinite respawns, enemies teleporting in behind you, and those “non-linear” sections were at best illusions. I played those levels every single possible way, and they did not change a bit. COD4 is definitely in the same mold as its predecessor.

    • Rich says:

      Have to agree with Bhazor. COD2 did have infinite respawns, but I was able to play those multi-objective levels in some quite different ways. COD2 also never had, for instance, super hard guys spawning behind you and managing to kill you in a single shot, triggered by the slightest deviations from the scripted path. I actually died several times on the first mission of COD4 because of those damn teleporting super soldiers. Give me COD2’s minefields any time.

    • Jimbo says:

      Infinitely respawning enemies isn’t ‘wrong’, it’s a design choice. The CoD games would not benefit at all from putting a cap on these enemies, because you’d just sit behind cover at the back and pick them off until they stopped coming. That’s just gonna suck any tension and the sense of urgency straight out of the game. The majority of the campaign relies on the player buying into that sense of urgency.

  28. WiPa says:

    I absolutely LOVE the Descent games.

    There is a texture project out there somewhere, that revamps the textures and makes the game look more modern. (I prefer the old textures haha).

    It’s part of a package that helps fix issues like excessively fast framerate etc.

  29. Randy Squirrel says:

    Many thanks for the detailed replies, folks. It seems the answer to my question is simple: No.

    Due to it’s coop nature this is the one game I might actually enjoy in multiplayer. However I’m also stymied by mobile ‘broadband’ internet which makes all attempts at online gaming a joke.

    Though … thanks to DarkNoghri I’ve found that splitcreen(!) is indeed an option. Top marks, valve. I’ll be getting it solely due to this as I reckon even one meat buddy will make all the difference.

    • Randy Squirrel says:

      Blasted reply system. Meant to be addressed to the fine people answering my question above.

  30. Kuroyume says:

    can’t buy the Deal of the week due to D2D’s stupid region restrictions… publishers complain about piracy, but then come up with ways to keep you from buying the game

  31. luminosity says:


    If it’s not too much trouble, could I put in a request that you include Australia/NZ prices when they differ from the US prices? Several weeks now we’ve had games that were good deals for the US, but then when I go to check them out we’re still getting charged a silly price. Not a big deal if it’s too much effort, of course.

    BTW, I tried emailing this to you since it seems a little off-topic, but the e-mail address at the top of the page bounced.

    • Rich says:

      Does anyone know of any genuinely justifiable reasons for regional pricing in download games?
      Other than publishers being gluttonous bastards that is.

    • BarneyL says:

      The claimed logic goes that selling 10,000 copies at 10$ in Europe/Australia and 10,000 copies at 5$ in the poorer developing word countries is better for us all than selling 10,000 copies for 15$ in Europe/Austraila and none elsewhere because no one else can afford $15.
      Of coure this logic suggests game developers thing that the US is a poor third world country and that Greece is amongst the world’s biggest economic super powers.

  32. Seth says:

    FreeSpace 1/2 might very well be the best game(s) on this list.


  33. Morris says:


    Frozen Synapse has multiplayer AND single player modes…

    # Multiplayer: four game modes, including Hostage Rescue and the fiendish bidding-based Secure mode…
    # Single Player: Campaign Mode (coming soon), Skirmish mode and Puzzle mode

    link to

  34. Muzman says:

    It’s completely unimportant but I’d swear I payed US$5 for GTA4 late last year. Although paradoxically it was probably more expensive in Euro land.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Was that the completely nutty Steam Christmas Sale you’re referring to? Good times.

    • malkav11 says:

      I was going to say, I could have sworn that it had been $5 during the Christmas Sale.

  35. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    Hmm. Bought Men of War from – bargain at 1.95 euros but can’t play it as the activation code given to me by D2D is ‘invalid’. To beat the pirate sites digital distributors really need to sort this stuff out.

    • Matzerath says:

      Check ‘My Account’ on the D2D site — it’ll have your activation code on your game list — the one that’s in the confirmation email is only half of it … and yes they need to sort that shit out.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Thanks Matzerath. But the plot thickens: Despite supposedly being required to activate the game, once I patched it and double-clicked the desktop shortcut it took me into the game with no problem!?

      The game looks charming and detailed, but no tutorial. How do I accept people into my squad? Or, if anyone knows a good basic tutorial read that’d be good. Or should I go and RTFM.

    • AndrewC says:

      Wait – you have to patch manually? Tell me all about this please!

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Yes, patch here (scroll down a bit):
      link to

      Anyone know a good tutorial?

    • AndrewC says:

      Walkthroughs appear to be thin on the ground, or written by a Russian, in Russian, which seems awfully selfish to me. Google gave me nothing but these videos, which are a bit duff for the basic stuff:

      link to

      I think you just put your cursor over a soldier, the icon turns to a hand and you left click to ‘add’ them.

      Now: Where’s the tank repair kit?

    • Jimbo says:

      Repair kits are usually in the vehicle’s inventory. I *think* the X key is the shortcut for ‘Examine’, which you’ll use a lot.

      Take that tank all the way to Berlin!

  36. Mr_Day says:

    Me inbox today tells me that Impulse is doing King’s Bounty Gold for £11.89

    link to

    It also tells me that Total Annihilation comes with both expansions for £7.99

    link to

    So. That’s tempting.

  37. mildlyannoyed says:

    As usual, germans are screwed: no gta and no kotor (also in d2d spring sale) for us.
    Those were the only titles that really interested me…

  38. Horza says:

    Valve needs to learn how to do currency conversion. I’d buy L4D2 for $20,09 but not for €20,09.

  39. Preciousgollum says:


    Anyone interested in going quids in on a left 4 dead 2 4 pack?

    A second Zombie apocalypse is beckoning me…

  40. wcaypahwat says:

    I jumped for the l4d2 deal yesterday….. It’s somewhat lacking without the gore and dismemberment (stupid low violence version*grrrr*) but still great fun. Loving the melee weapons.

  41. Preciousgollum says:

    imagine up your own violence… just like any other budding psychopath.

    And if low violence makes you commit attrocities we shall know for sure that Games are not the enabler but one’s own soft, fragile and imaginitive mind.

    Let us know how you get on.

    • wcaypahwat says:

      hmmm…. become a martyr for the good of gaming… interesting suggestion…

      Honestly, the censorship is worse than I thought. ‘dead’ zombies fade away before they even manage to fall down to the ground. Perhaps one day they’ll slacken up and let them patch everything back in.

  42. LB says:

    @abigbat: “I wish more developers would adopt this sort of policy.”

    Taleworlds did with Mount & Blade, and they charged a fair sight less for it too. My ‘pre-order’ cost $6, and I got to play the beta up until release, at which point my product key got me the full game.

    • MWoody says:

      Minecraft preorders work the Mount & Blade way, with a dwindling discount the further along in development the project gets. I think it’s currently around $10, which is a pretty damn good deal actually, as infdev should very soon be hitting multi. I.e. it’s an infinitely generated, multiplayer world with an inventory, crafting system, and enemies.

  43. roryok says:

    Speaking of bargains, I’d like to note some anti-bargains I’ve discovered recently.

    I had Saboteur, Metro 2033, Bioshock 2 and Mass Effect 2 squirreled away in my amazon shopping basket. I’d check back every few days to see messages like “Saboteur has decreased in price from £16.99 to £14.99” kind of thing.

    Anyhoo, I log in this morning and they’ve all jumped in price by vast amounts.

    Mass Effect 2 had been £14, its now shot up to £24
    Saboteur was around £13, and now its £22

    Anyone know what the hell that’s all about?

    • Bhazor says:

      Amazon switching shops no doubt. If it says “Order fulfilled by” then it comes from an Amazon warehouse if not then it don’t.

      Read the descriptions and you’ll see phrases like “Order fulfilled by Unique Boutique” which means that Amazon is simply monitoring this order and paying for shipping. The actual stock is owned by a different company willing to give I got Mass Effect 2 a couple of weeks back for £15 and then it was fulfilled by some company in Jersey.

      My guess is the Jersey company ran out of stock, not surprising at that price, and Amazon took over and charged their own price.

  44. phonsc says:

    Forsaken > Descent, imo.

  45. Frosty says:

    £13.39/€20.09/$20.09 for Left for dead 2? When oh when will Steam learn that €’s are not $’s?

  46. Bottes UGG says:

    Tout d’accord sur votre opinion. Et moi, aussi le fan de bottes uggs, surtout sur sa doublure en laine. La marque ugg bottes. venait de trouver sa signature. En ce moment, vous pouvez pré-commander les bottes ugg!