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The RPS Bargain Bucket: Breaking Conventions

Whether you’re after some cheap fun games to play, or some ranting about publishers and retailers not acting exactly as they should, this week’s bargain bucket has got something for you. There’s some great games available for next to nothing, and I start to lose my mind part way through after staring at Origin for too long. Fun times. For even more discounted gaming throughout the week, you can always rely on Void – 85p/€1
Seemingly not available at this price in the USA. That sucks. #NOOCEANS. That Quinns chap described this thusly:

Colour is all in the Void. Colour is what stops everyone from slipping away into nothingness, and in the case of your mute character the removal and application of colour is your only means of interacting with the world. To break it down into terms we’re all used to, your amassed colour is simultaneously your health, currency, inventory, mana, conversation options and weaponry. Just as the real challenge in Pathologic was completing your objectives while manipulating a plague-ridden town’s economy, the real challenge in The Void is completing tasks while constantly having to harvest and tend to the world’s colour.

The rest is here. It’s a must have at this price.

Splinter Cell: Double Agent – Free
Clearly one of the weakest entries in the Splinter Cell series, this has levels cut in to tiny sections separated by load screens, it hasn’t got anyway near as much open-ended level design as Chaos Theory, it takes place mostly in well lit areas, and I gather the PC port wasn’t too hot either. This is free though, so it’s worth a go just to have a look at what went wrong. I don’t think that Mr Fisher ever really recovered from this, after finding a new fanbase of players that like shooting dudes in the face in slow motion with Conviction, it seems that the other new one is going even further down the path of ‘cinematic takedowns’ and mash-buttons-to-breach-the-UN-Convention-Against-Torture gameplay. Maybe Blacklist will turn out fine, but early signs are hardly promising.

Speaking of Conviction, that’s cheap at GamersGate today too.

Mass Effect 3 – £7.49/not a clue about other countries.
It’s time to vent. I’m going to vent.
Whilst sorting through the Kafkaesque nightmare of Origin’s web front end to trying and find which games might be in their highly publicised 50% off sale today, I discovered that despite EA’s prominent promotion of this sale, there’s actually no way of finding out which games are in the sale other than manually browsing the entire library by genre or series, or by manually searching for each game that might be in the sale. The genres aren’t much use since they’re applied somewhat liberally (Arkham Asylum and Darksiders 2 are RPGs apparently). The sale also seems to exclude some games that shouldn’t be excluded according to the terms and conditions (Why are The Saboteur & Dragon Age not on sale?), and other EA games like Mirror’s Edge and Crysis were cheaper in the recent Steam sale. The price at the top is only for people in the UK, it’s a pretty standard Origin policy to practise regional pricing discrimination and run region specific promotions, and the link probably won’t work for some people because Origin has different urls for every item page depending on what region you are in. You can read Jim’s opinion of Mass Effect 3 here.

FOTONICA – Pay What You Want
The beautiful offspring of Rez, Canabalt and Mirror’s Edge, FOTONICA is a game about running forward, running forward, running forward, then JUMPING! As you traverse a mesmerising wireframe landscape from first person, using just one button, you constantly career onwards, jumping the gaps and collecting the things you can collect. It’s a simple idea, executed masterfully. A great game to play, and just as great to watch. I reckon this would make a great gift for anyone just getting into games, or who struggles with complex controls, but everyone should give it a look.

Deal of the week
Company of Heroes Complete, Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Saints Row: The Third – £3.55/€4.38/$5.69
Registers on Steam, or pay any price to get them all except Saints Row: The Third.
There are a broad range of responses to this. I think before saying anything else, lets just make it clear that this is an excellent deal on some fantastic games. However, there’s a degree of cynicism in it that I haven’t felt in previous Humble Bundles. Clearly THQ are hoping to make more money from this bundle than just what it generates in sales, all of the games either have a sequel just out, a sequel on the way, or extensive DLC available to buy on top of the main game, for some reason not included in the bundle. None of the other previous bundles have felt like a trojan horse for DLC sales. Whichever way you cut it, the organisers of the bundle have to some extent sold out their cross platform and DRM free principals. There’s an argument to be had over whether what they got in return was worth it, I certainly don’t know, but what used to be an uncompromising force for cross platform and DRM free gaming no longer is, and that is a shame. All gamers benefit from games being DRM free and cross platform, whether they realise it or not. It will be interesting to see if they are willing to abandon their cross platform and DRM free principals again if the right Steam/Windows only indie game comes along.

Also of note:
Borderlands 2 – £12.99. Registers on Steam. Registers on Steam.
Jet Set Radio – £2.03/€2.71/$3.39. Registers on Steam.
Hard Reset – £3.24/€4.49.71/$4.99. Registers on Steam.
Cell HD: emergence – £1.99/€1.99/$2.24
Crayon Physics Deluxe – Free
Cryostasis, Imperial Glory, King’s Bounty: The Legend, Men of War, Men of War: Red Tide, Necrovision: Lost Company, Star Wolves 3 & XII Century: Gold Edition – £2.45/€3.03/$3.93
Nordic Promo at GOG.

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Lewie Procter


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