The RPS Bargain Bucket: No Choice

Bargain buckets, makin’ bargain buckets.
Take some bargains and I’ll put it in a bucket.
Bargain buckets, that’s what it’s going to make.
Bargain bucket.

Brought to you by

Final Fantasy VII – £4.99/€6.49/$5.99
This link might not work for all regions, but just search for it and it should be there.
This is the Final Fantasy that everyone liked. I guess some people like having a huge visual dissonance between the overworld, the cutscenes, the battles and dungeon/town environments, and some people like having a party of characters that are largely interchangeable, because it’s actually your equipable McGuffins that determine which roles they play in battles, and some people like preachy environmentalist waffle for stories. Ok, it’s not all that horrible, but imagine a world where FF6, or even better Chrono Trigger, had been the massive international hit that all the other JRPG developers had spent the next decade trying to ape the success of. Dunno how good this new PC version is, I gather most of what was done was cleaning it up to work on modern operating systems, they’ve not touched up any of the assets or anything.

Hitman: Absolution – £7.49/€12.49
Registers on Steam. This link might not work for all regions, but just search for it and it should be there.
This one is on sale in the USA too, but for some reason it’s only on sale for $29.99, which isn’t a good price at all. I can’t remember the last time I saw North America get screwed over by regional pricing bollocks to this degree, what have you guys done to piss off Square-Enix? By all accounts this new hitman isn’t all that great. In fact, here’s Adam’s account:

There are entire missions with no choice at all – walk to door, open door, perform prescribed action. One is about buying a suit and it took almost as long for the game to tally up my score at the end as it did for me to complete the level. The very fact that buying a suit doesn’t take place in a cutscene but several of the actual kills do is surely cause for dismay.

Oh dear. Read the rest here.

Cell: emergence – 66p/€0.77/$0.99
Minecraft meets Innerspace. I thought this was mightily impressive when I first played it, but several levels in got overwhelmed. It’s just been updated, and one of the new features is a “visual tutorial”, designed to make it a bit more accessible. It’s a strange voxelly blend of realtime strategy and biological systems simulation, all framed around an internesting linear narrative with comic books style cutscenes. I’m actually surprised this didn’t make a bigger splash at release, but at this bargain basement price I think everyone should be giving it a try. That means you.

AI War: Alien Bundle – £2.99/€4.24/$4.24
These games are a little too hard for my mushy brain, I’m not all that strategically inclined. Couldn’t they just make a game where you have to jump on the baddies head? I jest of course, it’s always great to see a developer identify an under-served niche and then go for it, all in. Even if it’s a niche that I’m not part of. Some chap called Kieron wrote down some words about why he likes AI: War here.

Deal of the week
Deadlight, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Iron Brigade, Mark of the Ninja & Toy Soldiers – £6.36/€7.31/$9.99
Registers on Steam. This is from Amazon US so you’ll need to enter a US billing address.
Here’s a bundle of indie games from a little known publisher called Microsoft. I don’t know how that works. Isn’t it strange how despite obviously having the infrastructure to sell these Steam keys direct to customers if they wanted to, they’re using Amazon as an intermediary? Regardless, these are some pretty badass games, I just recently played Mark of the Ninja when I got it in this bundle, and it’s a rather inventive stealthy sidescroller. Read Nathan’s words on it here. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a lavish, vaguely metroidy, shmup. I’ve not played Iron Brigade yet, but Double Fine have been on fire recently, and Alec seemed to like it. I’ve heard mixed things about Deadlight & Toy Soldiers, but even if you think they’re shite, this is a good price for the other games in there. Everything’s individually discounted too, if there’s only one or two games you’re interested in here.

Also of note:
StarTopia – £1.49/Similar prices in other currencies.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – £2.49/Similar prices in other currencies. Registers on Steam.
Quantum Conundrum – £2.49/Similar prices in other currencies. Registers on Steam.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver – £1.24/Similar prices in other currencies.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 – £1.24/Similar prices in other currencies.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance – £1.24/Similar prices in other currencies.
Aeon Command, Beware Planet Earth!, Depth Hunter, Dwarf Quest, Gear Jack, Hairy Tales, Megabyte Punch, Paranormal & Potatoman Seeks the Troof – £3.18/€3.66/$5
Prototype 2 – £7.99/€11.99/$15.99
Legend of Grimrock – £4.07/€4.75/$5.09
Fable: The Lost Chapters & Fable 3 – £6.36/€7.31/$9.99. Registers on Steam.
Hotline Miami – £3.16/€3.68/$4.99
Krater, OIO, Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory, The Path & Unmechanical – £3.40/€3.91/$5.34
Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III, Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation, Tomb Raider V: Chronicles, Tomb Raider VI: The Angel of Darkness, Tomb Raider Anniversary, Tomb Raider Legend, Tomb Raider Underworld & Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light – £17.98. Registers on Steam.

For all of the cheap games all of the time, pop along to


  1. LTK says:

    Here is a link to the European store page for Quantum Conundrum, as the search function is unable to find it when following the above link to the UK store.

    link to

  2. hlm2 says:

    Seriously, has Hotline Miami EVER been it’s actual price?

    • Teovald says:

      Well, the price behind a game sold digitally, after you have got rid of the flat expenses (servers, banking) is very subjective.
      Using anchoring bias in order to drive sales looks like an effective strategy to me.

  3. Commander Gun says:

    Just a warning that 3 of the 5 games of the MS bundle use GFWL.

    And i just want to put out (as i did before, but you know how it goes with The Word) that FF7 is the best FF game out there, AFTER FF6 :)

    • Petethegoat says:

      Which three?

      According to one of the reviews, apparently Deadlight and Mark of the Ninja don’t use GFWL.

      • onyhow says:

        Well, it’s actually optional to use GFWL in Toy Soldiers (you have choice to select whether or not you want to use GFWL when launching the game)

    • GameCat says:

      Nope. Every sane person know that Final Fantasy IX IS the BEST. FF. EVER.

      • derella says:

        That is always the one that I wanted to play, but never got the chance to really get into. My boyfriend at the time had it, but I only got to play snippets of it before we broke up. And I never owned a Playstation.

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s a labor of love, certainly, with excellent writing and worldbuilding and characters. It also has gameplay that makes me want to stab someone, and the most pointless card game ever made, with rules deliberately secret for no goddamn reason.

        • jrodman says:

          As a counterpoint, the ff9 card game be either:

          * blissfully ignored
          * relatively easily faq-crushed and then ignored

          But yes I would have been happier if they had made it any good or left it out, but as far as I can tell every final fantasy since 6 has been required to have low-quality minigame components to piss players off.

          • malkav11 says:

            Well, it’s true that it’s pretty ignorable, which is a plus, but it’s so, so stupid in so many ways. Argh.

            And then IIRC they brought it back (instead of the much better FFVIII card minigame, not that that was -great-) for FFXI as a separate mode for some godforsaken reason.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        I’d say FF Tactics was the best. But then again, I was never a big fan of the traditional JRPG combat system.

        • TsunamiWombat says:

          I loved FFT for it’s Game-Of-Thrones esque plot (years before Game of Thrones was a thing everyone Loved) and tactical play, and was actually very dissapointed when it started being about magic and the chosen one (subverted later when you find out the Zodiac Braves story was all a lie, there is no chosen one, and the legendary hero was a con artist) but still, I wish it had been about human politics rather then demons and shit.

          That being said it was a fairly grindy game you could beat forever if you power leveled autopotion.

          Still, grand game, wish there were more like it plot wise. The first half is what a Game of Thrones game SHOULD be like.

          • jrodman says:

            Yeah, much preferred the politics half. It also had the benefit of mostly making sense.

      • Syra says:

        This is a pointless internet argument but FF8 was the best one, the people who don’t like it clearly don’t understand it, it’s the only one with an actual character arc and interesting characters who are all equally inept.

        • jrodman says:

          But with the most annoying character development system and most baroque combat.
          I gave up 20 minutes in.

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    • dE says:

      Final Fantasy is magical in that the quality of the games, decreases with the amount of Final Fantasy Games you’ve played – not with their actual quality. The first Final Fantasy played is generally the very best and it goes downhill from there.
      For example my list goes like this:

      6 – yeah bring it baby, this is IT
      7 – Not bad, not bad.
      5 – could be better
      4 – meh, its okay, not expecting much at this point
      8 – what the hell is this, people ENJOY this?
      10 – are you fucking kidding me? Wakka, Wakka yourself you stinking pile of waste
      13 – What is this urge to scratch out my eyes and bash my head against walls?

      While the actual quality of games will probably look quite different. I reckon it’s because after the second game, you notice just how derivative they are and how the story follows the same tropes everytime.

      • malkav11 says:

        I dunno about that. The first Final Fantasy I played was probably VII, but my favorite PSX era FF game was…well, it was Tactics, but next to that it was VIII. X is probably my favorite of the series (best gameplay in the franchise outside of Tactics), and I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve played of XII. Meanwhile I hated a lot of things about IX at the time, XI (which was admittedly an MMO) was rubbish, and the ridiculously high random encounter rates in SNES era Final Fantasies sandpapered away at my nerves although they were otherwise interesting. I read a Let’s Play of IX that has improved my retrospective outlook on it, but I still hated a lot of the gameplay decisions.

        I.e., my feelings on the games have had little to do with the order I played them in and a lot to do with whether they were fun for me.

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          VIII wasn’t bad as such but if someone told me it wasn’t originally intended to be a Final Fantasy title, I would not be suprised at all.

      • aliksy says:

        I recently started replaying 7, and found that I had forgotten a lot of the plot details. It starts out pretty grim, with the characters as terrorists fighting against the corporate government. I think if they had stuck with that instead of drifting off into the whole jenova-sephiroth stuff it might’ve been better.

        • TsunamiWombat says:

          Final Fantasy has a tendency to start with grim, dark, compelling stuff – Your a knight for an aggressive expansionist empire, you’re a terrorist fighting a mega-corporation, you’re a dickface stranded in a world where they revile technology and a roaming WMD wrecks everyone’s shit every few years, you’re the naive son of an honorable noble caught in a dishonorable world, and so forth.

          Then it turns into fantasy 101 chosen one tripe – slightly subverted in FFT when it turns out the legends are a lie. But most elements in final fantasy would, I feel, be better if turned towards human drama rather than fighting the ancient evil. Imagine FFT without the Zodiac Braves – do you side with the nobles and your family? Do you side with Delita and his peasant revolution despite their methods? Do you choose the other contenders for the throne? That would’ve made the game about morality, and the choices people make, and trying to be pure in a corrupt world where it’s easy to lose sight of what right and wrong is.

          Instead demons.

          • apocraphyn says:

            Tsunami – have you ever played Tactics Ogre? (I’m talking about “Let Us Cling Together” here, originally on the PS1 with an excellent and superior re-release on the PSP).

            The central developer/designer of TO: LUCT was the same guy behind FF: Tactics. The story is pretty much identical, only with far less demons and prophecies, more political schemings and war-time atrocities, and arguably better systems and mechanics behind the game. I’d give you some examples as to how much more brutal and less ‘demon-focused’ the game is, but that would be giving too many things away. It’s safe to say that there are a lot of choices to be made in the game that will shape the destiny of the main character and his troupe.

            If you’ve never played it, I would definitely recommend you go out and find a copy. Sounds like it would be right up your alley.

          • Therax says:

            To fill in a little on the background, “Let Us Cling Together” was actually originally released on the Super Nintendo (Super Famicom) in Japan only, and it’s excellence is why Square brought the team on board to to create Final Fantasy Tactics. The later PSX port was the first one to be localized in English, although I personally prefer the fan-translation of the SNES version myself.

            The chief difference is that FFT was trimmed down to ~5 party members in battle from Tactics Ogre’s 12, which makes FFT’s a rather more focused affair which better resembles other JRPGs, but there’s much to be said in praise of the Tactics Ogre’s larger party enabling more interesting tactics: you can actually screen your archers and caster with melee, and flanking is less frequent and more devastating than the later FFT.

            It’s an amazing game, and I recommend checking it out to anyone who enjoyed Final Fantasy Tactics.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        This theory probably doesn’t hold if you started with the very first one 25 years ago.

        I’ve played 1, 2, 6, and 9. I finished 9 but couldn’t tell you a thing about it, other than that it made me realize I’d outgrown whatever kind of game Final Fantasy games were becoming. But scenes from 6 are etched permanently in my memory.

        • XisLoose says:

          I started with 8, then played 7, toyed around with 6 and 5 (until I lost my saves half way through and gave up :/) and finished with 9.

          I said all that, only to agree with you, that I can’t remember shit from FF9… Except perhaps getting pissed off that I wasted my ‘trances’ a minute before boss fights >=0

          Oh , and FF7 is the best one :) :)

      • The Random One says:

        I’m not sure, because the first one I played was 8, and yeah I liked it, but when I got around to 6 I realized 8 was just a vastly inferior copy of it.

        • malkav11 says:

          It really isn’t. If there’s one thing you can say about Final Fantasy as a series, it’s that they never stick with a single formula, even when it would make sense to (like, say, the direct sequel to FFX, which throws out that game’s brilliant turn-based party-swapping battles for the fastest version of ATB in the entire series and mid-combat wardrobe changes; and switches a linear Grand Quest for an endless series of random sidequests.).

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Six is good but I honestly find it a little bit power of friendship in places.

      Seven is interesting because it’s the most popular game that apparently no one ever liked. Which kinda strikes me as bullshit to be honest, since in terms of sheer visceral impact, it’s probably the strongest game in the series.

    • Jenks says:

      FFVII was by far the best JRPG of the 32 bit generation.
      FF “6” was maybe a top 3 JRPG of the 16 bit generation.

    • drewski says:

      I’ve always liked VIII the best.

      Although IV on DS is fun.

      VII was alright, but I couldn’t even be bothered finishing it.

  4. derella says:

    I’d buy that MS bundle, if it didn’t require me to commit fraud in order to buy it in Canada.

    • trjp says:

      I’d argue it’s not really fraud – your billing address has to be correct, so Amazon know where you ‘live’ (or at least where your card lives) and as they don’t post anything, you’re not misleading them on that topic.

      OK – your postal address is in the US but I’ve had a US address (Borderlinx trans-shipping address) on my US Amazon account for eons – I used it for some rarish US-only books once-upon-a-moon.

      That’s not ‘fraud’ is it? Amazon just charge more to ship books that my trans-shipper does…

      Amazon may be breaking the terms of their deal with the publishers which probably says they only sell stuff in the US – you aren’t doing anything particularly illegal tho, I’d argue it’s not even really immoral – you’re paying for goods at the going rate…

      You might – at a really, really long push, be breaking local importation laws – but most countries importation laws relating to items personal use are very very wide ranging – e.g. not explosives or drugs or weapons and that’s it!?

      • derella says:

        At least in the case of Amazon’s digital games, you need to have a US billing address. Lying, and saying I did have one, when I don’t, would be a fraud… I think?

        • RodHope says:

 (Lewie’s site) have an affiliate contract with Amazon US, and posts about the US postal address openly, so I’m assuming they’re complicit.

        • Canadave says:

          I’m able to use my Canadian billing address in combination with a fake US postal address to get their digital downloads. I occasionally get emails from Amazon trying to send me deals for some fictional man living on Long Island, but it’s a small price to pay.

        • trjp says:

          That wouldn’t have worked for me – the card would have been declined instantly (tried it – failed it)

          It’s a BIT of a faff about but I’ve now got my account setup now so that my billing is home, default address is Borderlinx and I can buy digital games (except Dark Souls for some reason – it refused me that one so I got someone else to get it for me!!) with that setup (which was also required to buy physical books)

          It’s VERY rare a card will permit a charge with a billing address other than the registered billing address these days – if you do that, you may run into issues with your card being declined or you getting calls from your card company perhaps…

          If you don’t confirm or report fraud tho – they won’t care.

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      I thought the same way, but luckily, there is a totally not imaginary man living in Boston by the name of Malcolm Reynolds, who I happen to share my account with.

  5. Delusibeta says:

    FYI: the Microsoft bundle is Amazon’s deal of the week, which also means it ends some point in the early hours of tomorrow morning. So grab it ASAP.

  6. Teovald says:

    Bacon pancakes are awesome !!

  7. Jason Moyer says:

    FWIW, if you bought anything during the holiday sales on Amazon, you probably have $5 of credit towards that Microindiesoft bundle. I snagged it for $5 even though I already have Iron Brigade and MotN.

  8. Yosharian says:

    Preachy environmentalist waffle? Really?

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Ah. You must have missed the memo. Sometime around the early 2000’s, it was unanimously decided that FF7 was a terrible in every respect and that no one ever ever liked it and everyone of course started on Final Fantasy VI unlike those silly johnny come lately FF7 kids who liked this terrible hackneyed game.

      • Jenks says:

        What is popular is always bad, didn’t you know that?
        Go ask your local hipster.

      • Matt_W says:

        My brother and I still reminisce about the probably 100 hours we spent playing FFVII (and probably 60 of those hours consisted solely of Bahamut’s unskippable summon animations, with another 30 taken up getting a Gold Chocobo) Though I’ve been playing computer games since home PCs had cartridges and tape drives, and consoles shipped with joysticks instead of game pads, the earliest game I can actually remember the setting wherein I played it was FF7. We had an unused bedroom in the house that we dragged a big mattress into, and just laid there all day passing the controller back and forth. We both played and loved FF1, DQ1, DQ3, DQ4, and especially FF3 (uh.. I mean 6, as the cool kids now say), but the one that has left the biggest impression is 7.

    • DrAmateurScience says:

      The overarching plot of 7 *was* a bit silly. The individual character arcs (and how they intersect with each other) were great though!

    • drewski says:

      I think even a lot of people who adored FFVII find the story to be a bit po-faced.

  9. cptgone says:

    i’ve been wanting to give FF a go ever since the 90s.
    good to know it’s available as DL (i had been looking in all the wrong places) but, at this price, i’d rather wait another 15 years :p

  10. Heliocentric says:

    Hitman: Absolution should be cheaper on green man gaming tomorrow if you use the coupon.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Wait, they just raised its base price… It’ll be the same.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      What coupon, because the 20% off one expired.

      • misterT0AST says:

        There is one coupon, but it doesn’t apply to Hitman.
        link to

        By the way, Hitman: Blood Money has gone back and forth between 5 and 2 € for all the time it’s been on sale there. I don’t know what’s up with that.
        When I tried to buy it for 2€ + a voucher discount I got an “error” and it went back to costing 5€.

  11. hlm2 says:

    Does anyone know if the Microsoft bundle is individual Steam keys, or just one group one?

    • stiffkittin says:

      Might be safer to just buy the individual games you want if there’s stuff you already have. That said, my guess would be that each game will appear in your Amazon downloads list, each with it’s own license key. As they do when you buy them individually.

    • Jenks says:


    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Amazon bundles are always individual keys.
      I just bought that pack as I want Deadlight & Mark of the Ninja but since I already had Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet I gave that key to a friend.

  12. Jenks says:

    I bought the Microsoft Bundle, and I can’t remember a game in as unplayable a state as Iron Brigade multiplayer. My god, awful.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      But it’s by Double Fine so no one will even register. Tim Schaefer could shit in a box and people would call it the best adventure game since Grim Fandango.

  13. sinister agent says:

    Whoa, whoa hang on. What? Since when was Startopia available to buy?

    EVERYONE BUY IMMEDIATELY. £1.50 for the last of the great management games, and it’s a beauty too. Barg.

    • Jorum says:

      I agree wholeheartedly – is a really nice game and holds up well.

      Is this version any different from the original disc version – ie tweaked to work easier on windows 7 etc?
      Or is there no point getting if you already have disc?

      • Xocrates says:

        The GoG version works fine on Windows 7, not sure about this one but Windows 7 is mentioned in the requirements.

    • Randomer says:

      Unfortunately, the link doesn’t seem to work anymore. Neither the European site nor the American site seem to have any record of the game.

      • Xocrates says:

        For some reason the game doesn’t appear when you search for it, but it’s still there for me.

        Try to pick the simulation category.

    • wu wei says:

      It’s been available on GoG for a while now: link to

  14. DrAmateurScience says:

    Bacon pancaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakes!

  15. Johnny Lizard says:

    The Square Enix store also has Republic for £1.49. That’s a game that needs to be played by anyone with an interest in game design, although not in a good way.

  16. The Random One says:

    When the PC version of FF7 first came out people here were adamant that it would be preferrable for me to pirate the PS version to try and deal with some awkward DRM Squeenix had squeezed into it. Is this still the case?

    • DrAmateurScience says:

      I’ve not noticed anything. It calls home if you’re online for the cloud saving, but it doesn’t spit its dummy out if you’re offline. So no problems here. YMMV though!

  17. gandalf733 says:

    I’m slowly coming to realize what hipsters the RPS guys really are, but I guess it’s cool to hate on FF7 now and talk up Chrono Trigger sort of like it’s cool to be constantly offended by anything that seems the least bit offensive to anyone (I thought this was more of an American thing, but I guess not). I just replayed FF7 expecting to be disappointed, and it was actually better than I remembered. I also just tried to play chrono trigger, expecting it to be at least pretty good, and got a very dated game with extremely limited characterization, and a very bare bones story that added up to a fairly excruciating experience. And since the gameplay is the same–or worse–than what you can get in FF7 or any other JRPG, I’m not sure why we should look at Chrono Trigger and call it superior.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Maybe people want different things out of a game than you?

      And “being offended by people getting offended by things” is the new “getting offended by things.”

    • DrAmateurScience says:

      Or hey maybe two different people can have the same subjective experience and have different (subjective) opinions about that experience. And then communicate those opinions to other people without anyone getting their knickers in a twist.

      I liked FFXII. I feel better.

      • rohsiph says:

        I rank FFXII as one of my favorite Final Fantasy games, alongside IV and VI, but definitely hold Crono Trigger in much higher regard. A big part is admittedly nostalgia, but I’d say there’s a whole lot to be said about how it was one of the first games to use time travel in a way that worked quite well.

        Music from CT pops in my head much more often than any other SNES/PSX era game.

      • strangeloup says:

        FFXII is my favourite Final Fantasy, and probably my favourite JRPG. I love all of the Ivalice Alliance stuff, really, and it wasn’t until relatively recently that I found out the PS1 game Vagrant Story was part of the same setting. (Along with the FF Tactics series and so on.)

        I’d love to see a sequel to that, but I suppose it was a bit weird and might not sell much.

  18. Col says:

    Xcom for 15 quid: link to I just bought it, can confirm it works.

  19. Xanadu says:

    Must have spend 100+ hours on each of FF7, 8 and 9 back in my playstation days in the late nineties. Happy times. Tried and failed to get on with X, X-2 and XII. After a point, unskippable cutscenes, random enemies every few steps, and grind an MMO would be proud of get too much to bear. Having said that, nostalgia is a powerful force – just bought all 3 for my PSP after Lewie pointed out on Savygamer that they were less than £4 each.

  20. Ivan The Spice Baker says:

    I JUST got “Bacon Pancakes” out of my head. You just had to go and do it didn’t you?

  21. pertusaria says:

    Startopia is a really good building and management game with a fun setting, especially if you like Douglas Adams’ books. It also has an outstanding intro sequence.

    On the fence about AI War – it looks great, but also like something that I’m not going to have the time to get into for a while. I’ve already got a lot of strategy games to work through.

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