GREETINGS Bargain Bucketers! As my hangover is taking shelter in the house that SavyGamer built this morning after my shenanigans at the Bit of Alright conference in London, Lewie has let me, Dame Cara of Ellison, loose on this here Bargain Bucket to do you a wee intro to this week’s bargainfest. I thought I’d tell you a little tale about a man and his game that I gathered at the Game Developers’ Conference this year.
Yes. I’m going to tell you the story about a man who set Simcity on fire.
Sitting in the back of an Uber Car in San Francisco on the way to the Moscone Center, dreadfully hungover and slightly bewildered Cara was trying to deal with the morning’s sunlight with the grace of a newborn vampire. I was flinching at the driver’s chatty demeanour, and dreading the inevitable question: “So, what brings you to San Francisco?”
“Oh, videogames,” I reply, slightly lazily. And then I realise my manners, internally screaming for water. “There’s a videogames conference on.”
One always dreads the public’s reaction after this explanation.
“Oh videogames?” the driver replies, in a jolly manner. “I love videogames!”
I sigh with a wistful air. Of course he does. But please, Mr Driver, my body cannot cope with your lively manner. I need silence now. I need silence. Please stop talking. (But Cara cannot abide silence and she gives in.)
I say weakly, “What have you been playing recently?”
“Oh, the new Simcity,” he says, as if he has not just dropped a conversational grenade.
Oh dear, I think. He goes on.
“I bought the new Simcity, and it’s just terrible. Awful. The map size is an abomination. Everyone on the forums is in outrage. They have ruined the game – Simcity 4 was much better. They’ve changed all the systems and it’s just gone wrong. It’s just unplayable.”
He seemed primarily angry about the map size, no mention of any server issues at all. He couldn’t care less about the server issues. It’s all the freaking map size.
“I just thought it was an outrage. I took my copy of Simcity and drove to the Maxis HQ. Then I set it on fire and threw it at the building.”
You what. YOU WHAT.
“And then I left a little note – ‘You can keep your free DLC‘.”
There is silence in the car.
“You set it on fire?” I said.
He then looks at the meter and tells me that will be fifteen dollars. But this story is fucking GOLD DUST.
Here’s Lewie with this week’s bargainy bargains:
Brütal Legend, Costume Quest, Psychonauts & Stacking – $8.03/€6.19/£5.23
Or pay any price to just get Costume Quest, Psychonauts & Stacking. Registers on Steam.
I’ve been replaying Brütal Legend recently after picking it up in this bundle. I’ve got a big soft spot in my heart for it, even if it’s a fairly flawed game. The things that are amazing about Brütal Legend:
Jack Black’s performance. I often find him to be kind of hit and miss, but he’s absolutely perfect for the role of roadie-turned-heavy-metal-superhero Eddie Riggs, it’s a genuinely funny game, and that’s as much down to his delivery as it is the writing. The rest of cast is quite good too.
It’s Metal as fuck. The whole world looks amazing, like the cover a Heavy Metal album you can explore. It’s not just the visuals either, it’s dripping in Metal-esque lore, and has a hell of a soundtrack.
Things that are not so good:
The combat is relatively basic and not that interesting. Although you do get to decapitate guys.
Several hours in it pulls the rug from under you and turns into an RTS. This isn’t a bad thing, per se, but it’s a great example of a game that subverts your expectations in a way that many gamers might not be too happy about.
A lot of the sidequests are dull.
The car physics is pretty wonky.
All in all, worth the price of admission here, I reckon. The PC port is solid, and it should be considering how long it took. Mouse and keyboard controls aren’t awful, but it felt more natural with a controller to me. My money is on them adding either The Cave and/or Iron Brigade to this bundle at some point, too. RPS opinions on Costume Quest, Stacking and Brütal Legend.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – £7.12/€14.20/$14.20
Apply coupon “elder-geek.com”. Registers on Steam.
This is some sort of card battling game, right? I get so easily confused. Best consult with Alec’s review.
Every time Bethesda reveal a new game, one of the first queries they have to deal with is how big its world is compared to previous games, with the general onlooker sentiment being that their open worlds are shrinking with every new generation. I can promise you that Skyrim is an enormous game, perhaps Bethesda’s biggest yet in my perception of it, and that isn’t anything to do with landmass (of which there is a vast and wonderfully varied amount). It’s because there’s so damned much to do. Hours fly by, great adventures are embarked on, and it barely dents what’s on offer. The thieves’ guild questline alone, the closest thing my time with the game had to a fixed purpose, offers more than do most other big-budget games’ singleplayer modes.
Hitman Absolution – £3.23
Registers on Steam. This is from Amazon US so you’ll need to enter a US billing address.
An appropriate price for a sequel that seemed to disappoint so many? Perhaps. Here’s wot Adam thought of it:
Whatever your approach, whatever you did up to the point of the kill, it’s all flushed away in a cutscene starring a giant sack of hammers who is more Hulk than human and a 47 who screws everything up. It’s not the only time the game takes away control and forces a contrived conclusion to a hit – and for what? An escape sequence that owes more to Uncharted than Hitmen past, followed by a long run from the law. There’s a lull, several hours long, before 47 rediscovers his anonymity, and until then every mission begins with his identity known and his iconic weapons replaced by a noisy peashooter.
Dead Island: Riptide – £17.39/€19.95/$25.90
Registers on Steam. This is a European serial, and I’m not sure if it’s region locked to only work in the EU. Play-Asia also sometimes take their sweet time sending out Steam keys. It may take a few days.
CARA HERE. I have had a week playing the abomination that is Riptide and I can tell you that it is not even worth the £17.39 that you’d be paying for this reheated swampjuice. The new boats are bobbing frustration, the combat on PC is like trying to slap a zombie to death with botoxed arms, and I’d rather die than ever hear another terribly voice-acted bark from the 10th time I play through Horde Mode. If you want a game that disrespects your time and your wallet and has basically presented to you a copy of the previous buggy game, only this time they have put in rain effects, well, I guess go ahead. On the other hand, you could just buy four copies of Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2 and have four happy friends who actually enjoy co-op together. Riptide is just pretty cake-topping my friends. Take it from the gal who still has all the limbs on her union jack bikini. Back to Lewie.
Deal of the week
Dishonored – £7.12/€14.20/$14.20
Apply coupon “elder-geek.com”. Registers on Steam.
This was my favourite game of last year that wasn’t Hotline Miami or REVENGEANCE. High praise indeed, although oddly when I started replaying it recently I didn’t get as much enjoyment from starting again from scratch as I had expected. I think it pulls the same trick as Deus Ex where as much as I intend to, I simply can’t allow myself to vary my playstyle. It’s a proper stealth game, a proper stabby shooty game, and it’s got lots of climbing on rooftops and freerunning to places that you’re not supposed to be allowed. You’ll also see some of the most beautiful game environments around as you sneak or shoot your way through Dunwall. It’s a triumphant return to what we loved about these sort of games in the 90s, whilst using modern hardware to give you large, beautiful environments to play in. I say you should get it. Read wot Adam thought here.
Also of note:
To The Moon – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Incredipede – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Scratches: Director’s Cut – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Botanicula – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Machinarium – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Resonance – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Primordia – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Gemini Rue – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Blackwell Bundle – £3.90/€4.61/$5.99
The Longest Journey – £2.60/€3.07/$3.99
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey – £3.90/€4.61/$5.99
Miasmata – £3.90/€4.61/$5.99
SavyGamer is still there for all your cheaptastic game buying needs! Games might be a fickle lover, but SavyGamer is always there, your constant. Ciao for now RPS!