Quantcast

Lists

Damn Good Deals

on

As everyone’s respective gift-giving holidays quickly approach, it gets harder and harder to find games that can fit your own budget while you are spending the rest of your hard earned cash on those you love. Sometimes when making the decision between going broke but getting that sweet new game that just blows you away, and getting to eat this holiday season, your judgment can get more blurry than Robin Thicke’s lines. (Pop-culture reference, +2 to Charisma) (Dungeons and Dragons reference, -5 to Charisma) That’s where I’m here to help. There are tons of great games out there both small and large that can fit even the tightest of holiday budgets. Over the next few weeks and beyond, I’ll be giving some shoutouts to some games that are both widely known, and to others that have somehow managed to stay under the radar. All in order to give you, the reader, something to blow your money on besides that engagement ring you’ve been thinking about buying. You’re welcome. Let’s start our list at $25 and work our way down.

Natural Selection 2  – $25

(This game is in the Humble Bundle until 2013/12/16 , making it and two other games ABSOLUTELY FREE, and  $5 more for three other great games! Click here!)

damn good deals natural selection ii

This beautiful gem, developed for PC by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, is sequel to the Half-Life mod Natural Selection. Originally released on October 31st 2012, this game is everything you want in a competitive online shooter. The graphics are phenomenal, the gameplay is fast paced, and it’s completely unique to anything you’ve ever played. The game is almost completely online (barring a single player tutorial of sorts), and pits two sides against each other: Kharaa (aliens), and Marines. Sound familiar? Well, that’s where we leave what we’ve seen before and move into pure genius. Both sides are completely asymmetrical, meaning that neither side is like the other in almost any way. Allow me to explain.

The marines are extremely weapon based and rely on built (yes built, I’ll explain soon) portals in order to deploy troops on the battlefield, and are forced to group together because of their slow movement. It is very difficult for a Marine to take down a target on his own, and so he must rely on the support of his teammates in order to ensure victory for mankind.

The Kharaa, however, rely on placed eggs (again, I’ll explain) to respawn from, and instead of weapons they get to spend points earned by the team to evolve into more powerful aliens. They are generally faster and are better at taking out targets in closed areas and fighting mano y mano. There are several different kinds of Kharaa, and each prevails at performing tasks in their own right. The Marines can be seen as a sort of jack of all trades playstyle, while Kharaa generally choose evolutions based on the playstyle they are best with.

Always remember to check the ceiling!

Now for the exciting part. Both sides have a commander that remains behind friendly lines and issues orders to each team respectively. The commander sees everything from a top down RTS style view, and can place structures that need to be built by the players, research weapons or evolution upgrades for his team, and can even drop in support items to help certain teammates in tight spots. It’s not an easy job, and it takes a lot of practice, but when you get it down it’s very satisfying to see your team win by way of your leadership. The community generally makes good use of the game’s build-in chat feature, and communication is absolutely key to winning, so if you are more of a Call of Duty/Rambo style player, this probably isn’t the game for you. With a $25 price tag, you can not only kill aliens (or humans), but you can also still afford to buy some new socks. Those old ones were getting a little crusty anyways.

PROS CONS

  • unique online experience
  • gorgeous graphics
  • fresh gameplay
  • true teamwork and communication

CONS

  • somewhat system intensive
  • bit of a learning curve
  • limited single player

Overall Deal Score: 8.5 (Insta-Buy Good Deal)

 

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine– $6 (PC)$18(Xbox 360 and PS3)

damn good deals warhammer 40k

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. In this obviously uplifting game from Relic Entertainment, you are Captain Titus: a Space Marine captain,who is what I like to call a badass-takes-no-nonsense-and-yet-still-has-a-good-head-on-his-shoulders kind of guy. If you know anything about Space Marines or the Warhammer 40K universe, you know that things aren’t exactly chipper. There’s a lot of blood, a lot of violence, a lot of WAAAAAAAAAAGH! (or war for you non-fan folk), and more badassery than you can swing a chain-sword at.

Space Marine is a third person shooter that plays and feels like a much more fast-paced Gears of War with an added melee combat system and a subtracted cover system. That being said, for those of you that don’t know, Warhammer 40K is a table top game that has been around since the mid 1980’s, so any similarities to any pop-culture games that you can possibly think of were actually taken from this universe, not the other way around. Starcraft is a perfect example of a game that was taken straight from the 40K universe and sold to the non-fanboy public quite successfully.

The gameplay in Space Marine is extremely fluid, almost perfectly so. The player is able to switch from firing his bolter into mobs of angry bloodthirsty orks, to slicing his way through them in close combat with the press of a button. All this is done in a way that doesn’t feel sloppy or cheap in the animation department and doesn’t cheat you out of a single moment of sweet carnage. Switching weapons and throwing grenades feels almost second nature, and watching the blood fly has never felt more satisfying.

It’ll take more than that to kill a space marine!

As mentioned before, this game has no cover system whatsoever. Instead,  when you take damage you don’t cower behind a low wall like a sissy. You are a Space Marine! You wade further into the enemy and activate execution moves to close those pesky wounds! Yes. In order to get more health, you simply kill the enemy harder. What more could you want from a giant plate wearing super-warrior who wants nothing more than to serve the Emperor of Mankind with the business end of his weapon? (no innuendo intended)

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine truly is a great deal of fun. While the Warhammer 40K universe isn’t for everyone, Space Marine is. You aren’t plunged too deep into the lore, and you don’t have to know anything about it to get started. If you like large-scale battles, over the top combat, and slaughtering your foes without mercy, this is a title for you. And at the cool price of $6 on Amazon, you can still afford those tickets to the ballet. Don’t worry, nobody’s judging you.

 

PROS

  • Epic, fluid combat
  • unique sci-fi/fantasy universe
  • progressive multiplayer
  • gore galore
  • thunder hammers
  • tons of dakka

CONS

  • limited single player replayability
  • not enough dakka

Overall Deal-Score: 8.5 (Insta-Buy Good Deal)

Mount and Blade: Warband – $20

damn good deals mount and blade

Developed by Taleworlds, this single player RPG has gone somewhat unnoticed since its rerelease on March 30th 2010.

Warband is a medieval RPG that allows for the player to do anything from raising a massive army and pillaging the countryside, to fighting in tournaments and winning glory for your house. Combat in this game is fun, yet truly challenging and rewarding. When you finally get it down, you really feel like you can go out and sling a sword like Jon Snow. Outside of combat, however, you have to be able to choose wisely when speaking with people. All choices in this game are final (especially if you choose the hardcore option that won’t let you save), and offending a king can truly screw you over.

In Mount and Blade: Warband, you aren’t given an overall goal to achieve, and you really don’t have much of a backstory besides the one you make for yourself. You are in a sizeable land, lost and alone, and only you can pave the road to the height of your power. Be careful, though. As you rise in power, other kingdoms will begin to covet what you have worked so hard to achieve. Be prepared to not only conquer new lands, but defend what you have taken as well.

These bandits picked the wrong army to rob!

These bandits picked the wrong army to rob!

The game is lacking in the story area since you really pave your own way, and the graphics are a little dated. All that being said, it’s really a fantastic game that I myself have probably put about fifty or so hours into. Being so open ended, and having so many kingdoms to fight for, Warband will never be the same every time you play it. Not only that, but there’s also a multiplayer mode, where you can fight in epic medieval battles, ride horses , and slaughter your friends all from the comfort of your chair.

On a bit of a side note, there are a ton of mods out there for this game to further improve what is already an excellent addition to your game library. With excellent gameplay and truly epic battles, this is definitely worth the $20 price tag. What’s better than putting an arrow between the eye’s of someone on the internet? Much more satisfying than figgy-pudding.

This trailer is fan made and uses some clips from the Napoleonic Wars expansion, but it really shows what M&B:WB is all about.

PROS

  • exciting gameplay
  • open world freedom
  • large, trainable armies
  • online multiplayer

CONS

  • dated animation and graphics
  • slight learning curve
  • detrimental losses
  • not much story

Overall Deal-Score: 8.0 (Pretty Awesome Good Deal)

Fez – $10

damn good deals fez

As we move further down in the price tree, we find Fez. While I’m sure a lot of you have heard of it, I’m not sure how many have played this wonderful side-scroller. Simply put, this game is a puzzle work of art, and really should already be in your library.

Released in July of 2012, Fez is the first title on this list that is available on Xbox 360, PC, and PS3/PS4. Fez is a sidescrolling adventure that follows Gomez, a 2D creature in a 2D world who one day finds out that the world isn’t as flat as he thought. With the help of his trusty fez, he must collect 36 cubes to save the world from destruction.

damn good deals fez 2

Gomez is such a rebel, wearing a hat to the dinner table

The idea of having 3D puzzles in a 2D game really seems a bit odd at first, but when you actually pick up the controller and begin to navigate Gomez through the world, it almost feels totally natural, almost like a “why dididn’t think of this first”, kind of thing.  The gameplay really flows, and the graphics and sounds mesh so well that players will be completely immersed in Gomez’s world right from the start. On top of that, the soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal and does a perfect job of capturing exactly what emotions Phil Fish (the creator of Fez) intended.

With cute and entertaining characters, a completely unique playstyle, and a world that has more hidden secrets and backstory than you can shake a joy-stick at, there isn’t much to be said about this game other than it’s one of the finest works I’ve had the privilege to play in recent years. And for $10? Who needs gas in the tank when you can sit at home and drown out your sorrows with retro graphics and adorable hats?

Pros

  • “buy worthy” soundtrack
  • fun/challenging but not punishing
  • memorable
  • new game+ mode after first playthrough
  • get to wear a fez

 

Cons

  • low replayability
  • 3-4 hour main story (6-8 hours on side quests)

Overall Deal-Score: 8.5 (Insta-Buy Good Deal)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder – $5

damn good deals tom clancy island thunder

First released in August of 2003, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder has been one of my favorite games (though, admittedly, I do have a lot of those). It’s a bit hard to find now for console, since it was only released on the original Xbox, but if you wish to look for it on Steam, it comes in a nice $5 package!

With gameplay true to any Ghost Recon game, Island Thunder has massive maps and freedom of movement to complete your missions as you choose. With the ability to customize every member of your squad’s loadout, you have an insane number of possibilities for each mission, from staying sneaky and using silencers, to blowing through your enemies with fully decked out grenade launchers.

Don’t let the ability to load up on explosives fool you, though. This is a very tactical game, and it’s important to remember that. If you don’t stop and think about each move you make, it could be your last, and once a member of your squad is gone, he’s gone forever. On that note, it doesn’t take much to die, either one or two rounds could easily do the job, depending on where you are hit, so keep that melon of yours down as much as possible.

For a game as dated as this one is, it still stands up to a lot of others like it from today’s roster of tactical shooters. If you are looking for a quick fix in the strategy department, look no further. We both know you probably shouldn’t spend those $5 on that new teddy bear for your little sister, anyways. She’s spoiled enough as it is. Little brat.

PROS

  • high replayability
  • true tactical gameplay
  • lots of customization
  • challenging, but rewarding

CONS

  • dated graphics
  • somewhat clunky in tight areas

Overall Deal-Score: 8.0 (Pretty Awesome Good Deal)

Path of Exile – FREE!

damn good deals path of exile

  Path of Exile is one of those rare deals you find once in a blue moon that leaves you asking “how in the hell did I get this for free”? Released after a lengthy beta on October 23, 2013, Path of Exile has been hailed by many players as the sequel that Diablo II deserved, and I’ll have to whole heartedly agree with them. Path of Exile is an action RPG for the PC that is 100% free to play, and that has almost endless possibilities. With absolutely superb detail in everything from voice acting, to shading, to animations, this game has it all.

The storyline is just one of the awesome parts of this game. It’s not about some noble hero who is to save the world, or about you being “the chosen one”. You are simply a prisoner who’s been shipwrecked on the dark island of Wraeclast, and you are trying to find your way home. The world is incredibly dark and twisted, and there are a lot of things about Wraeclast that just seem wrong, but in a way that is really aesthetically pleasing to anyone who is a fan of dark fantasy.

Path of Exile works a lot like Diablo II, where you play through the main story with your character, leveling up and gaining loot, and when you actually finish the game you start from the beginning with everything you’ve earned so far, but with added difficulty. All of the levels are also randomly generated, so you won’t have to worry about getting tired of visiting the past to grind for loot.

This ARPG’s difficulty escalates rather quickly, but not so much so that you feel cheated. There is also a bit of a learning curve, since things like skills and the passive skill tree don’t quite work in a conventional manner either.

Skills are learned through socketing and leveling up gems into your armor. You are able to remove these gems at any time and replace them with others, but because the gems you have been using are “leveled up”, it would benefit you to plan ahead and find a build you like as early as possible. What these gems allow for is the ability to completely customize anyone to do anything you want, and mixing that with the passive skill tree, it’s easy to see how the possibilities just seem to be endless.

Oh yeah. Here’s the passive skill tree.

damn good deals path of exile 2

As you can see, there is so much you can do with this, on top of all the gems you can socket.

There is a hardcore mode that is more difficult than the normal mode, with the added bonus of permadeath. If your character dies in hardcore mode, it is changed into a standard character and you are removed from the hardcore server.

Grinding Gear Games really outdid themselves with this game, and they continue to do so with every patch. Path of Exile is free to download from their website here, or you can simply download it from Steam. With a pricetag like $0, you have no excuse not to download it. This is one purchase your girlfriend can’t complain about. Again, you’re welcome.

PROS

  • insane replayability
  • exciting hack n’ slash gameplay
  • challenging
  • friendly community who’s willing to help
  • very pretty

CONS

  • learning curve
  • needs more cowbell

Overall Deal-Score: 9.0 (Tongue-Wagging Good Deal)

Humble Bundles! – Pay What You Want!

This weeks humble bundle contains over $120 worth of content if you pay the current average donation price! Right now that donation price is less than $5, so feel free to scoot on over their website here and see one of the finest deals on the internet for video games. Overall Deal-Score: 10.0 (I Need New Undies Good Deal) These are just a few of the great deals that are out there for you to find, and believe me there will be more to come soon.  We want nothing more than for you to play games and to enjoy them, not fret over how you’re going to get your next fix. Remember, this is just one more reason why Armed Gamer is the only gaming blog you’ll ever need.

About John Mann

is a 22 year old student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. With a major in English and a minor in Secondary Education, he will one day teach the next generation important skills for life. His roots are in his two favorite systems, the SNES and the N64, though he plays most games on his PC. John is married and lives in Jacksonville, AR with his wife Rachel.

Recommended for you