Bargain Bin Games Revue - Round One

by Eddie Turner on 9/1/2008 12:00 AM EST


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  • alexruiz - Thursday, November 06, 2008 - link

    How about Universe at War: Earth Assault?
    Great RTS game, and priced to move. Anandtech should have reviewed this one ;)
  • Pirks - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    The author of this review totally misrepresented "You are empty", his take on this cool game is totally clueless, let me explain where and why.

    1) Sorry Eddie, but you look like a total noob, have you even played at least one level of this game? This game has NOTHING to do with Nazi and/or Germany! In fact it's the total opposite: the main hero is a Soviet NKVD officer that got into a car accident, spent several months in coma after that and when he woke up he found himself in a totally different world - the world where communism has been really built, I mean it was really finally pushed upon Soviet people... in some peculiar "scientific" way... which way exactly? You'll see this if you throw out this Eddies clueless shit about "nazi" and start really understanding what this game is about.

    2) Black and white arty cutscenes in fact are ABOUT this game and they tell the story of the main antihero of the game - the guy who ultimately helped the Party to implement communism with his special device (again play the game and pay attention to the plot to understand what was that device)

    3) The last cut scene shows how and why the main hero (NKVD officer) dies at the end

    4) The last cutscene also hints at a couple of pretty famous Soviet political figures of the last century (again play the game to understand whom exactly)

    5) If you are not Russian and/or you don't know anything about Soviet history - this game will look like this crazy "nazi" nonsense to you. Hence Eddie's BS about nazi and such.

    I as a former Soviet citizen enjoyed it very very _VERY_ much.

    It's just not for you lazy rich Americans :P

    Sorry, Eddie, nothing personal, but for me your review of this game looks totally idiotic and waaaaaaaay off the ground. At least I can understand why.
  • EddieTurner - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    Well, it looks like you've done your homework. As for me, I didn't. In fact, I made it a point not to. As I stated in my initial paragraphs, I read nothing about this game. No previews, no reviews. I didn't even check out the official site. I sinply saw the box, thought it looked interesting, and popped it into my machine. Just goes to show that different people can take away different impressions of the games they play.

    Anyway, I'm not a German or a Soviet, so forgive me if I didn't recognize the writing on banners and signs in the game as such. Truth be known, the game had no recognizable story and I was not able to put together any aspect of the cutscenes with what I was experiencing. After I played the game, I handed it over to a much more weathered PC gamer who did not take away much more than I did. So what I wrote about was not BS. All that you pointed aout may be evident to some, but it wasn't to me.
  • Frumious1 - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    Before you go flaming at someone, try to tuck the raging fanboy into a corner. You liked You Are Empty? That makes you relatively unique... or clueless about what's involved in a good game. But don't take my word for it - or Anandtech's word. Let's see what others have to say.">
    "'ve already wasted too much of your life reading about You Are Empty.... Now move on with your life and try to pretend that games like You Are Empty don't exist." Score: 1.5">
    "You Are Empty needs a lot of things, aside from a title change. More intelligent enemies would have been great, or at least greater numbers of stupid foes. Digital Spray instead decided to throw small numbers of morons at you, give you an infuriatingly inadequate run speed, and make available one of the most boring arsenals in recent memory. It's an absolute must-bypass." Score: 2.1">
    "So now, we are left wondering what the point is of You Are Empty, because it certainly doesn't even rate as a modern game. Bereft of any sort of challenging AI and sporting a handful of weapons that all seem to have been dredged from some imaginary WWII shooter from the eighties, this game is the kind of thing you can expect to get for Christmas from a grandma that knows nothing about video games and relies on a shifty game store employee looking to move the non-sellers." Score: 1.5 stars = "Poor"">
    34 generally negative reviews">
    "That feeling of mild disappointment is a good way to sum up You Are Empty. It feels a little behind the times and doesn’t fully deliver in every respect, but it’s still fun from start to finish. To really get the most out of the game, you need to look past the shortcomings and appreciate the work that went into making the levels and setting the atmosphere. I’d certainly like to see Digital Spray do more with their engine—they are obviously quite talented. You Are Empty is a pretty average FPS, but its sense of style makes it much more than the sum of its parts." The only "not lousy" review with a score of C. Of course, when I went to school getting a C was cause for severe lectures.

    In summary: Take your communist political views elsewhere. Lazy, rich Americans we may be, but at least we know a pile of shit when we see it! Eddie may have called some stuff "Nazi" when in fact it's "Soviet" (or something), but the game is still garbage based on all the reasonable data out there. As far as I'm concerned, Pirks, your comments in the future now deserve the right to be ignored by anyone with half a brain.
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    Me thinks he works for the company that made the game. Think about how powerful this review is. The thousands of people that will read it could easily have doubled, quadrupled the sales of this apparently horrifyingly bad game. It's very likely Penumbra will see a fantastic surge of sales after people read this article, and for good reason as it apparently deserves it. If I owned any of the companies or worked at any of the development houses that produced these I would bombard the messages with faulty praise trying to salvage a possible goldmine.

    As it is, you can't polish a turd.
  • Jynx980 - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    A limit of one year on budget games is pretty conservative. Several titles on budgets shelves are at least 3 years old and can date back to 2000.

    Another thing to consider is that people who buy budget games are not likely to have powerful systems. The system requirements for Tarr Chronicles and You are Empty are pretty high.

    I picked up three titles up from Target awhile ago. They were Gunmetal, Black Buccaneer, and Divine Divinity. While Gunmetal was fair, and Black Buccaneer a bit better, Divine Divinity was definitely a diamond in the rough. To complete it your looking at 40-50 hours! The system requirements are a measly 450mhz cpu, 128mb of ram, and a directx 8, 8mb video card!

    If you do another budget review give the time frame more leeway and consider the system requirements.

    Additionally, I do agree with Nihility about the index titles. It would be fine for the title of the page, but the index needs to be just that, the index of the game reviews. Quotations don't work well when text space is limited.
  • R4F43LZiN - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    Dude, Freelancer was freaking awesome. I can't see how can you recommeding a so-so game for a Freelancer fan. Thats just wrong. Freelancer is a top-notch game.

    But hey, since Microsoft don't release a sequel to it... I might just give this one a try.

    Overall I like you article because I'm running a low-end machine, built in 2003. yeah! So I was hoping to find some decent but not-exchange-your-videocard games. Well, live can't always be good. =P

    But keep'em comming. Three cheap games worth a try is kinda nice.
  • Krioni - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    This is just what I needed!

    I've been playing my PS3 for a while and have missed out on some PC gaming for the past year. I was just telling myself that I should go back and pick up on some of the great PC games from the past year or so. They'll be new to me and I should be able to get them at a great price.

    BTW, I second the idea of looking at the bargain games on Steam... that's a great resource for those of us that are too lazy to go to a B&M store.

    Thanks for this series of articles. A wonderful idea!
  • Vidmo - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    It's great that you went into a B&M to buy what they might have on the shelves. But, how about doing round 2 from Steam?
  • EddieTurner - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    Definitely. While my next round of games may not be totally from Steam, I'll surely give the games their due and include one or two. Thanks! Reply
  • steveyballme - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    Geekwad 09 will be here for Christmas!

    Look for it people!">
  • lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    Great article, but in the last game review, you forgot to mention one very important title seeing as it was the predecessor to freelancer. You forgot about Allegiance. If you haven't heard about it, I suggest you take a look. It's still played today.

    Also, the literary quotes were cool. Thanks.
  • insurgent - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    An enjoyable read and I haven't played most of the games here, I'll keep my eyes open when I go to the mall :D Reply
  • Nfarce - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    As someone who travels for work on occasion and is really not up for lugging both a laptop and a PS3 for after hours hotel entertainment away from home, some of these games look pretty cool! As a plus, they appear to be easy on the CPU and graphics cards of today's mid-range laptops like mine.

    Thanks for this. Even though most games probably wouldn't score a 5.0 on IGN, I'll seriously consider picking up two or three of these, two being shooters.

    Thanks guys, and again as I stated on your Grid review from several weeks ago, don't let the naysayers here poor mouth and sway you from changing things up around here from time to time!
  • DirtMcGirt - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    Nice feature, keeping them coming! Reply
  • Leirith - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    The Incredible Machine! That game was awesome. I'll definitely have to check out these Crazy Machines games! Reply
  • Woodchuck2000 - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link"> Reply
  • EddieTurner - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    I chose 'revue' as it represents a multi-part extravaganza. Multiple games, multiple rounds. I think it's fitting. Reply
  • tviceman - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    I didn't know Penumbra Overture was released as a free title last year, as I paid $15 for it. But I don't mind, it was well worth it. Black Plague is even better, and I'm having a blast with the newly released Penumbra: Requiem!

    For anyone who enjoyed Portal, Requiem is right in the same vein. Instead of a game you traverse through, Requiem is set in Penumbra's atmosphere and you go through levels of the game, figuring out how to get to the exit (only w/o a portal gun).

    All three games are great and are well worth checking out!
  • cordas - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    Great article, it would have been nice to have the game titles listed as page headings, just so that when i come back to check the game names before going game hunting they are easier to find.

    I also think it would be great if you added more to the conclusions page, maybe a 2 or 3 line summary of each game, strenghs and weaknesses and if you feel like it give them a fun rating.

    Can't wait for more of these articles, I am sick of spending big bundles of cash on new "big name" games that disappoint.... I tend to run shy from the bargin games as there is a reason why many of them are there and its cos they are naff.
  • nubie - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    Neato on the Novint, haptic is cool.

    Don't forget on Penumbra you need to wiggle side to side for stuck drawers.

    I like this article, I was afraid there would be EA crap with price at $10 (or worse a 2-pack for $10), good job overturning my fears.

    The only two that seem attractive to me so far are Penumbra and definitely Contraptions/whatever it is called now. (Yes, TIM as we called him was a favorite game of mine)
  • kilkennycat - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    Penumbra:Black Plague is the second game in a trilogy. The first is Penumbra: Overture, still available retail from Gamestop and on-line sources for $19.99. The game mechanics in Black Plague are a lot less awkward than in Overture. The third in the series Penumbra:Requiem has just been released in the past few days and is available as an add-on EXPANSION to Black Plague. Afaik, there will never be a retail version of the Requiem expansion, however it is available for download purchase for $9.99, currently from The download version will run with either a retail copy or download copy of Black Plague. Gamersgate has all parts of the trilogy separately available for download purchase and also offers Black Plague Gold Edition for $19.99, which contains both Black Plague and Requiem. This combo may also be released retail, but I have not come across any (US) sources so far. See:-">

    Not affiliated in any way with Gamersgate. I have not (yet) purchased any games from them. I have retail copies of both Overture and Black Plague, knew that Requiem had just been released for download only, so came across Gamersgate yesterday in my hunt.
  • duderockin - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    this could also be a useful article series for those who want the more zen perspective of 20/20 hindsight.

    also good for those who hate spending more time on video card catch-up than actual gaming.
  • GTForce - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    Check out Falcon:">

    and how Penumbra series benefits from it:">">
  • cosmotic - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    I don't really see any need to do (Ed: blah blah) notes. I presume there is an editorial process that is two way? Maybe these 'issues' should be resolved and the text of the article changed. This makes for an easier read and would help the professionalism of the articles. Thanks. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    I felt most were somewhat humorous. Sorry they didn't please, since I added them. Without having Crazy Machines 2 I couldn't verify whether PhysX drivers were sufficient or not. Reply
  • Pottervilla - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    I agree with the humorous part.

    However, you guys are one of the premier hardware review sites on the web--I would expect you to know about things like drivers. Also, I would expect that if you were reviewing a game, you would have a copy of it somewhere, and maybe a couple PhysX capable graphics cards.

    Overall, it was still a good thing to mention (the possibility that PhysX drivers might open up the extra levels), but I have come to expect a little more than maybes from this site--and a little communication between editor and reviewer would be nice too. :)

    I hope this is constructive criticism--keep up the good work.
  • Nihility - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link


    The whole point of the titles is to make it easier to navigate a 7 page article. Sure it's fun to be random at times and be witty, but seriously give us readers a break please.
  • StormEffect - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    I thought they were clever. Enjoy the creativity, if you want numbers and easily searchable reviews go to google or use meta-critic.

    Anandtech readers can be so dry and boring sometimes. Waa waa waa.

  • JarredWalton - Monday, September 01, 2008 - link

    And here I thought the readers might enjoy some literary quotes as a change of pace. I mean, isn't the point that you actually read about the games rather than just look at a page heading and decide whether or not that's worth reading? Or you can treat it like a magazine and click through the pages; if you see the pictures and don't feel like reading, click to the next page. It takes all of 5 seconds. Besides, more page views are good for the articles - the popular stuff is more likely to get similar articles in the future, since after all we are a business the depends on advertising. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    Honestly I think it's got to be a balance between something creative and something functional, I try to blend the two as much as I can whenever I write - sometimes I get it right, other times I don't.

    I've never been a fan of forcing pageviews on an article, my thinking is always that if an article is good enough it'll attract its own traffic, regardless of how it's structured.

    Thanks for the feedback, while I can't always guarantee that we'll be perfect - we'll definitely try :)

    Take care,
  • boboko - Monday, September 08, 2008 - link

    >"I've never been a fan of forcing pageviews on an article, my thinking is always that if an article is good enough it'll attract its own traffic, regardless of how it's structured.
    Thanks for the feedback"

    If you would like some more feedback, it is the ability to "print" an article on one web page, rather than being forced to click through it one paragraph at a time, that has made me a regular on your website, and a VERY seldom visitor to a certain site whose initials are T'sHW.
  • EglsFly - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    I think you left out the best Bargain Bin game that is FREE...
    America's Army
    FPS Shooter developed by the Army based on the Unreal Engine.
    Has over 9 million registered users, and ranks in the Top 10 Online played games. AA is available at:">

    There are also FREE stat tracker sites where you can track your frag rate, map time, compare to other users in the "User-Top" lists etc..
    such as,">
  • Calin - Wednesday, September 03, 2008 - link

    Most everyone knows about America's Army, so it really wasn't qualifying for this kind of article. Also, I don't think you can find America's Army on shelves - but I might be wrong on this.
    As for now, a random sampling of 5 low cost games shows that they are mostly worthy of their cheap price.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - link

    I should mention that I have never in the ~4 years I've been with AnandTech heard him complain or discuss traffic for a type or class of article. I've also never heard him say, "that idea for an article suck...." At the end of the day, we write about what we find interesting or pertinent, and hopefully we're similar enough that our interests pass on to the readers. Passion for a subject tends to be the bigger concern than what the topic happens to be.

    I think if readers like an article, and more importantly tell us they like a type of article, it's something we will continue to do. If you absolutely hate certain types of articles, sound off on how they should be changed and we'll try to accommodate. Constructive criticism is always appreciated. We can't please everyone all the time, of course, but we try.

    (I'm just sad the first couple of people hated my little quotes for the pages. I mean dang, I spent like 30-60 minutes trying to find something appropriate on some of those games! *Sniffle*) ;-)

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