The Humble THQ Bundle

THQ have teamed up with The Humble Bundle to create The Humble THQ Bundle, containing seven games starting at a price of just $1!

The bundle includes: Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, with Saints Row: The Third available for those who pay over the average price, currently $5.57.

As usual with The Humble Bundle, contributions can be made to charity: the American Red Cross and Child’s Play.


Are we being exploited by DLC?

Spurred on by the debate around the Mass Effect 3 DLC, I started writing some thoughts down.. but it quickly turned into a definite TL;DR with DLC, online passes, pre-order bonuses, retailer exclusives and the fight against used games.. as well as the all-too-common cry that customers are being exploited.

So.. I’ve split it all up, with this part mainly being about DLC, in-game purchases and other bonuses, and another part to come about the fight against used games.  I’ve mentioned a few games or companies in my examples here.. either because they were the first or best example to come to mind, or because I know that product better.  I’m sure I’ve missed some great examples, and although I’ve checked my facts, I may have something wrong or out of date in here.. so feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂

The first Mass Effect 3 DLC pack appeared briefly on the Xbox Live Marketplace last week, and stirred up quite a debate about exploitation.

One complaint against DLC is that it provides an incentive for developers to withhold part of the game to charge more for it later.. or even on the same day, in the case of Day 1 or unlocks of content from the game disk itself.  You can’t return DLC if you don’t enjoy it, nor can you sell it on as it’s usually tied to your game account.  Other complaints are about price (Modern Warfare 2’s ‘Stimulus Package’: £10 for 5 maps, two of which were re-releases), or the worth of the DLC (Oblivion’s Horse Armour), and then there’s the idea that it’s only being produced to milk consumers for every last penny. (more…)

The Initiation Station

Thinking about Saints Row 2 reminded me that I’d tried out the Initiation Station too..

The Initiation Station is the character creation suite for Saints Row: The Third, available to all, regardless of whether you’ve got a pre-order in for the game or not.  I played around with this rather a lot, with tears running down my face at some of the options, before settling on a normal-looking character to upload..

Purple overload?  Of course!  I have a great excuse for this game too, because purple is the Saints’ colour 😀

The Initiation Station has improved a great deal on the customisation available in Saints Row 2, with more individual sliders rather than categories for body size and shape.. including the “sex-appeal” setting which basically just enlarges boobs or crotch.  There are loads of hair colours and styles, make-up, tattoos, and of course clothes.. including some weird-looking bondage gear, furry and superhero outfits.. and the option to go without clothes if you should wish.. though things will be blurred 😉

Unlike in Saints Row 2, you start off with your choice of clothes rather than the prison jumpsuit.. as in Saints Row: The Third, your character and the Saints have the run of the city.. you start at the top.  I better get there first, and complete Saints Row 2!

Saints Row 2: Gentlemen of the Row

I came across IdolNinja’s Gentlemen of the Row mod for Saints Row 2 by chance, while reading the comments on the end of an article for the latest installment in the Saints Row series, Saints Row: The Third..

I grabbed Saints Row 2 for the PC almost two years ago, and quickly found a gamepad essential.  While running around with my purple-haired freak was passable, driving without the gamepad consisted of crashing left and right across the road with virtually no forward progress.  I know I’m not the best driver in games, but I can usually keep the car in my own lane!  With the gamepad, I made some progress.. till I got to a mission that required a lot of driving, and got stuck slightly.  Around the same time, I met a certain friend who started inviting me to lots of Left 4 Dead.. and Saints Row 2 ended up accidentally abandoned.

Not only does the Gentlemen of the Row mod fix some of the bugs and performance issues in the PC version, it also adds new content, from clothes and tattoos to extra weapons and missions!  A friend also tried out the mod.. and came back with rather a lot of praise for it!

I had a slight technical hitch getting started.. the game doesn’t like me having two monitors, so I had to disable one, start up the game and put it into windowed mode, before getting my second monitor back on again.  After that though.. I went with a new game.

Having proper controller keymapping made the tutorial much less hit and miss, and when I got out of jail, driving was passable, though still not great.  I can’t honestly say whether the game is running more smoothly now due to the mod, or the upgrade on my PC.

I attempted some streaking, though as I’d not yet been to rescue Johnny Gat from the court, I think that prevented me clocking anything up in terms of respect, or stats on people having seen me streak.  I went to put some clothes on before carrying on with the story.. as crazy as this game is, having a blur-censored character running around in the cut-scene would feel really silly.  Where would she keep all those guns?!

I also had a go at the Crowd Control activity.. I don’t think I came across it last time round.. not that I got all that far with the story either!  I aim to get this game completed before picking up Saints Row: The Third 😉