If I have to endure another level in which I must escape from a burning building on the verge of collapse, I'll set fire to my house. I'll collapse through the floor, tumble twelve feet onto my back, crawl at tedious pace through a low section, traverse a room that's entirely on fire apart from a narrow path of miraculously not-on-fire floorspace and then climb a series of conveniently collapsed roof beams to safety.
"Phew!" I'll think, "I'd have been in a spot of bother there if I hadn't played through pretty much the same section in Black Ops 2, Max Payne 3, Far Cry 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter and twice in Assassin's Creed 3 this year."
It's not the fire that's annoying. Things tend to catch fire a lot in videogames. No, it's the feeling that there are mission designers worldwide calling their set-pieces from the same playbook. You could tear out the pages, laminate them and resell the package as an Action Adventure Videogame Construction Kit. Shuffle the cards and lay them out in a row for an instant framework.
Let's have a go with the modern military shooter edition: escape a burning building - sniper section - flee a helicopter - warehouse section - fire at pursuers from the back of a truck - breach and clear - press X to kill prominent antagonist.
This section felt particularly incongruous when it interrupted the terrific free-roaming violence of Far Cry 3, especially considering the fact that Far Cry 3 has a fantastic dynamic fire effects built into the engine. The "escape from burning building" sequences that emerge naturally from Far Cry 3's systems are much, much better than the scripted sequence written into their early story mission.
But not all games aspire to create a dynamic open world, and nor should they. But in a dedicated, scripted action game there's an even greater need for new set-pieces and fresh settings.
Take Bulletstorm, whose opening sections dramatically undersold its capacity for bonkers theatrics. Sure, it had a "fire at pursuers from the back of a truck" bit, but in Bulletstorm's case the pursuer was a colossal red doom-wheel that careered about the landscape blowing up pipelines and threatening to stomp the player into a smear at any moment. If action games are determined to be rollercoasters, we're sorely in need of some new twists.
You press a button, and the beat drops. Forward you fly, straight into the perilous unknown, beats pushing against your eardrums as you push back against the controller. Tempo and harmony swim together, and you lose yourself in the rhythm of play.
2012 has been a fine year for video game music. The finest in recent memory, I'd argue. We've seen soundtracks of every shape, size and tonal color, compositional collections complementing games that have incorporated harmony and discord in ingenious, exciting ways.
Granted, my affinity for this year's music is at least in part because it was the year I started running Kotaku Melodic, and so my awareness of all things musical and video gamey has been at an all-time high.
But as the list below demonstrates, this year was something special any way you look at it. It was a year in which game design and music composition moved ever closer, where composers and instrumentalists played vital roles in development teams, and where game-makers demonstrated a greater than ever understanding of the many things video games and music have in common.
Here, in no particular order, are our picks for the best video game music of 2012.
I was expecting to like Gravity Rush, but I wasn't expecting its soundtrack to cast quite the spell it did. Sweeping and old-fashioned, Kohei Tanaka's score conjured old Hollywood in a way that few games even attempt. It mixed Django-esque gypsy jazz with rambunctious orchestral arrangements to build a tone all its own. I chose this tune, "Gravity Days," because it so well captures the soundtrack's charm. Though it was hard not to pick, "Pleasure Quarter," which marked the moment when I truly fell for Gravity Rush. The color palate switches; neons dot the night sky, the violin kicks in, and Kat takes flight.
Even among this heady list, the Hotline Miami soundtrack stands apart. Assembled by a collection of artists, it channeled the 80s-tinged, neon-drenched funk of the game perfectly, and is entirely listenable on its own merits. This track, "Miami" by Jasper Byrne (whose soundtrack to his game Lone Survivor is also outstanding), perhaps best captures the energy of the game. But other tracks from M.O.O.N., Perturbator, Sun Araw all elevate Hotline Miami to a level of deep, almost filthy glamor.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
It's not an easy thing to make a turn-based game seem fraught and action-packed, but XCOM: Enemy Unknown managed it with energy to spare. Part of that is due to the game's brilliantly tense mission design, but some credit belongs to Michael McCann's brilliant score. McCann lent XCOM the same futuristic flair for the dramatic that he brought to last year's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and his combat music gets me pumped like no other. Mix that with the eerie, keening sounds of a quiet ("too quiet") battlefield, and you've got one of the best strategy soundtracks in recent memory.
Few game soundtracks have ever charmed me like Botanicula's. When I first played the game, I described the it as weapons-grade joyfulness, and it hasn't lost an ounce of charm. And the soundtrack is a huge part of the game. Crafted by the Czech duo DVA (who make a surprise appearance in the game), the soundtrack relies on a combination of strange homemade instruments and human voices. DVA also created all of the sound effects in Botanicula, and the resulting soundscape blends sound design and music into a ramshackle jamboree of hums, whispers, grunts, bangs, clangs, and whistles.
I came to FTL a bit late. Though I'd been assured of its quality, I hadn't found time to play it until a few weeks ago. And Ben Prunty's cool, beautiful soundtrack grabbed me with a qucikness. The most remarkable thing about this track, "Civil," is how immediately iconic it becomes. Specifically, the chord progression at 1:38. The moment I first heard it, I thought "That right there is the core of this entire game." And so it is. The more I've played FTL, the more I've come to appreciate Prunty's range, but it always comes back to that moment in "Civil." His work invokes the best soundtracks of the past while conjuring something new, and it fits marvelously with the thoughtful, methodical pace of FTL.
Max Payne 3
I can only hope that Max Payne 3's soundtrack is the start of a trend. Rather than hiring a traditional film or game composer, Rockstar tapped the noise-rock band HEALTH to create the soundtrack for Max's return to glory. It would appear that after hiring the band, Rockstar got out of the way completely and let them do their thing. The result is one of the most uncompromising, exhilarating action game soundtracks I've ever heard. It's drenched in sweat, and at times feels like the music of Death Itself. It flattens the competition, a collection of compositions so distinctive that it enhances every moment of the game it accompanies.
Jason Schreier: I had some issues with Xenoblade Chronicles, the Monolith-developed RPG that came out back in April for Wii—yes, Wii!—but its soundtrack, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, Yoko Shimomura, Manami Kiyota, and ACE+, is undeniably stellar. From peppy jazz beats to gentle guitar strums, Xenoblade's music is eclectic, sweeping, and catchy as all hell.
Mass Effect 3
The Mass Effect 3 soundtrack needed to achieve the impossible: Tie together one of the most heralded video game trilogies of the current generation (with one of the best series-wide soundtracks) and give us closure. And, somehow, composers Clint Mansell, Christopher Lennertz, Sam Hulick, Sascha Dikiciyan and Cris Velasco did just that.
It's fitting that a large number of musicians was required to tie Mass Effect room together: The series has seen a number of composers over its five-year run, voices that always managed to combine into a cohesive whole. Best of all, the Mass Effect 3 sound designers even managed to contribute, weaving the music from past games into the ambient sound of several scenes, knitting together a aural tapestry that transcended backing tracks. This piece, "An End Once and For All," was the only one I could choose as emblematic of the Mass Effect 3 soundtrack. It's the rare piece of video game music that sounds exactly as grandiose as its title claims, and it achieves that not with the synths for which the series became known, but with a solo piano, eventually augmented by an orchestra. We'll miss you, Commander.
Sound Shapes is an odd duck for this list, since it doesn't have a "proper" soundtrack per se; the game is its own soundtrack. But the game's levels, which essentially re-imagine sequencer nomenclature as level design, are laid out in a way that lines up with today's remix/mashup culture and allows players just enough control to put their own spin on things without undermining the compositional intent of the musicians. This track, "Cities" by Beck, is the most well-known from the game, but all of them—crafted by musicians like Jim Guthrie and Deadmau5, stand on their own. It's a soundtrack you have to play, and for that alone, it's worthy of mention. The fact that the music is great on its own merits only sweetens the deal.
Dyad is another game inextricably linked with its soundtrack. Part chaotic racer, part simulated drug trip (or, accompaniment to actual drug trip), David Kanaga's score dips and dives, accelerates and drops out, all in line with the motion on screen. By the end of the game, play and music have blended together into a kaleidoscopic, occasionally nightmarish, entirely unforgettable experience.
I found Polytron's Fez to be a pleasant surprise—the game had been hyped for so long that I wasn't sure what to expect. But when I finally played it, I found that the colorful, dreamily nostalgic game was both smaller and more specific than I'd been expecting. Rich "Disasterpeace" Vreeland's soundtrack was a big part of that, a lush and consonant blend of synths and plinky electronic drums that conjured wide spaces, bright skies, and was surprisingly naturalistic for a synthesized soundtrack. And that the audio tracks are laced with hidden symbols and secrets of their own is a bonus of the best sort.
Persona 4 Golden
Okay, yes, Persona 4 is really a game from 2008, and doesn't quite fall under the purview of this list. But 2012's PSVita "remix" Persona 4 Golden features several new tunes from series composer Shōji Meguro, and it's all so damned good that I felt like I couldn't leave it off. Persona 4's mix of complex jazz, triumphant pop, and weirdo ambient music feels more hip and present than most any game soundtrack. By the end of my first time through the game, I was entirely in love with the whole thing. Honestly, these songs are Inaba to me. This track, "Make History," is the new battle music for Golden, and alternates with the original theme to keep things fresh. I have fought hundreds of battles in P4, and this music feels as fresh now as it did the first time I heard it.
What more can be said about Austin Wintory's Journey score? I know I said up top that these are in no particular order. But. Wintory's achingly beautiful work sets a new standard for the emotional heights video game soundtracks can achieve. Journey wound up being a profound experience for me more times than once. Wintory's music is a large part of why.
Journey's score has been widely celebrated, and is the first game soundtrack nominated for a Grammy award. Every accolade it gets is deserved, not simply because the music is good (it is), but because it's uniquely informed by ThatGameCompany's design, and as a result stands as Journey's beating heart. Noble cello themes and resonant alto flute melodies evoke the seemingly endless loneliness of the desert; our slack-jawed wonder at the sheer scope of this endless basin of life. Soundtracks like this come along once in a great while; we may not hear its equal any time soon. But that's okay. These compositions aren't going anywhere, and thanks to them, Journey will remain a classic for many years to come.
So there you have them: Kotaku's picks for the best video game music of 2012. Of course, we may have left off your favorite, so I hope you'll all share your favorite tunes from the year in the comments. (I thought we had a great collection in our reader's choice post last week.)
For now, let's just take a moment to plug in some headphones and reflect on a fantastic year in music.
At the end of each year we hand out awards to honor the experiences that live in our best memories of the preceding months—the games that moved us with their ambition, quality, and pioneering spirit. None of the decisions are ever easy, and there's no secret formula: we pit opinion against opinion with straightforward, old-fashioned arguing until one winner is left standing in the GOTY battle cage. Look below for the first landmark of that exciting week-long debate: a list of our eligible winners in 11 categories, including Game of the Year.
Beyond recognizing what games we loved most this year, though, it’s crucial to call attention to a truth that connects them all: PC gaming is exploding. Our hobby is many-tentacled and unbridled—practically every niche, genre, and business model mutated in a meaningful way this year. Two shooters built on new, PC-only technology released (PlanetSide 2 and Natural Selection 2). Dota 2 grew into its adolescence. League of Legends’ Season 2 Championship drew an audience of 8.2 million—the most ever for an eSports event. Modders resurrected content that was thought to be lost. So many remakes and spiritual successors to old school PC games got crowdfunded that we're sure we’d miss some if we tried to list them all.
That said, the following list marks the peaks of this mountainous year, and you'll find out which games won in the next issue of PC Gamer, and here on the web soon.
Dota 2 Dishonored Mass Effect 3 PlanetSide 2 The Walking Dead Tribes: Ascend XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Crusader Kings II FTL: Faster Than Light Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Guild Wars 2 PlanetSide 2 Rift: Storm Legion World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Diablo III Mass Effect 3 Torchlight II
Borderlands 2 Dishonored Far Cry 3 Max Payne 3 Spec Ops: The Line
Project Cars may secretly be the best looking game of the year. It's only playable for Project Cars team members at the moment, but there's no shortage of gorgeous screenshots for the rest of us to gawp at. Efforts like this one from Darkdeus demonstrate how much closer racing games come to photorealism than other genres. Humans are safely hidden behind reflective windscreens, which makes it easier for racing games to navigate the uncanny valley and deliver sublime shots like this.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Chewiemuse
Bethesda's decision to support modders with Steam Workshop support and the Creation Kit have paid dividends in the year since launch. Texture packs, shader tweaks and new character models and armour have turned a good looking game into something a bit special. Chewiemuse shows us how with this shot of a warrior disposing of his foe with the archery equivalent of a triple tap. Boost your own copy of The Elder Scrolls V with the help of our Skyrim mods guide.
Arma 2 by Blackhawk
The Arma 2 engine is certainly powerful, but it's not exactly pretty. It's rare for screenshots to capture the satisfaction of a well executed military manoeuvre, but Blackhawk does it with this shot of a team of soldiers securing a drop zone. Arma is as much about organisation and teamwork as good shooting, and the bleak colour palette is quickly forgotten in the tension and sudden drama of Arma's combat situations. Captured at just the right angle, Arma skirmishes look almost real, as ITV discovered when they accidentally used Arma 2 footage as part of a documentary last year.
Max Payne 3 by Glottis8
Yes, GTA 4 was a shoddy port, but Rockstar have done a much better job with recent releases like LA Noire and Max Payne 3. Glottis8's image of Max surfing an explosive shockwave shows off the improved textures and sharp lines of the PC version in dynamic fashion. It could only be improve if Max was perpendicular to the explosion. And his fingers were wrapped around a pair of handcannons. And he was wearing a trenchcoat. And it was snowing. In New York.
Okay, the third game got away from some of the elements that made Max Payne unique, but that's hardly Glottis' fault. Let's just sit back and enjoy imagining how good that explosion probably sounds.
The Mario Brothers in Garry's Mod by DOAmaster
What's this, the MARIO BROTHERS on PC GAMER? Thanks to the magic of Garry's mod and DOAmaster's screenshotting abilities, the impossible has come to pass. As pleasing as I find those blazing colours, I still haven't figured out exactly what's going on here. If I don't attach a narrative to this thing I'll never make it to the next page and we'll be trapped here in Nintendo world forever. Let's say that Mario and Luigi are holding a belt (small plank of wood?) and this squad of chipmunks (gophers?) is attempting to limbo (???) under it. Plausible? Good enough! Next.
Sword and Sworcery by Glottis8
The pristine and ageless pixel art of Swords and Sworcery is excellent subject matter for trigger happy screen-grabbers. S&S was released on iOS systems originally, but the artwork shifts up to larger screens rather nicely. That's lucky, because it's designed as a cohesive audiovisual tapestry, and it would be a shame for poorly upscaled graphics to spoil Jim Guthrie's marvellous soundtrack, Ballad of the Space Babies, which you can hear here. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery is available on Steam.
Project Cars again by Leviathan
Yep, it's more Project Cars, but look at the stupendous detail on show here. The foil folds of the headlights reflect the horizon of the approaching terrain. Every nut and bolt is present and correct. Look, you can even see the tiny silver mouse periscope popping out of the bonnet in front of the windscreen wipers. Impressive. This slot was a toss up between the picture above and this shot of a car carving up a shiny tarmac track. Not bad, eh?
Team Fortress 2 by Rossrox
Remember when Team Fortress 2 turned into a sparkling, cheerful extension of the Pyro's demented psyche earlier this year? I was happy to be reminded by Rossrox' glittery and violent portrayal of the conflict. I especially enjoy the fact that TF2 has chosen this moment to remind players to be respectful to one another, as a soldier lies burning to death on a floor, and another readies a rocket launcher against a charging Pyro. It's important to remain polite in the face of impending doom. Jolly good show.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Zloth
There was always going to be more Skyrim in this roundup. There's something about that world's frozen peaks that make folks want to take pictures. Screenshots can fail to do justice to the sense of discovery and wonder that Skyrim's most impressive vistas tend to evoke. This grab from Zloth does the job quite nicely, though. Unfortunately it means that any human who looks upon it must endure a sudden urge to jump back into the world and go adventuring again, sinking yet more hours into Bethesda's fantasy juggernaut. The only cure is to look away, so follow me as we go travel onto the next page and absorb the final selection in our round-up of the best screenshots from the PC Gamer community 2012.
Battlefield 3 by RPhilMan1
It's Battlefield! I was a little surprised that there weren't more shots of Armored Kill maps like Alborz Mountain, but this sandy overview of a sprawling industrial warzone will do quite nicely. Look upon it and imagine the different skirmishes that players are having down there. Engineers will be trying to out-ferret each other in the maze of storage crates on the left. The plume of black smoke hints at the presence of a flaming tank corpse behind the tankers in the centre. A small collection of squads will be having their own private war for the squared off mountainous base on the left. It's a good overview that lays bare the variety and complexity of Battlefield 3's maps and drops in a chopper for good measure.
And that's your lot for this year. You can see plenty more on the screenshot thread in our forums. Browse at your leisure, and feel free to drop in a few of your own favourite gaming snaps while you're there. You never know, you might secure a slot in next year's round-up.
The litter was calling me, like granulated pieces of my broken past.
But pooping on the floor was all I had left. They'd taken everything else from me, that night my world came crashing down. A knife in the dark, a cold table. My manhood, gone, along with the rest of the garbage.
Her scent is what brought me back. That hint of sex, and cheap perfume, that told me she was out to get laid, and wouldn't be back to feed me until morning.
Games take us to all manner of fantastical, unlikely places. But as good as video games have gotten at accurately recreating a space-marine shootout or a mountaintop dragon battle, there's one thing developers are still learning how to create: A dance club.
Many games try to create thriving urban environments for players to occupy, and there's nothing that says "thriving" and "urban" like a packed, sweaty dance club. Unfortunately, until very recently, games have been very, very bad at rendering realistic dance clubs.
This scene from Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (a game which I love, I should say) best exemplifies the sort of awkward, embarrassing antics you'd see in early video game dance clubs. There just wasn't enough processing power to make the club as hazy, loud, or crowded-feeling as it needs to be to be convincing. I love dancing at The Asylum, but mostly because it's so endearingly goofy.
There's nothing sadder than an empty dance floor, though, as evidenced by this video from Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's like being at an unpopular kid's Bar Mitzvah.
I remember playing Mass Effect 2, when I first arrived at the Afterlife bar, I was incredibly impressed with how alive it felt. (Now, when I visit, I'm more aware of how empty it is.) Still, it's a pretty good scene, if only in how it builds up to the entrance to the club.
I liked the vibe of The Hive in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The audio may not have been quite right, but it conveyed an icy, cool energy that worked with the game. Don't know how I feel about the random chicks gyrating around the place, but hey, no video game club is perfect.
Rockstar have long understood how dance clubs feel, once again demonstrating their preternatural ability to be ahead of the curve on this sort of thing. Even with its now-primitive graphics, Vice City's Malibu Club is a pretty convincing club:
It paves the way, of course, for the much more convincing clubs in Grand Theft Auto IV and its expansion chapters:
The dance club scene in Max Payne 3 may represent the pinnacle of video games' representations of dance clubs so far:
Nice. The thrumming bass, the way that dialogue instantly gets cut out and muffled, the fact that you can't understand what the hell anyone is saying. There are some shortcuts—see through the smoke and mirrors of the lens filters and fog machines and you can tell that the dancefloor animations are somewhat repetitive and limited—but all the same, this club feels more authentic than any before it.
A huge part of creating a convincing digital dance club is the music and more specifically, the way the music sounds. It can't just be the regular background music that plays during the game—music in a club is thrumming, physical, oppressive. You can't hear anything over it, and as a result everyone is shouting. On top of the pounding bass, there's a high-frequency scream of reverberating voices. It's not an easy thing to get right, making it all the more remarkable when a game does.
I turn it over to you—what are some of your favorite video game clubs? Any classics that are worth mentioning?
A dash of DLC developments appears on today's list for Mass Effect 3, Assassin's Creed 3, and Max Payne 3. Also appearing are NCsoft's official word on the community movements against City of Heroes' impending closure and Hi-Rez's narrower design focus for Global Agenda 2. In the wise words of Claptrap: read on, minions!
Patch 4 for Mass Effect 3 hits this week with tons of tweaks and balance adjustments to weapons and squashed bugs galore. "Fixed an exploit where players were able to use rockets from other weapons." Wait, that wasn't my pistol's actual alternate fire mode? I cannot tell a lie -- now off with his head: The "Tyranny of King Washington" DLC for Assassin's Creed 3 pits tree-hopping axeman Connor against the titular Founding Father in an alternate reality take on history. Buying the $30 Season Pass ensures access to all three planned episodic packs. The "Hostage Negotiation" pack for Max Payne 3 adds four new multiplayer maps for spear-diving gunmen themed around seedy nightclubs ramshackle favelas. Grab it later this fall for $10. NCsoft acknowledges the outpouring of support for keeping City of Heroes' servers online, but in a brief post on its official website, the publisher hit everyone's one weakness by saying it's "exhausted all options" that were ultimately "not successful." Hi-Rez announces Global Agenda 2 will be more oriented for PVP based on player feedback and the success of Tribes: Ascend.
This week's best deals ► Total War, EVE Online, Dragon Age Steam has routed your excuses for not trying out the Total War franchise with Rome Gold, Empire, Medieval II, Napoleon, Shogun 2, and Fall of the Samurai all for $32. Amazon will throw you pod-first into the ruthless galaxy of EVE Online for a fiver. GameStop is looking to hook you up with over 100 hours of Dragon Age goodness for $10.
Steam ► Total War Franchise, Modern Warfare 3, Hearts of Iron III Modern Warfare 3 is half price and the multiplayer is free to play this weekend. This is in addition to basically everything that says "Total War" on it being discounted 25% or more.
75% off Total War Master Collection - $31.98 Individual Total War titles are also 25% off or more. 50% off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - $29.99 75% off Hearts of Iron 3 Collection - $7.49 75% off The Binding of Isaac - $1.24, Wrath of the Lamb DLC is also 75% off - 74 cents 50% off Age of Empires Online Steam Starter Pack - $9.99 More Steam Deals
Amazon ► EVE Online, Sleeping Dogs, XCOM: Enemy Unknown Get your start in Spreadsheet Commando EVE Online for only $5. You can also pre-order XCOM for 10% off.
75% off EVE Online: Inferno - $4.99 10% off XCOM: Enemy Unknown - $44.99 40% off Sleeping Dogs - $29.99 87% off the Viva Big Bundle of Games (Featuring Grand Ages Rome and Crazy Machines) - $9.99 26% off Assassin's Creed 2 - $14.83 More Amazon Deals
Green Man Gaming ► Alpha Protocol, Sonic 3 and Knuckles, XCOM Green Man is offering up Obsidian's spy-themed story RPG Alpha Protocol and an armload of Sonic the Hedgehog titles - including the quintessential Sonic 3 and Knuckles - at half off. They've also got two voucher deals running: GMG20-27J4Z-8NXHO for 20% off any download, and GMGSD-W3R94-DZBAZ for 30% off Sleeping Dogs.
10% off XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Pre-order) - $44.99 50% off Alpha Protocol - $9.98 50% off Condemned: Criminal Origins - $7.49 50% off Sonic 3 and Knuckles - $2.49 50% off Renegade Ops - $7.49 More GMG Deals
GOG ► Square Enix Squad How does this sound: Thief 1, 2, and 3, Deus Ex GOTY and Deus Ex Invisible War, Hitman 1 and 2, Tomb Raider 1, 2, and 3... all for $38.30. You can also add the Legacy of Kain series, Conflict: Desert Storm, Anachronox, and Pandemonium! to the deal to increase your percentage savings.
Also, it's not on sale, but the Carmageddon Max Pack is now available for $9.99.
Get Games ► Hitman Absolution, Guild Wars 2 (EU), Far Cry series Get Games is selling the Professional Edition of Hitman Absolution (pre-order) for the same price as the normal edition, which is cheaper than we've seen it anywhere else.
25% off Hitman Absolution Professional Edition (Pre-order) - $44.99 10% off Carrier Command: Gaea Mission - $44.99 15% off Guild Wars 2 - $46.75 (Europe only) 75% off Far Cry 1 and 2 - $6.25 60% off Lord of the Rings: War in the North - $19.99 75% off Overlord II - $2.49 More deals from Get Games
GameStop ► War of the Roses, Dragon Age, Battlefield 3 The problem with pre-ordering War of the Roses on Steam is that it gives you the House of Lancaster armor set. Toss aside those pretenders and support the noble House of York with GameStop for only 30 bucks. You can also get ALL THE DRAGON AGE! (Excluding DA2 DLC) that there is to play for 10.
War of the Roses House of York Deluxe Edition (Pre-order) - $29.99 80% off Dragon Age Bundle - $9.99, includes Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition and Dragon Age 2 75% off Battlefield 3 - $9.99 50% off Spore Ultimate Digital Collection - $14.99 More GameStop deals
GameFly ► Modern Warfare, Prototype, Singularity You could grab the entire Prototype franchise for under 40 bucks, or the entire Modern Warfare franchise for $60 from GameFly this week.
50% off Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - $9.99 50% off Modern Warfare 2 - $9.99 50% off Modern Warfare 3 - $29.99 75% off Prototype - $4.99 33% off Prototype 2 - $33.49 75% off Singularity - $7.49 More GameFly Deals
Best Buy ► Max Payne 3 Finally, Best Buy has Max Payne 3 for 66% off, at $20.
Let us know in the comments if you find any more great deals!
Disclaimer: We offer no guarantees regarding the validity of these sales, their restrictions, or the quality of service provided by these distributors. We cannot vet every deal: we only list what we see advertised at the time of writing. Buy at your own risk!
This week's best deals ► FTL, Max Payne 3, and more FTL: Faster Than Light released at 10% off on both Steam and GOG, GameStop opened its trunk in the parking lot to reveal deals on Max Payne 3, Killing Floor, and Amnesia, and Guild Wars 2 is 25% off at Get Games for European customers. That's just the beginning of our weekly savings spelunking expedition, so come along with me for more unnecessary analogies. And weekend deals.
25% off Guild Wars 2 at Get Games - $41.24 (Europe only) 50% off Max Payne 3 at GameStop - $29.99 50% off Killing Floor - $9.99 at GameStop 15% off Battlefield 3 at Amazon - $33.81 10% off FTL: Faster Than Light at GOG - $8.99 (Also on Steam) 30% off Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD on Steam - $6.99 25% off PC downloads at Green Man Gaming with the voucher code GMG25-1BW0K-K1A3G
Steam ► Sam & Max, Oddworld, and more Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD released today at a 30% discount, and Steam has also put together an Oddboxx bundle with all of the Oddworld games for 10.49. Also, Train Simulator 2013.
30% off Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD - $6.99 75% off Deus Ex: Human Revolution - $7.49 70% off Sam and Max Complete Pack - $14.99 10% off FTL: Faster Than Light - $8.99 33% off Vessel - $9.99 10% off Train Simulator 2013 - $26.99! More Steam deals
Green Man Gaming ► 25% off everything
Use the voucher code GMG25-1BW0K-K1A3G to receive 25% off a digital download by Monday September 17th at 4 a.m. PDT. Plus, tons of Saints Row: The Third DLC is on sale! Fun fact: if you mush all the DLC together, you get Saints Row: The Fourth, the illegitimate, possibly inbred son of Saints Row: The Third. He eats K-Y Jelly.
Get Games ► Guild Wars 2 You can still get Sleeping Dogs for 25% off and Borderlands for 50% off. New this week, Guild Wars 2 25% off codes are back in stock. There's also the usual selection of pre-order and other discounts.
25% off Guild Wars 2 - $41.24 (Europe only) 25% off Guild Wars 2: Digital Deluxe Edition - $56.24 25% off Sleeping Dogs - $37.49 50% off Borderlands - $9.99 More deals from Get Games
GameStop ► Max Payne 3, Killing Floor, Amnesia GameStop continues to cross off every price it can, but digging through its pages of sales this week revealed some pretty darn good stuff. Here are some of my favorites:
75% off Age of Empires III: Complete Collection - $9.99 50% off Max Payne 3 - $29.99 50% off Killing Floor - $9.99 75% off Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad - $4.99 75% off Mirror's Edge - $4.99 50% off Amnesia: The Dark Descent - $9.99 67% off Hard Reset - $9.99 More GameStop deals
GOG ► Diamonds of D&D Aside from 10% off FTL: Faster Than Light, GOG has its usual themed sale. This weekend, it's all D&D deals...wait, what's this?! *Spit take.* Something new for GOG: the discounts scale with the number of games you buy. At one game, you'll get 30% off, buy two and get 33% off each, and so on up to all nine games for 65% off each. *Cleans up spit.*
Links to the individual games are below, but if you want the scaling deal, you have to go to the hub.
30% - 65% off Baldur's Gate: The Original Saga - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Baldur's Gate 2 Complete - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Neverwinter Nights: Diamond Edition - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Icewind Dale 2 Complete - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Icewind Dale Complete - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off The Temple of Elemental Evil - $4.19 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone - $6.99 - $3.49 30% - 65% off Planescape: Torment - $6.99 - $3.49
Amazon ► The Over-The-Top TopWare Bundle Regular Amazon is way less fun than Labor Day Amazon -- it's pretty much back to the same 'ol, with games like Modern Warfare 2 and Civilization V on sale again. There is a new bundle sale, at least: the Over-The-Top TopWare Bundle includes 13 games. You probably don't want all 13.
85% off The Over-The-Top TopWare Bundle - $14.99 50% off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - $9.99 15% off Battlefield 3 - $33.81 50% off Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 - $9.99 21% off Sid Meier's Civilization V - $23.82 51% off Deus Ex: Human Revolution - $14.68 60% off Mount & Blade - $6.03 More Amazon PC game downloads
GamersGate ► A horde of romance
It's the same deal as last week: a giant, colorful patchwork of box art and red discount stickers. Only a few deals stick out at me. 50% off BioShock? Sure. 20% off To The Moon (Friday only)? Not bad. Miss Chic Romantic for only $7.48? Sounds goo- hey, wait a minute.
GameFly ► L.A. Noire L.A. Noire is the highlight of GameFly's sparse list this weekend.
75% off L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition - $7.49 75% off L.A. Noire - $4.99 More GameFly deals
Let us know in the comments if you find any more great deals, and if you feel like sharing: what are you playing this weekend? It's all FTL: Faster Than Light for me. Well, not all, but lots of it.