Bargain Thread 2017


New Humble Overwhelmingly Positive Bundle – named that since all of the games (currently) have Overwhelmingly Positive ratings on Steam.

$1 tier:
Shantae & the Pirate’s Curse
Epic Battle Fantasy 4
Pony Island

BTA tier (currently $6.42):
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
More in week 2

$10 tier:
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

Waiting until week 2 but very likely I’ll pick this up solely on the good things I’ve heard about VA-11 Hall-A.


If week 2 is awesome, I might jump in. Already have VA-11, and n++ is supremely unappealing, so it’s BTA or nothing.


I’ve never heard of it. Can you tell me a little about it? Were you happy with it? What’s it about?


Sure, I’m technically on the clock at the moment but I’ll type something up within the hour once I’m off.


There’s a good bit on VA-11 here


The most important part of that clip is probably the following quote, which applies to me as well so I’m going to steal it:

“I cannot recommend it highly enough, and I mean that in a literal sense because I don’t think it will be for everybody and I really cannot recommend it as much as I do sometimes.”

Check out what they have to say as they do a good job of capturing what exactly the game is and some of the major cautions to keep in mind. I basically agree with everything they say except regarding the drink mixing system. It’s better as it is, using fake ingredients, than using real ingredients and his opinion is colored by previously having been an actual bartender.

VA-11 HALL-A is a visual novel (don’t let any pedants convince you otherwise) about bartending in a dystopian cyberpunk future. The worldbuilding is influenced by Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, dozens of other cyberpunk works and, most interestingly, the developers’ own recent experiences as real-life Venezuelans (with the game taking place in not-Venezuela in the year 207X).

Obligatory note: this game is crass as hell. Some characters curse non-stop and conversations frequently turn to sex. If either one of those are deal breakers, then you’re best served moving on.

Structurally, the game is telling a fixed story that the player has only very limited influence over. Your character, Jill, has a pre-established personality and you are not making typical visual novel-style choices. Your sole agency with regard to the plot line is with making drinks. During the game, as you might expect when your player character is a bartender, you are expected to make drinks for patrons. You do this by mixing five different ingredients according to a recipe book, adding ice, aging and blending the ingredients as needed to get the drink the customer requested. There is an interface to search but the game starts throwing wrenches into the works after a few in-game days.

Your agency is how well you do this. There is a loose time constraint that affects your tips. Some characters do not tell you what drink they want by name, but rather by type (something “strong”, for example). One character orders in riddles. Starting around halfway through the game, characters will start asking for one thing when they really an entirely different drink, and you as the player have served them enough times to know their actual preferences and have to make the call (with story ramifications for success/failure).

There’s a lot of reading. It has a specific sense of visual style targeting 80’s and 90’s-era Japanese adventure games, the soundtrack is superb and the game is crude as all get-out (did I mention that yet?) There’s a mountain of references to internet, game and especially otaku sub-culture that you’ll either appreciate or never notice.

A single playthrough seems to be about 8 hours, and I think there are six endings or so. I’ve enjoyed it so far (2/3 of the way through) but I expect I would end up in the small minority of Qt3 members in that regard. I might be wrong about that but won’t hold my breath.


You’re fantastic Otagan. Thanks for the detailed response!


Hello all!

I’m mostly interested in the story of the Assasin’s Creed world. Is it worth getting and mainly playing the whole series or should I just stick to some of them? Or even better, just read the books?

If I subscribe for the Humble monthly? When can/should I unsubscribe to get the games for that month? I mean, I’ll subscribe now, to get the February bundle, can I unsubscribe after paying, or should I wait until I get the games. Or will they subtract the payment for the March bundle by then?



Most of the AC lore was set up in 1 - 4.

The first one sets up the story but it’s not as well done. AC2 and its sequels set up a lot of the gameplay conventions that the games will use for the rest of the series and set up a lot of the First Civilization stuff. AC4 picks up the parallel game world-real world storyline and revisits some of the concepts from Ezio’s trilogy. (I skipped 3, so apologies if something is in there) Liberation was a port of a Vita side story that parallels 3. It’s interesting but skippable. After that, the game lore been more of a framing device, it was barely there in Unity.

Regarding the HB, you can sign up and cancel whenever, or they will allow you to skip a month. After the first month, you can pay immediately and get the “reveal” game, or wait and they will charge your card about a week before the release.


If you haven’t played any of them, you should at least give the first a try. It might surprise you. It does have a poor start, but if you can bear with the long tutorial city and annoyances, and get to Damascus, IMO the game is excellent after that. The thing to remember about the gameplay is that it abstracts a lot of the things that games normally made you do manually in the past.

Let me explain. In other games you would press a jump button to jump across a rooftop, right? You would press some kind of button to jump up and grab the next ledge when you’re climbing a building. You would press a button to run maybe. But in Assassin’s Creed, they boil it down to “low visibility” and “high visibility”. When you press the high visibility button, you want to do things as fast as possible. When you don’t press it, you try to do them slowly and carefully. When you’re in high visibility and headed toward a ledge, you automatically jump across. So instead of micromanaging individual actions, you’re kind of taking a bigger view and just deciding low visibility/high visibility and letting the game take care of the details as you point the way.

I also think the first game happens to be the best because it doesn’t try to wring hundreds of hours out of it’s beautiful locations. You’ll finish it in 11 hours or less, unless you spend longer just exploring and doing extra things. The game just consists of 9 assassinations. Before you do each one, you have to do two generic missions of your choice in the area first to help get a lay of the land. So if you dislike some of the mission types, you don’t have to do them. It’s beautiful, it’s elegant, and it’s the best of the Assassin’s Creed games because it doesn’t fill its world with small repetitive meaningless activities to pad out the game like the sequels do.


Assassin’s Creed 3 concludes the story they were telling from 1 on, so it’s a pretty big omission. Also it’s IMO the best of those early games from a gameplay and narrative perspective (though Brotherhood isn’t that far behind, gameplaywise). That ending, though. It’s coherent, so it’s not as bad as ME was, but it’s real stupid and disempowering.


Counterpoint: you can’t swim in AC1, it just instantly kills you if you hit water, and the game still wants you going over it repeatedly. With the so far as I’ve played never fixed tendency for your avatar to go directions other than you intended. I mean, it’s worthwhile, but best?


Yeah, the controls in AC1 just feel really clunky once you’ve played AC Brotherhood, Revelations, and 3. The controls in later games just do a better job of understanding what you’re trying to do…and even then they don’t get it right so often.


I still think it’s the best, yeah. There is that small section in Acre where you have to go over water, but in an 11 hour game, it’s maybe, what, 15 minutes if you happen to die over and over?

Don’t get me wrong, I love AC: Brotherhood. It provided me with over a hundred hours of excellent gameplay, and the original only provided me with about 9 out of its 11 hours that were excellent. But I still count the brevity in its favor. I also loved the way they unfold the districts and constantly give you new content over those 11 hours. Brotherhood was a return to form in that the districts were really well designed again and had a beautiful flow to them, but they were still filled with lots and lots of content that was there for the sake of padding out the play time.


I agree that skipping AC3 is a mistake - if you’re interested in the lore, you want to go either 1-3 or pick up after 3 and go forward since 3 is kind of a natural concluding point for the story. Not the big story of templars vs assassins, of course that keeps going. But the weird thing with the precursors kind of got pushed to the side after that, with less focus on “present day” stuff. Also I think AC3 is unfairly maligned, but that’s a minority opinion for sure.


We should probably go ahead and make a reference thread for people asking where to start among the 27 Assassins Creed games.


Here it is:

Pick the time period/ city setting you like best.
Play that one.
Depending on how much you like it:
A lot -> Pick another to play
Well enough, a solid 7/10 -> Play Black Flag
Other -> skip the rest, unless you get the itch to collect eagle feathers in Firenze for some reason.


Clearly just start from the beginning and play every single PC release in release order, skipping 95% of the side bullshit and not worrying about full sync once that’s a thing. (AKA what I am doing.)


Play black flag. Skip the rest.


I recently started up AC: Syndicate and geez… the first hour or two held virtually zero appeal for me. Maybe I just hate the setting or don’t really care for games where children are being abused in the first 15 minutes of gameplay.