Bargain Bin: Epic Edition

Summer is officially over. With Fall here we can expect a whole number of things. The leaves will change, Halloween will come, and most importantly, the Fall season releases are on their way. That being said, not all of us are loaded with cash to spend on the $60 a pop titles that are on the way, and to that effect, TGR is here to show you some cheaper alternatives to tide you over until you get all those nifty gift cards for Christmas. Welcome to the Bargain Bin folks.

God of War and God of War 2

Epic. If there is a single word to describe the God of War games, it is epic. We’re not talking the more low key, pre-CGI epic. We’re talking full on, “Spartans! Prepare for glory!” epic. Point in case, the goal of God of War is to kill a god. Not just any god, either. Just looking at Kratos, it wouldn’t be hard to picture him taking down Aphrodite or one of those other pansy deities without much trouble. No, you’re tasked with killing Ares, the god of war. Not right away, of course; before you do that, you get to embark on a nice long, brutal, action-packed quest in which your character, the now rather iconic Kratos, tanks his way through hordes of monsters and mythological creatures. The series literally seems to center on figuring out creative and fun ways to off mythological characters, and while that may sound a bit too over the top, God of War and its sequel both pull it off with style, keeping things flowing with stories that are at once interesting but not overbearing.

Amplifying the cool factor of God of War is the fact that in terms of aesthetics and mechanics, both PlayStation 2 games are works of art. Even today, the original God of War still looks great, illustrating its brutal take on Greek mythology with an incredible level of detail and care. Looking at God of War 2, it’s hard to believe any PS2 game could ever look this good. When it first came out, it literally was able to hold its own amongst the early next-gen games and to some extent, still does today. Some of the environments are just masterful.

The audio elements of the game are similarly fantastic. God of War 1 and 2 both feature some of the most energetic, exciting and purely barbaric scores ever produced in a game. There isn’t a moment where the music is poor or doesn’t fit. Some of the tracks do sound very similar to each other, but it still works great as for the most part, it’s meant to create a background ambiance.

The gameplay itself hasn’t been diminished at all by age. The controls are relatively simple, bypassing complicated combos for a combat structure that is centered around button tapping and timed dodges. On the lower levels it can be a bit easy, but as the player progresses to higher difficulties the game becomes a trial of your reflexes, where even a single wrong move can end up killing you. The relative simplicity of the gameplay is likely to turn off some action junkies who would prefer more complex gameplay along the lines of Ninja Gaiden, but overall the simple controls are a boon. The game can be a challenge if you want it to, but at the same time, it’s easy to feel like an unstoppable force of nature if you’re interested in a more casual experience.

Overall, both of the PS2 God of War games hold up very well. They just provide an incredibly solid play experience that was well worth the $50 price tag when they were first released. The fact that you can find them now at around no more than $20 makes them a deal that any action fan who has yet to sip of Kratos’ cup just can’t afford to pass up.

  • God of War
    • Amazon (Note: used Amazon prices are subject to change)
      • New – $19.99
      • Used – $8.99
  • God of War 2
    • Amazon (Note: used Amazon prices are subject to change)
      • New – $19.99
      • Used – $11.45
    • Gamestop
      • New – $19.99
      • Used – $17.99

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus has some problems. Dated graphics are a complaint, but mainly when I think of the game and its flaws, what it immediately jumps to mind are its controls. I have never before in my life played a game with worse controls than Colossus. Getting your character to even move in the right direction is at times a challenge. It is a testament to the game’s inherent brilliance that despite its clumsiness, I still happily played it through to the very end.

Shadow of the Colossus centers around a very simple concept. There are sixteen bosses in the game. Your job is to kill them, and that’s it. There are no fancy dungeons to navigate, no pointless puzzles or throes of minions to butcher, just the bosses. Such a bare bones affair might turn some off, but once you get into the game, you understand just how smart a strategy it is. The bosses are levels unto themselves. Bringing them down requires all the same puzzle solving and fighting skills that one might expect from a more typical adventure game. And with such prominence given to the bosses, or Colossi, the game manages to put together some pretty incredible battles. There are literally some enemies that are the size of skyscrapers and you are very often given the pleasure of climbing such beasts as if they were a mountain.

And while the boss battles themselves are worth the price of the game, Shadow of the Colossus manages to create a sincerely moving experience. Your character’s motives for killing the Colossi are visibly selfish ones, and as the game goes on it is made very clear that the each time you defeat one, its robbing the world of something unique and special. A number of the Colossi don’t even actively assail you, but rather regard you with curiosity until you provoke them yourself. It’s a rare game that can make you feel jaded and even guilty after playing it, and Shadow of the Colossus is that game. A must have for just about any gamer, Shadow of the Colossus proves that video games can be art as well as entertainment and you’d only be doing yourself a favor by indulging in this little bit of high culture.

  • Amazon (Note: used Amazon prices are subject to change)
    • New – $18.99
    • Used – $11.39
  • Gamestop
    • Used – $17.99

Shopping Tip:
Most of the games I suggest are going to be around $20 or less, and to that effect there are some smart things you can do to get good deals on them. One of them is to apply for an Amazon Credit Card. If you get the card and then use it to buy something on the website, your first purchase will be $30 off. Now if you have problems with credit cards this may not be the best course of action, and if you decide to buy a game that costs more than the aforementioned $30 off, I strongly suggest you pay your balance off quickly and in full. The last thing you want is to get into debt. That being said, there is nothing in the rules that says you need to do anything with your Amazon Card after exploiting this deal.

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