Bargain Bin: Assassin’s Edition

 

The Game Reviews Bargain Bin

There’s just something about sneaking up behind someone for the kill. You can see them but they can’t see you. Your muffled footsteps don’t reach their ears. You’re like a ghost, and when you cut their throat or snap their neck or bash them over the head with a hammer–there are plenty of alternatives–it’s a thrill unlike any other…but we’re supposed to be talking about video games! Some of the best action games out there are those that deal with stealth and deception. While it can be fun to go in guns blazing, there’s something to be said for someone who can pull off a smooth, undetected hit. TGR gets that, so we’ve picked out some good assassin-themed games that can be picked up on the cheap. And remember kids, don’t try this at home!

Hitman: Blood Money (PC, 360, PS2, Xbox)

Hitman: Blood Money

While Eidos has been markedly silent about a new entry into the Hitman series, it still remains as one of the more solid gaming series in the market. It excels very much in the way that it gives you choices on how to go about completing any given mission. If you want you can run in, two pistols in hand, and duke it out with the guards John Woo style, you can slink past them and simply strangle your target, or you can go about things somewhere in between. Best of all, the entire series is relatively cheap. If you have a PS2, or a PS3 with backwards compatibility like myself, you can literally play this entire excellent series for thirty bucks. Sadly we don’t all have these things, so today we’re just going to talk about the last entry in Hitman games, Blood Money.

Blood Money is notable not just because it’s the only game in the series to make it to a current-gen console, but bucause it’s the cream of the Hitman crop. The last release in the series, it’s a wonderful culmination of everything in the franchise, taking all the different features that had accumulated throughout the series and building upon them even more. The other games offered a lot of choice as to how you could execute their missions, but to some extent they were flawed. Hitman 2 featured a level of difficulty that even on normal settings was borderline insane, while Contracts was almost too easy, feeling much more like a shoot-em-up than anything else. Bloody Money balanced out the act, taking those best features of the first few games and refining them. I am not lying when I say that Hitman: Blood Money is probably one of, if not the best game based around being an assassin that has ever been made.

It has aged some, of course. For a PS2 game it was, and still is gorgeous, but the higher end 360 and PC versions certainly don’t match up quite as well anymore with more current games. That being said, the graphics are perfectly adequate and detailed and are the kind of thing only someone obsessed with visuals would complain about. The sound is excellent, featuring a nice, orchestrated soundtrack and excellent voice acting. More notably the controls are excellent; well-mapped and responsive the game feels very comfortable when played in any of it’s possible forms. Even when precision sniping, something I hate doing with a console controller, there are few complaints.

I could probably go on for ages about how good this game is, it’s truly one that I personally love and couldn’t recommend enough to people looking for a game on the subject of knocking people off. The amount of creativity it allows the player placed it well ahead of it’s time and it still readily competes with the best that the current generation has to offer. It likely will continue to do so until the next Hitman game comes along. The only thing I can find remotely wrong with the game is that it doesn’t have Olga Kurylenko walking around naked throughout as in the film adaptation of the series, but hey, nothing is perfect.

Amazon.com (Note:Used Amazon prices are subject to change)

Used- 15.49 (360)

New- 10.98 (PC)

Used- 5.00 (PC)

New- 28.24 (PS2)

Used- 4.71 (PS2)

Gamestop

Used- 19.99 (360)

Used- 9.99 (PS2)

Used- 14.99 (Xbox)

Download- 19.99

 

Assassin’s Creed (PS3, 360, PC)

Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed is arguably the worst victim of that recent trend wherein reviewers, seemingly more concerned with the quality of a game’s hype rather than the game itself, give it undue credit, leading of course to the disappointment of players who were literally expecting perfection. Assassin’s Creed  in that respect is not a bad game, it just has its fair share of flaws that were too largely ignored by overeager review staff across the board.

Assassin’s Creed places you in the shoes of Altair, a member of an order of assassins who have been tasked with offing key figures prolonging the wars brought on by the Crusades. Anyone who has played the game can tell you that it is, in fact, a bit more complicated then that, but really that is the ultimate gist of things. The game is in many ways a medieval Hitman, requiring you to sneak in undetected and kill your targets. You can fight you way in, but it’s generally unadvised. Taking on multiple foes with only a sword to your name is a bit more hazardous than when you’re armed with an AK-47. Overall, the gameplay itself was markedly solid. The game featured some nice set pieces, and allowed you literally to go from rooftop to rooftop a la Spider-Man as you pursued a course to your targets. The controls were thought to work rather well, and the combat was relatively fun. So what was the problem?

For all it’s nice qualities, Assassin’s Creed  lacked the creativity that characterized the aforementioned Hitman games. The game became repetitious very fast, marring its otherwise excellent values and presentation. This of course didn’t make it a bad game, just not the AAA–when did this whole A ranking thing come into place I wonder–monster it was meant to be. This is perfectly fine; some of the most fun games I’ve ever played weren’t top-tier titles. Iit’s just that I wouldn’t pay full price for them, which a lot of people did for Assassin’s Creed, much to their collective disturbance. The good thing is that Assassin’s Creed is no longer a full-price game. Used copies are in abundance, and recent price drops have rendered it a perfectly affordable game, well worth your time and money. Evaluating a game’s worth via how much it costs might seem a bit shallow to some, but hey, it’s what the Bargain Bin is all about and honestly, I think it a better standard than judging a game based on its hype.

Amazon.com (Note: Used Amazon prices are subject to change)

New- 23.99 (360)

Used- 11.87 (360)

New- 29.79 (PS3)

Used- 17.99 (PS3)

New- 26.99 (PC)

Used- 9.96 (PC)

Gamestop

New- 29.99 (360, PS3)

Used- 19.99 (360)

Used- 24.99 (PS3)

New- 29.99 (PC)

Download- 29.99

Shopping Advice

You’re never going to find me writing about sports games here, well except for today of course. I’ve never been any good at them and honestly, with sports being at the top of my incredibly boring pastimes list–although hockey can be fun; it’s the Canadian in me–I don’t find it very appealing to spend my gaming time simulating them. That being said, there is obviously a fan base for them, so I suppose I should give them some airtime. One of the most interesting things about sports games is how each year a new version of essentially the same game comes out and they always seem to sell like hotcakes. If you’re one of those people who thinks it a bit silly to spend sixty dollars on what is essentially a slight graphical update and maybe a more current roster list, never fear, there are options.

For instance, one could always just keep playing the sports game you purchased the year before. All those things you loved about it are still going to be there in spite of the fact that the new game is a bit shinier. And if you’re just getting into sports gaming, a smart suggestion would be to buy older versions of the sports game you’re interested in. I was in EB yesterday and came across a copy of Madden 02 for 99 cents. I have never seen a game that cheap in the used section before and if I remember correctly, 02 got some good scores. The fact is that sports games don’t retain their value in the slightest, and until their makers stop exploiting gamers and just start releasing updates via DLC, you can either spend sixty dollars every year on basically the same game, or you can be smart about it and just buy something a bit less flashy that you’ll probably enjoy just as much.

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