Bargain Bin: Mixed Reviews Edition

Bargain Bin

There are some games that people just can’t agree on. Some look at them and see brilliance, while others examining the same product find complete and utter trash. The Bargain Bin is no stranger to such games, but this week we’re devoting some space to a few games that most definitely fit this description. Give these titles a home boys and girls, they’re cheap and in the eyes of more than a scant few, they’re good. 

Dark Sector (360, PS3)

Dark Sector

Drawing on basically every established tenet of this (and last) generation’s third-person shooters, Dark Sector was a solid game that got lost simply because it featured a number of elements that were utterly generic. The setting, the story, the enemies, and the graphics featured very little that gamers hadn’t already seen on half a dozen earlier occasions. Similarly, the game played very similarly the pop-and-shoot games like Gears of War and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Did this make it bad? Not in the slightest! A game certainly can’t be horrible when it’s successfully parroting features that made other games great. Dark Sector simply wasn’t special enough to win the reviews and attention that other more original games did.

That being said, it did a few interesting things. For instance, while the player can initially arm themselves with enemy guns, early on in the game you’re given what essentially amount to super powers and find yourself equipped with a tri-blade glaive. You still have a pistol, and you can still use enemy weapons, but they become time-limited and self destruct if you use them too long. The glaive, accordingly, becomes your primary weapon, which you use throughout the game to slice, dice, and eviscerate your foes. As the game progresses you can imbue it with additional elemental charges to give it an extra kick. It’s a neat little feature that offers some diversity from its peers.

Dark Sector
is fun, but looking at any review of the game you’ll notice how quickly the reviewers point out that mixed quality of features that earn it a spot in this weeks column. Dark Sector isn’t the end-all, be-all of video games (that title belongs to Final Fantasy VI, thank you very much), but it’s a fun title that can be bought on the cheap. For sixty dollars, I would say pass, but for the price it runs at now, there’s no reason not to indulge in a little generic fun.

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

New – $17.79 (360, PS3)

Used – $8.86 (360)

Used – $9.61 (PS3)

Gamestop

New – $14.99 (360, PS3)

Used – $12.99 (360)

No More Heroes  (Wii)

No More Heroes

The Wii isn’t exactly a bastion for Mature-rated games, so when a game like No More Heroes comes along, it’s something to take notice of. Its status as one of the few adult games to grace Nintendo’s generation put aside however, it is easily the epitome of a game with mixed reviews. Some critics and gamers appreciated its kooky story, setting, and over-the-top, stylized aesthetics and gameplay. Others found fault with it’s sometimes poor controls, shallowly populated game world and the relative linearity of it’s “open” world. Whatever camp you happen to fall into, there is one undeniable fact about No More Heroes. It can be bought brand new for twenty bucks.

I can’t pick your games for you, but honestly, there have been very few games I derived so little enjoyment from that I would classify them as being worth less than twenty bucks. And from what I’ve read, whatever flaws No More Heroes might have, considering the scant number of even moderate quality adult-tailored games on the Wii, if you haven’t yet played this and are itching for something a bit edgier than the usual plumber vs. dinosaur/walking mushroom fare that Nintendo relies on, then there is no reason not to buy it.

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

New – $19.99

Used – $15.92

Shopping Advice

This is probably the most basic, and obvious advice I could give you, but one of the best strategies for saving money on video games is simply to wait a little while before buying them. Considering the examples above, both games were 50 to 60 dollars when they were released and here they are, resting comfortably in the Bargain Bin, not too many months later. Whether you’re looking for a slash in prices or even just a few dollars off, time is often your best hope for a better deal. Case in point, I purchased my copy of Metal Gear Solid 4 on day one — something I don’t regret. That said, a week or two later, there were used copies showing up on the shelves. Had I waited, with my discount card in tow, I would have paid about ten dollars less for a used copy than a new one. Furthermore, the sheer amount of older, but still excellent games that can be bought on the cheap is considerable. Go into the Playstation 2 section of your local game store with a twenty dollar price limit and see how many good games you can walk away with. It’s insane the sheer number of deals patient folk can find.

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