Are you excited about Mass Effect 2? Are you eager once again to battle hoards of robotic Geth (as well as some other new major enemy), build up a new team of talented team mates and have plenty of alien...relations?
If you said No, then you're either mad or just haven't played through (arguably over-talky but still awesome) original Mass Effect game. In which case I suggest you leave straight away and get it from Steam(cheapest when not on offer elsewhere), GamersGate or Direct2Drive.
For some people the only choice is to pirate games - I have to admit I understand why this happens. Game developers and publishers can make all the comparisons to movie tickets, movie rentals or the number of beers a game costs but it doesn't matter to the consumer. Games are something completely different and everyone has their own measure to which they size up costs. Most of the time new games are not worth the price they are initially sold for for most people.
Anyway, now my rant is over I wanted to talk about my hunt fo Mass Effect 2 and the terrible reality that faced me by the end of it.
Usually, for any AAA game (although that's a tag I don't like using) I'll log onto steam and take a look there first; it's a good benchmark and they often have pre-order deals that are worth taking notice of. Oddly enough, although it's listed when searched for, there is no pre-order ability or indication of price.
My second port of call is usually either Direct2Drive or GamersGate, mainly because they are different to the client based portals. I was absolutely aghast at the prices from both. D2D has the "special edition" listed for £45 which is far more than I have ever paid for a single game while the standard version costs £32. GamersGate had it listed for the same.
I'd love to have the Collectors Edition but I'm not paying an extra £15 for add ons. I made that mistake with HL2 "Gold Pack" and now, many years on I would say to my younger self "Just settle for the Silver package!" As the Gold, which I bought at the time came with a nice collectors box, posters, book and baseball cap (which I've lost.) But worse it came with an additional bill from those lovely people at HM customs: for the pleasure of them searching my package. Anyway I'm getting off track...
So I turned to Impulse, which is similar to Steam and found their collectors edition, which appears to have nothing less than what other sites are offering for only £36 including the comic, special armour and all sorts that come with it. So that's a good new benchmark for the special edition! Their standard edition is £31 so not much between this and other sites.
Time to take a quick look at retail copies now, do you remember the physical discs you used to put into your machine to install games? My usual haunt for this is play.com which had the standard version of the game for £27 and free postage as is customary from those good people in Jersey.
That's pretty good but I was determined not to stop there. While searching on play.com I noticed a link to the EA store for Mass Effect 2 and decided to see what their own publisher's online store was offering it for. Not that I was completely surprised but this would cost me £45 for the collectors edition and £35 for the standard - which is the most expensive price for the standard version so far!
In desperation to find my hoped-for-price-point of £25, which is the most I was prepared to spend, I did some google searching and looked at price comparison sites, which only included comission based sales and other portals I'd never heard of before, none had the right price and some were down right laughable. Also I'm very glad I'm not buying it for the Xbox, which is even more expensive!
So where did I buy Mass Effect 2 from in the end?
I didn't, I knew how much I wanted to spend and nowhere had it for that price. As much as I want to play (and of couse review) what is is probably going to be a totally awesome game, I'm not prepared to pay such a large percentage of my monthly paycheque for it.
Deciding on a limit for buying a game is a good idea, as boring as it may sound. Also as soon as it passes that threshold I will probably snap it up immediately!
How crazy is it that it's cheaper for the boxed physical version than the download?
Sometimes it's as if they don't want my money...
*Prices shown as correct on 11th January 2010