May the 4th is almost upon us, and that means Star Wars games are going on sale! What's interesting this year is that a lot of older PC games have also just come available. Games from before the Playstation or Xbox even existed!! So I want to talk about what games to pick up in the sales this weekend and where to buy them for the best value.
DISCLAIMER: I'm just focusing on PC games and the deals between Steam and GOG (Good Old Games). Both companies' sales last from now until May 7th, and there is no indication that there'll be any better deals on the actual May 4th, but you may want to wait until the 4th to be sure. I'll be talking about the best deals as they stand today; May 1st.
Easy stuff first. Star Wars Rebel Assault 1&2 have just become available for the first time ever in the last few days, and are only available on GOG. They're not part of any other offer, so they're a simple decision. Buy them or don't. I used to be all about RA2 but never played the first. I'm definitely picking this up. These are rail shooter adventure games, with, following your character, Rookie One (yes, that's his name)'s unique story in the Star Wars universe as told through hours of FMV cutscenes. I can't say how well they hold up, but they're definitely an item of interest that you don't see a whole lot of on the PC any more.
The next two offers involve the Xwing games. Definitely worth picking up one of these deals. X-Wing was the first game I ever owned (along with Commander Keen IV) so for nostalgia alone, I must own it. But 1999's X-Wing Alliance is my all time favourite space combat sim. Just a fantastic game all around. Look up reviews yourself if you want as I won't attempt to review each game here. Also be aware that some of the games may require a joystick, some work with keyboard/mouse if desired, and gamepads may/may not be supported. Check it out on the individual pages if you're concerned.
Steam's offering (left) is the cheaper at €25.19, but GOG's Blaster Bundle (right) offers 3 more games for an extra €11.74. These are Rogue Squadron (of N64 fame) in which you fly the Star Wars ships in atmospheric battles, Galactic Battlegrounds which is a decent RTS that came before the fantastic Empire At War, and Rebellion (known back then as Supremacy in the UK/Ireland for some reason) which is a massive strategy game where you command either the Rebels or Empire and build bases and fleets throughout the galaxy. This was nowhere near as popular as I think it deserves to have been and sadly the style hasn't really been repeated to the same degree in any strategy game I've played since. Look it up.
For my money, the extra 3 games are well worth the extra €11.74, so I wholeheartedly recommend GOG's Blaster Bundle. Some of my all-time favourite games in here.
The last one might be a little tricky if, like me, you already own many of the games from these collections, and/or don't want some. You prefer to buy some of these individually but I'll be analysing them as whole packages only. They're both the biggest collections that either company are offering and they're both 77% off the normal price, down to €21-odd euro.
For the same money, both packages offer you the all 5 Dark Forces/Jedi Knight games, both deals including Mysteries of the Sith (these are the Star Wars first person shooter and lightsabre games, following Kyle Katarn - mostly), Empire At War & Forces of Corruption (my all time favourite RTS. Play the 2 player galactic conquest mode of a Sunday afternoon. Best fun you'll ever have), Battlefront 2 (think Star Wars meets/steals Battlefield), Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2 (KOTOR 1 is one of the best rated RPGs of all time. 93% Metacritic), Republic Commando (best Star Wars shooter if you ask me, with great squad mechanics), and Star Fighter (like the aforementioned Rogue Squadron but came later and was for Episode 1. I haven't played it yet so I can't say more).
However, Steam's bundle (left), for €0.31 less, also gives you The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes and The Force Unleashed 1 & 2. Of them I could only really say that The Force Unleashed 1 is regarded as being worth a play, and even then it's tedious, but they're effectively for nothing, so why not. Apparently you can't gift the extra copies to anybody, though. They simply disappear. The law needs to change on this, but that's for another day.
The only reason not to choose Steam then is that GOG's sales are DRM-free, if that matters to you. Sort of like buying free-trade coffee. You won't deny it's better, but it may or may not actually bother you personally when it comes down to it.
I hope this guide was helpful. The only hard part left is what to play first. Personally I'm going to start on the Rebel Assault games as a warm up. They're shorter. Republic Commando is also short enough. If you get into the Xwing or KOTOR games, don't expect to come out the other side for a few weeks!
May the 4th be with you, folks!