Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Amazon Prime September Free Games Are Here! Whoop (And If You'll Forgive Me) De-Doo!

Another month, another bunch of free games from Amazon Prime. It's a smaller bunch than usual, though. This shouldn't take long.

First up: We The Revolution. Sorry, sorry. We. The Revolution. Punctuation is important, yo! 

Currently available at 75% off on Steam, so not the most impressive of freebies, WTR is "a unique game with a singular art style set in the blood-soaked and paranoid world of the French Revolution". Well, there's a tempting prospect...

Honestly, even the supposedly enticing description provided by the developer just seems to have been designed to put people off: "As a judge of the Revolutionary Tribunal, you will have to trudge through this setting passing sentences, playing a dangerous political game, and doing everything in your power to not to be guillotined as an enemy of revolution. At the end of a day you will also confront your decisions with your family and very often they will see it differently."

Now that's what I don't call entertainment.

So, you're telling me I have a horrible job in a horrible place full of horrible people and even my own family think I'm doing it wrong. And this is entertainment how, exactly? I won't quote any more but there's plenty and none of it gets any better. This doesn't look to me so much like a game as some terrifying excercise in self-criticism you might be forced to undergo at a Maoist political re-education camp. Hard pass.

Next on the block: The Dig. Ah, here we go. It's the obligatory LucasArts point&click adventure. How many of these things are there? I keep thinking we must have had all of them but no; there's always one more.

Currently selling for all of £4.79 on Steam, so another lukewarm freebie. "From the combined talents of LucasArts and legendary Steven Spielberg comes an epic adventure that plunges headlong into the very core of the unknown. And takes you with it."

I'm not sure this is any better...

Yes, well, you'd hope so. Wouldn't be much of a game if it left you behind, would it? The set-up is that hoary old "asteroid coming for Earth" routine, although since there are "Nearly 200 locations and hundreds of puzzles", presumably it doesn't all take place in mission command. Also features voicework by "Robert Patrick of T2" (Who? What?) and "Dialogue contributed by award-winning sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card" (Tried to read one of his books once. Didn't manage it.)

Still, it's a point&click adventure. Probably won't ever get around to playing it but Claimed anyway.

Third choice: Defend The Rook. £14.99 on Steam but only "Mostly Positive". Looks like an actual game, by which I mean the video shows two people sitting down, facing each other across a board. It's a mashup featuring "roguelike tactics board combat combined with tower defense elements". None of those are things I'm interested in. Let's not waste any more time on it. Pass.

And finally: Castle on the Coast. This one is weird. The description actually uses the word "trippy" and with very good reason.

Yet another on sale at Steam, this time at 50% off. Amazon not making the greatest of efforts this month, I see. Can't fault them for variety, though. All four games on offer are completely different, I'll give them that.

Alright! That's more like it!

Castle on the Coast is hard to describe and even harder to look at. It's like a six-year old's fever dream. Here's the plot, if you can call it that: "George, a friendly giraffe, parkours through challenging levels full of crystal caverns, stone-laden halls, and trippy alternate dimensions, trying to bring together a family of the two powerful, conflicted wizards".

If you ever fancied yourself as a parkouring giraffe, now's your chance. George is actually a real giraffe or at least a giraffe character with an existence outside this video game: "George the Giraffe is the official mascot of Valley Children’s Hospital in California. George has symbolized the love and care found at Valley Children’s there for nearly seven decades. “Adopted” as the hospital’s mascot by its five founding mothers, a giraffe was chosen because they have the largest heart of any land mammal."

I didn't know that? Did you know that? The bit about the heart, I mean. That's an interesting fact. I might even remember it.

Gameplay is of the "arcade platformer" variety, which would usually be enough to put me off but I watched the video and a lot of it looked to be more running, gliding or driving than jumping. Also "Thanks to cooperation mode, even the youngest gamers will be able to enjoy George’s adventures, playing together with their friends or their sitters." Maybe I can get someone to play George and I can just ridealong as Swirlz.

 It looks like a trip, anyway. Is that appropriate for a game aimed at small children? Claimed.

And that's all the games this month. Oh, wait, no it's not. I left out all really big ones! Yes, once again, to see the big-ticket freebies you have to click away from the Amazon Games app to the Twitch-badged Prime Gaming website. And what do we find there?

Aah! That's where all the money went!

I was quite tempted by Football Manager 2022. Panda Steve (Who I wish would blog more...) ran a brief series of posts on Football Manager 2021 a while ago and they made very good reading. 

From everything I've heard about the game, though, I suspect it requires a huge amount of player input to get results. It's more of a hobby than a game. People devote all their leisure time to it. 

I think you'd need to be more interested in football (Soccer, if you prefer.) than I am to find immersing yourself in this kind of deep-dive simulation a profitable use of your time. Somewhat reluctant Pass.

Assassin's Creed Origins is a game I would definitely like to try but not at the expense of having to make a Ubisoft Connect account to do it. I looked into that last time they had one of these and it seemed like a hell of a lot of effort for a free game. Pass, although I acknowledge my main issue here is my laziness, not any fault of the game itself.

Don't just stand there. Kill something!


And finally (Really, this time.) Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Is that really how you punctuate Middle-earth? Let me check... Wow! Yes it is. All this time and I never noticed. I always thought it was two separate words: Middle Earth. Like that. And I've read Lord of the Rings three times.

Punctuation aside, is this something I might play? Hard to tell from the offer. There's almost no information about gameplay at all. Literally the only thing it tells you is this: "Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you." Well, that's about as clear as Boromir's conscience.

It got me to log in, so job done, I guess.

Let's look at Steam: "Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you, discover the origins of the Rings of Power, build your legend and ultimately confront the evil of Sauron in this new chronicle of Middle-earth. " Ah, so it was only half the sentence. Still, the whole thing's really not much better, is it?

Also I see that it's only £6.99, presumably because it's so old that "certain features for the Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor videogame will no longer be available beginning Dec. 31, 2020". Not quite the bargain I imagined after all.

Looking at the video it seems to be a first-person perspective hack&slash rpg, very much not my bag but oh well, might as well have it anyway. It's supposed to be a classic after all. Claimed, although all you get is a code to be redeemed at Good Old Games before October 3rd. I do at least have a GOG account already, so there's that. I'll still probably forget to redeem it all the same.

That just leaves the usual in-game giveways. I won't go into much detail there. With one exception, it's much the same as usual. I claimed yet another suit of armor for New World (Really must play again soon.), the third and final hideous hat for World of Warcraft, a mount and a pet for Elder Scrolls Online (Which is actually a pretty sweet deal.) and something called the Doggy Backpack Mining Simulator 2 for Roblox. (I can't even.)

The one real surprise was an End of Dragons T-Shirt Outfit for Guild Wars 2. It's deeply unattractive but free outfits in GW2 aren't exactly easy to come by so I'm not going to turn one down.

And that's that for another month. All I have to do now is find time to play the games and log in to claim the free items. 

There really is no such thing as a free lunch!


  1. Thanks for the reminder. I'm going to bop over and check that out.

    That French revolution games sounds like possibly the most depressing game ever made. I'm sure there is some audience for that. Maybe you could watch Beaches, followed by Dancer in the Dark, and then fire that up as some kind of marathon . . .

    1. I'm all for a bit of dark fantasy but reliving actual historical events from the perspective of some of the most problematic individuals involved seems like several steps too far for anyhting I'd call entertainment. Then again, the older I get, the less point I see in unnecesarily stimulatiing negative emotional reactions for any reason. I'm less and less persuaded by the catharsis hypothesis and if I'm going to have artifically-induced hormonal reactions I'd really much ratherthey were pleasant ones.

  2. Welp, "We. The Revolution" could have been something I'd be interested in, but being a judge in the French Revolution's excesses isn't what I had in mind. I guess I wasn't expecting a game to cover that little slice of history in quite that manner.

    The Dig's catchline about dialogue written by Orson Scott Card definitely hasn't aged well at all. I guess when The Dig was written he was coming off of Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead --among other things-- so it would have been more impressive than what Orson Scott Card is more well known for today. Oh well.

    1. I'd forgotten Card was also regarded as highly controversial these days. I just never could get on with his work even when he was just a regular SF writer. You'd think they might edit some of these outdated blurbs but its clear from numerous examples I've seen that no-one ever bothers.

  3. "Trudge(!) through this setting" is a wild phrase to find in a developer's blurb.

    Still, Papers Please had a not-dissimilar premise, and (deservedly, imho) ended up a classic. There is a lot to be said for the dystopian mood.

    1. Trudge was the word that made me wonder what the heck was going on with the marketing department . Who would sign off on that? I haven't played "Papers Please" but if I understand correctly, it is a fictionalised scenario, not a straight historical re-enactment. I'm not sure it would be so highly regarded if the developer had chose to use the same gameplay but set it in 1930s Germany.

  4. Robert Patrick of T2 - Robert Patrick was the actor who played the T-1000 Terminator in the movie Terminator 2 (you know, the liquid metal cop). This blurb was probably written way back when Terminator 2 was a much more recent thing, and calling it T2 would be enough for most people to make the connection. Likewise, back then Orson Scott Card was known as a leading science fiction writer and not for any problematic views he may have (for what it's worth, I never really got into reading his writing either, the style just didn't click with me).

    1. I did realise T2 was Terminator 2 but even though I've seen that movie twice, I still didn't recognise the actor's name. As I said in a reply above, I'd actually forgotten about Card's controversial recent history (And I still can't remember what it was he did or said.). Like you, I just couldn't deal with his prose style.


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