Special Edition Games: Best and worst to buy
28th May 2012 | 17:15
At a glance, this looks like a 450-page book, but on closer inspection it houses the usual suspects: a game soundtrack and a making-of DVD. But what sets it out from the rest is its 129-page book. It's not an after-thought mind you, but a proper novel titled The Alan Wake Files, with full colour photos and glossy paper, which was longer (and better) than some actual novels.
Assassin’s Creed 2 came bundled with much of the usual limited edition content, an art book and bonus DVD with game soundtrack being among them and three exclusive in-game bonus quests. But standing out amongst the usual suspects was a 20cm replica model of Ezio Auditore, in his new black garb, with hidden blade exposed; it is visually striking and not mockingly miniscule.
Rocksteady nailed the game part and also managed to get together a collector's edition that was equally as decent. Inside the hard-case box was an impressive 14-inch replica ‘batarang’ (that unfortunately didn't come back when you threw it ), an embossed Doctor's Journal with dust jacket, additional DLC and a behind-the-scenes DVD.
Game soundtracks are great, but we are suckers for getting it on vinyl, which is why we loved the fact that the Bioshock 2 Collector's Edition was released with the original Bioshock soundtrack to re-live all the bumps, scratches and realism. Also included was a 164-page hardcover art book and the Bioshock 2 soundtrack on CD.
Activision and Infinity Ward could have simply thrown us some pretty looking art work and maybe a making-of documentary, but they decided to up the stakes on the collector's edition front by packing a pair of fully-functional night-vision goggles that worked at up to 50ft. A code to download the original Call of Duty made it an essential purchase for the true CoD fan.
If playing the visual splendour that is Crysis wasn't enough, Crytek had a few special suprises for its Nano edition of the game including a seven-inch tall Prophet figurine, a studio art book and a replica Nanosuit backpack which could hold a 17-inch laptop if you have to play Crysis literally everywhere you go.
The perennially delayed Duke Nukem Forever did not live up to the hype. Okay, it was pants. But it did give 2K time to produce this limited “Balls of Steel” edition of the game. It was rammed with loads of extras including; Duke Nukem Forever sticker, playing cards, a set of dice, two poker chips, a Duke Nukem papercraft booklet, postcards from the game, a comic book, and a 100 page hardcover art-book and a 5-inch bust of Duke himself. You can fully expect to pick this up for significantly less than the original price.
Hoping to bring a bit of the post-apocalyptic Fallout world to life, Bethesda threw together a collector's edition that included an art book, a making-of Fallout 3 DVD, a bobble head Vault-Boy figurine all housed in a metal tin lunchbox that was both practical and pretty cool looking.
When post-apocalyptic events head to the City of Sin, Bethesda gave its special edition a Vegas-style makeover complete with "Lucky 7" poker chips inspired by the 7 casinos in-game, a New Vegas themed deck of cards and a hardback graphic novel written by Chris Avellone (Creative Director for New Vegas) which prologues characters before New Vegas. Throw in a “Lucky 38” platinum poker chip and it wasn't such a bad haul of Fallout-inspired kit.
Hiding inside the replica Pandora's box alongside a copy of the game and free DLC conrtent was a movie length documentary chronicling the making of the game, an art book and a soundtrack. But that was not all, there was also an EP which is described as a heavy metal “homage” to the game, with original music inspired by Kratos’ murderous rampages.
Did Rockstar Games give us a rocket launcher? No. In fact its GTA IV special edition was a much more subdued affair. Packaging a far too sensible duffel bag and a metal deposit box for stashing any questionable items along with the usual production artwork, and game soundtrack, it was a solid, sensible offering from the publishers that brought us flying tanks in Vice City. Disappointing...