Category Archives: Collector’s Edition Reviews

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX [PlayStation 3] – Review

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX - PlayStation 3 - North American Box Art

I’ll keep this brief, since I’ve already talked at length about Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, two-thirds of the entries that make up Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. They’re fantastic games in their own right, and the remastered versions included in this compilation are without a doubt the best way to experience them. Instead, I’ll turn my focus towards Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, which rounds out this compilation in cinematic form, and the Limited Edition release itself. Continue reading Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX [PlayStation 3] – Review

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Augmented Edition Review

The Augmented Edition features alternate box art.
The Augmented Edition features alternate box art.

When it was released in 2011, Deus Ex: Human Revolution had a collector’s edition of sorts in the Augmented Edition. Available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC versions, the Augmented Edition contained a fancier game case boasting alternate box art, a slim art book, and a bonus DVD containing some extra features. It’s worth noting that I’m discussing the American version as some of the European versions contained DLC not present in our release. I’ve noticed the package is still available new on sites like Amazon, although for someone who has yet to play the game, I’d recommend the recently released Director’s Cut at this point.

A LIMB Clinic offering assistance to an augmented individual.
A LIMB Clinic offering assistance to an augmented individual.

The bonus DVD is the most worthwhile part of the Augmented Edition in my mind. I say that because of the lengthy making-of documentary included on disc. It follows the studio from its founding (this was their first release) until nearly completing the game. This documentary must’ve been shot before the game’s finalization as it ends in 2010 – the game released in late 2011. Interviews varied from all aspects of the development team so many viewpoints were represented.  I was chagrinned that nothing was mentioned about Square Enix’s takeover of Eidos, but I imagine that’s an indication that development continued on hitch free. There’s an interesting tangent about demoing the game to Warren Spector at Gamescom 2010 towards the end which was cool.

Also included on the bonus DVD is the soundtrack in easily extractable MP3 form. I’ve enjoyed listening to the soundtrack thus far. While playing the game I considered it similar to Mass Effect’s. The ambient instrumental music is something I foresee myself writing to in the future. The twelve tracks don’t make up the entire soundtrack, so that’s less than desirable. A motion graphic novel is also present on the DVD as well as a few trailers and storyboards.

The art book was pitiful. I find it such a cheap tactic to tout an included art book, only to discover that its bindings make up more of the book than actual content. If I’m going to fall prey to consumerism, I’d at least like something worthwhile. The artwork on display is stellar, but the art book is tiny and, unless you’re the type to draw inspiration for hours from this type of bonus, it won’t hold your attention for fifteen minutes.

Although the art book is pitiful, I can't say the same for the art or design itself.
Although the art book is pitiful, I can’t say the same for the art or design itself.

I think the Augmented Edition is a mixed bag. I like displaying the premium box and have or will get much use out of the bonuses included on the DVD. I don’t care for the art book as there just isn’t much to it. At this point, it’s a hard sell if you haven’t played the game. The Director’s Cut includes all of the DLC which will save you extra dough if you purchased the standard or Augmented Edition. But if you’re a super collector, it’s a decent addition to your collection for the right price.

Mass Effect 3 – N7 Collector’s Edition Review

In the Mass Effect fiction, N7 denotes a Systems Alliance military member of the utmost caliber.

I had a difficult time tracking down a copy of the Mass Effect 3 collector’s edition because I didn’t preorder it. It’s readily available at online retailers, but it’s pretty pricey – seventy dollars used. Still, it’s a collector’s edition that packs a punch.

Like most other collector’s editions worth their salt, or money as it were, Mass Effect 3 comes in a flashy tin case. On either side are images of the stock male and female Shepherd. Fleshing out more of the game’s art is the miniature art book the collector’s edition comes with. I’m usually opposed to these miniature art books (especially in Skyrim’s wake) but Mass Effect 3’s is okay thanks to its detailed descriptions. Then again, it’s actually excerpted from a larger (page count and size) art book that’s available for sale.

There’s also a short comic book starring the queen of Omega, Aria T’Loak. It’s interesting and accounts for her time between Mass Effect 2 and 3, but it seems more like an advertisement for the related graphic novel, sort of like the art book being a “taste” of the full-size art book. Also related to the art is a lithograph of the Normandy. It’s really just a postcard without the necessary information, but it’s a cool picture of Normandy nonetheless. Another inclusion is a code to download a digital version of the soundtrack. I’d really like to give it a listen, but I wasn’t able to redeem it because I accidently have more than one EA account. To redeem it, I need to know what my EA account is that I signed into Mass Effect 3 with, and I don’t know what it is.

There’s a ton of digital content included too; namely, the From Ashes downloadable mission, character, and so on. It’d be great if used copies had unredeemed codes for this, but they probably don’t so it’s not much of a bonus for most. The rest of the digital content isn’t worth the extra money, and like From Ashes, they’re probably not available in used copies. Still, there are plenty of weapons, extra outfits, and other digital gear.

At twenty dollars over the standard edition, I think the extra content is worth it. Especially considering that From Ashes alone costs ten dollars itself. Oh! The collector’s edition also comes with an N7 patch, so yeah… There’s no dearth of content in the collector’s edition. Plus, Mass Effect 3 is a pretty darned good game.

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition – Collector’s Edition Review

Wayne Holden ain't no Lou Ferrigno.

The collector’s edition of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is pretty lame. Luckily it’s easy to find and inexpensive.

It comes with a paltry artbook, snug inside the nice SteelBook game case alongside the manual. The art booklet contains renderings of characters in various stages of completion, plus some background information, but it isn’t very large.

Another bonus to the collector’s edition is the media CD it comes with. Besides containing the soundtrack, it has various media such as videos and wallpapers for a PC. The soundtrack was composed by Jamie Christopherson, an unknown name to me although he has been making the rounds in the video game industry for a while now. That said, the soundtrack wasn’t my cup of tea – it chimed in at the right moments during the game, but the orchestral arrangement sounded generic to me outside of the game.

Lastly the collector’s edition comes with a code for an exclusive downloadable multiplayer map that probably isn’t in any used copies of the game. Plus, the map is available for free on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Plus plus, it doesn’t seem like there’s a large multiplayer community anymore so that bonus is so whatevs.

This all comes inside an awfully nice SteelBook case too. It’s easily my favorite aspect of the collector’s edition. I really like the heft and solidness of the case when it’s chock full of its multiple discs and booklets. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it… if it wasn’t so cheap and readily available. Still, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is just okay.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Collector’s Edition Review

The contents of the collector's edition of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

I’ve written three articles covering collector’s editions of video games so far and they’ve all been similar. Namely, they all came in metal DVD cases; of course they contained other bonuses too but nothing spectacular in my opinion. Well, when it came to releasing a collector’s edition of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda Softworks decided to do it big.

The collector’s edition of Skyrim is hard to miss in a store thanks to the massive box it comes in. Because it houses a foot tall statue of the dragon Alduin, it takes up a lot of space, which is also why it’s been marked down from its original retail price of $150 to $100, so stores can get rid of them. That’s still a lot of money and the game itself is FANTASTIC and definitely worth playing, but maybe you don’t need all the extras the collector’s edition comes with.

Alduin is really solid, like, made of rock hard plastic, and he has many protrusions, so he’s hard to grasp and handle. Luckily he comes with a stand resembling a word wall from the game, although the stand is hollow and feels cheap, the opposite of Alduin. Regardless, that’s not disappointing because it does its job of displaying Alduin well. If you’re unashamed in your love of dragons it’s a wonderful display piece, if you’ve got the space.

Another bonus included in the collector’s edition is a massive art book, definitely the biggest and best I’ve ever received with a game. It’s not miniature like the ones I’ve received with other games; no sir, it’s a full size book. It contains nearly two hundred pages of concept art, computer-generated art, and descriptions of almost anything you can think of that’s in the game. It’s a seriously nice art book.

Lastly, the collector’s edition features a documentary DVD distilling many facets of the game. It never delves very deep into any particular subject, but, like the art book, covers so many features of the game. I wished I watched it before playing through the game or at least before beating it, but listening to the developers discuss various features of making Skyrim was still interesting.

The collector’s edition of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sells for around $100 now and personally, I think the premium over the standard edition is worth it, if you’re into displaying massive statues of dragons. The statue of Alduin is badass, the art book is ridiculous compared to the ones that usually get bundled with collector’s edition of video games, and the documentary DVD provides some deeper insight into the game. Too bad the game doesn’t come in a nice SteelBook though.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Bundle Review

A special edition Wii Remote Plus and a soundtrack CD come packed in with the special bundle of Skyward Sword.

Seeing as how The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword requires the Wii MotionPlus add-on or a Wii Remote Plus, it makes sense that Nintendo would also sell Skyward Sword bundled with one. What’s great about the bundled Wii Remote Plus is that it isn’t a stock vanilla controller, it’s gold and emblazoned with Triforce insignia. It looks nice and the form factor matches that of a normal Wii Remote which is good; the Wii Motion`Plus accessory adds a few inches to a standard controller. Too bad there wasn’t a matching gold nunchuk though.

Also with the bundle, and with every copy of the game I believe, is a soundtrack CD celebrating the series’ 25th anniversary. About half are medleys or symphonic movements with the rest being specific songs from the series. The medleys combine many games while the symphonic movements hone in on one game in particular, either The Wind Waker or Twilight Princess. At first I liked the songs better because they were easy to identify and they weren’t such a time investment, but after listening to the CD for a few days, the longer tracks grew on me. They were all done with a symphony too, real instruments!

The bundle was a good value at seventy dollars when it originally came out, a little less so for me since I already had a Wii MotionPlus, but I had to get that Zelda memorabilia! Now it seems to be going for at least one hundred dollars on the internet and that’s ridiculous. Unless you’re just hurting to get the special Wii Remote Plus, I’d hold off on the bundle because it’s the only unique thing in it.

Doom 3 – Limited Collector’s Edition Review

The Doom 3 logo sticks out on the limited collector's edition.

Always willing to spend a few extra bucks when it comes to video games, I picked up the limited collector’s edition of Doom 3 when I purchased it way back when.

The first thing you notice about it is its case. Instead of the standard plastic Xbox case, the limited collector’s edition comes in a metal tin. However, unlike the two previous collector’s editions I’ve reviewed, the Doom 3 limited collector’s edition is not a SteelBook package. The package is common among other collector’s editions, but I prefer the SteelBooks; this one seems cheaper.

The Doom 3 logo on the case is raised and that’s cool, but the thing I like most about its overall appearance is the slipcover. The case contains the logo in front of a pentagram and the case is all gray. The slipcover, at least on the front is clear except for the Doom 3 logo; it’s in color and I liked the stark contrast between the gray background and the orange logo.

What about the actual contents? Well the best part of the package is the inclusions of Ultimate Doom and Doom II: Hell on Earth. The inclusion of these two makes this the version of Doom 3 to buy hands down. While Doom3 doesn’t feature split-screen co-op or multiplayer, these two do, so that’s also nice.

There are also some videos with the limited collector’s edition. By far the best is the episode of Icons (an old G4 TV show) covering Doom. It’s about twenty minutes long and it’s a great reference to learn more about Doom and id Software. There are a handful of developer interviews with key people at id Software and these are cool. Lastly there’s concept art and that’s okay, except for the inability to pause the concept art slideshow.

All in all I thought Doom 3 was an excellent game and after searching the internet it appears that the limited collector’s edition goes for a few more dollars than the standard edition, well worth it in my opinion. The previous versions of Doom and Doom II are worth the extra money alone, but the videos are for the most part great, the concept art is good, and the case is cooler than the standard edition. If you’re purchasing the Xbox version of Doom 3, the limited collector’s edition is the way to go.

Devil May Cry 4 – Collector’s Edition Review

Utilizing the slipcase, you can choose to display either Nero or Dante on the collector's edition.

When Devil May Cry 4 was released in 2008, Capcom released a collector’s edition alongside the standard edition of the game. Included in the collector’s edition were two bonus DVDs. The first containing episodes of Devil May Cry: The Animated Series with the second DVD containing traditional collector’s edition goodies. And of course, it all comes in a much nicer package.

Like the Final Fantasy XII collector’s edition, Devil May Cry 4’s collector’s edition comes in a SteelBook package as opposed to the standard plastic DVD case. There is artwork on either side of the SteelBook case, one side featuring Nero and the other, Dante. Included is a slipcase that features the logo of the game and a viewing area that will display either character.

The first bonus included in the collector’s edition is a DVD containing the first four episodes of Devil May Cry: The Animated Series. There are only twelve episodes in the series so getting four seems like a pretty good deal. I didn’t care for the anime however. I like a good deal of anime but I’m definitely not too knowledgeable in the medium, but I feel safe in saying this anime isn’t that great. I thought the dialogue was very ridiculous, like the game to be fair, but the action scenes were lackluster and not that prevalent.

The second bonus included in the collector’s edition is a second DVD containing standard goodies. The most notable inclusion contained here is an interview with the producer of Devil Mary Cry 4, Hiroyuki Kobayashi. Also included is a gallery of artwork, a few wallpapers, a screensaver, some chat icons, and a few songs from the game. I could care less for the contents of this DVD, well, besides the interview. That’s because I always appreciate learning about the creative forces behind video games.

The SteelBook case is mint. With all the contents present it has a nice weight and I like the art and slipcase design. The collector’s edition came with a DVD containing four episodes of Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, a pretty good deal, but I didn’t jive on the anime. The second bonus DVD contained a lot of standard fair for collector’s editions, and really, I could care less for its contents. I’m sure most of it could be found online anyways. It appears the collector’s edition of Devil May Cry 4 will run an extra five dollars over the standard edition and personally I’d go for it. The extras included aren’t that great, but the packaging itself is very nice.

Final Fantasy XII – Collector’s Edition Review

The box art for the collector's edition of Final Fantasy XII.

Besides the standard version of Final Fantasy XII, Square Enix released a collector’s edition of the game, exclusively to GameStop and EB Games in the United States. This version included the game and the same manual, of course, but it also came in a SteelBook package, along with a DVD containing a few special features.

Many games have since been released in these SteelBook packages, but I think Final Fantasy XII has one of the best ones. The front cover is simple, while the art on the inside of the case is intricate and detailed. It looks nice as a display piece on a shelf; otherwise it slips nicely in with the rest of a video game library being the typical DVD size case.

Included on the DVD are developer interviews, a history of Final Fantasy featurette, an art gallery, and trailers for the game.

There are quite a few developer interviews, twelve exactly, and they offer insights into different aspects of the game, from the director and what he was in charge of to what went into the translation. They’re all under five minutes, but there’s actually a lot of content to take in, and I always like hearing about what went into making a game.

The history of Final Fantasy featurette is a great way for people unfamiliar with the mainline Final Fantasy catalogue to get up to speed. The narrator discusses similar concepts with each game, and it would’ve been nice if he delved a little deeper into each game, but at thirty minutes, it’s a great primer to the series.

Viewing an art gallery on a DVD is about the last thing I want to do, but to its credit, there is a bunch of art included and it’s all tucked away in categories to aid in finding something specific. I feel the same way about the trailers. They’re put together very nicely, but I’m not learning anything new from them.

The collector’s edition of Final Fantasy XII is a nice package. The developer interviews were insightful, the history of Final Fantasy featurette was informative, but the art gallery and the trailers didn’t interest me too much. At this point it appears to sell complete for about ten dollars, comparable to the standard edition so if you’re in the market for the game, I’d recommend the collector’s edition.