By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
It’s free games time again!
Honestly, it’s free games time all the time if you do a little searching – and take advantage of services you might already be paying for like Amazon Prime that include gaming assets and full games. (Seriously, check out gaming.amazon.com if you have a Prime account and get your free games.)
This week, though, we’re looking at the Epic Games Store again. Instead of the typical one or two free games, beginning Thursday, Epic will feature three free games to claim and download. There are no catches. No hidden costs. Just create an Epic Games account – you can even log in with your already existing PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, or social media accounts – and download the games. They are yours to keep forever.
The first is the complete collection of the Deponia series. The adventure comedy, with plenty of puzzle elements, is rated M for Mature gamers age 17 and up. So, despite the cartoon like visuals, this isn’t a freebie you want to let the kids run off and play.
In this dystopian future fantasy the protagonist, Rufus, is trying desperately to escape the garbage dump planet of Deponia. When he accidentally knocks the beautiful Goal, from the floating city of Elysium, off her cruiser to the trash-planet below, he develops a new plan. Get her back to her home, and away from Deponia in the process. Over the course of three games – Deponia, Chaos on Deponia, and Goodbye, Deponia – Rufus and Goal work to escape danger and find their way back to the floating city.
A cult classic almost out of the gate, Deponia the Complete Journey is worth your time if you have a well-developed and sophisticated, yet still sophomoric, sense of humor. It isn’t going to be for everyone, especially young gamers, but it’s a lot of fun.
If you’re looking for an adult, fantasy adventure/puzzler without the irreverent humor, the second offering this week is Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth. Based on the novel of the same name, the game lets you experience the story of one small, 12th century English town’s attempt to construct a cathedral to grow the wealth, and ensure the safety, of her people. Fans of the book series will get to play as the characters they know from the story, but can also change the narrative from the book based on their decisions. You don’t have to know the book to enjoy the game, however. It’s completely self contained and accessible to those with no background knowledge of the game. Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth is also rated M for Mature, for sexual themes, blood, and violence.
Epic’s final offering for the coming week is The First Tree. The exploratory game features light puzzle solving and platforming elements as you jump between two parallel stories – a fox searching for her missing family and a son attempting to reconnect with his estranged father in rural Alaska. Along the way you’ll uncover “artifacts from the son’s life as they journey towards The First Tree,” a source of life and – just maybe – an understanding of the role death must play in it.
The game is aimed at fans of exploratory games like Journey and Firewatch. It’s also either unrated or rated E for everyone, depending on the source, and with no enemies it may be appropriate for younger gamers with proper supervision. I’ve not completed the game yet, but there are reportedly some references to alcohol and tobacco use, references to violence (though, as noted, no combat in the game), and some mild language. Be advised that while the content may be mild compared to the violence of some other video games, the subject matter is deep and might lead to questions young children aren’t prepared to confront yet. As always, look into the game content yourself before you let your children loose with it.
Another positive of all three games this week are the light system requirements. All three will run on systems as old as Windows 7, with very light CPU and memory requirements. Low requirements doesn’t mean bad games, though. If you’re looking for something new and engaging, all three have fantastic reviews. While Deponia is the only series I’ve spent any significant amount of time playing personally, I’m anxious for the opportunity to dive into the other two once the unlock on Thursday.
And, if you jump on today, it isn’t too late to grab Season 2 of 3 out of 10, the single player comedy adventure game series set in a modern game studio. Don’t worry about not having played Season 1 either. That’s also still available for free by clicking the “View More” button on the “Free Games” section and scrolling through the offerings.
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