It’s fair to say I was rather excited about the changes. I loved the idea of taking out the monthly mystery and just straight up providing a choice of which titles to keep and which ones to leave behind.
Better still — as an existing subscriber of the service, I kept the old pricing and received an additional game to keep each month. Admittedly — this practice is essentially a lock-in contract. If you ever ‘cancel’ the service you can never come back to the old pricing.
And compared to the new pricing of the closest equivalence in value, that’s quite a gut punch.
But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story — as there is the ability to ‘Pause’ a subscription without loss of your grandfathered benefits. And as it turns out — I think this Pause function is going to be rather pivotal to the new ‘Humble Choice’ experience.
Because without any further beating about the bush: This first Humble Choice selection of titles has disappointed me. Greatly. I’ll get to what they are exactly a little later — but just hold up a minute and let me acknowledge that my disappointment need not be yours.
Beyond the obvious of game choice and excitement being highly subjective in the first place — it’s going to depend on what you already have. The one, singular, halo-title for this bundle was Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.
And I already own it.
And to be fair, I can see what likely would’ve formed the other two early reveal titles — perhaps for some others those might be a potential halo-title.
In any case, I didn’t necessarily expect that all of a sudden the Humble Choice bundles to start being full of high impact, high value titles — especially given they won’t yet have received any real benefit from the assumed additional revenue from putting the base prices up for rest of the market.
But we’re talking the first ever look at Humble Choice, here. The one that should be trying to convince everyone who has been holding out on the Humble Monthly bundles to date to jump on board.
And in that respect — even putting aside my personal circumstance of already owning the major halo-title — I don’t think Humble Choice measures up.
A New (Better) Way of Thinking About the Choice Bundle
Here’s where things take a bit more of a positive turn.
The old Humble Monthly bundle kept subscribers from pausing on the basis of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). The fact that there might be something you wanted in the hidden titles gave people a higher inclination to just let the subscription role even if there wasn’t anything particular of interest in the headliners.
Humble Choice by contrast has become a more considered purchase month on month. There is no hidden information. Nothing behind the scenes to cause you to later regret your pick — or fear that you might later regret your pick.
You have the time to dig into reviews for titles of potential interest. You can form an opinion on whether the current month’s bundle holds enough value for you — or not, and then act accordingly.
Don’t want it? Pause.
Check again next month. Don’t want that one either? Pause again.
So with that in mind… Am I going to buy this month’s bundle?
The December 2019 Selection
Humble Choice switched which side of payment a bundle belongs to — so there are two bundles this month. The old Humble Monthly and this, the new Humble Choice.
You can still pay early to get immediate access to the lot, but by default the payment will happen last Friday of the month — just like before. Only now you’ll then immediately get your full set of choices rather than waiting until early the following month.
With that out of the way, what do we have?
I’m going to list them in order of interest to me, from most interesting to least interesting.
|Interest Rank||Games and Official Descriptions|
|1||Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition|
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition experience the final chapter of Lara’s origin as she is forged into the Tomb Raider she is destined to be. Combining the base game, all seven DLC challenge tombs, as well as all downloadable weapons, outfits, and skills, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition is the ultimate way to experience Lara’s defining moment.
Phantom Doctrine is a strategic turn-based espionage thriller set at the peak of the Cold War. Drawing on a wide variety of influences and capturing the subtle intrigue of classic spy films, the game thrust the player into a mysterious world of covert operations, counterintelligence, conspiracy and paranoia.
Take command of your army as you storm through medieval Europe in an extensive series of campaigns. Choosing one of the four available nations – Viking, Anglo-Saxon, German, Slav – you will be tasked with more than just conquering, raiding and pillaging enemy camps, villages and towns. Only by utilizing the full range of available tactical options, taking strategic advantage of the environment, and managing your temporary bases and settlements, will you emerge victorious.
Blasphemous is a punishing action-platformer that combines the fast-paced, skilled combat of a hack-n-slash game with a deep and evocative narrative core, delivered through exploration of a huge universe comprised of non-linear levels.
In a world where control over ancient technologies means power, a ruthless Empire has arisen. You play as a team of Ruinhunters searching for the one thing that can save their village – a legendary weapon known as Aegis.
Explore, build, & defend in this 2D platformer that blends Metroidvania style combat with Tower Defense strategy.
Unique fusion of a top-down shooter and tower defense strategy. You are the invader! Use destructive weapons or lead your enemies into a maze of towers. Strategize in the build mode by carefully selecting various types of alien towers or throw yourself right into the heat of the battle.
|7||Dead in Vinland|
DEAD IN VINLAND is a survival/management game, mixed with RPG and adventure elements, about a Viking family trying their best to survive on a mysterious island.
|8||Horizon Chase Turbo|
Horizon Chase Turbo is a racing game inspired by the great hits of the 80’s and 90’s: Out Run, Lotus Turbo Challenge, Top Gear (SNES), Rush, among others. Each curve and each lap in Horizon Chase Turbo recreates classic arcade gameplay and offers you unbound speed limits of fun. Full throttle on and enjoy!
|9||Dark Future: Blood Red States|
Step into the extraordinary, dystopian world of Dark Future, filled with danger, chaos and adventure. A game of both action and strategy unlike any other, featuring a unique time dilating command mode to help you make tactical decisions on the dangerous highways of this world.
You’re broke, you’re hungry, and your only friends are a vintage hoverbike and a bowl of ramen noodles.
In Desert Child, you are a young and talented hoverbike racer who needs to figure out how you can scrape enough cash together through racing and odd jobs to punch your one-way ticket to the Red Planet to enter the biggest race in the universe, the Grand Prix.
Sidebar: I don’t think I like this format. I’m going to have to experiment with how best to lay this out I think.
Anywho. With all those in mind and listed, am I interested in this bundle? Especially given I already own Shadow of the Tomb Raider?
For me the question comes down to one of: Is Phantom Doctrine worth $12 USD to me?
Because being honest with myself — even though some of the others do seem at least a little interesting — they’ll probably never see the light of day once put into my library. Certainly none of them leap out as being something I would play in the near future.
And from the Extracting Value post a little while ago, one of the concepts I quite liked was measuring purchases in the here and now against likelihood of playing soon (not ‘Soon'(tm)) and only going ahead if the likelihood is somewhat high.
I’m going to give it a tentative ‘Yes’… i.e., I’m not going to immediately pause it. But I might end up doing so later in the month before the final Friday.
With Transport Fever 2 coming shortly and still more to do in The Outer Worlds, with Jedi Fallen Order lined up after that… I just don’t know if it’s realistic to expect to fit anything else in ‘soon’.
But there’s time to decide yet!