With the holiday season upon us, that means stores will begin their holiday sales soon. This is the perfect time to find some great deals on video games and consoles. The year has been a pretty decent one for video games, even in the middle of a pandemic where the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S are hard to find due to the ongoing chip shortage. Many games that were set to release this year have been delayed, but there are still some great games out there to catch on sale this holiday season. This is a guide to the holiday season's must-have games.
"Mass Effect Legendary Edition"
"Mass Effect" is one of the best RPG franchises in gaming. The original trilogy is considered BioWare's best work. It's a sci-fi epic spanning three games, where decisions made by the player can have consequences that affect the game that follows. Many still feel that they haven't made any game as good as these games.
After years of people begging for a remaster or remake of the trilogy, fans had their wish granted this past May when "Mass Effect Legendary Edition" was released. This collection featured a much-needed remake of the first "Mass Effect," along with graphical remasters of "Mass Effect 2" and "Mass Effect 3." All of the franchises' downloadable content is also included in this collection. If you're looking for great games to play that will last you for weeks or months, make sure you pick up "Mass Effect Legendary Edition" during a sale this holiday.
"Deathloop" is the most ambitious first-person shooter released this year. The game's unique premise sees the player play as Colt, a man constantly repeating the same day over and over while figuring out the right way to kill seven people on the same day. Once these people are dead, this never-ending loop ends. It sounds simple, but once you play for yourself, you quickly realize how deep it is.
Sometimes you’ll have to spend an entire day figuring out how to kill just one person. Depending on where you go and what time of day you go there, you may discover a secret path that will make killing a target easier. Of course, you’ll have to watch your own back because you are also being hunted by a woman named Juliana. She has the same powers you have access to, and, if you’re not careful, she’ll bring a quick end to your current loop. This creates an intense game of cat and mouse, where every decision, no matter how small it is, can make all the difference. Currently, the game can be played on the PS5 and PC and will likely come to the Xbox Series X|S after next year. It has been on sale for as low as $40, so you can probably find it for this price this holiday.
"Guardians of the Galaxy"
One of the most unexpected announcements this year was that a "Guardians of the Galaxy" would be coming in the fall. People were immediately skeptical, as this was a Marvel game published by Square Enix. Last fall, Square Enix published "Marvel’s Avengers," a game that has since struggled with various issues, ranging from glitches to a lack of content.
Thankfully, "Guardians of The Galaxy" seems to have dodged most of the issues that "Marvel Avengers" had, thanks to the fact that it's a single-player game instead of a co-op one. The game features all of the Guardians, but only Star-Lord is playable. You’ll spend the game shooting at enemies and dodging their attacks while accompanied by Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot. The other characters aren’t playable, but they can be given commands by the player. However, the game doesn’t connect with the greater Marvel universe. Instead, it chooses to stay in its lane and focus only on the Guardians. If "Marvel's Avengers" wasn’t your cup of tea then you may want to try "Guardians of the Galaxy" for a great single-player experience.
"Back 4 Blood"
Back in 2008, Turtle Rock Studios, then Valve South, released "Left 4 Dead," one of the most beloved co-op games in gaming history. Players controlled four characters and were forced to survive levels filled with hordes of zombies. It was a simple concept that was so well-received, it spawned a sequel and some downloadable content in the years that followed. A third game in the series was never made, but this year Turtle Rock Studios released its spiritual successor, "Back 4 Blood."
"Back 4 Blood" is just like "Left 4 Dead." It features four playable characters and levels featuring hordes of the undead. What sets it apart from "Left 4 Dead" is its progression. The game lets you unlock cards that reward various abilities. These abilities include stamina boosts, health boosts, movement speed increases, and damage boosts. Before starting a level, you’ll build a deck using these cards. There are 61 cards to unlock, meaning that you’ll have plenty of variation each time you build a deck.
Another difference between this game and "Left 4 Dead" is what happens between missions. In "Left 4 Dead" you handle all of your weapons and inventory within the safe room at the end of the level. "Back 4 Blood" allows you to do the same, except in a hub area where missions can be also selected. The hub area also features a shooting range allowing you to test each weapon in the game.
Unlike the games previously mentioned, "Back 4 Blood" is a part of Xbox’s Game Pass service on Xbox consoles and PC. This means you can play the game for as low as $9.99 per month. If you’re a PlayStation user and don’t want to buy the game at full price, then you’ll have to wait for a sale.
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