2012 offered some pretty amazing games. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to buy every game they want at launch. Maybe a game or two just slipped under your radar, or you were ‘on the fence’ about buying a particular title at full price. That’s just life.
Fortunately, some of last year’s best titles can now be bought for less than thirty bucks! If you haven’t played the following games yet, then you need to surf on over to Amazon or Steam and do some shopping.
(Most of these prices are available on Amazon and/or Steam, and most of these games are eligible for free ‘Prime’ shipping on Amazon.)
Legend of Grimrock – $15
Legend of Grimrock is an old-school, grid-based dungeon crawler with some modern sensibilities. Grimrock isn’t just a nostalgic trip down memory lane though; the dungeon is beautifully crafted, the puzzles are clever, and the overall atmosphere is oppressive and foreboding.
If old-school dungeon crawlers like Eye of the Beholder, Dungeon Master, or Black Crypt tickle your pickle, then Almost Human’s Legend of Grimrock will be right up your alley.
Hitman: Absolution – $30
Agent 47 made a reappearance in 2012’s Hitman: Absolution. If you don’t know, the Hitman games are action-adventure stealth games where you play an assassin. Normally you are given a target, and then you have to come up with creative and silent ways to eliminate that target by using disguises, a deadly arsenal, and the environment. There is a story… but let’s be honest: We are here for the kills, and there are plenty of ways in Hitman to garrote your way to happiness.
Borderlands 2 – $30
Gearbox Software took everything that people loved about Borderlands, and pumped it all full of steroids for the sequel. Borderlands 2 is a crazy, hilarious, and massive FPS, and one of the most enjoyable co-op experiences you can find. You don’t have to worry too much if you didn’t play the first Borderlands; you didn’t miss much story, and a Wikipedia article or two can catch you up to speed.
If you want a healthy dose of humor mixed in with your shooter, and the word ‘Bonerfart’ makes you chuckle, then go get Borderlands 2.
Max Payne 3 – $20
We hadn’t seen Max Payne in almost a decade, but Rockstar brought him back in a big way in 2012’s Max Payne 3. Older, beefier, bald, and drunk, we catch up to a broken Max in Brazil, where he is working security for a wealthy real-estate mogul. Max quickly finds himself in a dangerous situation that forces him to deal with the past, as well as the present.
Max Payne is smart, edgy, beautiful, and absolutely should not be missed.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – $30
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a *deep breath* turn-based tactical role-playing strategy video game from Firaxis Games, and is a reimagining of 1994’s UFO: Enemy Unknown. Basically, aliens invade the Earth, and a paramilitary organization called XCOM is called to Earth’s defense. As XCOM’s commander, you must research captured alien technologies, expand the XCOM headquarters, recruit and equip troops, and send out missions to battle the alien menace. In missions you partake in turn-based tactical combat where every decision matters, and can result in the permanent death of your squad members.
Listen… I love XCOM, and I could easily talk at some length about it. For the sake of brevity, I suggest you simply watch some video reviews if you aren’t sure if it’s your thing or not. If it even looks mildly interesting though, go buy it. You won’t be disappointed.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead – $30
The Walking Dead is a mostly dismissible comic book series, and a good but by no means exceptional television series, so when Telltale’s point-and-click The Walking Dead game starting yielding such exceptional reviews, I was perplexed. I decided to take the leap of faith and buy the series, and holy shit was it worth it! Telltale builds a narrative that is gripping, engaging, and provides one of the most touching and emotional experiences ever created. I’m not just talking about games either. It’s one of the most touching and emotional experiences ever created ever, in any medium. Buy it! Buy it, buy it, buy it.
Journey – $15 to $30
Journey is… amazing, and hard to describe in words. More of an experience than a game, Journey is an innovative, breathtaking, beautiful, emotional cooperative experience that is absolutely gaming’s best example of how our beloved medium should be appreciated as an art form. Playing Journey made me feel the same level of awe and amazement I felt as a 10-year-old child the first time I watched Aladdin in theaters. Even without any spoken or written narrative, Journey reaches down inside of you and touches something in the core of your being, and simply won’t let go.
I was originally pretty hesitant of paying $15 for a game I knew would only be 2 or 3 hours long. Every penny of that money was well spent. Hell, in retrospect I would have probably paid more. What I really recommend, though, is buying the Journey Collector’s Edition. For less than $30, you get Journey, Flower, flOw, the original (amazing) soundtrack for each game, three exclusive mini-games, a documentary about Journey, creator commentary and play-throughs, exclusive Journey content like PSN avatars, and a free 1-month subscription to Playstation Plus. WOW!
If you haven’t experienced Journey, and you have a PS3, I beg you to check it out.