So the Cyber Monday gaming deals have kicked in. Did you notice? Yeah, it’s been marginally noticeable, hasn’t it, in loosely the same way that being run over by a rhino is. At a time like this, it can be pretty easy to be disconcerted by the sheer weight of value hurtling toward you. What to buy? Where to buy it? When to buy it? Fortunately, we’ve got you well covered with our multiple, constantly updating hubs for the Best Cyber Monday gaming deals. But here, I wanted to take a small step back, take a breath, and look at a few of the games you should be keeping an eye out, before the utterly relentless deal frenzy kicks in over the weekend.
So I’ve compiled a list of the most vital (and in some cases overlooked) gaming experiences likely to be found at a significantly lower price over Black Friday weekend. Some are AAA goliaths that have dominated the year, and which you really should get into over the Holiday break if you haven’t already. Others are the more unusual, leftfield, but entirely brilliant games that you might have previously skipped due to their off-the-beaten-path location. And some are just fantastic games that you might have forgotten about because they landed before the big autumn games rush, and weren’t at the top of your list at the time. Let’s start with…
What it is: The colossal, beautiful, vastly expanded and greatly more welcoming sequel to Bungie’s now legendary MMOFPS.
Best US Price: Destiny 2 for $27 at GameStop
Best UK Price: Destiny 2 for £28.99 at Amazon
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: Destiny 2, far more than its predecessor, was deliberately built for everyone to enjoy, however they want to enjoy it. If you buy in for the long-haul of multiple hundreds of hours, countless XP levels, and ever-growing hoards of loot and RPG ability options, then a cut-price Black Friday ticket will make Destiny 2 one of the biggest bargains of the year. But even if you only want to treat D2 like a Halo game – ie. play through the brilliant campaign, and then hop into multiplayer – you’ll still find one of the best and richest shooters of the year. The official Destiny 2 Twitter account is already bringing us talk of sale prices kicking in on November 24, so keep an eye very much out.
The full Bethesda line-up
What it is: Some of the most eclectic, creative, polished and smart, left-field AAA gaming around. Between the surprisingly thoughtful, cartoon carnage of Wolfenstein 2, the seething, psychedelic horror of The Evil Within 2, the densely atmospheric, rule-breaking BioShock successor Prey, and the open-ended, magic-powered stealth of Dishonored 2, there’s an intelligent and surprising hoot for everyone here.
Best US Price: Prey for $14.99 at Amazon
Best UK Price: Prey for £11.99 at Argos
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: Because as well as providing four of the most interesting games of the year that almost certainly didn’t hit the top of the mainstream’s must-buy lists at launch, Bethesda has seemed very keen on deals, offers, and freebies this year. It has already run a free weekend on Doom, and is doing the same with Wolfenstein 2 at the moment. With solid Black Friday deals already on the PlayStation Store, the odds are very good that Bethesda is going to be selling low all over the place over the course of the weekend.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
What it is: The vast, immensely upgraded sequel to the surprise hit 2014 Lord of the Rings action-adventure.
Best US Price: Middle-earth: Shadow of War for $25 at Amazon
Best UK Price: Middle-earth: Shadow of War for £29.99 at Amazon
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: Already discounted in the current Steam sale, there’s every reason to believe that hot Black Friday deals on Shadow of War will crop up all over the place. Releasing at the beginning of this year’s silly season for games, the intelligent open-worlder has rather dropped out of conversation since, but is well worth revisiting. With a truly reactive world and dynamic, gameplay-crafted armies to build – which in turn create dynamic, tactical chaos during huge fortress sieges, on top of hundreds of hours of action-RPG brilliance – this is another gem from Monolith and Warner Bros., and would make a perfect Tolkien holiday over the winter break.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
What it is: Simply, one of the best Zelda games ever made, and therefore one of the best games ever made.
Best US Price: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for $56.99 at Amazon
Best UK Price: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for £48 at Amazon
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: So utterly, belligerently progressive as to utterly impress whether you have any history with the series or not, Breath of the Wild is the game that single-handedly established the Switch as the first, universal must-have Nintendo console in a very, very long time.
And, while the likes of recent showstopper Super Mario Odyssey are unlikely to see major Black Friday discounts, the already recognised classic status of Breath of the Wild might well see it come in for the deal treatment. There are already a bunch of great Nintendo Switch Black Friday deals around, but if you’re looking at buying a machine and hankering for Hyrule as you do, keep your eyes peeled for flash sales. And if you’ve skirted on the periphery of Nintendo for years, and are wondering if all of this year’s hype is justified – it really, really is, by the way – then you won’t get a better time this year to jump in.
Mario + Rabbids: Battle Kingdom
What it is: The weird, entirely unexpected, XCOM-style tactical shooter, set in the Mushroom Kingdom, and developed by Ubisoft doing its best impression of Nintendo.
Best US Price: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for $51.99 at Amazon
Best UK Price: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle for £36.85 at Amazon
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: Because Mario + Rabbids is such a weird idea – in both its concept and its execution – that even the most die-hard Mario fan might have passed it up at launch, amid the giddy wait for Super Mario Odyssey. But the fact is, doing so would have been a mistake. Initially a little odd – simplistic, even – over its opening hour or so, Kingdom Battle reveals itself to be just as friendly, ingenious, and utterly compulsive as any first-party developed Mario spin-off. Taking XCOM’s battle-tested turn-based strategy, and evolving it in a decidedly goofy, hilarious, cheese-dream Mario fashion without losing any of the depth or nuance, Mario + Rabbids is the definition of ‘has no right to work, but really really does’.
It’s also the definition of ‘Definitely not the first Switch game you’ll think of picking up’, which is exactly why I’m here reminding you that you should.
What it is: The most cult of sci-fantasy, action-RPG sequels, with a gorgeous ambience, and deliciously refined combat from genre masters Platinum.
Best US Price: Nier: Automata for $25 at Gamestop
Best UK Price: Nier: Automata for £29.99 at the PlayStation Store
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: Because unless you’re already one of the vocally passionate converted, you almost definitely skipped Nier: Automata when it released in March. What you missed out on by doing that is a deceptively deep, thoughtful, emotionally potent narrative musing posing as a high-energy action game. A powerful, intelligent, deeply affecting parable that challenges your intellect, twitch-skills, and tear ducts equally. Its uniqueness may have caused many to skip it the first time around, but that very uniqueness is precisely why you shouldn’t over the Black Friday weekend.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
What it is: One of the best and most beautiful open-world action-adventure games ever made, bizarrely from the makers of Killzone.
Best Price: Horizon Zero Dawn for $20 at Gamestop
Best Price: Horizon Zero Dawn for £24.99 at the PlayStation Store
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: The surprise stand-out of the PlayStation 4’s 2017 line-up, no other game this year better exemplifies Sony’s blend of creative craft and crowd-pleasing gloss. Delivering a unique post-apocalypse of robot dinosaurs and primal hunting techniques, it floods that world with a hell of a compelling narrative, headed up by one of the year’s best protagonists. If ever there were a game that Sony would want to celebrate by putting it in everyone’s hands over this Black Friday weekend, it would be Horizon Zero Dawn.
Why you should look out for it over Black Friday weekend: After bubbling under in the realm of the cultishly beloved for years, Persona finally broke through this year with its fifth main series entry. Good job then, that Persona 5 is the absolute best damn game so far. Underpinned by excellent, malleable, turn-based combat and relentlessly great writing, storytelling, and characterisation, Persona 5 blends the fantastical and the relatable day-to-day across a vast suite of engaging and enticing Things To Do. It’s one of the coolest, classiest, but most thoughtful and endearing RPGs around, and a Black Friday deal would be the perfect excuse to give yourself to dive deep into its gleaming waters.