In 2018, the Xbox One has gone from strength to strength. Numerous top games have been released like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 4, but what about those from earlier in the year and late 2017 that you may have missed out on? One great thing about video games is that while they often swiftly decrease in price, their entertainment value doesn’t deplete whatsoever. That means you can pick up some truly fantastic games for bargain prices, as long as you’re happy to wait a short while till you pick them up.
If you’re looking for a few games to help you pass the time throughout the Christmas holidays, or maybe you need to pick up a gift for a friend or relative but you don’t want to break the bank, here are 10 essential Xbox One games from the last year for under $35/£25. And if you need more Xbox bargains, here are the cheap Xbox game deals still available before Christmas.
1. State of Decay 2
While zombies were an overdone concept at the start of this decade, State of Decay 2 released earlier this year and instantly became one of the better titles in the genre. A true zombie survival game, the rigmarole is the same as the first: band together a group of survivors and build yourselves from the ground up. You’ll go on rescue missions, scavenge supplies, run over zombies with your car and more. Despite being a saturated genre, there’s a reason we called it “a potent reminder of why the undead continue to be such a rich source for interactive entertainment” in our State of Decay 2 review.
2. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
The first Wolfenstein game in the rebooted series re-introduced us to the concept of killing Nazi robots and overthrowing the Nazi regime and we LOVED it. As expected, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is more of the same except this time, you’re even more of a badass. The shooting mechanics are polished and satisfying, the story and cutscenes are over the top, and there’s plenty of ways to complete each mission. From going in guns blazing to silently assassinating Nazi guards, Wolfenstein 2 is one of the greatest shooters from the last few years.
For something a little different, try Celeste. It’s a truly one-of-a-kind indie game where you play as a young woman on a journey to ascend a mountain. But it’s more than just that. While the parkour mechanics are responsive and precise, the story is truly beautiful. Along the way, Celeste will find herself and overcome a lot of her problems, many of which will resonate with the player and evoke some serious thinking. If you want something a little more laid back with no combat, Celeste is a must-buy.
4. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
If you’ve enjoyed playing Fortnite for the last year, why not try a more serious battle royale game? PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG for short, saw a full release on Xbox One just a few months ago and it’s more of a battle royale simulator than the arcade-like Fortnite. With three vastly different maps, a bunch of weapons and vehicles to get you from A to B, the best PUBG players have patience and deadly accuracy. There’s no building here; become one with the environment and earn that chicken dinner like a boss!
5. Overcooked 2
What better way to bond with the family this festive season than by cooking a virtual meal together? Overcooked 2 takes the groundbreaking concept from the first game and adds a new twist with more scenarios, food, mechanics and more. You all have to work together to cook enough as possible in the allotted time, all while trying to keep the kitchen from setting on fire. It’s fun, frantic, and quite frankly hilarious trying to navigate four chubby chefs round a very small unique kitchen.
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6. The Crew 2
Is it your dream to go on a cross-country road trip? Is that dream still just a distant hope? Why not do it virtually! The Crew 2 is the ultimate road trip across the entirety of the United States - excluding Alaska and Hawaii - in a car, motorbike, boat, or plane. Buddy up with pals and race your way through 48 states, from the warm Californian coast to the bustling New York City streets. While The Crew 2 is far from a racing simulator, it encapsulates the feeling of an open road and you can truly go wherever you please.
7. Hollow Knight
If you like gorgeous environments with beautiful soundtracks and an engaging combat system and story to boot, then Hollow Knight is for you. It’s another indie game with a metroidvania style, as you often have to retread your steps to explore the kingdom of Hallownest and defeat all the bosses that lie within. It’s been billed as similar to Dark Souls but much, much less horrifying and frustrating.
8. Assassin’s Creed Origins
We’ve had two truly great Assassin’s Creed games in the past year or so, and while Assassin's Creed Odyssey is “the best RPG since The Witcher 3”, there’s no better way to get acquainted with the new style of Assassin’s Creed than with its prequel. Set in Egypt, it takes the historic franchise in a bold new direction. And guess what? It works so, so well. The story is one of the best, the Ancient Egyptian setting is outstanding, there is just so much to do. It bridges the gap between the action/adventure style of the older games to become more like an RPG and it means Assassin’s Creed Origins revitalised the series.
Have you ever wondered what life is like being the shopkeeper in a video game? The people who sell items and weapons to you, and are always open, no matter the hour? If you have, then Moonlighter is for you. At day, you look after a shop where you’ll sell trinkets and items to ambitious heroes who come in on their travels. At night, you become one of them. Sleep is no matter, for you are a hero who will venture forth in search of treasure and the toughest foes, but by the time the sun rises, you will return to the shop, ready to sell to your solo colleagues once more.
10. Dead Cells
The Binding Of Isaac is one of the most popular roguelike games of all time, but what happens when you take the core components of Edmund McMillen’s massive hit and add in some metroidvania elements? Dead Cells is the result and it works oh so well. You gradually unlock more gear, learn the different types of enemies and their attack patterns, and explore the vastly different environments. Like Isaac, you’ll come across bosses that will take you multiple tries to beat, but when you do you’ll feel on top of the world.
If just one of these games isn’t enough, why not get them all? You’re looking at just under $250/£200 for the lot and who knows, maybe when you get through them all, you’ll be ready to do the same again before next Christmas?
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