If you’re getting an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S on launch day… Scratch that. If you’re able to get either of the new consoles this week, you’ll also be on the hunt for something else: games. Xbox in particular has a day one advantage for new buyers in the form of Game Pass. This ever-increasing package gives access to a laughably huge library of stuff to play in one monthly subscription. But not everything falls under that umbrella. You might want something a little different, but also something cheap. That’s why I’ve gone through all the launch day Xbox Series X deals on the game’s digital store to pull a few recommendations.
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The Fallout: New Vegas DLC
Fallout: New Vegas is still a wonderful first-person RPG to this day. Its cult status as the not-so-secretly best game in the modern interpretation of the franchise sustains for a reason. Now that Microsoft bought out its publisher, Bethesda, it’s also part of Game Pass. But like a lot of Game Pass games, that doesn’t actually include the DLC, which is mostly quite good in the case of New Vegas. Luckily it’s all on sale right now — giving you a chance to stock up on the complete experience. You don’t even need to play it right away! Since Microsoft owns the base game, it won’t be leaving Game Pass any time soon, and I could see them sprucing it up with 4K features or something in the future.
Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
Crash Bandicoot 4 was a soft surprise earlier this year. It made absolute sense that Activision would greenlight a sequel after the success of the HD remakes. It was less certain that the fourth game would be any good. It is, though. It’s very good! It’s also super hard… Even so, $60 feels like a lot to pay for the old school jump ’em up. Get it while it’s still on the cheap!
I’m a big fan of creative co-op games. Hunt: Showdown is one of the more interesting developments on that front in the last few years. Comparisons to the battle royale genre might have stifled interest in it at launch, but it has more in common with Monster Hunter and Left 4 Dead, if you ask me. In it, players head out in squads of two to track down and defeat eldritch horrors hiding out in a creepy bayou. Yes, you can also kill opposing teams on the map, but it’s less important than carefully gunning through hordes of zombies and investigating your special prey — only to try and escape with your life at the end of every hunt.
The Xbox family of consoles lacks a standout action-adventure game like The Legend of Zelda. The original Okami filled a similar gap back on the PlayStation 2, and now Okami HD is there for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S owners as well.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection
All eight Mega Man X games are split across two “Legacy Collections.” But you only really need the first one. Unless for some reason you really care about the increasingly convoluted lore the series developed over time. Mega Man X through Mega Man X4 are, simply put, the good games. Everything after that is interesting and divisive at best, or straight-up bad at worst.
Shenmue 1 & 2 HD
I must admit I don’t like the Shenmue games very much… But they’re an interesting artifact. They’re also dirt cheap in this collection right now. At the very least, you can see the series that more-or-less brought the (far superior) Yakuza games to life a few years later. Many of the Yakuza titles are now on Game Pass and the most recent entry, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, is also a Series X and Series S launch title.
Sega Genesis Classics
Speaking of classic Sega games, this is literally a bundle of just that, for a price you can’t beat. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, a reskin of Puyo Puyo for Western territories, is worth the $12 alone. If you like classic JRPGs, there are also three of the oft forgotten original Phantasy Star games. Whereas Streets of Rage 1, 2, and 3 can get you up to speed for the very nostalgic Streets of Rage 4 that just hit earlier this year.
Rainbow Six: Siege Deluxe Edition
It’s practically impossible to keep track of the various expansions, versions, and DLC associated with Rainbow Six: Siege. But the currently on-sale Deluxe Edition is a good entry point to determine if you like this esoteric (and quietly mega popular) competitive shooter. It’s just $10 on the Xbox store right now. It doesn’t come with nearly everything the game has to offer. But it’s also a fraction of the cost of the other packs — which have much slimmer deals at the moment.
Assassin’s Creed: Antiquity Pack (Deals With Gold)
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is one of the hot new launch titles for the hot new Xboxes. Maybe you’ve fallen off the series for a bit, however, and want to know how much it’s changed in the last few years. The answer is quite a lot. Both Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey were basically loot-driven single-player RPGs. Stealth and planning are still options, but very much downplayed. Valhalla follows a similar path. If you wanna know if the new formula is for you, you can get this normally $100 pack of both the previous games for a quarter of that cost (assuming you have Xbox Live Gold).
Stuff to Avoid
- Dreamfall Chapters: The series that started with The Longest Journey concludes in this episodic collection. It’s not a terrible game, by any stretch, but it’s the third part of a trilogy — and the first two games aren’t readily available on the Xbox right now.
- Valkyria Revolution: Don’t let the name fool you. This pseudo-spinoff has nothing to do with the excellent Valkyria Chronicles series, besides some stylistic similarities. It’s also terrible.
- Red Faction: Guerrilla – Re-Mars-tered: This one pains me because I loved Red Faction: Guerrilla when it launched. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the remaster, either. It’s just that time hasn’t been kind to this one. There are simply much better open-world mayhem games out there today.
- Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2: For the same reasons listed above, just avoid this second collection that quarantines the worst Mega Man X games into one easy-to-avoid package.