Hey all! Dave here. While the PlayStation 4 has become my new multiplatform choice this generation due to generally higher framerates and resolution, I still can’t completely turn away from Xbox One due to my OXM roots (and especially when I want to watch WWE Network picture-in-picture while playing Massive Chalice). When Microsoft cooks up great sales, any notion of frames per second or 1080p goes out the window, and this week’s Ultimate Game Sale definitely has some doozies of a deal for both Xbox One and Xbox 360. If slogging through the 80-plus Ultimate Game Sale selections on Major Nelson’s site is a bit daunting for you, I’ve picked out ten personal favorites that factor in both the deepness of the discount and the greatness of the game. Oh, and if you need to fill your digital wallet, don’t forget Amazon sells digital Xbox credit – buying it there also helps Laser Time at no extra cost to you!
Far Cry 4 ($24 with Xbox Live Gold, $30 without)
The Far Cry series has been on fire this decade, as Far Cry 3 essentially reinvented the series as an open world party gone wrong filled with amazing sights to explore and sadistic enemies to destroy, with Blood Dragon introducing crazy-huge creatures to slay. Far Cry 4 mixes those wondrous elements together, so now you have another dudebro exploring a weird island where you can make elephants explode. One of last year’s most insane shooters for less than the price of two IMAX movie tickets is a heckuva deal.
Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition ($15 with Xbox Live Gold, $18 without)
Sleeping Dogs was a gorgeous game to begin with when it debuted on the Xbox 360 in 2012, and it’s still quite a looker now. While not much new was added to the Definitive Edition besides an audiovisual spit and polish, a tenner and a fiver is well worth it for this fantastic and unique open-world crime drama (featuring every drip and drop of its DLC).
Ori and the Blind Forest ($15 with Xbox Live Gold, $16 without)
Okay, so a 1/4 price cut on a $20 game isn’t a huge drop, but I’m making an exception for Ori. For one thing, it’s a new-ish release, having only debuted in March. Since then, Mikel Reparaz hasn’t stopped gushing about it, whether it was in his Ori IGN review or giving it a spot amongst his top 5 games of 2015 so far. I wasn’t expecting a discount for this indie charmer for quite awhile, so snagging this one for $15 instead of $20 was a no brainer.
The Telltale Games Collection ($55 with Xbox Live Gold, $66 without)
While you’ve probably played a Telltale chapter over the last three-and-a-half years, the immense replayability of these games makes double-dipping worthwhile. Why should I take another trip through the undead-infested Atlanta on my chuggy as fuck 360 when I can see everything a bit more smoothly on the Xbone (while also getting new cheevos)? Plus, any worry about new Fables and Walking Dead season saves is assuaged knowing I have data on a new console. Telltale seasons rarely drop below $15 on sale, so getting each for eleven dollars is worthwhile if you’ve yet to buy any on Microsoft’s newest console.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor ($20 with Xbox Live Gold, $24 without)
Shadow of Mordor was my unequivocal game of the year last year (many outlets agreed), and nuts to anyone who said it was because 2014 was a weak one. MESOM still stands amongst the best games of the generation, giving new life to the Assassin’s Creed sprinty open-world formula by filling it with Orcs whose personalities evolve after they do battle with you. While there’s also some decent DLC, the $20 for the standard edition gives you plenty to play. Hopefully by the time you finish we’ll have another game with a combat feature as neat as the Nemesis system.
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected & Gat out of Hell ($19.80 with Xbox Live Gold, $24.75 without)
All of the open-world games I’ve previously mentioned are neat enough, but Saints Row has done an amazing job standing out over the last few years. For a franchise that had a sewage-shooting minigame in its first installment, the balls-to-the-wall changes that have come since Saints 3 have been astonishing. Playing as a super-powered president with a spooftastic story at the center has taken Saints Row far out of the GTA-clone category, and getting SR4, all of its DLC, the decent Gat out of Hell standalone adventure, and all of the prerequisite new-gen bells and whistles for under $20 is a saintly deal.
Battlefield Hardline ($36 with Xbox Live Gold, $40 without)
While I’ve already got my money’s worth for EA Access thanks to my enjoyment of Battlefield 4 and my one-week head start in Dragon Age Inquisition, I wish the customary EAA 10% discount would have stacked atop the Ultimate Game Sale AND the Xbox Live Gold deal boost. Still, $36 for an intriguing campaign that mixes stealth and shooting is a great deal, not to mention the fun cops-and-robbers style multiplayer modes. Until PayDay 2 gets a deeper discount, I’ll probably stick with this to get my FPS criminology fix.
Mass Effect ($4 with Xbox Live Gold, $5 without)
As someone who played through the entire Mass Effect trilogy over six months in 2011, I can say that skipping the original is a grave mistake. As great as ME2’s suicide crew is, your favorite returnees get their start here, and missing out on critical early relationship development isn’t worth skipping some of the original’s foibles. Sure, some Mako exploration can be dull and even eight years later you’ll still run into game-stopping glitches, but some of the series’ most grave decisions and deepest connections are made here. We already know the original ME is going to be one of the Xbox 360 games playable on Xbone, so getting one of the most critically acclaimed western-developed RPGs for the price of a pint is a steal.
The Orange Box ($5 with Xbox Live Gold, $6.49 without)
Yes, most of these games are available for pocket change on Steam, but The Orange Box has hours of entertainment with four fantastic campaigns for a fiver. I’m guessing Team Fortress 2 on the 360 isn’t exactly a hotbed of activity right now, but that doesn’t really matter when the rest of the package features the best first-person puzzle game of all time (Portal) and three fantastic Half-Live campaigns.
Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine ($6 with Xbox Live Gold)
Okay, I’m cheating here as Monaco isn’t a part of the Ultimate Game Sale; rather, it’s one of the standard Xbox Live Deals of the Week (meaning you’ll need Xbox Live Gold). I reviewed this back in the day for OXM and adored it due to the cerebral nature of its co-op (which can be done online or with friends on the same console). Sitting next to my fellow editors pointing things out on the screen (like a criminal mastermind scoping out blueprints) and then executing the heist with a team of uniquely skilled thieves made for some of my favorite co-op moments of all time, and I hope this deal makes for more Monaco fans on Xbox. This may not be in the Ultimate Game Sale, but it’s definitely an Ultimate Game in my opinion.
You’ll find more gems on the official list if you keep digging, but those 10 are a great place to start. And again, if you need more Xbucks, getting Amazon’s digital Xbox credit is a simple and easy way to get more online cash while also helping Laser Time at no extra cost to you. And if you want to see more Xbox entertainment, check out Hank and Chris’ Xbox press conference live reactions, show below!