The Xbox Summer Sale is live, and a whole plethora of games are up for sale. I went and picked my top 20 games under $20 USD that I think you should consider buying. These might be games you would have never considered otherwise, or games that deserve to be added to your endless backlog. If anything, it’s a quick and easy way to build a video game library for cheap while we all sit at home waiting out this pandemic.
Note: Prices may vary depending on region/Xbox Gold member discount
1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016)
A cyberpunk first-person shooter, Deus Ex has always been at the top of my list of games you should not miss. The narrative and voice acting are top-notch, and it’s just pure fun. This series drastically needs a third game, but until then Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is worth visiting for anyone that wants to spend a solid 12 hours playing with cybernetic implants and augments.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition (2016)
If you’re one of the few people on the planet who hasn’t dabbled in The Elder Scrolls series, this is your moment. The Skyrim Special Edition has all the DLC for the game, including the ability to mod (a feature not commonly seen on consoles). You can easily dump hundreds of hours making your way through Skyrim and still have more to explore.
Special mention: Elder Scrolls Online
3. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)
The release of Netflix’s The Witcher (2019) series has certainly given the game a boost in recent months. If you enjoyed the world and intrigue of the series, the game is worth playing while you wait for Season 2. Prior knowledge of the Witcher universe isn’t needed to jump into this game; it does more than enough to introduce you to this RPG world of monsters as the grumpy witcher Geralt.
4. Abzû (2016)
The world beneath the ocean is available in Abzû. You play as a diver exploring the depths of the ocean. The game is hauntingly beautiful and vibrant, with a similar feel to the cult classic Journey. Abzû is the perfect game when you don’t feel like doing anything combat heavy and you just want something peaceful.
Special Mention: Beyond Blue (just over $20)
5. A Way Out (2018)
A common problem with co-operative games is that it requires players to own the same game. A Way Out fixes that problem. Only one player is required to own the game, the other just needs to download a special online play model. A Way Out is an intense 3rd-person shooter which also manages to be an emotional ride that starts off with a prison break and mixes many fun callbacks to other gaming styles. A Way Out is an excellent few hours spent with a friend.
6. Bioshock Collection (2016)
This collection gifts you THREE games. Both Bioshock 1 and 2 have been upgraded to next-gen, which are worth the collection on their own, regardless of everyone’s feelings on Infinite. Another exciting first-person shooter with immersive world building, Bioshock is set in a city at the bottom of the ocean named Rapture. Once you see your first Big Daddy, you’ll understand why you shouldn’t skip out on this game.
7. Dead Island Definitive Collection (2016)
Though zombie games are a dime a dozen these days, Dead Island deserves the spotlight with the jump to next-gen through a remaster. Though it contains a similar feel to the popular Left 4 Dead series, the Dead Island games are open-world survival made easier with its four-person online co-op mode that has a campaign to follow. They’re messy, gritty, and the perfect fit for an online party night.
8. Dishonored 2 (2016)
Dishonored 2 is an action-adventure game that gives you multiple ways to complete your mission goals – most notably stealth. This sequel is a wonderful mixture of fantasy and intrigue as you take on the role of a supernatural assassin, either as Royal Protector Corvo or the Empress Emily.
Special Mention: Dishonored: Definitive Edition
9. DOOM Slayers Collection (2016)
Whether you grew up playing the classic DOOM or are new to the franchise, this is the perfect collection for mindless first-person shooting and demon slaughter. The collection not only has the latest reboot of the first DOOM (2016) but also the original DOOMs 1-3 starting with the 1993 classic.
10. The Bioware Bundle – Dragon Age: Inquisition (2015) and Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017)
Despite criticism for not living up their predecessors, Inquisition and Andromeda are solid and enjoyable RPGs. Inquisition throws the player back into the fantasy world of Dragon Age, where old and new companions help you make game-changing decisions. Andromeda separates itself from the main Mass Effect universe, yet all the foundations of the popular space epic series are there.
11. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (2017)
Having won many awards for its accurate portrayal of psychosis and dealing with mental health, Hellblade is an intense 3rd-person action-adventure that follows the Celtic Warrior Senua. With the threat of permadeath looming, you head deep into the bowels of Hell to find the soul of Senua’s love.
12. LEGO Games – Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, DC Super Villains, Marvel Super Heroes 2, Marvel’s Avengers
LEGO games are an easy sell. They are fun for all ages and allow for shared screen co-op. I cheated a bit and listed four LEGO games. All within the superhero genre, there isn’t much distinction between these games aside from their Marvel/DC origins. Either way, if you have ever liked any of the past LEGO games, odds are you’ll enjoy these.
13. Metro Exodus (2019)
If you’re embracing the idea of a post-apocalyptic world in 2020, Metro Exodus is the game for you. Though it is the third game in the Metro series, it is entirely possible to jump into it without prior knowledge. Unlike most apocalyptic games, the setting isn’t the USA, but the vast lands of Russia, with much of the game spent with survivors living in the Metro stations and tunnels.
14. Murdered: Soul Suspect (2014)
A supernatural horror game, Soul Suspect gives you the joy of solving of your own murder as a ghost with limited ability to interact with the world around you. You slowly start to unlock more supernatural abilities the more you search, helping you live out your dream of being that ghost that annoys all your old co-workers.
15. Prey (2017)
Prey is another great FPS with fantastic world building. Creepy and strange things are happening on the space station. It’s up to you to figure things out and uncover your own past. It’s scary, fun, and captures that same thrill that will remind you of playing Dead Space.
16. Tomb Raider – Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018), Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015), Tomb Raider (2013)
Getting into this series has never been easier as the Tomb Raider trilogy was all wrapped up recently with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. If you’re looking to scramble through tombs, take on the wilderness, and murder folks with a climbing axe (and occasionally die horribly), this is your chance to snag any of these games to finish off your collection.
Special Mention: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
17. Unravel Yarny Bundle – Unravel 1 (2016), Unravel 2 (2018)
Unravel is a charming side-scroller paired with puzzles that puts you in the role of Yarny. You’re limited to solving puzzles with the amount of yarn you are composed of at any given point, meaning you have to think ahead! It’s a delightful sequel that introduced co-op, allowing a friend to join you in shared-screen mode.
Special Mention: Never Alone Arctic Collection
18. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017)
Another classic series that has seen a revitalization in recent years, Wolfenstein II takes us to an alternative world where Nazis won World War II. Is there any better reason to pick this up than having the chance to kill Nazis and start a rebellion in the 1960s?
Special Mention: Wolfenstein: The New Order/The Old Blood
19. Ori and Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (2016)
Lost and separated, you play as the spirit Ori on a mission to help save the forest from decaying. It’s an exceptional story, a visually appealing game, and the backgrounds in this side-scroller are vibrant and full of life.
20. Astroneer (2016)
This game is the space-explorer/world-builder survival game we needed. With the ability to play with up to four people in a session, it offers endless base-building possibilities using whatever resources you can find. Tons of hours can be spent in this game as there appears to be no end in sight, creatively speaking.