Gamers know the summer usually sucks for new releases. This season hasn’t been much different and we won’t see the blockbusters really roll in until halfway through September. However, one of the best things about games is how much they depreciate after they launch. Plus the best downloadable games give a great value for your money and rival anything on the shelf. Now’s as good a time as any to stack up, especially for those not looking to drop 60+ bones on the next annual sports game or COD. Where do you start though?
Here are a few gems you should consider copping while you wait for fall’s blockbusters.
Skate 3 – PS3, Xbox 360 — Skate vets will find Skate 3 doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. However, a new city along with brighter, clear visuals give you a huge playground to lose yourself in. Also, the user-made parks and online modes extend replay value by a metric ton.
Bastion – PC, PS3, Xbox 360 — I tend to shy away from RPGs but Bastion gave me some good mileage for the money. The downloadable game’s impressive art direction and animation will make you feel you’re playing a water color painting. It’s also pretty straightforward with relatively short levels so you never feel like your grinding through your quest.
Trials Evolution – Xbox 360 — The latest in the Trials series goes past 11 to provide hours of fun for you and your friends. The “one more try” hook is back with multiplayer racing, a tremendous track editor and a more sophisticated means to share track and other ludicrous creations online. Think of it as LittleBigPlanet on dirt bikes except actually fun.
Limbo – PC, PS3, Xbox 360 — Here’s another indie sweetheart. Limbo’s an eerie puzzle game and unlike the usual action-packed fares all over the market. The game isn’t that long but trust me; some of the challenges will leave you stumped for awhile. Tough it out, avoid temptation from YouTube walkthroughs and you have a fulfilling game at your disposal.
Trine 2 – PC, PS3, Xbox 360 — Trine 2’s puzzles go far beyond the usual “move this block over here/press this switch” whatever-whatever in other action titles. Thinking outside the box is encouraged while the vibrant scenery and occasional fights keep the experience going at a steady pace. This game’s alright by yourself but is best played with several of your friends online and off.
Resistance 3 – PS3 — Resistance’s line of games have triple-A ambitions with sleeper-hit reception. The third installment didn’t hit it big in sales but its novel weapons, huge gunfights and–wait for it–no regenerating health set it apart from the pack. On and offline co-op are welcome additions especially since the campaign is entertaining enough on your own.
Infamous 2 – PS3 — Infamous 2: bigger, badder and more polished than its predecessor. It’s also a year old, which means you can add it to the collection without making your wallet weep. Solid, original superhero games are rarely release so you might as well give it a look when comic books won’t cut it.
Team Fortress 2 – PC — I can sum up this pick with three statements and change. Ready?
1. It’s free on PC.
2. It’s one of the best shooters available.
3. Valve drop ongoing free maps, modes and upgrades for TF2 almost five years running since its launch. The CODs and Battlefields of the world will never get that kind of support from their developers.
You could buy it for your PS3/Xbox 360 but you might as well Plaxico yourself while your at it. Valve games are best on the PC and Team Fortress 2 is a testament to that fact. Plus the game can literally run on a toaster. TF2 is the ticket if you’re looking to get over your PC gaming phobia.
The Walking Dead – PC, PS3, Xbox 360 — If you’re reading this, odds are you know the golden rule of book, TV and movie-licensed games; they usually suck. The Walking Dead is thankfully the exception to the rule. The episodic adventure game will keep you coming back with branching story paths and involving characters as new chapters release.
Saints Row: The Third – PC, PS3, Xbox 360 — Saints Row games often get the gas face for being branded as Walmart-variety GTA clones. Those days ended the second this game touched down. Puerile, frantic and flat-out ridiculous, the latest open world installment will give you plenty of laughs and big moments throughout its campaign. You can even play through the whole game online with a friend.