Keeping up with the latest and greatest game releases can be an expensive business – but you don’t need to spend big to have huge amounts of fun.
If you’re rocking an Xbox One, there’s a heap of great indie and digital games available on the console store for cheap. What’s more, if you look back over AAA titles which you missed first time round, you can grab some of absolute bargains for less than R500 apiece. Hell, even some of last year’s top games fall into that bracket.
Looking for some great gaming on the cheap? Here are 10 of the best Xbox One games you can pick up right now for under R500 each. The price you see for each might vary slightly from what we found when we wrote this, but it still ought to be close. It might even be less!
Indie studio Playdead earned a heap of acclaim for black-and-white puzzle platformer Limbo (and rightfully so), but going back to the well actually produced an even more amazing experience with the eerie Inside. Like its spiritual predecessor, it’s shadowy and bleak, and shows instead of tells – and you’ll be captivated by it the whole way through.
This compact side-scroller finds you evading capture as a young boy, as you run through a remarkably creepy factory filled with freaky things. You’ll solve nicely brainy puzzles throughout, and although it’s short (and thus, cheap too), Inside will really stick with you.
How is Doom only R400 already? We’re not talking about the original Doom, of course, but rather id’s wonderfully intense and over-the-top 2016 reboot, which keeps the essence of the genre-defining original while still delivering a satisfying, modern-day shooting experience.
The old corridors aren’t as plentiful now, and the larger levels offer more of a challenge as you’re surrounded by hellish, aggressive demons and other grotesque threats. Luckily, you have quite the arsenal in store – including the Super Shotgun and BFG – to blow them to gooey bits. The multiplayer isn’t essential, but the campaign is a blast.
Love football, but getting tired of FIFA and PES with their human players and rules? We feel you. Try Rocket League instead. It’s still football at its core, but now you’re knocking the ball around with boost-packing supercars, which zip around the pitch, drive up the walls, and even soar through the air in raucous, three-on-three showdowns.
It’s thrilling, totally approachable fun, even if you don’t know how to make your car fly yet (give it time). The basic car-football action can keep you playing for ages, especially as you get better and expand the skill ceiling, plus there are basketball and hockey variants within.
True, the Xbox One may lack Naughty Dog’s brilliant Uncharted series, but it has the awesome Rise of the Tomb Raider – and it had the game a year before the PS4 did. The timing might not seem important now, but it means that Square Enix’s latest entry has had even more time to creep down in price, and now it’s firmly in the sub-R500 zone.
That’s a steal, of course. Rise of the Tomb Raider is still more action-packed than the classic originals, with some surprisingly intense violence in the mix, but now you can utilise stealth and and stalking mechanics as well – plus there are large tombs to explore, naturally.
Although the PC version was famously a bust, we had few complaints about the console renditions of Batman: Arkham Knight. Rocksteady’s final (?) superhero saga might have saved the best for last, giving you control of the Caped Crusader throughout a brilliantly-realised open Gotham.
Whether you’re gliding or exploring on foot, pummelling baddies, or driving the awesome new Batmobile, Arkham Knight constantly delivers excitement – and there’s a wealth of it, too. It’s honestly mad that you can have this game now for just R350.
Ori and the Blind Forest might look cute and cuddly, and true enough, its lavish, hand-drawn backdrops are an absolute treat for the eyes. But this side-scrolling platform adventure isn’t afraid to inflict a little pain on players.
The opening minutes are absolutely heart-wrenching, but if you can survive that emotional toll, the resulting game is excellent. It finds the middle ground between platform action and Metroid-like adventure and exploration, and that gorgeous world and animation makes it all the more inviting.
Tom Clancy’s The Division (R475)
Huge games release so frequently now that it’s hard to believe that The Division debuted only a little over a year ago – but we were absolutely engrossed when it came out. And now you can snag this slick tactical shooter for a mere R475 from BT Games.
The Division delivers engaging online shoot-and-loot action in a dazzling setting: New York City after an outbreak of disease sends the United States into utter mayhem. Exciting combat, deep role-playing elements, and a massive array of content make this a game you can get happily lost in for a long, long while.
Life is Strange itself isn’t strange so much as it is uncommon: much of this five-part episodic adventure is pretty low-key, highlighting the tale of a teen girl and her troubled friend. The decisions you make along the way will affect that relationship and others, and ultimately determine the fate of people around her.
Did we mention that she can manipulate time? Right: so that is a bit strange, but it’s a key mechanic in how these stories unfold, since you can go back to try and correct any missteps. But time can be a tricky thing, and there are some surprises along the way – not to mention some emotional moments. The first episode is free, so you get to try before you buy too.
It’s shocking to think that a game as vast and exciting as Far Cry 4 could be had for less than R350, but that’s the benefit of waiting a couple years for a price drop. Ubisoft’s last mainline open-world entry might be a little older at this point, but it’s no less entertaining as it plunges you into the intense wilds of Kyrat.
The fictional Himalayan country is filled with threats, both human and animal, but you’ve got an array of weapons to deal with them – and there are plenty of insane vehicles to command, as well. It’s spectacularly fun, and now’s the ideal time to catch up before next year’s Far Cry 5 rolls around.
On that note, if you’re looking for an open-world game that’s even zanier than Far Cry 4 and below its already-low price, then turn your attention to Sunset Overdrive instead. Insomniac’s game doesn’t feel quite as expansive, but it’s packed with personality as you try to clear a city full of energy drink-addled mutants.
True to the Ratchet & Clank creator’s form, you’ll wield an array of truly ridiculous, over-the-top weapons as you grind on the city’s vast system or rails and vault over nearly anything in sight. It’s brash and exuberant, and the price is absurdly right.