Bob Dunn | Game On: Great video games for under $20
With gatherings curtailed for the foreseeable future and many people finding themselves with more time on their hands and encouraged to spend more of that time at home, it's a good opportunity to dig in and play some video games.
But, in many cases, that extra time comes with the burden of less money.
So, which games provide maximum playtime with minimal investment? We here at Game On have come up with a list of some suggestions for some games that provide dozens of hours of entertainment, which can be found for $20 or less and available on multiple platforms.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Developed by Bioware
Published by EA
Available on PS4, Xbox One and Steam
In the third entry in BioWare's Dragon Age franchise, players take on the role of any one of a number of fully customizable fantasy beings, tasked with, what else? Saving the world from the realm of demons.
The multi-award winning game features two ways to approach combat; a faster-paced more action-oriented approach and a more traditional tactical turn-based RPG approach.
The combat system strikes a nice balance between depth and accessibility and mastering it to take down more and more powerful targets is exceptionally satisfying.
Besides the main story campaign, there are dozens of hours worth of side-quests and opportunities to get to know your companions through branching conversations.
Completing the main story can take up to 40 hours, but finishing everything the game has to offer can keep a player busy for up to 200.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developed and published by CD Projekt
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam
The most recent entry in the game franchise, based on the fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, which begat the Netflix series starring Henry Cavil in the titular role, has won universal acclaim since its 2015 release.
Players guide Geralt on his quest to find his adoptive daughter, on the run from a dark otherworldly force known as The Wild Hunt.
Choices players make alter the game's path toward one of three dozen possible endings.
Gorgeous visuals, a robust combat system, quality storytelling and engaging campaign and side-quests make for a satisfying 100 hours or more of gameplay.
The praise for the game has only heightened the anticipation for CD Projekt's next game, Cyberpunk 2077, due later this year.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Developed by Gearbox Software and Gearbox and 2K Australia
Published by 2K Games
Available on PS4 and Xbox One
Looter-shooter mayhem doesn't get much better than this.
The Handsome Collection packages the exceptional Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The pre-sequel, along with all of the extra content for both, all remastered for current-gen consoles.
In both games, players become one of four "vault hunters," each with their own unique set of skills and powers to level up.
Both games feature the franchise's trademark cel-animation look, cynical humor and beloved characters.
To be honest, "pre-sequel," isn't as good as Borderlands 2, but that game alone will keep players busy for about 50 hours or more with just one character.
Much of the extra content is excellent with "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep," being a standout and a love letter to traditional tabletop RPGs.
Up to four player co-operative play and seemingly endless variations of the weapons you earn throughout the game just sweeten the deal.
Destiny 2: New Light
Developed and published by Bungie
Available on PS4, Xbox One and Steam
Late last year, Bungie, which had gotten itself out from under the yoke of former publisher Activision made Destiny 2's base game, all of its first year and some of its second year of content free for all players.
That includes the base campaign, the raids, the weapons, the player versus player mode as well as the competitive player versus player/player versus environment hybrid mode, Gambit, one of my personal favorite parts of the game.
To be fair, the game functions better when you're playing with a team, and, in fact, some activities, such as the raids, require it. However, much of the game can be enjoyed as a solo player and there are options, including through Bungie's website, to find other groups looking for players.
If you enjoy the game, the content that will bring players up to date, can be purchased.
Now is actually a good time to get into the game. Its latest season, Season of the Worthy, recently launched and the hyper-competitive 3-versus-3 combat mode Trials of Osiris is back and just launched for all players who've reached at least level 960.
Developed by Epic Games
Developed by Respawn Entertainment
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)
Developed by PUBG Corporation
Call of Duty: Warzone
Developed by Infinity Ward
All available on PS4, Xbox One and Steam
There are others, but right now, these are the biggest names in the popular Battle Royale, genre of games.
Oh, and they're all free to play. Players can spend real-world cash for cosmetic items that don't impact gameplay, but that's optional.
The premise in each game (all with wildly different aesthetics), is to survive against a group of other players until one remains.
Warzone is the most recent entry into the genre and, so far, has received mostly good reviews.
The other games listed have been around for a while and have developed intense fan loyalty, so it may be intimidating at first to join in against players already familiar with the maps and strategies, so, getting in early on Warzone, may hold some appeal to those unfamiliar with the genre, but I'd recommend at least checking out the others, to see which style suits you best.
So, there's some suggestions on how to keep busy and perhaps take your mind off things for a while.
I avoided suggesting any games that involve dealing with some kind of pandemic (and there a lot of them) for just that reason.
But, until we get through this and things go back to whatever the new normal will be going forward, be good to each other and, as always, game on.
Bob Dunn is The Eagle's court reporter. When he's not hanging around the courthouse, he can usually be found playing "Destiny 2." You can reach Bob via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and at @BobDunn413 on Twitter.
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