Budget games for consoles and computers

Nick Scheuer

Far Cry 2

$9.99 on Steam, $7.90 for 360, $6.26 for PS3 on Amazon.com

Ubisoft, 2008

Rated M

Given its age and price, “Far Cry 2” is a fairly surprising first-person shooter. When it was released, one of Ubisoft’s major advertising points was the realistic appearance of the fire in this game and, for 2008, they were not lying.

Ubisoft balanced realistic graphics with an aesthetic that took advantage of the entire color palette, not just the brown and grey tones of most modern AAA first-person shooters. The gameplay is solid, even if the controls take a little getting used to. Ten dollars buys about 30 to 40 hours of gameplay and, even though the missions get repetitive in the middle of the game, it’s a great value for the price. The story also gets a little monotonous, but the end is a surprise and rewarding in and of itself.


$14.99 on Steam and XBLA

Supergiant Games, 2011

Rated E10+

Even though “Bastion” is the newest game on this list, it is also the only indie game here that must hold its own against the two AAA titles, and it does so in ways few games do.

The moment a player boots up the game, they will notice Bastion’s art is incredibly detailed, with vibrant colors and a hand-drawn feel few games have. Each area of the game has its own distinct art style; hostile areas use browns and reds while friendly areas use bright green and blue.

The soundtrack is just as stunning and varied, with songs matching the action onscreen perfectly, and that also sound excellent when listened to on their own. As a top-down action RPG, the gameplay is quite solid as well, and the game gives the player a wide variety of weapons, from a sniper rifle to a giant, ornate log. Bastion also encourages replays by incorporating a high score system via the Internet and challenge arenas that grant the player the backstories behind the side characters.

Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition

$19.99 for 360 and PS3

Bethesda Studios

Rated M

In “Fallout 3,” players explore a barren wasteland of what used to be the United States after a nuclear war 200 years in the past. After growing up underground, the player ventures outside on a quest to find new friends and fight the scavengers that live above.

The attention to detail is amazing, and for a game made in 2008 it can still stand up to recently released games. The wasteland is almost all desert with small towns littered throughout out the landscape. The facial renditions of characters are life like and stay consistently full during gameplay.

Players have different kinds of weapons from wrenches to machine guns. Most weapons are also customizable and can lead to stronger weapons later in the game.

For $20, players also get the expansion packs that were released earlier all in one package. It makes the game a steal at this price and any fan of roleplaying games should pick it up.

Just Cause 2

$14.99 on Steam, $19.99 for 360, $22.41 for PS3

Avalanche Studios, 2010

Rated M

In “Just Cause 2,” you’re told to wreak havoc on an island nation using any means possible to collapse the corrupt government there so the United States can get the oil under the ocean floor. However, the game is so fun that the thin plot is forgotten the moment control is given to player. They are given free reign over the island from the get-go with a 100-meter, retractable grappling hook and infinite parachutes. Plus, even though the island is about 30 kilometers square, there are no loading screens between areas, so the player can fling themselves from one end to the other with wild abandon. The terrain ranges from snowy mountains to hot desert, untamed jungle to sprawling cityscapes, and everything else in between. Or, if a more mundane mode of transport is desired, the player can just raid a military base for a fighter jet.

Nick can be reached at: [email protected]