New features, low prices make these PlayStation 4, Xbox One + Wii U games worth second looks


Early adopters get bragging points for being first to own new game consoles, but they’re only a small fraction of the consoles’ eventual user bases. That’s why game developers save their biggest titles until consoles’ second or third years – there are a lot more potential customers to buy their games. But there are always a few “killer” or “almost killer” games that show up just a little too early, only to get forgotten when the consoles hit their stride. There are also great games that get released with major, show-stopping bugs, then fixed and discounted heavily to bring gamers back. Since the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U consoles all had pretty incredible uptake due to Black Friday sales, we’re looking at some of their best forgotten or fixed games today. And they’re all being discounted, some enough to be impulse purchases.

PlayStation 4

Sony completely messed up the October launch of DriveClub, a $60 driving game so impressive that it was supposed to be a system-seller — the two screenshots above are from actual in-game footage, not pre-rendered video, and the game is super fun. Unfortunately, reviewers flipped out because the game’s online multiplayer mode didn’t work, and features such as realtime weather were missing. So Sony first went back and fixed the multiplayer mode, and this week massively patched the game to add snow and rain effects in.  They’re stunning, even including water-slicked tracks and individual drops of rain pooling on windshields. Better yet, the game is now selling for only $35 on Amazon, with some free DLC waiting to be downloaded. If you have a PS4, don’t think twice, just do it.

Sony’s Naughty Dog division released the third-person zombie thriller The Last of Us for PS3 in mid-2013, winning numerous game of the year awards for the excellent storyline, interactivity, and graphics engine. Launched with less publicity than the original release, a PS4 version called The Last of Us Remastered came out in mid-2014, bundled with previously-released DLC for free, and massively upgrading the visuals to next-gen levels. You could spend $35 and get a Blu-ray copy of the normally $50 game, or you could do what we did and grab it for under $25 via this digital download code. The vendor’s legit, and the game is one of the most realistic we’ve yet played on any console. If you like gritty action games with gunplay, stealth, and intensity, you’ll love The Last of Us.

Another steal is Square Enix’s Tomb Raider Definitive Edition. Normally $40, this third-person action game is an early 2013 reboot of the Lara Croft-starring franchise, re-released in January 2014 for PlayStation 4. Originally well-rated but arguably too expensive as a late-cycle release for older consoles, The Definitive Edition for PS4 adds the upgraded next-gen graphics and audio you’d expect, plus previously-released DLC. Fixing the price issue, it can be had for only $25 right now. The Xbox One version is available for the same price.

Bethesda Softworks released the astonishing first-person shooter Wolfenstein: The New Order in mid-2014, as developer MachineGames dreamed up an alternate version of the 1960’s filled with Nazis and robots to fight. The 3-D graphics are just brilliant, and you’re constantly pushed into visually realistic situations that are entirely unlike the tunnel-focused original Wolfenstein 3-D of decades past. Originally $60, Wolfenstein’s currently going for under $25 on Amazon, where it comes bundled with a code to access the upcoming reboot of iD Software’s Doom for free. It’s more expensive on the Xbox One, making the PS4 version an easy pick.

After decades of fits and starts, Capcom finally found a worthy developer to create a next-generation version of the arcade and Sega Genesis classic Strider, which debuted early this year for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Double Helix Games did such an impressive job on the reboot of this futuristic action-platformer – and the next title, below – that Amazon purchased the company to become an internal game studio. Somewhat underpublicized and initially released for only $15, Strider’s currently on sale for only $9 through the PlayStation Store. It’s worth buying at full price, and a great deal on discount.

Xbox One

After Microsoft bought Nintendo’s widely-respected development studio Rare, so much of the talent left that we never thought there would be a proper sequel to the breakthrough fighting games Killer Instinct and Killer Instinct 2. But somehow developer Double Helix Games managed to completely outdo Rare with the rebooted Killer Instinct for Xbox One, which launched in 2013 as a half-game with a handful of characters. The truly 3-D graphics alone make the first two titles look primitive, while the sound and gameplay are up to snuff with the original quarter-sucking arcade titles. When Amazon bought Double Helix, new developer Iron Galaxy took over development for “Season 2,” adding great new characters, backgrounds, and music, all while boosting the resolution from 720p to 900p. You can get the Killer Instinct Combo Pack for under $19, then digitally download Killer Instinct Season 2 for $20 from the Xbox store online.

Electronic Arts gave Microsoft an unexpected exclusive on the long-awaited PopCap Games puzzler Peggle 2 last year, releasing it for $12 – more than a typical iOS game, but less than prior PopCap online downloads. We’ve seen the price go as low as $5 this year, but it’s a pretty good value right now, though you’ll need to be aware that two of the Peggle Masters are sold separately for $2 each as DLC, and Peggle 2 isn’t as long as Peggle or Peggle Nights.

Despite all the hype over EA and Respawn’s military/mech shooter Titanfall – including a special edition Xbox One console and bundle devoted just to the game – the Xbox Live-mandatory multiplayer design and other issues quickly limited the game’s appeal. But if you’re a fan of first-person shooters and already subscribe to Xbox Live, you’ll be impressed by the parkour-style wall running and your ability to jump into giant mechs in the middle of urban environments. The price keeps going up and down on this one – it was selling for under $25 this week, and now is at $40, a discount from its $60 launch price.

Wii U

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Nintendo released the racing game Mario Kart 8 earlier this year as the first of two titles to re-invigorate sales of the stalled-out Wii U console. Since then, a big fuss has been made over the collectible interactive Amiibo action figures Nintendo released, which are selling out all over the place. But you mightn’t have heard that Nintendo subsequently announced three DLC packs: a free pack with three Mercedes-Benz cars, an $8 Zelda pack with eight new tracks, three new characters, and four new vehicles, and an upcoming $8 Animal Crossing pack with another set of tracks, characters, and vehicles. Mario Kart 8 is currently available for $52 new, a modest discount from the normal $60 MSRP,  but you can get all of the DLC as a $12 bundle right now. You can save yourself a few bucks on the main game by buying it used.

Wii U owners might not have Activision’s very latest Call of Duty game, but last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts is a bargain right now for only $20 – a major savings off its normal $50 price. The first-person shooter continues the special ops theme of the prior games, now starring a soldier you create yourself on a mission to take back a fallen nation. Ghosts is one of the best-looking realistic titles on the Wii U.

It’s the greatest Mario game ever made – a phrase we don’t use lightly – and a ton of fun for one, two, three, or four people at once. You shouldn’t need a deal or further description to consider picking up Nintendo’s Super Mario 3D World, but it’s currently going for $54 new or $49 used. Believe us when we say that the sheer number of hidden levels in here fully justify the normal $60 MSRP, and the game is good enough to… well, temporarily borrow a Wii U to play.

Nintendo was called crazy for teaming with Sega to produce a sequel to the wild, not particularly well-ported Japanese action game Bayonetta, helping to fund development as a Wii U exclusive. Now that the game is receiving near-perfect scores from publications across the world, and described as one of the most intense, creative run-jump-slash titles ever made, Nintendo’s looking a lot smarter, but the game isn’t exactly getting mainstream publicity. Right now, you can get the Bayonetta 2 + Bayonetta Bundle new for a meager $1 discount off the normal $60 MSRP, but you can save $11 by buying it used.

Keep your eye on 9to5Toys for even more great deals on games for these next-gen consoles. We’re expecting many more over the next month, but these will give you a great base of titles to play until the next round of discounting begins!

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