Top 10 Retail Titles for Under $20 this Generation

There’s no question that this current generation has provided some truly astonishing games. However, there are still those who may have missed out on must-play titles or are just now getting into this console generation. With that perspective, I’ve compiled a list of titles that can be nabbed for the mere price of a Jackson. Here are my top 10 recommendations for those who never got around to playing certain titles that they can get for budget price now:

– Batman: Arkham Asylum

Widely considered as the best comic book game of all time, Batman: Arkham Asylum will have you puzzle solving and crime fighting like the Dark Knight himself. With a gripping story from series veteran Paul Dini, gritty graphics that capture the world of Batman, top-notch voice acting and stellar gameplay mechanics, throwing down 20 bucks here is a no brainer. While the critically acclaimed sequel, Batman: Arkham City, has been out for roughly 5 months now, those who never had the opportunity to play Arkham Asylum owe it to themselves to seriously play this outstanding title.

– Demon’s Souls

Like getting your ass handed to you repetitively? Of course not. Like getting a satisfaction that very few titles provide this generation? Who doesn’t. Demon’s Souls was mentioned as one of the hardest games of all time in my previous Top 10 list (Top 10 Hardest Games of All Time). However, hearing that should not discourage you from ever touching Demon’s Souls. I stated it had some questionable, yet intentional gameplay mechanics that would normally seem archaic. Yet, the game just does everything right to ensure a deep challenge on a fair level. Dying in this game will set your progression back numerous hours if not careful, but if you die, it’s your fault. The combat is never cheap, just very unforgiving for you being careless. It tries to belittle you but you will demand for more until you complete it…and it doesn’t end there. When you’re done with the game, you will be able to replay the whole game with all your items and continue to level up your character. Don’t expect to have an easier time with the game since the developers made sure to make the enemies stronger throughout each playthrough.

– Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

The Ratchet & Clank series may look like a childish series to those who judge a book by its cover, but that type of ignorance only resorts to the loss of that person. Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in TIme may be the final installment to the R&C Future saga but damn it if it’s not an outstanding merit on Insomniac’s part. Ratchet’s formula has something that many franchises tend to have difficulty nailing with each installment, perfection. From the perfected platforming, incredibly tight shooting mechanics that never get old, engaging flight mechanics, highly addictive upgrading system, beautifully detailed worlds, very well written story and climatic final battle, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time is one game that PS3 owners should not miss at all.

– Split/Second

Sure, racing games are almost as abundant as FPSs, but there are certain ones that really stand out in the pack. In this case, Split/Second provides gamers with a racing title like no other. Instead of just racing around a track, you will participate in a TV show that will involve you and your rivals to trigger “power plays” to take out racers and cause mayhem that even Michael Bay would be jealous of. Whether you’re triggering a Boeing 747 to come crashing on the runway to take out your opponents, causing a skyscraper to come crashing down and forming a new path on the track or just doing your best to survive this brutal racing TV show, this is one racer that will truly heighten your senses and get your adrenaline peaking to new limits.

– Dead Space

When it comes to survival horror titles, Dead Space reigns supreme this current generation. EA took a risk by developing a new IP back in 2008 and struck gold by delivering a horror title that was actually too scary for many to even finish. You don’t play as some gung-ho military soldier, but rather an engineer with little to no combat experience. However, Isaac adapts to his surroundings and does whatever he can to fend himself for survival. Throughout the game’s 10-12 hour campaign, you will research what the cause of the Necromorphs was, as well as what really happened on the USS Ishimura. Best part about the game is the New Game Plus that allows you to replay the game with all your equipment and continue to further upgrade your gear. Add that feature to some of the most fine tuned gameplay mechanics, mystifying story, awe-inspiring visuals and the coolest sound effects in gaming history and you’ve got a lot to look forward to on this one. Word of advice to the squeamish, have a barf bag next to you when witnessing the brutal deaths that may occur to you.

– Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 may be a flawed game, but it makes up for it in having a just plain fun experience. Essentially, the purpose of Just Cause 2 was to have the entire island of Panau become your ultimate playground. While the story is sub-par and the voice acting is hilariously bad, the missions are very well done and provide plenty of “holy crap” moments as you perform certain actions. Thankfully, the PS3 version has a video capture feature to let you record these crazy moments you’ll experience and for a game like this, you’ll be utilizing it a great amount. The grappling hook and parachute mechanics combined provide a very intuitive way to transport yourself around the environment. The developers also incorporated the island from LOST as an “easter egg” that fans will tremendously appreciate to see as they nailed the island better than Ubisoft did with the actual LOST: Via Domus game. You can easily invest well over 50+ hours just screwing around and even then, you’ll come back for more. The mayhem and carnage you will cause usually has no particular reason to it. You mainly do it just cause you can. In the meantime, you can check out a montage I compiled for the game back when it was released.

– Borderlands

Gearbox Software’s 2009 surprise hit, Borderlands, was an interesting FPS/RPG hybrid but worked out brilliantly. Players will assume the role of one of four fortune seekers in search of the unopened Eridian Vault. The story is far from deep, but intriguing nonetheless. However, you don’t play Borderlands for its story. You play Borderlands to have one of the most enjoyable and addictive co-op experiences available on the market. The mixture of tight FPS mechanics with an RPG twist to it makes leveling up a grinding addiction and the game as a whole carries that “one more mission” syndrome. Hours of gameplay will literally feel like a matter of minutes. For the current price it’s going for, Borderlands will have you clocking in numerous hours and many more with its DLC.

– Ninja Gaiden Sigma

One of my personal favorite games of all time, Ninja Gaiden Sigma is just a flat out awesome game. Having one of the best combat systems ever designed in gaming along with some imaginative locations, a fast-paced soundtrack, and rock solid 60 frames per second visuals are all part of the experience. While the game may not be for everyone, it is highly recommended that those who have yet to touch Ninja Gaiden Sigma do so immediately. The campaign will last you 7-10 hours on your first playthrough and while it lacks a New Game Plus feature, you will still want to tackle it again. Add in the Ninja Missions that you can take on after completing the campaign and you’ll add a good amount of longevity.

– Mass Effect 2

Imagine having a massive galaxy to explore with the story unfolding at your fingertips. Every slight decision you make playing a huge role in how the story will play out. Thanks to deep writing and a rich universe to explore, Mass Effect 2 provides gamers with over 25+ hours just to complete the main campaign. Then you can replay the game as an entirely different character class, as well as making totally different decisions that affects your experience. For the asking price of 20 bucks, there’s no excuse to skip out on this phenomenal title.

– Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise is, and always will be, my favorite racing title this generation. No other racing game provides realistic crashes such as this. Plus, for the price, EA includes FREE downloadable content as an update which include the ability to drive motorcycles (which has its own campaign as well), day and night cycling, and dynamic weather effects just to name a few. There is also premium DLC such as Big Surf Island, which provides players with insane Mega Jumps you can pull off, as well as a rich new city to explore. However, as just a standalone game, Burnout Paradise provides players with countless hours of fun to be had and the seamless online integration will keep players coming back for more.

There are many other great titles that you can grab for under 20 bucks. However, these were the 10 titles that personally provided the most value for me and just wanted to give them the recognition they deserve. Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments below!