I’ve had several people ask me lately what video games they should buy. Some of them have been purchasing some of their first games, while others have just upgraded their system recently and are looking for a long-term game to dig into. Generally their price threshold is $20 or less. Luckily the options on PC are vast, and the prices can range from free, to relatively cheap if you’re willing to wait for a sale. I’m going to suggest a wide range of titles with alternatives, so no matter what kind of player you are, you’ll be able to find something to jump into right away.

Singleplayer Titles

The 2016 DOOM reboot was an amazing game, and one of the few singleplayer games I recommend. You’ll get about 20 hours of gameplay from this title just playing through the game once. Even more if you jump into the multiplayer section building your own maps, testing all the player created ones, or in the standard deathmatch queues. DOOM is a fast paced first person shooter (FPS) that does have some story to it. It’s an incredibly well written story that I really personally enjoyed. I’ve played this game start to finish twice now, and cannot recommend it enough. Full MSRP is $19.99 and it has dropped below $5 on occasion.

The other odd singleplayer title I recommend is Jurassic World Evolution. I’m not much for tycoon games, but I’m a sucker for dinosaurs. This is such a great title to sit back and chill for hours on. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat down to play for a couple hours, then realize 4 hours later that I’m nowhere near ready to stop. It gives you a true sense of running Jurassic World, and has an amazing feature that lets you take direct control of the ranger employees to tranquilize loose dinosaurs, medicate sick ones, and more. MSRP is $44.99, but it has dropped as low as $9.99 recently. This was a title I was given a key for by the developer.

Multiplayer and Singleplayer Titles

Speaking of being a sucker for dinosaurs, ARK: Survival Evolved is probably the fist game to try in the survival genre. You are stranded on and island full of dinosaurs and other dangerous creatures, and must find a way to survive. This is a game for builders and explorers, and you can play solo or with an entire clan of other players! You can get lost for hundreds of hours in this game just exploring the free maps, let alone all the DLC maps that add new locations and animals for you to tame or conquer. MSRP is $29.99, and has been given away free before, and drops to $9.99 frequently during sales. Conan Exiles is, as you would guess, a Conan themed survival game if you’re not into dinosaurs. It is similarly priced and focuses more on warring tribes than battling mother nature. I did receive a key for Conan Exiles from the developer.

I recommend Foxhole for several reasons. You can literally sink HUNDREDS of hours into this game and not get bored. The biggest advantage for Foxhole is that it has something for everyone. You can charge into the front lines and shoot till you’re empty, then reload and do it again. You can stay in the back lines crafting to support the war effort, and probably never even fire your gun or get shot at. Wars last for days in real time across a persistent battlefield were two World War 2 themed armies fight for control. Players have massive control over the tide of war. Everything must be built by players from bullets to rifles, tanks shells and tanks. Every fence, bunker, and Foxhole must be constructed. The game takes place in a top-down perspective similar to real time strategy (RTS) games. Full MSRP is $19.99 and it has dropped as low as $10.99 previously. This was a title I was given a key for by the developer. If you don’t like the perspective, you can look into Hell Let Loose, Post Scriptum, or Squad. They increase in difficulty in that order and are similarly priced.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is referred to as a ‘Left 4 Dead’ clone. You battle hordes of enemies that attack in massive waves. You co-op as a group of four in this Warhammer universe setting. The graphics are absolutely beautiful, and the game mechanics are very easy to learn. You mix things up mostly with melee weapons, but spells and gunpowder are options as well. It’s also a game that lots of other people already own, as it goes on sale frequently and has plenty of DLC to keep things interesting. Full MSRP is $29.99 and it goes on sale for $7.50 very often. Space Hulk: Deathwing is a similarly priced option with a Warhammer 40,000 sci-fi setting.

My favorite strategy game of all time is Company of Heroes 2. I’ve had so much fun playing this game with friends in multiplayer. It’s one of those titles that everyone has. It’s a World War II real time strategy (RTS) game with both singleplayer and multiplayer game modes. It also supports the Steam mod workshop, so there are near endless maps and mods for you to test out. There are also lots of DLC available if you want to play a specific army, and those are generally heavily discounted too. MSRP is $19.99, but this game has been given away free before, and usually hits $4.99 during any sale. If you want something a little slower paced or different, Warhammer 40,000 Gladius: Relics of War is a sci-fi themed game. It’s turn based, not RTS, but plays very quickly thanks to a focus on combat. Gladius was a title I was given a key for by the developer.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a game I almost skipped, but has become one of my top 3 favorite games of all time. While you can play solo, I’ve had more fun with friends in this game than most. It’s about a team of special forces sent to take out a drug cartel. Your missions are very open ended, giving you an incredible amount of creative freedom. If you have to kill a cartel boss, you can shoot him, run him over with a car, or even drop a helicopter on him. Your mission, your decision. This game has one of the absolute best open, persistent worlds of any multiplayer game to date. MSRP is $49.99 but has dropped as low as $12.50 recently.

Free Titles

CCGs are a great way to exercise your brain. MTG Arena is the online version of Magic: The Gathering. Deck building and theorycrafting options are limitless time sinks for you. You can play in standard games, ranked games, as well as special events and special game modes. Even though it is a title, the free player grind isn’t that bad, and it offers some very reasonable DLC prices. If fantasy worlds aren’t your thing, Kards is a great alternative. It has a WW2 setting, and offers a very unique experience with period-inspired art and music. Both games are free.

While any free game is likely going to require lots of time on your part, War Thunder has thus far offered a pretty fair trade. You can drive tanks across many historic battlefields, as well as some more modern ones. Planes are also popular, and you can fly them in planes only mode, or earn them inside tank battles. The warships mode I would not recommend, check out World of Warships instead. Another alternative with a not too-grindy model is Maelstrom, a game of high seas fantasy battles between humans, dwarves, orcs, and now undead. Dreadnought is your sci-fi alternative with capital ship battles that take place in space and in atmosphere. All of these are free to play.

You Can Start Anywhere

The titles above are pretty diverse, though mostly multiplayer. I personally find online games to be more rewarding when you play with friends and focus on teamwork. With every online store having it’s own seasonal and holiday sales, there’s almost always somewhere to find cheap games to start playing. While all of these games are available on Steam, some require their own launchers. It’s a minor annoyance, but they are worth it. You can pick every game on this list for under $20 if you’re patient enough, and buying one from each category will give you hundreds if not thousands of hours of entertainment. Just add friends for the ultimate video games experience.

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