If you’re looking for a lot of bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with video game compilations. More and more recently, game makers have been pumping out collections of video game series that you can buy for one low price and play for dozens (if not hundreds) of hours. Here are five of our favorites.
1. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
If you want to walk through the history of modern first-person shooters, Halo: The Master Chief Collection gives you just about everything you need. It includes the original Halo, a game that helped secure Microsoft’s place in the console market, and Halo 2, which introduced millions of Xbox owners to the joys of online gaming. Throw in the two sequels, plus Halo: Reach as a downloadable extra, and you’re looking at an impressive collection.
Each of these games builds on the last to create not only a memorable and epic story, but also to show how first-person shooter controls and level design have evolved over the years. Not only that, but the game also offers more online multiplayer stages than you could master in a year. Talk about a deal.
2. Metroid Prime Trilogy
Before the Prime trilogy, fans of Metroid wondered how — or even if — anyone would be able to bring the classic side-scrolling series into three dimensions. It turned out that the doubts were misplaced, because developer Retro Studios transformed the ongoing saga of heroine Samus Aran into three incredible first-person shooters for the GameCube and Wii.
For the longest time after the Metroid Prime Trilogy went out of print, the collection was so rare that it cost over $100 if you wanted to buy it second-hand. Thankfully, Nintendo brought the trilogy to Wii U as a digital download for just $20. Now you can download and play all three of these fantastic, unique shooters without having to get up from the couch (although bathroom breaks are recommended).
3. The Orange Box
Speaking of classic first-person shooters from the early 2000s, developer Valve decided to bundle together what just might be the best deal ever in video games. The Orange Box comes with five games in one:
- Half-Life 2
- Half-Life 2: Episode One
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two
- Team Fortress 2
If you want a sampling of the best, most varied shooters on the planet, this game is all you need. You have your gripping story-based single-player campaign in the Half-Life 2 games. Then comes the endlessly replayable competitive shooter Team Fortress 2, which features some of the most balanced classes and brilliantly designed levels ever made. And to top it off, you get Portal, a shooter/puzzle game that’s about 100 times better than it has any right to be. If you haven’t played even a single game in The Orange box, there’s no doubt it’s worth the price of the entire thing.
4. The Sly Collection
When it comes to PlayStation 2-era platformers, Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter get most of the love. Both of those series have been bundled together on PlayStation 3 compilations, but my favorite is The Sly Collection, which lets you play as a wise-cracking raccoon thief and his goofy yet talented pals.
The idea behind this series is that Sly Cooper comes from a line of benevolent thieves who steal back artifacts from menacing criminals. The whole thing is presented in a gorgeous cartoon style, with excellent voice acting and some of the best stealthy platforming ever put in a game. Each title showcases the increasing skill and ambition of developer Sucker Punch Studios as they perfect the craft by Sly 3. If you missed out on this series, it’s never too late to dive in.
5. Mega Man Legacy Collection
When it comes to preserving classic games, not all developers have the skill and resources to treat the franchise with respect. That’s not a problem with Mega Man Legacy Colection, which offers complete, lovingly preserved versions of Mega Man through Mega Man 6, the games that appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System between 1987 and 1993.
Not only are the games flawlessly rendered on modern hardware, but the collection includes a treasure trove of concept art, enemy descriptions, and even challenge runs that let you play through chunks of levels throughout all six games. Although these games can be punishingly difficult, they’re all well worth a look.