Black Friday is becoming more about hype than deals that are worth braving an early morning and insane crowds. This is readily apparent when you look at Black Friday gaming sales this year.
There are hundreds of sales on games and consoles both in store and online, but few of them offer serious savings.
These are the gaming deals we think shine among the rest. All of these deals run between Thursday and Saturday, unless otherwise specified.
PlayStation 4: PS4 console with 500 GB hard drive, with digital copies of the remastered versions of The Last Of Us and Grand Theft Auto V for $400 at Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Toys R Us, and Walmart.
If you’re considering this as a gift, you may want to think about whether the potential recipient already owns these games for the PlayStation 3. The value proposition hangs entirely on the roughly $100 worth of games that come free with each bundle.
Xbox One: $70 off an Xbox One console, plus a free copy of Forza 5, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, or Titanfall at Microsoft stores.
Forza 5 and Titanfall are the better choices if you’re gifting this to a core gamer. You want to find out whether the potential recipient likes racing games, though. Forza 5 plays to a very specific niche. Otherwise, Titanfall is probably the best choice.
Wii U: Wii U console with with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, NintendoLand, Super Mario 3D World, and Super Smash Bros. for $360 at Best Buy.
Even at the relatively cheap software prices you can get on Amazon, this represents $110 worth of free games that collectively present an excellent demonstration of what the Wii U is capable of.
Note on Nintendo 3DS deals: There are a lot of these on Black Friday. We left them off the list because they ought to be considered in light of the fact that clearly superior 3DS hardware is on the way sometime next year. It might be better to save your money and wait to put it toward the obviously better gear in early 2015, than to spend the money on a 3DS now, and have to think about buying the new hardware, anyway, when it’s released. That could wind up costing you hundreds of extra dollars, compared to if you waited.
50% off games at Target: Sorry we can’t be more specific. You’re going to have to visit a store to take advantage of this deal, but for half off it’s worth taking a look to see what’s there.
The Elder Scrolls Anthology on PC for $15 at Best Buy. This is, admittedly, kind of a history lesson compared to the other games on this list. For Elder Scrolls fans who haven’t experienced the franchise, however, $15 is a great deal for all of that discovery.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 for $8 at Best Buy. Also available as a PC download from GameStop for $5. You could play this game for six months, and still not discover everything.
Metro: Redux on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One for $25 at Best Buy or GameStop. A pair of remastered first-person shooters that feature unique fiction and aesthetics.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One for $25 at Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. This is the most impressive game deal we’ve seen. Shadow of Mordor is still a very new release, with some of the best craftsmanship of all the Fall 2014 triple-A games.
Titanfall on Xbox One for $20 at GameStop and K-Mart. Not a new game by any stretch, but still a superior next-gen shooter.
Wolfenstein: The New Order on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One for $25 at Best Buy. One of the most daring first person shooters of the last few years. Also a one-playthrough game, most likely, so waiting for a price like this was a smart move.
Again, these are the deals that made us whistle appreciatively. There are plenty of other Black Friday gaming deals out there, but the savings aren’t as large, and the value propositions therefore aren’t as obvious.
Photo via Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III