Xbox Black Friday Sale: TA Team Picks (November 25th)

Tom West - November 25th 2021

The TA news team trawled, and trawled, and trawled, through the Black Friday Sale's unbelievable number of games. Mustering their last shred of energy, they've offered you, dear reader, the picks they deem worthy of your library. This week sees the team throw-down with dinosaurs, dragons, mutants, and zombies, but none of those is a match against the blisters earned from scrolling the sales page.

Heidi — Jurassic World Evolution

Dinosaurs and disaster management — what more could you ask for? I had the best time with Jurassic World Evolution, and although it might not have been quite what was expected at launch, its subsequent updates and DLC expansions definitely raised the bar. Several books and movies later, the idea of Jurassic Park is just as tantalising as ever, and you simply can’t help yourself — you have to know what would happen if you tried your hand at running Jurassic World. The core gameplay loop of mounting expeditions, researching fossils, and incubating dinosaurs, together with researching more genetic modifications or better attractions for your park, was surprisingly moreish, and I lost a good few hours to this beast of a game. It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security, until before you know it, a storm’s hit, your staff are sabotaging your park, and the dang raptors are out again. The different challenges offered by the shape, size, and weather of each island in the campaign keeps your attention occupied, while the sandbox mode allows your creativity to flow. While I’m loving the sequel, it doesn’t seem to have quite the same sense of wonder the first game did, which is why, especially at 75% off, Jurassic World Evolution is a real bargain.
Jurassic World Evolution

Place yourself at the heart of the Jurassic franchise and build your own Jurassic World. Bioengineer dinosaurs that think, feel and react intelligently to the world around them and face threats posed by espionage, breakouts and devastating tropical storms in an uncertain world where life always finds a way.

Kes — Dragon Age: Inquisition - Game of the Year Edition

I’m always a bit surprised to check my game clock with Dragon Age: Inquisition, just like I am with The Witcher 3, FIFA, or Just Cause 2. It turns out I have spent a lot of time on the continent of Thedas, and didn’t really realise it. The world sucks you in with its solid high-fantasy trappings that aren’t ever as interesting as something like the aforementioned Witcher, but are comfortingly familiar. I love the world design in Inquisition. You have different biomes to travel to with a set of side missions in each. That makes a long game easily manageable and nicely segmented. Each area takes you on a narrative arc, as well as several mini-adventures that feels very much like a long-running TV show. You’ll fight dragons, meet weird people, collect bits ‘n bobs, and do plenty of fighting. When you return to your hub-world castle perched on a mountain, you really feel like you’ve gone out for the day and are coming home to settle down with some easy tasks. You see, you are the leader of a hodge-podge group trying to stop a big evil from doing something bad. What was it specifically? I literally can’t remember… some Sauron-type thing, I’m sure. There was a good twist at the end, I do remember that. Anyway, you will oversee the court cases of your subjects, chat away with your mates, and pick up side missions while exploring the castle. It really creates a sense of living in this fantasy world.

The combat is superb, too. You and your collected party of rogues, mages, elves, and big not-an-orc-but-orcish man (blue, he is also blue), will be fighting all manner of things. With that sing-song Bioware dialogue, you really will build up a strong sense of comradery with this crew. Sera is the best and we all know it. The Robin Hood-like archery rogue says, at one point, “eat it, you lop-eared, son of an arse-nut rot-suck piece of...ugh!" Quite the lady. This character makes the actual fighting much more fun, as you truly care about each member of your party. You will be swapping between third person-action, activating special abilities and revives as things play out in real-time, or swapping into a top-down RTS-style of combat where you can measure out your moves more carefully. The progression structures are deep and I found myself really agonising over who, of a myriad of fun characters, to take in my four-being crew and exactly how to make each one valuable through the skill tree. The smart implementation of these combat systems, world-building, and interpersonal relationships really helps Inquisition hold up magnificently well all these years later. The DLC, included in this GOTY edition, is fantastic, too. I platinumed the game relatively easily on PS4, as well as completed two of the three expansions. You will only have trouble with the third expansion as it introduces game mods, one of which requires a second play-through. All of this content and straight-up good video game for such a minor fee is ridiculous, and it is at its cheapest price. Off you go now! Head to Thedas and save the world from… who was it?

Dragon Age™: Inquisition

The epic role-playing series from BioWare takes a thrilling leap forward with Dragon Age™: Inquisition. Beautiful vistas and incredible new possibilities await you.

Sean — Metro Exodus Gold Edition

For just $11.99/£10.49/€11.99, you can’t go wrong with Metro Exodus Gold Edition – you’re getting a good chunk of game here just from the base game, let alone the two expansion packs included with the Gold Edition. Metro Exodus is a first-person shooter that mixes survival horror with stealth elements. Following on from the events of Metro: Last Light, Artyom escapes the tunnels of the Metro system where he has spent most of his life, and along with members of the Spartan Order and his wife Anna, sets out on a journey on a train called the Aurora across the East to find survivors that exist outside the barren nuclear wasteland that is Moscow. If you found yourself invested in Artyom’s story with the previous two Metro games, you’ll probably find this one pretty interesting – just don’t expect more of that linear tunnel-based gameplay the series is known for. Metro Exodus changes up the gameplay formula somewhat. Instead of those long, linear levels found in Metro: 2033 and Metro: Last Light, Exodus opens the world up, giving you several different sandbox environments to explore. It’s a big departure from the previous games, but for the most part, it works and adds another layer of world-building to the franchise. Sure, there are still a couple of linear levels, and maybe a few more would have been nice, but for the most part, surviving and running missions in an open sandbox that’s wrapped up in that traditional Metro aesthetic (and filled with terribly mutated creatures and awful humans), is a lot of fun. I will admit I haven’t started the two DLC expansions yet, but I’ve heard they are pretty decent and were worth paying the full price for at the time.
Metro Exodus

Flee the shattered ruins of the Moscow Metro and embark on an epic, continent-spanning journey across the post-apocalyptic Russian wilderness. Explore vast, non-linear levels, lose yourself in an immersive, sandbox survival experience, and follow a thrilling story-line that spans an entire year in the greatest Metro adventure yet.

Tom — Dying Light: Platinum Edition

Dying Light: Platinum Edition was an easy choice to make, simply because I finished the game recently ahead of our hands-on preview of Dying Light 2: Stay Human. I enjoyed every darned minute of it, even on that second playthrough, which incidentally also highlights just how well the game has held up since its release in 2015. You play as an agent sent into the city of Harran to find the rogue operative that stole the plans of a chemical that turns people into flesh-eating zombies. The story takes you on a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, both figuratively and literally, as you navigate the infected city using parkour, a grappling hook (move over, Master Chief), crafted weaponry, and more. It’s great fun, offering up two different areas of the city that can be fully explored as an open world environment. The Following DLC takes you outside of the city to drive around in buggies, effectively making you a meal on wheels.

I chose the Platinum E because you get absolutely everything the game has to offer in that one purchase: DLC, cosmetics, weapon blueprints, and more — it’s also discounted by 50% and at its lowest ever price in the US, Europe, and Brazil… result.

Dying Light: Definitive Edition

The complete Dying Light experience is here in its final Definitive Edition containing all four DLCs and over twenty-two skin bundles.

Are any of our listed titles making the cut for you, or have you found some other worthy additions for your collection, out of the ridiculous number of games that have been discounted? Let us know in the comments!