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There’s an endless stream of games released, and it can be difficult to know what game to buy next. Whether you’re starting from scratch or have several titles in mind to choose from.
To help you sort the wheat from the chaff, and prevent you buying a dud, we’ve rounded up a list of ways to help you decide what game to buy next.
1. Read Game Reviews
Reviews are subjective. They are the opinion of the single person who played the game. Nonetheless, they are still a helpful indicator of a game’s quality. Try finding a reviewer whose tastes align with your own. That way, if they recommend something, you will likely enjoy it too.
You can use a review aggregator like Metacritic. This collates reviews from publications across the web to provide a weighted average. The higher the Metacritic score, the more positive reviews that game received. Users can also score games and it is helpful to see how the public favor a game compared to the critics.
2. Watch Gameplay Videos
One of the best ways to see if a game takes your fancy is to watch gameplay videos. Trailers are fine for giving you a flavor, but obviously these are going to be edited to make the game seem as enticing as possible. With gameplay videos, you get a full taste.
YouTube is a great source of gameplay videos. Depending on the game’s popularity, you’ll find all sorts of different types: complete walkthroughs, Let’s Plays, compilations, and more. Check them out and see if the game looks good in motion.
3. Engage in Twitch Streams
The next level up from gameplay videos are live streams. These are when people across the globe play a game and stream it online for others to watch. The best source for these is Twitch.
Find someone streaming a game you’re interested in and watch them play it. If it’s a smaller stream, they are more likely to engage with the audience, so try talking to them in the chat box. This way you can ask them questions about the game or get them to show you a specific feature.
4. Check How Long a Game Is
Perhaps you want a game that gives you the best bang for your buck. Something that you can sink hours into, like The Witcher 3 or Dark Souls. On the other hand, perhaps life is hectic and you want games that you can play in short bursts or that don’t take long to complete.
Whatever the case, check out How Long to Beat. This is a database of games that collects user data on how long it took them to finish a game—both the main story and the completionist route. Simply type in the name of the game and you can see how many hours you’re likely to lose to it.
5. Track the Prices of Games
Game prices fluctuate constantly. There are always discount sales. If often pays to be patient, to not buy the game when it first comes out, and instead wait for the inevitable price drop.
If you want to get the best deal on a potential game purchase, use a site like IsThereAnyDeal or Price Charting. These map the historical prices of games, which is helpful to see if that current sale really is such a good deal. The former also lets you import your wish list from Steam and it will notify you when the price drops.
6. See Who the Developer Is
Some developers are known for always producing quality games. Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption), Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us), and Valve (Half-Life, Portal) are just some examples.
If you’ve played a game that you loved, see who the developer is and explore their other games. Obviously, it is possible for a developer to produce a dud or to have a fall from grace, but the chances are you will like their other work too.
7. Talk to Friends
If you have friends who play games, they can be a great recommendation source. They’ll know your tastes, so should be able to suggest something likely to be up your alley. Plus, if they live nearby, you can go round and try it out first-hand.
You could also coordinate buying the same game with a friend. If it’s a single-player experience, you can catch up and share your opinions. If it’s multiplayer, you can connect and have fun together. Our list of the best local multiplayer PS4 games might help.
8. Use a Recommendation Engine
If doing all of this research and talking to humans gets you down, why not turn to the robots to lend a hand? You can use a recommendation engine to get suggestions on new games based upon those you’ve played and liked.
Try the Steam Recommender, which looks at games you have played and uses machine learning to compare this against other people. Alternatively, there’s the Video Game Recommendation Engine, where you can input up to three games you like and it will give you more in that vein.
9. Check the Status of Each Game
Ever since the dawn of things like Early Access and crowdfunding, a lot of games are being released in incomplete states. For some, this is fine—it can be exciting to play a game before the full release and potentially help shape its future.
However, there are various things to be aware of. Read forums and check user reviews to see if a game is actually playable and not full of bugs. If the game is episodic, check that all episodes are released. A developer could go bust and leave the game incomplete. Also, you might want to check how much DLC there is and whether it’s considered a necessary purchase for the best experience.
10. Play Game Demos
Demos used to be much more prevalent than they are nowadays. It was a common sight to see the shelves lined with gaming magazines, each with a free disc packed with the latest demos. But in the age of digital distribution, demos are rare.
That said, demos do still exist for some games, and they’re an excellent method of seeing whether a game is worth buying. What can be better than playing it for yourself? One place you can get demos from is the Microsoft Store. You should also see if you have any local game stores with demo stands, as console publishers often set up their latest releases for the public to try.
Organize Your Games
It can be a difficult decision knowing what game to buy next, especially if you’re on a limited budget. However, hopefully, our tips will help you decide what game to buy next.
Now that you know how to find the best games to play, you need to keep them organized. And for that you need our round-up of the best launchers to organize your PC games.