If you clicked on this list, that can only mean one thing: You didn’t snag a PlayStation 5. If you’re reading this while in possession of one of this year’s most coveted dopamine dispensers, do me a favor and click a few ads before you make yourself scarce. This list isn’t for you. It’s not meant to be a roundup of the best games of the curre—LAST generation of consoles. No. What we have here is a list of distractions. The kind of distractions that run just fine on hardware that’s already sitting in living rooms and under desks everywhere. The kind of distractions that immerse you so heavily into the illusion they cast, you’ll be able to briefly stop cursing the names of various online retailers.
If refreshing 12 tabs of Walmart.com is what you were doing before you happened on this article, I’m here to say it’s time to stop. You’re in denial. But that’s OK. Soon, you’ll be angry, try bargaining, have a bout of depression, and finally emerge having accepted your fate: you’re not getting a PlayStation 5 anytime soon, and you’re definitely not playing the Demon’s Souls remake in the next month either. Let’s chug along the stages of grief, settle into fate, and spend a fraction of the cost of PlayStation 5 on one of these totally engrossing, sure-its-not-Demon’s-Souls-but-hey-it’s-something, videogames.
Sure you can’t play the game that started it all, but why would you want to anyways? Yes, Demon’s Souls was a groundbreaking game and paved the way for later From Software titles and action games to follow. But c’mon, we all know you only wanted to play Demon’s Souls after playing Dark Souls and getting an itch see where it all began. But there’s still a lot left in the later Souls games that you may have missed.
Each Dark Souls game has engrossing DLC that can feature some of the best boss fights in the series. The Dark Souls community has also gone to great lengths to catalogue the game’s cryptic lore, and a few hours on the wiki can cast an entirely different light on new saves.
It’s also worth noting that Dark Souls itself is a refined version ofDemon’s Souls, and is more expansive that its predecessor in most aspects. After all, there’s a reason that Dark Souls has three games in its series compared to Demon’s Souls’s measly one game.
The next-generation console pre-order situation has been a complete mess. Retailers seem to throw up a few consoles onto their websites without any sort of warning, only to run out in the three minutes it takes for Wario64’s tweet to pop up in your Twitter timeline. While some stores have implemented queueing systems to various degrees of success, most haven’t made the investment into one. Perhaps because as long as the consoles are selling, they don’t really care how or to whom. It’s frustrating. It’s downright infuriating. It’s hell. And there’s one game that lets you kick the hell out of hell: Doom Eternal.
The sequel to Bethesda’s 2016 reimagining of the Doom series, Doom Eternal takes the first person shooter a step further in its glorification of violence and lets you punch a hole straight through Mars with a giant railgun. This game drips with pure rage, and is the perfect way to get some angst out. The Doom Slayer fights hordes of demonic entities, not unlike a certain setting of another demon slaying game that is locked away on the PlayStation 5. Instead of traveling to a local retailer this Black Friday to duke it out with a ravenous shopper for one of three available consoles, travel to the gates of hell while fighting waves of demons and get the same experience, more or less.
So maybe you didn’t get the PlayStation 5 in the latest drop, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get it in the next one. It would be a waste of money to buy a new PlayStation 4 game when you most definitely, most assuredly are going to get a PlayStation 5 any day now. But that new Spider-Man game, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales does look really cool, and it’s already available on the PlayStation 4. Plus, getting the game on PlayStation 4 also entitles you to a PlayStation 5 version, both for digital and physical editions, so you’re ready for when your next console arrives.
Sure, you won’t get the same performance out of the PlayStation 4 as you would the PlayStation 5, but it’s not permanent. It’s just to tide you over while you wait for your new console to arrive, and afterwards you can transfer your save data over. It’s just a temporary compromise that lets you swing around New York, not an admission of defeat at all.
The PlayStation 5 isn’t going to come back in stock in a meaningful way anytime soon, and likewise, Halo: Infinite isn’t going to come out in the near future. The game has suffered a lot, being delayed only a few days after its first gameplay trailer dropped and recently losing top director Chris Lee. Without Halo: Infinite, the Xbox Series X and S launch was without a headliner, but not without Halo entirely.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection takes all the mainline Halo games (1, 2, 3, 4, Reach, 5) and shoves them into one launcher. The collection is available on last-generation Xbox consoles and PC, and most of the games don’t take that powerful of a rig to run. Sure, it’s not the next-gen experience you were craving, but beating the mainline Halo games on legendary is a great way to pay penance for your own inability to secure a next-gen console.
You’re not getting a PlayStation 5. Not this year at least. But outside a handful of exclusives, there’s not that much going on with the console this year anyways. Most games coming out this year will also launch for last-generation consoles, Demon’s Souls is going to be around next year and exclusives like Final Fantasy XVI are slated for 2021 anyways. Your new console FOMO has subsided, and you’re ready to wait. Eager to wait, in fact.
Luckily, there’s just the game for that: Sea of Thieves. If you haven’t given the pirate simulator a chance since its rocky launch, there hasn’t been a better time than now to give it a go. This isn’t Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, where you can control the entirety of a ship at once. Every task in Sea of Thieves, from raising anchor to lowering sails, requires teamwork and time management. The more people work on one task, the faster and more productive the entire ship becomes. Extremely limited inventory space turns simple tasks like unloading cargo from your ship into logistical nightmares that take oodles of time.
And it’s fun as hell. When your crew comes across another ship, your teamwork skills are put to the test. There are a million things happening at once; sails need to be turned to catch wind, water needs to be bailed out of the lower decks, cannons need firing and the ship needs steering. Tasks need to be both triaged and delegated, with whoever is yelling at you the loudest probably needing help the most.
The main lesson from Sea of Thieves is that you don’t want to always be Jack Sparrow in a pirate game. Sometimes you want to be a lower deck sea dog moving hundreds of wooden planks, five at a time. [If you can be that pirate who passes out in the mud with a jug of rum in your hands and three pigs snuggled up against you, I’ll finally get into this game.—Ed.] Good things come to those who wait in Sea of Thieves, and when it comes to getting the PlayStation 5 this idiom stands. Take some time, stop refreshing tabs and work through your backlog of games. You’ll be able to get a PlayStation 5 eventually, and the longer you wait the more games it will have.
Nicolas Perez is an editorial intern at Paste and opinion co-editor for New University. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez__.