While I’m an advocate of getting outside and having some fun during the summer, your gaming PC will still be there when you get back home. If you’ve already completed your backlog (or just want to add a few more games to it), Steam is ready to help. As in past years, the digital platform is hosting a massive summer sale, and no matter what kind of games you want to buy, there are some excellent deals to be had.
If you have a Steam wishlist, check that first: Chances are good that most, or at least some, of the games you want are on sale. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that you may not have tried before, here are a few games to consider before the sale ends on July 4 at 10am Pacific Time.
Doom (Now $35; Usually $60)
There are so many ways that a reboot of Doom, the game that effectively launched the first-person shooter genre, could have gone wrong. Would it be too much of a nostalgic throwback, or too much of a concession to modern game design? The answer, thankfully, was neither. By mixing both classic and new design philosophies, Doom wound up as a fast-paced, lighthearted game with a real sense of humor, not to mention excellent atmosphere. At $35, it’s not exactly a steal, but this is as cheap as it’s going to get for a while.
Assassin’s Creed Bundle (Now $63; Usually $140)
There have been a lot of Assassin’s Creed games, I know. Perhaps even too many. And some of them didn’t launch in the most stable states. But that was a long time ago, and now you can get the four most recent games for the price of one new title. Between Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you’re looking at 100 hours (at least) of open-world historical action, complete with pirates, revolutionaries, turncoats and industrialists in both Europe and the Americas. If you’d rather start earlier, the other games in the franchise are on sale, too.
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The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (Now $25; Usually $50)
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is one of those rare titles that demonstrates how an open-world role-playing game can still be filled with meaningful content. While the game could keep you busy for hundreds of hours, it won’t be with endless fetch quests or repetitive monster-slaying. Most of the side quests have some purpose behind them, to say nothing of the sprawling main quest, chock full of rich characters and unconventional story choices. If you need to catch up on the series, the first two titles are also available for just a few dollars apiece.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Now $13; Usually $50)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor came out of nowhere to be one of the surprise hits of 2014. On the off-chance you haven’t played it yet, you can now pick it up for about the same price as a fancy cocktail. Shadow of Mordor provides dozens of hours of game time as Talion, a wandering ranger in J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic world. Both stealth and combat feel refined, and the story, while not even remotely canon, is surprisingly smart and respectful of the lore.
South Park: The Stick of Truth (Now $8; Usually $30)
I’m not a South Park fan. I find the show vulgar, self-congratulatory and eminently lacking subtlety. And yet from the moment I started South Park: The Stick of Truth, I was in stitches until the end credits rolled. Not only is The Stick of Truth incredibly funny for both fans and non-fans alike, but a solid battle system courtesy of the veteran RPG developers at Obsidian. The game is not very long by RPG standards; you could probably finish it in a weekend. But at $8, that’s a weekend well spent.
Age of Empires Legacy Bundle (Now $9; Usually $60)
Whether you have fond memories of playing Age of Empires II over LAN in your middle-school days, or are just looking for something to fill the void after StarCraft II’s story campaign, the Age of Empires Legacy Bundle is your best bet. Containing both Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III, and expansions for the two, the Legacy Bundle takes players from the fall of Rome all the way up to the end of the Sioux Wars. While Age of Empires II is the better-known and beloved of the two titles, it’s high time players gave Age of Empires III another chance. It boasts delightfully varied play styles for each civilization, as well as a persistent skill system for multiplayer matches.
These are just a handful of the hundreds upon hundreds of games currently on sale at Steam, which I can vouch for personally. There are lots of other great titles, from both big-budget and indie developers. Which titles do you recommend, and which are you going to pick up and try?