The trouble with the Steam sales is that they are rather good, aren't they? Gaming is an expensive hobby, so it helps if every so often you can get a bunch of the best games from the last few years for dirt cheap. The Steam Summer Sale this year is no exception. But the options are so many, where do you even begin?
Because your Steam library is crying out for yet more unfinished games, an interminable list that you feel slightly ashamed of, please enjoy this collection of bargain games to get you started, varied enough to suit every wallet and all tastes.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest was received as one of the most beautiful, frustrating, amazing platformers in recent memory, and that's not an undeserved reputation. Microsoft has just announced the sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, so picking up the definitive edition for 50% off isn't a bad idea right now.
NieR: Automata has five endings, so that's more value for money right there. Telling the story of two androids trying to save a post-apocalyptic earth from powerful robots, NieR: Automata reviewed incredibly well, and was praised for the weird and affecting story as well as the self aware writing. Good ol' Yoko Taro and his weird mask, eh?
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Billed as a spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, Torment: Tides of Numenera is half price in the sale, and given how many hours you can get out of it, it's basically a steal. If, like me, you miss all those top down isometric RPGs, this will scratch that particular itch whilst telling a rollicking sci-fi fantasy story full of interesting characters.
I don't know how I can sell Reigns to you any better than with 'Game of Thrones meets Tinder', and it's only a couple of quid right now. Guaranteed to have more suprises in store than you were expecting. Also there's a talking dog.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
Listen, anyone who knows me knows I'm not, classically, a big fan of Final Fantasy as a series, but almost all of them are half price in the sale, including that VII one everyone likes. Personally I'd recommend the combined Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, because that's two games for one, and X is the one with the terrifying laughing and the hot goth witch, and in X-2 a key part of battle is changing your outfits.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
From the entertainment property that seems to power a not insignificant percentage of an entire country's economy comes Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Playing as a ranger who's bonded with the vengeful spirit of an elven jeweller, in Shadow of Mordor you can enjoy a unique game mechanic that generates cool enemies with backstories, and right now it's for less than £4. Good prep for when Shadow of War comes out later this year.
There's no way to adequately explain how creepy SOMA can get, but if you've played Amnesia: The Dark Descent you'll get an idea, because it was made by the same developer. An extremely unsettling AI-themed adventure, SOMA is a horror game that freaks your nut rather than relying on jump scares.
Tales from the Borderlands
Almost all of the Borderlands series from Gearbox is on sale, but the episodic Tales from the Borderlands is quite possibly the best game Telltale Games has put out since the original series of The Walking Dead, which I didn't like but everyone else seems to. It's both heartwarming and very, very funny, and retains an essential Borderlands-y flavour to it.
With both it and its Burial at Sea DLCs half price, there's never been a better time to get BioShock Infinite, the game that critics can't decide is really really great, or the most terrible game ever made, or something.
Hitman: The Complete First Season
Everyone seemed to like Hitman, despite the episodic release format being received in a slightly confused way. It was praised for the wealth of options for assassination, and the attention to detail in the environments. Having been sold by Square Enix, the Hitman studio IO Interactive has retained the rights to its series and is going it alone as an indie, so a second season for Agent 47 could be on the cards soon.
We had to have at least one Valve title, right? I nearly went for Left 4 Dead 2, but Portal 2 has the added bonus of not being populated by players who are already really good at the game and will say unkind things to you in chat. The follow up to Valve's smash hit Portal, Portal 2 isn't quite as tightly designed, but it has some great twists, some great puzzles, and some great voice acting. Shout out to Nolan North as the corrupted spheres, particularly Rick the Adventure Sphere.
This game is amazing, as layered and as beautifully designed as a faberge egg. It was my game of the year last year, and I stand by that, though you should know going in that Dishonored 2 doesn't play the best on PC, and apparently still has issues despite patches. If you're approaching it via Steam approach with caution.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I might not like Geralt, but I can appreciate a well made game when I see one. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is well worth the sale price, and includes the huge whacking great slices of DLC too. Kill monsters, kills ladies, and be a general low-fantasy adventure hero in a shocking well-rounded world.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
The sequel has been delayed several times, but South Park: The Stick of Truth is a sure fire bet because it's been out a few years already. The 2D South Park-style animation ages well, and it's built around poking fun at fantasy and RPG tropes as well as call backs to South Park favourites. You also learn how annoying it is to have Al Gore as a Facebook friend.
The gentle farming sim that took the world by storm, Stardew Valley can almost be anything you want it to: actually running a farm seems to be a secondary concern to a lot of people when there's dating to do, or dungeons to crawl. There's something incredibly calming about the change of seasons in Stardew Valley, though it can get a bit weird when a woman uses the notice board to requisition fish for very suspicious needs.