Steam’s Autumn sales — even though it started in the Australian spring, and it’s technically summer now — are usually smaller than their mid-year efforts and the shenanigans that ensue right around Christmas. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good deals to be had or cheap games to purchase immediately prior to Christmas. But if you’re going to take the plunge in the current sale, you only have until 10:00AM PST. That’s 5:00 AM tomorrow morning, or 2:00 AM if you live in Perth.
But what’s worth buying? Let’s take a look.
Last time I did this I went through the Featured Sales and then some surprise ones that weren’t on the front page but were still worthwhile to some degree. At the time of writing, there’s no Featured Items Redux or rebranding of the featured deals. If there’s anything particularly special that pops up later tonight, I’ll update this post (since I’ll still be working anyway), but for now let’s get stuck into it.
When I wrote my original round-up for the first day somebody pointed out the two-thirds discount on Elite: Dangerous and opined that it was good enough to warrant a mention. They were right, but I wanted to wait and see whether Frontier Developments would offer anything else over the course of the sale.
They haven’t, but that hasn’t diminished the value of Elite: Dangerous as a worthy buy. The Horizons expansion, due out very soon, will add interplanetary landings and perhaps the only reason not to buy would be so you could buy Horizons and E:D together as a bundle. That said, existing E:D owners will get a discount on Horizons anyway.
It’s also worth noting that E:D has been released on the Xbox One and therefore has been designed to be playable with a controller as much as it has a joystick, or traditional mouse and keyboard support. Some HOTAS fiends might scoff at the previous sentence, but I know some for whom having good controller support — even as a PC game — is a must. E:D supports it, and the world is big enough to lose yourself in. Go flying.
I linked it before, but it’s too difficult not to recommend one of the quirkier point-and-click adventures now that it’s finally been remastered. People were waiting for years for Grim Fandango to be re-released online, and Double Fine finally did earlier this year.
You can also watch a three part making-of series through their Steam page that’s always intriguing. And if you’re especially a fan of quirky games and Double Fine adventures, the 2015 Double Fine bundle is going for $27.62 and comes with Stacking, Psychonauts, Grim Fandango Remastered, MASSIVE CHALICE, Brutal Legend, Iron Brigade, Costume Quest, Broken Age, Spacebase DF-9, Hack ‘n’ Slash, and all of the available soundtracks.
Most of those games aren’t really worth it for my money, mind you — MASSIVE CHALICE is interesting, and PS+ users will have just received Broken Age for free last month anyway — but Grim Fandango is definitely worth a line of its own.
Not the biggest discount by any stretch of the imagination but it’s certainly at the right price. If you ever got into Uplink at any point, or wished the hacking mini-game from BioShock was more intricate (or you missed the hacker class from System Shock 2) then Hacknet hits all the right notes.
If you want to complain about not having a bigger discount, then let me also say this in its favour: it’s an Australian game and this is only slightly more than a spirit with a mixer at a Sydney bar. It’s less than most pub steaks you’ll get around the country. And it’s certainly cheaper than going to the movies. But at least this way you know (most of) your money isn’t going to Hollywood.
It wouldn’t be a Steam sale without something absurdly stupid to dump your money on for the laughs. So I’ve found this: Agricultural Simulator 2012: Deluxe Edition, a game that’s probably better for your body than a Mars bar or a bottle of Coke Zero.
If you’re intrigued, there’s also Snowcat Simulator for the same price. Hell, it even has multiplayer via LAN, which might be worth the $1.09 entry price.
I was flipping between the originals, which are available for slightly cheaper, the HD remakes or the entire bundle with everything for $13.79. If you have a couple of friends and some laptops on a LAN the bundle is an excellent way to spend a lazy Saturday — it’s supremely stupid, lots of fun and playing through the games is a brilliant way to burn some time.
But if you’re new to the series and want to drop as little money as humanly possible then the first HD remake is a good way to get your feet wet. It’s also an excellent way to completely confuse yourself if you played The Talos Principle and thought, “Hey, those developers are pretty good, I wonder what else they made.”
“… what the hell is this?”
For people who want to understand David Cage before he was David Cage, may I present: David Cage.
Starring David Bowie.
Megabyte Punch is basically Smash Bros for PC, but crossed with an RPG and full of robots. It doesn’t have quite as much charm as Sonic beating the snot out of Pikachu, but it’s incredibly playable and I enjoyed the time I spent with it a couple of years ago.
It also happens to be by the same team that ended up making Lethal League, which is also going for $6.54 and is an excellent addition to any gamer’s couch co-op library. You’ll probably need friends to get any enjoyment out of Lethal League, mind you — there’s only an average of just over 60 people playing these days.
Given how many people on PC have been tearing up Fallout 4 recently, their eyeballs may have come across Fallout: New Vegas at some point. New Vegas wasn’t made by Bethesda — it’s an Obsidian production — but it seems fair enough to point people towards another Obsidian gem, Alpha Protocol.
One of the top Steam reviews probably says it best: “Typical Obsidian – dig out an amazing concept then fumble at the finishing line.” And that’s certainly true enough, but that doesn’t mean the studio’s mix of Mass Effect with James Bond isn’t worth playing.
I take that back. It’s absolutely worth playing, if only for the fact that you can pretend to be like Archer by telling people you’re a spy. Brilliant stuff.
I’m going out on a limb here, but Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is legitimately as good as some of the older Mario Karts. Hands down, it’s one of the best kart racers to ever be released on the PC and it’s a fantastic racer if you enjoyed Mario Kart but wished it wasn’t burdened with blue shells, rockets or all the asinine rubber-banding power-ups strewn throughout the tracks.
It also runs very nicely in 4K and looks bloody gorgeous, as I discovered last year. The online play holds up just well if you have friends, although you can do split-screen through the career or grand prix modes without any trouble whatsoever. Simple controls, great game. Do buy.
This isn’t the entirety of the LucasArts point-and-click back catalogue, but there’s plenty of value in the four titles on offer. The Dig will always have a special place in my heart after I found a copy for cheap at a random bazaar in the inner West during the 1990’s. Not long after it came out. For $2. I kid you not. Great value, even though it’s one of the weaker LucasArts games released.
The pack also comes with LOOM and the two Indiana Jones adventures, The Last Crusade and The Fate Of Atlantis. The Fate of Atlantis was the stronger one from memory, although if you can extract any enjoyment from The Dig and The Last Crusade you shouldn’t have any trouble smashing through The Last Crusade either. LOOM also looks intriguing, but you’re probably better off playing the originals due to changes that were made for the re-release.
The mechanics of playing through the game with music, however, will work for anyone who liked the music mini-games from Ocarina of Time. It’s different. Let’s leave it at that.
Wolfenstein: The New Order was far, far, far better than it had any right to be. It legitimately got me excited for more singleplayer shooter campaigns again — although none have come close to the competence that MachineGames demonstrated with The New Order — and the wonderful shift several hours in will be a wonderful moment for anyone who grew up with iD games in the past.
The 85% discount works because the game hasn’t really been discounted in the past, and that’s a shame. If you haven’t picked up the new Wolfenstein before, now’s the time to do it. You’ll get a solid 12-15 hours out of the story and if you’ve ever, ever enjoyed the solo component of a shooter before, The New Order is absolutely worth your money.
That’s my selection from this latest sale, although I could go on and on and on. What have you bought over the course of the sale — and what games do you think represent good value for money right now?