The Best Bargains From This Year's Steam Summer Sales

Ding ding ding: the Steam sales are off again. And it's while it's common to lament the days of flash sales and 90%-plus bargains, there are still some smashing deals worth everyone's time. Here's my pick of the bunch.

This story has been updated since its original publication.

Note that all prices below are in Australian dollars, converted from the US Steam pricing at the time of writing.

Cities Skylines: $10.14

If you wanted a modern SimCity, but without the nightmares introduced by EA and the benefits of things like Steam Workshop integration, Cities Skylines is all you'll ever need. Cracking price and tons of content, with some very good DLC to boot.

Oh, Cities: Skylines Is Now Also A Theme Park Game

I was happy enough with Cities. Skylines when it was just about building cities, but it's now adding the ability to construct giant theme parks as well, so cool, why not.

Read more

Crusader Kings 2: $13.53

The base game is great, even after all these years, but the mods are really where it's at.

When Crusader Kings Meets Azeroth

When you think about it, the troubled heroes and world of Warcraft is a perfect fit for a regicide simulator.

Read more

Crusader Kings II: The Kotaku Re-Review

When I first reviewed Crusader Kings II in 2012, I called it "one of the most challenging, entertaining and rewarding strategy games ever played." Five years later, it turns out that was only the beginning of my long journey with the game.

Read more

Tyranny: $20.69

If you wanted a more focused experience than Pillars of Eternity, why not give Tyranny a go? It's a cRPG that's on the slightly shorter side - around 30 hours, give or take - which is probably a positive if you're strapped for time. Combat is nice and snappy, and the integration of player choice makes playing an evil character great. A top RPG to pick up if you find the massive playtimes of Divinity: Original Sin 2 or Pillars of Eternity daunting.

Tyranny Makes It Fun To Be Evil

I usually play good characters in RPGs, but in Tyranny, I've found myself drifting toward the most diabolical path possible.

Read more

Baldur's Gate 1/2 Enhanced Edition: $6.76

Baldur's Gate still holds up today, although I'd argue only with a mouse and keyboard — the interface is a nightmare on your phone and even the iPad. And if you're wondering whether to jump into a Pillars of Eternity or something similar, this is a much lower point of entry (with all of the flavour).

Borderlands 2: $13.53

Still a cracking loot shooter to share with friends, particularly if you don't want to mess around the live elements that are a fixture in Destiny 2 et al. If you want to pick up the four pack - presuming you and three others haven't got it on PC already - it'll cost you $10 a pop.

Life is Strange Season One: $6.76

Telltale established the formula. Life is Strange does it better than most Telltale games. A cracker of a series to play with friends or family.

Aliens vs Predator Classic 2000: $1.68

A very cheap amount of money for a good oldschool FPS campaign (three of them, in fact). Also a much cheaper way to shit your pants than going to the movies. Highly recommend, and runs like a dream on modern systems to boot.

The Last Express: Gold Edition: $4.72

One of the most unusual puzzle games from the '90s, playing out entirely in real-time. There's never been anything quite like Jordan Mechner's murder-mystery, although the story below goes into more detail about just how different the point-and-click adventure was to, well, the rest of the genre.

The Last Express Was One Of The 90s Most Unique Games

The non-linear story helped make The Last Express one of the best adventure games of the 90's, but it wasn't the only reason. There was an incredible amount of work behind the scenes with bluescreens, actors and heavy stylised makeup, all of which was necessary to pull off the game's look.

Read more

Hollow Knight: $13.38

If you don't have a Switch for Golf Story, this is my pick for the best Australian game of the last couple of years. It's a steal at twice the price, honestly.

Dead Cells: $16.22

Sticking with the Metroidvania theme, Dead Cells is another cracking 2D platformer with some roguelike elements and more Souls-esque combat, with a parry, block and emergency dodge. To be fair, if you like Hollow Knight, there's a very good chance you'll enjoy Dead Cells too.

South Park: The Stick of Truth: $11.31

Still worth it at this price even if you're getting the koala-censored version. (My advice: use a VPN.)

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition: $33.85

Bargain at this price, and that's not factoring in the DLC, first-person mode (which is bonkers) and all the stupid mods you can add. Absolutely worth it.

CLANNAD HD: $23.67

A visual novel based on the anime, which focuses on Tomoya Okazaki and the change in his life after meeting new friends. If you've seen the original anime, the visual novel will have new endings you haven't seen before. The branching story lines will give you plenty of replayability too - it can take over 100 hours to get all of the endings, and once you're done there's CLANNAD Afterstory and CLANNAD Side Stories.

Gunpoint: $6.75

A stealth-puzzle game about breaking into secure buildings to steal sensitive data. Gunpoint is far, far cleverer than it looks, and too good a game to pass up at this price.

Gunpoint: The Kotaku Review

Good things often come in small packages. Gunpoint is just such a good thing, in just such a small package. Like the diminutive buildings you'll spend the game circumnavigating and infiltrating, Gunpoint itself is an intricate array of interlocking circuits and gears, finely tuned and waiting for you to bend it to your will.

Read more

Shadow Tactics Blades of the Shogun: $27.06

Liked Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines? Shadow Tactics is essentially that, but in Edo Japan.

Shadow Tactics Is A Stealth Renaissance

Commandos was a very good video game. It's also a kind of game that we haven't seen much of since, so it's nice to see Shadow Tactics step in and deliver us a similar kind of experience. Well, as similar as swapping World War Two for Japan's Edo period can get, anyway.

Read more

Middle-earth: Shadow of War: $27.59

With Monolith patching out microtransactions and loot boxes in a few weeks, now is the perfect time to check out Bruz the Chopper. There's no bargains on the story DLC, however, but there's plenty in the main campaign.

The Room: $1.68

One of the best mobile puzzlers, but on Steam and for absolutely bugger all. Great couple of hours if you're doing nothing else tonight or over the weekend.

Castlevania Lords of Shadow Ultimate Edition: $8.12

$8 bucks isn't a bad price for some cracking boss fights and fun level design in the Castlevania universe. The QTEs are a right pain in the arse, and skip the DLC, but the fights against the titans alone are well worth the price of entry.

What Remains of Edith Finch: $13.52

One for fans of Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Dear Esther, with some great twists and shifts in gameplay.

AMID EVIL: $24.08

Not the biggest discount, but well worth the price of entry if you love the singleplayer levels of oldschool shooters like Quake and Heretic. Loads of fun.

Amid Evil Is Basically A Modern Heretic

Just before the end of the year, Tegan and I played through a bunch of indies from PAX Australia on the Kotaku Twitch channel. One of those games was a New Zealand-developed shooter called Amid Evil, which looked like a fun bit of nostalgia. And that's pretty much what it is. a modern indie retake on Heretic, complete with giant blocky pixels to remind you of the '90s.

Read more

One late entry:

Duck Game: $7.03

QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK.

My Favourite Games Of 2015: Duck Game

I made a concerted effort to enjoy games with a greater co-op vibe, following a substantial upgrade of my living room earlier this year. That involved purchasing a nice 60” TV and re-using some old PC parts to make a beefy Steam machine; I wasn’t about to let those efforts go to waste. So I continued to explore. And one game still stands out, one that I’ve continued to enjoy over the months. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I grew up with lots of ducks.

Read more


What Steam sales have you seen that have caught your eye?


Comments

    Picked up Gorogoa and Ghost of a Tale (now out of early access!) . Also picked up a pretty platformer called Seasons After Fall for less than $2

      Little fox game FTW
      My daughter loves that game, just making the season change and laughing when the fox falls in the water when you change from winter to summer and the ice disappears.

    Man i used to love Heretic

    Might check the Switch price of Hollow Knight out and possibly get it there instead, if it's not too much more

      Wait, Heretic?? I meant Hexen, and so did you Alex :P.

        I dunno. That trident thingy looks more Heretic to me.
        Mind you, that was a looong time ago.

          AMID EVIL is more Heretic than Hexen; there's no hub world or anything like that.

          I really should go back and playthrough Hexen for a writeup. Insane what that game did for its time.

    Tomb raider: rise of the tomb raider is about $17US

    Don't bother with a VPN for Stick of Truth, just get the uncensor patch that's extremely easy to find if you read the game's forums.

    I can confirm it works perfectly.

    Steam Sales are when I go to the link for my wishlist, and apply one of the filters they installed months back: 50% off or greater / 75% off or greater.

    Bloody marvellous time-saver, that.

    This sale's prices aren't spectacular. Most of the games mentioned have been on deeper discounts before. (Hell, Shadow Tactics was a free PS+ game.) If nothing on your wishlist is immediately enticing for near-future play, we're probably all better off waiting for the halloween/thanksgiving/black friday through to cyber monday/christmas sales.

    Firewatch for $5
    Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus $24
    The Talos Principle $8
    Just cause 3 $4.50
    Rumu $10

    Plus a bunch of small indies in the sub $5 range. Currently broken the budget so need to decide what I want from the list of 15 odd games currently in my cart.

      Does What Remains of Edith Finch have any of the motion sickness issues that Ethan Carter had?
      Would like another game like that to play with the wife but she literally couldn't bear to watch Ethan Carter.

        I only had the motion sickness issues with Ethan Carter in VR; my mum, who played Ethan Carter alongside me, didn't have any troubles at all. So tl;dr: can't really say, sorry.

      I bought Firewatch on PS4 but I think it's worth a fiver to play it on the laptop.

    I've already picked up a whole bunch already, but here's a couple worth mentioning (most are oldish, but that's my jam)

    Danganronpa 2 for $11.99
    Obduction for $11.99
    Bully for $5.24
    Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire for $2.03

    Can't recommend Hollow Knight and Dead Cells enough. Both are excellent games that can have a lot of time put into them.

    I see the Steam link is on sale for $2.50 in the US. Meanwhile the Australian Steam site directs you to buy one at EB games for $89.95....

      EB quite often have good sales where the Steam link is heavily discounted. Think I got mine for $12.

        Same here. And I think I got a free game as well.

        Yeah, they do that regularly so it's worth waiting.
        I got mine for $19 with a $20 Steam Wallet card.

        I got mine for $20 with a $10 Steam voucher I think. Remember you need REALLY good WiFi or be prepared to use ethernet to get decent performance.

    The only games I was interested in and that were actually discounted beyond previous discounts were Firewatch, Final Fantasy XV and Pyre. isthereanydeal.com is a wondrous tool that helps ignore all the noise and marketing of big sales like this and only gives notifications of games in my watchlist that reached or broke previous lowest price records.

    The shelter games are on sale

    Be a cute wild kitty doing wild things and finding food for your adorable cubs

    Also SPY FOX games are on sale, becase old school pooint and click adventure games are only more fun when you add spy puns

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now