The 2016 Steam Winter Sale is in full swing and soon millions of people around the world will be opening Steam gift cards and become giddy at the idea of adding even more games to their ever expanding library. But what games should you get? Is quality better than quantity? Is the front page really showing you the best Steam has to offer?
Don’t have time to browse every single sale item on Steam? Fear not! For I’ve compiled a few lists to help you find some of the best deals the Steam Winter Sale has to offer and give you a few game ideas that may have slipped your mind.
The factors taken into account for this list include:
- Discount percentage
- Each game’s overall quality
- Lack of popularity (Don’t expect to see The Witcher 3, Skyrim, etc. Most of you have already gotten and played them or know you don’t want to.)
- My subjective opinion of each game (Duh!)
I’m going to start with my favorite genre: RPGs. These games often offer the biggest bang for your buck, giving players dozens – if not hundreds – of enjoyable hours discovering an intricately detailed world as a myriad of plots unfold before you.
Don’t forget these sales end on Jan 2nd, 2017.
- Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Extended Edition (75% Off, $4.99)
The Shadowrun RPG series created by Harebrained Schemes, which started with Shadowrun Returns, has progressively gotten better with each subsequent title and update. I wouldn’t say Shadowrun is one of the greatest tactical, turn-based RPG series but it’s perfect for people seeking to dip their toes into the genre. It’s set in a dystopian cyberpunk world, giving players a break from the usual fantasy and sci-fi settings found in most RPGs.
I’d recommend picking up the Shadowrun Complete Collection for $12.35, since it gives you all the games and DLC for only $7 more, but you can’t go wrong picking up the latest title in the series to give it a try first either. Each game features its own independent main story, so don’t worry about playing them in order.
- Darksiders Franchise Pack (80% Off, $9.99)
This entry is a bit of a cheat since it’s more of an action-oriented hack-and-slash, but I don’t think I’m going to dedicate an entire list to that genre. The fact that so few people have played the Darksiders franchise is a travesty. It’s one of the more enjoyable hack-and-slash series of recent memory, where the player gets to play as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Unfortunately the series was created by THQ and we won’t likely get any more, but fans of Zelda or the God of War franchise will likely find both Darksiders games to be quite enjoyable.
- Dragon Age: Origins – Ultimate Edition (75% Off, $7.49)
I’m honestly not quite sure how many people have played Dragon Age: Origins, but if you haven’t then you should definitely pick it up while you can get the game and all nine content packs for less than $10. It’s easily still the best Dragon Age game ever made and holds up well despite being seven years old. This is a high fantasy title that every RPG fan needs to experience for themselves. It’ll probably change your opinion of the franchise as a whole.
- Bastion (80% Off, $2.99)
Bastion is by far the shortest game on this list, clocking in at 4-6 hours from start to finish, but it’ll be one of the most memorable 4 – 6 hours of your gaming life. Between the game’s unique, beautiful art style and engrossing Morgan Freeman-esque narrator, Bastion will leave you hypnotized from start to finish. The hack-and-slash combat is satisfying and gives players more options than a lot of longer games in the same vein ever offer.
- Sheltered (66% Off, $5.09)
Sheltered isn’t an RPG in the traditional sense. You play as a family caught in a bunker in the aftermath of a global apocalypse via nuclear annihilation. Fans of This War of Mine (another game worth getting this Steam Winter Sale) will pick up Sheltered’s mechanics with ease, enjoying the more open and procedural freedom that gives the game its high replayability. While management games are certainly on the rise, there still aren’t many titles quite like Sheltered.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown Complete Pack (80% Off, $9.99)
Interested in XCOM 2 but never played the original? Now’s the time to pick it up and discover one of the greatest sleeper hits of recent memory. XCOM is a tactical RPG for people who don’t like tactical RPGs. It doesn’t bog the player down with too many options but keeps a strategic feel that makes mission successes feel immensely satisfying. If you want to know more, you can check out my full review of the game here.
- Sunless Sea (66% Off, $6.45)
Fair Warning: This is a game for people who don’t mind reading. There is a METRIC BUTT FUCK TON of text in this game, making it not ideal for everyone. Sunless Sea’s Victorian Gothic setting in the fantastical world of Fallen London makes it one of the most unique fictional universes ever built. The game is all about exploring and finding your way through its dark and mystical world. It doesn’t hold your hand, but your initial stumbling around is well worth the adventures that lay in wait along the Unterzee.
- Undertale (50% Off, $4.99)
How could I not include last year’s indie darling? It’s still worth reminding people about even if most of you have already played it. This game is a quick reminder that there’s still a ton of creative possibilities that haven’t been explored by the games industry. I personally hope, if nothing else, Undertale teaches the newest generation of gamers that graphics aren’t even remotely the most important aspect that determines a game’s quality. Undertale is something you should dive into as blind as possible. If you haven’t played it yet, now’s the time.
- Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition (66% Off, $7.99)
Baldur’s Gate II is 16-years-old and the voice acting talent still puts modern games to shame. It’s expansive narrative, wondrous world-building, intricate combat and plethora of interesting characters will leave you overlooking the game’s age in no time. It concisely recaps the important points of the previous title so you can dive right in to the sequel without feeling like a confused outsider. If you enjoy newer RPGs like Pillars of Eternity or Divinity: Original Sin, you owe it to yourself to play one of the genre’s most impressive and memorable ancestors.
- Bioshock (50% Off, $9.99)
It blows my mind that more people haven’t played this game. I thought it was a widely played title, but after talking to hundreds of other gamers over the years I feel like I have to cheat a bit and put it at the top of this list. Remaster issues aside, Bioshock is a masterpiece. It’s one of the greatest stories ever told in gaming and should’ve easily gotten the movie treatment ages before Assassin’s Creed. (Although Hollywood seems dedicated to go out of its way to make every gaming-related movie adaptation terrible.)
Seriously, stop waiting if you haven’t played Bioshock yet. Pick it up today and feel free to thank me in the comments section below later.