Well, it’s officially summer! How do I know? Besides the whole summer solstice thing, the smell of charcoal and bonfire in the air, and the dull hum of air conditioning units cooling the poor, beleaguered masses, the Steam Summer Sale kicked off today, too! Whew! That’s a whole lotta summer action going on all at once.
For us dweebs and geeks who would rather sit click-clackin’ away at our custom built PCs rather than drink a terribly bitter IPA while being devoured by mosquitoes as we sit at a lakeside bar biding our time before going home to take a cold shower, the Steam Summer Sale provides a way to unwind, relax, and spend a bunch of cash we probably shouldn’t. For years now, the sale has snuck up on me, but I had the upper hand this year, and was prepared to sit and hit refresh until Steam wasn’t 502-ing me, just so I could study what Gaben has presented to us this year.
I’ve taken the liberty to exercise my opinions and pick out some gems of deals, and I’ll tell you why they’re deals, too! Trust me; I have 400 hours in RimWorld alone…
BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION
Normal price – $10 | Sale price – $5
If you haven’t played Batman: Arkham City yet, or you don’t re-own it after buying it in the last generation, this is your chance to relive the best Batman game ever made. The complete edition comes with extra bonus predator and battle rounds, a magnitude of costumes for every character, and extra playable characters in the challenge modes. Steam tells me I’ve sunk 28 hours into this game, and that’s not counting all my playtime on the original Xbox 360 release. For five bucks, this is an easy get.
It’s much more recommendable than Batman: Arkham Knight, too, which has a steep 75% discount that brings it down to just $10. That game’s flaws are numerous, even with the Premium Edition unlocks. If you love Bats, then sure, throw ten bucks at Warner Brothers. I just personally stopped playing due to the overemphasis of the Batmobile.
ASSASSIN’S CREED: ODYSSEY: BASE EDITION
Normal price – $60 | Sale price – $30
Alright, so, I personally haven’t played this one yet, but I’ve had my eye on it for a while now. While the reviews were good, showing that this entry in the sometimes-loved-sometimes-hated Assassin’s Creed franchise had evolved and changed up their formula, the game’s progression system was grindy to a fault, and then there was that predatory DLC which allowed players to buy increased XP gain rates.
That’s still in the game, but for half off, maybe I’ll dip my toe in the Athenian pool. Also, the “Deluxe” edition is only ten extra dollars. Then there’s the “Gold” edition for $40. Then the “Ultimate” edition for $47.99. I’m not going to list the differences. Have fun figuring them out on your own, though!
RESIDENT EVIL 2
Normal price – $60 | Sale price – $35
Hands down one of the best games of 2019, this re-imaging of the 1998 Playstation classic goes far beyond the traditional video game remake. Everything even hinted at in the original has been refined to such a high level that I firmly believe this is the kind of game creators have desired to make for decades now. The photo-realism achieved is paralleled by none and the tension found here is achieved only by few peers. Survival horror is back, baby, and stronger than ever.
While the story may not be as chintzy or cheesily engaging as the original, the characters have a few extra moments to shine here. Their interplay is more human than before. The gunplay, as well, is exceptional, with every gun carrying its own weight and particular feel. Zombies react with such a satisfying sway or stagger to a shot to the head that those tense moments of doming a zed, stunning him temporarily, and dashing past him feels good every single time. Inventory management, too, is so important that when you figure out just the right way to carry what you need through to the next save room it’s gratifying.
Buy this game even if you’ve never played the original. You won’t regret it, unless you pee your pants or something. Sorry.
XCOM 2 & WAR OF THE CHOSEN EXPANSION PACK
Normal price (combined) – $100 | Sale price (combined) – $30(!)
Are you into turn-based RTS game that pit your wits against alien overlords? Do you like building specialized strike teams? Do you like crazy amounts of customization, valid strategies, and diverse content? Well, then look no further than this Wombo Combo of XCOM 2 and its massive expansion, War of the Chosen. Now, I’m not sure why there isn’t an option in the Steam Store to bundle these together, but c’est le vie, amirite? You do have to buy them separately, but that’s the only downside to this interaction. These two gems are still full price long after release because they’re just that good. No other RTS comes close.
I’ve played XCOM 2 for just shy of 100 hours, and I’ve played through numerous vanilla, modded, and expanded campaigns. The War of the Chosen adds a new, fresh extra few layers of depth on top of the already complex and rewarding systems in the base game. Introduced are, basically, three boss aliens that stalk the XCOM team, which all require extremely different strategies to take down successfully, and three new potential ally factions featuring new companions specifically equipped to take the aliens down. I cannot recommend these games enough for you strat-heads out there. Also, maybe pick up the Shen’s Last Gift DLC, and maaaybe the Alien Hunters one, which are both also on sale, but were cheap to begin with.
THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION
Normal price – $50 | Sale price – $15
I mean, I know you’ve heard of this game. I know you know a bit about Geralt, the titular witcher, and his Gwent-playing abilities. I know you also know about the digital nudity, and collectible nudie cards featured in this massive, massive title. But did you know there’s also, like, a whole game behind the polygonal nips? A robust fighting system, complimented by a just-as-in-depth story, along with a ridiculous amount of lore. It’s good enough to merit a Netflix show starring former super man Henry Cavill. What more do you need?