In what has become an annual holiday for the gaming community, the Steam Halloween Sale is officially upon us.
As usual, the sale includes a huge number of completely ridiculous bargains, tempting gamers to splurge and load up their backlog. There are gems aplenty, but we understand if the selection can seem a little overwhelming. To give you a hand, we've included a few of our favorite deals from the Steam Sale. Naturally, if you find any strong deals of your own, please feel free to share in the comments! The community would undoubtedly love to hear your insight. The sale will end on November 3, 2014.
BioShock Triple Pack ($11.99)
It’s three, three, three BioShocks in one! And yet, even though the entire BioShock series consists of three games, this is not the entire BioShock experience. To the best of my knowledge, this compilation is lacking all the DLC — i.e.. Minerva’s Den and Burial at Sea — which many regard as the best BioShock content beyond the original game. So that kind of sucks. But then again, at five bucks a game, maybe you can afford to dig deep and come up with the coin to buy those separately, Skinny McSkinflint.
Even incomplete, what you have here are three modern rarities: Full-length, story-driven, wholly single-player (ignore BioShock’s 2 misbegotten multiplayer mode) first-person shooters that don’t play like someone was trying desperately to tap into the fat Call of Duty loot. While the games do have their problems, they’re worth making the investment simply to experience a big-budget take on a vanishing species. Now that developer Irrational has effectively vanished, shrinking down to a handful of people determined to make lower-budget projects, the BioShock series has become a museum of sorts: A tour through the excellence and excesses alike of the design trends and business that define “AAA” gaming. Get it here. — Jeremy Parish
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition ($6.79), Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition ($6.79)
You can't really go wrong with either of these games. Bethesda brought back Fallout in an excellent way with the original Fallout 3. Though the viewpoint changed, it was an awesome open-world RPG with tons of great characters. Fallout 3 also gave players an amazing level of freedom to play their way. This Game of the Year Edition includes the original game and its expansion packs: Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout, and Mothership Zeta.
Fallout: New Vegas dropped the series into the hands of the masterminds at Obsidian and they outdid the original in every way. Better story, better characters, and the focus of a very intense and passionate mod community means that New Vegas is the one to get if you're only buying one. Get Fallout 3 here and Fallout: New Vegas here. - Mike Williams
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings ($3.99)
With all the buzz around Game of Thrones' rather amazing four season, now is as good a time as ever to check out this similarly dark fantasy series. It's just about three years old at this point, but The Witcher 2 is still a terrific looking game on the PC, mixing accessible action combat with a strong story and a huge number of choices.
You could argue that CD Projekt Red has pulled the rug out from BioWare's Dragon Age with its superior graphics and scope. Though it oddly continues to fly under the radar among mainstream gamers, The Witcher has taken its rightful place among the top tier of RPGs.
At less than $5, Steam is offering a completely ridiculous bargain for one of the best RPGs of the last generation. There’s a good hundred hours of content to be found here for virtually nothing. Play it and get properly excited for the upcoming Witcher 3. Get it here.-- Kat Bailey
Plague, Inc Evolved ($12.74)
Fed up of being a hero and saving humanity? Then you’ll very likely be ticked by the idea of becoming a virus and destroying it. And that really does mean everyone: men, women, and children - all wiped out. That’s what Plague, Inc is all about, and it’s brilliant.
I’ve put a huge number of hours into the iOS version, which is basically the same as this one. The player starts out as an innocuous virus in patient zero, which slowly begins to spread from person to person. As it does, it earns points that can be spent to mutate and evolve it to make it more deadly. This is where the strategy comes in. Perhaps you might want to make it airborne or carried by birds to help it cross water. Perhaps you might want to make it more contagious via coughing, which will help it be carried more effectively in planes. Perhaps you might want to give it nasty side effects like diarrhea, or even make those who’ve succumbed to it violent, so they attack and infect other people.
There are some tricky choices too - your aim is to kill everyone, but you don't want to develop your virus to be fatal too soon. Borders might be closed, planes and boats shut down - and the human race will start working on a cure, which could completely stymie your efforts.
What I love about the game is the mind-bogglingly horrible options it gives you, and the way that you have to think about them. I also like the speed at which it plays. This is a fast real-time strategy game that feels almost arcade-like in nature. Rounds are quick, there are plenty of different challenges - including zombies! - and the gameplay is highly original, engaging and entertaining. There aren't many other games like this, and it's absolutely woth picking up: it's gruesome, but oh so entertaining. — Jaz Rignall
The Walking Dead ($6.24), The Walking Dead: Season 2 ($12.49)
With The Walking Dead, Telltale Games finally mastered the odd style of adventure game they were trying to create with Jurassic Park. The first season starred former convict Lee Everett and his young companion Clementine, as they attempted to survive and find Clem's parents. Love, trust, and betrayal were all well-conveyed in the title, even if it didn't completely feel like your earlier choices mattered in the end.
Season 2 picked up months after the end of the first season, with a hardened Clementine trying to determine who she should trust. After finishing Season 2, is easy to see that Season 1 was just the foundation of Clementine's story. By time the end of Episode 5 rolls around, you'll be begging Telltale for Season 3 (coming soon). Get Season 1 here, and Season 2 here. - Mike Williams
Outlast is a genuinely frightening first-person survival horror game. You play a journalist who find himself trapped in the Mount Massive Asylum while investigating its secrets. Unfortunately, you're not a fighter, so you have to run and hide if you want to live through the night. Armed with little more than a night-vision camera, can you find out what's going on at this horrific location?
Outlast does not mess around. In fact, it's one of the few games I won't play for too long or in certain situations. You will slip up, the monsters will find you, and you will die. Of course, you'll probably enjoy it. Get it here. - Mike Williams
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs ($4.99)
This is quite the polarizing game. Some love it, some hate it, and it's easy to understand why. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is an odd beast: one o’ them high-falutin’ indie arty projects that’s high on atmosphere and low on visceral action. But then, that’s developer The Chinese Room’s shtick. They don’t really make traditional games, they’re more about merging the boundaries between game and interactive drama/fiction.
Ostensibly, Amnesia is a horror story. I don’t use the word “game” here because its puzzles are extremely simple, and the whole thing should be played as more of an experience that you take in, rather than something you proactively rush headlong into. If you can live with its cadence and spend time looking around, it’s actually quite good. That said, it’s very likely you’ll feel surprised at how short and lacking depth it is when you reach its conclusion, but despite that, the impression it make on me transcended its play time by making me think about it after I finished it.
Which I think is really the developer's objective. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re interested in the idea of this kind of experimental, offbeat side of gaming, it’s worth a try. — Jaz Rignall
Dead Space Pack ($8.74)
Whew. For one generation, the Resident Evil series had solid competition in EA Visceral's Dead Space series. Dead Space established an impressive sense of terror, pitting lone engineer Issac Clarke against a horde of undead creatures. It was just you versus an entire ship full of evil, with Issac delving farther just to find out what happen to his girlfriend. You worked hard, bro.
Dead Space 2 brought Issac back for his second worst day ever. This time the action took up a bigger piece of the Dead Space pie, but the horror was still strong. Dead Space 2 was the Resident Evil 4 of its time. Shame the series is binned for the time being. Get both games for one low price here. - Mike Williams
Costume Quest 2 ($9.99)
From our recent review:
Costume Quest 2 is really an adventure game masquerading as an RPG, with traversal puzzles and fetch quests comprising the bulk of the gameplay. The battles are really there to break things up a bit, and when necessary, serve as a climax. Most traditional RPG elements, such as character customization, are light to non-existent. The core of the gameplay are the costumes, which are collected over the course of the story and feature one special ability apiece, while also being strong or weak to certain types of monsters. By and large, the most important decisions you will make regarding your characters are which costumes you want to bring into battle, and which Creepy Treat cards you want to equip.
Lightweight but inventive, Costume Quest 2 feels like a Pixar adventure masquerading as an RPG. It goes out of its way to keep things simple... perhaps too simple at times. But its simplicity is redeemed by its terrific art and wry sense of humor, and most importantly, the sheer fun of its premise. Get the game here. - Kat Bailey
Dark Souls II ($33.49)
The Souls series definitely has a reputation—though it's easy to see how its status as an ultra-challenging RPG might keep some very far away. For as much as fans like to go on about the harrowing nature of From Software's particular brand of pain, the developer isn't as interested in being evil as they are in placing all responsibility directly in your hands. Souls games rarely rob you of progress, and when they do, you walk away from that death knowing you probably could have prevented it if you were just a little more careful.
It may seem intimidating to jump into the series with its third game, but Dark Souls 2 offers an edge its predecessor didn't: A central online server, which means that any stumbling block you encounter can easily be overcome by pulling some co-op partners into your world. This alone makes the world of Drangleic much more tolerable, especially if you're new to the series and need some help figuring out how to cope with its many challenges. But regardless of how you approach it, Dark Souls 2 is a massive, beautiful, and RPG, designed for endless experimentation and customization. If you're wondering why people make such a big deal out of the Souls series, this is the perfect place to start. Get it here. — Bob Mackey
Darksiders Franchise ($8.99)
I still think Darksiders is on of the finest Legend of Zelda ripoffs to come out of the last generation. It got a bit self-serious at time, but the adventures of War and his brother Death are solid, well-designed adventures games.
This was an absolutely amazing series of games that were completely overlooked. Great character and level design, awesome weapons, and some amazing boss fights. Don't waste your time with Lords of Shadow when you can get this for far less. Get the franchise pack here. - Mike Williams
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter ($17.99)
No, this isn't an amazing discount, but this is still a great title. From our recent review:
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter picks up where Myst and its various sequels left off—spiritually, that is. Though its setting doesn't strive for the outlandish, and its puzzles feel more natural to the world around them, Vanishing's Red Creek Valley provides a convincingly lived-in and unbelievably detailed backdrop that feels ripped from faded pictures and jittery home movies, rather than the work of 3D modeling software.
Thankfully, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter concerns itself with more than just sightseeing. As the spiritually gifted detective Paul Prospero, you're given one objective upon reaching Red Creek Valley: Find out what happened to Ethan Carter, a boy who contacted you about certain supernatural issues when no one else would help.
Do you have a PC? Is it reasonably up-to-date? Well, if you haven't played The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, you're missing out on one of the best games of the year. Developer The Astronauts has crafted a masterful mystery in an unbelievably beautiful and atmospheric setting, and raised the bar for what this kind of an experience can be. And, for an extremely reasonable price of admission, you, too, can find yourself never wanting to leave its well-crafted world. Get the game here. - Bob Mackey
Alan Wake Franchise ($9.99)
Another unsung survival horror ends our list. Remedy's Alan Wake mixes survival horror, Stephen King, the Twilight Zone, and a bit of Twin Peaks to create a semi-episodic adventure. It's a horror game that plays like a horror TV shows. The heavy use of light and shadow is this game's hallmark, though it doesn't touch the later tech of something like Outlast or the Evil Within.
Alan Wake's sequel, American Nightmare, is good, but it's not as good. American Nightmare feels like it's more on the campy side of the X-Files and Twilight Zone tone. It's a totally different vibe from the first game, but for only $1 more, you might as well finish Alan's story. Get it here. - Mike Williams