And so another year of Steam sales draws to a close. It's been more than a year since Valve changed the dynamic of the Steam Sale, getting rid of featured and daily deals for discounts that extend the entire duration of the sale. I admit, that's taken away some of the excitement of Steam sales, as has the growing number of sale options you can find at GOG.com, HumbleBundle, GreenManGaming, Amazon, and elsewhere. Some of the magic is gone.
Regardless, there are deals out there folks! We can not sit in the mire when there are discounts to be had! He are some of the best games available for cheap during the Steam Winter Sale 2016!
Header art is from Pixiv user Matataku. He does one of these every year.
- $9.99 - 50% Off [Windows, Mac, Linux]
One final 2016 shout out to a great game from USgamer community member Tom Happ! If you love classic Metroidvania titles, you'll get a kick out of this loving homage to the original Metroid. Jaz and Jeremy both raved about the game in our review:
"Axiom Verge uses a Metroid blueprint as its foundations, and builds upon it something old, yet something new, weaving in deft control and design touches from other games of the period, like Blaster Master, Star Control, and Contra. The result is a Metroidvania par excellence; one of the most engaging and addictive I've played in years."
"Axiom Verge goes the whole retro hog. It's in the little things. Anyone who gamed through the late 80’s and early 90’s will love the meticulous attention to detail poured into the game’s looks and cut scenes. The backgrounds are authentically tiled, colors and black space have been cleverly used to create period-style shading and depth, and even the way the enemies move and fire feels absolutely spot-on."- Jaz
"Tom Happ's Axiom Verge appears to have been built around that entire experience: Of being a kid poking around inside a game's code, of the illicit thrill of turning an adventure inside-out by traveling beyond its intended boundaries. It taps into a collective experience shared by countless old fans of NES games, creating a sort of controlled sensation of chaos. Unlike Metroid, Axiom Verge's glitches are a deliberate part of the game design and won't cause the code to break. Yet the game perfectly captures the feeling of those early days of console gaming, the spirit of venturing beyond the game's intended parameters."- Jeremy
Tales of Zestiria
- $12.49 - 75% Off [Windows]
Tales of Zestiria doesn't break any new ground. If you've played a Tales game before, there's no much new herer. If you've watched a ton of anime, then the character tropes play out largely as you expect. Hell, I even feel that Zestiria had one of the more uselessly complex RPG leveling and inventory systems around. Despite that, I ended up having a lot of fun with the game. As I said in my review:
"The story isn't any great shakes, but the cast kept me playing. Sure, they're all character types you've seen before in various anime: the upbeat and somewhat dense Sorey, straight man Mikleo, proper lady Lailah, loli kuudere Edna, the revenge-driven Dezel, etc. Brought together they're all pretty fun. They play off each other well, to the point that I would stay to watch the after-combat vignettes and the various save point skits that were available."
For 75% off, you have a solid winner to fill the JRPG-shaped hole in your life.
Street Fighter V 2017 Deluxe Edition
- $47.28 - 57% Off [Windows]
If you haven't already picked up Street Fighter V, this may be the place to start. The game launched in a barebones manner, but over the past year, Capcom has done its best to add more content and characters to the game. This Deluxe Edition includes the base game, the 2016 character pass including every Season 1 fighter, and the 2017 Character Pass, which kicks off with Akuma. The price may not look amazing, but for everything you get? It's pretty good.
Dying Light - Enhanced Edition, The Following Expansion
- $23.99 - 60% Off [Windows]
If you can stomach the first-person viewpoint, Dying Light is one of the best zombie parkour games ever. Okay, it's really the only zombie parkour game, but what the game does, it does well. Players are thrown into the zombie-infested city of Harran on a mission to find one man. Run and leap over zombies as you scavenge supplies to craft new weapons and armor. And don't look down.
This edition is an improved version of the original Dying Light game, alongside the game's signifcant story expansion: The Following. The expansion takes players outside of the city, with new weapons and the addition of vehicles. Now in your buggy, you can tear across farmland, mowing down zombies. While Dying Light is its own unique thing, The Following feels like a zombie-stuff Far Cry.
From my review of the expansion: "The Following isn't really Dying Light anymore. It's a different game based around the same concepts. The high point and flow state of Dying Light was in leaping from rooftop to rooftop, running in an unbroken line across a wild and uneven city with ever touching the ground. In the Following, it's tearing across the countryside in your buggy, doing damage to zombies as you pass, but never fully stopping your mad ride. The Following feels like a melee-focused Far Cry, while Dying Light was its own beast. Luckily, the shared save system means when you get tired of The Following, you can just jump over to Dying Light. Everything carries over seamlessly."
Jotun: Valhalla Edition
- $4.94 - 67% Off [Windows, Mac]
Jotun is a boss rush game, pitting you against against the Norse gods and monsters. You're Thora, a young Viking warrior who has to fight her way into Valhalla. Jotun is a great action game if you're looking for a challenge. Every character is 2D-hand animated, giving the entire game a very distinct look and the game plays with the sense of scale to make every boss seem larger-than-life. I didn't have time to review it this year, but it's absolutely worht its asking price, meaning the Steam sale price is pure elation.
- $19.79 - 67% Off [Windows]
Doom is back, fast, furious, and burning with the fires of hell! What was once Doom 4 during a troubled development period absolutely stuck the landing, as our own Jaz Rignall noted in his review:
"The single-player campaign is a blisteringly fast, gruesomely gory experience that, while feeling somewhat padded out towards its latter stages, nevertheless delivers a rip-roaring ride that's challenging and thoroughly entertaining. Forget the plot, and just enjoy running around, single-handedly blasting the seven shades of crap out of a hellspawn of demons using a toolbox of great-feeling weapons. Ultimately, it's oldschool-feeling FPS action, and it's great."
- $7.49 - 75% Off [Windows]
Where EA faltered with SimCity, Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive succeeded with Cities: Skylines. This is the premier city-builder on PC right now. This is the vanilla version of the game, but Colossal Order has since supported Cities Skylines with two expansions - Snowfall and After Dark - adding a new weather system, day/night cycle, new buildings, and new district specializations. Colossal ORder recently added Natural Disasters to the pile, which brings forest fires, tornados, and meteors into the mix. Currently, Natural Disaster is not on sale, but I'd recommend picking it and After Dark up. Snowfall is a bit light on content, so your mileage may vary.
Legend of Grimrock 2
- $8.15 - 66% Off [Windows, Mac]
I have not played this game. I have not touched this series. But reader SatelliteofLove and others have recommended it time and time again, so it deserves a spot on this list. A first-person, dungeon-crawler like the early Dungeons and Dragons games like Eye of the Beholder, Grimrock has you sending your party of four into unknown territory. If you dig the genre, this is one of the few games that does it anymore.
- $7.19 - 70% Off [Windows, Mac]
Invisible, Inc. is a turned-based strategy game, but the point isn't to go in guns ablaze. Instead, the game is all about espionage: staying out of sight, surprising enemies, hacking, and generally being a good spy. Pick your team of varying operatives: perhaps you want Decker for his stealth and Shalem to dispatch anyone who does see you with a quick bullet. Or Banks to open doors the others can't touch with her hacking. If you like the feeling of a good stealth game, but don't have the reflexes for a Dishonored or Splinter Cell, Invisible, Inc. is the game for you.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
- $7.49 - 75% Off [Windows, Mac]
Pour one out for our homies. Sleeping Dogs was one of the better open-world titles of the last generation, putting players in the role Detective Wei Shen in a difficult mission undercover in Hong Kong. The combat was great, the driving was solid, the city was just the right size, and the story campaign was focused. As a bonus, the game even comes with all the DLC. I loved it, Jaz loved it, and it's absolutely worth the asking price. United Front Games may be gone, but it's not forgotten.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
- $19.79 - 67% Off [Windows]
The sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a damned good stealth RPG experience. The biggest issue with the game is that the story just... ends. It's like Square Enix Montreal only made up to Act 2 of a three-act play. Outside of that issue, Mankind Divided is still a great Deus Ex game, just like Human Revolution. It also features some of the best environment art I've seen anywhere. For the discounted price? This is an easy buy.
As I said in my review:
"Eidos Montreal has crafted a great stealth RPG that offers up some interesting moral choices for players. The studio's world building is amazing, from the cities you'll wander through to the small details that color them. It doesn't entirely stick the landing at the end, but I'll be damned if I didn't enjoy it all the way through."
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Complete
- $12.27 - 92% Off [Windows]
Civilization VI has been released and it's a damned good start for the next generation of Sid Meier's Civilization series. Of course, VI's launch means you can get all of the previous version for cheap! This is Civilization: Complete Edition, bundling Civilization V, its expansions Brave New World and Gods & Kings, and all assorted DLC. It's the full Civilization experience for a low, low price!
Endless Legend Collection
- $28.83 - 70% Off [Windows, Mac]
I've been recommending this one forever and if you notice the price has gone up, that's because Amplitude Studios released another great expansion in October! Tempest adds the Morgawr faction, focused on controlling the high seas. The expansion brings naval warfare to the Endless Legend series for the first time! Endless Legend is still one of the best 4X strategy games in recent memory. If you haven't played Endless Legend yet, this is your gateway for entry.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
- $9.99 - 50% Off [Windows]
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is JRPG action like you remember it, but better. This is a loving localization of Nihon Falcom's epic Trails in the Sky series, and the second game is also available during the Steam sale for $19.49 (35% Off). If you want to know what all the fuss is about, this is the place to start.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
- $6.59 - 67% Off [Windows]
MachineGames suprised everyone with its reboot of id Software's classic with Wolfenstein: The New Order. The Old Blood is The New Order's lean, meaner, and more violent little brother.
"The Old Blood is solid fare that offers plenty to get your teeth into. It's priced right, is very well produced, and its dialog has some excellent moments of deadpan humor. It's not particularly long – offering perhaps seven or so hours of campaign gameplay, and a bunch of challenges that are unlocked along the way – but there are few games that offer the kind of rip-roaring action that The Old Blood does," said Jaz in his review of the game.
You can also find the New Order for the same price during the Steam sale!
- $6.45 - 66% Off [Windows, Mac]
In the Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London, you have to navigate your ship through a pitch black ocean. Sunless Sea is like FTL; every shot is your only shot. Find loot, upgrade your ship, and recruit unique officers. Will you make it through, lose the sanity of your crew, or turn to cannabalism to survive?
Mortal Kombat XL
- $13.59 - 66% Off [Windows]
I'm a Street Fighter guy at heart, but even I can't deny that A) Mortal Kombat X was a great fighting game and B) this is a awesome price for a fighting game bundle. Mortal Kombat XL includes the base game and both Kombat Packs, adding Tanya, Tremor, Bo Rai Cho, and Triborg, alongside movie horror icons Jason Voorhees, the Predator, the Xenomorph, and Leatherface. The game launched in poor state on the PC, but Netherrealm eventually fix it and all is forgiven.