What Should You Buy During the Steam Exploration Sale?

Valve switches up its Steam sales with a new discount system. Featured and Daily deals are gone forever!

The next Steam sale is alive! Today, Valve kicked off the Steam Exploration Sale, the wallet-sucking discount period that would normally be called the Steam Autumn Sale.

Things are a bit different this time around. Normally in a Steam sale, there are Featured and Daily deals that have deeper discounts than normal. While a game may be 50 percent off throughout the entire sale, during its Featured or Daily deal promotion, that discount becomes higher. Valve has decided to dispense with that system this time around.

Instead, every game will have the same discounts for the entire duration of the sale, ending on December 1, 2015. That means there's no more rush to check the deals each day. Find what you want, see how cheap it is, buy it.

Of course, this comes with its own issue. With so many titles simply being on sale, what will you buy? Many, when faced with the huge number of deals, will simply buy nothing. They will stare into the abyss and decide to go play the games they've already bought. Who does that help? No one! A huge Steam backlog is a healthy industry!

So here's a few recommendation of titles that you can pick up for cheap during the Steam Sale. No, I won't cover everything, because I'm just one man, but if there are other great deals I missed, let us know in the comments!

It's also worth noting that there will be a Steam Winter that may have different discounts. You've been warned.

Shadowrun Hong Kong

The third game in Harebrained Schemes amazing Shadowrun RPG series. After rebooting with the Kickstarted Shadowrun Returns and the follow-up Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Harebrained takes the game to the mean streets of Hong Kong. Will you find your Cyberpunk self in the gleaming lights of the city? You can also pick up the entire series for 50% off.

Endless Legend Collection

Endless Legend is one of the best 4X strategy games in recent memory. Since the initial release late last year, Amplitude Studios has improved the title with the Guardians and Shadows expansion, adding the massive Guardian and an extensive espionage system to the game. If you haven't played Endless Legend yet, this is your gateway for entry.

Fallout: New Vegas/Fallout 3

Everyone's talking about Fallout 4 right now, but if you've never played a game in the series, you should probably start here. Of the two games, Fallout: New Vegas is the better option, with more memorable characters and a better story, but you can't do wrong with either. Hell, for $2.49 each, you might as well get both! The Game of the Year Editions for each game are slightly more expensive, but include all of the DLC.

Hyperdimension Neputnia Re;Birth1

The anime aesthetic is your thing, you might want want to check out this mix of visual novel and JRPG. Featuring a bunch of characters based on game consoles in various degrees of fanservice, this is the first of the Hyperdimension Neptunia HD remasters. You can also have Re;Birth 2 and 3 on the store if the first game tickles your fancy, albeit at lower discounts.

Ys Origin

All of the Ys games on Steam are 70 percent off during the sale. I'd recommend starting with Ys Origin if you're looking to get into the series. It's a prequel to the entire series, played out across three different perspectives. Regardless, it's still the same awesome hack-and-slash gameplay that Nihon Falcom nearly perfected in Ys: The Oath in Felghana. That title is probably where I'd go next, then jumping over to Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim. Unfortunately, not all the Ys games are available on Steam, so you're buying the series piecemeal.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Jaz reviewed Wolfenstein: The New Order, so here's his take on Machine Games' reboot of the series.

"In many respects, Wolfenstein is too ambitious for its own good: it writes several checks it can't quite cash. Yet those checks are so big, and it comes so damn close to cashing them, it really does deserve a cigar. That's ultimately my judgment on the game - but it's why it deserves that cigar that is the interesting bit, and the reason why I decided to start this review with its conclusion."

The Talos Principle

Imagine Portal, as delivered by the team that brought you Serious Sam. Wait, no. The Talos Principle is much smarter than that, weaving math, philosophy, and physics into a compelling puzzle game. As Bob said in his review:

"Above all, I found Talos a worthwhile experience simply because it made me feel smart. It's an extremely satisfying experience to work a puzzle out, bit-by-bit, until you finally reach the glyph hiding at its creamy center-so much so that you'll immediately want to move on to the next one and feel that rush all over again. Even without the thoughtful, existentialist trappings, Talos would still be a fantastic game, but this central theme definitely makes Croteam's creation something special."

Legend of Grimrock 2

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 & 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.

The Blackwell Bundle

Likewise, if you're looking for a great game in the style of the old LucasArts adventure games, here's the Blackwell series. Rosa Blackwell is a neophyte medium attached to her spirit guide, Joey Mallone, a former detective. Together, they fight crime! Unfortunately, the bundle is missing the final game in the series, the Blackwell Epiphany. You can pick that up on sale for 66 percent off.

The Evil Within

Shinji Mikami's return to survival horror may not have been executed as well I'd have liked, but it's a still a pretty good game. Step into the shoes of Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he makes his way across pretty much every horror trope setting imaginable. If you're starved for survival horror, you can beat this price, especially not for this game.

Elite Dangerous

Still waiting on Star Citizen? Try exploring the galaxy in Elite Dangerous, a great reboot of one of the earlier space sims. Here's an excerpt from Kat's review dairy:

"Last night I was up until 2am hauling freight, desperate to find that sweet spot where I could finally make some actual money. Naturally, it wasn't until the very end that I suddenly received a handful of really good missions, at which point I had to go to bed. Up until that point I had spent literally hours just flying between stations with my cargo."

"I've been asked if this is "fun," and I honestly don't have an answer. All I know is that I really want to jump back into my Hauler because I'm pretty sure that I can make some serious money on this run and buy a Viper or a Cobra. That's what Elite: Dangerous is all about-living life in the spaces between stars and trying to find the next big score before everyone else."

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

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, which just had a release of the second game on Steam. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, this is the place to start.

Door Kickers

Imagine Rainbow Six played from the perspective of Hotline Miami. Door Kickers is a real-time tactical puzzle game, putting you in charge of a SWAT team. Outfit your team members, plan your entry, and take control of your squad on the inside.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Join Geralt of Rivia on his final adventure in one of the best RPGs this year. Navigate a harsh and unforgiving landscape,searching for your adopted daughter Ciri and hunting some of the worst monsters that stand in your path. I'll be honest and say this might be my Game of the Year.

Age of Wonders III

Another great 4X strategy title if you've somehow drained Endless Legend dry or you want a slightly cheaper barrier to entry. For $2 less than the base Endless Legend, you can pick up Age of Wonders III's base game. Either will do you right if you're a veteran or budding 4X fan.

Axiom Verge

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

Just Cause 2

I'm reasonably sure that Just Cause 2 has a plot, but I don't know what it is because I've never beaten the game. JC2 is a playground of destruction with you are the center. With your trusty grappling hook, parachute, and a whole host of weapons, it's time to free the populace of Panau by... blowing up everything you see? Yeah, it doesn't make much sense, but it's fun as hell.

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