The last Steam sale of 2015 is live! Today, Valve kicked off the Steam Winter Sale, one of the two major Steam sales of the year.
Like last time, during the Steam Exploration sale, things are a bit different. 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 for good.
Instead, every game will have the same discounts for the entire duration of the sale, ending on January 2, 2016. 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 issues. With so many titles simply being on sale, what will you buy? There's nearly twice as many games on sale as there were in the Exploration Sale! 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!
Kickass Santa art from Pixiv user Matataku. This is a thing the user does on the regular.
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
- $29.99 - 50% Off [Windows]
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 is my Game of the Year.
Fallout: New Vegas/Fallout 3
- $2.49 - 75% Off [Windows]
Everyone's still jamming with Fallout 4, but I admit I was a bit disappointed because it didn't really hit the deep RPG roots of the Fallout series. If that's your jam, Fallout: New Vegas is the better option, with more memorable characters and a better story, but you can't do wrong with Fallout 3 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 ($6.79 for New Vegas Ultimate Edition), but include all of the DLC.
- $13.99 - 30% Off [Windows, Mac]
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
Endless Legend Collection
- $20.39 - 66% Off [Windows, Mac]
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.
Legend of Grimrock 2
- $4.79 - 80% 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.
- $5.99 - 70% Off [Windows]
All of the Ys games on Steam are 70 percent off during the sale and you should probably get into them with a new Ys coming soon. 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.
Hyperdimension Neputnia Re;Birth1
- $5.99 - 80% Off [Windows]
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 (you lose 10% with each sequel).
Wolfenstein: The New Order
- $8.99 - 85% Off [Windows]
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."
You can also pick up the subsequently-released prequel, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood for $9.99 (50% off).
The Blackwell Bundle
- $6.79 - 66% Off [Various Platforms]
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 as well.
The Talos Principle
- $9.99 - 75% Off [Windows, Mac]
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."
If you skipped it during the Steam Exploration Sale, it's cheaper this time around!
The Evil Within
- $8.99 - 85% Off [Windows]
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.
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, 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.
- $14.99 - 50% Off [Windows, Mac]
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."
- $3.99 - 80% Off [ Windows, Mac]
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.
Age of Wonders III
- $8.99 - 70% Off [Windows, Mac]
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.
Shadowrun Hong Kong
- $9.99 - 50% Off [Windows, Mac]
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.
Just Cause 2
- $3.74 - 75% Off
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. Just Cause 3 just came out, so it's only 20% off right now.
Escape Goat 2
- $3.99 - 60% Off [Windows, Mac]
Somehow, the goat is trapped again. Escape Goat 2 is an excellent puzzle platformer published by the fine folks at Double Fine. Using your mind and your reflexes, you haver to overcome over 100 rooms of traps and enemies. If you burn through the whole of Escape Goat 2, you can also pickup the first game on sale for 60% off as well.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
- $5.99 - 70% Off [Windows]
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person mystery with the players taking on the role of Paul Prospero, an occult detective who receives a disturbing note from a young boy who's in grave danger. Now it's time to head to the town of Red Creek Valley and solve a local murder. Here's Bob's take on it:
"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. Around every corner, you'll find yet another reason to pick your jaw up off the floor thanks to the unrelenting beauty of Red Creek Valley's winding forest pathways, distressed, turn-of-the-20th-century architecture, breathtaking vistas, and all the other visual elements that lend this wholly fictional location a distinct sense of history and presence."
- $9.49 - 50% 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?
- $3.99 - 60% Off [Windows, Mac]
In the mighty country of Arstotzka, you're a civil servant at the border of Grestin. Your job is to monitor immigration. Using the documents travelers hand you, you have to decide if they're allowed into your country. Balance your immigration quota, the pleas of refugees, and the potential to allow spies and terrorists into your nation. There's really nothing like Papers, Please out there.
- $14.99 - 25% Off [Windows, Mac]
Armello straddles a number of genres. It's part card-game, part table top title, part RPG. League of Geeks has crafted an excellent title, where you choose your clan, wander the wilderness, and attempt to become the King or Queen of Armello. If you're up for it though, be prepared to set aside some time: Armello games take a while.
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
- $4.99 - 75% Off [Windows]
Young Recette has the same problem as most game and anime protagonists: missing or horrible parents. In her case, her father has left her with a crushing debt. Together with the sardonic fairy Tear, Recette needs to get her item shop up and running to pay back her debt! Recettear lets you live the life of an RPG shopkeeper, pricing your goods and sending adventurers off to get more. It's one of the more unique game you can find on Steam. Capitalism, ho!