Steam summer sale day 1: the best deals

STEAMSALE

The Steam summer sale is now live. Not like we’ve been waiting for this moment for weeks. As we did last year, we’re going to give you a heads up on what we think are the games worth buying, and those worth avoiding. We’d love to know what you’re going to pick up in the sale – so let us know in the comments. 

And: if you’ve played something here that we haven’t, leave a comment with a description and a yes/no recommendation and we’ll update the post with your words. 

Bioshock Infinite – £34.99 £17.49£12.00 over at Green Man Gaming using voucher (GMG20-F202F-UI40F)

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Nick: I’m still playing through Bioshock Infinite, but I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent so far. It’s a sequel to Bioshock set in the sky, where you point guns at people until they fall over, throw zaps and fizzles from your hand, and occasionally listen to extreme versions of 20th century political ideologies.

The character animation, especially in Elizabeth, is some of the best I’ve seen. For below £20, It’s a no brainer though. Just be sure to dodge spoilers.

Steve: A shooty game about sliding around on rollercoaster rails in the sky using a sort of arm mounted whisk attachment, BioShock Infinite is special thanks to all of its interesting themes and a magical lady who follows you around throwing coins at you. It’s really good, but if you haven’t already played it something tells me that it wasn’t the price that was putting you off. Was it the terrifying mechanical bird? It was the terrifying mechanical bird, wasn’t it.

Jeremy: Don’t go in expecting Dishonored or anything like it. It alternates between two theme park rides – an astonishing Madame Tussauds of static citizens and social commentary, and a flash, bang, whizzy affair that actually gets really good once there are plenty of rails to hop on and places to jump off. It wrenches control away from you a little too often (and doesn’t have the original BioShock’s fictional conceit to justify it) – but simultaneously offers one of gaming’s most satisfyingly mind-rinsing endings.

Hotline Miami – £6.99 £1.74

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Tim: Yes, buy this game. It’s a horrifically violent top down beat/shoot/maim ‘em up set in the mid 80s. It’s sick, deranged, twisted and hilarious. Just don’t show gran what these videogames are like nowadays. It might be slllilghtly

Steve: Finally, a game about the 1980s that’s not all rose-tinted disco dance-offs and cool renegade cops going over ramps in speedboats. Hotline Miami explores what it was actually like to live and survive in the real 1980s, back when smashing somebody’s skull in with a snooker cue was simply how you said “hello”.

Left 4 Dead 2 – £14.99 £3.74

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Nick: Zombies! Co-op! Likable characters! Grab three friends and make it through various campaigns themed around various settings. With it’s special infected and random event director, the replayability of Left 4 Dead is never a problem. If that isn’t enough to convince you, then the Steam Workshop will sort you out. Who doesn’t want to relive Helms Deep with a undead twist?

Tim: I refuse to believe that there are people on Steam that don’t own this. Everyone goes on about it being made for co-op, but I have just as much fun with it on my own as playing it with ‘friends’. But then I hate people.

Steve: Scoop out my guts and slap my bum with a severed zombie paw, because I haven’t finished Left 4 Dead 2. Its campaigns felt super long in comparison to the first game, just long enough to really mess with my lunchtime scheduling, and so I set it aside, placing it in my “I’ll get back to this” pile and never setting eyes on it again. Maybe I’ll go back and give it the time it deserves now that it’s cheaper, something that should have zero bearing on my decision to play a game I already own, but somehow does!

Jeremy: I’m no dunderheaded boycotter or anything, but Left 4 Dead 2 rolled around so quickly that I was still burned out on its predecessor. As such, I let it pass me by like one of those newfangled roaming witches you’ve all been talking about for the past four years. Since, though, I’ve come to appreciate especially its oddly affectionate portrayal of the American South-East, which rarely gets a look-in in co-operative shooters (or anything else, for that matter).

Scribblenauts Unlimited – £14.99 £3.74

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Jeremy: There is a star, just out of reach. As side-scrolling go-getter Maxwell, you must reach it using a toolbox of stuff limited only by your vocabulary. Scribblenauting continues to be a genuinely revolutionary pastime, and the series’ ever-expanding bank of objects means it’ll probably manage to fire back a charmingly animated wheeled cat or Cthulhu when you inevitably try to catch it out. 5th Cell don’t always seem to know the strengths of their own game, designing levels with cat-tape-moustache-style solutions seemingly sourced from adventure gaming’s nadir – but when it works, it’s absolutely superb, like emergent candyfloss. And this one has adjectives! Best bullet point ever seen on a box.

Steve: The stars Jeremy mentioned are called Starites. One of the solutions to any of the puzzles in the game (though I think you can only get away with it once) is to simply type ‘Starite’ into the object summoning textbox and bypass the usual retrieval process. The weirder your imagination the better, and the actions and motivations of summoned entities tend to make a worrying degree of sense when they appear. Spawn God and Satan and they’ll fight one another. Spawn garlic to ward off spawned vampires. Spawn a teleporter or a time machine and you’ll end up somewhere surprising. The puzzles are a sidenote, the sandbox is king.

Don’t Starve – £11.99 £9.59

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Tim: It’s a very fun 2D survival game that our dev Pete is slightly obsessed with. He says he’s got 36 hours out of it so far, and he’s killed more rabbits than he dare admit. Well worth it.

Defiance – £19.99 £6.79

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Tim: I’d set my face a bit against Defiance when it was announced. It just looked a bit drab and dreary: an MMO FPS in which you fight aliens that are infesting earth. Which is a shame really, because devs Trion have a good idea of what makes MMOs good after producing Rift. Defiance does pretty much the same thing as Firefall – except Defiance has loads of stuff to do, and is quite polished, and there’s an entirely optional TV series for you to watch for extra lore. The missions are still yanky, and it had a ‘troubled’ launch, but it’s got a bit better. So, yeah – surprisingly not terrible. In the words of A Marketing Guy: If you like Rift, and you like guns, and you like television, you’ll love this!

Jeremy: I played Defiance for half an hour in a show booth on an oversized, under-pixellated TV, which is a bit like eating a roast dinner sat on a washing machine. But goshdarnit, if I’m not going to spill my opinion on it anyway. It felt strangely like an underwritten Old Republic, with vast, brown landscapes populated intermittently by the kind of men who are cool with you so long as you respect their six-feet privacy radius, but will fight to death if you don’t. You know the type.

Mars: War Logs – £14.99 £10.04

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Tim: It’s an RPG set on Mars, which everyone’s getting grumpy about the water supply. It didn’t review particularly well – the chief complaint being that it’s just quite clunky and under-developed. That’s because the team responsible are attempting to make a Mass Effect sized game on an indie budget, and that’s just not going to work. Stay away.

Toki Tori 2 – £11.99 £7.91

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A 2D cartoon platform adventure thing that the devs describe as a “Metroidvania” style puzzle adventure. It reviewed pretty well on the Wii U, but the PC community seems to have ignored it.

Endless Space: Emperor Edition – £24.99 £8.49

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Tim: No idea. Someone’s bound to say if it’s any good in the comments though, right?

Dog Pants:Allow me. It’s a rare turn based space empire builder, light on the combat and heavy on the colony management. If you like to auto-resolve combat in other such games then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this a lot, because even when you don’t it’s pretty hands off, which means you can concentrate on your economic might rather than fiddling with fleets. I think it’s very good, if you like herding spaceships in realtime you probably won’t.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger – £11.99 £8.03

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Tim: It’s a western FPS, and it’s really, really good. Our Rob gave it 8/10, saying “It is an over-the-top fantasy of the Wild West, a series of engaging tall tales from an increasingly inebriated fabulist. It doesn’t always make sense and it’s certainly not convincing, but it all makes for one hell of a witty and refreshing shooter.”

They be big words, for a little man. Kind of a stingy discount though.

Antichamber – £14.99 £5.09

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Steve: I’ve just started playing this, for science. It’s a first person puzzle game that feels a bit Portalesque in its chamberism, but is otherwise utterly unique and consistently, air-punchingly surprising. Escher-esque perspective manipulation merges with ominously morphing-while-you’re-not-looking architecture and intensely clever puzzling, which makes Antichamber one of the most interesting puzzle games you’ll ever encounter. Certainly worth £5.09.