Steam summer sale day 10: the best deals

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This is an odd day for Steam sales. The lineup is honestly a little weak: we’ve seen a lot of these deals before, and the games are of varying quality. So proceed into Day 10 with caution.

Prison Architect – $19.79 / £13.19

Julian: There’s nothing quite like designing a vast detainment facility for giving you a power trip. You’re managing the care of hundreds of convicts. Keeping them alive while they serve out the rest of their prison sentence. I still get a thrill from marking out the foundations of my first buildings when constructing a new prison.

However, while each update adds new features and develops Prison Architect more into the game it will become, it’s currently only a sandbox to play with. There’s no end goal, whole swathes of the game are yet to be included – you still can’t rehabilitate prisoners, only construct facilities to hold them – and some of the placeholder art makes it painfully obvious which areas are lacking.

So there’s pluses and minuses to buying a copy now. But a third off does put a big tick in the plus column. (Reading that sentence back I can see it was a wise move not to go into accounting. I also put sad faces on cheques.)

Rob: Look, this sounds great. And if you’re going to buy it, why not grab it for 34 percent off?

Starforge Alpha – $9.99 / £7.49

Julian: When Paul looked at Starforge earlier this year he was surprised by how little the game yet lived up to its Indiegogo promises. this could be one to avoid till later in its development.

Worms Revolution – $3.74 / £2.99

Julian: I’ve not played Worms Revolution but has there yet been a bad 2D worms game? Plus, it has the voice of Matt Berry. It’s £3. Go on. Do it.

Natural Selection 2 – $6.24 / £4.74

Julian: It’s great to see a small indie team get right what the vast studio that is DICE so completely failed to do in Battlefield 3. Natural Selection 2 gets teamwork right. It encourages communication at every turn, defaulting voice chat to on and encouraging players to invest in a mic. And, for once, I find myself playing a game where I’m not muting people shouting “Fag” and “Nigger”, instead I’m working out tactics with teammates and following my commander’s orders.

For less than £5 Natural Selection 2 is a steal. It’s a great team-based shooter and the developers should be rewarded for their work.

Knights of the Old Republic 2 – $3.39 / £2.37

Matt: Obsidian have a reputation for producing amazingly deep and complex RPGs that lack in polish (or are just broken). That reputation may well hark from KOTOR2. It’s systems remain intact from BioWare’s original (which hopefully you’ve played since it’s, y’know, a masterpiece) but overall it feels a little on the almost finished side. These day it’ll probably just feel old rather than broken, but that’s no excuse not to play. Simply put the KOTOR games presented a saga that was better than anything George Lucas had to say (original trilogy included), and is an experience you shouldn’t be without. And for the price of a beer, you’ve really got little excuse.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – $5.09 / £4.07

Matt: On the surface Global Offensive looks like a HD remake of Counter Strike Source. To a degree that’s true, but it’s so much more than that. Global Offensive offers a larger variety of game types than any CS before it, with Arms Race being a very different take on the famous formula. Still enormously twitchy and cramped, each kill gains you a better gun than before. First to work their way through the armoury wins. I’ve clocked up hours in this mode, and the thrill of the final few guns never falters. The classic modes feel as relevant as before, but Arms Race shows there still innovation in CS. Of all the games today, this is the one I’d slap a ‘MUST BUY’ sticker on.

Saints Row the Third – $4.99 / £4.99

Rob: A wonderfully witty, absurdist action game. People talk about the craziness of SR3 as if its only appeal is stuff like dildo bats and auto-tuned pimps, but that obscures the really excellent writing and, yes, even the warmth of this game. I love this for the same reasons I love The Big Lebowski: it appropriates tropes from other genres, combines them with lovably eccentric characters, and then lets the madness unfold.

Matt: I think SR3 is really where the series finally found itself. It realised there was no point being shackled down in the semi-realistic gangland culture. Sandbox games are a riot, and the writing and activities should reflect that. SR3 doesn’t hit the bullseye entirely; it can often feel like playing a selection of mini-games. But the finale is set to Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding out for a Hero’, which I personally feel redeems practically every negative quality it has.

Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed – $7.49 / £4.99

Rob: I know nothing about this. But it looks great on Dead End Thrills. So at the least you get something great to look at.

Julian: Not had a chance to play this but it got some fantastic reviews.

Omerta: City of Gangsters – $9.99 / £7.49

Rob: I heard the developer were working on a major patch to address a lot of the issues with Omerta, but I don’t know how you patch a game design into place. This was a lackluster tactical game with a pointless strategic layer on top of it. It was kind of stylish, but the substance was lacking.

Assassin’s Creed 3 – $23.99 / £11.99

Matt: The Assassin’s Creed series is wavering very close to gaining the same hatred as Call of Duty gets due to its annual releases, and if anyone were going to offer up evidence that year-on-year games result in decreased quality, Assassin’s Creed 3 would be it. At its core it’s still a decent game, but when you start to examine the details it’s quite the disappointment for a long-term AC fan. Overly-scripted missions with forced stealth and instant-fails on detection form the basis of what is wrong with this third (fifth) installment. Building on that is a fatally squandered modern-day plotline, a woefully unlikable protagonist, and a simply dreadful conclusion.

There are reasons why it may be worth your cash though. The naval combat is great fun, and the wide-open frontier areas make compelling hunting grounds. For the sake of completing the story, if you’ve played the others you might as well get this done too. Alternatively hold out for Blag Flag, which appears to take the best elements of AC3 and make them fun.