Steam summer sale day 11: the best deals

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It’s day 11 of the Steam Summer Sale and that means encore day. Discounted games that sold well earlier in the week are given a second term in the limelight, giving us all the chance to invest should we have missed the chance earlier in the week. In keeping with the spirit of the occasion below you will find a rendition of our words from earlier this week on each deal.

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The Walking Dead – $6.24 / £5.24

Steve: I’ve praised this series to bits in the past, and I still stand by that sentiment. This offer gives you the full season, minus the just released 400 Days episode (which costs another £4), so if you’re looking to catch up on the zombie clicking, emotion tugging, humans are the real monsters adventure, this is your time to do just that.

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Torchlight 2 – $4.99 / £3.74

Tim: I really liked Torchlight 1, but I just haven’t been able to get into Torchlight 2 in the same way. Maybe it was a bit of aRPG burnout on my side – I was playing it right after Diablo 3. I’m by no means a hardcore RPG player, and I found that in T2 I missed Diablo 3’s infinite respecs and slick skill system. You’ll probably love tinkering with the talent trees and sinking points into specific pools of abilities. I just found myself with massive commitment issues, terrified to spend even one without worrying that I wasn’t getting the optimum level of dps from my build.

I think I’m probably wrong on that, and am looking forward to sinking into it again soon.

Nick:I fell into the same trap as Tim. I was really excited to play Diablo 3, but when I when I got my hands on it, it just didn’t do anything for me. I tried to do something you should never do with a game, and try and force it. This made me resent the aRPG genre for a while.

When Torchlight 2 hit I begrudgingly played it to justify my pre-order. I liked its slapstick humour and hilarious items. It just felt like a much more fun game. Unfortunately I stopped playing at around level 20, as other holiday releases overshadowed its release. I will definitely be going back soon however. I’ve convinced two of my friends to pick it up for the measly £3.74, and we’re going to go on an adventure.

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Tim: A fiver for Civ V. Of course you’re going to buy this.

For those who’ve been thinking about playing a Civ game, there are a couple of reasons to choose V. First of all: Civ is /very/ gamey. It’s not a big serious simulation, but a very transparent system that is fun to manipulate. You’re essentially in a simultaneous tech race and epochal war between you and your neighbours. Civ V is probably the best version of the game yet: but the vanilla version suffers a bit as you reach the end of the tech tree, and the AI is occasionally a bit odd.

For that reason, I’d recommend picking up the Gold Edition, for a few pounds/dollars more. That includes a wodge of DLC you’ll probably never play, but also the first expansion pack: Gods and Kings, which fixed a few problems and included a new and smart mechanic for modelling religion.

The latest expansion pack: Brave New World, is spectacularly good but unfortunately isn’t on sale. It was briefly available as a flash deal last week, and I’m kicking myself for not buying it then.

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Chivalry – $6.24 / £4.74

Tim: I love that on PC we’re practically lousy with medieval and historical first person war simulators. There’s this, the endless Mount and Blade games, and War of the Roses. I have a soft spot for Chivalry because a) it came out of modland and that usually says the devs know what their player base wants and b) I played on a low gravity server a bit ago and it was about as stupid as you could imagine. Don’t expect anything too polished. Do expect a bit of a giggle. Well worth it.

Nick: Charge at people with the long pointy end of various weapons and watch the heads roll. Fun fact: Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is Eve Online mega-corp Pandemic Legion’s favourite past time for when things go wrong.

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Dishonored – $10.19 / £5.09

Tim: Game of 2012. Buy it.

It’s a bit Deus Ex-y, in that you play a secret agent infiltrating locked down compounds, but instead of nanites you’ve got magic. But I think it’s probably better than Deus Ex, mainly because the best powers, Blink, Slow Time and Possession, actually turn player movement into a core mechanic – something that very few games take advantage of.

It’s also beautiful (the steampunk setting comes from the mind of THE GUY WHO DID HALF LIFE 2), and highly replayable. For £5/very few dollars, you’ve got no excuse. Like I said: Game of 2012. Buy it.

Rob: Holy cow, The Knife of Dunwall for $3.39 as well! It could easily stand alone as its own short game. What are you waiting for?

Nick: I’m a big fan of stealth games, ever since I first played Thief all those years ago. I looked at Dishonored as a way to cure my itch until the Thief reboot finally graces this world, and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s very fluid and dynamic, no matter what play style you’re into. Whether you’re go in crossbows blazing or prefer a ghost-like playthrough, Dishonored has all the bases covered.

Matt: What Tim said. There’s also lots of explosive whale blubber, which is cool, and makes this more ‘blubberpunk’ than ‘steampunk’. There’s also a ton of hilarity to be had murdering guards and throwing their very ragdolly corpses off rooftops.

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Tomb Raider – $12.49 / £7.49

Tim: It’s Lara Croft’s unseemingly expensive reboot, in which she’s accidentally shipwrecked into an episode of Lost, and has to fight her way out. Square Enix are rebooting all of their licenses right now. Deus Ex was spectacular, Hitman a bit ropey, and Tomb Raider sits somewhere in the middle. I do like it (I’m about halfway through) but it’s quite po-faced. I think that the problem with a lot of these grittier, realistic reboots is that they forget that we were perfectly happy playing characters that were superheroes. This more grounded take loses some of that balls out lunacy and stupidity that I actually quite liked in the old Tomb Raider games.

But for £7.50: yeah, there’s easily enough game here to keep you entertained.

I’ve played quite a bit of it (not completed, unfortunately), and I’m enjoying it a lot, but it doesn’t feel much like a Tomb Raider game to me.

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Skyrim – $35.99 / £17.99

Tim: I refuse to believe that anyone reading this hasn’t already bought Skyrim by now, but it’s obviously brilliant and this package, with all the DLC, is very good value.

But there’s two things I want to point out. Bethesda’s support for Skyrim, beyond DLC, but the extra content and features they patched in over the last two years has been absolutely extraordinary. You’d expect that kind of support from a multiplayer free-to-play game, but to see it on a single player RPG is wonderful. High-five to Bethesda.

Second: if you’ve already got Skyrim and fancy picking up the DLC on discount, note that the expansions are not actually on a flash deal right now. That means the prices will remain the same until the sale ends in three days, and there’s no desperate need to make a decision. I would think about waiting for a little bit and seeing if they’re reduced separately.

Matt: If you’re one of ten people out there that doesn’t have Skyrim, you may not have picked it up yet because you think it can’t possibly be as good as everyone says it is. You need to stop thinking that now. Skyrim really is that good. It’s everything you love about a fantasy setting, and everything you love about an open world. Nothing feels impossible. When you feel like you’ve found everything, something new will fall at your feet. At its most simple it’s the best at videogame tourism, at its most complex its a second life with all the elements of an MMO, without the ‘gamey’ feel and the annoying chat spammers.

Nick: If you’ve made it to me and you’ve not already bought the damn thing, you’re doing it wrong. Buy it!

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Borderlands 2 – $10.19 / £6.79

Tim: Enthusiasm hides a lot of sins. That’s the trick Borderlands 2 pulls. It’s a decent co-op shooter and a superb showcase for what the Unreal Engine and high-end PCs can pull off. But I think the fact that it’s so enthusiastic and charming: it’s world is senseless and stupid, the dialogue absurd, the characters one line jokes taken to absurdity, makes a world of difference. You can’t help but smile at the game.

So: worth buying, but with a caveat. I thought it was boring as sin when I played it alone. Unlike Left 4 Dead, Borderlands only comes alive in co-op.

Nick: Borderlands 2 is a fickle thing. I played it upon release with a couple of friends. We had a blast mowing down foes and scoring juicy loot. It even has some good damn writing in it, especially the witty lines from Handsome Jack.

It all fell apart however. I had to dash one evening in the middle of playing, and my friends continued without me. Soon they were miles ahead in the story and far more powerful. I was left in the dust, and couldn’t bring myself to playing it solo having just experienced the joys of playing with friends. I’ve not touched it since.

Pick it up, but only if you’ve got buddies to play it with.

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Bioshock Infinite – $29.99 / £17.49

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.

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Kerbal Space Program – $13.79 / £16.19

Rob: Model rocketry has always seemed like a fun hobby, but I never had the money or brains to get involved with it. Nor have I ever had the spare cash lying around to begin an interplanetary space program, and frankly, you don’t want to be anywhere near a rocket that I’ve had a hand in building. But Kerbal Space Program will let you build spaceships and execute complicated missions to your heart’s content, without any of the consequences.

Steve was rather impressed by the entire thing, and Idle Thumbs did a terrific stream demonstrating the perils and glories of KSP. If you’re all interested in turning space into your sandbox, this seems like a pretty great deal.