It is the Steam Sale, day seven. I have no money. I have no time. I have a few vital organs left but I’m not sure I can afford the surgery to remove them. There are five more days of this torture. If you are reading this: please send my love, and these fifteen Bioshock Steam Trading Cards to my mum.
Grand Theft Auto IV – £19.99 / $4.99
Tim: Here is a list Steve prepared of why GTA V should come to PC. I think they also work as reasons you should probably own GTA IV. Not because it’s just a great game. But because it’s a daft playground for stupid mods.
There’s also a pack that includes GTA IV and the Episodes from Liberty DLC. I think that the DLC is at least as good and probably a little bit better than the main game. I would buy that. It is very good.
Steve: A very good game indeed. It’s also reassuring that this is on sale because presumably Rockstar would’ve had to email Valve and some point to agree on the discount, which means that the GTA developer at least remembers that PCs exist.
Dead Island: Riptide – £17.49 / $19.99
Rob: No torso, no sale.
Tim: Dead inside Island, more like.
Matt: I honestly have no idea how I’ve finished Dead Island. It’s appalling. I managed to complete in in co-op with a friend, and I think that achievement is worthy of at least a Purple Heart medal. The ‘sequel’ (it’s more like big DLC) Riptide is more of the same, but with less variation in the environments. So if you fancy beating endless groups of zombies to a bloody pulp whilst completing yet another fetch quest, go ahead. You’ll be about as numb in the head as the foes you fight by the end of it, though.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition – £4.99 / $7.49
Nick: A third person action RPG, with a reputation for being super punishing. The big scary game in the room, or some may think. It’s honestly no harder than some of your vintage games from the 90’s. In a few places it will purposely go out of its way to troll you, but you will just laugh it off and not fall for the same trap ever again. It’s gaming in its most simply form: trial and error.
Getting past all this, it’s a beautiful game filled with some deep lore. The combat is interesting and there’s a ton of play styles to choose from. For less than a fiver I would definitely give it a go.
You’re going to want a few things though: a controller and DSfix. It’s a shoddy port to PC, so the controller still reigns as the best way to play. DSfix is a mod which fixes the resolution and takes off the frame rate limit. A word of caution: It’s been debated that using DSfix could get your LIVE account banned, but I’ve had no such issues.
Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes – £10.19 / $13.59
Rob:Fallen Enchantress was a decent fantasy 4X, but I have not played Legendary Heroes. I am sorry, I have failed you.
Tropico 4: Steam Special Edition – £4.99 / $5.99
Rob: You know, I’ve always felt Tropico 4 is a little too easy. A little too nice. But as time goes by, I’ve mellowed toward it. It’s just a cool, refreshing little city-builder. The gin-and-tonic of city management games, enjoyed on a cool beach in 1950s Cuba. And during this heat wave, I can’t think of many things that would be better.
Batman: Arkham City GOTY – £4.99 / $7.49
Tim:I was a tiny bit disappointed with Arkham City. I didn’t think it was enough of a step up from Arkham Asylum. Asylum worked because it was set in one enclosed location – a prison. That bounding worked to make the game better. Arkham City has exactly the same structure, but the city doesn’t feel right – it’s too enclosed, too tiny – particularly compared to other open world games. As long as you go into it understanding that it’s not really a city – it’s more of a district, and that city really is just a hub rather than a true open world, you’ll probably be fine.
However: the Batman game that does deliver on a city: with the toys (Batmobile! Batwing!) that come with such a design, is going to be totally amazeballs.
Rob: I actively dislike this game. It’s the quintessential trend-driven action game. Perhaps Arkham Asylum was no different, but it was using better trends. Arkham City is semi-open world for no good reason, crowded with sidequest harassment because, hey, everyone loves that in Assassins Creed, right? I finished it, and felt that what could have been a tense and emotionally charged story was squandered through bloat and lack of focus.
Steve: I was finished with Arkham Asylum before I’d actually finished Arkham Asylum, so I was confused when they made a whole other game about Batman for me to play. Were Rocksteady just not paying attention? I’d already had enough Batman. What a terrible waste of resources. Why can’t the world just adapt and respond to the caprice of me, the most important man that there is.
Matt: So it’s up to me to convince you that Arkham City is worth your cash. Question: Do you want to feel like the Batman? Answer yes, and Arkham City is the game for you. As far as story goes, it’s weaker than Asylum. And like Tim and Rob say, the open world is small and not actively needed. But you’ll face some of the Dark Knight’s best foes, you’ll leap from building to building as you tackle Gotham’s criminals, and the finale is quite a shock decision, at least if you’re an avid DC reader. Also the boss fight against Mr. Freeze is one of the best fights in any action game ever, and I’d pay the asking price for just that segment alone.
Ace of Spades – £1.74 / $2.49
Tim: This is a game I’ve been meaning to play for ages. Is it good? You tell us.
Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword – £1.99 / $2.49
Rob: I never fail to have a good time with Mount and Blade, and I enjoy the addition of firearms in With Fire and Sword. This is the closest games have come to recreating a John Ford cavalry film, albeit once set near the Thirty Years’ War. Let me tell you about the time I raided a caravan and they circled the wagons against my band of marauders, and we had to ride all the way around them to find the gap in their defenses, exchanging fire the whole way. We left a score of our dead behind us, but once we rode into that makeshift fort, we cut those guys down like wheat. It was great, like being Atilla or something.
Evoland – £3.49 / $4.99
Nick:It’s a game that takes you through the evolutions of the RPG. You start out with a 2D side scroller with no sound or colour. By playing the game you unlock new technology that actively changes the game. Eventually you’ll arrive at the present day, with a fully fledged 3D RPG and all the trimmings. For that amount of money, I would happily buy a ticket for the nostalgia train.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – £2.24 / $2.99
Tim: Two pounds and 24 pence? Bloody hell Steam/Square. That’s disgusting. Of course you should buy it if you don’t own it. And buy the Missing Link DLC as well because it’s an extra 74 pence. The Tactical Enhancement and the Explosive Mission were preorder incentives and not essential but they’re 21p for both so I don’t understand why you wouldn’t.
Matt: It’s actually criminal that Human Revolution is selling at this price. The only thing worth a higher prison sentence is the fact I’ve only played this once. The beautiful, orange-hued art style is just the start of this game that’s every bit the success that its daddy was. You’ll read every email, climb through every air-vent, and try harder than you ever have in any other game to get a non-lethal playthrough. Then you’ll realise how fun chisel-fisting your opponents is and start going bonkers. Throwing fridges at annoying people is a genuine option. It’s also got a deep philosophical streak that genuinely gets you thinking; my favourite topic of conversation down the pub post-completion was if unrestricted human improvements was ethically correct. Seriously, if you’ve not brought this already, now is the time for your wallet to step forward.
Nick:I actually played through Human Revolution on the hardest difficulty, no kills and without being spotted. It’s a nice challenge, except for the god awful boss fights which are actually done right in it’s DLC: The Missing Link. I love how Eidos Montreal portrayed the world, stuffing it chock full goodies. If you buy this (which you should), read every goddamn email on every goddamn terminal. There’s some fantastic mini story arcs that carry on right through the game, and are some golden pieces of writing.
I’ve heard it’s also fun all guns blazing, so go nuts.
Steve:I never finished Human Revolution, and enough time had passed since I gave up that I couldn’t resume playing it because I’d forgotten the names of the main character’s friends and what all of his special arms could do. Now I’ve waited long enough that I’ve forgotten everything besides the orange and black colour scheme, so playing through the opening missions won’t feel like a memory triggering chore. There aren’t many games I’d endure this sort of sad granular amnesia for, Human Revolution is one.