Steam summer sale day 9: the best deals

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Dear Diary. Day 8. There are still deals dropping through the intertubes. I’ve just sold my leg to a billionaire that wanted an unusual hat-stand. There are three days to go. And more money to spend. Please send help. Or a loan. Or a new leg. 

Yours: a man.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – Legendary Edition – £17.99 / $35.99

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!

Eve Online – £3.24 / $4.98

Nick: Eve Online holds a special place in my heart. A spaceship MMO that is almost entirely player driven, you can never go far without hearing some great tale spun from within New Eden. How about a four year long infiltration into one of the biggest alliances in the game, dismantling it over night. What about the guy who lost his supercarrier worth a mighty 309 billion isk, which equates to roughly over £5000. There’s a feeling when playing EVE that no other MMO has managed to replicate. The feeling of permanence.

On the flipside it is a difficult game to get into. They’ve made leaps and bounds to make it less intimidating to new players, but Eve Online still holds the crown for its complexity. I would advise trying the free trial first, if you’re sat on the fence. However if you’re already an obsessive space nut, I would go nuts and buy the starter pack on Steam.

Tim: I’ve never made it past the tutorial to Eve Online. In fact, I think one of my characters is permanently locked in an alternate instance that it can never escape as it was created before CCP completely rebuilt the tutorial.

Awesomenauts – £2.37 / $3.39

Matt: A fun little twist on your MOBA template, Awesomenauts is Dota going sidewards. It’s speedier than other MOBAs so it’s useful for quick lunchtime blasts, but it’s the 80’s style Saturday morning cartoon feel that makes it a little joy to play. If you’ve been playing LoL for years you’ll probably sneer at its ‘made for consoles’ simplicity, but if like me you’re pretty rubbish at MOBAs, Awesomenauts offers some competitive fun in a cozy side-scrolling environment. For £2.37 it’s probably even worth gambling on. Just watch the intro video first; that will probably make your mind up for you.

Train Simulator 2013 – £6.99 / $10.99

Tim: None of us have played this. Sorry. How is it? Worth paying for?

Grid 2 – £17.99 / $29.99

Tim: Again, sorry. We’ve drawn a blank. Shameful.

Metro: Last Light – £20.99 / $29.99

Tim: This is very, very good – a linear as they come shooter set in the subway and tunnels below Moscow after a big bad apocalypse. Don’t feel like you have to have played the first to get into it – everything that happened in the last game is explained in the first few minutes.

What I wasn’t expecting is just how personable and fun the whole thing is. You’d expect a post apocalyptic soviet horror shooter to be about as grim an experience as you can imagine. But it’s super-pulpy and frequently hilarious. Definitely worth a play, but I’d be happier recommending it at a more generous discount.

Matt: Metro 2033 was quite the surprise for me; never did I expect something so atmospheric. I was really, really looking forward to Last Light, and perhaps that’s why I found it a bit of a disappointment. It’s not that Last Light is a bad game, it’s genuinely a rather good game, but it feels rather by the numbers. The closest equivalent scenario is BioShock. The first game was phenomenal, the second game is equally as good, but everything that was special about the first game is lost in the sequel. Last Light sees you scouting through the metro system, but you feel like you’ve done it all before.

It’s also noticeably easier than 2033; even in hard mode there’s so many filters around you’ll never have that heart-stopping moment when you realise you’re stuck on the surface and your gas mask is seconds away from failing. Stay in shadows and you’ll never be seen, and you can drop enemies with little problem provided your gun is silenced. So at this price, only dive in if you really want to. If you’re a total newbie to the irradiated Russian future, Metro 2033 is a mere £2.49. Go buy that, you won’t be disappointed.

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition – £3.74 / $4.99

Tim: I am ashamed to say that I haven’t played either of the Baldur’s Gate games, but Jeremy really likes them and I know it is a massive blind spot that I have always intended to rectify. Sorry. I’ll check my badge in at the door.

Trials Evolution: Gold Edition – £7.99 / $9.99

Tim: Trials has always been a fun little motorbike knockabout – demanding perfection and precision as you try and navigate clearly absurd mud/city/haunted forest/sky based tracks. It’s good.

However.

I can’t help thinking it’s a bit overpriced. I have a freebie version of this on the Xbox, and wanted to buy a copy on PC, but recoiled a little at it being £8. Maybe I’m too much of a cheapskate, but it does feel slllliiightly overpriced.

Monaco – £5.95 / $7.44

Tim: So, this is a weird one. Monaco is fab: it’s a co-op tactical espionage thing; think Gunpoint but top down and with more neon. I’ve played it a few times before release and enjoyed every minute of it.

However, I went to play the final game a few weeks ago, and discovered a massive flaw. You can only play the game in co-op – there’s no way that I could find to play without joining a game online. And because it was a couple of months after launch, I couldn’t find a single player to play with. I left the game open for over three hours, and didn’t once get a group together to play.

I think that for a brief while the Steam sale will create an active playerbase. But I worry that in a few weeks time, they’ll all have moved onto something else. So buyer beware.

Civilization V – £4.99 / $7.49

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.

Update:Brave New World is not on sale on Steam, but it is available for the same price on Green Man Gaming, and a voucher code will get you 30% off at checkout. Which isn’t a bad deal at all.