Summer is here, and that generally means a whole host of wonderful things: longer days, ice cream vans, cold beers in the park with your best buds… and of course, the Steam Summer Sale. The most hotly anticipated event in the PC gamer’s calendar, the SSS is known for providing ridiculously good deals on games both new and old to encourage you to reach into your wallet and add a few more titles to your ever-expanding backlog that you’ll ‘get to eventually’.
However, there are hundreds of thousands of games on Steam, with just over 7,000 released this year alone (so far)! So how can someone possibly know what games will give you the best bang for your buck, and how to use the Summer Sale to save the most money possible on good games? Look no further! I’ve scoured the Steam databases to find the greatest deals on games that I can personally voice are worth your time. Here’s just a handful of stone cold classics available at prices that could legally be considered theft. I won’t tell if you don’t.
Before they retired to their mattress made of money earned through owning the Steam Platform itself — Valve were known for creating some of the greatest PC games of all time. Both the Portal and Half Life series are incredible examples of their respective genres, with Portal providing perplexing puzzles and some of the sharpest writing of the last decade, and Half Life and its sequel showing that shooters can have rich, complex worlds with an amazing atmosphere. With prices as low as £0.89 for these games, it’s more than worth picking up any Valve Classics you haven’t got your hands on yet. They aren’t the longest games ever, but you will enjoy every second.
Star Wars Battlefront II (old and new)
Both the original 2004 classic and the recent EA controversy-fest remake are available for under £10 each. In all honesty, both are worth your time and are great games in their own right. The original is the ultimate Star Wars playground, letting you pit large AI armies against each other across any of the universe’s classic planets and spaceships. Its graphics are dated but the gameplay more than holds up. The remake could easily be called one of the most despised games ever made, due to the rampant greed of Electronic Arts locking the hero characters that made the original so fun behind a (literal) years-long grind or a simple paywall. This lead to legal disputes about the nature of microtransactions in games and the most downvoted Reddit comment ever, but they did eventually learn their lesson. Now upon purchase, the whole game is open to you — and it is very fun. It’s more restrictive and less customisable than the original, but the spectacle of seeing Star Wars action with the flashy new graphics is very satisfying, and it’s nice having new maps and content from the sequels too. It’s your call which you prefer, but both are more than accessible at the current sale price.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Moving on from multiplayer mayhem, thanks to the Steam Summer Sale you can experience one of the greatest video game stories ever at 67% off. Red Dead Redemption is one of those generation-defining games that everyone who plays it remembers for years. It’s a shame its so memorable actually, because being able to experience its story again without knowing the twists and killer ending ahead of time would be magical. Either way, now is the perfect time to get it, especially if you haven’t experienced it already. If you need me, I’ll be petitioning Rockstar to keep updating Red Dead Online…
If you like to spend your summers bathing in the calm seas of some far-off land (perhaps Bournemouth?) but the cost of living crisis has foiled your travel plans, Subnautica might be for you! A game about surviving under the seas of an alien planet, it’s often heralded as one of the best and most unique games of the very saturated resource-management survival genre. The perfect summer game, unless you have an intense fear of the water, fish or big fish-like monsters, in which case maybe steer clear of this one. Otherwise, you have a great game about gathering resources and building new gadgets to plunge ever deeper into a vast, underwater expanse to keep you occupied on those long summer evenings, and at 67% off too!
All LEGO Games
One for the novice gamer, those wanting to play with friends and family, or massive LEGO geeks who love to 100% these games to see all the minifigs (three guesses which category I belong to). LEGO games are great if you’re looking for a nice relaxing game or a welcome break from the intense action or heartstring-pulling stories many of these other picks provide. Faithful recreations of your favourite film franchises or other intellectual properties, LEGO games see you smashing, building and collecting your way to victory. They aren’t ever super difficult, and sometimes a bit samey from one game to the next, but you can currently pick up the entire catalog for as low as £3 per game, including the new nine-film Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga game for £13, which did a lot to revitalize the tried and tested LEGO game formula. If you’ve ever wanted to sit down with a friend or sibling and play through the entire Harry Potter or Pirates of the Caribbean franchise but with LEGO minifigures, now is the best time to do it.
Those were my top five picks for the best Steam Summer Sale deals this season, but it’s only scratching the surface of the myriad insane offers on, well, offer. Websites like SteamDB faithfully track all sale offers, and inform you when games are historically low in price so you know when the best time to grab them is. If none of these take your fancy then take a moment to peruse for yourself, and you’re sure to find something that appeals.