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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Steam Summer Sale 2018: 21 Best Games For $20 Or Less


Steam's Summer Sale for 2018 is live and ongoing. Valve recently launched the annual promotion, which takes the form of the Steam Intergalactic Summer Sale. You likely already know the basics of what to expect: It offers significant discounts on countless games. That spans everything from big-budget, triple-A games to lesser-known (but nonetheless excellent) indie games. According to Valve, there are more than 10,000 on sale. So many options can make it downright overwhelming to browse Steam's store.

Rather than have to wade through countless pages or rack your brain for the games you forgot you wanted to buy, we've rounded up a selection of worthwhile games that you should consider buying before the sale ends. And to be more considerate of your wallet (or not), we've provided recommendations that fall at or under $20. We've asked GameSpot's staff for their favorite deals, and we've come up with a diverse selection of games across multiple genres.

The Steam Intergalactic Summer Sale, like recent sales on the platform, is relatively straightforward. No longer are there any daily and flash deals, as well as voting; an aspect that many found exciting, but was ultimately difficult to follow and unkind to personal bank accounts. The new shift does make shopping easier, as you can now purchase a game without the worry of it becoming heavily discounted at the latter end of the sale.

This sale does feature one fascinating new feature, which is where the "intergalactic" aspect in its name comes in. Steam's homepage allows you to jump into what's called the Summer Saliens game. It's a browser mini-game where you travel to planets and save various games that have been abducted by aliens. You'll earn XP and unlock new abilities. It may be simplistic, but you should still check it out, as doing so can earn you the much sought after Steam trading cards (if you're into that). In addition, defending certain planets enters you to win a corresponding game for free, with your odds increasing as your Salien stays on the same planet for longer.

The Steam Summer Sale runs from now until July 5, so be sure to purchase the games you want sooner than later. And there's even a variety of anime on sale too. If these deals aren't enough and you want even cheaper deals, check out our recommendations for Steam sale games under $5. Be sure to let us know your picks for worthwhile deals, as well as what you plan to pick up, in the comments below.


Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver | $0.97 / £0.74 (86% off)


Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a long-forgotten gem from the PS1 era, which was also made available on PC. An early example of a 3D metroidvania done right, the game won my young heart with its haunting gothic style, clever combat mechanics, and distinct premise. I'll always remember the impact the game's intro cinematic and opening areas had on me. Its grim narrative and intriguing characters are some of the most memorable I've experienced in gaming.

The game puts you in control of Raziel, a vampire lieutenant turned soul-sucking wraith after being betrayed by the tyrannical vampire lord Kain. Brought back to life by a mysterious benefactor known as The Elder God, Raziel must embark on a journey to exact vengeance against his former king.

Soul Reaver's world of Nosgoth, a desolate and broken kingdom populated by all manner of mutated vampires, remains haunting and atmospheric. The vampire weakness-focused combat is still a creative and entertaining system to dispatch foes. In addition, the game is rich with fascinating locations to explore and secrets to unearth. Soul Reaver is well worth your time, and at as cheap as it is right now, you have no excuse not to own it in your Steam library.

If my ramblings are enough to compel you, the game's various sequels are also on sale, which you can purchase piecemeal for incredibly cheap (minus Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain). Do it and become the soul-sucking wraith you were always destined to become. -- Matt Espineli, Associate Editor

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver on Steam


DMC: Devil May Cry | $7.49 / £5.74 (75% off)


Devil May Cry fans often give DMC: Devil May Cry a bad rap. In the lead up to its release, many found its drastic shift in art direction disagreeable. And when it released, some found its mechanics less nuanced and complex than that of its predecessors. But after playing through it myself, I could never fully get behind this sentiment. As a massive fan of the franchise, I found DmC: Devil May Cry's high-flying combat exhilarating despite not being as precise. Its mechanics fueled by the addition of Angel Mode and Devil Mode opened up Dante's offensive possibilities, which kept me constantly engaged in experimenting and refining my technique. And the game's story--while nowhere nears it strongest suit--made for an entertaining new take on the series' classic mythos.

Whether you like it or not, DmC: Devil May Cry still manages to be a worthwhile entry in the tenured action game franchise. It may have taken risks that didn't fully pay off in the end, but what's on display is a fantastic action game well deserving of the Devil May Cry name. And at just below $10/£10, you should absolutely give it a shot, or even a second chance. -- Matt Espineli, Associate Editor

DMC: Devil May Cry on Steam


Agents of Mayhem - Total Mayhem Bundle | $16.05 / £13.21 (72% off)


Agents of Mayhem takes Saint Row IV's pure insanity and cranks it up to 11. Canonically taking place after the Gat Out of Hell "recreate earth" ending, Agents of Mayhem is a story of bad vs. evil. I loved the diverse range of personalities, races, and sexualities that compose the lovable rogues that make up MAYHEM, an organization set on destroying the evil terrorist group known as LEGION. My favorite agent is Daisy, an ex-roller derby girl with a knack for cussing, drinking, having sex, and handling heavy weaponry, but I also loved the the queer logistics officer Friday, storytelling ninja Scheherazade, and loud-mouthed Safeword (who's this universe's version of Saint Row's Kinzie Kensington). -- Jordan Ramee, Associate Editor

Agents of Mayhem on Steam


Cities: Skylines | $7.49 / £5.74 (75% off)


Where EA's SimCity (2013) dropped the ball, Cities: Skylines picked it up, and it ran. It ran far, wide, and it's never stopped, even to this day. The city builder has positively delivered everything that anyone has ever wanted out of this kind of game, and has seen a steady stream of expansions over the past three years. But even if you're just interested in trying the vanilla experience during this Steam sale, Cities: Skyline's incredibly accessible modding options, and its amazing community will give you more than enough content to gorge on. There's a lot of joy to be had in city building and management games, and Cities: Skylines is the definitive game in the genre. -- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer

Cities: Skylines on Steam


Dark Souls III | $14.99 / £9.99 (75% off)


If the recent release of Dark Souls: Remastered hasn't gotten you to try out From Software and Hidetaka Miyazaki's fantastic Souls series, maybe the heavily discounted Dark Souls III will. Dark Souls III takes the dilapidated world of the Souls games and adds new lands to discover, a quicker pace to the combat, and plenty of upgrades to the multiplayer, all while maintaining the strong world and level design that has made the series stand out so much. While I don't personally find the game to be as strong of an entry into the series as Dark Souls or Bloodborne, I could not put this game down when I first picked it up. For players looking for a rewarding game with challenge, I could not recommend the game more. -- Dave Klein, Video Producer

Dark Souls III on Steam


Dead Cells | $11.99 / £10.19 (40% off)


Dead Cells takes the DNA of Dark Souls, Castlevania, and a heavy dose of roguelike to create something that's more than the sum of its parts. This addictive and thrilling side-scrolling adventure boasts a bevy of tense moments, challenging bosses, and satisfying combat.

The core of the game is based on growing with each run, as every failure brings new lessons to learn, items to unlock, and points to take with you into the next life.

With a huge array of weapons, skills and playstyles, Dead Cells is a game that epitomises the "one more try" style of play. After your first few deaths, you'll be hooked and hungry for success. -- Dave Jewitt, Video Producer

Dead Cells on Steam


Doom (2016) | $15 / £9.99 (50% off)


If you haven't played 2016's Doom reboot yet, now's a good time--publisher Bethesda announced a sequel, Doom Eternal, at E3 this year. This new Doom is self-aware in its intensity, with its high-octane demon-slaying madness backed by an over-the-top metal score. It's both a return and an homage to the corridor shooting of the series' past, but modern touches also make it feel like a step forward for the series. As a bonus, the classic Doom levels hidden in each mission are both fun to find and provide the perfect amount of nostalgia. -- Kallie Plagge, Associate Editor

Doom on Steam


Everspace | $9.89 / £7.58 (67% off)


I'm usually not a huge fan of roguelike games, but something about Everspace just kept dragging me back for more. Stressing over every jump between sectors, while trying to simultaneously circumnavigate challenging fights and monitor my fuel cost, kept me constantly on edge. The mindless humdrum of outfitting a new vessel would quickly replace every frustrating death, and I'd promise myself I'd get a little bit further on my next excursion. I enjoyed solving the overarching mystery in the main storyline, but Everspace's tight controls and hectic dogfights were what drew me into its quiet beauty. -- Jordan Ramee, Associate Editor

Everspace on Steam


Forgotton Anne | $14.99 / £11.61 (25% off)


About 15 minutes into Forgotton Anne, I was curled up on the couch and weeping, after mistakenly profiling an illegal immigrant as a terrorist and getting him killed. Forgotton Anne never gave me a chance to catch my breath, though, and continued to dole out emotional punches. This adventure-platformer threw me into a role I've never played before: an officer who enforces border control. Anne must squash a rebellion that threatens her and that of her master, and the player chooses whether or not she goes about that task with any mercy. I'll admit, I was fooled by the pretty Studio Ghibli-style art into thinking this would be a game for kids. I was so wrong. -- Jordan Ramee, Associate Editor

Forgotton Anne on Steam


Grand Theft Auto V | $19.79 / £13.19 (67% off)


There's a good chance that, by now, you're one of the incredible number of people who have bought Grand Theft Auto V. If not, this is as cheap as it's ever been, making it easier to buy a copy for you and a few friends. And you'll want to play with friends, because there aren't many games like GTA Online and its heists. These multi-part missions that have you working in tandem with friends (or strangers, if you're less fortunate) are among the most fun I've ever had with a multiplayer game. Dodging a military jet in your biplane until you can pick up your friends who are breaking someone out of prison makes for an unforgettable, tense experience. GTA 5's single-player remains enjoyable, and buying it on PC gives you access to mods, but this is well worth the price of entry for GTA Online alone. -- Chris Pereira, News Editor

GTA V on Steam


Iconoclasts | $16.99 / £14.86 (15% off)


An iconoclast is a person who destroys a religious image or symbol, and that's the exact role you take on in this indie Metroidvania title. I didn't find Iconoclasts' puzzles or platforming segments to be all that challenging, but the game makes up for these faults with dozens of intense boss battles, a wonderful cast of characters, and a nuanced narrative. It's been a while since a video game's story really made me stop and think about the consequences of my in-game actions, and whether I was playing the role of the hero or the villian. Despite the protagonist's silence, Robin also makes for a fantastic hero, whose adorable emotes and expressive poses convey her helpful yet naive nature. -- Jordan Ramee, Associate Editor

Iconoclasts on Steam


Into the Breach | $11.99 / £9.11 (20% off)


From the creators of FTL comes hands down, one of 2018's best games. Into the Breach is tactical strategy boiled down to its purest elements, with completely transparent mechanics that let you know exactly what the enemy is going to do next, and what effect your hypothetical actions will have before you make them. This alone makes every single turn a satisfying brain-churn that has you poring over all the game's exciting and multi-faceted cause-and-effect systems. With dozens of unique mechs, it's a sincere joy to experiment and replay Into the Breach again and again and again. -- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer

Into the Breach on Steam


Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition | $9.99 / £7.49 (50% off)


When pressed for time and trying to explain what makes Ori and the Blind Forest so special, I tell people that it's a Meat Boy-Metroidvania--intense platforming balanced against exploration and wonder. It gets the point across, but the reality is that it's so much more than that. The gorgeous art style and animation mix with fine-tuned controls that make the whole experience feel smooth as silk. The fable-like story is a resonant one about empathy and love. It's one of the best games to have come out in the last few years, and absolutely deserves more attention before the sequel arrives in 2019. -- Steve Watts, News Writer

Ori and the Blind Forest on Steam


Papers, Please | $4.99 / £3.49 (50% off)


I sincerely hope you're skipping this entry because you've already played and finished this game, because Papers, Please is one of my favourite games of all time. It's a modern classic where premise and mechanics marry together beautifully with difficult moral choices, strict consequences, and an unavoidable imperative for self-gain. You play an immigration inspector on a politically tumultuous Eastern European border, charged with inspecting and cross-referencing documents, controlling the flow of people, and correcting following protocol above all else. Hidden amongst civilians are spies and terrorists, but also sympathetic stories of innocent people caught by the riptides of war, trying to hang on to a semblance of life. Where does your loyalty lie: To the job that's keeping your family fed, to the greater good, yourself, or potentially, something else? How far are you willing to push your moral compass? Paper, Please is a masterpiece through and through, and it makes stamping passports feel like the most satisfying feeling in the whole world. -- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer

Papers, Please on Steam


Prey | $15 / £9.99 (50% off)


Prey is arguably one of the most underappreciated and overlooked games of 2017. It captures so much of what I love about immersive sims, particularly in its environmental storytelling--emails, notes, and other personal items weave the stories of who was on the space station before everything went wrong, and piecing things together takes careful attention to detail. Each part of the station also presents you with multiple ways to solve a problem, be it getting past an enemy Typhon or getting into a locked room, and all those things combined make traversal and exploration rewarding. The new DLC is just one more reason to pick Prey up while it's on sale. -- Kallie Plagge, Associate Editor

Prey on Steam


Stardew Valley | $12 / £8.79 (20% off)


I've put around 300 hours into Stardew Valley between the PC and Nintendo Switch versions, and it's become one of my favorite games I've ever played. I'm a big proponent of the Switch version now, but if you don't have one or prefer playing on PC, now's your best chance to try it out. Stardew Valley is everything I ever wanted Harvest Moon games to be, and it's made even better by its complex characters and surprisingly heavy themes. I don't want to spoil anything, but this is a game where you get out what you put into it--and there's a lot to discover. -- Kallie Plagge, Associate Editor

Stardew Valley on Steam


SteamWorld Dig 2 | $13.39 / £10.04 (33% off)


On its face, a game like SteamWorld Dig shouldn't have worked, much less warranted a sequel. A modern-day rogue-like Dig Dug, SteamWorld Dig carried an oddly relaxing gameplay loop: burrow your way underground, find some loot, come back up and spend it on upgrades, repeat. Its sequel, SteamWorld Dig 2, improves on the predecessor in every way, offering better upgrades, more character customization options, and challenge rooms for the truly enterprising spelunker. Sometimes you just want more of a great thing. -- Steve Watts, News Writer

SteamWorld Dig 2 on Steam


Stellaris | $15.99 / £13.99 (60% off)


The masters of grand historical strategy, Paradox Interactive, released their ambitious spacefaring 4X game Stellaris a couple of years ago, but if you haven't played it yet, you're definitely better off coming into it now. As is typical, the Swedish developer has improved the game significantly with free updates and meaningful expansions over time and addressed many concerns. Beginning with a single planet, you'll expand your empire, discover new galaxies, inhabit new worlds, meet new alien races, and see where your interactions with them may lead. Stellaris is certainly a complex 4X game, but like other Paradox titles, once you begin to internalise it, gain momentum, and appreciate the myriad nuances to its systems, you'll probably never think about playing anything else for a good, long while. -- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer

Stellaris on Steam


Valkyria Chronicles | $5.94 / £5.09 (66% off)


I hope no PC devotees out there will get upset when I say that one of the most innovative tactical strategy games of the past decade was born as a console game, and is anime as hell. Valkyria Chronicles puts some strange twists on its alternate version of World War II, but that doesn't deny the fact that its battle system is unique and fun. You plan and order troops in a turn-based fashion with a top-down strategy phase, but then need to personally move an ordered troop or vehicle in a real-time third-person mode and line up their shots. It may sound arduous, but it's incredibly satisfying and exciting to actually do. Its beautiful watercolour art direction has aged very well, and with Valkyria Chronicles 4 coming out on PC and consoles later this year, you might as well see what the fuss is all about. -- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer

Valkyria Chronicles on Steam


Vanquish | $6.79 / £5.09 (66% off)


If you're a fan of over-the-top action games and you haven't played Vanquish, then you haven't lived. Directed by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, the magnum opus of PlatinumGames' resume contains incredibly fast-paced shooting with an emphasis on movement. Equipped with a high-tech battle-suit with jet-boosters, you'll charge head-first through bullet-hell scenarios, gunning down robotic foes as you constantly dodge, vault, slow-down time, and famously, butt-slide at great speed. It's one of the most invigorating actions games of the past decade, and it has a dedicated command to smoke a cigarette. You owe it to yourself to play Vanquish. -- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer

Vanquish on Steam


The Witcher 3: Game of the Year Edition | $19.99 / £13.99 (60% off)


If you ask me (and many others who have played this remarkable action RPG), The Witcher 3 is the best game of this generation. It's huge, gorgeous, well-written, mature, and exceedingly fun to play. The dark fantasy world it's set in is perfectly rendered and unlike any other you'll find in all of games. Despite its sense of finality, here's hoping it's not the last game we'll get to play in this world, with these characters. It's a great ride. -- Chris Reed, Commerce Editor

The Witcher 3: Complete Edition on Steam




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