Steam's seasonal sales are a veritable buffet of choice for PC gamers, both a treasured featured of PC gaming culture and an event to almost comically dread. The sheer number of games available, as well as the savings on offer, can make each an almost overwhelming event however; so this time around we at Vortez decided to highlight some of our top picks for this Autumn's sale.
Oh, and by the way... our picks can be played with keyboard and mouse, so no need for additional hardware that will add to the expense.
Okay, so we're starting out with perhaps the most obvious pick of this season: Bethesda's DOOM. Visually stunning, with a cracking fast-pace single player campaign that has a visceral sense of humour which doesn't out-stay its welcome, DOOM is also special for advances in graphical technology within the FPS sphere. The game engine optionally renders in OpenGL 4.3, 4.5 or Vulkan, the latter of which is based on AMD's Mantle low-overhead renderer and a direct competitor to DirectX 12; unsurprisingly, it's a great showcase for the potential of AMD's hardware when using the latest rendering technology.
DOOM is for sale at 66%, or £13.13 in the UK. Definitely one to pick up if FPS shooters are your thing.
2. Salt and Sanctuary
A major switch of gears for our second pick, Salt and Sanctuary is best described as a Metroidvania, or '2D Dark Souls'. Often unforgiving, but also 'fair' in the sense that each battle has a definite solution which can be learned, this 2D combat platformer will both frustrate and provide that immense rush you feel when defeating particularly hard bosses in other games. Developed by indie outfit Ska Studios, cheaper than a ticket to the cinema 'round these parts but far more satisfying.
At 33% off, Salt and Sanctuary can be acquired for £9.10.
Describing Transistor is difficult. Superficially an isometric hack'n'slash, it has an enormously deep combat system which combines mechanically varied loadouts, 'paused-time' tactical decision-making and real-time elements. On top of that the story is compelling, graphics are gorgeous, and it has a soundtrack that you wouldn't believe. Another indie title we recommend, Transistor is Supergiant Games' follow-up to the acclaimed Bastion.
Pick Transistor up for £3.74 (75% off), and Bastion is also available for £2.74.
4. Hyper Light Drifter
Kickstarted in 2013, Hyper Light Drifter is one of those rarest of treasures: crowd-funded titles that actually deliver. This 2D title features stunning pixel art, great sound design and soundtrack, and yet more fast-paced and varied combat action. Furthermore developers Heart Machine continue to support the game with bugfixes, and in September patched it to support 60fps gameplay (this is the PC after all, we're not barbarians).
Hyper Light Drifter is available in a standard edition for £8.99 or Soundtrack Edition for £11.39, both of which are 40% off the regular price.
5. Civilization Franchise
Back to Triple-A games now as we highlight the Civilization franchise, currently on sale in various discrete parts. Civilization VI may have just been released (and it's listed at £44.99, hardly a bargain), but the excellent Civilization V: Complete is an great deal that includes the base game and highly regarded Brave New World DLC. Perhaps the greatest part of the franchise, the Brave New World DLC also has a comprehensive back catalogue of mods which add new gameplay options beyond what is available in the already complex base game.
The Civilization V: Complete bundle is a snip at only £6.41, 92% off what is considered the full price of the entire collection. Those looking for retro PC strategy can also get Civilization III for less than a quid.
6. Deus Ex Franchise
Long running franchise Deus Ex is one of the jewels in the crown of PC gaming, and the latest installment in the FPS/RPG series was released pretty recently. Mankind Divided isn't without its flaws, but remains a worthy successor to both Human Revolution and the groundbreaking original (although, less said about Deus Ex 2: Invisible War, the better). Furthermore Mankind Divided is one of the first games not published by Microsoft to include DirectX 12 render pathways, and over time could be integral to discussions over the future success of the API.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is 50% off at £19.99, whilst the superior Human Revolution Director's Cut still holds up well graphically and is priced at £3.24. If you're after a real challenge, and a piece of gaming history, the original Deus Ex GOTY Edition is on sale at £1.24.
7. Far Cry 3
Okay, so the entirety of the Far Cry franchise is on sale, but Far Cry 3 is the best of the bunch. An excellent PC port from Ubisoft and compelling gameplay loop, it nonetheless follows the same formula that all of Ubisoft's recent games have tended to: upgrades and control towers. What sets it apart is a superb story and cast of characters, especially the chilling antagonist Vaas (voiced by Michael Mando). Those new to Ubi's games or not yet tired of the forumla can get a lot from it.
You'll pay £3.74 for Far Cry 3 today, and that's chock full of value. Also consider the great Far Cry 4, but before you're tempted to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon consider the free copy that you can pick up on UPlay via the ClubUbi 30th Anniversary promotion.
8. Bioshock Infinite + Season Pass
A favourite from 2013, Bioshock Infinite was both the final chapter in the story and a goodbye to Irrational Games before the studio was heavily downsized. Great storytelling and a tremendous aesthetic style anchors a game that has the potential to surprise throughout, despite distinctly average gunplay. If you haven't already played it, and especially if you have somehow avoided the huge spoilers, both the main game and Burial At Sea DLC are worthy of your time.
If you can stretch to it, get Infinite and the Season Pass for £14.39 (60% off). If you've played through the base game but not Burial At Sea pick up the Season Pass for £7.99 and conclude the Bioshock story.
NB: Avoid both the Bioshock and Bioshock 2 Remastered Editions. Despite hope that they would solve the many game-breaking bugs in the originals, both Remaster's leave a lot to be desired.
9. Lethal League
Bet you weren't expecting a 2D Fighter to be on this list. Lethal League is a fast-paced multiplayer brawler for up to four players that also features a single-player challenge mode. The name of the game is to hit a ball in your opponents face as fast as possible to knock them out, but it's far trickier than it sounds. A great party game, you can also grab copies in multipacks to distribute to your friends.
Lethal League is 70% off single, double and quad-copy bundles, which can be had for £2.99, £4.49 and £8.99 respectively.
Dishonored II was just released, the first Dishonored is better. Get it, either as the vanilla version for £2.63 or Definitive Edition (which includes the Dunwall DLC) for £7.49. Simple as that.
11. Tales of Zestiria
Finally, no list would be complete without a JRPG. In the absence of a sale on one of the many decent Final Fantasy titles, we've given the nod to the less well know Tales of Zestiria, part of the Tales series from Bandai Namco which includes the classic Tales of Symphonia. Released on PC in 2015, it's a solid Japanese RPG port with deep mechanics, involved story, and content which could run over 100 hours. A New Game Plus mode ramps up the difficulty and adds further longevity to the game.
Tales of Zestiria is priced at £13.59, 66% off.
Do you have any recommendations to make? Let us know in the comments! Also don't forget that both EA Origin and the Humble Store both also have their own seasonal sales this year.