Best Steam Summer Sale Deals: Day 1

What are the best Steam Summer Sale deals? Each day for the duration of the sale, we’ll be offering our picks – based on price, what we like, and what we think more people should play. Read on for the five best deals from day one of the sale.

Oh yes, that great bell tolls once again, ringing an ominous tone. “Bring out your wallets,” Gabe Newell’s voice suddenly springs from your motherboard’s speaker, “pile your cash in my cart and receive your goods.” The haunted streets of Steamville fill with fleeing discount symbols, trying to escape the reaping. The dark sky brightens to an impossible blue, the five Suns of Deals scorching the off-green buildings a brilliant white. The city of Seattle floats into view, held aloft by great columns of steam escaping from the valves beneath, speakers endlessly booming: SUMMER IS HERE.

Which is to say, it’s time for some cheap games, eh? I’ll be rounding up the very best on each day, try to keep you right on this year’s set of collect-o-tron minigames, tell you why your Flash Deal vote is wrong and answer the tough questions like where is the narrative of that opening paragraph going. Onwards, to unfinished backlog!

First: the rules. If a game isn’t on a daily or flash deal, don’t buy it. It will almost inevitably go on one before the end and if it doesn’t, you can always pick it up on the last day. Obviously if you must play something NOW NOW NOW, go nuts, but Steam sales are a game in themselves that is usually more fun than about half the 95% off stuff you buy. For an intricate system designed to take your money away and trick you into spending more, it’s alright.

5. Hotline Miami 2

33% off: $10.04 / £8.03 / €10.04, Store page

The neon violence simulator sequel which Adam reviewed in March. It expands on the scope and scale of the original, adding characters, a longer plot and a lot more levels. The soundtrack manages to be the best in games, even beating out the predecessor. The hivemind gathered to give a verdict too and you can see everything else we’ve had to say about the game here. A level editor is coming soon.

4. Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth

50% off: $7.49 / £5.49 / €7.49, Store page

Sequel and remake to the original flash game, Rebirth boasts more everything on top of its predecessor as well as an engine change, meaning it will keep a constant FPS now. It’s horrifying, as you’ve probably just seen from the trailer, but also excellent. Alec gave poopy, dungeon-diving thoughts back in November. An unnamed expansion promises to, uh, expand on all areas of the game again soon, including adding daily runs. Read more about that and our other feelings here.

3. Wreckfest

50% off: $14.99 / £11.49 / €13.99, Store page

From the original developers behind the FlatOut series (but not the bad ones) comes this demolition derby racer that’s been chilling out in Early Access since January of last year. If you like crashing cars into other cars, objects, going off ramps – it’s a clear choice. It’s had a name change since release, from Last Car Game to Wreckfest, but here’s what Adam thought before that. All our previous posts are over here.

2. Valkyria Chronicles

75% off: $4.99 / £3.74 / €4.99, Store page

Strategy/RPG hybrid that came out on consoles in 2008 but didn’t make the jump to cool kids until late last year. In an alternate World War 2 you control a squad of soldiers from a neutral country that’s come under attack for its natural resources. It’s got a lovely art style and hero of the people Rich Stanton gave us his thoughts upon release. Want more? The rest of our posts here.

1. XCOM Bundle

80% off: $9.99 / £4.99 / €5.99, Store page

The remake of the 90s classic that recently had its sequel announced. This bundle includes all the relevant DLC, including the large expansion Enemy Within that changes so much about the game it may as well be a separate thing. If you’ve never touched it before, we’d recommend playing through Enemy Unknown before trying it. It’s one of our favourite strategy games ever and you can read what Alec thought of the base game and its expansion. If you want more Alec, he did a whole diary of a run-through. More XCOM? The Long War mod comes highly recommended by everyone, including game designer Jake Solomon who now describes base XCOM as a “20 hour tutorial” for he mod. Meanwhile XCOM 2 is around the corner and Rob Zacny let us know what he wanted from it.

We’ll cover the minigames tomorrow, once I’ve had some time to look at Reddit figure it out. Also, this:

73 Comments

  1. RimeOfTheMentalTraveller says:

    Already nabbed Binding of Isaac, checked price history, hasn’t been lower and I don’t think it will be, at least this sale. I’ve set up a Steam Alert in case Hotline Miami 2 gets lower than 10 euros link to steamalerts.com

    • Perjoss says:

      Thought this was a great deal if you like Daedalic:
      (Deponia, Momoria, Satinav, Whispered World, Night of the rabbit)

      £12.99 for all their best games

      link to store.steampowered.com

    • DePingus says:

      How to Shop a Steam Sale

      Is the game you desire…
      …a Daily Deal? BUY
      …a Flash Sale? BUY
      …a Community Sale? BUY
      …a regular sale? WAIT for it to go on daily, flash, or community. If it never does, then buy it on the last day. Did you miss your game on Daily or Flash? Wait for the Encore sale of the last day!

    • meepmeep says:

      Worth mentioning that the expansion, Afterbirth, will be out shortly (actual date unknown) so almost certain there’ll be a cheap combined price when it’s available.

      • Jalan says:

        Ridiculon has their OST for the DLC set for 15 August this year, so assuming nothing interrupts release it’ll likely come out around the same window of time.

  2. Dogsbody says:

    Next Car Game Wreckfest is epic fun. It’s hard to describe how well it runs with 24 cars on a little track all annihilating each other.

    • w0bbl3r says:

      It’s a great game, yes.
      But anyone looking to buy it should be ready to own it as it currently stands, because it looks very much as if it has been abandoned by the developer.
      No news, no updates, no patches now for months. Game is dead. Such a shame

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        They rewrote the physics engine, that’s why there have been no updates. The devs have also stated they’ve had a bit of a conundrum trying to decide if it should go in a more sim racer direction or not.

        If you want to see some good old fashioned gamer entitlement, definitely check out the community page for this bad boy.

        It would also be nice if they took out the confederate flag paint jobs, but I doubt they will.

      • BattleXer says:

        It’s far from abandoned. Bugbear have spent the last 9 months rewriting the physics and render engines.

        Plus the next update is due to drop this month, which was announced yesterday.
        link to community.bugbeargames.com

        Great time to get into it.

        • EhexT says:

          They’re still missing the GAME part of Wreckfest. Where’s the campaign? The progression? Where’s the Flatout successor they were supposed to be making?

          So far it’s just a contextless “have some pretty physics and graphics drive around some pretty tracks”. If I want that I can grab Gran Turismo or Project Cars or any other number of contextless pretty driving games. What they need is a game, AI, excitement, not just a pretty Sandbox.

  3. Melliflue says:

    Since it says “Day 1” I guess this is going to be a daily thing on RPS, so why do Steam sales get this attention when other sales don’t? For example, GOG’s summer sale got only one post on RPS, which was at the start of their sale. I know Steam is much bigger than other stores, but giving Steam more attention surely only increases the gap.

    • slerbal says:

      Agreed. Steam don’t need the exposure, they already have most of us ensnared. I (as a Supporter, if that matters) really would like more coverage of non-Steam sites. Steam have a monopoly on PC gaming but RPS doesn’t need to assist. One of the reasons I love RPS is that you focus on the little guys who desperately need the exposure.

      In case it makes any difference I will vote with my page clicks and not look at any of the subsequent Steam sale daily posts, after all I can just look at Steam (though I am avoiding that insipid looking “game” they are running….ugh)

      • martyr1777 says:

        Interesting, to me you are contradicting yourself.

        Steam is easily the best place for the ‘little people’ of gaming. They have massive numbers of indie games available, sure others do as well but when you look at the Greenlight program more attention to Steam IS more attention to the ‘little people’.

        As far as a Steam monopoly… well at least they are a good company, people complain but I’ve never had ANY problem, even the paid mods wasn’t all bad in my opinion and when most didn’t like it they stopped same day. That is respect for your customer base. To be perfectly honest, if other online sellers systems weren’t crappy maybe it would be less of a monopoly (looking at you Origin and GameStop).

    • Dangersaurus says:

      If GOG ran their sales like this, it would be news. There’s always weird experimental social engineering stuff going on behind these seasonal sales. Best time to sell off those cards everyone else cares about, too.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        With regards to gog sales and weird experimental stuff I guess you haven’t actually followed their sales in recent times?

    • wengart says:

      Largely, I suspect, because the Steam sale has become a sort of a “cultural event” in PC Gaming.

      People talk about Steam Sales all year, there are memes, it is cited as a positive reason for purchasing a PC as your gaming device. Hell someone made a video announcing it a day ago that now has 50,000 views.

      GoG, HumbleBundle, and others don’t have near that sort of status.

      While I would appreciate better coverage of GoG and Humble Bundle sales. Personally I don’t really care that much at this point, I buy so few games that, the Steam Sales cover me pretty well.

    • malkav11 says:

      Steam is much bigger and has a crappier interface, therefore it is harder to find the good deals.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      It’s because, and I say this as an owner of hundreds of games on both platforms, while GoG’s sales are a fantastic way to purchase a bunch of games at once, the Steam Summer Sale is An Event in addition to a fantastic way to purchase a bunch of games at once.

      It’s also a matter of inertia. The Steam Sales, capital S capital S, have been going on for longer than the GoG sales. In fact, Steam was the first digital platform to have a discount event that eclipsed local retail or snail-mail-order discount events.

      There’s nothing wrong with GoG’s sales, it’s simply in second place. That’s still a silver medal.

  4. Kuhaa says:

    I believe the upcoming expansion for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has been named Afterbirth. Of these titles I have my eyes on Hotline Miami, and I’ll probably get it at that price too. I’m trying to not buy too many titles that are not already on my wishlist.

  5. vorador says:

    Every time, Steam seriously underestimates the popularity of it’s own sales.

    The site is being hammered to hell and back.

    • Aklyon says:

      Could be on purpose. ‘Steam servers crashed, so theres a major sale starting’ has been pretty reliable as far as signals go the past summers.

      • vorador says:

        Losing possible revenue on purpose? That would be just weird.

        • Vandelay says:

          Depends how much it would cost them to sort out the servers to cope with the extra influx. It is likely that it would not be worth the cost of making it stable for the first hour or so of each sale.

    • wengart says:

      Honestly they don’t really need to worry about it. The peak hits super suddenly and then drops off relatively quickly. The sales also last a long time so there is always an opportunity to check stuff out.

  6. Ejia says:

    I just crafted my Hatoful Boyfriend badge. I’m so proud.

  7. detarame says:

    I cannot believe that R* is only releasing bizarro GTA V bundles during the steam sale. Why can’t I just buy the game? That’s shady as hell.

    • akstro says:

      Also note how they increased the price and put the game on sale for pennies lower than usual. I’m also surprised Metro Redux bundle isn’t included here, that’s the cheapest I have seen it whereas XCOM has been sold at that’ll dozens of times.

      • detarame says:

        Possibly also the purchase of a DLC cash card is going to make it ineligible for a refund via the new refund system. R* been the shadiest of the bunch this go round, but several other retailers jacked up their prices before the sale. I would not mind someone of a journalistic bent looking into that aspect of the sales, know where any might be available?

        • Juan Carlo says:

          Yeah, it would make a great story or something to read about. But it’s easy just to copy-pasta Valve’s storefront into its own daily post.

        • KDR_11k says:

          I think that might be something the courts should investigate. Claiming there’s a discount when the “original price” isn’t correct is a violation of advertising laws in many EU countries.

        • Jamrock says:

          Just an example how steam hikes the price to make the discount seem like a better deal than it is. link to steamprices.com

  8. Universal Quitter says:

    I don’t know what I’m expecting this year. I have everything I want that’s out. I haven’t held out against The Binding of Isaac this long just to change my mind now.

    Sadly, I’m getting more out of the videos this year than the actual sale: link to youtube.com

  9. Stellar Duck says:

    I’m sure glad you’re giving Steam this exposure, just like you did with the gog.com Summer Sale and the GamersGate Summer Sale.

    What on earth would Valve do without this? They have barely any monopoly in the market space.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      Well, Valve has had some bad PR lately, so this sort of coverage might just help them stay in business. Every little bit helps for a retailer that keeps saying they’ve “got to figure things out” and “do better for customers”.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        That’s another thing actually. Bad press? When Valve does something shitty like pay for mods this site barely cares and is like “This could be good” despite it obviously being shite.

        When Valve *finally* gets a sensible refund policy they cry wolf and won’t someone think of the poor developers.

        And they’re doing this dumb coverage of a sale? Really? So crass.

        I love RPS but damn if I understand them sometimes.

        • Blackcompany says:

          Why all the hate for mod makers receiving compensation for their work? Mods take time to make. Time away from other things. So why should mod makers not receive compensation if their buyers deem their work worthy.

          • wyrm4701 says:

            That discussion’s been had, at length, many places. Let’s not rehash it here :)

          • Stellar Duck says:

            There’s no real point in redoing that particular discussion.

            Let’s just say that I’m unconvinced that the model can work in general and I’m certain that the model Valve provided would not work.

            My point was more that RPS has a really wobly way of dealing with these things. For all Johns usual consumer stuff his take on the refund policy was baffling to say the least. Especially considering what he’s written earlier about EA and gog.com having similar policies.

            So, generally, I’m just left with an impression that this site is very keen on Valve despite there existing many (and often better) alternatives. Like when some game comes out on Steam that was already on gog for half a decade it gets a post here. It’s just annoying to me, which I of course admit is super petty and really not that important.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      Steam haters?
      Pop them into your box labeled Linux evangelists and Apple fanbois.

    • Premium User Badge

      X_kot says:

      If I may interrupt your knee-jerk snark, RPS has a track record of announcing seasonal sales on platforms other than Steam, including (a href=”http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/06/03/gog-summer-sale-started”>GOG and the Humble Store. A tag search will turn up others. Yes, Valve has the lion’s share of the market, but you do your argument a disservice by making ignorant accusations and lashing out at third parties.

      • Premium User Badge

        X_kot says:

        If you want to ream RPS on something that is their fault, how about this archaic commenting system? It feels like we’re using a system designed in 1873.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Here we can find common ground!

          • MacTheGeek says:

            If you listen closely after hitting the ‘Reply’ button, you can hear the gears grinding and churning as the 19th Century HTML editor carefully sets each letter into place before publishing your post.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Never said they didn’t but a daily list of deals? That’s something entirely different from an announcement. That’s just… I don’t know, I find it crass and tasteless.

    • Jenks says:

      I’m trying to figure out why any PC gaming enthusiast site would give GoG or Gamersgate 1/10th the amount coverage as Steam, nevermind equal.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Because both do massive sales and as such an enthusiast might want to know?

        I struggle to see why an enthusiast would limit themselves to one platform for making purchases so I guess we’re even in that regard.

        • Jenks says:

          Life must be confusing for you when news covers events at major nationwide retailers and not your local grocery store.

  10. Juan Carlo says:

    Anyone notice how Rockstar raised the Price of GTA V from 59.99 to 79.99 so that they could give it 25% off and still charge 59.99?

    That’s so absurd it’s kind of comical. How do they think no one will notice?

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Oh, wait I guess it includes a thing called a tigershark cash card, whatever that is.

    • Ryuuga says:

      “Sale”, indeed! 55.5 euros for GTA V, erm, thank you for the very kind offer, but I think I shall have to pass.

  11. kingfelix says:

    I grabbed the Metro Redux bundle for 9.99, seemed like a good deal. Valkyria Chronicles is well worth $5, I love that game and hopefully increased sales will mean an increased chance of the sequels being ported. I know I shouldn’t get excited about the possibility of PSP games getting ported to PC without graphics upgrades but the nice thing is that the engine they used in the first one at least still looks good today with it’s sketchy cel-shaded qualities.

  12. Gilead says:

    No mention of the Homeworld Remastered deal? Pretty sure the daily deal price is the lowest it’s been so far.

    • Apocalypse says:

      Don´t remember me of that, I have 3 hours on the game and bought it monday, because I was dumb and forgot about the steam sale.

      Well, actually I was not that dumb, I wanted to play a RTS and homeworld did sound like a good idea … and then there was a Starcraft sale and a free grey goo dlc and work and stuff and so I have played less than 2 hours of homeworld for real and paid 20 bucks extra for that. And that is the part that so unpleasant, it not that the game is not worth its money, it that I had no time to enjoy the game before the sale. :D

      A well, saved enough with other sales, so whatever.

      • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

        You do know they put something into the refund policy for this exact situation, right? You can get a refund of the extra that you paid shortly before the sale.

        • jezcentral says:

          Kudos to you for that snippet of info, and kudos to Apocalypse for being mature enough not throw a hissy fit and demand that Steam stop selling anything for the two weeks leading up to the sale, which is the logical endpoint of some people when they are in his/her situation.

  13. Premium User Badge

    weirdcitizen says:

    I don’t know where the majority of your readership hails from, but would it be possible to get some more Euro-love for these types of articles? I appreciate your write-ups on sales (though, yes, gog and others can stand to get more tme in the spotlights) and hardware, but their use to me are often limited because of the lack of Euro pricing.

  14. BooleanBob says:

    So now instead of idling in one game during Steam sales, I’m idling in two. I’m not sure this was the behaviour they intended to encourage?

  15. badmothergamer says:

    Can anyone explain to me why some DLC remain so expensive despite being bundled in cheaper deals with the full game. For instance, you can get the full XCOM with expansions for $10. I already own everything except “Enemy Within” though. However, “Enemy Within” alone is $15.

    I know I can just purchase the bundle and get “Enemy Within” and nothing else, but it still bothers me. If the full bundle is $10, why isn’t the DLC $7.50? I’m in the same boat with “Dragonborn” for Skyrim. The Legendary Edition has been on sale multiple times for cheaper than Dragonborn has ever been on its own.

    It just feels like I’m being punished for buying the game at release. I’ve long since been over both games and only want to buy these DLC so I have the complete game should I ever decide to go back, but this doesn’t make sense to me. Hopefully someone with more knowledge can explain why it works this way sometimes.

    • malkav11 says:

      This is the single worst thing about DLC. It’s fine for DLC released recently to hold its price for a while and get lesser (or even no) discount, but past a certain point it should a) be periodically reduced in base price the way the main game inevitably is, and b) included to a release-date-aware degree in any discounts. It’s absolutely ludicrous for it to ever be cheaper to buy a bundled edition just for the DLC than to buy that DLC separately, and it’s also ludicrous (in most cases) for the combined total of buying the DLC to cost more than the base game, given that it almost never represents anything like as much content. (There are certain games where the base release seems to be largely a platform for DLC sales, like Train Simulator. But in general.)

    • frogulox says:

      This. Was coming to say the same thing.
      i can buy xcew for 12.49 or the whole lot for 15. But i have the rest, can i even purchase as a gift and only keep EW?
      Either way. Annoys.

      DLC pricing, use and viability needs a bit of a rethink acroas the industry.

      Unfortunately, enough people are on boars with it as is that the offending companies have seen no need to alter their methods.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      This is one of the reasons why I hold off buying games until they have a “Complete Pack” available which inevitably means I also wait until the sale. I bought XCOM last night (base game plus all 3 DLC) for £5. That’s the same price they’re charging for the Enemy Within DLC alone right now.

      There’s a bunch of games on my wishlist waiting for similar deals, Darksiders 2 being chief amongst them (I’ve completed and thoroughly enjoyed the first game) which like many still has no “Complete Pack” unless I also purchase a second copy of the first game by buying the “Franchise Pack”.
      See also the Bioshock series and anything recent by Stardock.

  16. Henas says:

    Darkest Dungeon needs some attention too. Great game and well playable in its current EA state.

  17. ninnyjams says:

    I can’t fathom how people aren’t talking about Ziggurat. Lowest price its been by far, and it’s a really great game.

  18. ExitDose says:

    I snagged Chroma Squad for a little over two dollars. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a mistake by Steam. I feel a little bad about that.

    I’ll second the person above that’s recommending Ziggurat. I was surprised at how readily that game sunk its claws into me.

    I have my fingers crossed in the hopes that Invisible Inc. hits one of the dailies.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Minsc_N_Boo says:

    It’s been on my wishlist for a while. I picked it up last night along with Isaac Rebirth. I’ll give them both a blast tonight!

    • jezcentral says:

      Eh? Your going to actually play the games you bought in a Steam Sale?

      Noob.

    • Jalan says:

      My understanding was that you buy them to increase the size of your e-peen. Once it gets big enough to crush you, you’ve won. What you’ve won, I couldn’t say. It certainly isn’t the admiration of your family and friends but at least you’ll know you’ve won.

  20. manio22 says:

    I lost it at Gabengelion, thanks RPS. Now i have to explain my neighbors…