There are thousands and thousands and thousands and oh God help thousands of games discounted in the current Steam Winter sale. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. Where do you start? Where do you end? How many will you ever really play? How many do you have to buy in order to discover the secret Half-Life 3 release date? Well, we can’t help with the more existential aspects of that, but if you’re entirely stuck on what to get, what we can do is tell you which single game each member of the RPS staff would pick from the vast and endless digital discount shelves.
These, as far as we’re concerned, are the games you must must must pick up in the sale if you don’t have ’em already.
Graham: Spelunky (75%, $3.74/£2.74)
“Spelunky is the best game ever made. I’ve been dancing around saying that for the last seven years of writing about its different forms, but I feel confident about it now. It’s funny when you die from a rock flung by a bounce pad, or because a friend climbed over a ledge and accidentally dropped a knife on your head. It’s exciting when you discover a jetpack buried in the rock at an easily accessible spot. It makes you feel clever when you wield your few remaining resources towards reaching the City of Gold. It is brilliantly designed and I know game designers who credit it with inspiring their careers. And it’s £2.74. The best game ever made for £2.74.”
Alec: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (66% off, £6.79/£5.09)
“If you like Fallout 4 but wanted something deeper and stranger, and conversely if you hated Fallout 4 (and Skyrim, for that matter) for being such a murderfest, I can’t recommend Morrowind highly enough. It’s the only Bethesda RPG in which I really felt they built a world, rather than just a toybox. So filled with strangeness, so alien and so packed with discovery, and so gloriously unwilling to hand you anything on a plate. Although a surprise hit on console, Bethesda puzzlingly turned towards the overtly mainstream after this, and much as I generally like what they do now, I’ll always be heartbroken that they abandoned the stranger in a strange land ethos they built in Morrowind, and the often bizarre flexibility built into it in order to ensure you could play on your terms, never its terms. Mods make it ten times prettier if you’re scowling at the graphics, by the way.”
Alice: Deadly Premonition (90% off, $2.49/£1.99)
“Deadly Premonition is not “so bad it’s good” or “like if David Lynch made a video game” or some other foolishness you might have heard. It’s a wonderful, fascinating, clever, odd, and funny ghostmurder mystery RPG, unfortunately with a rubbish wet blanket of a survival horror game thrown over it (and an awful PC port). It remains one of my favourite games. You may well hate it, but you equally might adore it. At £1.99, that’s worth chancing.”
Adam: Risk of Rain (75% off, $2.49/£1.74)
“Risk of Rain captured me, heart soul and body, for a few days when I first played it back at the tail-end of 2013. It’s still one of the smartest of the roguelite sidescrollers that have become part of the gaming landscape in recent years, and although it has perma-death, and randomised levels and powerups, it never conforms to type. In fact, it’s still unusual enough to confound and delight even now, two years after release. And it’s beautifully atmospheric as well.”
Pip: The Talos Principle (75% off, £7.49/£9.99)
“A thoughtful and thought-provoking game with beautifully crafted puzzles. I’m still annoyed we didn’t get it on the best games of 2014 list but I think I was the only one who had played it at that point. Wonderful and (currently) 75% off.”
John: Pillars Of Eternity (60% off, $17.99/£13.99)
“A classic RPG made with a modern mind, 50 hours of engrossing story, companions you’ll (eventually – it takes its time) grow to love, decisions to be made, gods to be worshipped, and enemies to be chopped up in pausable real-time combat. What a treat to fill up acres of Christmas.”
Cool? Cool. Please do share your own tips and highlights below, for the good of us all.