The Steam Autumn Sale is Live! Here’s our Choices for Best Deals

Not a month after their last sale, Steam is back with the Autumn Sale, furthering showing us we’re officially deep into the holidays stage of the year – where from Halloween all the way to Easter, we’ll be getting all kinds of sales and limited time events in games.

Alongside all the great deals, this also marks the beginning of the nomination stage for the Steam Awards, so if you’ve been an active gamer this past year, head over to their nominations page and cast your votes!

Without further ado, let’s get to the Steam Autumn Sale. We’ve handpicked a select few games we feel are both worth playing and are also discounted quite generously in relation to the quality of content they deliver.

As usual, we will have links to the games as well as their price and discount information at the bottom of the post. Prices may vary depending on your region.


Red Dead Redemption II

At this point, it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard of the RDR franchise, or how RDR2 is an amazing second entry to the franchise. The action-adventure Western shooter has you playing outlaw Arthur Morgan as he gets to the usual business cowboy gangs in 1899 were up to – killing a bunch of people. The game is a prequel to the first RDR.

If you’ve somehow missed RDR2 entirely, it may bolster your confidence in buying it to know that it boasts some truly outstanding accolades:

  • Has shipped over 46 million copies.
  • Had the second-biggest launch in the history of entertainment
  • It had the biggest opening weekend in entertainment history until the recent Modern Warfare II broke that record.
  • It has won numerous awards, including several Game of the Year trophies.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

There’s never going to be a list of game deals that doesn’t include The Master Chief Collection when it is on sale. Six games bundled into one client, all engineered to seamlessly run together, including queuing for several of the games’ multiplayer at once, hopping from one campaign to another on a mission-to-mission basis and so, so much more.

The collection includes the first four mainline Halo games, as well as ODST and Reach. In addition to what each game shipped with when they initially were released, 343 has added an astonishing amount of extra content, and the game is still receiving support in the form of new features and cosmetics on a semi-regular basis (the studio’s main focus is, understandably, Halo Infinite). If you’ve played some Halo in the past and wonder what could surprise you inside the definitive collection of legacy Halo, here’s something to wet your apetite:

  • Hundreds of new gear pieces, weapon & vehicle skins and nameplates to unlock.
  • Victory poses, a recently introduced cosmetic effect that sets your spartan up in a cool position if you make it to the top 3 at the end of a multiplayer match.
  • The ability to bring your cosmetics with you in most campaigns.
  • ODST Firefight, but fighting Flood and Sentinels!
  • A weekly rotation of fun, off-beat modes like Griffball, VIP Race and Fiesta.
  • 700 achievements to unlock. Seriously, if you’re into hunting achievements, this is the ultimate offering both in terms of number as well as fun & difficulty

DOOM Eternal

When it comes to DOOM, there’s never enough bloodshed to satisfy its fans, which is why they’re still making the games! For a franchise whose entire premise is “demon bad, kill demon again and again”, it has perfected its core drive. You don’t play DOOM for the story; you don’t play it for the achievements; you play it for the amazing, polished gameplay and the music. It’s the ultimate power trip fantasy that a shooter can deliver.

You needn’t fear the demons, for the demons fear you.


Links & Prices

Again, prices may vary based on your region!


What are you picking up from the Steam Autumn Sale? Let us know in the comments below!


The Autumn Sale lasts until November 29th.

Valve Releases Their October Software Survey for Steam – Statistics, Insights

Steam has released its monthly Hardware and Software survey for the month of October, and there’s some interesting data in there. We decided to take a look at it and point out some interesting developments.

All the percentages given here are in relation to the total player population and are taken directly from Steam’s official survey page. You can read that post for more information, but we’ll take a look at the broad aspects. Let’s get into it!


Operating System

windows xp background

Let’s start with the operating system most Steam users have. Unfortunately, unlike the following sections, we only have data for this month’s ownership and the change from the previous month, so we can’t really see how things have evolved over a long period.

Shock of all shocks, Windows dominates by an absolutely titanic margin. 96.50% of users run Microsoft’s operating system, with a 0.09% increase over the previous month.

Things are a little more interesting when it comes to distribution. Windows 10 comes on top with 68.91% of installs, with Windows 11 coming in second at 23.37%. Win10 is actually seeing an increase of 0.42% from the previous month, while Win11 went down by 1.41%

The real anomaly is Windows 7, the third most popular version of Windows on Steam. 3.59% of users still use it, but the real kicker is that it actually saw an increase of 1.19% from the previous month, which is kinda’ nuts! Aside from these, 0.11% are using the 32-bit version of Win7, meaning that, among other things, they’re limited to 4 GB or RAM.

Moving away from Windows, 3.51% of users are on either Mac or Linux. The higher percentage actually goes to Mac users, with 2.23%, a decrease of 0.13% from last month. This means that Linux players make up 1.28% of Steam’s population, including (we assume) Steam Deck users.


Processors

computer processor

Since May 2021 and until now, Intel has dominated this section of Steam users. They’ve constantly hovered around 70% of the market, with AMD taking up the rest. Their highest percentage was in August 2021, with 72.6% of Steam users having an Intel processor.

That said, they’ve been on a steady decline until September of this year, with AMD gaining on them the whole time. Their lowest has been in August 2022, ironically enough, with 67.7% representation. They’ve gone up the past two months, currently sitting at 70.6% of PCs running Steam.

The likely reason for this dip for AMD is likely the release of the AM5 socket. As it’s a new socket, you’d also need to change the motherboard, as well as the RAM, as AM5 only supports DDR5. All of these new components are also quite expensive at the moment. Intel’s current processors, meanwhile, can still be used on the motherboards that launched last year which support both DDR4 and DDR5 (not on the same board).

That said, a ~30% margin for a company that left their rival reign uncontested for about half a decade is not bad at all. Unfortunately, we don’t have a breakdown of CPUs by model, so we have no idea how old the processors are. What we do have is the number of cores used, and this is where things get real interesting.

In May of 2021, the oldest date we have in this survey, 40.5% of Steam users had 4 cores and 28.9% had 6. Now, players with 6 cores are the most numerous on Steam, with a 35.97% margin, followed by those with 4 cores in second, at 29.06%, and those with 8 cores in third at 19.10%.


Graphics Cards

graphics card

If you thought Intel’s domination was strong, Nvidia’s is even stronger. They’ve had more than 75% of the Steam user install base for the past 18 months, currently sitting at 78.84% of users. AMD started the year at 16.2% and are currently at 13.13%. And Intel was present in about 8 to 9% of users’ PCs, currently sitting at 7.85%. Oh, and there’s a 0.18% “other” from… somewhere.

So, yeah, things aren’t looking so hot for Team Red. Though, to be fair, they haven’t had a competitive product in years and, while the 6000 series trades blows with their Nvidia counterparts, both were nearly impossible to find the past two years. We’re curious how this graph will look in about 6 months.

In terms of individual GPUs, the kind of budget cards, the GTX 1060, has been dethroned… kinda. If you go on the GPU page, the 1060 still has the highest percentage of cards, at 7.62%. However, that also includes mobile versions of the card and the 3GB version (which is weaker than the regular 1060).

If we account for the aforementioned discrepancies, the new king is the RTX 3060, which sits at a combined total of 8.86% ownership (5.47% for the desktop version and 3.39% for the mobile one). This flip happened in August, when the 1060 sat at a 6.60%, while the two versions of the 3060 barely edged it at 6.63%.


Virtual Reality

virtual reality headset

Lastly, let’s look at some VR numbers! The undisputed king is the Oculus Quest 2, with an adoption rate of 41.5%. This is likely due to its relatively low price and very little competition in the space. Oculus has 2 more products in this graph, the Rift S at 13.9%, and the very old Rift at 6.3%.

However, things get real interesting if you look at the August numbers (we’ll ignore September since the changes are minimal). At the time, the Quest 2 was sitting at a 49.3% adoption, meaning it dropped almost 8% in two months. What’s more, the Rifts actually increased in popularity, with the Rift going from 4% to 6.3%, and the Rift S growing from 11% to 13.9%.

And the competition isn’t sleeping, either! Valve’s own Index, which costs double the Quest 2, went from 15.4% to 17.5%, while the HTC Vive, a headset that’s not even produced anymore, went from 6.5% to 7%. Lastly, Windows Mixed Reality (which isn’t a single product but a number of them) went from 4.4% to 5.3%.

So yeah, Oculus is losing ground in this space, even if very slowly (and to its own, older products). However, there might be a new contender in the ring: the PlayStation VR 2. We don’t know if it’ll be compatible with Steam, but if it is (and it might be, since the previous PSVR was), it will be a good alternative to what’s on the market, as it will come at about half the price of the Index and a little over that of the Quest 2, with similar specs to the former.


What do you think of this survey? Did any of the data points presented here surprise you? Let us know in the comments below!

Our Picks From The Steam Scream Fest Sale: Resident Evil Village, SOMA & More

As with most stores, Steam is holding its own sale to celebrate Halloween, running until November 1st! To make scrolling through their very long list of discounted games easier, we’ve highlighted a few games we think are a must-have for fans of the spookiest of genres.

Links to each game will be provided at the end of the article. Prices will be displayed in USD but may vary depending on your region!


Resident Evil Village

Get up close and personal with the most horrifying (and completely made-up) village in Romania by trying out the critically-acclaimed Resident Evil Village, a game praised for its gameplay, setting and variety that racked up a juicy amount of award nominations and even won ‘Ultimate Game of the Year’ at the 2021 Golden Joystick Awards and ‘Game of the Year’ on Steam.

Village is the 8th major installment in the Resident Evil franchise and picks up a few years after Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, boasting an all-new story that even players new to the franchise can easily grasp without much pre-reading. Assume the role of Ethan Winters and battle your way through hordes of monsters and v-v-vampires(!) as you try to figure out a way to save your daughter.

If you’re looking to go deeper into the Resident Evil franchise, check out our recap of their recent showcase, which details upcoming Village-related content and more.


The Mortuary Assistant

For something truly uncanny, The Mortuary Assistant has you, a freshly-graduated mortician (a corpse noob) being called into work late one night to handle some embalmings. I’m not too sure how common this is in the… embalming industry(?), but let’s suspend our disbelief for another minute.

The Mortuary Assistant plays somewhat similarly to a single-player Phasmophobia. On the one hand, you’ve got all this embalming to do, which we can categorize as the ‘busywork’ the game puts you through to catch your off-guard with a big spook. However, your embalming needs to be done while keeping demonic forces at bay, but which demonic forces?

Practice occult rituals to identify what kind of demon you’re being terrorized by, piece together clues and eventually banish the demon to advance through the story. This whole paranormal detective angle is where my comparison to Phasmophobia comes from.

The game employs some clever procedural generation, making each playthrough a little different than the last and the game promises 10+ hours of content, so with all this juice in a single game, why wouldn’t you buy it while it’s on sale?


Inside the Backrooms

For a crash-course into the horrors of liminal space, Inside the Backrooms is sure to provide you with a horror experience rife with hallways, staircases and reality-bending spaces that just don’t make sense. Not knowing where you are (colloquially known as being lost) is a seldom used tactic to instill fear despite how potent it is.

To get you primed, ‘the backrooms’ started out as a creepypasta on 4chan, culminating into a whole series of YouTube videos that further explored the concept and solidified the visual aspect of their identity: yellow rooms that don’t make sense, patrolled by mysterious entities. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on them and we recommend this video to get a better grasp of the concept.

Now, the game takes this concept and makes a multiplayer game out of it! Bundle up with up to three other players and solve puzzles to escape the four levels of the backrooms. Dodge six ‘entities’ inspired by the original pasta, find items to mend your physical or mental wounds or allow you to communicate with your team long-distance and feel safe to make a mistake, because you may respawn up to three times!

Did I mention the solution to every puzzle changes each time you start a new game?

Inside the Backrooms is still receiving updates, so don’t be turned off by the fact there’s a ‘mere’ four levels to engage with. More levels, more entities, puzzles, and items are on the way, as well as procedurally-generated levels. The game is also playable in VR, although there’s still some work to be done to get it working as intended.


SOMA

From the creators of the Amnesia series of games comes SOMA, a claustrophobic horror experience that’s even more terrifying if you’re afraid of the ocean, the unknown depths, the physics mechanic of pressure or, you know, monsters.

It’s hard to talk about the game’s story without throwing major spoilers, so here’s all you’re going to get: You’re in an underwater facility, the ‘overworld’ experienced an extinction event, and you’ve got to go somewhere to do something. Starting this quest is when the terror begins!

You can expect from SOMA the same things you’d expect from Amnesia, yet (at least for the original Dark Descent) enhanced: Lots of monsters with their own quirks (don’t look that one in the eye, don’t make noise near the other one etc.), engaging puzzles, amazing atmospheric set pieces and an amazing story. I will say, I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character’s dialogue and, to an extent, timbre, but otherwise this game is a must-play on the ol’ Halloween night.


You can check out each game’s store page below:


This list has a bit of everything: A triple-A game, co-op horror, single-player spook, you name it. What’re you going to pick for this spookiest of occasions? Let us know in the comments below!

Releasing Today – HOSTLIGHT on Steam

HOSTLIGHT is releasing today! The game is available for purchase on Steam and to celebrate the launch it’s currently 20% off, coming in at £9.11 (price may vary based on your region).

The puzzle game has you exploring a mysterious tower and completing the puzzles contained within using light & shadow. Mix & match colors, use mirrors to direct light beams and topple columns to create a chain reaction.

hostlight red beam

You won’t be alone on your journey, as robot companion The Guide will help you out as well as fill you in on some story (who are The Builders?). At this point I reckon “puzzle game + robot narrator” is pretty much a genre in and of itself, so this could be a hit for fans of Portal who’ve been craving a game with a similar feel.

The game was developed by ESDIP_GAMES (an art school in Madrid!) and published by SelectaPlay.

hostlight hint

Will you be playing HOSTLIGHT? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate the 4th of July With These ‘Merica! Games From the Steam Summer Sale

No, that’s not a typo in the title. While the celebration may have passed, nothing’s stopping you from keeping the party alive in the virtual world!

These aren’t games made by an US companies (in fact, most of them aren’t), but they’re games that will make you shout “‘MERICA!” for one reason or another. So put on your headphones, turn them to the max to drown out the fireworks, and let’s see what Steam has to offer!


Metal Wolf Chaos XD

From Software is a company that needs no introduction. Their games created their own genre, and are known for their grand boss fights, somber atmosphere, and environmental storytelling, all set in a grim-dark fantasy setting where tragedy can be found at every corner.

Metal Wolf Chaos is NOTHING like that! Released in 2004 (6 years before Demon Souls) for the original Xbox, you play as Michael Wilson, the 47th president of the United States (2023 elections are looking spicy). After Vice President Richard Hawk takes over the country, Michael must take it back the only way he knows how: with a giant mech!

Gameplay-wise, the game is a stage-based third-person shooter. You control the mech through destructible environments, destroying enemies and saving civilians. The game has over 100 weapons you can use, but you can only have up to 8 equipped at a time.

The XD version, which is the one we’re talking about, was released in 2019 by Devolver Digital. It offers modern quality of life improvements, like support for modern controllers and 4k, 16:9 resolutions.


Broforce

Keeping the streak of insane, over-the-top games, we have an homage to 80s and 90s action movies. In Broforce, you play as a collection of characters that were… uhm… inspired by heroes of decades gone by, like Rambro, B. A. Broracus, Brominator, Double Bro 7, Indiana Brones, Mr. Anderbro, and a lot more.

The game is a side-scrolling shooter with completely destructible environments. Each Bro dies in one hit, at which point you respawn at the last checkpoint as another random bro. You gain lives and unlock new characters by saving captured Bros, who then replace your current Bro. The levels see you going in nondescript countries full of terrorists, landmasses infested with Aliens(the 1986 movie), and Hell itself.

The game also features up to 4-players co-op. If you want to get a taste how this game plays, you can download Expendabros, a short game where you play as characters from The Expendables movies, that can be seen as a demo for Broforce.


Spec Ops: The Line

Changing gear to a more serious tone, Spec Ops: The Line is a third person squad shooter. You play as Martin Walker, a Captain in the US Army, who goes to a sandstorm-ravaged Dubai to look for a an army evacuation team. The gameplay is pretty basic, with you controlling Walker as he shoots stuff and hides behind walls, while also giving orders to your two squad mates.

Where The Line really shines is the story. Can’t reveal too much here, as that would spoil the game. What we can say is that what seems like a typical military shooter where you headshot the bad guy and save the day gets a lot darker and a lot more real very quickly. Go into this one as blind as possible.


Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin’s Creed III would probably be a better fit for this list. You play as a Native American character, during the events of the American Revolution, and you meet with some of the greatest people in US history, like George Washington or Benjamin Franklin. But Black Flag is just more fun. Also cheaper.

In Assassin’s Creed IV, you play as Edward Kenway, a pirate in the early 1700s. After killing a member of the Assassin Brotherhood, you’re dragged into their ranks and start helping their cause. The assassination gameplay in IV takes a bit of a back seat to naval combat, which was introduced in III but is expanded upon greatly in this game. Still, the game is swashbuckling fun, and still a good time even today.


Far Cry 5

Just noticed that the 4th and 5th entries on this list are AC4 and FC5. Cool! Anyway, we round up our list with Far Cry 5, an open-world FPS set in Hope County, Montana. You play as a junior deputy sheriff who tries to stop Joseph Seed and his cult, Eden’s Gate.

The Far Cry games after 3 have a pretty well established formula. You roam an open-world while liberating bases, driving vehicles, and climbing towers, all while shooting anyone that gets in your way. The best part of most Far Cry games, however, is the villain, and Joseph Seed does not disappoint. Though you’ll find there’s something very… familial about him.


Prices & Discounts

Prices may vary based on your region.

Which of these games are you playing to celebrate the 4th of July? Anything else we didn’t wave under the flag? Let us know in the comments below!

Stay informed by reading some of our recent reports:

Steam Summer Sale – Casual Game Deals

We’ve back with yet another installment in our 2022 Steam Summer Sale showcase, this time taking a look at discounted casual games! No need to grind entire warehouses of wood here folks, these are games that let you hang back and relax on a chill Sunday.

As usual, we’ll have links to the games’ pages as well as current prices at the bottom of the post. Without further ado, let’s get into it!


Among Us

Now, Among Us is usually cheap, so a discount doesn’t mean much, but if you haven’t given the pandemic favorite a try yet, perhaps now would be a good time to see what all that impostor nonsense is about.

The game is simple: One match has anywhere from 3 to 15 players, of which one or more are Impostors. The Impostors’ goal is to kill enough innocents until their number is equal to the number or remaining Impostors.

Innocents (civilians, scientists, medics) need to survive long enough to complete all their tasks (repairing circuits, downloading/uploading files, cleaning gutters and so much more) or vote out all the Impostors to win. That’s basically it, but the experience can be quite engaging and fun, especially if played with friends.

The game has received a lot of updates since this trailer’s release in 2018.

Insaniquarium Deluxe

Long ago, in the 2000s there used to be a whole gaming market based on giving you free one-hour demos. Studios such as PopCap Games, BigFishGames and others had all sorts of awesome lil’ games coming out: Feeding Frenzy, Mystery Case Files, Zuma and… Insaniquarium. You can actually still play a demo for this one on Steam if you’re undecided on the purchase.

Anyway! The game’s got you taking care of an aquarium, but wait, this ain’t no regular aquarium! While you’re feeding your fish, harvesting their poop (which is literally dollar coins), you’ll trigger certain “dollar milestones” that’ll spawn an alien who intends to kill your fish. Whatever will you do? Well, you’ll use your laser weapons to deal with it.

Aside from the complete insanity it takes to get rich off some fish, you’ve got several other helpful things to gain, making your journey easier: Buddies, such as a snail that helps you collect coins, or upgrades to the food you feed your fish or the weapons you defend them with. This game is honestly better than a lot of more modern, more expensive games. Give it a shot.

This is a fanmade trailer, as no official trailer exists for this game.

Zuma’s Revenge!

Yet another one of PopCap’s successes, Zuma’s Revenge! is the awesome sequel to Zuma Deluxe, an equally awesome game. I only chose the sequel for its better graphics and improved game design, but both are on sale and I’d suggest to catch’em all!

Zuma, at its core, is a match 3 (or more) game, but not like Bejeweled (which was also developed by PopCap and is the purest version of a match 3 game, made before the entire genre was sullied by behavioral psychologist-designed versions like Candy Crush). You control a cute frog and fight against an almost-endless line of balls that move towards a skull’s mouth. Let the balls get to the mouth and you lose the game!

Your frog shoots different-colored balls, so you need to insert these into the “bad” line of balls. Getting three or more of the same color together will pop them. If the balls on both ends of the now-ruptured line are of the same color, the “forward” part of the line will be drawn backward, pushing the whole line back and giving you more time to reach the score required for the line to stop spawning. Then, you’ve only got to “finish off” the remaining balls to win.

The game’s got basically infinite replayability, with several different hard modes to keep you busy.


Tetris Effect: Connected

If you thought there’s nothing new Tetris as a genre can come up with, think again. Aside from being able to run this in VR (hol-up), Tetris Effect received an update in 2020 that added support for co-op multiplayer, both local and online.

This game’s got several crazy game modes that each add their own unique spin on the original. Since we’re talking about casual games, though, there is of course a Zen mode, where you can just place blocks and delete lines without worrying about the speed suddenly increasing from 1 to 9 (which is a common occurrence in the campaign).

Even if you’re not a fan of Tetris, you should give this game a shot. It’s rare to see an audio-visual experience so well designed using reactive audio concepts. The music is entirely non-linear, meaning you’ll hear a loop of the same “portion” of a song while the match runs at, say, speed 2, but when you hit a points threshold and the speed shifts to 4, the music will change with it, increasing in speed, adding a beat, creating additional harmonies and more. It is an awesome experience and pairs very well with the absolutely gorgeous visuals, which also react to what you do on the board, like destroying lines or speeding up the placement of pieces.

You can skip to 1:05 if you don’t want to just stare at people pretending to play for a whole minute.

Journey

I cannot describe this game. Go into it blind. It’s widely regarded as one of the best games of all time, has won an endless amount of awards and is overall a can’t-miss experience. I’ve linked the trailer below if you’re not convinced!


Prices & Discounts

Prices may vary based on your region.

Have you played some of these old but gold titles? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Stay informed by reading some of our recent reports:

Lose Yourself in Fantastic Worlds With Our Metroidvania Steam Summer Sale Deals

Out Steam Summer Sale coverage continues with a look at 5 great metroidvanias. Those are games focused on exploring a large, interconnected map, with numerous abilities you unlock along the way.


Castlevania Advance Collection

Starting things off with the “Vania” half of Metroidvania. Oddly enough, there’s no way to get Symphony of the Night on Steam, despite the fact that it’s the Castlevania game that influenced the genre the most. Still, this collection is nothing to scoff at.

The Advance Collection, as the name implies, contains the 3 Gameboy Advance Castlevania games: Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, and Aria of Sorrow. All 3 of these are considered cult classics and are praised by fans. This Collection also includes Dracula X, which is a remake of Rondo of Blood and far more linear.

If you want to scratch that Castlevania itch, the Anniversary Collection is also on sale for 80% off. It contains 8 Castlevania games that, while not metroidvanias, are still classic and totally worth your time.


Blasphemous

Keeping with the gothic theme, Blasphemous is set in a dark medieval world named Cvstodia. The game’s aesthetic takes heavy inspirations from the Catholic Church and the Spanish inquisition to build a very brutal and gruesome world for the player to explore.

As the name implies, Blasphemous is heavy with themes of religion and faith, as well as imagery that’s not appropriate for all ages. It is also a very difficult game, with enemies that can kill you in just a few hits and bottomless pits that will return you to the last save spot instantly.


Axiom Verge

The only game on this list to lean towards the Metroid half of the genre in terms of combat (in other words, the only one with a gun). You play as Trace, a scientist who, after a freak lab accident, wakes up in a very strange world. You must find a way back home while a mysterious voice guides your actions. However, things are clearly not what they seem.

The world of Axiom Verge is very non-linear, with no real indication of where you want to go next. It’s pretty easy to get lost, but if that’s what you’re looking for, the game won’t disappoint. Gameplay-wise, you have access to several different weapons and upgrades that help traverse the world. The aesthetic of the game is quite eerie, with environments and characters that would do H. R. Geiger proud.


Hollow Knight

Probably one of the most popular games in the genre in recent memory. You play as the titular Knight, a small bug wielding an even smaller nail, descending into the land of Hallownest to cleanse it of the corruption that grips it.

One of the main draws of Hollow Knight is the map system. Instead of just uncovering it by exploring, you need to sit down on a bench to transcribe it. You can’t even see where your character is without a special item. The combat of the game is difficult, but fair, and the story is told through the environment you explore and characters you meet.


Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Let’s end this list the way we started it: with a game from Koji Igarashi. Created as a spiritual successor to Symphony of the Night, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a metroidvania with a heavy emphasis on RPG elements, and a dark, gothic aesthetic. You play as Miriam, an orphan who must kill a demon lord in order to save herself from succumbing to a crystalizing curse.

Aside from Ritual of the Night, there are also two spin-off titles on sale, both 50% off. Curse of the Moon, a prequel to the main game that was later branched into its own continuity where you control up to 4 characters and plays more like the Castlevanias of old, and Curse of the Moon 2, a sequel to the spin-off that’s similar gameplay-wise, except now with a corgi piloting a steam-punk mech.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is also currently available for users on the PS Plus Extra plan.


Prices and Discounts

Prices may vary depending on your region.

Which world will you explore first? Let us know in the comments below!

The Steam Summer Sale is in bloom! Check out our other highlights to find the best deals for you:

Steam Summer Sale – JRPG Game Deals

We continue our coverage of the 2022 Steam Summer Sale with a look at the best deals for JRPGs! These are ideal if you want to get lost in story-rich worlds and have your anime character undergo the long level grind they deserve!


Octopath Traveler

Octopath is the game that pioneered Square Enix’s HD-2D artstyle, and we have to say: They nailed it pretty well for their first attempt. While reminiscent of the SNES era of JRPGs, HD-2D takes the Pixel-look and updates it to make the world come alive. It’s goes a long way to feel the impact of your flashy attacks destroying the enemy’s guard. Even on the overworld, the lighting effects and for the various regions do a good job setting the right mood.

One defining feature of Octopath is the multitude of characters. As the title suggests, you’ll get to learn the tale of eight in total, all traveling the lands for a different reason. They’ve all got unique ways to interact with their surroundings; like a Scholar making investigations and a Swordsman challenging people to a duel. The gameplay starts off simple, but ramps up in the later parts when you’ll be able to switch classes and unlock new and more powerful ones.

One part that got the short end with the eight-travelers-from-all-over idea is the storytelling. It’s like segmented main pieces that never got the connecting parts to fill out. Since the game can be started in eight different locations it’s no easy task to make the narration work as well as a linearly structured title could. There are some noteworthy moments when the cast has some interactions that flesh them, as a group, out. Beyond that, they just take turns on who gets to be the main character while the others watch on from the sidelines until a battle starts.

Did we mention how good the battle music is? This game has a fantastic soundtrack.


Yakuza: Like a Dragon

The seventh entry in the Yakuza series has turn-based combat and thus departs from its traditional action pace. Whether or not you can vibe with that decision, it doesn’t take away from the absolute lunacy going on with the story. Wanna beat up men wearing diapers in a Nursery? Encourage people by feeding ungodly spicy food? The depths the Yakuza games go to provide entertaining side-quests and minigames is respectable to say the least.

At its core, the game is still about… well, the Yakuza. That is to say you fight against them with your party of misfits you assemble throughout the story. However, the real gift of the setting is the city you get to explore. Inspired by Yokohama, this entry in the series notably takes place in a newly designed open world. That makes it a great starting point for newcomers while giving veterans a fresh look at a diverse Japanese metropolis.


Tales of Arise

Another long-running JRPG series is the “Tales of” franchise. Tales of Arise, like its predecessors, is a more grounded approach to the genre.

Unlike the first two games we discussed, this one offers the whole action combat package with dodge rolls and air juggle combos. Instead of making calculated decisions turn by turn, you can feel the enjoyment of landing fast melee strikes or casting a series of powerful spells.

The story makes up a sizable chunk of the game, either in the way of long cutscenes and texts providing detailed worldbuilding or personal moments with your party members. Even if not every moment is a fully animated immersive experience, the game doesn’t need that to get across its meaningful topics and likable characters.


Zanki Zero: Last Beginning

This one’s for the people that prefer extra weird JRPGs. Playing in a post-apocalyptic setting, 8 people are left to explore the island they are stranded on. Well, not exactly the island itself, but the dungeons that sprawl underneath. That’s right! It’s a dungeon crawler, a first-person one at that. So it doubles down on the slow and strategic gameplay by making tile-based movement a part of your turns.

In terms of the story, the characters all age rapidly as you play. This effects what their fighting capabilities are and goes on until they’re too old, at which point a clone (reincarnation?) is created. That way you can play as a child and go from there. What this unconventional worldbuilding exactly entails is up to you to discover, but don’t expect world peace and happy ever after from the creators of the Danganronpa games.

Original Trailer omitted due to algorithmic failure.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition

Cyber Sleuth is a hard sell for people that never had any connection to Digimon in the past. Imagine Pokémon, but instead of a cute electric mouse you’ve got the yellow poop emoji and DJ-monkey with sunglasses and a gold chain. Long story short, it’s worth a look if you’ve been aching for a Pokémon game that goes more in-depth with the monster training and offers more rewarding challenges to overcome.

At the end of the day, it’s a decent game for anyone that wants to re-experience the fond memories of watching the anime. Fortunately, the story is not just a retelling but still captures the same kind of charm. As is tradition, the stakes escalate equally fast towards the later parts, when the poop emoji and DJ monkey triple-ultra-digi-volve and threaten world domination! This is only slightly exaggerated.


Prices & Discounts

Prices may vary based on your region.

Which hour-long journey will you embark on? Did you have great enough taste to have already played some of these? Let us know in the comments below!

The Steam Summer Sale is in bloom! Check out our other highlights to find the best deals for you:

Steam Summer Sale – City & Settlement Game Deals

We continue our coverage of the 2022 Steam Summer Sale with a look at the best deals for city & settlement games! If you’re looking for a new city to micromanage, I hope this list suits you well!

As usual, we’ll have links to the games’ pages as well as current prices at the bottom of the post. Without further ado, let’s get into it!


Surviving Mars

Why wait for Elon Musk to take us to Mars when real-life crafting tasks take so long? Get to Mars now with Surviving Mars, an atmospheric settlement building game that I’ve got nothing but praise for.

You start the game by landing your drones someone on the surface of Mars and, aside from your starting resources, you’re own your own until you’ve got a stable enough colony to buy more shipments of minerals, robots or humans from Earth.

The progression system is the real star in this game. As you accumulate resources, you unlock better ways of harvesting them, which in turn allows you to upscale your production to the point you can build things like an artificial sun.

All your hard work could easily be derailed, however, when you enter the endgame phase. At a seemingly random point in time, you’ll receive a prompt: Your scouts have found something, or a consequence of your actions begins to manifest. There’s several scenarios (you can pick which one you get on game setup) and they’re all quite riveting. If you’re into sci-fi plots that ask the hard questions, you should definitely play this game.


Civilization VI

A game that needs no introduction, Civilization VI (or the franchise as a whole) is a game everyone should try at least once. While the pace may seem glacial at times (even on the fastest speed setting), rest assured the gameplay will keep you hooked for just ‘one more turn’.

As a city & settlement game so closely tied to history, it is hard to think of a worthy rival to Civilization. I’m not much of a history buff, but this game (and previous entries in the franchise) is engaging enough that I end up passively absorbing history facts with each playthrough. That’s right, this game makes you smarter and you don’t even have to study.

In terms of gameplay, most of you time will be spent expanding your empire, improving tiles with facilities such as lumber mills, exploring, negotiating, battling Gandhi, conducting research and spreading your religion to other nations. You don’t need to do this all at once, of course – there’s several ways to win the game. You could grind away at your enemies until none stand in your path, or you could use the power of science and win the space race. All five victory types are equally valid, but take note you should focus your efforts on one, perhaps at most two in order to actually reach the finish line.

Oh, quick fact: Sean Bean narrates this game, and he doesn’t prematurely die in this one.


Frostpunk

On a more somber note, pick up Frostpunk if you’re looking to send Victorian children to work in factories for the greater good.

Frostpunk has you taking care of a small settlement of survivors that have fled to the North after a volcanic winter has made most of the globe uninhabitable. Huddling around a generator built by the British Empire and the United States “just in case”, you’ve got to keep people warm long enough to make it past ‘the big cold’ by farming egregious amounts of coal and researching advanced insulation techniques before your Victorian children get frostbitten or starve to death. It’s probably a good time to mention there’s also adults; you’re not in charge of a colony that’s just children.

The game is a masterclass in how to craft that “hope in a hopeless place” vibe. While the moment-to-moment gameplay can become frustrating at times (due to the panic of things not working when the temperature is too low), that hope of pulling through one more night, so your scouts can return with more resources and avert famine or death, makes for an excellent experience.


Cities: Skylines

Tired of living in a city that’s so badly designed it’s one of the top 10 most congested ones worldwide? Well, perhaps you can do a better job in Cities: Skylines!

Of course, managing a real city all by yourself would be a herculean task, but that’s why video games exist, to allow us to achieve the impossible. Achieving success in Skylines is a balancing act between all the various components that make a city function: Water, electricity, education, public services, traffic control, economics and so much more. You might not be thrilled having to deal with some of these aspects, but no one said running a city is always fun! Just you wait until night comes and everything works differently.

Cities: Skylines also has mod support, which means you can both share your cities as well as see what other players have created. Or, you can download a mod that adds Honda cars to your streets. You do you.


Northgard

For a more animated experience, Northgard’s got you covered with its fast-paced combat – at least, compared to other games on this list.

Take control of a small Viking colony and expand your lands in time to be prepared for the harsh winter. The game starts out as you’d expect some other familiar titles to: You’ve got a town hall and some villagers (read: peasants). Until you expand your colony by claiming more regions, you won’t be able to build more than a few buildings on your small patch of land.

Claiming regions comes at a cost of food, which increases exponentially, making it harder to expand as the game continues. Kobolds, giants and other Viking tribes are [generally] out to get you as well, so you’d do best to not overextend unless you’re prepared to deal with bad neighbors.


Prices & Discounts

Prices may vary based on your region.

Are you an avid city game enjoyer? Have you already sampled some of these titles? Let us know in the comments below!

The Steam Summer Sale is in bloom! Check out our other highlights to find the best deals for you:

Steam Summer Sale – Action / Adventure Game Deals

We continue our coverage of the 2022 Steam Summer Sale with a look at the best deals for action / adventure games! There’s quite a few big-ticket items on this list, so buckle up for an adrenaline-filled play session!

As usual, we’ll have links to the games’ pages as well as current prices at the bottom of the post. Without further ado, let’s get into it!


DOOM

We’re starting off with the most action-pumped game on the list. After being trapped for years in development hell as ‘Doom 4’, DOOM launched in 2016 as a soft reboot to the franchise and, having played through it, it’s the perfect power-trip experience.

It’s no secret the DOOM games are light on story. Most of it is “go here, go there, do this, do that” and basically serves as a vehicle for why you’re going places, to kill things. With how fast-paced the game is, there’s really no place for five-minute exposition drops. You’ll be rushing from one set piece to another, churning through demons and bullets in a frenzy.

If that wasn’t enough, the game also boasts a massive archive of custom, player-made maps alongside its multiplayer. I don’t think the multiplayer itself is too populated these days, considering DOOM Eternal leeched most of its population when it launched in 2020 as well as the fact that Quake Champions exists and is very similar to DOOM’s multiplayer.

Regardless, this title is a must-play for anyone looking to mindlessly plow through hordes of enemies.


Control Ultimate Edition

For those of you looking for a more story-focused experience, Control is here to sate your appetite. It’s hard to describe Control: It’s an excellent game, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also weird, in that it’s unlike any game I’ve ever played before.

You take on the role of Jesse Faden, a woman with a mission. She’s looking for her long-lost brother, taken by the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC) years ago after the two triggered a paranormal event, as children often do.

Without spoiling too much, this game is a must-have for those of you who enjoy reading about all the crazy paranormal conspiracies surrounding the CIA, Area 51 or the SCP series. Things keep getting weirder the deeper you go into the game, with mind-bending set pieces, room connections that make no sense, random objects running about killing people and a healthy dose of amusing inner monologue.

In terms of gameplay, expect to spend most of your time shooting things, telekinesis-ing other things, reading documents and watching bizarre videos captured with real actors. This game is a delight to play and if you become truly immersed in its lore, you’ll find yourself going on endless rabbit holes, googling things like ‘panpsychism’ and ‘synchronicity’.

The whole thing’s a vibe.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

The Master Chief collection is a steal, even when it’s not on sale. It contains six Halo titles (all but Halo 5: Guardians and the recently-released Halo Infinite), all bundled up in one install. You can go through Master Chief’s entire saga from Halo 1 to Halo 4, or see what else the franchise has to offer with critically-acclaimed spin-off Halo: Reach and Halo: ODST.

The content offered in this collection of games is massive. Aside from six campaigns, including remastered versions of Halo 1 and 2 which let you toggle between the old and the new mid-game, there’s also the multiplayer. You can queue to play a combination of dozens of game modes, spread across all titles and team compositions, offering an infinitely-replayable experience which is probably a good thing, since there’s 700 achievements for you to hunt down.

While the game has recently moved from its ‘seasons’ content cadence (due to Halo Infinite taking up that burden), the 800 cosmetics are still available to unlock by doing weekly quests. Recent updates include custom map support for some of the games, with more planned to be included in a future patch this summer.


Red Dead Redemption 2

It’s not too often that you see a sequel to a game perform as well as Red Dead Redemption 2 has. The game is a prequel to RDR1 and is set in 1899, following the story of Arthur Morgan, a member of the infamous Van der Linde gang. RDR2 features young versions of several characters from RDR1, so if you’ve played the first installment you’re in for some surprises.

The game is open-world and includes exactly what you’d expect from a Western: Shooting, hunting, heisting, riding horses, getting bounties if you’re being bad and swimming (you couldn’t swim in the previous game!)

RDR2 made $725 million in sales in its opening weekend and exceeded the previous game’s lifetime sales in just two weeks. It has won a metric ton of awards and sits at a cozy score of 93 on Metacritic.


God of War

God of War, the eighth installment in the series and sequel to God of War III (but missing the ‘IV’, of course, because it gets hard to keep count after a while) is an excellent game, especially if you’re looking to role-play as a dad that has a hard time connecting with his naïve young son.

The game received universal praise for its… well, for everything. It received numerous Game of the Year awards, sold 19.5 million copies as of August 2021 and becoming the best-selling Playstation 4 game ever.

Now, obviously, this is a Steam Summer Sale post, so rest assured we’re talking about the PC version here. The game is not only stunning, well-written, musically gorgeous, wonderfully designed and overall perfect, it’s also epic. Few games manage to achieve this feeling of being part of something epic, but God of War is one of them.

I’d like to make sure everyone knows who composed the amazing soundtrack to this game: Bear McCreary. You may know his work from watching The Walking Dead, the modern Battlestar Galactica, Outlander and of course, games such as Assassin’s Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper, Call of Duty: Vanguard and League of Legends.


Prices & Discounts

Prices may vary based on your region.

Are you excited to play any of these huge games? Have you already churned through them? Let us know in the comments below!

The Steam Summer Sale is in bloom! Check out our other highlights to find the best deals for you: