The Steam Summer Sale is in full swing. That’s great news for PC gamers who want to stock up on hit titles without spending too much money. It’s also potentially paralyzing news, since there are literally thousands of games on sale. From big-budget blockbusters to indie darlings, and from beloved classics to brand-new releases, the Steam Summer Sale covers just about everything. Which games are actually worth buying?
While the answer to that question depends on your individual tastes (and what you already own), I wanted to highlight 10 games and bundles that I can recommend wholeheartedly from personal experience. I have played every one of these games to completion, and each one has stuck with me for a long time. Whether you want historical open-world action, trippy adventure or colorful management simulation, these are 10 Steam Summer sales that you won’t regret picking up.
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is a terrific remaster of an ambitious game. While AoEIII never rewrote the real-time strategy scene like Age of Empires II did, it’s still a creative and detailed game with a few unique mechanics. This historical RTS covers the Gunpowder Era, casting players as Early Modern colonial powers such as the British, the Dutch and the Ottomans. The game’s two expansions also added Native American tribes and Asian civilizations. The Definitive Edition adds a few new historical scenarios, as well as a ton of quality-of-life enhancements, and is worth a look from both new and returning fans.
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition was $20, now $15 on Steam
Assassin’s Creed Origins
If you’re not sure where to start with the Assassin’s Creed series, Assassin’s Creed Origins is a good jumping-on point. This game kicked off the franchise’s most recent trilogy, which comprises Origins, Odyssey and Valhalla. In this open-world action/stealth title, you take control of Bayek of Siwa: a Medjay in Egypt circa 48 BCE. There, he’ll cross swords with Egyptian, Greek and Roman forces while he unearths a deadly conspiracy. Origins has a huge world to explore and a fast-paced combat system, but the story is the big draw here – particularly once you learn which historical villain is pulling the strings.
Assassin’s Creed Origins was $60, now $12 on Steam
BioShock: The Collection
BioShock is one of those rare series that doesn’t have a bad entry. The first game is transcendent; the third game is daring; the second game is merely excellent. BioShock: The Collection gathers all three together, along with all of their attendant DLC. That means you get dozens of hours of first-person shooter action, complete with plenty of exploration and RPG elements. Whether you’re exploring the underwater dystopia of Rapture or the floating city of Columbia, BioShock has something interesting to say about philosophical concepts like objectivism, collectivism and American exceptionalism.
BioShock: The Collection was $60, now $12 on Steam
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Kickstarter games can go wrong so easily, it’s something of a miracle that Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night didn’t. This game to set out to be a perfect spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and it succeeded with flying colors. You play as Miriam: a demon hunter who must explore a demon-infested castle and rescue her friend fro a terrible curse. You level up as you defeat enemies; you learn new traversal moves; you complete a variety of difficult quests for some very needy townsfolk. If you like Metroidvanias, this is one of the best you can get.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was $40, now $20 on Steam
Chroma Squad is a niche game for a niche audience, but it’s easily my favorite indie game of the last decade. If you grew up watching Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and its myriad spinoffs, this game has you in mind. You create your own group of stunt actors who set out to make their own Power Rangers-style show, starting with a very limited budget. What ensues is half management sim, as you try to grow the show’s fan base, and half strategy/RPG, as you fight off campy rubber monsters that eventually get much realer than expected.
Chroma Squad was $15, now $4 on Steam
Doom was easily one of the most refreshing shooters in years when it launched in 2016. This soft reboot eschewed the fetch quests, overwrought stories and moral ambiguity common among modern shooters, and instead laser-focused on slaying demons in the most brutal, grisly ways imaginable. Doom is a nonstop thrill ride, where if you stop moving for even a few seconds, you’ll probably get blown to bits and have to try again. The kinetic, heart-pounding action would be enough to recommend Doom, but it’s also got a terrific sense of style, and a killer soundtrack.
Doom was $20, now $6 on Steam
Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order
Jedi: Fallen Order is the first great Star Wars game in a long time. You play as Cal Kestis: a Jedi Padawan who finds himself on the run during the deadly Jedi Purge between Episodes III and IV. He apprentices himself to a jaded Jedi Knight named Cere, and the two travel from planet to planet as they hunt down a relic that could help rebuild their – you guessed it – fallen order. The open-ended exploration and tight combat act as perfect complements to the ambitious story, and the game is neither too long nor too short.
Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order was $40, now $16 on Steam
What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is a very short game, so it can be a tough recommendation at full price. On sale, however, it’s an easy sell. In this bizarre adventure game, you take control of the titular character, who explores her family’s architecturally questionable ancestral home in the Pacific Northwest. The Finch family bears a terrible curse, and Edith wants to get to the bottom of it. To do so, she’ll have to find her way through the creaky old house, solving simple puzzles and reliving some extremely creative fantasy sequences from departed family members.
What Remains of Edith Finch was $20, now $7 on Steam
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of those titles that needs no introduction. As one of the best games of 2015, The Witcher 3 won fans over with its expansive open world, its intriguing story and its customizable character-building. Still, there’s been a whole new crop of Witcher fans over the last few years, thanks to the excellent series on Netflix and the increased popularity of the books. Since The Witcher 3 can easily last more than 100 hours per playthrough, this one gets you a lot of bang for your buck.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was $40, now $8 on Steam
The Yakuza Bundle
Getting into the Yakuza series is a commitment, but it’s a worthwhile one. What other franchise lets you take part in complex plots to destabilize the Japanese underworld, while also dabbling in racing slot cars, managing hostess clubs and mastering raunchy trading card games? The Yakuza Bundle contains Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2: chronologically, the first three games in the series. Each one is excellent – and each one is also dozens of hours long, which makes the bundle’s sub-$30 price pretty appealing. And if you like these, there are half-a-dozen other games in the series.
The Yakuza Bundle was $70, now $27 on Steam