Welcome summer! The heat, the summer break from school, the cares of yesteryear gone and faded from your mind. Do you feel that tug? That loosening of burdens, as your wallet gets lighter and lighter? For any PC gamer, we know what summer truly brings – the Steam Sale presented by Valve. That time when your email inbox is inundated with slashed prices. Where. Every. Single. Item, on your wish list, is on sale for ridiculously low prices. From June 24 through July 8 (10 am pacific time), all PC gamers will be flocking towards one source for our digital gaming needs. With each major sale, Steam offers some type of interactive game or collectible to accompany the sale, almost as if signifying its permeance. The 2021 Summer Sale brings a Choose Your Own Adventure-style game, where based on our decisions too lightly crafted scenarios, we forge an adventure of our own, through the myriad of genres in the digital storefront.
Once you are presented with your first scenario, you make a choice and are awarded stickers to commemorate your trip. Although this may appear to be a ruse to get us to view more games (and make more purchases), it does introduce us to or highlights more possible sales on games we might not have seen. For instance, who knew that I needed Bloons TD 6 in my life (for a staggeringly low price of $1.99)! Unfortunately, a few of the games on my wish list are multi-genre and ended up dominating the offerings on multiple pages. I miss the sales where random games were slashed even further during specific key times, for more gaming goodness on a budget. I was keenly interested in picking up a bevy of Final Fantasy games for 50% off and might make that my first purchase of the sale. Or maybe the seemingly infinite Cities Skylines DLC expansions I have been holding back on buying for a sale such as this.
I must admit though, some of the page screens are well-drawn, harkening back to older art styles, and were quite well done. The Sports and Racing page in particular really caught my eye, and reminded me of the old Pee-Chee folders from the 1980s, with the hand-drawn sports comics and burnt orange covers. I was surprised to see some Microsoft games on sale, especially Forza Horizon 4, at a whopping 55% off. The culmination of all your hard work comes with a shiny badge and avatar frames to flaunt to the multitude of folks on your friend’s list. Another nice caveat is that all the stickers you earned are also added to your inventory. One of my favorite parts about the Steam Sale is learning about games I never knew about, such as the free-to-play Minion Master’s (which I might start playing, to review of course). All in all, the stories are a welcome change of pace, and some are quite humorous. Once you select your course of action, you are locked into these choices, which only affect your ending badge.
I do wish that experiencing the story could have unlocked further deals through the badges we do earn (we then could have traded those to friends to give them discounts on games). The additional draw from buying games, is the Points Shop, a separate shop that we can use to further personalize our avatars, badges, frames, etc. by spending, you guessed it points. The Points are earned from any purchases from the Steam Store, and from community achievements. Valve rolled out a number of new additions for the Steam Summer Sale, to further entice us to buy more games.
I have poured over thousands of sales pages to create a solid list of offerings from the Summer Sale. Welcome to the First Annual Otakukart Summer Sale Must By List, or FAOSSMBL for short.
Hades – 30% Discount
From the Creators of Bastion and Transistor, comes the story of Hades…well, his son, more specifically, as he attempts to break free from the grasps of his father, the lord of the Underworld. Featuring Supergiant’s acclaimed breakneck combat and rich, character-centric storytelling, Hades an amazing title you will find hard to put down.
Deep Rock Galactic – 50% Discount
Is a quirky, Minecraft-like dungeon crawler, reminiscent of Left 4 Dead, as you join with three other players to mine space rocks, as a team of dwarves, from ancient fantasy lore. The combat is fast-paced and urges teamwork to be successful. Each game session starts as a game of Overwatch, as you and your comrades take turns drinking at the bar (because, dwarves, obviously), and assign talent points to assist you in your space-exploring endeavors. It’s part FPS shooter, part driller-explorer game, as you traverse through various rocks, searching for more precious ore to mine.
Horizon Zero Dawn – 40% Discount
The amazing, cybernetic Zelda-esque exploration game that was designed for the PlayStation 4, finally made its way to PC. The Complete Edition contains all the DLC, as we follow Aloy on her quest to explain why the world is filled with deadly animal-esque machines. Explore a rich, highly detailed barbaric society, in a gorgeous fictional landscape. One of the highest-rated games on the PlayStation 4, Horizon is definitely worth a look if you haven’t played it before.
Borderlands 3 – 67% Discount
With Handsome Jack being dispatched in the most recent Borderlands 2, we follow new vault hunters on a new-ish mission. The new game boasts exploration outside of Pandora, which may be a welcome change. Borderlands 2 set the bar so high in terms of story and gameplay, and Borderlands 3 takes the gameplay to new heights, sans the story. It has been lambasted in reviews and social media websites for its inane dialogue, and poor story development. You can also pick up the Ultimate Edition, for all the DLC that is out and will release in the future.
Cultist Simulator – 40% Discount
For a game that prides itself on not having a tutorial, Cultist Simulator is a card game rogue-lite, that puts you in the role of a seeker, searching for mysteries. It is an incredibly difficult game, but worth it merely for the exploration of the unknown, as you attempt to join like-minded folks such as yourself. Bring your own Kool-Aid flask just to be on the safe side.
Disgaea Series – 80% Discount
For just $10 measly dollars, you can own Disgaea 1, Disgaea 2, and Phantom Brave, and never have to buy another SRPG game again. The entire Disgaea series is on an amazing discount and follows the varying plots of the Netherworld. These are grindy games, not for the faint of heart. But with a zany cast of characters, amazing storylines, and well-adapted strategic combat, these are definitely in a class of their own. I played the Original on PlayStation 2, and is in my Top 10 Games of All-Time list, and shouldn’t be missed. By anyone. Steam is currently selling the Disgaea Dood Bundle at $40.27, which saves an additional 25% off of all the games.
Halo: The Master Chief Collector – 50% Discount
If you even remotely enjoyed any part of the Master Chief’s adventures, picking up six games for $20 dollars, sounds like a no-brainer. Relive all past adventures for an insane discount, as Master Chief attempts to save Humanity from the Flood… from the aliens… from the Coven…as Master Chief saves us from ourselves and boredom. Oh yeah, Cortana is in here as well. Stop stalling and pick this up yesterday.
Sea of Thieves – 33% Discount
Be a pirate! With complete freedom and control of your seafaring adventures, feel free to loot and plunder, or simply waft aimlessly through an expansive ocean. The new patch brought with it A Pirate’s Life, which introduces Jack Sparrow and Davey Jones to the game, to offer story-based missions, to the already engaging piratey-goodness. I originally wrote a plethora of piratey puns but decided the alliteration was a more appropriate course of action.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition – 60% Discount
One of the most acclaimed games of all time, at a high discount, is nothing to scoff at, but this Special Edition pushed the game into the current generation, with increased graphics, and wealth of content. Most of us have this game in our library, however, if you are one of the three people who don’t have this in your Steam library, now is your chance to get Skyrim and all of the DLC.
Cyberpunk 2077 – 33% Discount
It was one of the most technically lauded titles, and one of the most divisive as well, and is something that should be experienced. Developed by the acclaimed company behind The Witcher series, dive headfirst into Night City, and prepare to be immersed into a story of immortality. Regardless of what side of the divide you find yourself in, Cyberpunk 2077 should be experienced.
Red Dead Redemption II – 33% Discount
Receiving almost as many awards as Skyrim V, RDR2 (this acronym always reminds me of a Star Wars droid), is the infamous tale of an outlaw on the run, with Rockstar’s typical highly immersive sheen and polish. Get lost in the vistas of the old west, and traverse through frozen tundras, all the while shooting to your heart’s content. This free-roaming, western Grand Theft Auto (GTA) really came into its own in the second incarnation, establishing the franchise right next to GTA.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition -17% Discount
It’s back! One of the most successful gaming trilogies has returned in high definition glory, along with over 40 DLC’s, and remastered for 4k monitors and graphics cards. Follow your character across all three titles into the final, thrilling conclusion. With so many NPC’s and side missions, there is a wealth of content here. For a game that released in May, almost 20% off, isn’t bad.
Forza Horizon 4 – 50% Discount
One of the most joyful racing experiences on the console has come to PC. Although not technically a simulation racing experience, the gorgeous vistas and streets of pristine racing machines are an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Collect hundreds of vehicles and cross open landscapes, cityscapes, and other…scapes.
No Man’s Sky – 50% Discount
A game we will be writing about soon in our Let’s Play series, No Man’s Sky has constantly evolved into the game fans wanted at launch. You start your adventure on a planet with nothing but a shiny laser, and collect rocks to create a base, and attempt to survive. So many unanswered questions about the universe, but you can do your part. There is a vast galaxy to be explored and documented and laser.
Witcher 3 – Game of the Year – 80% Discount
Follow Geralt through bustling merchant towns and wide-open vistas on a quest to find a child of prophecy. With impactful dialogue choices and engagingly difficult combat, this is one of the best games to come out in quite some time. A great deal at under $10.
Ghost Runner – 50% Discount
Parkour meets samurai’s meet, science fiction. Wait, is this Cyberpunk 2077? No. Dashing through the remnants of a forgotten metropolis, you slice and dice anything in your vicinity.
Darkest Dungeon – 80% Discount
One of the original rogue games, descend into dungeons (inevitable madness) and try to come out only slightly scathed. There was little to no room for error as I traversed the castles, monasteries, and eerie abodes, leading my band of weary travelers through the depths of man.
Slay the Spire – 50% Discount
Finally a well-received, roguelike card game, you traverse through the Spire, tackling challenges on the fly. One of the highest-rated games on Steam, I am definitely picking this up during the sale.
Sandbox Games with DLC
- Planet Coaster
- Cities Skyline
- No Man’s Sky
- Planet Zoo
- Jurassic Evolution
What Not To Purchase
I almost purchased a large swath of Final Fantasy games, especially some of the older titles. When I logged in on June 30, there is a Pixel Remaster version, which includes the first six Final Fantasy games. This is coming out towards the end of July, so I would definitely wait until then to consider taking this particular plunge.