Edit: Check the bottom of the post for some of my top picks
It's that time again, the silly season where money magically disappears in exchange for those games that you were interested but just never got around to buying. You will play them after you've bought them in the Steam Summer Sale though, honestly. I haven't got games that I bought over five years ago, still gathering digital dust. Honest.
As always, the sale has begun and the first casualty is the store. I'm trying to get a screenshot to talk about the new meta-game, the Steam Grand Prix, and I bloody-well can't. So what I'm going to do is talk about the games I can see on the game I daren't reload first.
Fair play to Valve, the layout of the sale seems to very well laid out. Three featured games, with a few featured categories, highlighting core titles that are 75% off of greater and then even more categories. The shapes are nice though, with a plain hexagon for City-Building games. So, enough about shapes - let's refresh the page. The featured games are the same: Assassin's Creed Odyssey is currently 50% off, Astroneer is 25% off and Devil May Cry 5 is 34% off.
To quote Valve on this matter:
The Annual Steam Summer Sale is on now thru July 9th, offering massive savings on thousands of titles. In addition, this year's sale invites players to enter the Steam Grand Prix by joining a team, earning points for rewards and having a shot at winning free games.
But what about this Grand Prix I was talking about?
I've gone and joined Team Corgi, because being a proud British person I was never going to go for Pig, Hare, Cockatiel or Tortoise (shouldn't it have been Turtle?). I am somewhat distraught by the lack of Whippet though. For the full rules of the Steam Grand Prix, you can read them here. Let's just look at the highlights on the Grand Prix page though.
You can gain points by buying games and completing achievements during the event, boosting your team. These points can be exchanged in the 'pit stop' for backgrounds, emoticons and, the biggest reward, a discount off of your next Steam store purchase. I'm not sure how much of a discount it is. As for the other rewards, random people from the top three teams will be selected to win the top item from their wishlist. You know what that means, get organising!
Steam Summer Sale - Top Picks:
So you want to know which games to buy, don't you? Well, let me be the seedy dealer of all things that addict you and drop you hints on some of the games you really want to buy and a few words explaining why. There will be some older titles included.
Endless Space Collection - One of the best space-strategy games around and a true epic
Divinity: Dragon Commander - A pretty damn great, story oriented strategy game where you get to take to the battlefield yourself... AS A DRAGON.
Portal Bundle - If you haven't played these games yet, leave now and don't come back until you have.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition - Still one of the best GTA-likes with an entertaining narrative and more.
Serious Sam 3: BFE - Big shooty bang bang WHOOSH BANG WHEY FUN
Pathologic Classic HD - One of the best survival horror games around with a fantastic atmosphere, great characterisation, if not hindered by clunky controls.
Amnesia Collection - The first is the game that brought back survival horror. Enough said.
SOMA - While not as good as Amnesia, SOMA is still a very atmospheric and generally creepy survival horror.
Psychonauts - It's Psychonauts, a stupidly fantastic game and you need to have played it.
Rebel Galaxy - Just read my review.
Grim Fandango Remastered - Come on, you know you need to play it. It's legendary.
Outlast Trinity - The first is the other game that brought back survival horror. Enough said.
Spec Ops: The Line - The last great 'realistic' first-person shooter.
Carpe Fulgur Collection - This is worth it for Recettear, but with two other very worthwile games.
DMC: Devil May Cry - It's easy to dislike this game because it's not a traditional DMC, but the gameplay was great, characters campy and just a fun romp.
Dark Souls II - GIT GUDDER
Dark Souls III - GIT GUDDEST
Age of Empires III: Complete Collection - Still an absolutely fantastic strategy game.
Bioshock: The Collection - First and Infinite, fantastic. Second... eeeh. Would you kindly?
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Come on, it's one of the best RPG's ever made. Buy it on GOG though.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Bundle - The intense, engaging and terrifying shooter that taught you that bullets hurt, a lot. Also, the spiritual ancestor of the Metro games.
Dying Light Enhanced Edition - Open world engaging zombie parkour fun game.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar - Nathan reviewed it. I liked it a bit more than he did.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun - A fantastic real-time tactics game that I reviewed.
Valkyria Chronicles - A fantastic animé style strategy game with a compelling story, interesting characters and one of the best art styles in games, ever. Kai reviewed it back in the day.
Beyond Good and Evil - One of the best games Ubisoft has ever made and is sadly likely going to butcher with an open-world sequel soon. Play this so you know why everybody cares about it.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - It's Snake! The end of a great franchise as well. It is the end as well, Survive didn't happen. Review here.
Slime Rancher - This is an incredibly cute and fun game about catching and breeding slimes, then selling their poo for money. Also, you get to explore and meet more slimes that poo. POO!
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice - One of the most beautiful, engaging and character/story driven games ever. This was also proof that indies can do AAA better than AAA studios.
Frostpunk - A choice-oriented, engaging city-building strategy game where your every decision actually matters. Also very reminiscent of Snowpiercer, a great film. Read our review.
Yakuza 0 - Anything in the Yakuza series is, by and large, going to be a funny, charming, crazy and bewildering good game where you get to bash somebodies face in with a bike. Review.
Dishonored: Complete Collection - The Dishonored games were very good. Nuff said.
Final Fantasy VIII -
Mutant Year Zero - This really was a good tactics game, with an interesting world and characters. Francesco wrote a review.
Definity: Original Sin 2 - Francesco also reviewed this. He was right, this is a bloody brilliant RPG.
Killer 7 - Suda51's crazy assassin conspiracy game where... You know what, it's a classic and it plays fantastic. Play it. I can never do it justice.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy - It's Phoenix Wright, on the PC.
DOOM - An incredibly fun, action-packed shooter that returns to what fun shooters should be.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - Well, the sequel is finally being made but you need to play this. This is simply a game that should have been a world-beater when it was released, being huge, engaging and character driven, with interesting characters, atmospheric and just thoroughly brilliant.
Yakuza Kiwami - Anything in the Yakuza series is, by and large, going to be a funny, charming, crazy and bewildering good game where you get to bash somebodies face in with a bike.
Resident Evil 2: Remake - An actually great remake of a classic survival horror game. Review.
Stardew Valley - A fun, charming and brilliant farm-building game developed by one person.
Final Fantasy VII - The legendary JRPG with a fantastic story, possibly the biggest moment in gaming history, an interesting character development system in Materia and also it has the Gold Saucer from back when mini-games could take as much time up and be as engorssing as regular games.
Final Fantasy IX - Another outstanding story with some of the best characters in gaming history thanks to the actual personality and growth that goes on within the game.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster - As much flack as it got in the day, X has one of the best FF stories and characters, with a great character building system and also Blitzball! X-2 also had a great character system, story and... Blitzball manager (I liked it).
Cuphead - This is a cruel and unusual game, challenging but so stupidly charming thanks to a fantastic art design and outstanding gameplay. Review here.
My Friend Pedro - You're talking to a banana. Also, great gameplay, stupid-fun gun-run-fun-bang-action.