Steam has insane Christmas sale, somehow not bankrupt

20 Dec

Valve must throw amazing game dev-only pizza parties, because once again what looks like a good chunk of all the games that have existed ever are currently on sale, over Steam, at preposterous discounts. I’ve yet to decide on what I might gift to myself, so here are some picks I’d recommend:

Super Meat Boy, £3

I think I have a Gaming Daily review of SMB coming up (though not before being pre-emptively shown up by Chris Thursten’s ace piece on Team Meat’s ideology-scuffle with PETA), so I won’t go into too much detail. In short, it’s a taut, funny, incredibly difficult 2D platformer that treats death like you or I might treat having to move one foot in front of the other to walk. Learn the tricks, though, and you’ll never have as much fun repeatedly getting exploded by heat-seeking rockets. Plus, at only three quid, you can’t afford NOT to fall onto piles of fatally corrosive salt.

Valve Complete Pack, £14.99

This just makes no fucking sense. Every game you’ve ever made, Newell? Nearly £120 worth of games for less than half of what Left 4 Dead 2 might cost in shops? How are you not all homeless?

For this paltry sum – which I’m still half sure must be some kind of Robin Walker mind trick – you get such titles as Portal, the game you show to people who don’t like games to convert them, Team Fortress 2, my personal best game of all time, Half-Life 2, lots of other peoples’ best game of all time, all the other Half-Life expansions and episodes, all the Counter-Strikes and Left 4 Deads, and rarities like HL2 Lost Coast and, uh, Ricochet. I’m willing to harshly self-edit when I start to get too evangelical about games, but screw it: if you have even a miniscule flicker of interest in any of the series in this pack and you don’t buy it at this price, you’re a fool. A damned fool, and I don’t want to talk to you any more. Go. Just leave.

Fallout 3 GOTY, £13.39, and Fallout: new Vegas, £22.49

How best to summarise to expansive genius of the two modern Fallouts? I’ve sunk 53 hours into New Vegas (probably chump change compared to my F3 tally, which Steam doesn’t track in my case) and it was only yesterday that I happened to discover an abandoned warehouse, of no exceptional design or importance to any quest, that contained revelations that turned everything I thought I knew about a major character on its head. No other game or franchise effortlessly and seamlessly blends your own, unique adventuring path with scattered morsels of actually interesting story so effectively. Oh, and I found the building whilst looking for a fight so my giant blue-skinned Super Mutant companion who thinks she’s my grandmother would experience a quest-advancing psychotic break. Funsies!

These aren’t the low, lowest of the low, low prices in this sale, but every penny is money well spent – especially in Fallout 3’s case, which contains all five DLC packs (including the excellent Broken Steel and Point Lookout expansions).

Just Cause 2, £9.99

Of course, if you fancy a bit of go-anywhere open-worlding but Fallout is a bit too gloomy for you, JC2 is the bolded, brashest, and now most parsimonious alternative. Its pyromaniac credentials are all there – quadruple-barrelled rocket launchers, fighter jets, tanks – but it shines with a slickness that the original lacked. With the reusable parachute and simple genius of the new grappling hook (infinite wire, duel-end tethering, generous range), playing JC2 feels superbly kinetic. Steal a plane! Jump out! Freefall to the ground, opening your chute at the last second! Glide over to a parked motorbike! Tie an enemy to the back! Leap on and drive off! Ignore the screams! Doing all this – and more – feels much easier and intuitive than the ensuring destruction might suggest. In a market where most action games give you two assault rifles and a corridor to play with, Just Cause 2 demonstrates a refreshing reluctance to impose endless limits on the player. And did I mention you can do these?








One Response to “Steam has insane Christmas sale, somehow not bankrupt”

  1. Elliot December 20, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    Don’t forget Arkham Asylum being on sale for £7.49.

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