Best VALUE at the Steam Summer Sale

It’s summer! And that means… No, for us hardworking videogame archaeologists that does not mean beach, sun, and cocktails (well maybe a bit of ouzo for Ymir as he is back in Greece the coming months). Summer means Steam’s Summer Sale! Fortunately, there are a host of titles on discount that may not transport us to sunny shores, but will get us straight to the interactive past. Below you’ll find a list of a dozen games, in no particular order, that VALUE members have already played and heartily recommend, or have picked up in this sale themselves.

Betrayer (€1,24 — 75% discount)

Steam:
Betrayer is a first person action adventure game that takes you to the New World at the turn of the 17th century. The year is 1604. You sailed from England expecting to join a struggling colony on the coast of Virginia. Instead, you find only ghosts and mysteries. What catastrophe blighted the land and and cleared it of color and life? Where are the settlers and tribes who lived here?

VALUE:
This game was on our radar when it first came out, but it dropped off in the carnage of great games that was 2014. But for the price of half a latte, it promptly appeared on our radar again. We haven’t played much yet, so this is what we can tell you: there’s a wreck, the game is in gray-tones, you have a bow and musket, there is an abandoned village, and… holy shit, those are some creepy conquistadors (as if there is any other kind)! Stay tuned for a GWD on this one.

Domina (€4,99 — 50% discount)

Steam:
Take charge of a ludus, acquire, train and upgrade gladiators, and pit them against your opponents in bloody arena battles. Use strategic political wranglings to win favor from powerful Romans to increase the odds of victory in the arena and elevate your family name, all while trying to keep a group of brutish warriors focused, alive, and victorious. Domina is a pixel-art strategy simulation vaguely based on Roman gladiator schools of antiquity.

VALUE:
We’ve only played about 10 minutes of this, but it looks promising in a quirky way. Don’t come in expecting either historical realism or real violence. This pixel-art panem et circences game is more like Oregon Express meets Pokémon. You, the female head of a gladiatorial school (hence the feminine -a suffix of Domina; and, yes, some VALUE snobs were classically schooled), will train and care for gladiators to lead them to victory and what will surely be a bloody end.

Civilization V (€7,49 — 75% discount)

Steam:
The flagship turn-based strategy game returns. Become Ruler of the World by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age: wage war, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies, go head-to-head with some of history’s greatest leaders and build the most powerful empire the world has ever known.

VALUE:
We have said a lot about Civ elsewhere, so, to keep it brief: If you really do not own Civ V yet, what are you waiting for? You could go for Civ VI, newer and more expensive. On the other hand more people are still currently playing Civ V. The game is arguably more strategic and there are more mods and scenarios out there, so if this is for your first entry into Civ, pick up V instead.

Crusader Kings II (€9,99 — 75% discount)

Steam:
The Dark Ages might be drawing to a close, but Europe is still in turmoil. Petty lords vie against beleaguered kings who struggle to assert control over their fragmented realms. The Pope calls for a Crusade to protect the Christians in the Holy Land even as he refuses to relinquish control over the investiture of bishops – and their riches. Now is the time for greatness. Expand your demesne and secure the future of your dynasty. Fill your coffers, appoint vassals, root out traitors and heretics, introduce laws and interact with hundreds of nobles, each with their own agenda.

VALUE:
With Crusader Kings, or any of Paradox’ other titles, the base cost for a game can be just the beginning as there are a ton of DLC packs to add if you want to delve in all the way. The real price for entry is time, however. You will need about half a day just to get the hang of it. If you do decide to make the investment, it is well worth it if you like the kind of strategy that is grander than that of already Grand Strategy titles like Civilization or Total War. If you are obsessive about managing other people’s lives, this is the game for you, as that is what you end up doing as ruler of your dynasty for most of your time. Our recommendation for a weekend activity: start of as a minor lord and work yourself all the way up to Holy Emperor.

Cross of the Dutchman (€4,99 — 50% discount)

Steam:
Cross of the Dutchman is an action adventure game based on the true story of the folk legend ‘Pier Gerlofs Donia’. The story takes place in medieval Western Europe, in the province of Frisia, near the turn of the 16th century.

VALUE:
This one has been in our crosshairs for the longest time as Pier Gerlofs Donia, or Grutte Pier, is a real character, that is a Frisian folk hero but best known in the rest of the Netherlands for his role as adversary in the 60ties-Ivanhoe Dutch knockoff “Floris” (with Rutger Hauer, of Blade Runner fame). As soon as we played it, we will let you know more about the game. Playing as an actual historical figure, known to be able to cut off enemy heads with one swing of his great sword, should be interesting at least.

Bastion (€2,99 — 80% discount)

Steam:
Bastion is an action role-playing experience that redefines storytelling in games, with a reactive narrator who marks your every move. Explore more than 40 lush hand-painted environments as you discover the secrets of the Calamity, a surreal catastrophe that shattered the world to pieces. Wield a huge arsenal of upgradeable weapons and battle savage beasts adapted to their new habitat. Finish the main story to unlock the New Game Plus mode and continue your journey!

VALUE:
Ymir considers Bastion one of the best video games ever made (it’s true, check his bio). A game we have covered in several streams for its innovative approach to narrative and story. The game might not be set in a historical setting but it does deal with the past and how we can rebuild it through our actions and choices. The RPG elements are small but meaningful and the combat system simple but rewarding. Bastion also has a ton of replayability with NG+ and also a various of difficulties and challenges which we won’t spoil! If you want, you can spare a few more euros (€4,59) for the version that includes a digital download of the game’s beautiful soundtrack.

Age of Empires II HD Edition (€4,99 — 75% discount)

Steam:
In Age of Empires II: HD Edition, fans of the original game and new players alike will fall in love with the classic Age of Empires II experience. Explore all the original single player campaigns from both Age of Kings and The Conquerors expansion, choose from 18 civilizations spanning over a thousand years of history, and head online to challenge other Steam players in your quest for world domination throughout the ages. Originally developed by Ensemble Studios and re-imagined in high definition by Hidden Path Entertainment, Skybox Labs, and Forgotten Empires, Microsoft Studios is proud to bring Age of Empires II: HD Edition to Steam!

VALUE:
Age of Empires can only be characterized as a classic for those who were gaming in the late 90s-early 00s. With the original’s game definitive edition in closed beta, there is no better time to revisit the HD remix of AoE II. While the stand-alone version doesn’t offer much more besides better graphics and a tighter AI (there are options with new downloadable content for a few more €), in reality you don’t need anything more than the game itself. Whether you liked the campaign or the competitive aspect of the game, everything is there for you to enjoy in HD.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War (€7,49 — 50% discount)

Steam:
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is the story of 4 crossed destinies and a broken love in a world torn apart. Dive into a 2D animated comic book adventure, mixing exploration, action and puzzles. Lost in the middle of the trenches, play as each of the 4 strangers, relive the War and help a young German soldier find his love.

VALUE:
Let the adorable animation style of Valiant Hearts draw you into the Great War in a uniquely moving way. This puzzle platformer is not your average combat game: much more personal, you switch between characters and sides, playing out different war-torn stories while fighting for survival, love, friendship. Be sure to listen to the music and also check the in-game info about historical people, objects and events.

Herald: An Interactive Period Drama (€7,99 — 20% discount) 

Steam:
Herald is a choice-driven adventure set on colonial tides. Board the HLV Herald and uncover its dark secrets in an intriguing tale about tyranny and servitude.

VALUE:
With two streams, one write-up, and a book chapter by the developers, we’ve put your attention on this game many a time already. It is good, really good and the developers could use your pennies to continue developing book three and four. So, get on it!

Never Alone (Kisima Innitchuna) (€2,99 — 80% discount)

Steam:
Experience the epic journey of Nuna and Fox as they search for the source of an eternal blizzard that threatens the survival of everything they have ever known.

VALUE:
Another VALUE classic, which featured in our first and recent 24 hour stream. Also another author in the Interactive Past. In short, what more do we need to tell you than 10/10, would play again and dying for a similarly-themed follow-up game from E-Line Media!

Verdun (€5,74 — 75% discount)

Steam:
Verdun is the first multiplayer FPS set in a realistic World War One setting, the game which started the 1914-1918 WW1 Game series. The merciless trench warfare offers a unique battlefield experience, immersing you and your squad into intense battles of attack and defense.

VALUE:
Shooters that take place in historic wars generally play a little fast and loose with the rules and facts. Not Verdun, though. Painstaking research into the battlefields and weapons, down to the buttons on the uniforms make this game an accurate representation of what the battles around Verdun looked like. This one is for the die-hard gamers and/or historians that are okay with getting killed out of nowhere and crouching down in a crater next to the corpses of your teammates for minutes at a time. Verdun is difficult and brutal, but the attention to detail and the satisfaction of charging and taking a trench is all the sweeter. Get this if you couldn’t find the World War 1 in Battlefield 1.

Papers Please (€3,59 — 60% discount) 

Steam:
Congratulations. The October labor lottery is complete. Your name was pulled. For immediate placement, report to the Ministry of Admission at Grestin Border Checkpoint. An apartment will be provided for you and your family in East Grestin. Expect a Class-8 dwelling.

VALUE:
Take Orwell’s 1984, throw in a family that you need to take care for, while you’re on your first day of your new job and you get Paper’s Please. In this bleak, hard, and downright depressing game you’re a visa-officer. Your orders are confusing and change all the time, the lines are long, and every mistake is another fine on your salary and possibly an enemy spy or terrorist in your country. And when you take you meagre salary home you have to decide which family member you are going to feed and if you can afford to turn on the central heating. This game is a piece of art: the setting, the moral decisions, and the general vibe is real and Paper’s Please will leave you drained. But it’s a game that you need have experienced.

GLORY TO ARSTOTZKA!!!

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