Kiss your free time goodbye
Clear your schedule and get ready to apologize to your wallet: Another Steam sale is upon us.
Sure, at first glance, the Steam Halloween Sale bucks the traditional Steam sale mold, with no flash sales or cute meta-games built around loading up your shopping cart. But make no mistake: The Halloween sale offers a slew of very appealing PC games for very little money.
In fact, hundreds of games are included in the Steam Halloween Sale (which is running through November 3). We waded through the horde to surface some of the best deals. Not all of these games are scary, but they all rock—and they’re selling at ludicrously low prices.
The Walking Dead
Let’s start with something seasonally appropriate, though. The first “season” of The Walking Dead video game—comprised of five separate episodes that form a complete story—won rave reviews for its superb characterization and bleak, enthralling story. This game makes you genuinely feel for your band of survivors as you attempt to escape the zombie hordes. So much so, in fact, that it made me cry. Three separate times.
Darksiders Franchise Pack
PCWorld’s gaming guy Hayden Dingman calls the original Darksiders “One of the best Zelda games he’s ever played.” I don’t know if I’d quite go that far, but Darksiders and Darksiders II indeed dish out some darn fine action adventure.
Casting you in the role of War and Death, respectively—two of the four horsemen of the apocalypse—you’re tasked with discovering why the end of days fell upon humanity. Doing so entails righteously kicking a ton of demonic butt. Dropping $8.99 on the franchise pack nags you both Darksiders games and a slew of Darksiders II DLC. That’s a steal for two fine, fine games.
Organ Trail: Director's Cut
It’s like the old Oregon Trail game, but instead of trekking across America you’re fleeing the zombie apocalypse and simply trying to survive. Need I say more? Organ Trail is going for a mere $2 during the Steam Halloween Sale, 66 percent off the normal price.
The Binding of Isaac Collection
But another killer game is going for even less than that. The Binding of Isaac is a “Rogue-like” action RPG with randomly generated dungeons and enemies, and one of the finest ones available at that (if you don’t mind darkly mature themes). The gameplay’s a blast and the randomized environments mean the game never gets old. Even better: The Binding of Isaac Collection—which includes the Wrath of the Lamb DLC—is on sale for a ridiculous $1.32. That’s hours of gaming for less than the cost of a McChicken and a Coke.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
This is one of the finest horror games ever made, and a cornerstone of PCWorld’s roundup of terrifying PC games. It may be a few years old at this point, but Amnesia: The Dark Descent’s mad castle and shadowy creatures still hold up mighty fine. Genuine scares never get old!
During the Halloween Sale, the game’s available for $4.99, 75 percent off the standard price.
Speaking of spooky castles, this remake of the Mac adventure gaming classic of the same name landed just a few months back—but its heart is decidedly old school. Shadowgate’s retro and proud, with unforgiving puzzles and a point-and-click interface. It won’t be for everyone, but we absolutely adored the game, and it’s 40 percent off during the Halloween Sale.
Spec Ops: The Line
While the darkness of Spec Ops is more deeply hidden, the challenging moral themes and bleak situations this game poses will have you sitting up in bed and frowning nonetheless. Rare is the shooter that examines the horrors of war and the effects of all the flying lead. Spec Ops’ morality and story turn this game into something special. Everyone should play it at least once—and for $5.09 (83 percent off) the price is certainly right.
The Darkness II
You never seem to hear about The Darkness II as much as its predecessor, and that’s a damn shame. Like Spec Ops, you’ll probably only want to play this once, but the strong story, beautiful graphics, insanely fun gameplay, and ability to quad-wield weapons using demon arms make this a blast while it lasts. It’s also going for $5.09 (83 percent off) during the Halloween Sale.
Penumbra Collector Pack
Like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, both Penumbra games are starting to show their age graphically, but they’re still just as scary as the day they launched if you’ve never played them. These two titans in the horror genre also graced PCWorld’s roundup of horror games, and during the Steam Sale you can pick them both up for $1.99. Not $1.99 each—$1.99 total.
The Witcher 2
Yes, most people who care to play The Witcher 2 probably have The Witcher 2 by now, especially since the game regularly dips to sub-$5 prices during sales. That said, if you haven’t had the opportunity to play this gritty fantasy RPG yet, now’s the perfect time to do so, with the open-world The Witcher 3 slated to launch in February.
The Witcher 2: Assassin of King’s world-building and political intrigue is second to none. One momentous decision at the end of the first chapter of the game dramatically changes the story, barring you from entire scenes and storylines, meaning this game is all but begging to be to be played at least twice. Since each playthrough lasts around 30 hours, the game’s $4 asking price amounts to around 7 cents per hour of fun if you indeed play it twice. You can’t find worthwhile entertainment going for much less than that.
The Swapper ’s clay graphics are downright gorgeous. Its story is subtle, but provocative. And its puzzles—which revolve around your ability to create clones of yourself and swap your soul between bodies—are both utterly devious and spiritually troubling.
All that for only $5? You’d be nuts to pass it up.
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Okay, okay, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter’s Halloween Sale discount is miniscule—a mere $10, from $19.99 to $17.99. But this game’s slowly unfolding story and beautiful, enthralling sense of place is still deeply deserving of your dollars. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is easily one of the best games we’ve played this year.
But wait, there's more
While these were the deals that caught my eye, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of games are on sale through September 3, from old favorites like the Bioshock and Fallout series to indie gems like Sir, You Are Being Hunted and Don’t Starve.
Rather than scrolling through multiple pages in Steam itself, check out Steamdb’s sale tracker. It’s a great big list of every single game being sold under cost, organized by the steepness of the discount. The tool makes it much, much easier to see what’s available for dirt-cheap prices.