Finding the best deals
The legendary Steam Summer Sale may have lost a tinge of its excitement when Valve shifted away from Daily Deals and Flash Sales, but it’s still the place to go when you want to pick up great PC games for rock-bottom prices. This year’s Steam Summer Picnic Sale is no different. The glorious, brand new Doom for 40 percent off! Half-Life 2 for just $2! It’s ridiculous—ridiculously great.
But if you want to save even more cash, bundles are the way to go. They package together similarly themed games from publishers, series or genres, apply the usual Steam Sale discount to each game, and then slap an additional bundle discount on top. You won’t even be charged for games you already own (if developers opt in).
Deus Ex bundle
Let’s get an obvious gem out of the way first: The Deus Ex bundle—comprised of Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Directors Cut, and Deus Ex: The Fall—is so incredibly compelling that it was featured on Steam’s front page from the second the Summer Sale started. That’s every game in the beloved Deus Ex series selling for the insanely low price of $8.24.
If you haven’t experienced Deus Ex yet, well, 1) you’re missing out big time, and 2) this is the perfect time to catch up, with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided launching in August.
The Witcher trilogy bundle
The original Deus Ex was actually my favorite game of all time for more than a decade, right up until the time that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came out. If you’ve yet to step into Geralt of Rivia’s shoes,The Witcher trilogy bundle gives you the first Witcher and Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings—both cherished games as well—along with Wild Hunt for $26.52.
Wild Hunt alone still often sells for $40-plus, so that’s a hell of a steal. Be aware that you’ll probably become so hooked that you’ll spend another $20 on Witcher 3’s excellent Blood and Wine DLC after you complete your romp through the main games, though.
Turn-based strategy bundle
Steam has also packaged similar games together to create themed bundles around specific genres. Most slip in a full-priced game or two and the occasional stinker, but a couple stand out from the crowd.
First up: The $39.82 turn-based strategy bundle, which includes The Banner Saga, Invisible Inc., Hard West, Gremlins Inc., and Thea: The Awakening. That’s a great lineup, and you’ll save 10 percent more than if you purchased the games separately.
Here’s a similar bundle for Japanese RPG fans, with Valkyria Chronicles, Tales of Zestria, Disgaea PC, Agarest: Generations of War, and Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 collectively selling for $42.88.
Hotline Miami combo pack
Hotline Miami is a glorious, pulsing, neon-dripping homage to over the top violence, decked out in retro aesthetics. The mix of brutal, fast-paced action and intoxicating audiovisuals activates something in your monkey brain that compels you to play just… one… more… time—even if the story makes no damned sense.
During the Steam Summer Sale, the Hotline Miami combo pack offers both Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2 for just $5. There’s no extra bundle discount in play, but for $5 for two great games, who cares?
Assassin's Creed Bundle
If you’ve taken a break from the series since Assassin’s Creed’s early days, the Assassin’s Creed bundle is a solid time to catch up. Ubisoft doesn’t put its games on sale often, but this package offers Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, AC Unity, AC Rogue, and AC Syndicate for $62.96 after applying an additional 10 percent discount on top of the Summer Sale prices. That’s dozens of hours of addicting stealth stabbings for just above the usual MSRP of Syndicate alone—and yes, Unity’s horrendous bugs are mostly fixed now.
Serious Sam complete back
If you want to see an almost unbelievably steep bundle discount, look no further than the Serious Sam complete pack. Sure, the games are a wee bit old, but the Serious Sam series’ fast, furious first-person gunplay still holds up superbly even today. The bundle includes every major Serious Sam game and numerous expansion packs for the jaw-droppingly low price of $10 after a whopping 90 percent bundle discount (though sadly, you won’t bump into any unkillable pink scorpions). Get in on this.
But why stop there? If zany, fast-paced first person shooters are your thing, Gearbox has some juicy Borderlands bundles up for grabs. The Borderlands triple pack consists of the original Borderlands and its DLC, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for just $21.53 after applying an extra juicy 40 percent bundle discount.
The Borderlands “Take over your life” bundle offers the same core games, but tosses in Telltale Games’ superb Tales from the Borderlands story-driven game. The bundle only costs $26.20, a $4.67 increase over the triple pack, so it’s like you’re getting Tales from the Borderlands (which is selling for $8.49 during the summer sale) for half-off.
Pew-pewing psycho midgets not your thing? You can still snag Tales from the Borderlands in the epic Telltale bundle, which consists of pretty much everything the story-driven studio’s ever released, from Sam & Max through Games of Thrones. That includes old-school gems like Back to the Future and the Homestar Runner Strongbad series to acclaimed modern titles like The Walking Dead, Minecraft: Story Mode, and Wolf Among Us.
The Telltale bundle’s one of the more expensive around at $82.84, but that’s a ton of great games for the price—which includes a healthy additional 33 percent bundle discount.
Okay, this final bundle doesn’t include games with 70-plus percent discounts or massive packaged savings. But Homeworld Remastered and Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak are both stellar RTS games worthy of rebooting the legendary PC-centric Homeworld series, and if you buy them as a bundle, Gearbox will knock another 10 percent off the top of the 50 percent discounts being applied to both games. Both can be yours for $38.23 total—a meager price for some top-shelf strategy action. (If you’re looking for even more fine RTS gameplay, Ashes of the Singularity is on sale for 50 percent off during the Summer Sale, too.)