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Friday, July 19, 2024

The best deals in the 2021 Steam Summer Sale

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Like a cool glass of water sent from the heavens to revive our parched lips, the Steam Summer Sale is here. (Please, ignore all the cold water in our backlog. We’re not in the mood for that water.) With thousands of games on sale, it can be pretty overwhelming to find what you’re looking for, so take a breather and let us do some heavy lifting for you. 

We’ve been digging through the Steam Summer Sale and picking out some of the best deals it has on offer. Below, you’ll find some of the best deals on games released this year, games under $25, games under $10, and games under $5. You’ll see plenty of stuff you already have, but we’ve included a few underdogs or easily missed games that we recommend too. Hopefully you find something new to play, or to at least pile on to the backlog. Y’know, just in case. 

2021 videogame sales


Nier Replicant | $45 / £37 (25% off)
A cult classic with a major facelift, Nier Replicant is an easy recommendation at full price, but especially on sale. With the help of PlatinumGames, Nier Replicant’s most tiring bits sing now. It’s an excellent action RPG that goes places you’d never expect.


Nioh 2 | $40 / £40 (20% off)
For the Souls-likers that can’t get enough punishment, love mastering complex combat systems that demand perfect timings, and could make a career of min-maxing gear, Nioh 2 is the dream.


Little Nightmares 2 | $24 / £20 (20% off)
Little Nightmares 2 is easily the spookiest, most disgusting entry in the sad-child-walks-right platformer subgenre. There’ll be plenty of time to catch your breath though, because every single scene begs for a screenshot. It’s a truly beautiful game. The original is 75% off at $5 if you need to catch up.

Persona 5 Strikers | $40 / £37 (33% off)
Persona 5 Strikers isn’t a great Persona game, but it’s a legit sequel to Persona 5 in a Dynasty Warriors costume. If you’re only a fan of one of those things, it probably isn’t for you, but if both sound good? Here it is, $20 off. 

Disco Elysium – The Final Cut | $26 / £23 (35% off)
One of our favorite RPGs of all time has more music, more quests, and comes fully voiced now. It was already a steal, but this is a super steal. A deal so good the voices in your head won’t shut up about it. 

Evil Genius 2 | $30 / £26 (25% off)
Being the bad guy rules, and Evil Genius 2 indulges in the lifestyle in what basically plays like a stylish beehive simulator. We dug it at review time, citing some problems with bloat, but a couple patches since have chipped away at some of the more time-intensive stuff. 

Outriders | $39 / £32 (35% off)
It’s a looter shooter that ends, a blessing in this, the time of live service dominance. We also dig Outrider’s interesting build potential, and how all that gear basically turns it into an anti-cover shooter over time. Play it with some buds, if you can.

Steam Summer Sale: $25 and under


Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringers | $16 / £12 (60% off)
The latest chapter in the best Final Fantasy story of them all. Get caught up before Endwalker drops this fall.


Iron Harvest | $12.50 / £12 (75% off)
Simple answer: It’s a good RTS, and you don’t see a ton of those these days. But it’s also built on a great premise, a WWI where mechs are part of the picture. Our review says Iron Harvest’s battles are “an avalanche of awe” even if it builds slowly. A perfect summer project, then.


Hellish Quart | $13.25 / £10.50 (22% off)
Sword fighting with incredible physics and animations. Feels like it was borne directly from the body of PC gaming itself.

Resident Evil 3 | $20 / £16 (67% off)
It’s a straightforward shooter that doesn’t quite do the original justice, but RE3 is still a pretty damn fun action game. A $20 price is a better fit for most expectations. 

Hunt: Showdown | $20 / £18 (50% off)
Hunt is a sensual, punitive nightmare FPS and still one of the best-looking games on PC that just keeps getting better. New monsters, new ways to play, and a big new map are here or on the way, so now’s a great time to try out a competitive shooter where simply surviving a match can feel as good as taking first. 

Lost Ember | $12 / £10 (60% off)
We gave this ode to outside a 90% in our review, celebrating Lost Ember’s luxuriant, detailed depiction of the natural world. Our reviewer says “…the love and care that’s gone into this world and the creatures that inhabit it make me feel close to nature.” And with fewer dollars between you and Lost Ember, you’re already closer to nature than you know. 

Mundaun | $16 / £13 (20% off)
We think it’s one of the best horror games of the year, “a pencil-drawn fever-dream that’ll linger in your mind long after you’ve completed it.” 

Steam Summer Sale: $10 and under


Black Mesa | $8 / £6 (60% off)
The brilliant remake of the original Half-Life in the Source Engine actually manages to improve the later chapters of the game. It’s a great way to experience (or re-experience) the classic shooter.


Dark Souls 2 | $10 / £price (75% off)
It’s secretly the best Dark Souls, and not-so-secretly the weirdest one. If you’ve been skipping it based on word of mouth, the new word of mouth is the sentence before this one. Play it.


Golden Light | $9 / £7 (30% off)
A creepy horror roguelike where your guns might talk and a flowerpot might try to kill you. Throw on a couple more bucks for the soundtrack while you’re at it. It’s legendary stuff, as good or better than Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill work—weird, sad, suave, and totally unpredictable.

American Truck Simulator + Euro Truck Simulator | $10 / £7.50 (75% off)
Somehow two of the most detailed, stressful sims and simultaneously the most relaxing, meditative games are trucking games. Tour Europe or America for $5 each, but you really oughta go in on both. Open up your heart to trucking. 

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 | $7.50 / £price (75% off)
Kill legions of rats as grimdark fantasy characters. One of the best attempts at doing a Left 4 Dead that stands on its own. 

Soulcalibur 6 | $9 / £7.50 (85% off)
Our review says Soulcalibur 6 is great for new players and has a big roster, but we’d wager it’s worth $9 for the character creator alone. Thing is, you can be Geralt too. Sold.  

Tabletop Simulator | $9.99 / £7.49 (50% off)
Play board games, D&D, a modded version of Gwent, and lots, with the wonderful option to flip the table over if you feel a bit of rage coming on. It even supports VR now. A great way to play all sorts of games with friends.

Oxygen Not Included | $9.99/ £7.59 (60% off)
Klei’s colony sim about managing a collection of clones trapped inside an asteroid is both deeply complex and easy to dive into. It’s cute, it’s challenging, and once you’ve started it’s hard to stop.

Blasphemous | $8.50 / £price (66% off)
Probably the second best 2D Souls-like (it’ll take a lot to beat Hollow Knight), Blasphemous is full of grotesque, detailed pixel art that imagines Catholicism as horror, or at least scarier than it already is. Layer in some challenging platforming, rad boss fights, and a lotta blood and it’s an easy buy for under $10. 

Just Cause 4 | $7.86 (88% off)
Just Cause 4 didn’t make a big splash when it released a few months after a little game called Red Dead 2, but it’s a wildly fun open world playground to lose hours in. Complete enough missions to get programmable booster jets and then cut loose and wingsuit through tornado. At this price, it’ll definitely be worth it.

Legend of Grimrock bundle | $10 / £8 (66% off)
Grid-based dungeon crawlers may be an acquired taste, but they’re also timeless: Eye of the Beholder 2 is 20 years old and still holds up very well. If you’d like something a little more modern (and a lot less punishing) then we absolutely must recommend the Legend of Grimrock games. They recreate that rugged, old-school style of gameplay, but wrap it up in modern conveniences and aren’t wholeheartedly determined to keep you from getting to the end. The first game in the series is down to just a fiver on its own, but you’re going to want to play Grimrock 2 after you’ve finished it so you might as well go for the bundle and save a few bucks all around.

Steam Summer Sale: $5 and under


Dirt Rally 2.0 | $5 / £4.50 (75% off)
Drive over 50 off-road cars on real world rally locations around the world. We called it “the best rally sim around” in our review, which awarded Codemaster’s sequel an 87%.


Post Void | $2 / £1.50 (33% off)
A shooter that hurts to look at, but one you can’t look away from. Post Void is a compact, exciting bit of sensory overload with a killer one-song soundtrack, and it costs as much as a pack of gum. Our advice: play this


theHunter: Call of the Wild | $5 / £5 (76% off)
It’s a hunting sandbox, which means it’s the ideal game to play incorrectly at all times.

Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition | $4 / £3 (80% off)
Don’t look at it like PC gaming canon homework. Baldur’s Gate 2 is a must-play, and the updates to the Enhanced Edition ensure it’s not a pain in the ass. One of the earliest D&D games is still the best. See why for a couple bucks. 

Inside | $5 / £3.74 (75% off)
The extremely eerie and unsettling follow-up to Playdead’s adventure game Limbo. Guide a little boy through a nightmare world where he’s hunted by mysterious agents of darkness. It’s a game that stays with you long after you’ve finished it.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes | $4.50/ £3.30 (70% off)
A brilliant co-op party game, where one player is sitting there with a procedurally generated bomb and everyone else has the manual to defuse it. It’s frantic and fun whether communication breaks down or players work together to survive.

Payday 2 | $1 / £0.75 (90% off)
Payday 2 is a bit of a dinosaur in the co-op shooter space at this point, but at one single American dollar, you can hardly go wrong to pick up a few copies and give it a shot with friends.

The Final Station | $4 / £3 (75% off)
This sidescrolling survival-horror tale of a sci-fi Soviet train ride through an unknowable apocalypse is grim, moody, and deliciously weird. The train management mechanics can be a little tiresome, but the sombre vistas and tense exploration of infested towns and cities are more than worth the price of admission.

Firewatch | $5 / £4 (75% off)
Firewatch is a magically beautiful, mournful tale of a long summer spent deep in the forests of Wyoming—a lonely place that never leaves you entirely alone. The overarching story doesn’t pay off quite as well as I’d hoped, but the voice acting is phenomenal and the stylized scenery is as lovely a recreation of the great, wild outdoors as any I’ve seen. Not one to be missed.

Steam Summer Sale: 8 years of Game of the Year winners

You can get eight years worth of the best in PC gaming (according to us) for $100. Read about why these games are so special in our Game of the Year awards archive.  

2020 – Death Stranding | $24 / £22 (60% off)

2019 – Disco Elysium | $26 / £23 (35% off)

2018 – Into the Breach | $7.50 / £5.70 (50% off)

2017 – Divinity: Original Sin 2 | $18 / £12 (60% off)

2016 – Dishonored 2 | $12 / £9 (70% off)

2015 – Metal Gear Solid 5 | $5 / £6 (75% off)

2014 – Alien Isolation | $5 / £3.75 (75% off)

2013 – Spelunky | $3 / £2.20 (80% off)

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