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Worth Grabbing: Great Steam Holiday Sale Games for under $15

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Like many, I’ve spent the past several weeks stuffing myself silly in the presence of numerous family members in genuinely warm, happy circumstances. Unfortunately, the holidays are over. All that’s left is several bitter, cold months of winter. Fret not, though, as the Steam holiday sale is still on for another 24 hours as of this writing. For those of you who are uninitiated, Steam is an online game vendor run by the illustrious Valve, a gaming company with a penchant for creating cult classics and AAA titles. Every holiday season they offer massive discounts on their massive (albeit recently trimmed down) library. I’ve tracked down a couple of great offers that will give you dozens of hours of entertainment and cost you little more than two burritos.  If you’re looking for some fun games to get you through the dark months ahead, look no further:

Civilization V: Game of the Year Edition

Sale Price: $12.99
Normal Price: $49.99
Steam URL: http://store.steampowered.com/app/901772/

If you like board games, particularly Settlers of Catan or RISK, then you owe it to yourself to pick of Civilization V. Though I also love its predecessors, Civ V does some much needed streamlining. Units can no longer stack, city management is simpler, and the map can be reduced from a high-fidelity graphical interface to a basic series of hexagons with resource indicators. This gameplay refinement makes each civilization’s built-in bonuses a lot more important. As a result, you’ll find yourself playing a completely different way every time you try out a new Civ. The game maintains the rule, map, and difficulty customization that allows players to tailor their experience to their specific interests. Like the combat? Make your map small, land-based, and increase the barbarian presence. Prefer commerce? Try a large naval map. Want to just build a bunch of libraries? Turn the difficulty down and sit back while you become the most learned people in the land. However you like to play, this massive discount is well worth it. Go grab while you can.

Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition

Sale Price: $11.99
Normal Price: $19.99
Steam URL: http://store.steampowered.com/app/22370/

Fallout 3 was the long awaited addition to the Fallout series. I say “was” because the game is now over 3 years old. That said, it’s a phenomenal open world, post-apocalyptic experience that doesn’t seem dated by any stretch. Bethesda Softworks‘ first foray into the franchise, the “new” Fallout came with an entirely new engine, taking you out of the sky and into the body of your character. Using your handy dandy Pip-boy, you roam the world in search of your father, a scientist with information on how to secure access to drinking water vital to the survival of the human race. Of course, you could also forget all that and wander around the wasteland doing pretty much whatever tickles your fancy. That’s the great thing about most Bethesda games, they take player freedom very seriously. The VATS combat system also provides multiple methods of combat, simultaneously allowing the player to plan out specific %-based attacks (like an RPG) or fight in real time like an FPS/action game. The game’s setting is also a compressed version of Bethesda’s own backyard, Washington, DC and its surrounding suburbs. The areas are rendered in exquisite detail and you’re guaranteed to enjoy exploring just as much as advancing the plot, raiding, stealing, trading, and helping people. If you like the game, you can also pick up its semi-sequel, New Vegas.

King’s Bounty: Platinum Edition

Sale Price: $17.49
Normal Price: $34.99
Steam URL: http://store.steampowered.com/sub/6121/

So I cheated my numbers a bit on this one. Sue me. It’s two and a HALF burritos instead of just two. On the plus side, you get 2.5 games in one. King’s Bounty is from Russian indie publisher 1C Company and is a charming game in the spirit of Heroes of Might and Magic. It’s got some translation issues, but they’re kind of endearing given the tongue and cheek nature of the game. It’s not a serious fantasy strategy RPG, it’s more like a drunk old uncle telling you a story set in a far, far away land. What do you expect from a game with a hero named “Bill Gilbert”? The gameplay, however, is sufficiently deep for the genre. You build a party of mythical creatures, soldiers, and mages and use them to take on various enemies throughout the land. I picked up the first game on a whim a few years ago. I wasn’t quite sure I’d made the right decision at first, but after 40 hours of enjoyment I was sorry I’d ever doubted it. If you enjoy giant turtle gods, battle chess, or outsmarting computerized monsters, grab this one. It includes the first game, a sequel, and an expansion. Tons of hours of fun.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Sale Price: $4.99
Normal Price: $19.99
Steam URL: http://store.steampowered.com/app/57300/

Warning, the following video contains massive amounts of hilarious profanity.

Remember the original Resident Evil? When there were like 5 zombies total in the entire game and they were scary as all hell and really hard to kill? Imagine playing that, but with no weapons. Yeah, that’s Amnesia. Rooted somewhere between HP Lovecraft and MYST, Amnesia challenges you to find your way through a 19th century fortress while uncovering the secrets of your lost memory. Oh, the walls also occasionally melt and large, disturbing beasts sometimes try to kill you. There’s also an invisible creature that hunts you in the sewers and some of the most unnerving sound design I’ve ever heard in a game. Don’t worry, though, you have a lantern. Battle to keep your wits about you as you solve puzzles, evade baddies, and run for your life. This game is best played late at night with the lights out and headphones on. Just try not to wake the neighbors when you start screaming like a small child.

So that’s it, you only have ONE MORE DAY to go get these games at these prices. Off with you!

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