Steam’s summer sale is well under way and features a lot of games at low prices. However, some people might find it difficult to sift through all these deals, or worse, don’t have much money to spend. Luckily, Steam has a metric truckload of games for $5 or less, most of which are genuinely good games, and I’m here to help walk gamers through the better ones gamers should consider buying. Please note that this list is my personal opinion and that not everyone will like these games.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined the fantasy and humor of Fable with the combat mechanics of Pikmin? You would get Overlord. Not to be confused with the anime of the same name, the Overlord franchise puts gamers in the oversized shoes of the titular Overlord: a giant, mute, evil man who wants to rule the world with his army of Minions (small goblin-like creatures who gladly sacrifice their lives for the Overlord and are far more likable than the Minions from Despicable Me). This is a game where it’s good to be bad, but it’s better to be evil. Overlord is available for $1.24; its DLC Overlord: Raising Hell costs $2.49, and the sequel, Overlord II, costs $2.49. While the Overlord: Ultimate Evil Collection includes all of these games and the third game, Overlord: Fellowship of Evil, for $3.79, I do not recommend buying Fellowship of Evil on its own. It’s a bad game.
Sorry, the 2016 version of DOOM didn’t make the list because it costs $14.99 (but I still recommend buying it). However, if you don’t have money or your computer can’t run DOOM, or both, I recommend buying DOOM 3. Sure, it isn’t as fast as other DOOM games, but DOOM 3 is atmospheric and at times feels like a survival horror game. You can either buy the original version of DOOM 3 for $1.24, the DOOM 3 Resurrection of Evil expansion pack for $1.79, both for $2.49, or the remastered version, DOOM 3: BFG Edition, which also comes with all DLC and DOOM 1 and DOOM 2 for $4.99. Keep in mind that because of a glitch, you will be asked to type in a CD key when you first boot up DOOM 3 if you also own Resurrection of Evil. Exit out of the game and boot up Resurrection of Evil to fix this issue.
Of Orcs and Men
I wouldn’t blame you if you are not familiar with Orcs and Men. It’s a lesser-known western RPG published by Focus Home Interactive, a company that is halfway between indie-game publisher and AAA publisher. As the name suggests, Of Orcs and Men focuses on a war between orcs and men, but the game turns that age-old narrative on its head and makes humans the villains and the orcs the heroic underdogs. The game’s story is very mature and has almost as many f-bombs as South Park. You can buy Of Orcs and Men for the low price of $4.49.
Few games franchises have the cult status of Deus Ex. While many recent games use the “explore an open world from a first person perspective” game style made popular by Deus Ex, they don’t hold a candle to the narrative and worldbuilding of the Deus Ex franchise. While the latest Deus Ex game, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, comes with hefty $14.99 price tag, you can still buy Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition for $1.39, Deus Ex: Invisible War for $1.39, and the phenominal Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut for $3.99. I do not recommend Deus Ex: The Fall, but I can recommend the free community-made graphic overhaul for Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Revision.
I cannot deny that Supergiant Games makes dazzling games, and Transistor is downright gorgeous. The game oozes style, and the music, art direction, and gameplay are all solid. Furthermore, the story is one for the ages. Transistor is not long, but it’s memorable and will stick with you. At $2.99, Transistor is a solid steal of a deal, as is the game plus soundtrack bundle for $4.49.
Legacy of Kain
I previously talked about Legacy of Kain in my Top 10 Games That Need to Be Rebooted article, but I just can’t stop gushing about this game franchise. It deserves your attention. The characters are memorable; the world is well realized, the story is arguably the best ever written (for a video game), and the graphics…ok, the graphics haven’t aged well, but the art direction more than makes up for that. Since the Legacy of Kain games are older titles, you might have some difficulty running them on newer systems, but a quick search through Steam forums will help you get them working. Each game in the Legacy of Kain franchise costs $1.39.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Some might claim Mass Effect and Dragon Age put BioWare on the map, but in truth it was Star Wars – Knights of the Old Republic. This game is a western RPG done right and more than earns its status as a cult classic. While the game’s sequel, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, was made by Obsidian Entertainment instead of BioWare, The Sith Lords retains much of what made Knights of the Old Republic a classic. Both games are available for $2.49 each.
Like other games on this list, The Witcher franchise includes one game currently over $5, but the other entries are shoe-ins for this list. The Witcher exploded in popularity thanks to the video games made by CD PROJEKT RED, and now a Netflix series based on the books is in development. While the first Witcher game is decent at best, the dev team took the lessons it learned to turn The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings into a masterpiece. The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director’s Cut costs only $1.49, while The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition is $2.99. If you want more Witcher goodness, you can buy The Witcher Adventure Game (a digital version of the physical board game) for $2.49.
Sam & Max
Another game I have discussed in a past article, Sam & Max, is a beautiful point-and-click adventure game series with a great sense of humor. The stories, settings, and characters are absolutely ludicrous, and the voice acting is spectacular. Each of Sam & Max’s three seasons, which include five to six individual episodes each, is available for $3.99. However, even though the complete pack is more than $5, I can easily recommend purchasing the Sam & Max Complete Pack for $7.99.
Batman: Arkham Series
Nobody expected Batman: Arkham Asylum to be a hit, and even fewer expected it to turn into a franchise. The Batman: Arkham games make Batman feel like a one-man army, capable of sneaking into the most heavily of fortified areas and incapacitating everyone without resorting to deadly force. These games are a love letter to everything I love about Batman: The Animated Series. The Batman: Arkham games might be mature and gritty, but that only helps make the game world believable and lived-in. While Arkham Knight didn’t make the list due to its price and optimization issues, Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition and Batman: Arkham City – Game of the Year Edition are must-buys at $4.99 each. Batman: Arkham Origins might not be as solid as its predecessors, but at it’s still a good deal at $4.99. Arkham Origins’ season pass, however, isn’t worth it.
This list is only a sampler of the games available for less than $5. If I mentioned every game under $5, we would be here all day, but I guarantee that plenty of other games are worth buying, including Psychonauts, Dragon Age: Origins, Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Tomb Raider, and even Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Fortunately, during Steam sales, you can buy a game that caught your attention in the past but was otherwise too expensive. If one of those games is $5 or less and is on this list (or isn’t), now you finally have an excuse to buy it.