Steam Sale Writer’s Picks – December 23rd

Steam Sale Writer's Picks

Merry Christmas good friends! I’ve made it to the end of the year, and that feels like a true feat right now. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for it.

The next week is all about relaxation and alcohol. Not too much, but enough. You know, enough. Hope all of your preparations are in hand, and your turkey is defrosting nicely. Here are some of my picks from the Steam Winter Sale so far.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

I’ve just witnessed the full playthrough of this marvellous game via my husband. We livestreamed it all for Real Game Media, so if you tuned in, you’ll know how great this game is, and how much I loved it. Rise of the Tomb Raider is half price during the sale.

It’s an action adventure blockbuster that is a direct descendent of the original genre-defining game of the aforementioned. Tomb Raider was the game to beat all games back in the PlayStation Generation One days, when we were so much younger, and the idea of deep and impacting storylines in games was still a revolution. This title takes it all to the next level. The revamping of the franchise was the best thing to happen to it, and Lara is more rounded than ever – no pun intended, seriously.

Recovering from the knowledge that her father died never proving his wild theories about history, whilst being completely correct, Lara goes on a quest to clear his name, and find the evidence he lacked. This takes her to some of the harshest environments in the world, and she faces a rival, who is searching for the same truth for an arguably equally noble reason, but also with lots of guns, helicopters, and disregard for anything and everyone else.

The story is solid, the action is spot on, and doesn’t really get frustrating once you get settled into the gameplay, and it looks absolutely stunning. The models are more gorgeous than anything I have seen to-date, and the set pieces are great. Lara feels and looks like a total badass, and as though nothing from now on will ever scare or surprise her. Immediate comparisons are drawn to Uncharted, of course, and that series is still my favourite of the two, but Rise of the Tomb Raider is near perfect if this sort of game is your jam.

Valve Complete Pack

The Valve Complete Pack has 89% off, and it’s a definite go to for pretty much anything you might want to try. From sci-fi action in Half-Life, to puzzle platforming like nothing else in Portal, to fighting the undead with your friends in Left 4 Dead, to battle simulations on the ground in Counter-Strike, the Valve pack contains some of the most highly praised games of all time.

This is one to grab for sure, as it has something for everyone, and hosts some of the best online communities if you’re into that sort of thing. Players are dedicated and serious, so don’t go in with the intention of causing annoyance. You’re there to get the job done, and the gameplay makes it so you can have fun whilst doing just that.

Mad Max

Off the back of the triumphant movie last year, this game release went down really well with fans old and new. Whilst it’s not based on either of the movie franchises per-say, it’s full of references and nods, and feels like a real wasteland, proudly giving a thumbs up to the king of dystopian settings. Mad Max is a third of the usual price.

As the protagonist Max, you wander the land, fulfilling missions and working on fragile friendships whilst defeating those who would rule and dictate to the general people of the world. Max is by no means a hero, he’s hard-nosed, and can be downright mean, but what else can you be in times such as this? It’s a fantastic looking open-world action game, with really solid set-pieces, driving and combat.


This is another game we played on stream, though our ill-fated team really didn’t get too far. This is a game with endless replayability; as one game finishes, you can begin again with a totally different outcome. The soldiers are customisable where it counts, and I always have great fun picking my favourite fictional characters. That’s not sad, shut up. Grab XCOM 2 for 50% off.

Tactics and stealth are key to a well-played game, and it feels so much more personal and real compared to RTS titles on a large battlefield. In XCOM, you command a small team on the ground, fighting in a rebellion against the evil aliens who have taken over Earth. The rebellion takes small victories, as you gain knowledge and technologies from your missions in order to sabotage. There are also rescue missions in which you try and save civilians caught up in the crossfire, and missions in which you fight the retaliation against the rebellion.

The story is simple, but more fleshed out than the previous game, and your character has more of a background this time. The intensive action is addictive; once one problem is solved, another arises. It’s up to you how the story ends.

Special Mention: Firewatch

I’ve put this as a special mention this week, because I think I’ve talked about it before. This is my game of the year. I loved DOOM, and would go back to that any time, but I’m a fan of drama. I love real-life stuff you know; relationships, dealing with hard times, talking about things, and all that. Firewatch delivered this to me like nothing else. It was like I was a part of something. Much like the first time I watched The Breakfast Club, I did a little cry.

People fascinate me, and I love listening to stories and issues they might be facing. I could listen to someone geek out about anything, because I love seeing the passion on their faces. Firewatch gave me those real-life emotions in a setting I will never, ever face, and I truly loved every second.

Get this wonderful looking walking-sim for 40% off.

There you have it, I guess. If you can get past the connection issues and actually purchase something, there is a whole load of ideas for you to pick from. Mine are some of my favourite games of the year and of all time, so if you haven’t tried them before, now’s the time.

I sincerely hope everyone has a great holiday season, and spends time wisely between gluttony and games indulgence. For that is what I will do.