15 Recommendations From the 2020 Steam Summer Sale

Divinity: Original Sin 2

It’s that time of the year again. The Summer Sale is one of the two largest yearly sales on Steam, and its 2020 incarnation is no different. As with the last big Steam sales, you can earn points for each purchase that can be exchanged for unique emotes, profile pictures, backgrounds, and loads of other goodies. You will also receive an extra $5 discount on any purchase over $30.

With lockdowns still continuing in many areas, I thought I’d focus on games with a huge content-to-price ratio. This means 4X games, RPGs, and other titles that can easily last you 50 hours and beyond in a single playthrough.

Here is a list of 15 great deals from the 2020 Steam Summer Sale:

AI War: Fleet Command
Developer & Publisher: Arcen Games
$4.24 (75% off)

AI War: Fleet Command

First up is AI War: Fleet Command, an absolute classic from 2009. This game is the most popular title created by Arcen Games, and for good reason. AI War is basically a 4X RTS where you play as humanity after they have already lost the war against their AI masters. Your goal is to bring the AI down, which is a nearly impossible task.

You’ll need to wage a smart guerilla campaign; striking a balance between recapturing lost technology and territory, without angering the AI enough to bring down an unstoppable swarm of killer drones upon your planets. The game certainly isn’t for everyone, as it has a very steep learning curve and admittedly rather dated UI.

For less than $5, you can get the base game and all six expansion packs. If you want to play a more modern version of the game, the recent sequel is also very cheap right now.


Dragon Age: Origins – Ultimate Edition
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: EA
$7.49 (75% off)

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins is, in many ways, the end of an era. Not only is it the best game in the franchise, but its arguably the last truly great BioWare game. Everything gradually went downhill from here for the once beloved RPG developer. Origins is still worth playing to this day, especially if you were one of the many gamers that only played it on consoles.

As the name implies, this version collects all the DLC in one convenient package, and for a really cheap price. Be aware that the game has plenty of issues running on modern systems, so you may need to do some tweaking to get it working right.


Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Developer: Mimimi Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Price: $5.99

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is probably the shortest game on this list, but will still take you somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 hours for a basic playthrough. The recent release of Desperados 3 got me thinking about it again, and though it isn’t as smooth as Mimimi’s latest game, it’s still worth playing.

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is a character-based isometric stealth game set in the Edo era. You have a group of five unique characters with their own set of skills, and must figure out how combine those abilities to execute elaborate plans as you sneak around castles, forts, and other heavily guarded locations.

If you want to give it a try first, you can find a demo on the Steam page.


Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: 2K
$14.99 (75% off)

Civilization VI

With the news that Civilization VI will be getting bi-monthly DLC releases over the course of 2020, now would be a good time to jump into the most recent installment in the premiere 4X strategy franchise. While there are some noticeable mechanics from previous Civ games missing in the base version of VI, the game features an interesting take on city planning with the Districts system.

It’s probably the best “base” Civilization game we’ve seen in a while, but as with all games in the franchise, be prepared to buy expansions to regain older features. Luckily, the current expansions are also 50% off right now. Gathering Storm is pretty popular because of the changes it makes to the late game, though people are much less enthusiastic over Rise and Fall.


Endless Universe Collection
Developer: Amplitude Studios
Publisher: Sega
$50.71 (77% off)

Endless Legend

This next entry isn’t a game, but rather a bundle of them. Amplitude’s Endless franchise, which consists of both Endless Space games and Endless Legend, has built up quite the fanbase among 4X gamers over the years. One of the highlights of the series is just how dramatically different each of the game’s races can be, though this unfortunately does lead to some balance problems here and there.

Endless Space 2 and Endless Legend have a rather dizzying number of expansions, and this bundle includes all but one of them for the price of a single game on release day.

It even includes the roguelite spin-off, Dungeon of the Endless, that connects both universes together. Obviously you can nab the games individually for cheap right now as well, but this bundle is a pretty absurd deal if you have always wanted to try out the franchise.


Spiderweb Software Super-Gigantic Bundle
Developer & Publisher: Spiderweb Software
$21.49 (82% off)

Avernum 2: Crystal Souls

Speaking of bundles, the Spiderweb Software Super-Gigantic Bundle represents probably the largest content-to-dollar ratio of the entire article. This bundle includes most of Spiderweb’s games on Steam, coming out to a total of 14 RPGs altogether. Individually, each of these games will take you between 50 to 100 hours to complete, so the bundle has no shortage of old school PC RPG goodness for the price.

If that is a little too much content at once, you can always check out some of the games individually. Geneforge Saga in particular is a good deal because it contains all five games in the series for only $6. If you don’t mind the rather archaic visuals and interfaces, then you can’t go wrong with Spiderweb’s immense catalog of RPGs.


Shadowrun Complete Collection
Developer: Harebrained Schemes
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
$17.95 (74% off)

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Continuing my bundle highlights, you can currently get all three of Harebrained Schemes’ Shadowrun games for less than $20. The original Shadowrun Returns was okay, but Dragonfall and Hong Kong are both really good and rectify most of Returns‘ main flaws.

If you don’t want all three of them, then you can still find them individually for under $5 each. If you only want one though, I’d say that Dragonfall is probably the best.


Knuckle Cracker Universal Collection
Developer & Publisher: Knuckle Cracker
$11.39 (74% off)

Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal

The final bundle on this list contains all of Knuckle Cracker’s games. For the unaware, Knuckle Cracker are the developers of the cult hit Creeper World series. Creeper World is a blend of RTS and tower defense, where your enemy is an all-consuming, fluid-like substance that gradually spreads throughout the map. The game is primarily about trying to contain this substance with the use of a wide range of defensive fortifications.

If you just want to dabble in the series before nabbing them all, you can find the first two for $1 each. Particle Fleet is also in the bundle, which is effectively Creeper World with modular spaceships as your “towers.”


Valkyria Chronicles 4 Complete Edition
Developer & Publisher: Sega
$16.99 (66% off)

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Valkyria Chronicles 4 was a great return to form for the series, which is why its so unfortunate that the game didn’t sell very well. On the bright side, this means that you can grab the Complete Edition, which includes all the DLC, for under $20. If you’d like to know more, you can find our review here (we highly recommend it!)

Be aware that the Steam version of the game still features Denuvo, which in hindsight is probably a big contributor to the game’s low sales on the platform.


The Age of Decadence
Developer & Publisher: Iron Tower Studio
$3.74 (75% off)

The Age of Decadence

The Age of Decadence is a ridiculously deep RPG along the lines of the original Fallout games. It is set in a ruthless low fantasy world inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. Admittedly, its also an RPG that won’t be for everyone.

The game doesn’t hold your hand, and it’s entirely possible to build a bad character that won’t be able to handle some of the game’s quests, effectively rendering your progress up to that point meaningless.

If you don’t mind a very steep learning curve though, you can get a ton of playtime out of The Age of Decadence for less than the price of a fast food meal.


Grim Dawn
Developer & Publisher: Crate Entertainment
$4.99 (80% off)

Grim Dawn

If you have any interest in loot-driven action-RPGs, then chances are you picked up Grim Dawn ages ago. If not, then there is really no reason not to pick it up for $5, because its probably the best modern Diablo-like on the market.

The biggest “flaw” of Grim Dawn is that all the classes are so damn fun that you’ll probably find yourself continuously restarting the game instead of actually finishing it. The expansions are also discounted, with Ashes of Malmouth in particular being a must-have.


Total War: Warhammer II
Developer: Creative Assembly
Publisher: Sega
$20.39 (66% off)

Total War: Warhammer II

While I’ve always enjoyed the Total War series, my love of Warhammer Fantasy has ensured that the Total War: Warhammer games are probably my favorite.

Warhammer II is definitely the better of the two because it fixed a number of issues with the original, but you’ll ultimately want both of them to unlock every race for the game’s signature Grand Campaign mode. It also introduced the Lizardmen to the game, which are objectively the best faction in Warhammer Fantasy because they have dinosaurs.

If you already have the base games and just want to complete your DLC collection, then you can find most of them for about 50% off.


Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition
Developer & Publisher: Larian Studios
$22.49 (50% off)

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of the best RPGs in recent memory, and a must-play for fans of the genre. Not only does the game have an absurd amount of content, but the different race options and choices mean that you can safely replay the game multiple times and it’ll still feel fresh.

Considering the fact that it’s still selling well three years later (and for very good reason), 50% off is probably the deepest discount the game will get for the foreseeable future.


Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Developer & Publisher: Square Enix
$29.99 (50% off)

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

I have to be honest with you guys, I’ve never really liked the Final Fantasy series. Dragon Quest, on the other hand, is one of my favorite JRPG franchises, and 2018’s Dragon Quest XI is one of the best ones in recent years.

It’s pretty much everything you could want from a modern Dragon Quest game, even if long-time fans might miss some mechanics that were left behind. You can learn more in our review (we cannot recommend it enough!)

Unfortunately, the Steam version of the game uses Denuvo, which is a black mark on an otherwise amazing JRPG. Editor’s Note: The game also appears to be lacking the content from the Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch.


Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Bandai Namco
$17.99 (70% off)

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

Finally, we end the list with Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, another fantastic JRPG from recent years. Between the main quest and all the side activities, Ni no Kuni II is packed full of content, and $18 is the cheapest I’ve seen the game on Steam.

Alternatively, you can spend just a little more to get the Prince’s Edition, which includes the Season Pass and some extra equipment. If you want to learn more, you can find our review here (we highly recommend it!)

What games will you be picking up in the Steam Summer Sale? Tell us in the comments below!

This is Niche Deals. In this column, we regularly cover new and upcoming deals, discounts, and more for video games. Let us know if there’s a deal we should cover!

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Frank was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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