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Best of Steam Exploration Sale

Don Parsons / November 27, 2015 at 9:30 AM / Gaming, Opinions

While Black Friday sales are taking over the world this weekend, Steam has stepped up to match with its Exploration sale. While we’ll be having a Black Friday sales guide soon, with over eight thousand titles right now on sale on Steam, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a bit to look through for some of the better deals there, as well as ones you may not have seen.

The Exploration sale, for those who haven’t seen, is a first for Steam as they explore the concept of a single price throughout the sale for titles, with the only rotation being what titles get shown on the front page—not their discount. That means we can discard the old Steam Sales chart and just look at the games, and the discounts offered. There are over 8900 games for sale, so hopefully this will help you find some interesting titles without trying to go through Steam’s somewhat cumbersome interface to discover games for sale. The sale runs through December 1st so there’s a few days to look around, although we’re far from covering every game out there that is for sale.

The Expensive Big Titles –  Under $40

Grand Theft Auto V: You probably spotted this one on the front page yesterday, but GTA V is 40% off right now, putting it at one of, if not the lowest prices it’s been at. One thing to note when checking the historical prices of GTA V is to recall that it was 50% off for about 2 seconds at the summer sale when Rockstar was messing things up, so you have to look further than just the historical lowest price. Discarding that one does make this look like it is the lowest, so if you’ve been waiting for the price to drop this might be the point to step in at $35.99 especially with the newly added Running Back mode. — 40% off for $35.99

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: TechRaptor’s first 10/10 is a great RPG and it’s right now getting it’s first 50% off cut, with it getting that on Steam and GOG. This is one of the best RPGs in years, and in my opinion at least outshines Fallout 4 for the open world rpg that you should be playing if you haven’t been there already, and at $30 it’s a steal. — 50% off for $29.99

Under $25

Endless Legend Collection: One of the better 4x games in recent years, Endless Legend has also seen a good amount of both free and paid DLC that have significantly improved the game beyond the 7.5 I gave it last year. If you’ve been itching for a 4x game to play, that tries to do some different things in the genre, it’s well worth it to look at this—especially with it being 66% off to $20. You can also get just the base game for $10 if you want to try that, and it recently improved its modding tools and added Steam Workshop Support — 66% off $20.39 for the Collection, $10.19 for the base game.

Dying LightTechland’s action survival open world zombie game has been well-received and has done a lot of different things with the genre. The game has a season pass, and an upcoming expansion that apparently is big enough that they are raising the price of the season pass there. So if you want to go beat up some zombies and wander around give it a look. — 66% off for $19.99

Sorcerer King: Leaving Early Access this year, Stardock’s Sorcerer King brings a different take to the 4x genre by mixing in some RPG elements as well as asymmetrical play. It refines the turnbased genre and adds some new wrinkles, making it well worth your time to check out. — 50% off for $19.99

Under $15

Shadowrun Triple Pack: If you’ve been skipping out on Harebrained Schemes entries to the Shadowrun series, there’s no excuse anymore with the bundle deal for the games. While Shadowrun Returns is only okay, Dragonfall improves upon that significantly and Hong Kong continues that improvement as a very solid RPG. They are well-written and bring the Shadowrun universe to life, and at 50% off for $14.99 you’re getting some really good RPG time to spend.

Dreamfall Chapters: I reviewed the first chapter and need to get to looking at the second here still. It was recently updated to Unity 5, which has really upgraded the performance and some of the visuals on a beautiful game. It mixes point and click with some of the Telltale style, although unlike Telltale there are actual choices in this game, and what is perhaps the best iteration of the dialogue wheel. — 50% off for $14.99

Elite: Dangerous: The Open World Space sim that is actually out from Kickstarter, Elite: Dangerous is an open sandbox that is what you want it to be in many ways. It’s on a pretty steep discount, but it has an expansion coming out soon that will come bundled with the game in the future. However, there is a $15 loyalty discount if you own the base game for Elite Dangerous: Horizons, which means that since the sale has dropped it to $15 for the base game, you won’t be out any money. — 67% off for $14.84

The Magic Circle: The Magic Circle blew away our reviewer Alex Santa Maria, as it examines the creation of games, gamers, and has some great humor mixed in with compelling gameplay. While the discount is on the lower end, it’s probably still worth your time to look at if you follow games closely (and you’re reading Techraptor, so of course you do). — 33% off for $13.39

Xenonauts: If you were wanting more X-Com, Xenonauts is for you. It is essentially a spiritual successor to the original X-Com and is more in-depth mechanically than the more recent reboot, although XCom 2 is promising more in that regard. If you liked the original or are looking for a more involved version of the remake, Xenonauts is definitely where to look, especially at 50% off which gets you the game for only $12.49

Ori and the Blind Forest: Ori is a platformer, which may make many of your groan but it’s one that stands out with beautiful aesthetic, tight game play, and a wonderful demonstration of how to do storytelling in video games. You can see what Shaun Joy thinks of it in our first impressions video, but it’s a game you definitely want to play and experience for yourself. It’s 40% off right now putting it at $11.99

Renowned Explorers: International Society: One of this year’s overlooked games, Renowned Explorers is a game I need to get to writing a review on, as I’ve spent over 60 hours in the game since it came out in September, and it is a case of a game where everything adds up perfectly. The combat is intelligent and well done, the choose your own adventure aspects are very well written, and the game uses a variety of skills that impact dialogues, checks, and your combat stats. It’s a tough game to write up on because it doesn’t deconstruct particularly well and is a lot more than the sum of its parts. It’s also getting bi-weekly content updates that have already added a new expedition, updated some captains, and more to come. It’s 40% off and at $11.99 it’s a must buy.

Gravity Ghost: Another game I really should have done a write up for. Gravity Ghost is a brilliant game on the whole, as a physics platformerish game that doesn’t tend to be particularly difficult. There are some neat mechanics stuff, but where the game stands out is story and presentation. The story isn’t particularly long but it is wonderfully told and is one of the few cases in gaming that a story has actually made me cry as it was incredibly touching. The visuals have a unique look to them and the music is masterful. It’s a relaxing and wonderful game, and while 25% off is a low discount, it’s well worth the $11.24

Chroma Squad: Chroma Squad is basically a tactical RPG that is a love letter to the Super Sentai genre, in particular to Power Rangers. It’s humorous, fun to play, and has some solid mechanical tactics that work with the game, especially with the special objectives. A good game that’s at its lowest price. — 40% off for $10.19

Under $10

Hand of Fate: Another bigger name, Hand of Fate is an excellent rogue-like card game with free flow combat and a choose your own adventure that is one of the better mixes of parts there is. Our review of it was favorable on launch, and its added more free content since then as well a DLC in Wildcards, which isn’t on discount. Still 60% off takes the game down to $9.99 which is an exceptional price for the game. —60% off for $9.99

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky: One of the best jRPGs released recently, The Legend of Heroes recently released the second chapter in English as well. Still, the first part stands up very well on it’s own, and it is a throwback to the days of good, classically styled jRPGs with turn based combat, an in depth world with intriguing stories, and a great soundtrack. It’s 50% off with the sale, putting it at only $9.99

Evoland 2: I had the treat to review this game earlier this year, and it remains one of the best games I’ve had the priviledge to look at being witty, well put together and a ton of fun. It celebrates the best of gaming in an intelligent but tongue in cheek in manner as well as a variety of game play styles. I gave it a 8.5, something I don’t do lightly in general and strongly recommend everyone considering it, especially at 50% off dropping it to $9.99

Invisible Inc.: A game that features actual stealth game play and using different tools to solve the puzzles of the levels that are mostly procedurally generated, Invisible Inc is one of the better indie titles to come out this year. A well done game with a unique aesthetic, it stands out with its hints of rogue-like, turnbased strategy, and espionage that make it a game that is easy to recommend, especially at 50% off which drops the price of entry to a low $9.99

Kholat: Taking a bit from various games, Kholat focuses on atmosphere and graphics to help create an atmosphere of suspense and horror in a genre that is typically poorly done. It weaves an interesting story with its notes and mysteries surrounding it, intelligently drawing on the source material that inspired it but not being trapped by it. — 50% off for $9.99

Victor Vran: A solid Action RPG with some neat ideas, Victor Vran was a title we recommended waiting for a sale to pick up, as while it was good, at launch it didn’t do quite enough to really stand out at its price tag. Well, it’s on a pretty hefty discount now and it’s added in some content so here we are. —  50% off for 9.99

3D Realms Anthology: Well let’s go back to the past and look at the time when 3D Realms actually made games, and you see in this 32 game collection there are a lot of classics like Death Rally, Duke Nukem 1-3D, and more. I’m sure I’m missing some in there that you particularly like, but that’s kinda the point here. It’s 75% off, meaning that for $9.99 you get a collection 32 games, including some classic hits.

Wolfenstein: The New Order: One of the better FPS entries of late, Wolfenstein came out last year to acclaim pretty universally. It’s a single player only game, which may have turned some people away, but it’s now discounted by 85% putting it at $8.99 right now, its lowest price.

Democracy 3: Cliff Harris’ latest entry in the Democracy series continues the spreadsheet simulation you know and love the series for. There are a ton of dials, lots of options, and a lot of different ways to run your country and just see how things turn out in general. The DLC for the game is solid and is also 50% off. — 66% off for $8.49

Under $7.50

Enemy: Another one of those games that I think needs more attention, Enemy is the possible result if Minecraft and Jagged Alliance 2 had a baby. You have a squad based tactical focus with a Jagged Alliance style action point system and tactics, with voxel art style and destructible environments. The game invites you to try to figure out your way to solve the combats with its levels and different skills. It’s 50% off right now, meaning you can try out this indie game for $8 or play its demo if you want to see that first. — 50% off for $7.49

South Park: The Stick of Truth: title that takes the spirit of the TV Show and translates it wonderfully in videogame form. Those who follow the show will find loads of known characters and references, but the game is enjoyable even for those who don’t really follow South Park on air. You can buy it for $7.49. Warning: not for the easily offended – Luigi — 75% off for $7.49

Far Cry 3Blood Dragon: Blood Dragon is a spin off of the Far Cry saga. It’s also a game aimed to the kind of people that would watch Kung Fury and think “I could use some more nonsense and 80s pop culture references today.” The game is colorful, fast, exaggerated under any aspect, and makes a big deal out shooting people in the head. A recipe for success at half price. Oh, did I mention it features huge lizards that shoot lasers out of their mouth? – Luigi — 50% off for $7.49

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Raiden is one of the most controversial characters in the Metal Gear fanbase. Some love him, some hate him. Think what you think, in this spinoff developed by Platinum Games, he’s a badass. At some point he’s a badass in poncho and sombrero. This would be usually enough to convince you to buy the game but just in case let’s add the fact that you can (and are encouraged to) literally cut your enemies in tens of pieces until they’re a bloody pulp and fight single handedly against mechs the size of a 12 stories building. – Luigi — 75% off for $7.49

Metro Redux Bundle: Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux are more classical, mission based first person shooters with an engaging story based on the Metro novels by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Players survive in the aftermath of the third world war by dipping in and out of Moscow’s subway system, all the while fighting (or evading) bandits, mutants, and otherworldly horrors. There are no level-ups nor multiplayer—just a straightforward shooter with an interesting story (and excellent graphics!) that also offers some of the most challenging optional gameplay modes on the market. $7.49 for the Metro Redux bundle is an absolutely insane price that you would be a fool to pass up. If you like first person shooters in ANY WAY, buy it! You won’t regret it  – Robert Adams — 75% off for $7.49

Neo Scavenger: A game I’ve heard a ton of good things on, but haven’t had the chance to play yet. It’s apparently one of the successes of Early Access, having survived that to an acclaimed launch, and it mixes turn based post-apocalyptic RPG with survival and crafting in this indie game. It also has a demo available for you to try out. — 50% off for $7.49

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood: The sequel to Roll7’s first hit OlliOlli, OlliOllli 2 returns to the skateboarding genre with the combos, difficulty, and more. It has the unique look you would expect out of it, and has new worlds, as well as a local multiplayer mode. If you’re looking for a challenging but simple concept game look no further. — 50% off for $7.49

Guild of Dungeoneering: I’m just going to quote our review’s conclusion on the game this time as I think it sums up everything you need to know here “Guild of Dungeoneering is a fun roguelike that adds guild management, card battles, and other interesting mechanics into one package.” Add in some patches and DLC at a discount that further expands the game and you have a title to look at. — 50% off for $7.49

Convoy: A Rogue-Like vehicular combat set in a post-apocalyptic setting, Convoy is a successful Kickstarter project that came to fruition. While it can be a bit stiff in the game play and the storytelling could be better, it is still a fun experience on the whole that manages to mix the sillyness of a Mad Max inspired post-apocalypse with some strategic play and car building. — 50% off for $7.49

Technobabylon: Technobabylon is another game published by Wedjet Eye Games, and while it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Primordia, it is a very good title indeed. A solid aesthetic, good puzzle design, intriguing storytelling, and an interesting world make it something to check out. — 50% off for $7.49

Broforce: Hitting one of it’s lowest prices, Broforce is the recently released game published by Devolver Digital. It has some good humor, a lot of fun, and fast paced action that overcome the limits of its gameplay, especially at this price. — 50% off for $7.49

Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition: While Fallout 3 showed Bethesda’s take on the Falloutverse, the spinoff Fallout: New Vegas is actually more of a continuation of the previous two Fallouts, drawing heavily on the cancelled Van Buren that was to become Black Isle’s Fallout 3. Designed by Obsidian, with numerous veterans from Black Isle who worked on the original titles, it shows in many ways how the world is created and how they continue and carry many of the threads in the older games. There are also some fantastic mods out there as you would expect for a game in this engine. While the core game is on a 75% discount, it’s worth it to pony up for the slightly more expensive Ultimate Edition which adds in all the DLC, and while a few of those are superficial, the bigger DLC are examples of what the best DLC can do for a game with Honest Hearts, Dead Money, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road. It’s 66% off putting it at $6.79, and while not the lowest price it’s ever been at, it’s a really good deal still. — 66% off for $6.79

The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind Game of the Year Edition: Before the Fallout 4 release, Bethesda used to make games with actual dialogue in it. In the The Elder Scrolls saga, Morrowind is the title where the attention for the lore, dialogues, and general immersion reached its peak. It is acclaimed as one of the best RPGs of the last decade and with good reason. You can enjoy it with all the DLCs for $6.79. Don’t let the outdated visuals fool you. There’s a thriving modding community that will help you make Morrowind rival its younger relatives in terms of graphic fidelity. – Luigi — 66% off for $6.79

Fallout Classic Collection: Alright, so you may know and will probably be hearing more of my thoughts on the good and bad of Fallout 4 (yes, despite what you might think I think, there are some solid elements in the game I admit), but if you want to see where the series began this is where you want to look with the 90s isometric RPGs by Black Isle. These are some of the best RPGs of all time, and you get the spinoff Fallout Tactics, which is a solid game if nowhere near the level of the first two. You can get the collection for $6.49, which is 66% off the base prices of the three, or you can drop Fallout Tactics and pick up Fallout 1 and 2 for only $2.49 each. —66% off for $6.49

Party Hard: A recent release by Tinybuild, Party Hard has some excellent style, and a distinct way of solving puzzles. While it can get repetitive at times, it grows on you after a while, and the game has been adding in new features and levels since launch to make it an even better pick up. — 50% off for $6.44

Not A Hero: Getting away from skateboarding, Roll7 brought a similar style to Not A Hero which combines elements from Hotline Miami and Broforce in gameplay. However, while the gameplay is challenging and well put together, where the game shines is in its political satire where it has a lot of fun poking at elements that we take for granted in our democracy. — 60% off for $5.19

Under $5

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: If you’ve been looking for a Sonic game that doesn’t suck, this well done kart racer may be your choice. While it’s not a classic Sonic game in any way, it draws heavily from the Mario Kart style of game play and adds its own flare to it in a solid manner, meaning if you don’t have a Wii U and the latest Mario Kart, this is a pretty good pick up. You will need a controller for this as the keyboard controls are really bad, but the port is otherwise solid and its a good price. — 75% off for $4.99

Rack N Ruin: Imagine if you are playing a Zelda game, but instead of being the aspiring hero, you are the villain seeking to ruin paradise. Now, add in some bullet hell minibosses, and a lot of charm, and you have a pretty enjoyable indie game in Rack N Ruin. — 50% off for $4.99

Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale: There’s a decent chance you might own this already, but Recettear is a very good example of what mixing two different genres can accomplish with the dungeon crawling RPG mechanics complementing the shop management to weave a good game on the whole. Add in a lot of charm and you have a game that is well worth the low price of admission. — 75% off for $4.99

Steamworld Dig: Taking and enhancing the types of flash mining games we used to play, Steamworld Dig has a big enough scope of gameplay that makes it addictive and highly enjoyable. Offering hours of gameplay, as well as solid replay value, this is a game that is worth picking up on sale. – Rutledge — 50% off for $4.99

Windward: Build a ship, customize it, and explore the world trading, questing, and fighting pirates. Unless you prefer to join them. Windward is what happens when a naval simulator meets an MMORPG. In TechRaptor’s review, we lamented the possibility for the game to bore the player after a while. Recent updates added more variety and modding options to the game, so it has more hours of content in it, giving it more variety. It’s now at its lowest price ever, allowing you to pick it up for under $5. – Luigi — 67% off for $4.94

Dungeon of the Endless: Continuing the series of “Games I need to Write Up,” Dungeon of the Endless is a really neat rogue-like, dungeon crawling, tower defense hybrid that has some interesting levels, mechanical design and a lot of other things making it worth checking it out. It has a mixture of free updates that have added a good amount to it and discounted DLC that you can pick up. — 66% off for $4.07

Sanctuary RPG Black Edition: When Techraptor reviewed Sanctuary RPG, it was not on Steam and there was no “Black Edition” on the right of the game’s title. We reviewed the original version that used to be downloadable for free on the official site. It earned a solid 8. The Black Edition holds a lot more content for all your ASCII needs and it’s totally worth the price they ask. – Luigi — 50% off for $3.99

Geneforge Saga: Jeff Vogel has been doing the whole turnbased indie RPG thing for a while, but his work in my opinion reached the apex with the Geneforge Saga, which featured really good storytelling, a compelling world, and tense inter-factional gameplay. Some of the older games show their age, not just in graphics but UI, but Geneforge 4 and 5 still work well and have some excellent storytelling in them. It’s 80% off, meaning it’s going to set you back less than $4 for these 5 games to experience an excellent story that starts on a single abandoned Island in Geneforge 1 and goes through the war the events there spark off. — 80% off for $3.99

Jagged Alliance 2 Gold: The classic and still untopped tactics/strategy game with RPG stuff is on sale if you haven’t played it before. This is one of the games that defines a genre and is unmatched there to this day and well worth your time. After you’ve beaten it, if you want some more value, can try out Patch 1.13 which adds even more to the game. — 80% off for $3.99

Shadow Warrior: Flying Wild Hog’s reimagining of the 3D Realms classic is one of the most well-regarded shooters of that year and one that a lot of people enjoyed. It has a sequel upcoming from them in the future, and at this discount if you haven’t played it yet, its worth your time to check out. — 90% off for $3.99

Divinity II: Developer’s Cut: The most definitive edition of Larian Studios Divinity 2, this is a solid action-rpg on the whole. While it had some issues at launch with Ego Draconis, it got improved a lot over time, and this version is really worth your time if you like action-rpgs or dragons … or both. The Flames of Vengeance part stands out in particular with some particularly good quest design in my opinion. — 80% off for $3.99

The Legend of Korra: While considered a disappointment from Platinum Games, what is sometimes missed is that The Legend of Korra is a budget title from them, which might help explain why so little attention was paid to parts like the narrative and some of the mechanical pacing issues. It still features solid combat in the Platinum style, and right now at 75% off it’s going to only set you back a small amount. — 75% off for $3.74

LucasArts Adventure Pack: Are you looking for some classic point and click adventures? Well for this bundle’s low price you can get classics like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and The Dig to scratch your point and click itch if you’ve missed these classics. — 75% off for $3.74

1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum: A simulation stat raising visual novel rpg hybrid type, Scheherazade has you take on the role of a young female student looking into things across the world in the 1930s. Mixxing bits of Indiana Jones with film noir, and humor, the game works quite well with witty writing by the Black Chicken team. There are lots of little stories to experience, and you probably won’t be able to get them all done in a single play through! — 85% off for $3.74

Primordia: This is one of the best point and click adventure games of the past 15 years, and can, in my opinion, rank among some of the best the genre has had. It has some excellent storytelling, beautiful art, and some well designed and challenging puzzles, while integrating a step based tip system that you can choose to help you out if you get stuck on a part. If you’re even mildly interested in Adventure games, take a look at picking up Primordia. — 66% off for $3.39.

Under $3

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a sequel was born. The first KOTOR stood out as one of the best RPGs of those years and the second one continues that tradition (asking which is better is a good way to start a fight in RPG communities). Walk the path of the light side or go the way of the dark side with a lot of choices, starting early on with whether you should give a coin to the beggar you meet on the first planet in the first of many choices that examine the Star Wars universe and RPG conventions. (spoiler alert: someone is going to be beaten regardless). You can pick up a Star Wars prequel that is actually good. Do check out the community restoration patch as well. – Luigi — 70% off for $2.99

Star Wars Battlefront 2: With a lot of people finding the newest Battlefront a disappointment, if you’re looking to experience war in a galaxy far far away, Star Wars Battlefront 2 might be more up your alley. It’s got the big battles you know and love, as well as the space battles you miss from the newest iteration. Multiplayer is apparently a bit of a pain, but the review section have some suggestions on how to play it even without gamespy via some third party apps. — 70% off for $2.99

The Stanley Parable: Especially in the last year or so, there’s been a lot of talking on what makes a videogame a videogame. There was a lot of vitriol and fancy words like “walking simulator,” “failure state,” or “hypothalamus”! have been thrown around a lot. Regardless of what’s your view on the matter, The Stanley Parable is a “walking simulator” that offers a good deal of entertainment. Wearing the shoes of an average Joe named Stanley, while a disembodied voice narrates your actions, offers a surprising amount of enjoyment. You can feel the thrill of walking around an empty office space for a low price this fall. – Luigi — 80% off for $2.99 

Amnesia: Memories: Alright, first things first, this is an Otome Visual Novel so it might not appeal to everyone, but if you are interested in Visual Novels this is a solid one to look at. It has 5 unique stories, some optional minigames, a lot of choices with different endings, and good thematic work in general. Despite being a recent translation (it was only released in August this year), it’s on a deep discount. — 90% off for $2.99.

Rogue Legacy: A platforming rogue-lite with descendants that has come to help define the genre and expectations people have. The variety of characters is solid, the inter-generational metagame works well for it, and the game play is fluid and works very well. You probably already have it, but if you don’t, its a good addition to your collection. — 85% off for $2.24

Gothic II: Gold Edition: One of the forgotten greats at times of the Action RPG genre, Gothic II is the best in its series and features punishing but typically fair game play. The world design in it is brilliant, showing how a smaller open world can benefit from the hand placed work that can be done on that scale, and the character progression is very well done as it isn’t just numbers that go up but you go from being awkward using weapons to much smoother throughout the game. It comes with the expansion that improved it even further and is a game you definitely should check out. — 80% off for $1.99

Anachronox: Let’s finish off with another classic RPG here with Anachronox, a game that was sadly never given some of the sequels one might expect from a well-made, funny, and well-regarded RPG. Essentially a western jRPG developed by Eidos, you play the detective Sylvester Boots investigating a mystery, searching for artifacts, and unlocking advanced technology. While the graphics show the age of it coming out in 2001, its aethestic is solid and it’s still a well-written and witty game. — 75% off for $1.74 

Any Titles you think we missed particularly? Something you want to recommend? Share your comments below!


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.