PC Article

Steam picks for a Pint

Jen rounds up the best Pint-priced PC offerings

It's the middle of winter, it's wet and cold outside, you're bored of watching the same TV show for the 100th time, you can't afford to buy one of the latest games for your shiny PC thanks to the joys of post-Christmas poverty. What do you do? Check out Steam's selection of cheap gems of course. But how do you know which games to pick out from a wide variety of potential dross? Have a read through our buyer's guide for the best bargains on Steam, all of which cost you roughly the same as a pint of the landlord's finest in your local pub.

Aliens vs. Predator Classic 2000

It was terrifying back in 1999 and even now, over 10 years later, it's still guaranteed to cause some frights and thrills. Aliens vs. Predator Classic 2000 is a stunning piece of survival-horror FPS gaming. Offering three separate campaigns allowing players to undertake the role of the Alien, Predator and a colonial Marine, there's certainly plenty to do here immediately making the 2.99 GBP price tag a bargain. While the Alien may be the fastest of the bunch, it is also the weakest with the Predator and Marine much stronger albeit slower. Each campaign offers enough variety to ensure that none of the character types feels like filler material simply thrown in to extend the length of the game. It's the atmosphere throughout the title that truly makes Aliens vs. Predator memorable and although the graphics may be rather aged now, it never detracts from the tension that players can't help but feel throughout the experience. The Steam version of Aliens vs. Predator also includes the Millennium Add-On pack adding further longevity to affairs. Simply put this is an utter bargain of an aged classic.

Freedom Force

Have you been desperate to live out your comic book hero ambitions but haven't been able to play it out in a game before? Then check Freedom Force out. It's almost like the real thing. Probably. Mixing real time strategy elements with RPG mechanics has worked well for Freedom Force, it's quite reminiscent of Baldur's Gate which is praise in itself. A much simpler RPG than Baldur's Gate but one that never gets boring or ever overstays its welcome. It might not seem the most challenging of titles, however there are more than enough strategies and tactics available. This gives bargain hunters plenty of reasons to replay the 20 missions available here, and there's even the almost-as-good expansion pack, Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich, available for the same price.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved

Switch your brain-off goodness is frequently welcome in any gamer's collection, which is handy as that's exactly what Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved provides. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved forgoes a plot in favour of frantic, old school shooting action. It's arguably one of the hardest shoot 'em ups of recent years with fast reflexes crucial to success, but it makes for great stress relief and consistently has that 'just one more go' feel to it. It might not be as deep or as complex as other games on this list but those who prefer more traditional gaming where a high score is all that matters are bound to love Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

One of the oldest games in our list, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is still one of the strongest examples of point and click adventure gaming. Besides the obvious fact that surely any game featuring Indiana Jones has to be at least half decent, it's things like alternate paths and endings which makes all the difference. Throw in some great puzzles and a compelling plotline; Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has it all. It's well worth any self respecting puzzle gamer's attention. Plus once you're done with this game, there's always The Last Crusade which is available for the same price and is only slightly inferior in quality. http://store.steampowered.com/app/32310/

Loom and The Dig

Yes, another classic LucasArts adventure game, but both Loom and The Dig are near perfect titles at near perfect prices (2.99 GBP each). They both weave different styles of storyline. Loom is a surprisingly complex fantasy tale while The Dig is science fiction. Both are deeply serious in their approach, a rare departure from LucasArts' other point and click games. The Dig is arguably one of the best Science Fiction games of all time, not surprising when you bear in mind Steven Spielberg conceived the idea as well as wrote parts of it. Loom followed a different path for the genre focusing on magical notes that can be played on a distaff rather than the usual puzzles involving environmental or NPC interaction. Both titles are certainly different compared to the typical point and click adventure but for the price of a pint, worthy games to check out.

Railroad Tycoon 2 Platinum

Sid Meier has that special knack of making the most monotonous sounding business simulation, also the most compelling. This has never been more prevalent than in the case of Railroad Tycoon 2. It doesn't sound too exciting does it? Controlling your own railroad empire and building rail routes from city to city. However it's really rather exciting, certainly more so than it sounds. This edition even comes with an extra 50 custom maps, just to keep you even more hooked. It's the kind of game you play for five minutes then realise it's 4am and you've got work in 5 hours. Much like another well known Sid Meier game in fact.

Sid Meier's Civilization III Complete

Who'd have thought it? Being able to buy all of Sid Meier's Civilization III for a mere 299 pence. Including the Conquest expansion pack, the Play the World multiplayer expansion and of course the full game, this is the bargain of the century if for some reason you haven't played Civilization III before, or (like me) you're too lazy to dig out your discs and would rather download it through Steam. The sheer depth of Civilization III is ridiculous, there's just so much to do in order to conquer the world through might, diplomacy or culture. If you fancy being a megalomaniac you really must seek this out. I'll even just about forgive you if you start the download before getting to the end of this senten

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

The most expensive offering here and a slight cheat considering it's actually 3.49 GBP, however it's Star Wars and surely no one can turn down an appearance from Star Wars? It's a bit of a hit and miss affair with many Star Wars games but the Jedi Knight series has never had that problem. While later titles such as Jedi Academy are a little too expensive to be included here, Jedi Knight is still just as enjoyable a game. For once you actually feel like a Jedi with your skills gradually increasing throughout the game and the option to be either a Jedi or to turn to the dark side. The graphics may have suffered badly over the years but nothing can be better than actual light sabre battles surely.

Time Gentlemen Please & Ben There, Dan That

It's a double bill of gaming goodness here for 2.99 GBP but there's no chance of quality being halved with both Time Gentlemen, Please! and Ben There, Dan That! being brilliantly funny point and click adventures. If Loom and The Dig sounded too serious and dour, then these two titles are perfect fodder for you. The dialogue and script are rare examples of game humour which really does make you laugh out loud. After all, how can you not laugh at the idea of Hitler using an army of robot Nazi dinosaur clones? I thought not. Brilliant indie games that will run on pretty much any PC you throw them at.

X-Com games: UFO Defence, Terror From the Deep, Enforcer, Interceptor

It's cheating slightly including all the X-Com games as one entry but choosing one game out of these four would be like choosing your favourite child: it's just not possible. They are all fantastic strategy games where you take control of X-Com, a government force out to destroy the evil aliens that are attempting to invade. The depth is astonishing in the early titles with research ever crucial to be one step ahead of the enemy. UFO Defence and Terror From the Deep look extremely dated compared to the latter two, newer, titles but maintain the edge when it comes to game mechanics. The X-Com games are terrifically unique with their combination of business sim, strategy sim and action game. Now if only the much mooted new game in the series was actually a reality.