Holiday buying guide for RPGs and indie games

Because when there’s sales a-plenty, dwindling bank funds is apparently no excuse for buying new games.

Holiday buying guide for RPGs and indie games

In the lead-up to Christmas Day, I posted an article detailing some of the better examples of shooter and strategy games of 2016, all of which were on sale. That’s the catch 22 of this time of year: funds have dwindled, but sales are incredibly difficult to ignore. I know I’m having self-control issues when it comes to buying games at bargain prices.

It doesn’t help that every digital platform of note—from Steam to Origin to Uplay and to GOG and even the Windows Store—has games at prices that are tricky to ignore. These sales won’t last forever, though, and for the final holiday buying guide, here’s some examples of some of the better RPG and indie titles of 2016, and the reduced price you can expect to pay for them.

Best RPGs
At first, I couldn’t think of many games to populate this category, but after a bit of research it became clear there were some solid entries, and across sub-genres, too. For fans of brutal punishment, the heralded Dark Souls III is on sale on Steam at the moment for $29.99USD, or you can pick up the Deluxe Edition (which includes the season pass) for $55.23USD.

For my first controversial inclusion in the category, The Division is on sale on Uplay for $29.97AUD, which is a great price for experiencing the better parts of the game. It also helps that it’s reportedly been improved in the recent batch of DLC, so if you are interested in testing out the updated version of The Division, you might want to consider the season pass, too, for an additional $29.97AUD.

I tossed up whether to include it in the shooter category, but felt that would do it a disservice, which is why Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is (rightly) in the RPG category. After all, you don’t have to play it as a shooter, and it has a nice refinement of RPG elements when compared to Human Revolution. It’s copped a bit of hate on Steam, but considering you can pick up a copy for $19.79USD, or $49.78USD with the season pass, it’s the right time to pick up a copy if you’re curious.

In a similar vein, even though I haven’t gone back to it since multiple patches of the botched PC port (the first patch didn’t fix the fps issues for me), Dishonored 2 is receiving a lot of love from players who don’t have frame-rate issues, and you can snag a copy for $40.19USD on the current Steam sale.

I know some WoW fans who’ve been tempted back to World of Warcraft since the release of Legion earlier this year, but it doesn’t appear to be on special at the moment, so you’re looking at $69.95 for the Standard Edition and $94.95 for the Digital Deluxe Edition .

Mostly because I have a soft spot for it, I’d also recommend taking a look at ReCore. It’s an action-platformer first, but I feel there are enough RPG elements in there to include it in this category. You can pick up a copy on the Windows Store for $24.72AUD at the moment, which will also net you an Xbox One copy (there’s even a free trial if you want to see what it’s like before spending any money). If you want a remastered action-platformer RPG whose gameplay still holds up, I wholeheartedly recommend Darksiders Warmastered Edition. I’m about 17 hours into it and loving it, and it’s $4.00USD on the Steam sale at the moment, or you can grab the version that comes with Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition for $9.99USD.

You also have a free version of Darksiders Warmastered Edition if you already own the original game (as I did), which acts as a nice segue to my final RPG recommendation. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is a free upgrade for those who already own the base game, or you can pay $29.99USD for the updated version of the beloved 2011 RPG. I’m still dirty that my original Skyrim save games are incompatible with Special Edition, but if you’ve never played it, there’s a whole lot of addictive gameplay to be found in this bundle.

Best of the indies
With hundreds of indie games released on Steam alone every year, this is a tough category to keep small! For the sake of keeping things easier, please safely assume that all of the prices listed below are part of the current Steam sale. If you fancy a couple of different riffs on the rhythm genre, Thumper is on sale for $15.99USD at the moment, and so is Crypt of the NecroDancer for $3.74USD.

Fans of party games should consider picking up Jackbox Party Pack 3 for the currently reduced price of $17.49USD on Steam.

Stardew Valley ($9.99USD), Hyper Light Drifter ($11.99USD), and Grim Dawn ($13.74USD) are another few highly recommended offerings from the Steam community.

For a Dark Souls-lite experience, Salt and Sanctuary ($12.05USD) is worth a look, or you could try a different roguelike in the form of top-down shooter Nuclear Throne ($11.99USD). If you’re in the market for less-violent gaming, there’s the two-dimensional planetary building of Starbound ($9.99USD), or the peace-loving RPG Undertale ($4.99USD).

Fans of indie strategy can take Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation ($29.99USD) for a spin, or the Warhammer 40K themed Battlefleet Gothic: Armada ($19.99USD). Then there’s always the grand strategy of Hears of Iron IV ($26.79USD), or if you want a different kind of strategy in the form of solving puzzles, it’s tricky to go past The Witness ($19.99USD).

If you’re after a potentially engaging yarn, there’s the gloriously rendered The Banner Saga 2 ($14.99USD), or slightly more contentious choices (at least, as far as I’m concerned because I loathed them) that are widely acclaimed, you can grab Inside ($13.99USD) and/or Firewatch ($11.99USD). I’d also throw Abzu ($5.99USD) into the mix because of its loose ties to (the unfortunately PS4-exclusive) Journey, but the pre-release version I played had some heinous control bugs (which I understand have since been ironed out).

For a couple of differently themed dungeon crawlers, there’s turn-based RPG Darkest Dungeon ($12.49USD), or fast-paced gun-loving Enter the Gungeon ($7.49USD).

Phew! I told you it was one hell of an indie list (and I’m sure I missed some fan-favourites, too). If you’ve got anything to add to the RPG or indie list, be sure to let me know in the comments below.

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