So the long-awaited Steam Summer Sale is on the go right now, but which games should you absolutely, definitely buy if you don’t already own them? Here’s a handy list to guide your buying choices, made up of games I know for a fact are incredible in one way or another based on my personal experience with them.

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown

If you love slow-paced but nail-biting turn-based strategy, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a brilliant buy. It brings tactical battles, base management, alien technology research and soldier levelling together in one glorious package that will challenge your brain rather than your reflexes. If you see it on sale, snap it up, you won’t regret it. Also, it’s now available for SteamOS and Linux – which is ace.

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Skyrim Legendary Edition

Having logged well over 250 hours playing Skyrim, I’m very confident when I say there’s a lot to like in Bethesda’s latest Elder Scrolls masterpiece. With a huge open world to explore, dragons to fight and ridiculous levels of eye candy to marvel at, Skyrim has the potential to keep you occupied for many hours. And should you finish the main story, there are two other storied expansions to play through and the Hearthstone pack that lets you build your own home to keep you interested. Should you get to the end of all that and still want more, like I did, Steam’s modding community has built all manner of extras to help enhance the game further, from better weapons to complete overhauls to visual enhancements. If you buy just one game this sale, make it Skyrim.

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Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Blacklist looks better, plays smoother and has more tactical options than any other entry in the Splinter Cell series and is so crammed with maps, modes, missions and extras that doing and seeing everything it has to offer would take a long, long time indeed. At its core it’s a stealth shooter that charges you with making your way through maps without being detected using high-tech gadgets and clever tactics, but it also gives you the firepower needed to take down entire enemy camps with loud, messy guns if need be, or you can use a combination of the two approaches. Blacklist is hard, but fair, and is a must-own for fans of the action-sneaker genre.

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Pixel Boy and the Ever-Expanding Dungeon

This one-third South African game is a clever take on the old arcade games of yore, combining twitch gameplay that demands good reflexes and a quick brain with role-playing and crafting systems that come together in new and satisfying ways. You must run through dungeons with a boss at every fourth level, shooting everything you see using a combination of powerups that turn your meek-and-mild default gun into a split-bullet, ricocheting , exploding weapon of mass destruction. It’s a fun game with a ton of charm, but don’t take that to mean it won’t challenge you, because it will.

 

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South Park: The Stick of Truth

Playing The Stick of Truth is exactly like playing a fifteen-hour-long episode of South Park. The same level of childlike genius poured into the show oozes out of the screen at you, complete with foul language, out-there humour and many, many things that will make even seasoned fans of the show sit back and go “WTF?”. And that’s exactly as it should be. Play as any of the core gang through an awesomely ridiculous story involving a fight between the South Park kids playing as elves and humans for control of The Stick of Truth, and engage in turn-based fantasy combat battles that are as gross and far-fetched as you’d expect from Cartman and the gang. If you love South Park, turn-based RPGs and a healthy dose of “over the top” with your gaming, South Park: The Stick of Truth is a must-buy.