Steam, the modern warehouse of gaming. Once the most prestigious of storefronts, now suffering somewhat from bad reputation due to a string of odd decisions on Valve’s part. And yet despite that, it manages to remain the most popular of all digital platforms, in no small part due to the sheer quantity of games. Steam’s curses are often its blessings at the same time. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a big majority of keys that find their way onto our storefront are for Steam and come from Steam users.
Steam is, of course, a PC platform, but a lot of these games are also available for consoles, so if you find something interesting, it’s very possible that we might have a console version for you. Enough with the introduction, let’s get hot and bothered with Steam, gang!
|EA SPORTS FIFA 21||Simulation, Sports||Oct 9, 2020||$58.27*|
|Among Us||Party, social deduction||Nov 16, 2018||$5.49*|
|Teardown||Action, Indie||Oct 29, 2020||$25.94*|
|Cyberpunk 2077||Action, Indie||Dec 10, 2020||$64.28*|
|Destiny 2: Beyond Light||Action, Adventure||Nov 10, 2020||$52.31*|
|ARK: Survival Evolved||Action-adventure, survival||June 13, 2017||$68.25*|
|Phasmophobia||Horror||Sep 18, 2020||$15.20*|
|Baldur’s Gate III||RPG||Oct 6, 2020||$63.66*|
|Football Manager 2020||Simulator, Sport||Nov 19, 2019||$22.49*|
|CS:GO Prime Status Upgrade||First-person shooter||Aug 21, 2012||$27.14*|
|Code Vein||Action RPG||May 31, 2019||$28.83*|
|The Forest||Open World survival||Apr 30, 2018||$41.65*|
|Farming Simulator 19||Simulation||Nov 20, 2018||$21.97*|
|A Way Out||Action-adventure||Mar 23, 2018||$13.44*|
|Satisfactory||Adventure, Indie||Mar 19, 2019||$66.09*|
|The Sims 4||Casual, Simulation||Sep 2, 2014||$13.61*|
|Sea of Thieves||Action, Adventure||Mar 20, 2018||$45.75*|
|Sid Meiers Civilization VI||Turn-based strategy, 4X||Oct 21, 2016||$20.78*|
|Euro Truck Simulator 2||Vehicle simulation||Jan 16, 2013||$13.03*|
|Frostpunk||City Builder, Survival||Apr 24, 2018||$11.37*|
|Car Mechanic Simulator 2018||Simulation||July 28, 2017||$17.41*|
|Cities: Skylines||City-builder||Mar 10, 2015||$7.46*|
|Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout||Action, Indie, MMO||Aug 4, 2020||$25.41*|
|Factorio||Construction, Management, RTS||Feb 25, 2016||$36.22*|
|DYSMANTLE||Action, Adventure||Nov 6, 2020||$17.89*|
|Rust||Survival||Dec 11, 2013||$72.22*|
|Mafia: Definitive Edition||Action, Adventure||Sep 25, 2020||$43.89*|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||Action RPG||May 18, 2015||$43.44*|
|Dead by Daylight||Survival horror||June 14, 2016||$11.64*|
|Crusader Kings III||Grand Strategy||Sep 1, 2020||$40.17*|
Great games on Steam
Ark: Survival Evolved
The last dinosaur Inexplicably beating Fallout 4 (I’m so sorry Todd, but you’ll get your comeuppance, I swear), we have the ARK, a pretty cool survival game that finally managed to replicate that Jurassic Park fantasy of encountering and even domesticating dinos, while giving it the functionality of a survival game complete with crafting and base building.
The ARK: Survival Evolved has a fantastic multiplayer and a sprawling community, especially on Steam, that can be relied on to get you into the game easier. Admittedly the game isn’t that hard to understand and it’s pretty lenient in the survival department, but of course, it’s always more fun to approach it with friends.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Two One Rings Lord of the Rings saw several videogame adaptations. Some were pretty nice and fairly successful and some…weren’t. Everything changed when Warner Bros decided to use their license for the creation of Shadow of Mordor, the sequel to which you can see here.
Like its predecessor, Shadow of War offers a blend of management and action combat. You have to recruit Orcs into your private entourage to oppose the forces of Mordor. These Orcs are randomly generated and each one of them is unique, leading to exciting hunts and a lot of emergent storytelling. Add to that excellent combat inspired by Batman Arkham games and you have an awesome game indeed.
Total War: Warhammer II
Only in Warhammer an idea as silly as a ‘comet-shaped rocket’ can work Games Workshop is notorious for letting everyone and their grandpa take a shot at their licenses. The results have been mixed, with some great titles, but also some terrible disasters. Total War: Warhammer II is certainly the former. It expands on its predecessor in a lot of ways, notably giving players who own the first game, certain options for free.
The game offers a blend of real-time strategy with pauses during huge scales battles between iconic factions of the setting. Taking place at the very end of the line for the world, it gives the players the option to stop the apocalypse and save the world of Warhammer. With plenty of DLCs, Total War: Warhammer II can let you play with some races never before brought to the videogame world, such as the dreaded Tomb Kings of Nehekhara.
Dark Souls III
Come on baby, light the First Flame The final installment to the series of great action RPGs made by FromSoftware, Dark Souls III is the ultimate realization of their idea of a dark and merciless medieval fantasy. Its popularity on Steam shouldn’t be surprising due to the large community the platform comes with. While on PS4 and Xbox getting a taste of PvP can be difficult, on PC you’ll be incredibly lucky if you don’t get invaded multiple times during a single gameplay session.
To go into detail, in Dark Souls III there are two ways to enjoy the multiplayer, you can either set up a summon sign that another player can use to call you for coop (and you can set-up a password system to only see your friends, which greatly helps) and you can use a special item to invade another player’s world to engage them in PvP. That aspect of Dark Souls is honestly like a whole game of its own, so it really makes the most sense to get a Steam version.
With the haste of a speeding wagon Rocket League combines racing cars and a game of soccer into a fast-paced and exciting sport. You can use the boost-pads located in strategic places on the field to get a speed boost, but you have to be careful as maneuvering at such high speeds can be very, very dangerous.
The game features both local and multiplayer coop and it is quite competitive indeed. While the matches take moments, there’s a surprising depth of complexity and something of a meta-game here. And on top of that, there are many game-modes that change the rules, some rotating out and in on a regular basis, giving this game a great deal of longevity.
Boundless freedom The release year might be somewhat misleading, as Rust has been on Steam’s Early Access since 2013. It has taken a rather long time for the game to be ready to launch, but it’s one of the heartwarming examples of Early Access games that actually bloom into something good. And Rust was always riding on a lot of promise, which explains its constant popularity.
Rust is very simple in its basics—you start on an island and have to obtain resources, build your base and survive. The big selling point of Rust is the persistent, changing world, entirely moldable by your actions, a large player base creating an entire meta-narrative on their own. This game IS the community and it exists exclusively on Steam, where it carved a perfect niche for itself.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Still truckin’ Simulator games are surprisingly popular on Steam, a mystery that eludes a lot of us to this day (it certainly eludes me), though undeniably there’s a sort of simple charm to these games. The charm I don’t in fact understand, but it’s there.
There’s also a surprisingly lively community you can discover, with dedicated steam groups and reddit pages. I don’t know to what extent roleplaying is part of that, I just assume that everyone there tries their best at thick, southern or vaguely eastern European accent, all the time. There’s also a local, split-screen coop, so the point is, Euro Truck Simulator 2 can be a very social experience.
~Teeeekkeeen me~ Time for a fighting game to change the mood somewhat, and we have a pretty good one. The defining feature of Tekken 7 is its highly competitive nature, stemming from complexity and an almost mathematical structure to combat, at least when two highly skilled players are involved.
Although the skill ceiling for Tekken is very high, surprisingly it’s not a particularly hard game to start playing. And the 7th part includes some changes that make the game that much more approachable to the new player, like the ability for the character to continue attacking, even if interrupted. Moreover, there’s a sprawling community of Tekken aficionados. Getting into Tekken 7, as with any fighting game, is like becoming a part of a subculture.
Rainbow Six Siege
Legacy of pride Rainbow Six Siege is a game of much fame and renown, the testament to which is the fact that a documentary about it, and the community around it, is currently being made. At its core, it lies somewhere between Counter Strike and Overwatch, with military fantasy and multiple different so-called “Operatives” functioning as classes with different abilities and weapons.
It’s a very competitive game, with a very active e-sports scene. It may not have the most welcoming of communities, but certainly a highly passionate one. It requires a little bit of effort to get into it, but you should have no shortage of resources on the matter, as there’s plenty of groups closely monitoring its scene.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Remarkably inoffensive I’m actually mildly surprised Counter-Strike: GO isn’t higher on the list, given its status as Valve’s darling. In many ways it is THE Steam game, utilizing all of its aspects, from team chat, through Steam Groups, and up to the Steam inventory with multiple customization pieces, you can acquire in the game.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is very basic and may even seem archaic at times, but it does have a simple charm to itself. The basic mechanics are easy to get to, but take time and practice to master, making the game very competitive. There’re dozens of Steam Groups focused on Counter-Strike in one way or another, so finding a niche for yourself should come easy.
Full life consequences (yah, it’s a callout to an age-old series) The ever-popular Half-Life is, in many ways, the game that created Valve’s popularity. It was created on Valve’s original engine, Source, which even today remains very robust, if excessively difficult to work with. And it’s one of the best games the FPS genre has to offer, even today, in 2019.
Half-Life 2 combines a deeply engaging story with some imaginative sci-fi elements with very satisfying, fast-paced combat and excellent level design, greatly rewarding exploration. It also provides some puzzle elements due to the existence of the Gravity Gun, which can pick up objects and even turn them into deadly projectiles. While it has no multiplayer, the Source community creating Half-Life mods is very active. They’ve given us gems like Black Mesa, a complete Source remake of the entirety of the original Half-Life. It’s an entire world of games to explore if you’re willing to take a dive.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Fus Roh Damn! Todd Howard’s magnum opus, the game he would not stop re-releasing, has finally achieved an appropriately high place on one of these lists. This one is for you Todd, this is that comeuppance I talked about earlier. God speed, soldier. Anyhow, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the ultimate open-world Bethesda RPG and its fantasy setting has captured love and adoration of millions with its incredible breadth.
And on Steam, so on PC, Skyrim is more than just Skyrim. It’s also the Nexus, the biggest and most popular mod site on the internet, with a very busy community of modders. Skyrim may not have a multiplayer, but there’re many, many ways it can be enjoyed and all thanks to the fantastic community around this RPG.
I hear the school is a good spot for a shootout The battlest of battle royales, PUBG may have a mixed bag of reputation, but its popularity is undeniable, so in many ways, it’s much like Steam itself. It uses tried and tested FPS ideas and shakes things up with a survival aspect of looting guns and tools and a contracting ring of doom that forces players into an eventual confrontation.
The community of PUBG is intensely competitive and there’s a whole meta-game surrounding it. Really sinking your teeth into it is a grueling journey, this community is nothing if not hardcore, but there’s an undeniable, hypnotic hook to PUBG. With many new game-modes appearing on rotation and with leaderboards you might want to try and best, it can keep you occupied for years to come.
Warmongering, Gandhi-style The 5th entry in the legendary Civilization series of grand strategy game, focusing on the fantasy of being able to jump into the shoes of famous historical people and lead their nations, this game perfectly encapsulates that “just one more turn” feeling. It features the well-known aspects like the tech tree, various victory conditions, and turn-based operation, but also some new and interesting stuff like ideologies and a visual representation for various World Wonders you can build like the Big Ben or the Taj Mahal.
Civilization V also comes with a multiplayer and a pretty fun community, with its own host of memes. On Steam specifically, you can find groups devoted to modding and creating custom scenarios, which allow you to recreate certain significant moments in history, like the American Civil War.
A landscape shaped by players As befits the most commercially successful entertainment product, Grand Theft Auto 5 managed to snag the first place of several of our lists already, where popularity is concerned. With good reason too, between a fantastic single player campaign and a great multiplayer, there’s certainly a lot of content in this shooty, open world, action game.
There’s an incredibly active community of modders for GTA 5, which produces custom maps, mostly specifically designed for races. And boy, those races are really, really fun, with unique mechanics lacking in dedicated racing games. These modders often try to one-up each other, creating fantastic new grounds to cover, even now, years after the release.
Steamed to perfection
Throughout this article, I’ve been mostly focusing on the communities surrounding each of the game, as I see it as something of a curious pattern. In my mind, the biggest drive behind Steam is its ubiquity, it’s a platform recognized by everyone, everywhere, and as such comes with hundreds of thousands of players interacting with each other.
Steam is a big and important part of gaming culture and it’s one that’s here to stay. We are of course a part of this community and I encourage you to be a part of it as well. It’s not just about cheap games, although that is our tagline. For better or worse, it’s about being a part of a grander culture.