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Download Steam Huge PC Game Deals

The PC game download service Steam has launched its annual summer sale, starting with huge discounts on popular games such as Portal 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Every day through July 23, Steam will offer 24-hour discounts on a batch of new PC games. Today's deals include Modern Warfare 3 ($30 instead of $60), Portal 2 ($5 instead of $15), Terraria ($2.50 instead of $10), and Legend of Grimrock ($6 instead of $15).
In addition to the daily 24-hour deals, Steam will be running "Flash Sales" on shorter time cycles. The deals available at the time of this posting include Mafia II ($7.50 instead of $30) and Deus Ex: Human Revolution ($7.50 instead of $30).

Other games will also be discounted through the sale period. Now is a good time, for example, if you've been meaning to try classics such as Counter-Strike ($5) or Left 4 Dead 2 ($10), or the recent critically-acclaimed Walking Dead game ($19). Bundle deals are also available from individual publishers such as THQ, whose 15-game collection is now selling for $50 instead of $311. After weeks of wondering just when it would begin, the Steam Summer Sale is here in full force. This year's sale is slightly different from those in years past, although the overriding point is this: Now is as good a time as any to stock up on computer games.

Countless games have been discounted, both on their own and as a part of bundles. The new wrinkle to this particular sale fits right in with the community-oriented direction Valve has been emphasizing as of late between the Steam Workshop and Steam Greenlight. Every eight hours, a new deal will go up that is decided by the Steam community. Steam users can choose one of three deals -- the first vote was between 75 percent off Saints Row: The Third, 66 percent off Batman: Arkham City, and 60% off The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition -- and at the end of the voting period, that deal will go live until it's time to be replaced by the next Community Choice deal. Traditionally, you would only have to check in on Steam sales once per day; now, you'll need to check three times per day in order to ensure you don't miss out on a deal you're waiting for.

Even if none of the three choices presented at any given time is of interest to you, you'll still want to vote. By browsing to your profile, you'll be able to see new badges that can be earned during the sale, which runs from today through July 22. A number of tasks are laid out for earning these badges, including voting on the Community Choice deal a certain number of times. It's unclear if these will function as Achievements have in the past, where you can win something as a reward for participating, but at the very least this gives those who like to collect stuff something to do.

While you can't go wrong looking at the top sellers on Steam to find good deals, you may miss out on some quality games that can be had for a very low price. Below is a brief list at some of the games that deserve your attention, but remember: If a particular sale is not either a Daily Deal or Flash Deal, you'd be well-served to wait until the last minute to buy it. Any game, even those which are currently discounted, could receive an even deeper discount as a Daily or Flash deal at some point. As a result, you don't want to jump on any standard deals until it's absolutely clear they won't be made available for any cheaper.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the best deals currently available on Steam
Portal 2, $4.99 (75% off): Arguably the best game of 2011, Valve managed to improve upon the original Portal in nearly every way, thanks in part to the voice cast adding Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons in the roles of Wheatley and Cave Johnson, respectively, joining the excellent Ellen McLain as GLaDOS. It's not often that a game is genuinely funny by any standards; Portal 2 manages to be funny and an all-around great game which, with the release of the free Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC that allows for users to create their own levels, is now more deserving of your money than ever before.

The Binding of Isaac, $2.49 (50% off): It's hardly an expensive game in the first place, although this sale allows you to pick up the game, its excellent soundtrack, and DLC all for $4.48, which is less than the game on its own would ordinarily cost. While it's much different from Super Meat Boy, the game that designer Edmund McMillen is best known for, the two share a similar art style and a high level of difficulty. As a Roguelike, the manner in which you lose all of your progress upon dying might be off-putting to some, although there is enough variety in the content (thanks to numerous boss and enemy types, and procedurally-generated levels) to offset any frustration that newcomers to the genre may experience.

Breath of Death VII / Cthulhu Saves the World Double Pack, $1.49 (50% off): A pair of indie, old-school RPGs that do a good a job of poking fun at the genre while managing to be an enjoyable experience in their own right. While neither is the length of a typical RPG, either one is an absolute bargain even at their original price.
Rayman Origins, $14.99 (50% off): Arguably the best platformer of last year, Origins was certainly among the prettiest games to come out in 2011. Its release on PC earlier this year didn't change that fact and, if anything, it looks even nicer on PC. The only downside here is multiplayer is harder to facilitate on a computer than it is on consoles, but even as a single-player game it's plenty fun.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution, $7.49 (75% off): Its boss fights may have been a source of some controversy, but setting those aside, it was hard to be disappointed with Human Revolution's revival of the series. It brilliantly mixes together stealth, action, and role-playing, allowing players to take decidedly different approaches depending upon their play style.

Rockstar Hit Collection, $49.99 (58% off): It's hard to go wrong with any of the 50-plus-percent-off bundles on Steam, though the Rockstar one jumps out to me despite having a smaller number of titles than the others. The main attraction of the Hit Collection is Max Payne 3, a very solid game which was released just for a month ago. With this bundle you get that, L.A. Noire (released on PC just this past November), Grand Theft Auto IV, and both of Grand Theft Auto IV's standalone expansions, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Not too bad when you consider $10 more would have gotten you only Max Payne just a day ago.

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