Now's the time to play that one game you've been putting off

V eating popcorn
(Image credit: CD Projekt)

The stars have aligned: It's finally time to play Cyberpunk 2077, or whichever other hit RPG you've been putting off.

The Helldivers 2 excitement earlier this year was intoxicating, and for a while everyone I knew was into Palworld or Dragon's Dogma 2 or Balatro, but the FOMO readings have finally dropped to safe levels again. If you aren't embroiled in one of the big recent expansions—Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail, Destiny 2: The Final Shape, Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree—there aren't any recent full game releases radiating that mega-phenomenon 'you have to be there' energy to me.

The two most-played new games on Steam, a free-to-play shooter called The First Descendant and a free-to-play survival game called Once Human, haven't impressed us. We called The First Descendant "dollar store Destiny," and the only reason I've found to recommend Once Human so far is its unnecessarily granular character creator

Free-to-play games do offer the compelling advantage that you don't have to convince your friends to buy anything to play with you, so their popularity is understandable, but for the weird sci-fi experience Once Human is going for, I think you'd be better served by Control or Remnant 2, and for multiplayer survival, I'd go with Valheim or the more recent Abiotic Factor. Those games may not be free-to-play, but there's still a day left in Steam's Summer Sale: Control and Valheim are $10 each, Abiotic Factor is $20, and Remnant 2 is $25.

You wouldn't be the only one picking this moment to play a game that came out a year or more ago. PC Gamer news lead Andy Chalk just started playing Cyberpunk 2077 last week, for instance—he says: "It looks great, runs great, Idris Elba is in it somewhere, and it's half-price right now in the Summer Sale"—and Steam's weekly revenue leaderboard is currently stacked with other not-quite-new games. 

Those two new free-to-play games are on the list, as well as multiplayer mainstays like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike 2, but thanks in part to the Steam sale, today's best-selling games also include Baldur's Gate 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Horizon 5, Red Dead Redemption 2, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, American Truck Simulator, Hogwarts Legacy, Stardew Valley, Dave the Diver, and The Witcher 3. Elden Ring is also up there, of course, with a sales boost from the Shadow of the Erdtree enthusiasm.

The Steam Summer Sale ends July 11 at 10 am Pacific, so you don't have much more time to take advantage of the discounts, but most of these games go on sale frequently, so you'll probably only have to wait until the Autumn Sale in November to find the same deals. 

Of course, by then you might be too busy thinking about something new to care about the ol' backlog. The waters never stay calm for long. In fact, next week is the busiest week of July for new releases: I'm looking forward to trying Dungeons of Hinterberg in particular, and I think that Capcom action strategy game Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess could be flying under the radar.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.