Please Recommend Some Older, Cheaper Games
April 4, 2014 8:57 AM   Subscribe

My computer's older, which means I can't play les jeux du jour, but it does mean I can probably get some good, solid games from a few years ago for a decent price on Steam. But which games should I get? Steam has some recs based on my purchases which skew to RPG and strategy, but I'd like to hear from you guys. Tastes and specs below!

I absolutely love Fallout 3 & New Vegas. Great atmosphere and story, straightforward controls, not just about shooting everything. Age of Empires II is probably the game I've played the most, combining resource management with trebuchets. I've played far too much TF2, but I'm generally not a multi-player shooter guy, TF2 is just ridiculously fun and appealing.

Honorable Mentions:
Portal was great, though I'm usually not one for puzzlers. FTL was also a lot of fun. Rome: Total War was another I enjoyed, though I suspect I didn't play it to my or its full potential. I had fun with Left 4 Dead and Tropico 4, though I eventually found both to be a bit of a slog and overly repetitive (L4D is probably much more fun with multi-player, but I prefer to play solo as I suck).

Rated M for Meh:
GTA: San Andreas got old pretty fast. Borderlands was like a faaar less fun and interesting Fallout, though it's apparently much better in multi-player/co-op. Really didn't like Half-Life 2, couldn't figure out what to do/where to go, very frustrating. Absolutely hate on-rails shooters, and the run & gun varieties of FPS (I didn't enjoy CoD: Black Ops, but to be fair, I played it on the Wii.)

Games I'm considering or waiting to go on sale include Portal 2, Civ IV, and Sir, You Are Being Hunted. Games I'd be interested in if my laptop was up to it include Skyrim, Banished, and Crusader Kings II.

PC Profile, according to the Can I Run It site:

HP G61 Laptop
AMD Athlon(tm) II Dual-Core M300
2.0 GHz Performance Rated at: 3.4 GHz
2.8 GB RAM
Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit
AMD M880G with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200
I don't have a controller, so keyboard/mouse-friendly games are strongly preferred.

Thanks for any suggestions you may have!
posted by Alvy Ampersand to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (24 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Spiderweb Software RPGs might suit you; big worlds to explore, run on practically everything, and have a large free demo available so you can give it a go before spending. Sometimes they're discounted.
posted by asperity at 9:09 AM on April 4, 2014

Age of Wonders 3 has just been released, and it's on Steam. Reviews are pretty good, but I haven't yet been able to block off the month or two necessary to really figure that out myself. Requirements are pretty modest.
posted by bonehead at 9:22 AM on April 4, 2014

Best answer: Any reason not to go for the older TES games? Morrowind is a classic, and can easily run on your laptop. Oblivion, too.
posted by juniperesque at 9:28 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Crusader Kings 2. It is hands down the best buy for the Steam money, and was featured on Metafilter! There's a crew of us here who are definitely addicted and have hundreds of hours of gameplay.
posted by corb at 9:30 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Rise of Nations should be right up your alley. And if you're looking for FPS games which aren't rail shooters and have some RPG elements mixed in, Deus Ex and System Shock 2 are absolute classics.
posted by aw_yiss at 9:31 AM on April 4, 2014

If you enjoy Fallout 3/New Vegas for the atmosphere and story you may enjoy Bioshock, although it's pretty much about shooting everything.
posted by AndrewInDC at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2014

Also, I should add that if you like Elder Scrolls games, the Gothic/Risen series is pretty much the same thing.
posted by aw_yiss at 9:38 AM on April 4, 2014

The Baldurs Gate series.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:50 AM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Dragon Age games would probably be good. Despite the bad press about the ending, the Mass Effect games were also good, although they are FPS in structure to a certain degree, so that may be an issue.

Also, if you are willing to go old school, try Good Old Games and the original Fallout games.
posted by Hactar at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2014

Best answer: I have similar tastes in games. Civ IV or V definitely. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age, Dark Souls, The Witcher 1 and 2, Balders Gate 2.

Crusader Kings II and Skyrim should be fine on that machine. Agreeing with above about Morrowind, my favorite Bethesda game.
posted by meta87 at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2014

Response by poster: RE: Oblivion, I almost bought it last night after reading video game AskMes for two hours, but for reasons I now can't remember, declined. Probably just wanted to poll AskMe myself.

RE: Crusader Kings II, the Can You Run It site says I don't have the minimum to run it, but confusingly the numbers listed for my video card (The one spec it says doesn't measure up) are above the 3 listed requirements. I assume there's more to it than just those?

Minimum: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon X1900
You Have: AMD M880G with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200

Req You Have
Icon Video RAM 256 MB 1.4 GB
Icon Pixel Shader version 3.0 4.1
Icon Vertex Shader version 3.0 4.1

RE: Skyrim, CYRI lists Dedicated Video RAM Req as 512MB, but says I only have 384 available. In both cases, are the issues avoidable by adjusting video settings?

Oh, I played the hell out of Rise of Nations, but could never remember its name, heh! Thanks for all your responses thus far!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:09 AM on April 4, 2014

Dungeon Keeper. Check out that site for loads of classic games.
posted by devnull at 10:26 AM on April 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Possibly Don't Starve. The one iffy part is your graphics card maybe, but I'm having trouble finding out how much video RAM you have. In any case the game isn't trying to render fancy 3D graphics so you might have a shot.

rymdkapsel is a soothing strategy space building game and because the graphics are simple geometric shapes it is very low resources wise.

I recently got Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal which is an interesting tower defense variant and it looks like it would play just fine on your machine too. (Pretty simple older style graphics despite it being a new game.)
posted by foxfirefey at 10:56 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check out Good Old Games. All DRM free, and many are just a few bucks. Plus you can keep a library like Steam, and just download the games you want when you want them. Great site, huge collection, never had a problem, zero spam, highly recommended.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:03 AM on April 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I nth Oblivion - that was my favorite game only until Skyrim came along (Skyrim is also an elderscrolls game I believe).

My brother and others really like Don't Starve - I have been meaning to try it but just haven't yet for no good reason.
posted by WinterSolstice at 11:05 AM on April 4, 2014

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Best of the Civ games. Available on along with the expansion.
posted by PMdixon at 11:32 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've been having an absolute blast with Hearthstone, which is a strategy card game set in the Warcraft setting. Simple rules with fairly deep strategy. Very much a "just one more round" type of game.
posted by jbickers at 11:37 AM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you played through Fallout and Fallout 2?

A few games I got from Steam (I have kind of a crappy laptop):
Sang Froid: Tales of Werewolves
Mount & Blade
Knock Knock
Torchlight 2 (more fun with friends, but perfectly playable alone).
posted by Urban Winter at 11:43 AM on April 4, 2014

Nthing Morrowind; I've been playing it for quite some time now and really love the story and atmosphere. It's not all about the hacking and the slashing, but even when you do have to fight it's generally in environments that are interesting enough to make it worthwhile - it's actually fun to explore. I've heard that some people dislike the minimal amount of guidance you receive when you first start off (I've also heard that Oblivion is a little more guided in that respect; that one's next on my list), but once you get some levels under your belt things get really interesting.

I'd also nth the recommendations for Baldurs Gate (especially II, but I is fun, too) and Knights of the Old Republic. And to add a recommendation I haven't seen yet, how about Thief? Definitely not about fighting everything - actually, that's mostly discouraged in favor of sneaking around and otherwise evading your enemy - and I remember enjoying the gameplay quite a lot.

But still - Morrowind. Morrowind Morrowind Morrowind.
posted by DingoMutt at 12:23 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Heroes of Might and Magic 3! gog has it. And you should too.
posted by Jacen at 2:48 PM on April 4, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks again, everyone! I'm probably going to check out the the Elder Scrolls games, but there's a lot mentioned here that's going on the wishlist. Might get CKII, as the MeFi FPPs that discuss them are really whetting my appetite; if I can't play it now, it probably won't be long until I get a new PC anyway.

Especially huge thanks for the Good Old Games recommendations! I forgot that I had downloaded Fallout 1, 2, and Tactics from them several weeks ago when GOG had them for free, definitely a site that I need to check out more.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:03 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you run XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within? It looks like you might be able to run XCOM from the specs but I am not terribly familiar with PC graphics cards.
posted by furiousthought at 3:14 PM on April 4, 2014

Haha, I came in here expecting to be able to say CK2, Baldur's gate, Morrowind, KOTOR, Civ, oh and be sure to check out, but holy crap I got beaten to the punch.

There is a ton of good advice in this thread. Although if I were gonna recommend a Civ game, I'd say 3 or 5, or as pointed out above, the best Civ game, Alpha Centauri.

I'd advise to stay away from Hearthstone, I find myself playing it at two in the morning way too often. It's fantastic.
posted by Sphinx at 5:32 PM on April 4, 2014

Seconding XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I have a two year old ultralight laptop (a Thinkpad X220--beefy for its size but still a lightweight) and it runs, albeit with the settings turned pretty far down. I still think it looks fine, and it's the most fun I've had playing a strategy game in quite a while. There's a demo on Steam so you can see whether your machine will run it acceptably before buying it, too.
posted by Aquinas at 7:00 PM on April 4, 2014

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