It WAS the night before Christmas (I'm posting this two days late. Huzzah!)

Stately Stocking Stuffers

Ah, the day after Christmas, the day when the Lords of Avarice settle down for their year-long slumber. Oh, wait, I forgot about the Steam Winter Sale. Perhaps we can keep the door to the Vaults of Greed open for a few more days. Here are the top five Stately Picks currently at a low, low price. Treat yourself, buy one for a close relative, or soften up that enemy with unsuspected magnanimity.

Satellite Reign

Everyone loved Syndicate. And if you spritz Bullfrog’s seminal squad cyberpunkery with Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, you get something like Satellite Reign. It’s a terrific spiritual successor with detailed maps, deep agent customisation and the kind of streetside showdowns that’d make a younger Verhoeven smile. The game has also been granted post-release online co-op, so you may as well pick up a few copies for the kids. Nothing says ‘Happy Holidays’ like GAU-toting cyborgs.

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Since we’re already in some egg nog-induced Gibsonian fever dream, Brigador is an easy recommendation. It might confound those softened by modern twin-stickers of slippery immediacy, but stick with Stellar Jockey’s love-letter to 90s PC-dom and you’ll be stomping through the neon night of Solo Nobre in no time. Rumble about in a vast array of Maschinen Krieger-inspired tanks and mechs, laying waste to your target and everything in between. Think of it as FASA’s Gen X Jungle Strike. Also: soundtrack to DIE FOR.

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Space Hulk: Ascension

No, no, not that Space Hulk. Or even that Space Hulk. This is Space Hulk Ascension, and it was Full Control’s home-cooked rejig of their faithful-but-a-little-too-faithful iteration of the physical board game. You won’t be getting bad dice rolls this Christmas. Ascension adds an RPG system and subtracts much of the frustrating dime-turn fail-states of their first crack. A stomping romp, with a flamer that’ll more than keep your family warm this winter.

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Jagged Alliance: Back In Action

Okay, I’ll be straight with you. This isn’t a good Jagged Alliance sequel. Certainly not the worst. Or, like, the other worst. But where Jagged Alliance: Back In Action might be lacking in character and the layered meta strategy of Jagged Alliance 2, Back In Action is actually a delightfully competent tactical squad manager. Doing away with action points, the developers opted for a rangy pauseable real-time system that keeps the encounters moving at a tidy clip. Add a mod or two and you’ll have something far more engaging than Uncle Herman and his brandy.

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Divided We Fall

Beyond the caveat of still being in Early Access, Divided We Fall comes wholeheartedly recommended. Make your Christmas shopping a little Easy [Company] this year, particularly if your target is into multiplayer squaddery. Divided We Fall plays a little like Men of War meets Full Spectrum Warrior; a sharp and time-friendly PvP jaunt where combat puts emphases on suppression, morale, cover and distance. The Balvenie of real-time tactics. Don’t settle for Ole Smoky this Christmas.

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