Top 50 games for pc

Top 50 games for pc DEFAULT

The 50 best video games of all time, according to critics

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"Super Mario Bros."
  • The 50 best games of all time are a surprisingly diverse list of games spanning decades of consoles.
  • There are iconic household names, cult classics, and forgotten gems.
  • Did your favorite game make the list? Let's find out.
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There are dozens of ways you could put together a list of the best video games ever made.

You could look to classics, like "Super Mario Bros." You could look at impact on the medium, or highest sales. You could write down your personal favorites on pieces of paper, then throw them into the air. Where the pieces land? That's your list!

But what we've got here is something slightly more scientific. Reviews aggregation site Metacritic compiles all reviews of games, then it averages those scores into an overall average. What you'll find below is the top 50 highest-rated games of all time, based on the averages obtained by Metacritic.

One quick disclaimer!

Super Mario

We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates on the list (multiple versions of the same game, released on multiple platforms), we're using the highest-ranked version of the game to make room for a handful of games that wouldn't have otherwise made the list.

Without further ado, these are the 50 best video games of all time:

50. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2"

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 6.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): "'Modern Warfare 2' continues the gripping and heart-racing action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. An entirely new gameplay mode which supports 2-player co-operative play online that is unique from the single player story campaign. Special Ops pits players into a gauntlet of time-trial and objective-based missions. Rank-up as players unlock new Special Ops missions, each more difficult. Missions include highlights from the single player campaign, fan favorites from 'Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare' and all new, exclusive missions. Setting a new bar for online multiplayer, 'Modern Warfare 2' multiplayer delivers new capabilities, customization, game states and modes, including: Create-a-Class Evolved. Secondary Weapons - Machine Pistols, Shotguns, Handguns, Launchers. Riot Shields. Equipment - Throwing Knives, Blast Shield, Tactical Insertion. Perk Upgrades. Bling (Dual Attachments). Customizable Killstreaks - AC130, Sentry Gun, Predator Missile, Counter-UAV, Care Package. Accolades (Post match reports)."

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, OS X

Buy it here >>

49. "Final Fantasy IX"

Final Fantasy IX
Square Enix

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): "The last 'Final Fantasy' for the PlayStation, 'Final Fantasy IX' returns to the pure fantasy roots that spawned the series. This latest installment features highly detailed characters, vehicles, and environments, and breathtaking cinema-graphics. The addition of brand new features such as the story-enhancing Active Time Event system and the return of mini-games that grant additional gameplay make 'Final Fantasy IX' not only a memorable gaming experience, but also a significant step forward in the series."

Platforms:  PlayStation, iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

48. "BioShock Infinite"

BioShock Infinite (The Collection)
2K Games

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): "Once conceived as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was emerging as a world power, Columbia has been dispatched to distant shores with great fanfare by a captivated public. What begins as a brand new endeavor of hope turns drastically wrong as the city soon disappears into the clouds to whereabouts unknown. The player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the lost city to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. DeWitt must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and engage the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

47. "World of Goo"

World of Goo
2D Boy

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): "'World of Goo' is a physics based puzzle / construction game. The millions of Goo Balls that live in the beautiful 'World of Goo' don't know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious."

Platforms: Wii, PC, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Nintendo Switch

Buy it here >>

45. "Portal 2"

portal 2
Valve Software

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): "'Portal 2' is the sequel to the title named "Game of the Year" 2007 by over 30 publications around the world. 'Portal 2' promises to break new ground in next generation gaming by expanding the award-winning recipe of innovative gameplay, immersive story, and creative inclusion of music while also introducing multiplayer co-op game modes."

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Buy it here >>

44. "Persona 5 Royal"

Grim Fandango 16.

Grim Fandango

October 14, 1998
Something's rotten in the Land of Dead and you're being played for a sucker. Meet Manny Calavera, travel agent at the Department of Death. He sells luxury packages to souls on their four-year journey to eternal rest. But there's trouble in paradise. Help Manny untangle himself from a conspiracy that threatens his very salvation. [LucasArts]
Diablo 17.


December 31, 1996
The kingdom of Khandaras has fallen into chaos. An unknown force of evil has swept across the land. Plunging it nto civil war and terrorizing the populace. A mad king, his missing son, and a mysterious archbishop are all pieces to the puzzle that faces you. You have journeyed to the source of the evil. The town of Tristram. Now inhabited by only a handful of survivors. The catherdal there is buildt over the ruins of an ancient monastary, and now eerie lights and sounds are heard echoing through its abandoned halls. Perhaps the answer lies withing the remains of a forgotten past... Diablo invites you to enter a world of dark gothic fantasy. Play as a brave warrior, cunning rogue or mysterious sorceror. As you venture deeper into the labyrinth, you'll discover weapons, armor, and magical treasures, and develop your character's skills and abilities. [Blizzard]
Sid Meier's Civilization IV 18.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV

October 25, 2005
Faster-Paced Fun - Gameplay has been streamlined for a tighter, faster, and more compelling experience.Greater Accessibility and Ease of Play - An easy-to-use interface will be immediately familiar to RTS and action game players, and newcomers to the series will be able to jump in and play. Tech Tree - Flexible Tech tree allows players more strategic choices for developing their civilizations along unique paths. More Civs, Units, and Improvements to enhance and grow your empire. Multiplayer -LAN, Internet, PBEM, and Persistent Turn-Based Server (PTBS) offer players all-new strategies and ways to play when competing or cooperating with live opponents. Team Play - Whether playing multiplayer or single player, team play offers a new way of setting locked alliances that result in shared wonder effects, visibility, unit trading, and shared territory that delivers a plethora of new strategic and tactical options. Civ IV comes to life! - Beautiful 3D world with dozens of fully animated units (including culturally unique units), and totally customizable armies. Cities and wonders will appear on the map. Wonder movies are back! [2K Games]
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 19.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

May 18, 2015
With the Empire attacking the Kingdoms of the North and the Wild Hunt, a cavalcade of ghastly riders, breathing down your neck, the only way to survive is to fight back. As Geralt of Rivia, a master swordsman and monster hunter, leave none of your enemies standing. Explore a gigantic open world, slay beasts and decide the fates of whole communities with your actions, all in a genuine next generation format.
Company of Heroes 20.

Company of Heroes

September 13, 2006
A real-time strategy game set in World War II, Company of Heroes brings to life, in full cinematic detail, the greatest war mankind has ever known. Company of Heroes is built on Relic's next-generation Essence Engine and also utilizes the Havok Physics engine, delivering cinematic visual detail in a world completely driven by realistic physics. Gamers will experience the journey of the brave men of Able Company in a deep single-player campaign that begins with the invasion of Normandy through their fight across Europe, all set against the most dynamic battlefield ever seen in a game. Company of Heroes' completely destructable environment means no two battles ever play out in the same way. Advanced squad AI delivers startling new realism and responsiveness, bringing soldiers to life as they interact with the environment and execute advanced squad tactics to eliminate the opposition forces. [THQ]
Half-Life: Alyx 21.

Half-Life: Alyx

March 23, 2020
Half-Life: Alyx is Valve's VR return to the Half-Life series. It's the story of an impossible fight against a vicious alien race known as the Combine, set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Playing as Alyx Vance, you are humanity's only chance for survival. The Combine's control of the planet since the Black Mesa incident has only strengthened as they corral the remaining population in cities. Among them are some of Earth's greatest scientists: you and your father, Dr. Eli Vance. As founders of a fledgling resistance, you've continued your clandestine scientific activityperforming critical research, and building invaluable tools for the few humans brave enough to defy the Combine. Every day, you learn more about your enemy, and every day you work toward finding a weakness. ABOUT GAMEPLAY IN VR: Valve's return to the Half-Life universe that started it all was built from the ground up for virtual reality. VR was built to enable the gameplay that sits at the heart of Half-Life. Immerse yourself in deep environmental interactions, puzzle solving, world exploration, and visceral combat. Lean to aim around a broken wall and under a Barnacle to make an impossible shot. Rummage through shelves to find a healing syringe and some shotgun shells. Manipulate tools to hack alien interfaces. Toss a bottle through a window to distract an enemy. Rip a Headcrab off your face and throw it at a Combine soldier. Extra content for Index owners Customers who have purchased Valve Index hardware by the end of 2019 will have access to unique bonuses starting early next year: * Explore environments from Half-Life: Alyx in your SteamVR Home space * Alternate gun skins to embellish Alyx's arsenal * Special Half-Life: Alyx-themed content for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 Community-built environments * A set of Source 2 tools for building new environments will ship with the game, enabling any player to build and contribute new environments for the community to enjoy. Hammer, Valve's level authoring tool, has been updated with all of the game's virtual reality gameplay tools and components.
Divinity: Original Sin II 22.

Divinity: Original Sin II

September 14, 2017
Master deep, tactical combat. Join up to 3 other players - but know that only one of you will have the chance to become a God.
Unreal Tournament 2004 23.

Unreal Tournament 2004

March 16, 2004
Reload, rev up and ride out. The new Tournament is faster, higher and meaner. Land and air based vehicles take combat to a new level; while an arsenal of new weaponry, daunting arenas and battlefields and the challenge of the Assault and Onslaught modes make the gladiator blood sport of the future a brand new experience. Buckle up; it?s gonna be one hell of a ride! [Atari]
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 24.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

July 27, 2010
StarCraft II continues the epic saga of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. These three distinct and powerful races clash once again in the fast-paced real-time strategy sequel to the legendary original, StarCraft. Legions of veteran, upgraded, and brand-new unit types do battle across the galaxy, as each faction struggles for survival. Featuring a unique single-player campaign that picks up where StarCraft: Brood War left off, StarCraft II presents a cast of new heroes and familiar faces in an edgy sci-fi story filled with adventure and intrigue. In addition, Blizzard again offers unparalleled online play through, the company's world-renowned gaming service, with several enhancements and new features to make StarCraft II the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game. Features fast-paced, hard-hitting, tightly balanced competitive real-time strategy gameplay that recaptures and improves on the magic of the original game. New units and gameplay mechanics further distinguish each race. Vibrant new 3D-graphics engine with support for dazzling visual effects and massive unit and army sizes. Full map-making and scripting tools to give players incredible freedom in customizing and personalizing their gameplay experience. [Blizzard]
Minecraft 25.


November 18, 2011
The game involves players creating and destroying various types of blocks in a three dimensional environment. The player takes an avatar that can destroy or create blocks, forming fantastic structures, creations and artwork across the various multiplayer servers in multiple game modes.
Red Dead Redemption 2 26.

Red Dead Redemption 2

November 5, 2019
America, 1899. The end of the wild west era has begun as lawmen hunt down the last remaining outlaw gangs. Those who will not surrender or succumb are killed. After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang must rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him. From the creators of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic tale of life in America at the dawn of the modern age.
Grand Theft Auto III 27.

Grand Theft Auto III

May 20, 2002
The PC version features enhanced 3D audio. Environmentally scaled and referenced from the player's perspective. Create your own customizable Liberty City radio station, using the built-in mp3 player. State-of-the art visuals utilizing the latest PC hardware render the city more beautifully than ever in 32 bit color. The skinnable player character enables fans to create and upload their own skin textures and to use a scanned-in photo to play as themselves. [Rockstar]
Homeworld 28.


August 31, 1999
Deported to a harsh desert world, exiles have struggled for three thousand years to regain the stars. Now it's up to you to guide them home through a brutal empire bent on annihilation. Homeworld boasts amazing ship graphics and gorgeous deep-space vistas, a unique command and navigation interface and white-knuckle real-time strategy. [Sierra]
Beat Saber 29.

Beat Saber

May 21, 2019
Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game where your goal is to slash the beats which perfectly fit into precisely handcrafted music.
Hades 30.


September 17, 2020
Defy the god of death as you hack and slash your way out of the Underworld in this rogue-like dungeon crawler from the creators of Bastion and Transistor.
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The 50 best video games of the 21st century


SingStar (2004)

Karaoke complexes might be relatively common now, but back in 2004 singing into a PlayStation was the closest most of us could get. SingStar’s discs of party classics formed the caterwauling soundtrack to millions of student gatherings, hen parties and five-pint Fridays all over Europe for more than a decade. Like Just Dance, it harnesses the infectious joy of pop music in a way that anyone can play.


Katamari Damacy (2004)

A gleeful absurdist masterpiece in which you start by rolling up pencils and apple peel and end up absorbing buildings, trees and, eventually, most of the planet in your big sticky ball, because why not? From the infectious soundtrack to the endearingly mad “plot”, it’s a work of pure joy.


Journey (2012)

Journey is a short and moving shared experience whose music, evocative colour palette and simple play come together as they only can in games, for a powerful emotional effect. It’s often picked as an ur-example of games as art – including by curators at the V&A, where it was front and centre at a recent exhibition.


Dead Space (2008)

Resident Evil meets Alien seems like such an obvious game pitch that it is incredible it wasn’t realised until 2008. In Dead Space, the player becomes lowly engineer Isaac Clarke, who finds himself investigating the “planet-cracking” ship Ishimura after radio contact with the vessel is lost. The craft is, of course, infested with alien creatures – the Necromorphs – who utilise the reanimated corpses of human victims in horrible ways. This is a dark, bloody and atmospheric survival-horror thrill ride.


Limbo (2010)

The central character here is a boy on the run from death, or perhaps already dead. One of several games that kicked off the indie-game renaissance of the 2010s, Limbo’s monochrome style and relatively short running time belie the extraordinary effort and fastidiousness that went into its creation, evident in everything from the sinister movements of a giant spider to the precise physics that power its puzzles.


Papers, Please (2013)

You are a border officer in a war-torn country where people are constantly trying to smuggle things past you: drugs, weapons, falsified IDs. But what about the mother and young child using a fake passport to rejoin the rest of their family? Or an undocumented refugee who you could reject as a possible terrorist, but who may in fact be a desperate civilian? Papers, Please is a powerful illustration of how we can become complicit in inhumane systems, and the ways games can invite us to explore complex ethical dilemmas.


Forza Horizon (2012)

Combining an open-world structure with the energy of a music festival, Forza Horizon made arcade-style racing games fun again. Boasting a gigantic selection of cars and an inventive AI-assisted multiplayer component, the game was designed around simply letting the player have fun, no matter what they did or where they drove. Barn finds and destructible signs rewarded exploration, while a multitude of driving challenges provided structure and challenge. It’s an accessible, multifaceted racing treat.


Rocket League (2015)

“Football, but with remote control cars” is a likely pitch for Rocket League, but who expected it would become one of the most skilful and enduring multiplayer games released in decades? Rocket League is elegant and ageless: it will probably still be played in 20 years, in living rooms and in tournaments.


Burnout 3: Takedown (2004)

Guildford-based developer Criterion built its Burnout series of arcade driving games around two principles: speed and style. Taking place through traffic-packed city streets, the races rewarded players for risky manoeuvres, providing extra time to shoot past competitors. The third title in the series perfected the recipe, adding a “takedown” feature that encouraged players to smash rivals from the circuit. The detailed slow-motion physics engine heightened every smash into art.


Overwatch (2016)

After years of gritty, military shooters filled with macho spec-ops nobodies, Overwatch stormed on to the online gaming scene in 2016 like a giant kawaii robot bunny wielding a hot pink grenade launcher. This is a game about outlandish hero characters, joining forces in condensed team-based skirmishes. There is no levelling up, there are no weapons unlocks; it’s all about combining the different capabilities – from Mei’s endothermic blaster to Mercy’s healing staff – in effective ways. Loved for its brash, hyper-colourful aesthetic, Overwatch is the generation Z answer to Counter-Strike.


Gears of War 2 (2008)

Imagine a science-fiction war film directed by an early-career Kathryn Bigelow. Now imagine it’s interactive. This, in essence, is Gears of War, the definitive third-person space marine blast-’em-up – a game so macho, its machine guns have chainsaws. The second title in the series improved the cover system, added new weapons and bloody finishing moves and took the battle to the Locust alien invaders. It was thrilling, chaotic and beautiful and, with the brilliant co-op Horde gameplay mode, it invented new ways to play online.


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (2000)

Fondly remembered by anyone who had a PlayStation in their dorm room, this is still probably the best skateboarding game around, and there hasn’t been much competition since (perhaps due to the sport’s waning cultural presence since the 1990s). It is a time capsule of energetic college rock, endless point-chasing skate combos and irresistibly fun play.


Super Smash Bros Melee (2001)

The 2018 game Ultimate is, well, the ultimate expression of Smash Bros’ maximalist tendencies, with 74 characters and hundreds of references to Nintendo history. But Melee is the game that turned Nintendo’s anything-goes brawler from a living-room classic into a competitive fixture. It is still the most popular Smash game at tournaments, beautifully balanced and extraordinarily fun.


Silent Hill 2 (2001)

Konami’s answer to Resident Evil ditched zombie shocks for psychological horror. The second title in the series is the most disturbing. The game follows grief-stricken everyman James Sunderland as he arrives in the eponymous town searching for his supposedly dead wife. What follows is a descent into Sunderland’s psychosexual dysfunction, a viscera-splattered nightmare of undead nurses, animated shop window dummies and the giant fetishistic monster, Pyramid Head. Toying with Japanese horror and exploitation cinema, it cast a sombre spell over all who played.


Spelunky (2008)

Derek Yu’s cave-diving platform game is fun to play on every single run, yet might take years to actually finish. Each time a different arrangement of cave creatures, unfortunate accidents and hostile geography conspires to bring your adventure to an abrupt close, and only the extremely skilled and extremely lucky will ever get right down into the depths. Even after years of play, Spelunky holds its mystique.


Assassin’s Creed 2 (2009)

The original Assassin’s Creed promised a rich historical adventure with an interesting sci-fi overlay – Assassin’s Creed 2 actually delivered it. Set in a luxuriously detailed approximation of Renaissance Italy, the game sees attractive assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, taking on the dastardly templars while bumping into the likes of Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. The freeform structure of the game, its mass of side quests and objectives, along with its range of abilities and items set the blueprints for modern open-world game design.


Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)

With a script by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini and all the key voice talent from the brilliant animated series, Arkham Asylum exudes authenticity from every pixel. This is the Batman of Frank Miller and Christopher Nolan – dark, twisted and violent – and it’s perfectly realised as a third-person action adventure. The combat is smooth and empowering, the silent takedowns are gratifying and the asylum setting is a superb gothic monstrosity. A comic-book lover’s dream.


Battlefield 1942 (2002)

With the first title in the Battlefield series, developer Digital Illusions brought large-scale cooperative combat and historical authenticity to the online shooter genre. Two teams of 32 players fought for dominance of vast environments, taking control points and commandeering vehicles. The multifaceted battles required players to assume complementary roles, some sniping from a distance, others running in as infantry. The excitement of a well-organised attack paying off felt like something truly new.


Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)

Bringing cinematic verve and explosive pace to the military shooter market, 2003’s Call of Duty provided gunfights of epic intensity. But it wasn’t until Modern Warfare that the series made a major impact, introducing an innovative multiplayer online mode that offered character progression alongside unlockable single-use mega-attacks. Add in its blistering animation and intense, claustrophobic maps, and it’s little wonder this game defined the online deathmatch experience for a decade.


God of War (2018)

God of War still sets the bar for its genre of expansive, visually spectacular interactive storytelling. Guiding a reformed violent god and his more sensitive son through settings from Norse mythology, you’ll see things that take the breath away: the corpse of an immense giant, frozen where he fell; parallel realms of vicious elves and shining, endless lakes; crumbling relics to absent gods. The pleasing thwock of Kratos’ axe as it hits the skulls of mythological monsters punctuates video games’ grandest odyssey.


Shadow of the Colossus (2005)

In this meditation on the selfish nature of grief, a young man sets out to topple mountainous, mournful and majestic giants in the hope of reviving a lost love. Each colossus is a puzzle; clambering up their mossy fur and plunging a sword into their hides, we soon learn that this hero’s quest isn’t what it seems. Subtle and profound, Shadow of the Colossus is disciplined in its storytelling and artistic direction, with ample space for reflection in its bleak and beautiful wilderness.


Deus Ex (2000)

Combining first-person shooter and action role-playing with real-world conspiracy theories and cyberpunk mythology, Ion Storm’s agenda-setting sci-fi adventure was a cultural event. The player character, JC Denton, is a “nano-augmented” government agent caught in a labyrinthine, globe-stomping plot about bioengineered viruses and alien technology. There are dozens of routes through the story, providing incredible freedom and inspiring a creative community of modders and fan-fiction writers.


Wii Sports (2006)

Few games have been played as widely as Wii Sports, from grannies bowling to toddlers enthusiastically playing tennis. Wii Sports was the world’s introduction to the Wii and a whole generation’s introduction to Nintendo’s philosophy of game design: accessible, inclusive and great fun.


Guitar Hero (2005)

What warm-blooded person has never dreamed of busting out an impeccable guitar solo on stage, revelling in the adoration of a baying crowd? Anyone born after about 1995, it turns out. But Guitar Hero was a product of its time and catered so brilliantly to the near-ubiquitous rock star fantasy, with its impeccable soundtrack of 1970s, 80s and 90s power rock, that tens of millions of people were wielding plastic guitars in living rooms within a couple of years.


Left 4 Dead (2008)

A co-op online zombie shooter with an AI system that orchestrated enemy attacks based on player actions, Left 4 Dead was ridiculously ahead of its time. Valve built excellent mechanics around its collaborative gameplay, encouraging highly tactical teamwork, and loaded its apocalyptic world with brilliant monsters, such as the grotesque tongue-lashing Smoker and the terrifyingly lachrymose witch. It would do amazing business in the multiplayer-obsessed, YouTuber-streaming world of modern gaming.


Ico (2001)

Experimental designer Fumito Ueda built this quiet, thoughtful adventure around the idea of two people holding hands, which is what the eponymous lead character and jailed princess Yorda must do if they are to escape their castle prison. Using all the conventions of a third-person action game, Ico is really about fear, solitude and the possibilities awakened by making physical contact with another human being. A minimalist masterpiece.


The Last of Us (2013)

What looks at first like a standard entry in gaming’s extensive zombie-apocalypse canon soon turns out to be something more. Watching the relationship between grieving, grizzled Joel and guarded but optimistic teenager Ellie develop as they travel a ravaged America, creeping past unsettling “clickers” and coming face-to-face with desperate, violent fellow humans makes for an extraordinarily memorable game in an often boring genre.


The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)

Possibly Nintendo’s most unsettling game, Majora’s Mask is also one of its most creative, trapping you in an apocalyptic time loop where the leering moon draws ever closer to the hapless Earth and its denizens cower in fear. Here, Link is a hero that nobody knows about, having gone forward in time to thwart an evil that was due to swallow up the world, before being returned to his childhood body and deserted by his only companions. Its time-loop structure and eerie atmosphere remain little-imitated.


Mario Kart 8 (2014)

We have yet to encounter a person who doesn’t enjoy Mario Kart, and Mario Kart 8 is as good as it gets: gleeful, freewheeling, with a marvellously jazzy score, colourful characters and courses that continually defy expectations. It is riotously enjoyable. One of the few modern games that is still best enjoyed shoulder-to-shoulder with friends, family or friendly strangers.


Mass Effect 2 (2010)

The defining chapter of BioWare’s space epic tackles everything: race, genocide, romance and heroism, all against a backdrop of impending galactic doom. It is brilliantly performed and exciting to play, with futuristic guns and biotic powers, and totally engrossing on a character level. Creating something of this scope that also feels personal to each player is no small feat.


Fortnite (2017)

Launched as a forgettable co-op zombie shooter in 2017, developer Epic Games saw the success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and decided to create its own battle royale mode, inviting 100 players to land on an island, then fight it out until only one survived. Colourful, silly and filled with daft outfits and infectious dance moves, Fortnite became a global phenomenon, attracting more than 250m players. It’s been featured in everything from Fox News to Avengers: Endgame and shows few signs of slowing down.


Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)

Niko Bellic comes to New York looking to escape the life of crime he had been leading in eastern Europe – but as in all Grand Theft Auto games, the American dream swiftly turns sour, and nihilistic violence turns out to be the only currency Bellic can deal in. GTA IV’s New York is stunning to inhabit, so detailed and full of life that it is hard to believe it’s powered by code.


Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)

Only a developer with Rockstar’s extremely deep pockets and fanatical attention to detail could have made something like this, a re-creation of turn-of-the-20th-century US so lifelike that it is at times difficult to believe. Its story, of a dwindling gang of outlaws trying to outrun the march of time (and an ever-growing list of enemies) is impressive enough, but the world in which it takes place – vast, picturesque, full of people and strange encounters that most players will probably never even find – is a true monument to interactive achievement.


The Sims (2000)

One of the most successful and influential games ever made, The Sims is an outlet for megalomania, mad materialism or compassion – depending on the player. Controlling the lives of computer people, from their loves and careers to designing the homes they live in, is so compelling that it raises troubling questions about human nature.


Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009)

Indiana Jones-style hero Nathan Drake came into his own in this spectacular cinematic adventure sequel. Crammed with breathtaking action set pieces, exotic locations and exciting lore, Among Thieves established the Uncharted series at the forefront of big-budget narrative game design. From the wrecked train opening to the epic finale amid the ruins of the mythical kingdom of Shambhala, the pace doesn’t let up. While baby boomers have nostalgic memories of Saturday-morning action cinema, millennials have Uncharted.


Resident Evil 4 (2005)

This wasn’t just an exciting horror story about a supercop rescuing the US president’s daughter from a Spanish cult. With Resident Evil 4, the creator of Capcom’s survival horror series, Shinji Mikami, completely changed the structure and style of the games, abandoning the slow-burn tension of the original titles in favour of raw action while (crucially) shifting from an expressionistic third-person camera to an over-the-shoulder perspective. The game established a whole new era of third-person shooters.


Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

After his galactic adventures in the Super Mario Galaxy games, Odyssey brought the cheerful plumber back down to Earth. Well, not Earth per se, but a bunch of different self-contained planets that provide ample room for Nintendo designers’ wild imaginations. From possessing a Chain Chomp to bounding around in low gravity, chasing rabbits or racing yetis, Odyssey is irresistibly exuberant.


World of Warcraft (2004)

Launched in 2004, Blizzard’s massively multiplayer role-playing adventure was not the first entry in this complex genre (Ultima Online and Everquest got there earlier), but it perfected the key elements, from combat mechanics to quest design to background lore, building an obsessive fanbase that has stayed loyal through multiple add-ons and updates. The game reached 100m player accounts in 2014, but the real stories have been much more personal – with its emphasis on close team-play, WoW has hosted real-life weddings and funerals, becoming as much a part of players’ lives as their own families.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

Bloated, idiosyncratic and troubling in places, The Phantom Pain is the perfect culmination of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear vision as it has evolved over the last 30 years. Big Boss wakes up from a coma and finds himself carrying out covert missions during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, rescuing civilians, kidnapping military leaders and managing his aquatic Mother Base as the typically nonsensical plot rolls on. It is unlike anything else out there … at least until Hideo Kojima’s forthcoming game Death Stranding turns up.


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)

For decades, games have aspired to create a fantasy world that caters to your every whim – and Skyrim comes closest. Dragon-flavoured, largely unmemorable plot notwithstanding, it is an extraordinary playground where magic, might, words and weapons can all be wielded against the inhabitants and monsters that populate a snow-touched northern realm, and where subplots about assassins, vampires, lost relics and a thousand other things await the curious player.


Bloodborne (2015)

An extraordinary work of horror, Bloodborne conjures a dilapidated city whose inhabitants, rather than abandoning God, have become so obsessed with getting closer to their eldritch masters that they’ve become diseased. Hunting the creatures of Yharnam, an exhilarating and sometimes painfully challenging endeavour, the player uncovers an extraordinarily intricate, disturbing fiction of blood, beats and human folly. There are sights and fights in Bloodborne that no player could ever forget.


BioShock (2007)

Set in a doomed undersea utopia, BioShock is part shooter, part role-playing game, part morality fable, propelling players through a haunting and ambiguous quest to escape Rapture while learning its awful secrets. Famed for the hulking Big Daddy antagonists, the genetic modifications, the art deco architecture and designer Ken Levine’s exploration of objectivist philosophy, the game has been one of the most discussed and dissected of the century so far.


Portal 2 (2011)

Building on the solid foundations of its predecessor, Valve’s 2011 sequel adds a more involved narrative to the ingenious physics puzzles, with tyrannical computer system GLaDOS providing an endlessly funny and inventive exploration of humanity and hubris. Here, the Aperture Lab is a giant, almost gothic, ludological construction, its weird research rooms and robotic production lines crammed with light bridges and lasers. It is the combination of Red Dwarf, 2001 and Crystal Maze no one knew they were waiting for.


Halo: Combat Evolved (2001)

One of the first shooters where the aliens fought back. Playing Halo today, especially on the Legendary difficulty setting, it is amazing how quickly those chattering, cackling Covenant can flush you out. Halo has spawned a beloved universe of space-opera shooters, but it’s the first game – released at a time when the idea of a first-person shooter on a console was laughable – that made the biggest impact.


Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

In this, the best-selling entertainment product of all time, Rockstar painstakingly created a bizarre pastiche of southern California, seen through the eyes of three decidedly unheroic protagonists: a retired gangster whose family hates him, a young man from the inner city trying to escape a seemingly pre-destined life of crime, and a violent trailer-dwelling psychopath. Cleverly, these three characters also handily partition GTA’s split personality: biting satire of modern US, filmic storytelling, and directionless violent mayhem.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

Many games offer the superficial choice between good and evil, but the Witcher asks what happens when you’re adrift on waves of history and politics that are beyond your control. Geralt of Rivia isn’t a hero; he’s just an outcast, present at a tumultuous time in his realm’s history. Turns out that far more interesting stories can be found when you’re not preoccupied with a facile objective to save the world.


Half-Life 2 (2004)

Video games aren’t short of alien invasion stories but Half-Life 2 is so good it makes the whole concept seem fresh and frightening. Taking place several years after the original, Gordon Freeman wakes to find an Earth utterly subjugated by the Combine forces – but a resistance movement is forming. The shrewd environmental puzzles and the famed gravity gun exploit the intricate physics engine to make this hellish world feel authentic. You truly hate the enemies, you live every moment. One of the greatest narrative video games ever made.


Dark Souls (2011)

You are dead, which comes with few advantages, but at least you can’t die again – not for good, anyway. Plunging you into a never-ending cycle of death and rebirth in a world where almost nothing still breathes, Dark Souls sets you off with nothing and lets its horror-tinged dark fantasy unfold as you flail and struggle to survive. Invigoratingly uncompromising and influential, it was the breakthrough game of FromSoftware and visionary director Hidetaka Miyazaki. Despite two more Dark Souls games and a raft of imitators, there is still nothing like it.


Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Doing for the open-world game what Half-Life 2 did for the first-person shooter, Breath of the Wild tears up and throws away all the things that make exploration a chore – checklists, objective markers, forests of icons – to make way for true adventure. Breath of the Wild counts on your curiosity, intelligence, self-determination and ingenuity, giving you a thousand ways to apply them. Its thrillingly open wilderness makes other games feel like a quaint miniature train ride by comparison.


Minecraft (2009)

Swedish coder Markus “Notch” Persson didn’t invent the concept of the block-based building game – Minecraft arrived just after Zach Barth’s experimental title Infiniminer. However, the founder of Stockholm studio Mojang took the idea of a Lego-like construction game based in a procedurally generated environment and perfected it. Originally launched as a work in progress in the summer of 2009, word about this unusual blocky simulation quickly spread on PC gaming forums and a community of enthusiastic modders started to gather around the project, downloading Persson’s version but adding their own rules and graphics. From the very beginning Minecraft was a shared endeavour – a labour of love, shared between creator and fans.

By the time of its full release in November 2011, Minecraft already had 10 million registered players. Later came conversions from PC to Xbox, PlayStation and smartphones, bringing in new audiences. The game was split into two experiences: the Survival mode where players had to battle zombies and giant spiders while mining for resources, and the Creative mode where they were given an unlimited inventory of wooden, glass and stone blocks to concentrate on crafting their own ambitious projects.

This has always been the vital element of Minecraft’s success and importance: it is a dozen experiences in one. It’s about making models, but also exploration, combat and resource management. Participants can build alone or join friends, introducing a new form of online creative collaboration. Using the game’s red stone component, which allows objects in the world to be electrically powered, fans began to build complex machines including working calculators. Others constructed scale models of the USS Enterprise, Hogwarts and King’s Landing. Art galleries and museums began to take notice. The Tate Modern commissioned expert modellers to create versions of modernist artworks in the Minecraft world; the British Museum was officially recreated in the game, as was Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Over the past decade, Minecraft has become a hobby and a social space. Servers have been set up for people on the autistic spectrum, providing a vital means of meeting with and communicating with others. Hundreds of schools throughout the world use the Education edition of Minecraft to teach physics, geology, drama, art, electronics and sustainable farming. The cultural and educational reach of the game is enormous. Minecraft was vital in the rise of the celebrity gaming YouTuber – with names like StampyCat and DanTDM familiar to millions.

With more than 175m copies now sold on an array of devices from smartphones to virtual-reality headsets, Minecraft has transcended the idea of what games are and what they can achieve. When you load the game, what you do is up to you – it gives you the experience you want, and that is different for everyone. There has never been an interactive entertainment experience like it. Game makers truly believe that video games have the power – just like literature, cinema and art – to change lives. This one unquestionably, demonstrably has. Time and time again.

Top 50 Best PC Games (2004 - 2017)

The 25 Best PC Games to Play Right Now

The PC gaming landscape has shifted in recent years, both in terms of technological advancements in graphics cards and gaming monitors and in the makeup of IGN's PC gaming staff and contributors. As a result, outside of some real stalwarts, our list of the platform's best games is substantially different compared to years past.

To be clear, this list does not attempt to pick out the “best” or “most influential” PC games ever made. It’s also not a list of the most popular games out there, or a list that seeks to represent the top games of every genre (sorry Total War: Three Kingdoms – you came close!). No, this is a list of 25 games that we, the IGN editors and contributors, collectively recommend the most, based on our own tastes, and all from within the past 10 years.

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25. Horizon Zero Dawn (Complete Edition)

Have you played Half-Life: Alyx?

One of the best PS4 games finally made its way to PC this summer, Horizon Zero Dawn and its icy expansion The Frozen Wilds provide dozens of hours of action and exploration making it one of the best single-player PC games. Boasting a satisfying crafting and RPG-inspired progression system, its massive post-post-apocalyptic world is full to bursting, with plenty of "ancient" secrets to uncover and monstrous machines to hunt or hone your combat skills against, all wrapped up in a compelling story that not only sets the stage for the upcoming sequel, Forbidden West, but provides an intriguing new take on life after the collapse of modern society. While PC enthusiasts who demand nothing short of 4K/60FPS at all times may want to wait for another round of performance updates (you can read our full analysis of the PC port here), Horizon is an exceptional adventure that's not to be missed.

A sequel is coming to PS5 and PS4 on February 22, 2022. For more, here's everything we know about Horizon Forbidden West so far.

Release Date: August 7, 2020 | Developer: Guerilla Games | Last Position: New! | IGN's Horizon Zero Dawn Video Review | IGN's Horizon Zero Dawn Wiki

24. Control

Control, in many ways, feels like the culmination of Remedy’s design ideas from its past several games distilled down to their best versions and melded together for one trippy, enthralling adventure. Jesse Faden’s story of infiltrating the Federal Bureau of Control’s offices comes complete with a stellar set of abilities befitting any good telepath, a propulsive, strange story with a memorable cast and unexpected twists, and a fascinating location that feels rooted in a sense of history.

Remedy has filled Control’s world with little details that make its stranger ideas really land, giving unexpected life to every corner of its office building veneer. Just like its main location, the Oldest House, much more lies beneath the surface of Control, and its mysteries are worth fully exploring. Also, the PC is currently the only place to play with ray tracing enabled, giving the world a more realistic and yet more otherworldly appearance. Maybe that’s why this fantastic single-player PC gamewon our 2019 Game of the Year award?

Remedy has since released two expansions for Control, The Foundation and AWE. The developer is also working on a Control multiplayer spinoff codenamed "Condor," which will feature four-player PvE gameplay.

Remedy most recently released Alan Wake Remastered, which our review called "a fairly inessential upgrade for existing fans, but this moody mystery is still well worth a look for newcomers."

Release Date: August 27, 2019 | Developer: Remedy | Last position: New! | IGN's Control Video Review | IGN’s Control Wiki | Buy It Here: Epic Games Store

23. Overwatch

With an amazing lineup of memorable characters and meticulously balanced abilities, Overwatch is a shooter that bobs and weaves almost perfectly between being the quick-fix adrenaline hit you might want after a long day of work, and the thoughtful, strategic multiplayer experience that becomes the center of evening-long binges with friends. It might not have the most exhaustive list of maps and modes, but the offerings grow with every new seasonal event, and what's already there provides nearly endless opportunities for exhilarating, coordinated play.

Overwatch won our 2016 Game of the Year Award, and Blizzard’s trademark polish and commitment to community should keep it as something that we’ll all revisit regularly for years to come.

Overwatch 2 is now in development, though Blizzard has not yet announced a release window. The developer recently revealed character reworks for Bastion and Sombra that have been made for the upcoming sequel.

Release Date: May 24, 2016 | Developer: Blizzard Entertainment | Last position: 16 (7) | IGN's Overwatch Video Review | IGN’s Overwatch Wiki

22. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an awe-inspiring journey where the fantasy world is your plaything. What its main story quest lacks in nuance it more than makes up for with its invitation to go anywhere and do anything. Set out in any direction to explore a vast kingdom filled with people going about their daily lives, warring factions, and dangerous wildlife that ranges from wild dogs to imposing giants and full-fledged dragons.

Out there you’ll find stellar sidequests that allow you to become a vampire or werewolf, join the legendary Dark Brotherhood, and countless other unexpected opportunities as you level up and unlock satisfyingly powerful spells and Dragon Shouts. And of course, with this being the PC version, you have access to a nearly unrivaled collection of transformative mods at your fingertips.

Skyrim 10th Anniversary Edition is coming to PC on November 11. The new version includes all previously released content as well as some new features, including a fishing mechanic.

Release Date: November 11, 2011 | Developer: Bethesda Game Studios | Last position: New! | IGN's Skyrim Video Review | IGN’s Skyrim Wiki

21. Sid Meier's Civilization VI

You can’t go too far wrong with any of the main games from Sid Meier’s seminal Civilization series, but with the Gathering Storm expansion, Civilization VI has taken its seat as one of the finest. Like all five iterations before it, Civ VI lets you pave your people’s way from nomadic tribespeople to sprawling near-future empire in competition or cooperation with neighbors, this time guided by narration from the undying Sean Bean himself.

But here, a distinctive approach to city building in which major structures like specialized districts and Wonders are placed on their own tiles gives it a distinctive flavor, and the newly added climate change mechanics add new long-term environmental considerations throughout and hazards that manifest in the late game. It’s also come as close as any game in the series to giving its AI leaders definitive and interesting personalities (which is not to say they’re perfect!).

Release Date: October 21, 2016 | Developer: Firaxis Games | Last position: New! | IGN's Civilization VI Video Review | IGN’s Civilization VI Wiki | Buy It Here: Epic Games Store

20. Diablo 3

Think of Diablo 3 not for its infamous launch, but for the incredible action-RPG it evolved into in the years afterward. While its early existence was plagued by plenty of problems (including a real-money auction house that was ultimately entirely removed and burned to the ground), Blizzard managed to reshape this revival of a classic series into an excellent and infinitely replayable co-op, demon-slaying party.

It’s a game where the piñatas are alive and the candy is shaped like swords, and it really hit its stride when its breakout Reaper of Souls expansion arrived in 2014. Diablo 3 is still lovely to look at, full of interesting choices and class synergies, and specially designed to keep you interested far, far past when the credits roll.

Blizzard recently named a new director for Diablo 4: Joe Shely, who worked on Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft, is now heading the project.

Release Date: May 14, 2012 | Developer: Blizzard Entertainment | Last position: New! | IGN's Diablo 3 Video Review | IGN’s Diablo 3 Wiki

19. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is one of the best modern Metroidvania’s around. It’s beautiful, expansive, and full of delightful secrets to discover that will keep you playing for dozens of hours. The kingdom of Hallownest is a brutal one, and Hollow Knight doesn’t ease you into it, causing a lot of people to bounce off of it initially – but when it finally gets its hooks in you it’s irresistibly hard to put down.

Its sprawling caves open up and offer multiple paths to you at any given time, but no matter which way you go there are exciting bosses to fight and significant power-ups to make you stronger. And even though it was already a massive game, Hollow Knight has only gotten bigger since its launch in early 2017. Developer Team Cherry released multiple free updates with new areas and bosses, each harder than the last. But whether you just want to get to the credits, find the true ending, or push even farther than that, Hallownest is a world worth exploring.

IGN recently crowned Hollow Knight the best Metroidvania (that isn't an actual Metroid or Castlevania game). A sequel, Hollow Knight: Silksong, is in development.

Release Date: February 24, 2017 | Developer: Team Cherry| Last position: 20 (↑1) | IGN's Hollow Knight Video Review | IGN’s Hollow Knight Wiki

18. Fallout: New Vegas

With its distinctive Old West-tinged approach to the post-nuclear wasteland, game-changing decisions, and flexible ways to complete its quests, Fallout: New Vegas carved out a spot as not just the best game of the Fallout series, but one of the best RPGs ever made. Obsidian took the openness and flexibility of Bethesda’s Fallout 3 to a new level with more dark humor, memorable characters, and interesting stat-dependent dialogue options that make each playthrough feel tailored to your character’s strengths and weaknesses.

And the fact that you, a nameless nobody courier, get to rise up from nothing and become the person who decides the fate of the region, gives you a real sense of control and power.

Release Date: October 19, 2010 | Developer: Obsidian Entertainment | Last position: New! | IGN's Fallout: New Vegas Video Review | IGN’s Fallout: New Vegas Wiki

17. Doom (2016)

Just a few years ago, the Doom series was, for all intents and purposes, dead. A legend in a grave. Twelve years passed between Doom 3 – which would prove to be the final Doom from the original id Software team – and the Doom reboot in 2016. But against the odds, the new generation of id developers did it: they reimagined Doom as a fast-action modern-day demon-slaying experience while still respecting the satisfying feel of the classic originals.

Glory kills, aggressive monster mobs, big weapon and ability upgrades, and speed, speed, speed define the new Doom. Play this game first and then run straight for Doom Eternal, which evolves the formula in very smart, very fun ways you won't soon forget.

Release Date: February 27, 2018 | Developer: id Software | Last position: New! | IGN's Doom Video Review | IGN's Doom Wiki

16. Into the Breach

Into the Breach is a puzzle game masquerading in turn-based tactics clothing. Each mission presents you with overwhelming odds and limited options – a seemingly impossible task. The twist that gives you and your team of giant robots the advantage you need to defeat the invading kaiju is that you can see every attack and other effect that will play out on your enemies’ next turn. Each turn becomes a puzzle for you to solve, using your limited actions for maximum effect. Sure, you could just attack head-on… but what if instead you use your attack to knock an enemy into another’s line of fire, blocking damage from the second and killing the first in one fell swoop.

It’s tactical strategy distilled down to its essence, with nearly infinite replayability thanks to a strong variety of unit types that each present unique and challenging ways to maximize their potential.

Release Date: February 27, 2018 | Developer: Subset Games | Last position: New! | IGN's Into the Breach Video Review

15. Prey (2017)

Few games will make you fear for your life upon encountering the most mundane of inanimate objects the way Prey does – and fewer still will then give you the power to become those objects yourself. It may look like a standard first-person shooter/RPG set aboard a post-disaster space station on the surface, but this immersive sim is one of the strangest of the lot.

To combat the ever-present threat of enemies that can look like anything until it’s too late, Prey fills your toolbox with a wide range of weird, unique, and often exciting tools and then lets you figure out which ones you most want to use. All of that combined with a story that channels the best of both its clear BioShock and Dishonored inspirations makes Prey is a gem of a single-player PC game that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Developer Arkane most recently released Deathloop, a time-looping FPS that IGN deemed a "masterpiece."

Release Date: May 5, 2017 | Developer: Arkane Studios | Last position: New! | IGN's Prey Video Review | IGN’s Prey Wiki

14. FTL: Faster Than Light

No game simulates the feeling of being in command of a starship flying by the seat of your pants like FTL: Faster Than Light. It's a game you shouldn't expect to survive – more likely, you'll be blasted out of the sky by a vastly superior enemy ship or boarded by a death squad of giant killer insects who massacre your crew. Maybe your life-support system will be hacked and everyone will suffocate.

But FTL’s not about winning – it's a story generator, where you get to talk about the time you got a killer beam-weapon combo that cuts enemy ships to ribbons while your ship remains cloaked, or vented a boarding party into space while your crew laughed behind reinforced bulkhead doors. Its tactical combat never gets old, tons of loot and random events keep every game feeling unpredictable, and unlockable ships force you to change up your strategies on subsequent runs. And every so often, you might even win.

Release Date: September 17, 2012 | Developer: Subset Games | Last position: 21 (↑ 8) | IGN’s FTL: Faster Than Light Wiki

13. DotA 2

MOBAs have earned a reputation for being dense and difficult to learn, but immensely strategic for those who put in the time. Spend some quality time with Dota 2 and you’ll understand why. Though all matches take place on one map, and there’s only one objective, its 100+ characters and thousands of item combinations make each round feel unique.

Because every second matters, matches are always exciting even when they seem slow. Are you farming gold? Are you scouting the enemy? Or crossing the map to help out a teammate? Or heading back to base to heal? Its complexity can scare players off, but those who stick through it will be rewarded with some of the most strategic gameplay around.

Dota 2's The International 2021 tournament will now be a digital-only event.

Release Date: July 9, 2013 | Developer: Valve | Last position: 10 (3) | IGN’s Dota 2 Wiki

12. Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)

Microsoft Flight Simulator is the closest thing we've had to a near-perfect recreation of the real world in the virtual space. Using real-time Bing data to allow you to fly to and from any place on the entire planet has raised the bar for simulations to heights never seen before. Accessible to anyone, or as realistic as you want, this is open-world at its most literal. Free-flying around the globe, participating in landing challenges at some of the world's most famously difficult airports, or just sightseeing, Microsoft Flight Simulator is an unparalleled achievement. Don't forget to grab one of the best PC joysticks to make this flight-sim experience that more immersive.

Flight Simulator for Xbox is now available as well. The Top Gun Maverick expansion, meanwhile, was recently delayed to align with the film's new May 27, 2022, release date.

Release Date: August 18, 2020 | Developer: Asobo Studio | Last Position: New! | IGN's Flight Simulator Video Review | IGN's Flight Simulator Wiki | Buy It Here: Amazon

11. Red Dead Redemption 2

Arthur Morgan’s sprawling tale of loyalty, conviction, and the price of infamy is only the beginning of Red Dead Redemption 2. The marvelous PC port overhauled and further enhanced the gorgeous wild western atmosphere of Rockstar's most recent open-world adventure and added even more activities, unlockables, and impossibly fine details to its expansive map. It's possibly one of the biggest and best single-player PC games ever and it has an extensive multiplayer mode too.

The potential for hijinks within its enormous sandbox of towns, outlaws, and wildlife was already nearly limitless, but the PC version factors in new missions, treasures, gear, and more layered on top of the already 60+ hours of story content in the base game. That’s not even counting all the multiplayer bells and whistles included in Red Dead Online, to say nothing of the ability to expand and customize with mods. RDR2 on PC is handily a must-play for anyone with a rig beefy enough to run it.

Release Date: October 26, 2018 | Developer: Rockstar | Last position: New! | IGN's Red Dead Redemption 2 Video Review | IGN’s Red Dead Redemption 2 Wiki

10. Final Fantasy XIV Online

In short, Final Fantasy XIV is not just the best MMO you can play right now, it’s a fantastic Final Fantasy game in its own right. Through its relaunch and subsequent three expansions FFXIV has slowly morphed from a relatively generic good-versus-evil plot into a sprawling, political, and fantastical thriller. The latest expansion, Shadowbringers, serves both satisfying payoffs to some years-long character arcs, as well as a compelling self-contained story that rivals the Final Fantasy series’ best.

Don’t be scared away by the fact that it’s online. Despite being an MMO, Square-Enix has streamlined things so much that, if you don’t want to, you really don’t have to play with other people. Story missions are intended to be tackled solo, and even instanced dungeons now have an option for you to enter with computer-controlled party members instead of forcing you into a group with strangers. Of course, it’s also a fully-fleshed MMO with end-game raiding that ranges from totally accessible to maddeningly punishing.

Final Fantasy 14 has surpassed 24 million players and is officially the most profitable Final Fantasy game of all time.

Release Date: August 27, 2013 | Developer: Square Enix Product Development Division 3 | Last position: New! | IGN's Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Video Review | IGN’s Final Fantasy XIV Online Wiki

9. Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium took age-old CRPG mechanics and created something entirely modern with them. As well as transplanting the dice-rolls and deep dialogue options from Dungeons and Dragons into a lesser-seen noir-detective setting, it offers entirely original ways to play, such as such as debating against 24 different sections of your own brain, each representative of a different skill or trait.

Your down-and-out detective is thrust into circumstances where you must solve a murder, but with all great stories its not the conclusion that is solely gratifying, but the journey you took to get there as its ludicrously detailed world and cast of characters drive it along, supported by some of the best writing seen in a game. Playing Disco Elysium feels entirely fresh and pretty much unlike anything else you’ll have experienced on PC in any era, let alone this one.

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut, which adds all-new quests and full voice acting to the acclaimed RPG, was release earlier this year. IGN awarded it a 10/10, saying "The Final Cut elevates Disco Elysium from an already phenomenal RPG to a true must-play masterpiece."

Release Date: October 15, 2019 | Developer: ZA/UM | Last position: New! | IGN's Disco Elysium Video Review | IGN’s Disco Elysium Wiki

8. NieR: Automata

Nier: Automata is, by all accounts, a game that shouldn't exist. Director Yoko Taro's original Nier flopped back in 2010, but it nevertheless developed a ravenous fanbase – and for good reason. To put it simply: Nier: Automata does what the original sought to do, learning from its failures and building on its successes to create a blend of hardcore and fluid combat, bullet-hell shoot 'em up segments, and visual novel stylings. It all coalesces into something entirely new.

Despite a frustrating PC port that the fanbase had to fix themselves with the all-but-mandatory FAR mod, Nier: Automata's staying power is etched somewhere within its philosophical musings of humanity, pain of existence, and ability to find the humor in between. Each of its big story moments is punctuated with a haunting soundtrack courtesy of composer Keiichi Okabe. All of that makes Nier: Automata a game that needs to be experienced from beginning to end – and not just ending A, but endings B, C, D, and E as well. Those multiple endings build to something no other game has ever dared to attempt (with apologies to the original Nier). But this one just hits a little different, you know?

Square released Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139, an upgraded version of the original Nier, in April. IGN reviewer Mitchell Saltzman said, "Improved visuals and smoothed out combat go a long way in Nier's update, but it's the story that's the star of the show."

Release Date: March 7, 2017 | Developer: Platinum Games | Last position: New! | IGN's Nier: Automata Video Review | IGN’s Nier: Automata Wiki

7. XCOM 2

XCOM 2 builds on the brilliant, high-stakes tactical combat of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and its War of the Chosen expansion made it even better. It has the same tension of going from a technologically inferior underdog to powerful war machine, with the constant threat of the permanent death of your customized soldiers looming over every decision.

However, it turns the formula of defending Earth from alien invaders on its head by boldly recasting XCOM as a guerrilla force attempting to liberate the planet from alien occupation, making the situation feel even more desperate than ever. This bigger, deeper sequel adds not just complexity in the form of new and more powerful soldier classes, equipment, and aliens, but also a huge focus on replayability. Procedurally generated maps keep you from falling into a repeatable pattern in tactical missions, frequent random events on the strategic map shake up your build and research orders, and of course mods galore.

Firaxis revealed its next game, Marvel's Midnight Suns, during Gamescom's Opening Night Live. Shortly after the announcement, Firaxis showed gave us our first look at Marvel's Midnight Suns gameplay.

Release Date: February 5, 2016 | Developer: Firaxis Games | Last position: 15 (↑ 8) | IGN's XCOM 2 Video Review | IGN’s XCOM 2 Wiki

6. Grand Theft Auto 5 / GTA Online

Grand Theft Auto V’s sprawling, yet meticulously detailed map is still the high bar to which all other open-world games aspire. Not only is it huge, it’s incredibly dense with excellent content – not just the driving and shooting and three-protagonist story that make up its campaign, and not limited to the numerous side activities, but all the sights, sounds, and bustling activity you'd expect to find in a city teeming with humans, seedy underbelly included.

With so much to do, explore, and play with, both as a single-player PC game and Grand Theft Auto Online, plus great creative tools and mods, it’s truly amazing on multiple levels. Plus with the new Cayo Perico update adding a new solo heist and island to the map, not the mention the game coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X, there's no sign of GTA V going to pasture anytime soon.

In other franchise news, Rockstar recently revealed Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, a remastered collection of Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City, and San Andreas.

Release Date: April 4, 2015 | Developer: Rockstar Games | Last position: 3 (↓3) | IGN's Grand Theft Auto V Video Review | IGN’s Grand Theft Auto V Wiki and Interactive Map

5. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition

Divinity: Original Sin 2’s Definitive Edition has cemented it as one of the greatest RPGs of all time. It masterfully mixes pieces of classic cRPGs with more modern mechanics and designs, feeling old and new at the same time. The sequel has improved upon its predecessor's already incredible combat by deepening its systems while simultaneously simplifying and smoothing out its clunkier bits - not to mention it introduced some brutally smart new AI.

There's also an overwhelming amount of game here to play. With six different origin characters, custom tags to make your own, and over 74,000 lines of fully voiced dialogue, this massive RPG has more than enough to keep you coming back to it.

Release Date: September 14, 2017 | Developer: Larian Studios | Last position: 5 (No Change) | IGN's Divinity: Original Sin 2 Video Review | IGN’s Divinity: Original Sin 2 Wiki

4. Slay the Spire

In a roguelike, variety is king: Slay The Spire's constantly changing decks of ability cards, powerful relics, and the three drastically different playable characters keeps these turn-based battles fresh and engaging for far longer than they have any right to. Watching your character's attacks, defenses, skills, and powers evolve across its three chapters is a journey, and throwing your hand in at the end of a run knowing you may never see its like again can be like saying goodbye to a friend you were only just getting to know.

Of course, the possibility of getting an even better combination the next time through makes it tough to resist hitting the New Game button, and the randomized Daily Climb runs give even veterans a new and interesting way to play every day.

Release Date: January 23, 2019 | Developer: MegaCrit LLC | Last position: 24 (↑ 20) | IGN's Slay the Spire Video Review

3. Half-Life: Alyx

Valve’s first Half-Life game in 13 years reminded us of the innovation that’s made this series so special and why its return was so anticipated. Just as the first Half-Life proved you could tell a story in a first-person game without taking control of the camera away, and Half-Life 2 pioneered physics-based puzzles and combat, Half-Life: Alyx has set a new standard for polish in virtual reality shooters and is a truly unique experience for VR headset owners.

Its full-length campaign pulls out all the stops for an amazing and horrifying battle against alien soldiers, zombies, headcrabs, and three-dimensional puzzles, and it even turns the simple act of reloading your weapon into a desperate life-or-death struggle. It caps it all off with a fantastic ending that made the wait almost feel worth it.

On the hardware front, Valve's handheld PC gaming device Steam Deck will begin shipping in December. According to the company, Steam Deck development is in its "final stages.'

Release Date: March 23, 2020 | Developer: Valve | Last position: New! | IGN's Half-Life: Alyx Video Review | IGN’s Half-Life Alyx Wiki

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Deep, lengthy RPGs are a staple of PC gaming, and very few have put a larger chunk of sophisticated content forward than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has. Its massive sandbox open-world areas impress, both in terms of scope and density; they’re generously dotted with great monsters to slay, tantalizing mysteries to solve, and personal stories to unfurl.

It’s also one of the most impressive overall productions in gaming history, with reams of excellently written dialogue performed by a stellar voice cast, an incredible original soundtrack, and graphics that qualify as both a technical and artistic achievement.

A "visually and technically enhanced" version of The Witcher 3 is coming to PC later this year and will include new content inspired by Netflix's The Witcher series — the second season of which will debut on December 17.

Release Date: May 19, 2015 | Developer: CD Projekt Red | Last position: 2 (No Change) | IGN's The Witcher 3 Video Review | IGN’s The Witcher 3 Wiki and Interactive Maps

1. Portal 2

Portal 2 claims the top spot because, in the past decade, nothing else has struck so many chords so perfectly. No game accomplishes so much so well. Its impeccable level design, charming personality, and exceptional and varied puzzle systems make us feel smarter just for getting through it. Plus, its co-op campaign requires a different sort of smarts that remains one of the best multiplayer experiences with pals around.

Valve is a developer that, presumably because of the time it takes to make its incredible games, creates a feeling of timelessness in its design. Portal 2 – which iterated on and added to the brilliant puzzle design and world-building of its predecessor – feels just as clever and unique as it did in 2011. Simply put, if you’ve never played Portal 2, your top gaming priority right now should be to do just that.

Release Date: April 19, 2011 | Developer: Valve | Last position: 1 (No Change) | IGN's Portal 2 Video Review | IGN’s Portal 2 Wiki

Upcoming PC Games

With Far Cry 6 and Back 4 Blood having already hit in October, let's take a look ahead at the other big games coming to PC this month.

As expected during the lead-up to Halloween, October is a great month for new horror games. Mixing horror with deckbuilding-roguelike gameplay, Inscryption comes to PC on October 19. The turn-based, '80s-inspired adventure Echo Generation, which may be of interest to Stranger Things fans, is out two days later on October 21. Those will be followed by the next horror game from Supermassive, Dark Pictures: House of Ashes, on October 22.

Square Enix will release Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy on October 26, the same day Darkest Dungeon 2 hits Early Access. Closing out the month is Age of Empires 4 on October 28. Check out our final preview for more on the long-awaited RTS.

Those are our picks for the 25 best modern PC games! Obviously there are dozens of incredible games we couldn't include, but that’s what happens when you only have 25 spots. Let us know in the comments what's on your list that didn't make ours, and be sure to check out our other best games lists — we update them whenever new, great games are made:


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30 best PC games to play right now

Autumn is now in full swing, and it brought some big game releases with it. While we’ve just had some new additions to our list of the 30 best PC games in September, there are still plenty of otherwise great releases you can play if you’re looking for something new. For the best of the best, check our best list, starting on page 2, for the best new releases, stay right here.

New games are best enjoyed on new hardware. If you’re looking to upgrade your PC setup right now or are already planning Christmas purchases,  we have the best gaming PCs in any category. Simply visit our buyer’s guides for the best  high-end gaming PC builds, thebest gaming laptops andthe best gaming PCs out of the box to find the right PC for you. 

Top PC games to play right now

Plenty of recent releases haven’t quite made our top 30 list – which starts on the next page – but are well worth having a look at. If you want to stay on top with new releases or our top 30 PC games list isn’t quite for you, here are some recent top picks.

FIFA 22 

FIFA is a difficult game to recommend, because with the best football simulation currently available also comes Ultimate Football, one of the most shrewd monetisation models around. What you get with FIFA 22 is a FIFA game that is largely the same as its predecessors in the broad strokes – an unbelievable amount of teams and players, as well as a football experience that looks and sounds amazing.

With the much-reduced speed of the game, however, FIFA 22 can feel trickier for some, but that is one of the few notable gameplay changes. FIFA 22 is still the best option for sports game fans – unfortunately EA knows it and charges premium prices for its premium players. Read ourfull review for a more in-depth view from the commentator’s box.

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Far Cry 6

If you can believe it, Far Cry 6 actually has a few similarities with FIFA 22 – a series of games with great looks and good quality gameplay that gets away with relatively minor changes and is also increasingly taken in by monetization models.

Far Cry 6 is a safe bet if you like the precise brand of first-person shooting meets virtual tourism the series is renowned for. This time Ubisoft takes you to Yara, an island designed to be similar to Cuba. As in previous Far Cry games, especially later ones, you can once again hardly take a step without being accosted by helicopters filled with terrorists or getting mauled by wildlife, and there is a certain relaxing flow to taking on the chaos. The aspects that describe the typical open-world grind, from taking down camps to engaging in animal fights or treasure hunting, is likely more fun than the brutal, simple storyline – but Far Cry knows what it’s good at and everyone who’s ever played one has likely set their expectations accordingly.

Get it now:
Epic Games Store

 Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 

You wanted Smash Bros. for PC? Well, there you have it. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a Smash-style platform brawler featuring Nickelodeon characters such as Spongebob, The Ninja Turtles, the Rugrats, and more.

While it lacks voiceover and is quite a bit faster than Smash, it’s a comparable experience, and definitely great fun to play with friends. Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl will be supported post-release, which means you can expect online play to be finetuned, and hopefully, new characters will join the roster over time just as they did in Smash. Whether or not you’re a fan of Nickelodeon shows, this is a great brawler with the potential to become an all-timer with a dedicated fanbase.

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Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania

Another classic previously contained to consoles makes to it PC with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania, a remake of Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, itself a spruced up compilation of the first few Super Monkey Ball games. If you’ve never heard of the series, the title and just about one image from the actual game sum it up pretty well – you’re a monkey in a ball, hurtling along courses in over 300 stages, trying not to fall down platforms or lose momentum through hitting obstacles. 

It’s a difficult balance to hit, so Super Monkey Ball is definitely the game for you if you love ergonomic challenges, high score hunting or any type of game highly reliant on its physics. If you’re a new fan, the difficulty doesn’t have to stop you – thanks to a myriad of accessibility options, this is a game everyone can enjoy. For veterans, Banana Mania will feel a little difficult, as expected for a game balanced for anything else than a Gamecube, but the nostalgic feeling is there, and this collection does give you one thing for sure – lots and lots of Super Monkey Ball.

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Back 4 Blood

Created by many of the same people who worked on Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood seeks to be the Left 4 Dead for a new generation. Back 4 Blood looks great, enhances the co-op zombie-killing experience with a few useful features, and boast great level design and gun feel.

While L4D purists will likely never find another game like it, Back 4 Blood is the next best thing – a very good shooter with a large enemy variety and challenging boss fights. If you enjoy the genre and are looking for another game to enjoy with friends, Back4 Blood is a great option.

Get it now:
Xbox Game Pass for PC

Turn to page two for our full rundown of the 30 best PC games you need to add to your wishlist immediately... 

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Malindy is a freelance video games writer for outlets like Eurogamer, PLAY, PCGamer and Edge Magazine, who also occasionally works in game design consultation and localization. As a Japanese speaker, she enjoys Japanese pop culture and is always on the hunt for the next game from the Land of the Rising Sun. She also particularly enjoys narrative-focused games and cute indies, and always seeks to learn more about the business-side of the gaming industry.

Top 50 Best PC Indie Games to Play
Credit: Neon Giant

Searching for classic PC games that will keep you coming back for more has never been so easy. But before we launch into the 100 games that we consider must-plays, here are a few things to consider:

  • This isn't a ranked list of the 100 best PC games. This is a list of 100 PC games we consider must-plays. There is a difference.
  • With a handful of exceptions, we tried to avoid including multiple entries of the same franchise on this list. In most cases, we opted for the installment we consider the best or most significant. This was done in order to try and ensure a more diverse list that covers more than just the obvious stuff and doesn't lose ten entries to the collective merits of the wider Half Life franchise.
  • Older gamers might also notice that the contents of the list also skew towards more modern titles over fare like Deus Ex, Thief, Planescape: Torment, Vampire: The Masquarade and Arcanum. Part of the reason for this is because getting those older titles running on modern systems can be a bit painful. Part of it is also down to some of the writing or design or graphics in those games not aging well. However, more than either of those things, we didn't want this list to obsess over the same games that every best PC games list obsesses over. Yes, the original DOOM had a big impact but is it really the shooter you want to point modern audiences towards? While there's certainly a debt to be paid to the past, we think it's okay to let go of that legacy and some of the baggage associated with it to make room for new things 
  • In the grand scheme of things, 100 games is not a lot of games. There are tons of gems that did not make the cut here. How do you realistically rate the best city simulator game ever made against the third or fourth best first-person shooter against one another? Some calls had to be made and this list can't please everyone.
  • We plan to update this list in the future! Some games might move up over time. Others might lose their spots to future hits. Stay tuned.

Without any further ado, please enjoy this list of 100 PC games you should play before you die.

100. EVE Online

Credit: CCP

The history of space sims runs in close parallel with the history of PC gaming and before ambitious and immersive fare like Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen hit the scene, EVE Online represented the apex of the detail-oriented genre. 

Set in an expansive, dynamic and dangerous setting of New Eden, EVE Online embraces player choice and socially-driven narratives like no MMORPG before it. Though dense and intimidating in its complexity, there’s an undeniable allure to a virtual world where everything has a price.

99. Cibele

Credit: Star Maid Games

Cibele is a narrative game that’s unlike any other. Taking place within the confines of a shitty MMORPG, the game situates you within the relationship between two young adults who meet playing the game and, predictably, look to take their bond beyond the virtual world that initially brought them together.

Cibele is short, sweet, intimate in tone, inventive in form and refreshingly honest about the ups and downs of internet relationships.

98. Super Hexagon

Credit: Terry Cavanagh

A simple but stylish rhythm game about guiding yourself out of a series of sinister shapes, Super Hexagon takes seconds to learn but hours to master. It’s elegant, engaging and energetic. Every time you get a little further. Every time it gets a little better. 

Super Hexagon is like a hit single that you’ll want to hit replay on over and over again.

97. The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

Credit: Starbreeze

Though in-part a remake of the first game in the series, Assault on Dark Athena can be fairly called the definitive Riddick video game. A gritty science fiction adventure that most missed the first time around, Starbreeze’s take on Vin Diesel's stoic anti-hero expands the scope of the narrative and brings new mechanics into the mix. 

The Chronicles of Riddick is a stealth action game where things going wrong can sometimes be more fun than everything going right.

96. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Credit: Starbreeze Studios

Brothers is an adventure built around a simple but unique hook: you’re in control of two characters at once. Naturally, the act of learning how to get these two individuals to work together as a unit mirrors the larger narrative arc of the game and serves to make the game’s finale all the more heartbreaking. 

Long before the Swedish director behind the game became a viral internet icon, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons saw Josef Fares subvert the conventions of modern gaming to offer up something more grounded in emotion than action.

95. Slay the Spire

Credit: Mega Crit Games

While more multiplayer-focused digital card games have arrived in the aftermath of Blizzard’s Hearthstone, Slay the Spire sets the standard for what single-player deck building should look like.

Pulling from popular roguelike games and old-school turn-based RPGs, Slay the Spire provides manifold fresh twists on convention. More than just a game that challenges you, it’s a game that feels like it’s in conversation with you. Slay The Spire feels like it never stops asking you to find new ways to play.

94. Heat Signature

Credit: Suspicious Developments

Heat Signature cross stitches together a medley of mechanics from roguelikes, immersive sims, procedural exploration and action games to form a bizarre cocktail of gameplay that, while not infinitely replayable, is rich in possibility. 

If Halo invented the combat puzzle, Heat Signature perfects it. It’s a game where the point isn’t about learning a skill or grinding experience points but rather learning the ins and outs of the toolbox that the game gives you.

93. Stellaris 

Credit: Paradox Interactive

Emphasising exploration and interspecies diplomacy, Stellaris codifies and gamifies every aspect of modern life and imagines how it could be different. It’s an exciting look at not the destiny that mankind could chart among the stars but a glimpse into what the future of strategy games could look like. 

Though similar in appearance, Stellaris feels like a departure from the strategy games of old and a fresh foray into unknown territory.

92. FEZ

Credit: Polytron

Boasting a unique vowelised look, this zen-inducing platformer is far more than it first appears to be. 

Where the platforming borrows from Metroid, the storytelling in FEZ borrows from games like Myst. In both form, function, style and execution, FEZ is all about learning to see things from a different perspective.

91. Prison Architect

Credit: Introversion Software

Introversion’s Prison Architect takes the formula popularised by games like Rollercoaster Tycoon and bends it towards morally ambiguous ends. 

Where other simulation games’ strip away or minimise the humanity of the people inhabiting the spaces you design, Prison Architect places it front and centre. The results of this reorientation can be unexpectedly challenging but admirably original.

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The best PC games of 2021

Never mind the next-gen consoles, the best PC games will show that if you want the most diverse range of games or the best looking titles, you need a desktop computer or laptop. But with so many unique and multi-platform titles available via the various digital storefronts or physical discs, it can be hard to pick one to play though.

Using a mouse and keyboard for FPS games or strategy titles is often much easier and more fun than struggling with imprecise analog sticks or limited controller inputs. Others are visually stunning, and deserve to be played on the most powerful hardware to show them off at their best. And even though there's a new console generation out, the PC will always have an upper hand in graphics as long as you have the budget.

What's more, it's a lot easier to get a hold of a gaming PC or laptop and start playing the latest and greatest games than it is to buy one of a very limited stock of Xbox Series X or PS5 consoles. All you need is one of our top gaming PCs or gaming laptop picks, and you can get started right away with these best games for PC.

What are the best PC games?

Because there's such a huge number of them, our list can only capture a small number of the total number of great PC gaming experiences. Nonetheless, you'll hopefully find something you'll like from our selection.

If you're an action fan, then shooting down aliens in Gears 5 or slicing demons to pieces in Devil May Cry 5 are the top picks for you. They both look gorgeous in their own way, and have mechanics that have been polished through the entire length of their long-running franchises, with these installments being the best yet.

If you'd prefer something slower paced but still a thrill, then XCOM: Chimera Squad is a strategy title that will see you test your mental powers against those who seek to destroy the tenuous human-alien alliance, with the help of a unique cast of agents.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and Disco Elysium are a pair of titles that will provide you with many hours of content to explore. RDR2 is full of exquisitely modelled environments for you to explore, while Disco Elysium focuses more on your character's own internal conflicts, with the RPG systems that make up the game reflecting the detective work you undertake as you play.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a game you could buy just for its beautiful vistas, but the tight 2D platforming and combat mean there's plenty to do as you travel around its world. It's a similar story with Microsoft Flight Simulator, despite the very different genre. With all the assist options enabled, it becomes a relaxing way to travel the world in an aircraft. But should you want it, you can dive into the metaphorical nuts and bolts of your plane to really explore what the simulation can offer.

What Remains of Edith Finch is the final title we'll spotlight here. This is a story-focussed game that will continually surprise you with radically different gameplay vignettes for each section. It doesn't take long to play, but the real value comes in how it'll stick with you long after you quit the game for the final time.

The best PC games you can buy today

1. Alan Wake Remastered

Return to Bright Falls in this refreshed edition of the original Alan Wake and its two DLC packs. In the shoes and shabby jacked of the titular writer, you take a trip to what seems like a cute little town to get away from things. However different, darker challenges await Alan when his wife goes missing and Bright Falls is overrun with shadow monsters.

The game feels similar to your typical third-person shooter, but before you fill your enemies with bullets, you have to burn off their protective layers of darkness with a sustained blast from your flashlight. With precious few sources of light besides that one lonely beam in your hand, you'll have to carefully prioritize your targets or simply hold them back while you make a break for the next safe area. Coupled with the spooky TV series theming, you've got a lot of delicious, omnious atmosphere to enjoy as you play.

1. Psychonauts 2

It's been too long since the original Psychonauts amazed us all with its enjoyable platforming and imaginative environments, so we've been delighted to try out the sequel. 

With new and more customizable psychic powers, it's even more fun to play as Raz the second time around. Plus with the extra power of a modern PC, each unique environment and set of enemies looks fantastic. Plus with the story taking place directly after the original (and a detailed recap at the start of the game), there's no discomfort while trying to understand exactly what's going on.

2. Guilty Gear Strive

The latest installment of the hectic 2D fighting series is also its most accessible. Whether it's the detailed tutorial, bevy of missions and training options to help you learn moves and combos, or the in-depth glossary and lore resources to help get you up to speed on the story, GG Strive gives you every chance to immerse yourself.

While the game's story mode is worth your time if you're a fan of anime action, the heart of the game is its one-on-one fights. All the characters have an arsenal of flashy and devestating moves, but it's up to you to learn how to tie them together and best your opponent. Mix in dramatic moments like aerial combos, wall breaks and stage transitions and every fight feels epic, even if you aren't an expert.

3. Mass Effect Legendary Edition

After an underwhelming entry on the last generation of consoles, the original Mass Effect trilogy has returned with a remastered edition for the PC, as well as the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

This isn't just a new coat of paint on the old games though. Bioware has tweaked the controls and gameplay to make all three titles play smoothly. And yes, that includes the infamous Mako tank from the first game.

To complete the package, all the games include all the DLC too, be it just guns and armor or a full story expansion. With so much high quality content to enjoy, this is unquestionably one of the best PC games around right now.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition won a "highly recommended" honor for "best story" at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

4. Little Nightmares II

A sequel that's just as good as the original, Little Nightmares II once again puts you in the shoes of a vulnerable kid trying to escape the clutches of monstrous adults. This time you're not alone though. You play as Mono, the boy wearing a paper bag, but you're joined by Six, the girl with the yellow jacket who starred in the original game.

As you'd expect, there are enemies to avoid or fight, plus lots of environmental hazards and traps to work your way around. The visual design and sound design are as atmospheric as ever, which helps create a baseline sense of unease as you traverse the Pale City. It's on the shorter sides of these best PC games, but it's still all too memorable.

5. Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition

The sequel to 2017's Nioh keeps the already challenging core of the action RPG intact, but adds new fun elements on top of that. Set in an early-modern Japan inhabit by numerous good and evil spirits, you play a half-spirit, half-human. Adventuring across the islands you will meet key historical figures from the Sengoku Era, as well as taking on the yokai that stand in your way 

The most obvious comparison point for this game is the Dark Souls series. Combat is quick and deadly for both you and your opponents, but you can augment your abilities with new items you discover and craft, which will help you reach the next checkpoint. It doesn't just involve traditional weapons and switching battle stances any more though, as your new Yokai Shift powers let you take the form of foes you've defeated. The lethality of battle and the number of complex mechanics means this game will take some serious dedication to complete.

The Nioh Collection won a "highly recommended" honor at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

6. Hades

After hiding on the Epic Games Store as an exclusive early access title since late 2018, Hades has now finally launched as a full product on other platforms, and quickly became recognized as one of the best PC games around. This is a rare combination of a roguelike game with a comprehensive, branching story. You, playing as Hades' son Zagreus, have to continually fight your way through Hades (the place, not your father) over and over until you make it to Mount Olympus.

The other famous gods of the Greek pantheon are also there for you to interact with. They serve as both characters in the story and as your method of upgrading your character with powers and abilities that reflect their place in the pantheon. Each run means trying out a new combination of these gifts, and every failure still moves you forward.

Hades won "best Switch game" at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

Available from Steam and the Epic Games Store

7. Microsoft Flight Simulator

None of the other best PC games on this list offer you the whole world to play with, but the latest flight sim from Microsoft gives you exactly that, with both a mind-boggling scale and a meticulously detailed hangar of aircraft to pilot. 

You have the choice of both light aircraft or huge passenger jets, letting you play as a lone amateur aviator or the captain of a commercial flight. The game promises to model their flight characteristics accurately, which are affected by real-time weather and daylight effects, so it'll be difficult to get a better idea of flying one of these machines without actually stepping into the cockpit in real life.

While you can nerd out over every single setting and control of your plane, you can also let the game take care of the tricky stuff while you enjoy flying around, seeing landmarks from across the globe or touching down at one of the game's many detailed airports. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator won "best PC game" at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021.

8. Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition

Chances are you've not played this (unless you own a PS4 also), and since this version comes with all the DLC packed in, there's no better way to experience this open-world adventure. Somewhere in the US after an unknown apocalyptic event, tribes of humans try to live quietly in amongst the hordes of animalistic robots that roam the lands. As the outcast Aloy however, you are bound for greater things.

While your human enemies are armed with the same array of spears, bows and slings as you are, taking on the machines, particularly the larger varieties, requires a lot more tactical thinking.

There is a story to play through, one which helps explain the world and how it came to be this way, and that's quite enjoyable on its own. But it's exploring the beautiful but desolate urban areas reclaimed by trees and plants, hunting down your metal prey via traps and frontal attacks, and finally bringing it down after a long tense battle that secures H:ZD a spot on the best PC games list.

9. Persona 4 Golden

After this 2008 JRPG was remade for the PlayStation Vita, the expanded 'Golden' edition of the game is now playable on PC, bringing the famed PlayStation series to a new group of players. As a high school student, you spend a year living in the town of Inaba, and fighting in an alternate dimension, where you must fight against the Shadows alongside your friends, using 'Personas', manifestations of your inner selves that contain immense power, as your weapons.

Since this is an RPG, a lot of your time will be spent finding new Personas to wield and levelling up your stats, which involves completing various activities with your Investigation Team, meaning you become more powerful and more invested in the characters and world at the same time. The combat takes a turn-based format, meaning that while fighting against the forces of evil can be stressful, you don't need immense mechanical skill or reactions to succeed. With a lengthy campaign to complete, this is the slow-burner of our best PC games list, and one that'll leave a positive impression on you for a long time.

10. Streets of Rage 4

Taking up the mantle of the classic 1990s Sega franchise after decades of silence, Streets of Rage 4 is a beat-em-up for up to four players to fight their way through an army of thugs to take down a pair of evil twins who want to enslave Wood Oak City. It's a throwback to arcade classics but with plenty of modern polish that means that newcomers will be just as happy playing this as the expert fans will be.

Like any good fighter, your chosen character has a long list of special moves to use, but take care as using these moves could cost you health if used carelessly. For mechanics-fiends, the game's juggling system will let you perform some seriously fancy combos if you put in the practice.

As well as the story mode, you also have a boss rush option to fight all the toughest enemies one after another, an Arcade mode that gives you a limited number of lives and the option to fight against another human player if you really want a challenge. 

11. Wildfire

Stealth games usually give you one or two abilities to sneak around the environment, but Wildfire lets you burn it down as just one of a bunch of unique ways to find a way past your enemies, either by yourself or with a co-op partner.

Playing as a witch bestowed the power of fire by a crashed meteor, you get to build your skills in this and the other classical elements RPG-style to then use in your mission to banish an invading army from your homeland, rescuing villagers along the way.

This is certainly a best PC game list member, thanks to an excellent score and lovingly-designed pixel art. This can be a fun game to experience just for the story, but the game also offers optional challenges and speedrun targets for people who want to get their teeth into the game's mechanics. It's a fantastic example of the kind of high quality indie games that the PC platform helps cultivate.

12. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

This sequel to 2015's Ori and the Blind Forest builds on the original's 'metroidvania' style gameplay - exploring every corner of a large world collecting various abilities and powers, but with additional gameplay refinements and variations and a new story that's just as emotive as the original. Unlike many metroidvania games which are populated by just you and everything trying to kill you, there are lots of friendly NPCs you can encounter too. They will give you your quests and also help contextualise the world, making it feel like it's worth protecting.

This member of our best PC games list is a treat for your eyes and ears too. The artwork was all hand painted and then scanned, making it look beautiful in a way like precious few other games on the market. Meanwhile the orchestral score helps to underscore epic and intimate moments in your journey.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps won "best graphics" at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

13. XCOM: Chimera Squad

You may be familiar with the rebooted XCOM series, which pits you and your squad of high-tech soldiers against an invading alien force. It's a pretty traditional strategy series, or at least it was until Chimera Squad appeared. The alien invasion is over, and instead humans, extraterrestrials and hybrids of the two now live together in harmony, aside from the resistance movement that you're now tasked with defeating

Instead of randomly generated troops, Chimera Squad gives you a small preset team of humans and aliens, each with unique powers. Turn order is arranged around individual characters too, meaning your tactical priorities will continuously change. There's no base this time around either, instead you operate out of a pre-built facility in a single city. It's a very different kind of XCOM but the risk that comes with changing so many established rules about a franchise has really paid off here.

14. The Outer Worlds

Awaking after decades of being lost on your way to a distant colony, you find that life moved on without you, with The Board, a group of all-powerful corporations, ruling every aspect of the people’s lives. Travelling between the different outposts, you must fight or charm your way to the center of power, with the help of companions with their own storylines to follow. 

Will you find a place in the company hierarchy, or will you become an anti-corporate guerrilla taking them down? The game lets you make this and many other tiny choices as you go, with multiple ways to reach your objective so you never get stuck no matter your chosen skills. With a fun retro-future aesthetic and funny but thoughtful writing throughout, The Outer Worlds is definitely one of the best PC games you can play.

15. Disco Elysium

You’re a detective in the city of Revachol, and are suffering from just as many issues as the town itself, including an unfortunate bout of amnesia. When a murder victim is discovered hanging from a tree, you and your more stable colleague Kim are tasked with solving the case. 

You can use your brains or brawn to get to the bottom of this crime, improving your skills and gaining new quirks as you go. The reason this is one of the best PC games is that most of these aren't your traditional combat skills. The game instead offers more creative abilities, like pain tolerance, to help you tackle the situations you face. By the end, you'll either end up as a credit to the force, or a disgrace, having made and broken alliances with the game's factions as you try to figure out the mystery.

16. Control

Within The Oldest House, the headquarters of the Government Bureau of Control, something ancient and alien has emerged, and it certainly isn’t friendly. As Jesse Faden, a victim of a paranormal incident searching for her long-lost brother, you will navigate and fight your way through this strange unfriendly facility, which has also somehow become your responsibility to save.

You will fight using conventional(ish) weapons and gain superpowers bestowed upon you by the contents of the Oldest House’s rooms and vaults, with neither the spaces nor the objects quite behaving like you'd expect. It’s a mindbending challenge for fans of government conspiracy stories and the idea of humankind meeting and struggling to deal with incomprehensibly enormous and powerful forces. Even if the details of the story don't matter to you, this is one of the best PC games purely for the game's highly screenshot-worthy environments and effects.

17. Gears 5

Changing enough to keep it fresh but keeping and refining most of what made the series so beloved, Gears 5 is the new highpoint for the Microsoft-exclusive third person shooter franchise. Following on from the story in Gears of War 4, Kait Diaz takes the lead in this campaign. She, JD and Del rejoin the COG Army to take on the Locust Horde once again, and fight to protect what remains of the human race and its strongholds. 

The story is only half the story though. Once you’re done with the campaign, which you can complete either alone or in three-player co-op, you can try out your combat skills with your friends in Horde or Escape mode, or against them in traditional multiplayer modes, with the option to build your own maps for customizable fun.

18. Devil May Cry 5

Dante's back and better than ever. At long last, Capcom released Devil May Cry 5, which brings the crew from the four previous games together to fight a new threat of a demonic nature. Not only do you get to see Dante back in action with all his signature tricks (and a few new ones), we get to see Nero and his new interchangeable robot arms, plus new hero V and his two controllable demon familiars.

Together, they'll drive back the demon hordes the only way they know how -- in smokin' sexy style. There's a long campaign to play through with challenging enemies and bosses across several difficulty modes, or there's the new version of the Bloody Palace: a survival gauntlet which pits you against 101 levels of baddies for you to slice and smash through. It's one of the best PC games if you're an action fan looking for a fun story or a combo system to master.

Resident Evil 2 has been released and ported to new platforms more times than we can count. But trust us on this –– you need to play this version. This edition of RE2 is more than a touched-up re-release, it's a fully remastered game that has been rebuilt from the bottom up. This eliminates the less approachable parts of the game, such as the loathsome tank controls and fixed camera angles, and enhances the parts of the experience that were well loved, while also updating the graphics to near photo-realistic quality. 

It's even scarier and more gore-soaked than the initial entry. Plus, you've got the terrifying Mr. X, an indestructible behemoth who will chase you through the police station your player characters Leon and Claire have found themselves trapped in. Both have their own campaigns to play too, meaning you will get plenty of scary but enjoyable hours out of this totally refreshed experience.


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