The best PC games 2023
What are the best PC games available today? From triple-A world-beaters like GTA V to enchanting indie releases such as Rocket League, these classics are the biggest games across Steam, Epic Games Store and more.
Finding the top PC games is no easy task. There are, you may have noticed, quite a lot of them. From the 50,000 plus Steam games to… all those other platforms you love so much, there has never been more choice available to the discerning PC gamer.
So let us help. Below you’ll find our list of the best PC games you can play right now, whether you’re rocking the best gaming laptop or something a little more entry-level. Oh, and before the shouting starts this is not an ‘all-time greats’ round-up or an exhaustive list of very good PC games, these are the best of the bests for 2023, according to us.
Here are the best PC games:
CS:GO has sat unchallenged as the pinnacle of competitive FPS games since 2012, with shooting mechanics that reward mechanical skill above all else, a weapon economy that provokes constant strategic reshuffles, and perfectly balanced maps. Valorant, from Riot Games, does all of that, while also mixing in a roster of heroes, each one with passive, active, and ultimate abilities. Some of those abilities have CS:GO counterparts, like smokescreens, flashes, and grenades, but there’s nuance to how each Agent’s kit works that ensures every round plays out differently.
Learning how to combine Agent abilities and apply them to each of the game’s maps is a limitless learning curve that always encourages experimentation and unorthodox play. Sure, you can learn some basic ability spots from YouTube, but if you invent your own then you’ll always have a better chance of catching your opponent unawares.
Valorant may not win over the FPS purists, but it’s infinitely more accessible and offers new players an inroad that doesn’t involve being really, really good at clicking on heads. And if you are one of those new players then allow us to help you out with a guide to all the Valorant characters, a ranking of them in the form of a Valorant tier list, and a helping hand getting used to the gun, spray patterns, and Valorant crosshairs.
Ok, so maybe a VR game wasn’t what we all had in mind when Valve announced its first new Half-Life game since the long-abandoned Half-Life 3, but Alyx isn’t just an incredible Half-Life game, it also – finally – validates the the years of VR hype.
The scope is certainly smaller than the main Half-Life games, but whereas missions in Alyx will often take place in a single building, the level of interaction available to you far exceeds even that of the Gravity Gun. Whether that’s in flashy moments like using a wooden beam to play baseball with enemy grenades, or simply sweeping clutter off shelves in search of extra ammo. It’s good game feel, just like a shotgun blast in Doom or Mario’s yahoo, but this time it makes you feel as much a part of City 17 as the looming Combine ships. You can read our full Half-Life: Alyx review here in case you’re mind’s not made up yet.
In Rockstar’s follow-up to one of the greatest western games of all time – you’ll take on the role of rugged outlaw Arthur Morgan, part of the reckless and depleting Van der Linde gang. As you ride through the merciless fictional US landscape, Red Dead Redemption 2 not only thrusts you into a perilous world in which outlaws are facing extinction, crushed under the accountability of law and order, it propels you into a downward spiral of morality versus survival.
Red Dead Redemption’s beauty lies in the imminent fate of the gang and stolen moments around the campfire. Arthur feels a crushing responsibility to rescue and reassure his entire hapless family, even the rotten rogues who appear hell-bent on steering the group towards a cataclysmic end.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of those games that will stay with you for many years after the credits roll. From quiet haunts tracking legendary animals and plucking herbs from the side of old railways, to moments of desperation where the gang leads a desperate retaliation against rivals, – there’s an immense amount of detail in this world and just as much heart. Check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 PC review for the full verdict. If you get stuck try our Red Dead 2 cheats.
The first of Insomniac’s Spider-Man games introduced us to frantic combat and rapid web swinging through the bustling streets of Manhattan that we’d never seen before in video games, and the Miles Morales sequel is essentially more of the same, but improved in every way. Side filler missions like sneaking through an art gallery as MJ are gone, combat abilities and skills have been given more gusto, and the story is a little shorter to ensure it never dips in quality at any point.
What’s even better is that while Miles Morales is technically a spin-off and as a result, it uses the same map of Manhattan, it’s set during the festive period so it automatically becomes one of the best Christmas games, with snow and festive decorations everywhere. The story is all about Miles proving himself as Spider-Man while Peter’s taken a leave of absence, and it’s certainly one of the best superhero games, if not the best.
The word ‘simulation’ tends to come with an air of seriousness: the po-faced responsibility of landing a plane, or the anatomically accurate stoicism of freezing half to death in the Canadian wastes. Divinity: Original Sin II is definitely a simulation. It tracks body temperature, vision cones, and whether an NPC will like you based on your appearance and the general mood about town.
But it’s also deeply silly – a breezy yet hardcore tactical RPG in which most battles tend to trigger a series of unintended explosions. It’s two parts Dragon Age and one part Monty Python, and features a campaign that tells a decent story while leaving enough space for you to be yelled at by a head on a stick as you trek across the map.
Take the action online, and Divinity: Original Sin II PvP gets even sillier, where a Game Master mode lets you convincingly recreate the unpredictable storytelling of tabletop roleplaying. It’s no wonder we went absolutely gaga for this masterpiece in our Divinity: Original Sin II PC review. What. A. Game. Already love it? Then check our guide to Divinity: Original Sin II builds.
Very few games blend genres as well as Inscryption, where a simple card game meets atmospheric horror. Who knew you could feel such tension – or in our case, existential dread – by placing the wrong card on the table?
Inscryption takes inspiration from the tabletop games you’d see over on Wargamer. It’s $19.99 USD price tag is a steal, with a compelling gameplay loop that will leave you wanting more. It also packs a story with more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but the less we say about that, the better.
There may not be a Groundhog Day game, but Outer Wilds is the closest you’re going to get. Rather than reliving the same day in Pennsylvania though, you’re an alien, reliving the same 22 minutes in space before a a star goes supernova. Your aim is to learn how to pilot a spaceship, then explore the galaxy on a hunt to figure out why the star is going supernova, and more importantly, how to stop it – if that’s even possible.
Outer Wilds is all about the journey along the way though, as you explore a number of planets with weird and wonderful happenings, including some lost friends who have been resigned to see out their existence on these planets. You’ll be left scratching your head at times too, because there are plenty of logic puzzles to solve in one of the best space games of all time. The brilliant nature of Outer Wilds is truly difficult to explain though as it’s an experience everyone should experience without knowing much more going into it, so what are you waiting for?
While the base game was a lot of fun as you can tell from our Monster Hunter Rise review, it’s only with the Sunbreak expansion that Monster Hunter Rise finally feels complete. What begins as a mission to protect your village from rampaging beasts soon becomes an adventure to the other side of the world to stop evil creatures from destroying everything.
Taking on these colossal creatures, whether playing with friends or on your own, is a thrilling, white-knuckle ride against some of the best-designed bosses ever. If this sounds like your idea of a great time, check out our Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak weapon tier list to get started with the best weapon.
After its full release in September 2020, Hades garnered a lot of praise as one of the finest indies and made plenty of GOTY lists, including our own. Three years later this isometric roguelike is still one of our favourite games on PC.
Playing as Zagreus, son of Hades and prince of the underworld, you must fight your way out of hell using various weapons and boons sent from the Olympian gods. With each failed attempt to successfully escape, you’re resurrected back at House of Hades, where you can converse with friends and use your chambers to acquire upgrades and perks.
Hades has a compelling narrative at its core, as well as a cast of witty characters and challenging combat to make this one of the best roguelike games of all time. Give our Hades 2 release date guide a read to discover what’s coming to the highly anticipated sequel.
Rounding off an epic trilogy of strategy games, Total War: Warhammer 3 brings together the highlights from the previous games in the series into one magnificent conclusion. It’s the culmination of years’ worth of iteration by Creative Assembly, and it’s the ultimate Warhammer Fantasy experience and one of the best Total War games. Seven factions, multiple different campaign types, and online campaign co-op are but a few reasons to take a stroll into the Old World once more, but you’ll stick around for longer than ever thanks to thoroughly applied polish at every level of the game.
It’s also wildly ambitious, with the sprawling Immortal Empires map encompassing everything that Creative Assembly has ever made for the three Warhammer games. Take a glance at our Total War: Warhammer 3 review for our complete take.
The Forza Horizon series has always pushed the boundaries for racing games and that rings true with 5, which switches the British countryside of its predecessor for a vast array of environments in Mexico. With one of the largest vehicle rosters in any game, you can drive a minibus round ancient Aztec ruins or race supercars along a sunny beach, all while adding more cars to your garage.
Forza Horizon 5 is a game that prides itself on being bold and beautiful, and it smashes it out of the park once again with its fifth instalment. See our Forza Horizon 5 review and see what makes it one of the best racing games of all time.
We’ve seen other developers try their hand at creating a roguelike deck builder, but no one has perfected the genre like Megacrit’s Slay The Spire. It’s easy to understand all of the deck archetypes for each class, and you can take things to another level when you incorporate Relics. These powerful items contain special buffs which permanently affect your deck.
Relics open up endless deck-building possibilities as you can discover game-breaking combinations, but therein lies the problem. You may not receive the same mixture of Relics and cards in your next 50 attempts, leading you to discover stronger setups than you ever imagined. With 20 difficulty levels to get through, a deadly secret boss at the end of each run, and four unique classes to learn, there’s a good reason why most Slay The Spire players have hundreds of hours logged on Steam. See our PC Slay the Spire review and see why we love this PC card game.
Sometimes in Dishonored 2, you have to kill yourself to save yourself. Playing as Emily Kaldwin, you’re able to cast a ghostly doppelganger at street level and jump down onto its head, plunging your dagger into its neck to break your fall, negating any damage.
Doppelganger’s intended function is to be used as a distraction, a way to escape from a confrontation. But developer Arkane want you to bend the rules; to see what’s beyond the veil. You’re supposed to experiment, to see what’s possible – and, oh boy, there’s so much you can do if you are inventive enough. In fact, there’s so much to revel in, Arkane’s sneaker is one of the few games we’ve awarded a perfect score. Read our Dishonored 2 PC review to find out why we love it so damn much.
You get to play with these systems in Karnaca – a gorgeous, stylised, fictional slice of the Mediterranean. It is one of the most cohesive, story-rich environments in videogames, every room telling a story with its props. Whether you’re slinking across the rooftops or sprinting through, knife-in-hand, it’s a place that begs to be explored as much as your abilities do. If you like your games with both violence and brains, don’t overlook this clever assassination sim. Indeed, it’s one of the best stealth games on PC ever. Not bad for a series that’s only a few years old.
First-person shooters have been around long enough that it’s difficult to come up with ways to meaningfully innovate on the formula. Fortunately, there’s Deathloop, which happens to be our favourite game of 2021. You start on a desolate beach as Colt Vahn, vaguely remembering that you’re the head of security for a mysterious north Atlantic island that’s been converted into an eternal playground for the ultra-rich, thanks to a time loop machine that resets time every day and ensures nobody suffers consequences for anything.
That doesn’t sit well with Colt, which means it’s up to you to take out the eight ‘Visionaries’ who keep the loop intact, including the mysterious Julianna, who toys with Vahn over the radio as you uncover the secrets of the island and plan your perfect day. Defeating each Visionary rewards you with a Deathloop slab, a special ability that can be utilised to turn Cole into a real problem for the people on the island.
It’s Groundhog Day with guns, set in an alternative ’60s full of the chaos that characterised the decade. Experimental Bauhaus art, a scorching funk soundtrack, a set of Dishonored-style special abilities, and massive guns you can dual-wield make Deathloop a terrific shooter. It doesn’t stop there, though: to line things up so that every Visionary can be taken out in a single day, you’ll have to explore, solve puzzles, and plan carefully – or you can decide to screw up someone else’s run by invading their game as Julianna.
Deathloop is fast-paced and dazzling from beginning to end, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome – while you can invade other players’ games as Julianna until the end of time, the campaign wraps up in around 30 hours – and that’s time well spent in 2022. Read our Deathloop review for the full rundown.
XCOM 2 is a special sequel. Most gaming follow-ups are iterative improvements on a formula, but this one works to justify its existence by being a different game altogether. Where Enemy Unknown granted you the support of all the planet’s governments and asked you to watch it dwindle, XCOM 2 starts you off with next to nothing: a handful of ragtag fighters of questionable background, fighting against the might of an alien enemy that has already conquered Earth.
This new guerilla perspective produces some of the best tactics the PC has ever seen, and as our XCOM 2 PC review attests, it’s one of the best strategy games in years. Timed missions force hard choices, between evading the rookie with your best grenade, or the sniper you’ve been fondly upgrading. Cold, cruel decisions like these will bring you success and guilt – only exacerbated by the War of the Chosen DLC, which binds soldiers in relationships just so that it hurts all the more when those bonds are inevitably broken. If you’re struggling to save the human race from those pesky aliens in the expansion, check out our XCOM 2 War of the Chosen guide.
While we’re still nowhere near an XCOM 3 release date, the recent XCOM Chimera Squad is a character-focused game with new gameplay features where you’ll be able to play as both aliens and humans and fight against a movement that threatens the new peace in City 31.
There’s a reason GTA V still consistently tops the charts, and boasts incredible player counts years after its release: it’s still the pinnacle of the sandbox genre, not to mention one of the best PC games of all time. We have had a bunch of other open-world games release since, but none match the fidelity of GTA V’s fictional recreation of LA: its sprawling hillsides, the distant Mount Chiliad, its jutting metropolis, and the dusty trailer parks surrounding it all.
It’s a world that calls to you, begging for you to speed across it on a motorbike, weaving between traffic as you go. Plenty of games lure us to the peaks of their mountains, but very few let us then base jump from the mountain’s peak while riding a dirt bike.
Rockstar’s crime series generally attracts headlines because of its violence, but it’s not the shooting that keeps players exploring its world – it’s the feeling that anything can happen, the Rage engine’s slapstick physics system providing endless entertainment as you barrel down hills or take a clout to the head with the wing of a plane. The fact that you can experience all of this online with friends makes it all the sweeter, and that online portion of the game is now as popular as the main game, boasting rich GTA RP communities who fill in for ordinary civilians as if part of a rich MMO. The game keeps growing with GTA 5 mods And if you get stuck there are plenty of GTA 5 PC cheats. Read our 10/10 GTA 5 review and see why it is one of the best sandbox games on PC.
The best RPGs keep their greatest stories in their side quests, and those in The Witcher 3 contain some of the most memorable and heartbreaking moments in videogames.
Its genius lies in how nuanced its characters are. Take the Bloody Baron – when you first meet him, he comes across as a hateful, nasty man with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. You begrudge helping him at all. By the end of his plot, you’ll empathise with him, despite his disgusting character flaws. It’s dark fantasy at its very darkest – an adult game that is actually for grown-ups, full of moments that will stay with you well after the credits roll. Simply put, it’s one of the best PC games ever made, as you’ll find out in our The Witcher 3 PC review.
When the credits do roll, though, you still have two of the best videogame expansions in existence to get stuck into. The first, Hearts of Stone, takes a seemingly innocuous character you meet at the start of the main game and turns them into the most menacing, disturbing adversary you’ve ever seen. The second, Blood and Wine, is almost another game in itself, taking you to the sunny land of Toussaint to combat a growing vampire problem. If you’re looking to lose yourself in another world for well over 100 hours, it doesn’t get better than staring at this beauty’s burnt orange sunsets. Want to make the game even better? Read up on the best The Witcher 3 mods going, or dig into our roundup of all the latest Witcher 4 details if you’re more interested in the upcoming sequel.
Indie farming games are a dime a dozen these days, but Stardew Valley is the genre’s shining star and absolutely the best place to start. After giving up your dull office job, you move to your grandfather’s farm and take over the reigns. It’s not quite as simple as growing crops and looking after animals though, as the quaint village of Stardew Valley is full of interesting characters and mysteries to uncover.
Expanding is just one of the tasks on your list, as you make friends and give gifts to plenty of budding bachelors and bachelorettes, all while helping to restore the community centre at the heart of the town, and prevent – or assist, if you’d rather – supermarket conglomerate Joja Corp from taking over. Combat is a vital aspect of the game too as you head deeper into the mines, as is fishing and exploring secret areas away from the village itself. Stardew Valley is the ultimate relaxing game, though you may find you blink and several hours have passed. If you fancy spicing up the experience even more, our list of the best Stardew Valley mods will have something for you.
If you thought Hitman: Absolution was a misstep, put those worries aside – everyone’s favourite barcode-headed baldie is back on fine form in Hitman.
The Hitman series is full of incredible, tense, and sometimes hilarious missions, and this episodic entry houses some of the best. Sapienza is an instant classic, asking you to take out a mob boss in a picturesque Italian town. In it, you can eliminate your target by popping an explosive golf ball into their caddy sack and watching them take a swing at it. Never has golf been more exciting than this.
Whether you’re drowning folk in a toilet or carefully lining up a sniper shot in time to some fireworks, Hitman is full of inventive ways to dish out death. Each mission is designed to be played over and over again, begging for you to approach it in myriad ways. As you’ll discover in our Hitman PC review, you can spend days mastering each, there is that much to do. If you want murder in your games to be more meaningful, stretch out your fibre wire and grab Hitman by the throat.
The sequels, both Hitman 2 and Hitman 3, don’t do much to excel the formula, but with several new sandboxes for you to murder your way through it’s well worth picking them up if you enjoy the first game. Check our guide to the Hitman timeline to see the full story of Agent 47.
Overwatch 2 is better thought of as a continuation of the first game rather than a full sequel. But while the free-to-play switch hasn’t gone down particularly well, and our Overwatch 2 review shows some split opinions, there’s no denying that OW2’s gameplay is superior.
The 6v6 hero shooter that took over the world in 2016 is now 5v5, and that seemingly small tweak has made the world of difference, opening up maps for more movement, allowing for more individual plays, and making the action far easier to read. It’s an easy-to-learn, impossible-to-master work of genius, cobbling together everything Blizzard, and the industry at large has learned about how to get players interested and keep them engaged.
Even if you’re not regularly logging on, it’s impossible to dodge the bombardment of fan art, highlight gifs, and new skins that regularly cycle the internet. Overwatch stopped being ‘just a game’ almost as soon as it was released, and will be a cultural phenomenon remembered for a long, long time. If you’re keen to start out then check out our Overwatch 2 tier list for the strongest heroes in the game right now.
New, big-budget 3D platformers are an increasingly rare sight in gaming, but Double Fine’s return to a cult classic makes us pine for the genre’s heyday. It’s a sequel that improves on practically every aspect of the original, with sharper movement, more varied combat, and most importantly, a story that uses its setting and conceits to say some really insightful, important things about mental health – and it clearly benefitted from 15 years of increased cultural understanding about mental health.
Every level is based inside a character’s mind, providing completely different types of gameplay in each instance. In one, you might find yourself in the mind of a doctor with a gambling addiction, trying your luck at casino minigames in order to access the high-roller suite and set things right, while other patrons go all in for fertility treatment or life-saving surgery. In another, you take on an Overcooked-like cooking show challenge on behalf of someone whose fear of judgement is ruining their life. They’re tonally, aesthetically, and narratively consistent – and they’re always a ton of fun. Check out our glowing Psychonauts 2 review for the full verdict.
When you think of the best PC games, spending hours behind the wheel of an eighteen-wheeler likely isn’t what you had in mind. However, there are few things more relaxing than whacking on one of the many dedicated truck sim radio stations and gearing up for a long haul from southern Italy to north Scandinavia, taking in the sights along the way.
While it’s not a scale replica of Europe, Euro Truck Simulator 2 is incredibly realistic, as you build your trucking empire from the ground up, hiring staff and delivering all manner of cargo. Words can’t quite describe just how therapeutic and enjoyable being a virtual truck driver is, and if you want to improve the experience even further, there are plenty of ETS2 mods available, including graphics overhauls, entirely new regions to explore, multiplayer, and more. While ETS2 is more popular, you may also enjoy American Truck Simulator, another contender for the best truck games on PC.
If you’ve ever watched Ridley Scott’s horror film Alien and thought, ‘I’d love to be inside that movie’, then Alien: Isolation is your golden ticket. Creative Assembly’s survival horror game replicates the world of Wyland Yutani and xenomorphs with astonishing attention to detail, right down to the computer terminals that flicker and hum as if it were 1979 all over again.
But Isolation’s pitch-perfect recreation of the movie’s setting and era is only part of what puts it among the best PC games. The real triumph is the xenomorph itself: a solitary, unstoppable beast that stalks you incessantly on your journey through the game.
What makes it truly remarkable is the adaptive AI system which means it’s constantly learning – if it discovers you hiding in a vent, it’ll begin to search vents during subsequent encounters. This turns the creature into a true menace, keeping tension levels high both during play and long after you have shut down your computer. Read our Alien Isolation review, and if you have nerves of steel, you can hook up Isolation to Oculus Rift for one of the best VR games on PC you’ll ever play. And looking ahead we can only dream of Alien Isolation 2.
Still the only subscription MMO to get it right, and always capable of a resurgence in popularity and quality, World of Warcraft is an easy recommendation once again. Its Warlords of Draenor low point left many wondering if there was still a future for one of the most famous games of all time. Fortunately, recent expansions have shown that it’s still alive and well, and it’s not going away any time soon. No matter what you’re logging on for, it remains one the best PC games around.
Each expansion provides a massive, co-op enabled RPG storyline of its own, with only the most climatic moments requiring the presence of other people. Of course, if you want to delve into the endgame and join 24 others in taking down the world’s biggest bads, all that is there as well. World of Warcraft raiding remains amazing, while constant updates and a solid content plan make it one of the best MMOs on PC.
If WoW appears too daunting you can play it in its base form with World of Warcraft Classic. In our WoW Classic review, we call it “a well-implemented redux of a moment in time, which may surprise you with its engaging focus on leveling and the friendliness of its players”. If you’re looking to get off to a quick start, then our WoW Classic leveling guide or WoW classes guide will be all the prep you need.
Talk about a revolutionary game. Her Story is made all the more impressive by being built around one of gaming’s oldest technologies: full-motion video. FMV was used at a time when it was too expensive to create good CGI cutscenes. Over the years it began to get a reputation for cheapness and kitsch and fell out of use. In Her Story, though, it’s used to create a sense of reality.
Where the game shines is in the openness it gives you to investigate its central crime. Other detective games often make investigation a matter of finding a glowing object in a murder scene. As you can find out in our Her Story PC review, you have to scour short archived clips for clues, entering keywords into the in-game search engine, as though you were directly questioning the woman on film. Her Story has to make this list because, since its release in 2015, no one has tried to copy it. It remains one of the best PC games because it has no competitors.
Everything Titanfall 2 does it does flawlessly. It’s simply one of the best PC games ever made. The flow of Pilot combat is still unmatched in showcasing how well shooting and movement can be combined in a first-person game, even with a time-to-kill ratio matching Call of Duty. On the other hand, the hulking, slow, strategic combat of Titan fights brings an entirely different mode of play, and interaction between the two phases is a whole other kettle of fish. Only Doom (2016) – which comes close to having its own entry in this list – competes with the pure thrill of managing to melee execute an opposing Titan.
As we point out in our Titanfall 2 campaign review, this FPS is blessed with some of the finest set pieces we’ve ever seen. It’s a masterpiece of pacing and structure, which manages to make even its sewer level a joy to play through. The most well-known mission, Effect and Cause, has gone down as one of the finest in memory, and for good reason – don’t spoil it for yourself, but do play it as soon as possible.
Trying to decide which is the best MOBA is an argument that could rage on for hours, but League of Legends is a pretty good place to start. Since its release in 2009, it has become a global phenomenon, consistently one of the most-played games in the world, and at one point had a player base of more than 100 million.
Easier to grasp than Dota 2 but mechanically deeper than Heroes of the Storm, LoL hits a sweet spot in terms of approachability while still managing to constantly evolve. New and updated champions arrive on the Rift several times a year, keeping the game fresh despite its age. Every one of the best LoL champions is unique, too; from ancient gods to pirates to monsters from another world, there is a way to enjoy the game no matter what you’re looking for.
Set in the spectacular world of Eorzea, Final Fantasy XIV Online is a must for long-time fans of the franchise and MMORPG players alike – especially in the wake of Endwalker. With a dramatic storyline, soaring soundtrack, and stunning visuals, it’s well worth taking the free trial for a spin. Check our Final Fantasy XIV review of the Endwalker expansion.
Aside from the action, the game’s ever-expanding community are incredibly friendly, offering players a virtual family that can set up events, participate in raids, and battle it out in competitions together. FFXIV is defined by its playerbase – so go and become part of it! If you’re already playing then check out FFXIV housing, classes, and races guides.
FromSoft’s Souls series has established itself as one of the all-time great series of the past decade in gaming, but its reputation for difficulty has probably scared off at least as many potential players as it has drawn in with its moody, mournful worlds and esoteric narratives. While Elden Ring doesn’t break from Souls’ traditional challenge, it offers a far more welcoming experience thanks to its vast open world – the first of its kind for the studio.
And what an open world it is. Elden Ring’s The Lands Between is a revelation: it stretches for miles, but never feels empty. Each area is packed with new enemies to outwit, ancient tombs to uncover, weird characters to meet, and fantastical Elden Ring bosses to die fighting again, and again, and again until you can finally bring knowledge and execution together and emerge victorious. Each of Elden Ring’s zones includes a ‘legacy dungeon’ that feels more akin to the more linear do-or-die levels of the Souls games, but each one merits revisiting in order to find the secrets hidden deep within.
But if, for example, a stray dragon guarding a lake is proving too difficult, you can always head off and explore somewhere else. You’re only ever given suggestions, and you’re always free to head off on your own to learn more about the world and grow stronger simply by following your own sense of curiosity and adventure, or try out different Elden Ring builds.
Elden Ring is a good game when considered on its merits, but it’s also an important game: its approach to open-world game design plots a new course for the genre, toward a world in which repeatable, cookie-cutter activities and endless map icons are relics of the past. There’s no seasonal reward track to follow because playing Elden Ring is the reward – and that’s more than enough. Check out our Elden Ring review for the full verdict.
It’s over a decade old, but it’s still nigh impossible to recommend another sandbox crafting game over Minecraft. Simply put, it’s one of the best PC games for creators – something so simple it has become a bona fide phenomenon among kids and families. And yet, it also boasts sufficient depth and complexity to sustain massive communities of modders, architects, warriors, roleplayers, survival experts, game designers, and storytellers.
It’s easy to forget that below all of the headline-grabbing Minecraft maps and the best Minecraft mods, it remains a remarkably humble game about building yourself a shack in order to survive the myriad monsters that come out at night. The beauty is that it works on both levels, so if you fall in love with it there are infinite possibilities as to where the player-made add-ons can take you. Suffice to say, we’d be tickled a particularly delighted shade of pink if Minecraft 2 gets announced.
Coming shortly after the disappointing SimCity, all Cities: Skylines had to do was be a modern city builder without the always-online nonsense. Developer Colossal Order delivered that and so much more.
Cities: Skylines is a beautiful tribute to city planning, letting you sketch out suburbs and skyscrapers onto a lush landscape. You cannot sit idle, however, because as quickly as your citizens move into their new homes they’re demanding jobs, healthcare, and plumbing that does not back up with poop – you’ll be putting out the fires of urban planning as they crop up all over your metropolis (literal and metaphorical).
Shortly after release, Cities: Skylines took on a life of its own, with modders pouring in new building styles, AI subroutines, and even adding a way to fly over your city in a first-person view helicopter. Since then, the game has never been without novelty. Between the best Cities: Skylines mods, updates, and new expansions, the game has evolved into the most complete and playable city builder around.
Portal 2 may be over a decade old, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive in 2022. A fully-formed sequel to the bite-sized first game, Portal 2 transcends the test of time with its effortlessly funny story and sheer variety of head-scratching puzzle rooms.
Portal 2 is a must-play for any puzzle fan, and with distinct solo and co-op campaigns there’s a lot to dig into. Valve removed the size limit on Steam Workshop levels in 2021, meaning that there’s now plenty of even bigger and better ways to test your noggin for science. You monster.
‘Football with cars’ sounds like a simple concept, and at its most basic level, that’s more or less exactly what Rocket League is. You blast around the map in a rocket-powered car, trying to get an oversized football into the opposing goal.
But scratch away the surface, and you’ll realise that this soccer speedster, as we point out in our Rocket League PC review, is one of the most complex and demanding sports games ever made. A single second of indecision can be fatal, one wheel out of place can throw an entire match. You’ll need lightning reflexes, tactical genius, and mechanical mastery to succeed in a game that is as much white-knuckle ride as it is FIFA.
At its peak, Rocket League is a fast-paced aerial ballet, a game that takes seconds to understand, but years to master. And if you want to achieve said mastery, read our Rocket League tips for guaranteed soccer success.
We like Crusader Kings 3 a lot. Paradox’s grand strategy game takes every facet of medieval dynastic life and lets you mess around with it to no end. From declaring war on children to finding out one of your court members is a cannibal, this is a Dark Ages tragedy simulator. Our Crusader Kings 3 review can tell you how it’s a fantastic grand strategy game – and an even better RPG – to get into if you’ve never tried one before, and yet it also picks up where Crusader Kings 2 left off, for long-time CK fans. An updated UI, a more comprehensive tutorial, and even more ways to tinker with your kingdom and interact with other leaders – basically, we couldn’t ask for much more from a Paradox game at launch.
If you’re looking for a PC game that teaches you a little about the customs of Europe and Northern Africa before you ruin them as much as you like, this game is for you. With CK3 mods already pouring in, you can also be sure that you’ll never run out of new ways to approach the life of a medieval ruler. Check out our Crusader Kings 3 beginner’s guide for help starting out in the sometimes bewildering genre.
There we have it, the best PC games you can buy today. While we impatiently wait for The Witcher 4 release date and Half-Life 3, why not read up on some of the most exciting upcoming PC games headed to a rig near you? Alternatively, here’s our round up all the new PC games worth checking out. To be honest, the above masterpieces could easily last you a lifetime, so perhaps you never need to play a new release ever again. Actually, screw that. Give us the GTA 6 release date right the heck now, Rockstar! Yes, we’re horrendously impatient. What of it?