Some of the biggest titles of 2017 so far may be console-exclusives such as Horizon Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but we’re still spoilt for choice when it comes to gaming on our favorite platform. Mixing together entries from this year and older titles that remain popular, here are the best PC games you should be playing.
- Genre: FPS
- Similar: Titanfall, Doom, Battlefield 1
- Graphics: Gorgeous
- Gameplay: Big multiplayer element, lots of wall-running and jumping, mechs
While the first Titanfall was praised by many critics as an excellent multiplayer game, its lack of a traditional, single-player campaign put off those who prefer their FPSs to come with a compelling solo element. Respawn took note, and in the sequel produced one of the greatest single-player shooters we’ve seen in years.
In addition to all the wall-running, double-jumping, and riding in mechs, Titanfall 2 possesses one the best levels of all time, Effects and Cause, which introduces some fantastic time-travelling shenanigans to what is already a brilliant game.
If you’ve got a beefy GPU, Titanfall 2 looks gorgeous and moves like butter. Some of the weapons are a joy to use, thanks to their meaty, powerful feel. And you’ll likely find yourself forming a weirdly close bond with your Titan, BT. All this and it’s got an excellent, revamped multiplayer that you’ll continue to play long after finishing the game for the third time. Titanfall 2 is stunning; if you haven’t played it, do so now.
- Genre: Immersive sim
- Similar: Dishonored, Deus Ex: Human Revolution/Mankind Divided, Thief: Deadly Shadows
- Graphics: Distinctive, arty, atmospheric
- Gameplay: first-person, stealth, steampunk, player freedom
The original Dishonored was hailed as one of the best immersive sims to arrive on the PC in years, so its sequel had a lot to live up to. But Dishonored 2 didn’t just match its predecessor, it managed to surpass it.
The one minor complaint about Dishonored 2 is that the main story could be stronger. But the improved graphics, amazing level design, plethora of awesome abilities on offer, and the choice of two great characters are some of the reasons why it was many critics’ best game of 2016. Thanks to numerous ways you can tackle each mission and the amount secrets they hide, there’s loads of replayability value. Three months after its release, I still return every now and then to experiment with new guard-murdering techniques.
- Genre: Action RPG
- Similar: Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising
- Graphics: Not its strongest point
- Gameplay: third-person, combo-based melee, platforming,
When games try to combine different genres, there’s always the concern that they won’t do any of them particularly well. A sort of jack of all trades, master of none scenario. But Nier: Automata is one title that gets the mix perfect.
It’s inherently an action RPG, but while on first glance it bears a resemblance to the excellent, console-exclusive Bayonetta, there’s a lot more going on in Automata: an open world, a dizzying number of ways to approach the excellent combat, a Dark Souls-style multiplayer element, mini games, numerous unexpected surprises, and much, much more. There are still a few performance issues on the PC, but upcoming patches should fix those. A unique game that deserves your attention.
Buy it from: Steam
- Genre: FPS
- Similar: Team Fortress 2, Battleborn, Dirty Bomb, Lawbreakers
- Graphics: Fantastically bright and vibrant, cartoon style
- Gameplay: Team shooter, character/class-based, multiplayer
Yes, Overwatch has made the list again, but for good reason: almost a year after release, it remains one of the best and most popular games on the PC. In January, the multiplayer shooter passed a milestone 25 million players across all platforms, a testament to the game’s addictive nature.
Developer Blizzard is an expert at stretching out the lifespan of its titles – it's why millions are still playing World of Warcraft. Constantly adding updates and new content (its 24th hero, Orisa, arrived last week) helps keep the game feeling fresh. And the introduction of a rumored map editor could cement Overwatch’s position at the top of PC gaming hierarchy for many years to come.
- Genre: Horror
- Similar: Amnesia series, Outlast, Soma
- Graphics: Detailed, realistic
- Gameplay: first-person, survival, puzzles
Some veteran gamers were sad to see the Resident Evil series morph from tense survival horror into all-out action shooter. But with this latest entry, Resi has re-introducing the feelings of terror. It also changed from the long-used third-person perspective to a more immersive, and therefore more frightening, first-person view.
The drastic change in style worked. While Resident Evil 7 retains series staples such as save rooms, herbs, and puzzles, the new viewpoint induces the kind of sweaty-palmed fear experienced in games like Amnesia, Outlast, and P.T.
Another thing Resi 7 has in common with its predecessors is the incentive to play through the game more than once, thanks to the increased difficulty and unlockable items that appear when you meet certain conditions. For those wanting even more, there’s the DLC that brings minigames and new stories to what is arguably the best, and certainly the scariest, Resident Evil in many years.
- Genre: Racing
- Similar: Test Drive Unlimited 2, Need For Speed, Burnout Paradise
- Graphics: Amazing - providing you have a beefy GPU
- Gameplay: Open world, online multiplayer races,
Trying to make a racing game that appeals to both novices and hardcore players runs the risk of alienating both sets of gamers, but Forza Horizon 3 manages to appeal to everyone, even those who don’t normally enjoy traditional racing titles.
Rather than just being a series of races (though there are plenty of those), the game offers players a myriad of car-based challenges in its open-world setting - racing the train is a particular highlight. The sheer number of available cars is incredible, the handling is a joy, and you can make the driving as easy or as difficult as you want.
Buy it from: Windows Store
- Genre: FPS
- Similar: Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Battlefield 4, Titanfall 2
- Graphics: Beautiful
- Gameplay: Multiplayer focused, World War 1-set
Want to play a multiplayer FPS but prefer the gritty realism of World War One to Overwatch’s colourful fantasy? Then you should try Battlefield 1, which, unlike Blizzard’s title, contains a single-player campaign – and an excellent one, too. While it could be longer, the solo experience doesn’t feel like something tacked onto a multiplayer title as an afterthought.
BF1 both looks and sounds beautiful, and as you would imagine, jumping online to battle others is fantastic fun. With Dice bringing out DLC and new content, the game’s just as compelling now as it was when it launched in October.
- Genre: Action, Open-World
- Similar: Watch Dogs, GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV, Saints Row series
- Graphics: Brilliant, especially with the right mods
- Gameplay: Third-person, first-person, driving, shooter
Like Overwatch, GTA V is one of those titles you can expect PC gamers to be playing for a very long time. It’s almost two years since Rockstar’s latest entry in the series arrived on the PC, yet it’s currently the third best-selling game on Steam (thanks to a recent discount).
But it’s not just the multitude of fantastic mods (a Red Dead Redemption one is arriving soon) that are keeping players in the virtual state of San Andreas, it’s the amazing multiplayer. The feature is proving so successful, the developers are only focusing on releasing updates and DLC for the online part of the game, rather than the single-player campaign. With over 75 million copies sold, GTA V is the fourth best-selling game of all time, and the best version’s on the PC.
- Genre: CRPG
- Similar: Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny
- Graphics: fantastical, but not its standout feature
- Gameplay: Isometric, text-heavy, turn-based combat, lots of choices
Let’s be clear: while Tides of Numenera is an excellent isometric RPG, certain aspects mean it’s not for everyone. It may be a role-playing game, but don’t expect Witcher 3-style cinematics or a load of furious, constant action (combat is its weakest point). This is a cerebral, dialogue-heavy journey that requires a lot of reading.
The original game, 1999’s Planescape: Torment, is still regarded as one of the greatest and best written CRPGs of all time. And while the spiritual successor may not be remembered nearly twenty years from now in the same loving manner, it contains many of the elements that made the first game so great, including the story, writing, and characters.
Buy it from: Steam
- Genre: Action role-playing
- Similar: Dark Souls I & II, Demon's Souls, Bloodborne, Lords of the Fallen
- Graphics: Atmospheric, gorgeous
- Gameplay: third-person, hardcore, multiplayer elements
The hardcore gameplay style of Dark Souls 3 may not appeal to everybody, but those that master its intricacies are rewarded with a title that can be played for tens if not hundreds of hours without becoming stale. In all likelihood, you’ll still be discovering something new even when you think you’ve seen it all.
The second and final expansion, The Ringed City, is due out on March 28, bringing with it new enemies, bosses, armor, weapons, and spells, as well as new PvP maps. If you’ve left the Kingdom of Lothric, you might want to return for this DLC.
Dropped From This List
- XCOM 2
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Fallout 4
- Metal Gear Solid V
- Stardew Valley