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Updated: See our new favorite PC games you should be playing.
What a time it is to be a PC gamer. Not only does buying a graphics card no longer entail robbing a bank and engaging in a Hunger Games-like battle to secure a unit in stock, but there's also Nvidia's RTX 4000 series, Radeon RX 7000 cards, and the (less exciting?) Intel Arc Alchemist line on the horizon.
But with great power comes great responsibility. What games should be making use of your GPU?
Here are our 10 current PC favorites that offer a mix of old and new, from strategies to shooters. They do all share a common trait, though: these titles will make you stare at the screen with a smile on your face while mulling the greatness of our platform.
In the grim darkness of the far future there is only War
- Genre: Turn-based tactics
- Similar: Gears Tactics, X-COM series, Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, Phoenix Point
- Graphics: Cartoonish, but in a good way
- Gameplay: Warhammer 40K tabletop game brought to the PC, Strategic overview, RPG elements
There are a lot of PC games out there that carry the Warhammer name, and while the franchise can boast brilliance such as Dawn of War 1 & 2 and Space Marine, there's also absolute garbage like Dawn of War 3 and Fire Warrior.
There was a lot of anticipation around the awkwardly titled Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, but does it live up to the pre-release hype? Yes, yes it does.
Deamonhunters deserves a place among the top five games to carry the Warhammer name. There have been other XCOM-style turn-based tactics titles set in this universe, including the excellent Mechanicus, but this latest one is a challenger for the top spot.
If you like the juggling-many-plates-style metagame of XCOM, it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll enjoy Daemonhunters. However, the faster pace and several of its mechanics make the battles closer to the underrated Gears Tactics. One big difference from most games of this ilk is that there's no chance of unintentionally missing a shot; you know beforehand whether you will or won't hit something, with factors such as distance and cover determining the damage.
Many familiar turn-based tactics elements are present: upgrading your characters through experience, recovery time, upgrades, visual customizations, tons of weapons, and so on. It also has an engaging 50+ hour story and even asks you to play politics between encounters. Some of these battles can seem like no-win situations until a moment of inspiration turns the tide.
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is exhilarating, enthralling, and one of those rare games you'll find yourself thinking about even when you're not playing it. Being familiar with Warhammer 40K does help, and it can sometimes be frustratingly challenging even on normal mode, but make no mistake, this is one of the best turn-based tactics games in years.
The biggest, the best, better than the rest
- Genre: Action RPG
- Similar: Dark Souls series, Demon Souls, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Bloodborne, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
- Graphics: Beautiful, imaginative, fantastical
- Gameplay: Open-world, lots of melee combat, exploration, RPG, crafting, patience-testing difficulty
Did you really expect Elden Ring not to be on this list? Making something on par with the Dark Souls trilogy and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was always going to be a challenge, and there was a lot of expectation, especially with George R.R. Martin's involvement. Today, of course, Elden Ring is hailed not only as the number one title of 2022 but also one of the greatest of all time.
Elden Ring takes the best elements of its most famous games from the last few years, including the sadly PlayStation-only (for now) Bloodborne, and mixes in some of Martin's work to create a near-perfect action-RPG and one of the best-rated games ever---it's certainly going to win countless game of the year awards, especially now that Starfield has been delayed.
As with Dark Souls, there's a lot in Elden Ring that players have to discover by themselves in the enormous, gorgeous environment. Remember, though, it doesn't hold your hand in the same way other open-world games do, but you are given the freedom to explore anywhere and at your own pace---expect to get massacred a lot as you face a bewildering variety of beasts that are a lot tougher than your early character.
That difficulty has been what put many people off previous FromSoftware games in the past. Elden Ring is no easier, but you can simply walk away from an enemy or area that's giving you trouble, level up, grab some new gear, and try it again.
It's an obvious statement that Dark Souls fans will love Elden Ring. Many of the same elements are here, from the clever shortcuts to the slower-paced (comparatively) battles. But like other games from the developer, not everyone has the patience or time to Git Gud. A lot of people will find Elden Ring just too frustrating, no matter how much it has to offer.
But with so much amazing content to see and experience, including co-op play, PvP, and a ton of mods, Elden Ring deserves its praise as one of the best open-world games in history and something that is definitely worth sticking with, no matter how many times you die.
Buy it from: Steam
The brilliant arcade racer keeps on giving
- Genre: Driving
- Similar: Forza Horizon 4, Forza Horizon 3, Gran Turismo Sport
- Graphics: The best to date in a series famed for looking gorgeous
- Gameplay: Open-world, strong multiplayer element, more addictive than crack
The latest entry in the Forza series might be a few months old, but it's still a game that you can pick up for just ten minutes or play from sunset to sunrise---even if you're normally not a fan of racing games. Constant new content keeps things fresh: we're currently on Season 8, and Season 9 is just around the corner with all-new events, cars, and challenges.
The most appealing element of Forza, in addition to the obscene number of cars, lush looks, and fun driving, is that there's just so much to do. It's not just traveling from A to B quicker than everyone else: the map is filled with different activities, many of them player-made, with more being added all the time.
Improving on Forza Horizon 4 was never going to be an easy task, but this installment manages it, partly by moving the action from the UK to Mexico in what is the largest and most varied play area the series has ever seen, featuring active volcanoes, jungles, beaches, a city, and more. The customization options for your cars are extensive, and the graphics and building tools amazing. It's also one of those titles in which those who usually shun multiplayer elements will enjoy playing against or alongside others.
There is a 'just one more race' feeling to Forza Horizon 5 that rivals the 'just one more turn' compulsion found in games such as Civilization. You may sit down for an intended half an hour, but two days will pass in the blink of an eye, leaving you jobless and single. This game can swallow your life.
The only real fault you might pick from Forza 5 is that it's still the same game as its predecessors, albeit with a lot of extra content, but why change a winning formula? This is the best Forza Horizon and one of the greatest driving games ever made.
- Genre: Action adventure
- Similar: Darksiders series, Rise of the Tomb Raider, DmC: Devil May Cry
- Graphics: Still beautiful despite its age, made all the better on PC
- Gameplay: Open-world, third-person, deep combat, RPG elements, Norse mythology, father and son bonding, shouting "BOY!" a lot
Remember when God of War was the best reason to buy a PlayStation 4---or a PlayStation 4 Pro if you wanted to enjoy those glorious higher resolutions? It may have taken almost four years to land on the PC, but the wait was worth it.
Altering a well-known and popular formula is always risky, but taking Kratos from Greece and placing him in the stunning open-world realm of Midgard with his son was a stroke of genius. The plot is a simple one: a journey to spread Kratos' wife's ashes at the top of a mountain, something easier said than done.
God of War takes many of its cues from PlayStation classics such as Uncharted, while the relationship and cooperation between Kratos and son Atreus owe a lot to The Last of Us. The combat is unparalleled: deep, visceral, weighty, and complemented by the Leviathan Axe, a weapon to rival Mjolnir itself. It also has some of the best cinematic showdowns ever seen in a video game.
GoW packs plenty of role-playing elements, from improving gear to upgrade trees, while the number of optional side activities, such as defeating the Valkyries, will keep you occupied beyond the main quests.
God of War might be getting on a bit now. Nevertheless, even those who played it the first time around on PlayStation should try the PC version to experience its platform-specific benefits, including high frame rates, resolution shadows, better screen space reflections, Ground Truth Ambient Occlusion (GTAO), Screen Space Directional Occlusion (SSDO), Nvidia Reflex low-latency support, and compatibility for 21:9 ultra-wide displays. More recently, it became only the third game to receive FSR 2.0 support.
The Lost Boy
- Genre: Action-Survival
- Similar: Valheim, Lost Ark
- Graphics: gothic cartoon, MMO/ARPG style
- Gameplay: Top-down 2.5D, Multiplayer focused, base-building, crafting, sandbox, Vampires
We would typically never include an early access game in this list, but 1.5 million+ copies sold and regularly attracting over 150,000 concurrent players mean it's impossible to ignore V Rising.
At first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking V Rising is another Diablo clone, but this is actually a multiplayer vampire action-survival game that owes more to Valheim and ARK: Survival evolved than Blizzard's classic franchise, which means plenty of resource gathering, building, and crafting along with all the murder, magic, and blood drinking.
Unlike similar games, V Rising has no experience points; your Gear Level determines power. Combat is definitely a highlight, with many cool abilities available to take on the multitude of well-designed bosses. The blood-drinking mechanic, which offers temporary character classes and boosts based on its type and quality, is a very clever.
There is a lot to learn in V Rising, from customizing your castle and keeping it fed with blood to capturing humans and making them your minions. And while it does support solo play, it's a lot more enjoyable with others in its PvP and PvE modes.
As with other survival-focused games, V Rising can feel a bit grindy, though it's possible to change the output of resources. It's also an early access game, so remember that it isn't completely finished yet. But this could still be the best $20 you spend in 2022.
Buy it from: Steam (early access)
Master Chief returns, and with a grappling hook
- Genre: First-person shooter
- Similar: Previous Halo games, Titanfall 2, Far Cry 6, Call of Duty: Vanguard
- Graphics: Looks very good if not spectacular, having a high-end PC helps
- Gameplay: shooter, significant multiplayer element, (mostly) open-world, light RPG elements
Gamers of a certain age might remember playing the online multiplayer Halo games of the early 2000s and having their mother's virtue questioned by 12-year-olds. These days they can experience the same thing, except Halo's got a lot prettier.
Halo Infinite is an excellent first-person shooter that rivals some of the best single-player experiences available today. The weapons feel weighty and impactful, controlling a vehicle remains as fun as ever, and the multiplayer element will keep you hooked indefinitely.
This Halo introduces some new elements, including the multi-purpose grappling hook, which, in addition to serving its primary purpose of getting you from point A to point B, is also an excellent combat tool that lets you grab weapons, jump out of a fight, and launch Master Chief into the personal space of a bad guy.
Another new feature is that most of the game takes place on an open-world map, complete with side missions that can be tackled in whatever order you see fit. There is a ton of optional activities to enjoy that will keep completionists busy for hours, over 20 weapons to play with, some great boss battles, and so much more. Then there's the multiplayer, an element so large that it's a separate game entirely---campaign co-op play is hopefully set to arrive in August.
One of the main problems with Infinite is that you may wonder what the hell is going on if you've never played previous games, or simply played them years ago and have since forgot the plots. There have been a few issues with the multiplayer element, too. But this remains a great game that boasts some of the best FPS combat around.
16 million players and counting
- Genre: F2P tactical shooter
- Similar: CS: GO, Overwatch
- Graphics: Cartoonish, TF2-like, runs on well on low-end PCs
- Gameplay: FPS, 5 vs 5, team-based, competitive
If Apex Legends isn't for you and you're a fan of CS:GO, Valorant could be the new time sink you've been searching for. It might have around 100 million fewer monthly players than Apex Legends, but 16 million people is no small number.
Riot has plenty of experience when it comes to competitive multiplayer games thanks to the everlasting behemoth that is League of Legends, and it brings that free-to-play, team-based action to a new perspective. In addition to the primary influence of CS:GO, it blends Overwatch's colorful aesthetics and cast of characters (agents) divided into four roles, each with their own signature abilities, ultimates and backstories. There's also a ping system similar to the one found in Apex Legends, meaning you don't have to use a headset or type if you don't want to.
Valorant is 5v5 games across 25 rounds, with the attackers trying to plant a bomb (spike) and the defenders trying to defuse it. You'll also find that unlike similar games, not all character abilities are on infinite cooldown timers; two of these have to be bought in each round and have a limited number of uses. There are also the ultimates that can take multiple rounds to recharge using kills, deaths, or spike actions.
As with all competitive games, other players can be the worst part of Valorant, and unlocking everything is grindy if you're not willing to spend some money. With its mix of strategic play, tactical depth, and teamwork, Valorant is the CS:GO for those who could never get into CS:GO. Once it sinks its addictive teeth into you, there's no letting go.
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Better than you might have heard
- Genre: first-person action adventure
- Similar: Dying Light, Dead Island, Mirror's Edge games
- Graphics: Can be gorgeous but requires a beefy PC
- Gameplay: melee combat, parkour, RPG elements, loot-em-up, some crafting
Dying Light 2 was for a long time the number one game on most people's Steam wishlist---up until Elden Ring took its place a few weeks before FromSoftware's game arrived. And while it's true that not everyone agrees the zombies-meets-parkour sequel lives up to the hype, it's still an entertaining title with some standout moments and plenty of upcoming content to keep players sticking around.
Fans of the previous Dying Light will be familiar with the core elements in Techland's latest: traversing an open-world city using a range of upgradable parkour skills that not only get you across the map in the most stylish way possible but also allow you to beat up the hoards of infected roaming the streets.
Not that fists and feet are your only weapons; there's a slew of customizable melee and ranged items at your disposal that feel impactful when connecting with an enemy. Just make sure to get home by nightfall, when some of the worst infected crawl out of their dens and give chase across the rooftops. There might be better rewards when the sun goes down, but staying in the dark too long will also see your character succumb to his infection.
The parkour enables the numerous environmental puzzles in the game, some of which are genuinely pretty tricky. There are numerous quests to attempt alongside the main campaign, including parkour and gliding speed challenges, boss fights, and more.
Dying Light 2 does have quite a few RPG elements, such as upgrading your fighting skills and conversation choices. The decisions you make and who you choose to side with have a huge impact on the world and how the story pans out.
There's plenty to keep players occupied in Dying Light 2, most of it enjoyable. The section where Lawan shows you how to glide is very cinematic, climbing up skyscrapers can be pulse racing as you try to hold on, and running to safety in the dark as the sound of the infected draws ever closer remains a highlight. Yet it's certainly not without its issues, the most complained about ones being the often grindy nature of the game and the bugginess. But with five million copies sold in less than a month after launch and a ton of free/paid-for post-release content on the way, there's plenty of life left in it.
The only game that's been here from the beginning
- Genre: Open-world action/multiplayer
- Similar: Watch Dogs 1 and 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV, Saints Row series
- Graphics: Mods make them almost true to life
- Gameplay: Third-person, first-person, driving, shooter
GTA V has two accolades it can be proud of: not only is it the best-selling game of all time with over 165 million units sold, but it's also the only game to appear in every update of this bi-annual list since we started it almost four years ago.
There are likely very few GTA players who haven't finished GTA V's campaign, but that's not what keeps them playing; it's the online element. GTA Online still makes the equivalent of a small country's GDP for Rockstar, partly because of new content, bonuses, discounts, etc., all of which keep the millions of players sticking around. It also helps that it's the sort of virtual world '90s kids used to fantasize about.
The PC version of GTA V launched in 2015, yet the discounted Premium Edition is the sixth best-selling game on Steam. Moreover, the current-gen console versions of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online launched recently, the latter of which now has a subscription option. It's no wonder GTA VI isn't expected to arrive until 2024 or 2025.
The battle royale king
- Genre: Battle Royale
- Similar: Valorant, Fortnite, Overwatch, PUBG, Titanfall 2 multiplayer
- Graphics: Arguable the prettiest BR game out there
- Gameplay: FPS, team-based multiplayer
We've never been more spoilt for choice in the area of free-to-play multiplayer games. From Call of Duty: Warzone and Valorant to the classic Fortnite, there's an abundance of excellent gratis shooters vying for your attention. But for our money, Apex Legends still sits at the top of the pile.
There are several familiar FTP Battle Royale staples here, including a shrinking play area, dropping from the sky onto an island, and loot. A system in which up to 20 teams of three-person squads compete to be the last group standing proved so popular that over 25 million players signed up for the game in the first week. It's shown no sign of slowing down in recent times; shortly after season 13's launch in May, its Steam concurrent player count exceeded 411,000---a record for the game---while its monthly player count is a stunning 115 million.
While the Apex Legends has a cartoonish art style similar to Fortnite, the backstories, personalities, and unique abilities of its hero characters are closer to Overwatch.
Anyone who's played Titanfall---Apex Legends is set in the same universe---will tell you that the combat in these games is one of their best aspects. Respawn excels in the weapons department with Apex Legends, thanks to a slew of great guns and attachments on offer that are fun to play around with while discovering your favorites. As with similar titles, post-release content such as new characters and weapons arrives via seasons. There are also events that offer limited-time cosmetics, game modes, and more.
Probably the best aspect of Apex Legends is that it's a great starting point for those who've always wanted to play a battle royale title but were put off by having to endure internet trolls, largely in part to the ping communication system similar to the one found in Valorant. In a battle royale-filled world, it's the king of the hill.
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- Total War: Warhammer 3
The third and final entry in the Total War meets Games Workshop series gained praise from reviewers for its turn-based strategy and real-time tactics gameplay, though a few Steam players disagree with their conclusions.
- Rogue Legacy 2
The so-called genealogical rogue-LITE has been winning the hearts and minds of dungeon crawler roguelite fans. Great combat and levels, but be warned: it's hard.
- Tina Tina's Wonderlands
Borderlands meets D&D in in this spin off. Looter shooter fans will more than likely enjoy it despite the relative lack of variety and small size.
Dropped from the list
(Great, but had to make room for others)
You can check out our 2021 article here.