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Updated for Late 2023: See our new favorite PC games you should be playing.
The year so far has not been the most favorable for PC gamers; we've witnessed more than one big AAA port arrive to the platform in a broken state which is inexcusable. However, it's not entirely grim news as there are still numerous exceptional games available for enjoyment, and here are a few of our current must-play favorites.
Barring a handful of exceptions, we have focused on games released in the past six months. There's a greater emphasis on single-player entries this time, considering the surge in online multiplayer games currently on offer. Several renowned titles have made the list, but there's also a few indie gems on there, too.
We should also mention that this new list of recommended PC games doesn't invalidate our previous picks from 2022 and 2021, many of which are excellent games not to be missed and can now be found for deep discounts.
The best Resi remake so far
- Genre: Action horror
- Similar: Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, Dead Space remake, Calisto Protocol
- Graphics: A modern upgrade makes everything look grotesquely pretty
- Gameplay: Third-person shooter, puzzles, inventory management, occasionally scary
Many people were optimistic that Capcom could replicate the success of the Resident Evil 2 and Resi 3 remakes with one of the most cherished entries in the series: Resident Evil 4. The company not only met those expectations but surpassed them with a reimagining that's superior to the original.
The remake eliminates the few outdated elements that marked Resident Evil 4 as 'of its time' and amplifies the game's best features. Certain boss fights have been revamped, the controls have been upgraded, QTEs are no longer present in cutscenes, and everything is faster and more visually striking. Perhaps the most welcome change is the addition of parries. Naturally, there are still numerous horror moments for fans to relish.
The familiar Resi hallmarks are here: monsters, tense combat, inventory management, strategic ammo conservation, and an engrossing story that unfolds in perfect tandem with player progression. Upon completion, you'll be eager to replay it all in the New Game+ mode. It's clear to see why Resident Evil 4 is considered the best Capcom remake to date.
Buy it from: Steam
Graphics do not maketh the game
- Genre: Rogue-like bullet-hell
- Similar: Soulstone Survivors, 20 Minutes Till Dawn, Brotato
- Graphics: Retro 8-bit style
- Gameplay: Autoshooter, top-down, life-stealingly addictive
How can a title that, at first glance, appears reminiscent of the 8-bit era, was developed and published by one person, has a 349MB install, and costs just $5 be considered one of the best PC games right now? Because this bullet-hell roguelike's addictive nature sinks its fangs into you and won't let go.
The game fundamentally involves dodging and eliminating what are literally thousands of adversaries as you collect experience gems and weapons (up to six simultaneously) that discharge on a short timer – all you need to do is maneuver. The goal is to survive as long as possible on a map as the various monsters grow stronger and their numbers proliferate. Luckily, within ten minutes of starting, you transform into a walking Armageddon, unleashing righteous fury on these demons.
Once you're dead, upgrade your stats and maybe buy a new character with what you collected before trying again.
Like all roguelikes, some might deem the game repetitive, and others may find the visuals unappealing, regardless of how enjoyable the gameplay might be. Nonetheless, Vampire Survivors proves that you don't need ray tracing and an RTX 4090 to produce a quality game. The game gives you the same urge to try another run with a stronger build that makes Hades so great. But be warned: it can become consuming. At $5 and playable on almost any device, Vampire Survivors is unquestionably worth your time.
Buy it from: Steam
A modern Freelancer
- Genre: Space sim
- Similar: Chorus, Freelancer, Elite: Dangerous
- Graphics: Very pretty, colorful, cartoonish
- Gameplay: open-world (universe?), third-person view, looter shooter, RPG, adventure
Those of a certain age who are longing for a single-player space shooter reminiscent of the Wing Commander series or Freelancer don't have many options these days. However, the cream of the crop is undoubtedly Everspace 2.
After an extended stint in early access, the final version of the open-world Everspace 2 is now available. The roguelike elements of the original game have been stripped away and substituted with a more conventional 'die and restart at the last checkpoint' setup, and Everspace 2 is all the better for it.
This third-person space shooter has a vibrant, distinct style. It also grants players a high level of control over the ships, which is great for maneuvering in tight spaces. Battles are expansive and thrilling, and while there is a mission-packed story with comic-style hand-drawn cutscenes, a significant portion of the game centers around collecting loot and upgrading your ships - there's a reason why it's been dubbed 'Diablo in space'.
Everspace 2 is lengthy, which some players may find leads to repetition, but that's one of the few drawbacks in what is currently the best single-player space shooter available.
The wizarding world awaits
- Genre: action RPG
- Similar: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, The Witcher 3
- Graphics: Stunning if you've got the power
- Gameplay: open-world, third-person, (spell) shooter, puzzles, wizardly
Many were surprised to see Hogwarts Legacy hold the title of the most-wishlisted game on Steam for a long time, even outpacing Starfield. However, an RPG set in J.K. Rowling's magical universe sounded like a surefire recipe for success, and the hype proved to be justified.
The game's gigantic open-world map and Hogwarts itself perfectly embody the spirit of the books and films, allowing fans to easily integrate their customized witch or wizard into the fifth year at the renowned school, with a sense of what to anticipate.
Harry Potter aficionados will thoroughly enjoy attending classes, interacting with students, and learning spells. The Room of Requirement is particularly engaging, offering opportunities to house and breed animals, concoct potions, and upgrade the wardrobe. This secret room also provides extensive customization options, including various furnishings, paintings, and more.
A plethora of mostly enjoyable quests accompany the main story, providing around 50 hours or more of gameplay. The combat is great fun and surprisingly intuitive, made even more appealing once you learn the (optional) unforgivable curses and fill out the skill tree. Exploration is rewarding, and the whole thing looks amazing, helped by a meaty rig.
Technical issues might still be an problem for some, there are times when it feels repetitive, and acting "evil" doesn't make any difference to the story for the most part. But Hogwarts Legacy remains a thrilling experience for those who have ever dreamed of being Harry Potter. And if you've already played it, slap a load of mods into the game for a different journey.
Still in early access, still good
- 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
Yes, V Rising is still in early access, but it earns a spot on this list, especially considering the updates it has received since the beginning of the year.
At first glance, you could mistake V Rising for another Diablo clone, but it's actually a multiplayer vampire action-survival game that owes more to Valheim and ARK: Survival Evolved than Blizzard's iconic franchise. This means it involves ample resource gathering, building, and crafting along with all the murderous mayhem, magic, and blood drinking.
Unlike similar games, V Rising doesn't use experience points; instead, your Gear Level determines your power. Combat is definitely a highlight, with an array of cool abilities available to tackle the multitude of well-designed bosses. The blood-drinking mechanic, which offers temporary character classes and boosts based on the type and quality of blood consumed, is particularly ingenious.
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, although it's possible to modify the output of resources. Remember, it is still an early access game, so it's not fully complete just yet.
Buy it from: Steam (early access)
Superheroes and cards, together at last
- Genre: Tactical role-playing
- Similar: Slay The Spire, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, Gloomhaven
- Graphics: lovely animations and attractive outdoor Abbey sections
- Gameplay: card-based, turn-based, open sections, a lot of talking
Midnight Suns may have been out for a while now, but if you haven't given it a shot, you're definitely missing a treat. Coming from Firaxis Games, many were expecting an XCOM-style experience with Marvel characters, so the revelation that it's a card-based game initially disappointed some. However, this is far from just another Hearthstone.
There are few games quite like Suns. Choosing your squad of heroes from characters such as Blade and Spider-Man and leading them into turn-based card battles may not be akin to XCOM, but it feels extraordinarily satisfying. The strategy involved in selecting the right card from a carefully curated deck is a standout feature, as is watching your characters execute their actions. Fighting famous opponents like Venom is a thrill, and you get to customize the main 'Hunter' player character.
But much of Midnight Suns unfolds away from the battlefield. The sections set in and around the Abbey where you form bonds with your teammates are very reminiscent of Mass Effect, offering various conversation responses tailored to the person. It's also here where you can level up characters and unlock more powerful cards and buffs.
Some may find the non-combat sections a bit tedious – Blade's book club meetings, for instance, might not appeal to everyone. Additionally, there could be a more diverse range of bad guys, and some people might simply dislike card-based titles, no matter how good they are. But these factors do not detract from what was PC Gamer's game of 2022 and is hailed as one of the best superhero games ever made. Shame about the sub-par DLC, though.
Bring spare pants
- Genre: Survival horror
- Similar: The Callisto Protocol, Dead Space 2 and 3, Resident Evil series, The Evil Within
- Graphics: You can almost smell the blood
- Gameplay: Third-person, shooter, puzzles, pant-wetting
The first half of 2023 has been a great time for classic horror remakes. In addition to the excellent Resident Evil 4, there's the all-new Dead Space. Now more visually stunning, gruesome, and terrifying than ever.
If Resi 4 is the action-focused Aliens, then Dead Space is the cosmic horror of Alien. The sense of dread and terror is present from the moment you approach the USG Ishimura, and the jump scares arrive thick and fast once you're on board – play this with some good headphones for the best, most heart attack-risking experience.
If you got a beefy rig, the remake looks gorgeous, adding to the overall atmosphere of being in an environment that wants to eviscerate you. The new zero-G sections, extra sidequests, and improved guns are more reasons to play if you enjoyed the original. Plus, Isaac can now talk.
Although it's not the lengthiest game out there (though a Game+ mode is available), and the intense, recurring jump scares may be overwhelming for some, Dead Space is a must-have for every horror game enthusiast's collection.
A beautiful world you won't forget
- Genre: Action-adventure
- Similar: Subnautica, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
- Graphics: hand-drawn gorgeousness
- Gameplay: Open-world, third-person, animal possession
Tchia might have slipped under the radar for many upon release, but there's a reason why this game has been garnering stellar reviews. Exploring an archipelago in the Southwest Pacific brimming with secrets and mini-games is a joy on its own, made all the better by the soul-jump mechanic. This feature enables the titular character to dive into and inhabit inanimate objects and animals, each with unique abilities.
The climbing and gliding in Tchia definitely bring to mind Breath of the Wild – a comparison to be proud of – while its missions, collectibles, and various approaches are almost Far Cry-like in their implementation, just without the arsenal of weapons and eccentric baddies. Elsewhere, the photo mode and treasure map sidequest are especially impressive; you'll never want for more customization options; and the developers' New Caledonian roots, upon which Tchia's world is based, are evident in the detailed care put into creating this world.
The enemy bases can become a bit of a chore near the end of the game, but that's nitpicking in what is a beautiful experience that will stay in your memory long after you've finished.
- Genre: Fishing horror
- Similar: Sunless Sea, sunless skies, Outer Wilds
- Graphics: Colorful low poly art
- Gameplay: Minigame-style fishing, Lovecraftian, third-person (vessel ), inventory and time management
A game about being a fisherman carrying out his professional trade doesn't scream buy me, but there's a lot more to Dredge than a minigame-based fishing simulator, hence the 'overwhelmingly positive' Steam ratings.
Serene fish-catching and Lovecraftian horror don't seem like fitting bedfellowsHowever, these two genres merge seamlessly in Black Salt Games' title. What begins as fishing and selling your catch, paying off your debt, and upgrading your ship quickly transforms into an eldritch nightmare as you delve into the mysteries beneath and above the waves.
The primary gameplay mechanic of catching and storing over 100 different types of fish is enjoyable in its own right, and following the main storyline, exploring the map, and taking on jobs adds an extra dimension to the experience.
The game can feel monotonous at times, and its main storyline can be completed rather swiftly. However, at just $25, Dredge is undoubtedly a bargain.
The battle royale king
- Genre: Battle Royale
- Similar: Valorant, Fortnite, Overwatch, PUBG, Titanfall 2 multiplayer
- Graphics: Arguably the prettiest BR game out there
- Gameplay: FPS, team-based multiplayer
Adding more single-player games to the list means we've cut back on the multiplayer shooters, but Apex Legends keeps its place as the best one for everybody.
The game features several familiar Free-to-Play Battle Royale staples, including a shrinking play area, skydiving onto an island, and looting. Its system of pitting up to 20 teams, each with three members, against each other to be the last squad standing, proved so popular that over 25 million players signed up in the first week of its launch, then 50 million in the first month. It has shown no signs of slowing down, reaching a peak of over 624,000 concurrent players in February, and currently averages around 15 to 16 million weekly active players.
While Apex Legends shares a cartoonish art style similar to Fortnite, the backstories, personalities, and unique abilities of its hero characters are closer to Overwatch.
Those familiar with Titanfall – set in the same universe as Apex Legends – would attest that combat is among the best aspects of these games. Respawn shines in the weapons department with Apex Legends, offering a multitude of exciting guns and attachments to experiment with and discover your favorites. As with similar titles, post-release content such as new characters and weapons is introduced through seasons. Additionally, events offer limited-time cosmetics, game modes, and more.
Perhaps the best aspect of Apex Legends is its accessibility for those who've always wanted to try a Battle Royale title but were deterred by internet trolls, largely due to the effective ping communication system similar to the one found in Valorant. In a battle royale-filled world, it's the king of the hill.
Free from: TechSpot Downloads
There's no doubt that if it weren't for the embarrassing amount of bugs and subpar optimization, Jedi Survivor would have secured a spot in the main chart. This phenomenal game builds on the excellent Outcast with expansive and intricately designed worlds, a captivating story, and combat that features multiple force powers and stances. It's essentially a Souls-like game for people who aren't fond of Dark Souls. It's regrettable that it's also viewed as this generation's Batman: Arkham Knight.
This is another PC port that launched with an array of issues and poor optimization. Thankfully, recent patches have brought significant improvements to what is arguably the most visually impressive version of a superb game. A high-end PC certainly aids in experiencing this one.
Set in 1518 Europe, this murder mystery allows players to make choices and witness their consequences unravel over a span of a quarter-century. The storybook art, inspired by manuscripts from the era, lends the game a unique aesthetic and helps players focus on the engaging narrative. It's available on PC Game Pass for those interested in trying before purchasing.
This third-person bullet hell shooter with roguelike elements was another pleasing port from the PlayStation 5. It's fast-paced, and the alien world and creatures look remarkable. The game can be very challenging – but in an enjoyable way.
Dropped from the list
(Great, but had to make room for others)
You can check out our 2022 article here.