Just picked up a PC and not sure what to download first? Or, are you just looking to spruce up your current lineup? We’ve got some picks for you.
Have you just got your first gaming PC? Welcome to the club! I’ve been a PC gamer for over a decade now and I’ll tell you this much, it would take a lot for me to go back to console gaming. There are a whole host of games to play on PC, but it can feel a little overwhelming when you first start. If you’re not sure where to begin then fear not, you’re in the right place.
We’ve gathered all of the best PC games, making sure to consider loads of genres – because yes action-adventure is great, but it’s definitely not for everyone, me included.
You’ve likely heard of some of these titles before if you’ve been on PC for a while. I mean, Elden Ring had some amazing hype before it even dropped and Minecraft, with its amazing soundtrack, has been on everyone’s radar for years. But sometimes you can feel yourself falling into a rut and playing the same games over and over, all whilst knowing you’re bored out of your mind with them. Been there, done that (looking at you, League of Legends). It might be time for you to spice it up and it’s likely that you’ve actually overlooked some of the best PC games in the past.
FromSoftware Inc. / Bandai Namco)
If you haven’t heard of Elden Ring over the course of 2022, where have you been? From the creators of Dark Souls comes this beautifully designed adventure RPG game. The open-world aspect is something some may be sceptical about, I tend to get easily distracted, often wandering off and just losing sight of the story entirely. I feel like I just want to talk to every single merchant and buy all the things, ya know? However, it seems that the complete opposite was true in the case of this game.
It’s set in The Lands Between, which is bigger than any world designed by Bandai Namco in the past. The scale of the world feels incredibly vast and is one you’ll be infinitely exploring. As you discover new areas, you’ll also find a diversity of life all around you, which keeps you immersed. No matter how far you venture, there is always something new lurking, every inch of the world has an intricate identity. The combination of free will and direction, giving you the option to explore or follow the defined path at your leisure, is one of the main reasons why this game is so special.
God of War
Previously a PlayStation exclusive, God of War finally made its way onto PC earlier this year, and it’s pretty fantastic. The original game was released back in 2018 and although the sequel was released on PS4 and PS5 just a few months ago, it’s still an unforgettable experience. God of War is an action-adventure RPG, and even if this genre usually isn’t your style, they aren’t mine for sure, I would still highly recommend giving it a go. It has an amazing story, great combat and the world is beautiful.
I’m not usually a big fan of PvE games, because sometimes it feels too easy to just AFK mash combat keys, but God of War is different. The combat is simple to pick up, but because it’s hard to master, it feels like there’s an actual skill curve. The beautiful graphics were also a surprise for me, even on lower-end machines, you can run this game on an RTX 1060 on low settings. Even without DLSS technology, and all the graphics set at the lowest, the environment is still stunning, which is something you can often miss out on with other games on the market, particularly if your GPU isn’t the best.
Before I get into this, I want to admit my bias. Overwatch 2 is the first game that I actually felt skilled at, for a long time. But, I main Moira and Lucio, so I don’t know how valid my ‘skill’ is. Overwatch 2 is an FPS game, where you play quick 5v5 matches in order to rank up – similar to CS:GO or Valorant. However, this isn’t your standard first-person shooter, so if you have terrible aim like me, then fear not, you can still enjoy yourself. I literally aim like it’s the first time I’ve ever used a computer and managed to make it to Platinum in my first month.
The game currently has 35 heroes, but this list is ever-expanding, meaning there’s a character to suit a wide range of play styles. Each hero has a different set of abilities so you don’t have to rely entirely on your aim and you won’t get people camping around the map just to get the perfect headshot (if you do this in any game, please uninstall). I think this sets Overwatch 2 apart from other FPS, making it my current favourite game that I just keep going back to every evening. And the best part of all? It’s completely free to play.
BlueTwelve Studio / Annapurna Interactive)
For all my fellow cat lovers, Stray is for you! This an exploration-based story game where you play as a little ginger cat just trying to find his way in the big world. The cyberpunk-inspired designs are fantastic, providing the perfect combination of cool and nerve-racking.
The main premise of the game is to solve puzzles to advance through the story. One of the best bits about the Stray experience is that you get very few hints, so it challenges you to figure out what to do, rather than being on a lead (pun intended). Sometimes it’s quite difficult and other times you remember – oh wait, I’m literally a cat, I can just walk across this scarily thin pipe and it’s fine.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, better known as Civ 6, is very different to the other games on this list but is one of my all-time favourites. It’s a complicated turn-based strategy game, which can be hard to navigate at first but is so rewarding once you’ve gotten the hang of it.
You can play against computer players or your friends, racing to build the strongest Civilisation with multiple ways to win including science, culture, religion, score, and of course, domination. Or, you can be like my boring friends, who build no schools, invest all of the money into nukes and then blow each other up. HOURS of work go straight in the bin. Their civilians were literally in poverty so they could nuke me. Beware, this game will ruin friendships, but it is really fun, honest.
After destroying your friendships with Civ 6, you can then build them back up with the amazing Stardew Valley. This is a super peaceful farming simulator where you take over your grandfather’s land and provide for the town. There are multiple story routes to go down, you can either support the meanie capitalists over at Joja (whose logo looks all too familiar), or you can develop the town by revamping the town hall.
These aren’t the main aim of the game though, you’re free to do as you wish, including getting married, expanding your house and just chilling. You can play with up to four people on the same farm, making this a lovely little sim to play with friends.
It should be no surprise that Minecraft has made its way onto this list. This game has constantly attracted the attention of old and new gamers alike since its release. Whether you enjoy playing it solo, with friends or on servers that have created a massive array of minigames, this game is a must-have for anyone.
You can engage in battle arena PvP or just run around solo and pick flowers, the versatility this game provides is insane, making it a fantastic game no matter what mood you’re in. And for a game about blocks, the soundtrack is so unbelievably moving. Some of the songs will literally take you away into another world, and the next thing you know, there are tears rolling down your cheeks. Playing Minecraft is a truly magnificent experience.
Rocket League has been out for over seven years now but still continues to be one of the best and most competitive games on the market right now. It’s available on all platforms for free, making it the perfect game for cross-play with friends who may be on different devices.
If you’re not sure what it is, the simplest way to describe it is – you’re a car, playing football. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but there are so many mechanics to learn and master in this game that make you want to put the hours in.
If it isn’t obvious already, I tend to get a teeny bit angry when gaming. This doesn’t manifest itself in an external way, all of my equipment is still in one piece thankfully, instead, I tend to sit there silently stewing and reconsidering my entire life. Rocket League is a game that takes me to that place.
Although, when you finally manage to pull off a move you’ve been trying to figure out for ages, you feel so elated that it’s all worth it.
The Sims 4
The Sims Forums)
I often forget that I own The Sims 4, but when I inevitably open it up, I can become obsessed and engrossed for a week straight. I won’t eat, sleep or bathe, because my whole life becomes The Sims. Although I have my own house and career, I still live vicariously through this little lady on my screen who would literally die if there was a plate on the floor stopping her from getting to the shower.
The Sims has always been a classic and with the fourth edition, The Sims 4, going free to play this year, it’s even easier to forget about your entire life for a week every few months! There aren’t many games that can do that for you.
Grand Theft Auto V has been one of the most popular PC games since its release almost a decade ago, largely down to the fact that nine years on, the game still receives regular significant content updates. It originally started off as a standard action-adventure game where you were able to play as a thug and commit crimes to advance the story, but fans have since created multiplayer minigames, roleplaying games and even parkour maps.
I spend a lot of time in GTA just driving around the city and nearly running people over and somehow, I just don’t get bored of it. Epic has given the game away for free in the past so be sure to keep an eye out for that, however, the price has come down quite significantly since its release, so it shouldn’t set you back too much.
Even though I do think PC is the master race (sorry), I will admit that there are plenty of amazing options on console, with some of them being exclusive to the platform, like the best PS5 games.