The Best PC Games

The finest selection of titles for the PC gamer.

by

PC gamers have always had a huge selection of titles--both old and new--to choose from, so trying to figure out which ones to dedicate your precious time to can prove to be a daunting experience. But never fear, GameSpot is here to give you some suggestions on the best PC game experiences you can play right now. Since the history of PC games is both long and varied, we've focused on some of the best games released in recent years, as well as classics that are still easily available (and playable) today. So check out our list below of the best PC games, and then hit the comments below and tell us what you think (and which games you think deserve to be on this list).

Age of Empires II: HD Edition

"Age of Empires II: HD Edition has enormous potential. After all, the base game is still enjoyable and visually attractive (excepting the units that were never beautiful), and you can smoothly download content from the Steam Workshop." -- Read our review

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

"Amnesia: The Dark Descent is undoubtedly going to take a place among the most frightening horror games ever made. It is a touch short, at maybe six or so hours of gameplay, although you can't gripe too much about that given the cheap $20 price tag as an online download. Regardless of length, this is one uncanny, unsettling, and just plain old scary experience, especially with the lights out and your headphones on. " -- Read our review

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition.

"Even after more than a decade, this sprawling saga remains the most authentic treatment of D&D to ever hit a computer. And it is even better than ever, thanks to numerous graphical tweaks and a pile of new content that shows how much Overhaul has gotten its act together in comparison with the problematic release of the first enhanced Baldur's Gate game last year." -- Read our review

Battlefield 3

"Battlefield 3 may not offer much beyond the multiplayer, but there are so many ways to contribute and feel like a powerful soldier that after hours and hours of playing, all you'll want to do is play more." -- Read our review

Company of Heroes

"While intimidating, this visceral real-time strategy reenactment of World War II's Western Front showcases just how far RTS game design and presentation quality have come." -- Read our review

Age of Empires II: HD Edition, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, Battlefield 3, Company of Heroes.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

"Bottom line, CS:GO adds plenty, tweaks a little, and keeps the best parts of the classic multiplayer FPS. If you're into shooters, team-based gameplay, or just classic games that are updated well, you won't do better at the moment than CS:GO." -- Read our review

Crusader Kings II

"It's that scale and potential for one entertaining story after another that make Crusader Kings II so engrossing. There are so many little interactions for you to experience and so much potential for a payoff when your planning and scheming finally come to fruition. Crusader Kings II makes it an absolute delight to rewrite history one small step at a time." -- Read our review

Crysis

"If you put it all together, Crysis is just remarkable. This is a game that pushes the envelope in terms of both technology and gameplay and does so with aplomb. Crysis raises the expectations for every shooter to follow when it comes to graphics, interactivity, environments, immersiveness, AI, and gameplay. Quite simply, Crysis represents the first-person shooter at its finest, most evolved form. " -- Read our review

Deus Ex

"All of Deus Ex's gameplay features and story elements, as well as the expansiveness of the game's environments and the scope of its setting, add up to a satisfying and unusual experience. The way in which the individual gameplay elements are balanced against each other, and the way the consequences of your actions tend to come back into play, all help make Deus Ex increasingly impressive the longer you play it." -- Read our review

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

"If you've played Diablo III before and found that it wasn't for you, the changes Reaper of Souls makes to the game won't be far-reaching enough to change your mind. Reaper gives those who already liked Diablo III more of what they already liked about it. " -- Read our review

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Crusader Kings II, Crysis, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Deus Ex.

Doom II

"Doom II is a dark, disturbing game. And while it may not bring anything new to the genre, it can create obsession-level loyalty if you tend not to look beyond the barrel of a gun." -- Read our review

Dota 2

"The experience of playing Dota changes day by day--some evenings will be exhilarating, while others will kick your morale to the curb--but there are few games as worthy of your time investment as this. Those who choose to commit to Dota 2 will find many happy hours within this immaculate update." -- Read our review

Europa Universalis IV

"Europa Universalis IV easily provides hundreds of hours of gameplay for those who develop a taste for it. There are very few games remotely like this out there, making it a must-get game for people who want to "fix" history." -- Read our review

EVE Online

"Consistency of vision, commitment, and support are no small achievements in the winter of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, when young games are born, live, and die, all in World of Warcraft's shadow. In the face of such competition, EVE's languid pace would seem a detriment, and yet, like the universe, EVE is ever expanding outward." -- Read our review

Fallout: New Vegas

"Fallout: New Vegas is an expansive and complicated RPG that encourages you to see and do as much as you can. This is an explorer's game, always lavishing new and interesting quests on you and giving you a lot of flexibility in how you approach many of them. If you crave an expansive and flexible adventure in which your choices actually matter, this is one gamble that will pay off. " -- Read our review

Doom II, Dota 2, Europa Universalis 4, Eve Online, Fallout: New Vegas.

Far Cry 3

"Far Cry 3's intelligent and elegant open-world structure balances exciting action with the joys of free-form adventuring, making it one of the best shooters of the year. This is an ambitious and finely tuned adventure that gets better and better as you play." -- Read our review

FreeSpace 2

"FreeSpace 2 is one of the best space sims ever made and is a solid candidate for game of the year." -- Read our review

FTL: Faster Than Light

"Undeniably old-fashioned yet still somehow fresh and original, Faster Than Light is a great new take on a couple of old genres that will take over your life for many, many hours. Tense combat, easy-to-handle ship management, and fast-moving campaigns make this a game that is far more than the sum of its parts, despite a few shortcomings with mission variety and the remorseless nature of the (mostly) save-free game design." -- Read our review

Gone Home

"The reason to play Gone Home is not for its importance. It's for the elegance with which its tale is constructed and communicated, and the captivating way that it makes you an active participant in peeling back the layers of one family's ordinary lives as their home tells you their stories. Like many of our own memories, those stories cut deep." -- Read our review

Half-Life 2

"When you combine the strong single-player campaign of Half-Life 2 with the popular online play of Counter-Strike, the result is one of the most complete and compelling first-person shooter packages available. While Half-Life 2 breaks little new ground, it's still a superb and engaging first-person shooter, as well as an amazing technological accomplishment." -- Read our review

Far Cry 3, FreeSpace 2, FTL: Faster Than Light, Gone Home, Half-Life 2.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

"Blizzard delivers here, particularly for the massive segment of the populace that's never played a collectible card game. If it's dumbed down, then it's in good hands. If any developer's good at weeding out the chaff of more robust games in a particular genre, surely it's Blizzard." -- Read our review

Hitman: Blood Money

"While the underlying stealth action is mostly unchanged from the previous Hitman games, a diverse sequence of imaginative scenarios gives Blood Money its own fair share of violent thrills." -- Read our review

Hotline Miami

"Hotline Miami is a discotheque of death that's very hard to walk away from, and a fantastic twitch shooter with a confident sense of style. Many games attempt to use story to explain away the massacre of outrageous numbers of victims. Hotline Miami bathes in the thrill of murder, and cares little about justifying its actions." -- Read our review

Jagged Alliance 2

"Even with its problems, its excellent combat system and sense of style make Jagged Alliance 2 very easy to recommend." -- Read our review

League of Legends

"League of Legends is a fantastic game with something for players of all skill ranges to enjoy. Once the game has its hooks in you, don't be shocked to find you've spent a few hundred hours seeking digital fame in one of video gaming's finest battlegrounds." -- Read our review

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Hitman: Blood Money, Hotline Miami, Jagged Alliance 2, League of Legends.

Left 4 Dead 2

"Left 4 Dead 2 is best enjoyed with friends, and every mode is seamlessly integrated online. Though the core gameplay remains pretty much the same, there is more than enough new content and improved action to make this zombie apocalypse highly recommendable. " -- Read our review

Mass Effect 2

"This is a galaxy you want to explore that is populated with characters you are glad to know. Mass Effect 2 is the kind of game that you return to, not just because it's fun to play multiple times, but also because its universe is a place you wish you could call home." -- Read our review

Metro: Last Light

"Metro: Last Light is not an endless barrage of bullets and beasts. It takes the time to let you breathe in the choking atmosphere and allow the chilling fog to seep into your bones. Last Light is notably superior to its predecessor, merging storytelling, shooting, and sneaking into a remarkable and cohesive whole." -- Read our review

Minecraft

"Even in its current form, Minecraft remains one of the most conceptually impressive indie games out there. It's a game changer to be sure and one that will live on in the annals of gaming history for a long time to come." -- Read our review

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge

"Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge is an adventure well worth adding to your inventory, no matter how stuffed with hubcaps, voodoo dolls, and cheese squigglies it may be." -- Read our review

Left 4 Dead 2, Mass Effect 2, Metro: Last Light, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge, Minecraft.

Papers, Please

"Papers, Please will stress you out. At times it may even make you hate yourself. And while it's weird to call such an experience "enjoyable," the gameplay itself is not a miserable time. It's worthwhile for the same reasons a depressing novel or a bleak movie can be worthwhile. There are lessons to be learned from Papers, Please, if only to remind ourselves how much worse off we could be." -- Read our review

Path of Exile

"Considering that Path of Exile costs you nothing beyond some Internet bandwidth, it provides an embarrassment of pleasures. Many mysteries still await me, even in the savage regions I've already charted." -- Read our review

Planescape: Torment

"It's easy to apologize for Torment's many programming flaws, which cause the game to become excruciatingly slow at times and some of its dozens of quests to become unsolvable on occasion. It's true that bugs in computer role-playing games seem almost as conventional as spells and hit points. Fortunately, Torment's aren't so drastic that they actually ruin any single part of the game." -- Read our review

PlanetSide 2

"Planetside 2 is a consistent blast, and a monument to emergent, player-driven gameplay. Battle can take many different forms: intimidating tank invasions, interior infantry shootouts, open air long-range distractions, and more." -- Read our review

Portal 2

"The thrill of exploration and puzzle-solving is still intoxicating, and it's amazing how Portal 2 manages to tell a better story with disembodied voices and spherical robots than most games can with full-on humans. Your return to Aperture Science is a joyful one in this immensely appealing, laugh-out-loud funny, and thoroughly satisfying sequel." -- Read our review

Papers, Please, Path of Exile, Planescape: Torment, PlanetSide 2, Portal 2.

Sid Meier's Civilization V: Complete Edition

"Sid Meier's Civilization V's core values--expansion, exploitation, exploration, extermination--are as strong as ever. But the newer tactical combat and addition of city-states give strategy veterans new ways of tackling their goals, while a friendly interface and expansive Civilopedia help newcomers get up to speed relatively quickly." -- Review our review

SimCity 4

"Though not as polished as it could have been, SimCity 4 is still a complex and detailed strategy game that can entertain you for hours on end. " -- Read our review

Spelunky

"Spelunky makes excellent use of its random nature to keep you hooked as you strive to dive ever deeper into the mysterious depths. And if restarting from the beginning seems too much punishment for you to bear, there are shortcuts to open if your skills are honed enough. The best lesson you can learn is to be humble. As Spelunky proves, hubris spells the doom of many a greedy explorer." -- Read our review

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

"It's the chilly ambience and lifelike ecology that should lure you to the newest S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game, not the ordinary online play. Well-constructed environments and superb sound design make The Zone as cheerless and ominous as ever. But it's also rich with resources, begging you to cultivate its secrets and withstand the hostilities." -- Read our review

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

"It's one of the only Star Wars games to truly make you feel at times as though you're a key player in and a part of this unique and beloved sci-fi setting. You don't need to be a fan of Star Wars or of RPGs to appreciate all the impressive qualities of this game--but if you are, all the better." -- Read our review

Sid Meier's Civilization V: Complete Edition, SimCity 4, Spelunky, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

"Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is not just an old game with a pretty new face. It's a varied and full-featured jewel that will keep you stuck to your computer chair for weeks, months, and even years to come." -- Read our review

System Shock 2

"System Shock 2 both retains the best attributes of its predecessor and provides a fresh experience in its own right." -- Read our review

Team Fortress 2

"Staying relevant even a year after release is rare for a competitive shooter, and yet, here's Team Fortress 2, still lively after seven years in the business. At times it feels like the same game you could have played back then, and at other times it feels like no one will ever quite nail class-based shooter competition the way TF2 does." -- Read our review

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

"The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim doesn't rely on sheer scope to earn its stripes. It isn't just that there's a lot to do: it's that most of it is so good. Whether you're slashing a dragon's wings, raising the dead back to life, or experimenting at the alchemy table, Skyrim performs the most spectacular of enchantments: the one that causes huge chunks of time to vanish before you know it." -- Read our review

The Longest Journey

"The Longest Journey is one of the best adventure games in years. Like a hybrid of classic Sierra and LucasArts games, it tells a great fairy tale filled with characters that you'll remember long after the game is over." -- Read our review

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, System Shock 2, Team Fortress 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Longest Journey.

The Sims 3

"So what is it that makes The Sims 3 even more addictive than its predecessors? It's partially due to the deft handling of rewards; it doles out new social options, new aspirations, and the possibility of better furniture and wood flooring at a slow but even pace, which keeps you tied to your computer for hours at a time." -- Read our review

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

"The Witcher 2 has raised the stakes. No longer need we accept that role-playing games must sacrifice the quality of one element in favor of another. Instead, we are allowed to have it all. And how wonderful that we have it right here, right now, in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings." -- Read our review

Thief II: The Metal Age

"At first, Thief II may seem too much like Thief, but on closer inspection it's a better game. It may lack its predecessor's excellent story, and the graphics engine may be slightly dated, but no such concerns will seem relevant when you're sneaking around in Thief II's excellent environments." -- Read our review

Total War: Shogun 2

"Artistic, formidable, and action packed, this remarkable strategy game is the best Total War yet." -- Read our review

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

"Despite the clunky combat and other shortcomings, there's a rich world to explore in Bloodlines, an RPG that allows you to indulge your inner vampire. " -- Read our review

The Sims 3, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, Thief II: The Metal Age, Total War: Shogun 2, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, World of Warcraft, XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

World of Warcraft

"World of Warcraft features an overall level of quality that's typically reserved for the best offline games, which have always had a leg up on online games in their ability to present tightly-woven, story-driven settings. But World of Warcraft achieves this in the context of a massive, evolving world populated by thousands of other players who you may choose to interact with, which makes the proceedings seem that much more meaningful." -- Read our review

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

"XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a wonderful and worthy strategy game with a layer of campy charm that makes the stone-faced seriousness of the game's characters all the more endearing. The game packs dense amounts of dramatic tension into each turn. And so it's time to eliminate the alien threat, commander. Select a location, build your base…and save humanity." -- Read our review

* GameSpot's Best Of Lists will be updated periodically as new games worthy of inclusion are released on their respective platforms.

Discussion

38 comments
sadface1234
sadface1234

great list, while it doesnt have as much exposure as LoL or Dota 2. Smite is imo the best MOBA, 3rd person skill shots are a lot more satisfying then clicking on an enemy... at least for me.   Way more action packed an excited and laning phase is not as long, imo much better game concept


Also glad you said crusader kings, game is so interesting if you are a history buff, even if you aren't get the Game of thrones MoD. Was fun being a lannister and then taking over the throne! 

bigrod69
bigrod69

Planetside 2 is amazing fun.


Also I'd add Game Developer Tycoon to the list, stunning time waster - very fun.


Papers Please however, I don't get the hype. I picked up the game based on the reviews, it's just a memorization/pattern game.

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

Nice work . However , I would've included No One Lives Forever , FEAR and Freelancer as well . But it's impossible to name everything in one list.

Great List .

faizanhd
faizanhd

A lesser known one:

No One Lives Forever 1 and 2.

But you'll have a hard time finding a copy.

metallinatus
metallinatus

Well, so this is some kind of archive of great games, not a real "best of" .-.

Dota > LOL

bobbo888
bobbo888

If you don't have love for some of these games I'm not sure how you can consider yourself a PC gamer; or a gamer at all for the matter. Actually I take that back... most gamers are acting exactly as I expect them to; complaining, giving 0 reason as to why, and giving no constructive input at all, all while sounding like spoiled kids.

blutfahne
blutfahne

lol you have stalker cop instead of stalker soc. also where is mount and blade warband? overall list is not very exciting

gcodegamer
gcodegamer

Please show me something jar dropping with gameplay, until then it's just a mod machine.

Especially with today's pc, you mean to tell me no game developer company can do this and say hey consoles catch up to this.

And I'm not talking about cgi tech demo.

20yearsgaming
20yearsgaming

One last comment (in Gamespot's direction): modern PC gaming is about playing the latest and greatest at much higher frame rates, resolutions, and levels of detail (visual quality) (as well as better controls) than consoles can ever hope to offer.  Nearly every game on this list misses that mark entirely, and as such, you've missed the point.  If you want to redefine this as "PC games that don't require discrete GPUs," "PC-only," etc., please do so, and eliminate the few stragglers that prevent either of these titles.  As is, this list is confusing, wildly inaccurate, and in no way represents what modern PC gaming is all about.


p.s. listing Crysis as a top pick is a giveaway that the author of this list has never gamed on a PC...it runs terribly (even now), plays terribly, and is drop-dead boring (critics had major issues with reviewing the game fairly, given how "impressive" its visuals were...at best, it's a 7/10, and is quite possibly the most overrated "PC" game in all of PC gaming history).  Crysis 2, sure...fantastic game.  Also on consoles, though (granted, it's pretty sweet at 1440/60/DX11/high-res textures).

jeager_titan
jeager_titan

My picks from this list,

Thief 2

Witcher 2

The Longest journey

System Shock 2

Portal 2

Planescape torment

Half Life 2

Amnesia

Age of Empires.

Crysis


Anigmar
Anigmar

Gone Home? Seriously? This list lacks a lot and many titles are not good.

20yearsgaming
20yearsgaming

Well...since you asked for my opinion, I'll give it to you.  This list is utterly ridiculous.  90% of the games here are "PC-only" garbage that would never qualify as being worthy of my time as a "PC" gamer, let alone a console gamer who is on the fence, looking for that final push into PC territory.


Filter out the sprinkling of games that are also available on consoles, re-title the list "best PC-only games," and end the disservice that has been done here.  If I were a console gamer looking at this, I would say "see guys...PC gaming definitely sucks.  Who wants to play this garbage?"  I would be correct...but I would remain ignorant, as I'd continue to fail to realize that the best games available for PC are console ports and/or were built for PC, then ported to consoles (like it or not...), that simply look and run *much better* on PC. PC-only games, as comprise 90% of this list, are almost universally garbage.


Again, if this list were restricted to all PC-only games (as opposed to 90% PC-only with a few seemingly random console-available games tossed in), then fine.  Your parameters need redefining, and this list requires clarification.  Please don't give console gamers the idea that this is PC gaming at its finest.  This is an embarrassment, plain and simple: PC gaming at its near worst, and/or PC gaming "without the need for a discrete GPU," in most cases (Crysis, Far Cry 3, and a couple other games that are also available on consoles aside).

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

Where are

- Grim Fandango
- Homeworld
- No one lives forever
- Neverwinter Nights
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Guild Wars 2
- Dishonored
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
- Assassin's Creed 2

...?

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

Where are

- Civilization
- Max Payne
- Gothic

- Grand Theft Auto
- Tropico
- Spec Ops The Line
- CoD MW
- Command & Conquer
- Warcraft 3

...?

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

In which universe is Shogun 2 the best Total War?????

duo2002
duo2002

What about Ghost Recon Phantoms?

That really clicks!

fastvedub
fastvedub

@gcodegamer This is exactly what is wrong with you young gamers now days,you are spoiled,why must it be something jaw dropping,had you grown up on 8 bit consoles like us true gamers did,you would appreciate a game for what it is,THE GAME PLAY! not the graphics exc,that is just a bonus,And graphics are pretty much almost at the limits without being real life..It's a fucking game! Nothing more,enjoy it for what it is.How about you show something you made that's is jaw dropping..Yeah didn't think so.Spoiled little prick.

LightEffect
LightEffect

@20yearsgaming I thought Crysis 2 was awful. The suit abilities were weak, story not interesting and enemies just doing stupid things all over the place, if they moved at all. Crysis 1 had much better suit abilities and larger open level design with much more interesting enemies to fight.

bobbo888
bobbo888

@20yearsgaming Not to mention many PC games are completely inaccessible on consoles simply because of the way they're played. MOBAs, MMOs, FPS that actually require skill. It's not about graphics ever.

bobbo888
bobbo888

@20yearsgaming Sorry but that is only your opinion. Not a lot of people have 2gs to spend on a PC that can do what you want. Your opinion is the reason for such shitty games these days; people only caring about graphics. Many of those games are great and honestly if you don't have love for some of them, I'm not sure how you consider yourself a PC gamer. Many of the games listed are old and have aged will mister 20 years of gaming.... This comment is just wrong. 

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@20yearsgaming  "One last comment (in Gamespot's direction): modern PC gaming is about playing the latest and greatest at much higher frame rates, resolutions, and levels of detail (visual quality) (as well as better controls) than consoles can ever hope to offer. "

No, it isn't. Not at all.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@Anigmar Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but that doesn't mean that they represent the majority.

20yearsgaming
20yearsgaming

@Anigmar  This list is an abomination.  It has no defined parameters, and as a result, they've assembled a list of 90% PC-only trash (no PC gamer wants to admit it, but the only games on PC that are worth playing are multi-platform) with a few multi-plats thrown in for good (?) measure.  Take them out, make sure that console gamers know that the list is "PC-only," which by no way, shape, or form represents the "best games" "on PC," and make things clear and easy.  Most of these games don't even require a discrete GPU...that says quite a bit about the quality of this list vs. the *purpose of PC gaming.* Console gamer looks at this list and says, "man...PC gaming really does suck.  Back to my console I go..."  (Hell, what even qualifies Gamespot to be commenting on "PC gaming"...they clearly don't understand it.)


No Alice?  No Alice: Madness Returns?  Crysis (overrated crap...any real PC gamer knows it)?  No Mirror's Edge?  Far Cry 3 (try 2, instead, or 1, given that 1 was PC-only, at the time of its release)?  Come on, guys.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@20yearsgaming The only garbage here is your opinion. Every game on this list is a classic and a great game in its own genre.

PJChillout
PJChillout

@fastvedub @gcodegamer I didn't grow up with 8 bit consoles (well maybe a bit since my first games were things like tetris and pitfall on a gameboy), but I value gameplay more then graphics. Don't think all of the younger generation are like him. Though you must admit, when playing something with great graphics like Metro : Last Light, some newly released games are dissapointing.

gcodegamer
gcodegamer

Since we are name calling now.... I bet your wife is ugly, tell her to put some makeup on and see the difference or maybe a boob job.

Now back to the topic, why can't I have both visual and gameplay?

Is that to much to ask for.

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

@20yearsgaming The only one who doesn't understand PC gaming at all is you. The quality of games has very little to do with graphical fidelity.