The Most Graphically Demanding PC Games
Created by Jimmy Thang on
Want to know which PC games will push high-end rigs to their limits? We’ve rounded up 18 of the most graphically demanding PC games we could get our hands on (This story has been updated with Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds). We also tested and ranked them by how much they made our high-end PC struggle.
We used built-in benchmarks whenever they were available and frame-rate capturing tool Fraps when they weren’t. We ranked all of the games based on their average frame rates. The lower the average frame rate, the higher the ranking in our list.
To really push the games to their absolute limits, we ran every single game at 4K (3840x2160) with maximum settings. Yes, this includes fully pushing anti-aliasing, which admittedly doesn’t make much sense at 4K where the high resolution handles much of the aliasing issues for you. This isn’t at all an optimization guide where we’re trying to find an effective balance between performance and fidelity, however. The point of this story is to really push these games to test the ultimate limits of our current high-end PC.
The only features we disabled were VSync--so we wouldn’t be bottlenecked by our monitor’s 60Hz refresh rate--and supersampling--to keep all games on the same resolution playing field. We played roughly five minutes of every game on our list, and to avoid Internet connectivity issues, we stuck to single-player. We also avoided third-party mods.
We realize that certain levels may be more graphically demanding than others, and so this experiment admittedly isn’t going to be an exact science, but it should hopefully at least give you an idea of each game’s relative performance. It’s important to note that your results will vary depending on your personal rig.