The 10 best PC games to play right now
The 10 best PC games to play right now
The 10 best PC games represent the pinnacle of what it means to be a PC gamer. Sure, consoles are great and all – but the sometimes you just need to see what the graphics settings look like cranked all the way up, or you yearn for the precision control that only a mouse and keyboard setup can offer. Another perk of gaming on PC is that you can choose from hundreds of thousands of available games, be they big or small, indie or AAA, full-price or free-to-play. But with so many options, it can be tough to figure out what you should play next. That’s where our list of the best PC games comes in, giving you a great place to chart your next gaming journey in front of the monitor.
A few quick ground rules: first, this ranking is based on what it’s like to play these games today, so while you’ll see games that are a few years old at this point, we think they’re worth enjoying even in 2019. Second, while we won’t be rating mods themselves (a feature largely unique to the PC scene), there’s no denying the ability to mod some games makes them exponentially more enjoyable. Along those same lines, we’re also giving consideration to games that work better on PC than other platforms. So while you might be able to play Diablo 3 on a number of systems, the mouse-and-keyboard controls on PC earn it a bit more praise.
If you need to upgrade your PC to run some of them, check out our high-end gaming PC build guide! Alternatively, if you need a pre-built, here are the best gaming PCs of 2019 and the best gaming laptops. Without further ado, here are the 25 best PC games to play right now.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
These kids today, with their fancy-schmancy 3D action-RPGs. Why, back in our day, you took the isometric camera angle, combat dictated by virtual dice rolls, and brutal difficulty and you liked it! Divinity: Original Sin 2 is an homage to those bygone days, but doesn’t languish in rose-colored nostalgia; it also brings in some modern conventions like physics-based spells and free from mod support. Divinity succeeds because it strengthens the best parts of the classic RPG formula, ditches the worst, and modernizes the whole package, giving players a sandbox they feel encouraged to play around in and explore, even while they break all the rules.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher games and the Polish novels on which they’re based have always been strong narrative experiences, blending a low-fantasy setting with gritty characters and interesting scenarios drawing on a mixture of European mythology and dark fantasy tropes. But the first two games were much less ambitious experiences, inevitably hamstrung by smaller budgets and a more constrained development window. The Witcher 3, by comparison, continues the strong tradition of some of the industry’s best storytelling but also pairs that excellent writing with truly compelling gameplay.
It takes some of the best features of the second game and hones them to a razor’s edge, and drops the entire experience into a vast open world populated by fantastic creatures and compelling, multi-dimensional, deeply flawed characters, not least of which is the eponymous witcher and protagonist himself, Geralt of Rivia. The third game sets us loose in one of the best fantasy world’s in gaming history and gives us the tools to make that world feel like home if a slightly demented, slightly darker version of home than we might be accustomed to.
Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy makes for as terrifying a game as it does a political platform. Released for the PC in 2007, remastered in 2016, and now part of the BioShock Collection, this first game explores the consequences of unchecked human ambition to pitch-perfect effect. Set within Rapture – a suboceanic utopia where the bright and beautiful fled to be free of society’s undesirables – you experience first-hand the horrifying outcome of a hubris-driven society in self-imposed exile without a moral compass to guide them. BioShock does not lack for innovation and creativity.
The game pioneers new methods of interactive storytelling, be it through now-trite cassette playback sequences or clues painted (usually in the blood) on the walls. The game also riffs on the FPS genre by introducing the magic-like plasmid powers, which not only spice up gunplay but also provide new avenues for defeating the iconic Big Daddy patrollers as well as overcoming environmental puzzles. Rarely does a game come along that takes as many risks as BioShock, and even more rarely does it succeed in being so wildly entertaining. Yes, this is one of the oldest games on our list, but it really does hold up that well.
Would Minecraft have been just as successful if it weren’t for the millions of users uploading YouTube videos 24 hours a day? Who knows, but with more than 100 million registered users on the PC version alone, that’s a lot of people stacking blocks and slaying Ender dragons. Part of the appeal is that you can play it any way you choose, whether that’s rebuilding the world of Game of Thrones or crafting your own personal, cozy shack. But watching someone else play can be just as entertaining because the possibilities are endless when a game hands over the control to a creative player.
Minecraft has come a long way since its alpha days (not so much visually), and with the freedom to use mods, it opens up even more ways to tailor the game to your liking. The intricate crafting system has an expansive recipe list which just keeps growing, and it’s incredibly addictive. So, whether you decide to spend your days baking pies or playing custom maps, Minecraft can easily make the hours tick by. And like most things in life, it’s always better with a friend.
World of Warcraft
MMORPGs are some of the most rewarding time-sinks ever conceived, and World of Warcraft remains the best of the best. Why? First, it’s incredibly accessible thanks to the fact that Blizzard streamlined many of the elements that prevented casual players from picking up MMOs in the past.
There’s no overly harsh death penalty, and leveling is best done not simply by grinding, but by completing quests that have interesting stories and adventuring from one massive, detailed hub to the next. And with each new expansion, WoW continually gets better. With a world far larger than that of most MMOs, tons of memorable raid dungeons, great PvP arenas, Pokemon-esque pet battles, and more, there’s not much else we could ask be added to an already phenomenal game. Sure, the combat is traditional by MMO standards, but there’s a reason the World of Warcraft is still going strong 14 years on: it’s the best around.
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