(Image credit: Future)
The best PC games will immerse you in new and distant worlds for hours, days and maybe even weeks. Not only are they getting bigger and sometimes more challenging, but they’re also looking more stunning than ever. With all the power that Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, Super RTX and AMD’s Navi line of graphics cards give gaming PCs on the market, PC gaming has never looked better.
That’s not limited to one genre, either. If you’re not into the best MMOs or MOBAs, then you can dig into games that drip with nostalgia for the classics or trample around in gorgeous open-world games, some of which come with an extra layer of realism thanks to ray-tracing. Or maybe platformers, strategy, or even co-op PC games to take on your friends is more your speed.
Since there’s such a plethora of games to choose from, there’s something out there that will draw you in. We’ve rounded up our favorites, including the best Steam games 2020, for this list of games you should dig into. Read on if you want help guiding you down that next rabbit hole.
The best new PC game: Resident Evil 3
Capcom followed up one Resident Evil remake with another with only a year between them. And thankfully they did. Resident Evil 3 is a master class in horror, continuing the legacy of the series with flair. It builds on the last remake as well, ratcheting up the graphics and the action for an intense trek through Racoon City.
The remake takes the original game, the first to let you out into the zombie-filled streets of Raccoon City, and brings it into 2020. You can now dodge and the puzzles have been streamlined for a little better pacing, but you still have what made the original so good, with its varied environments and character switching to solve puzzles and move the story forward.
If you’re into horror games, you probably already know (and probably love) Resident Evil. So treat yourself with the newest addition to the series. Just make sure to turn out the lights first.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is aging like fine wine. Even several years after it hit the streets, it’s still one of the most impressive open world games that’s ever existed – mixing Skyrim’s unapologetic scale with Grand Theft Auto V’s incredible depth. It’s such a jam-packed game, which is why it claims the top spot on our list of the best PC games in 2020. Staggering, beautiful and an absolute time sink – in a good way – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt isn’t just the best PC game of 2020 or among the best open world games on PC. It might just be one of the best video games of all time.
- Check out our list of the best single player PC games
2. Dark Souls 3
While it’s arguably not as hard as earlier titles in the series, From Software’s Dark Souls 3 takes everything you like about the Souls series and improves on it by blending it with elements found in Bloodborne, the developer’s more recent title for PS4.
We won’t sugar coat it: you’re going to die in Dark Souls 3, perhaps more than once. It takes patience to master its complex combat system, but it also plays fair, which makes it more approachable for casual players so they too can take part in its bleak, fantastical world. And, on the bright side, it’s much more optimized for PC than the first two games. Now that you can pick up Dark Souls: Remastered, and see where the apocalyptic series began, there’s never been a better time to link the first flame.
It’s not hard to see why Control has taken the gaming world by storm. The creative team at Remedy Entertainment made sure to pack this title with plenty to love, paying very close attention to the intricate details. A deeply cinematic game, this action-adventure offers its players staggering visuals, inspired environment design and brilliant performances – not to mention, a deeply satisfying combat experience.
Control places you in the capable shoes of fiery-haired Jesse Faden. You’re tasked to seek out The Oldest House, a building in New York City that’s in a constant state of architectural flux and only appears to those who desire to find it, and locate your missing brother, all while heading the Federal Bureau of Control as its director and overseeing the containment of paranatural entities.
There’s nothing quite like Control on the market, and it makes it one of the best PC games to play right now.
4. Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter is one of the biggest gaming franchises you’ve probably never heard of for years now. With Monster Hunter: World, the series broke into the mainstream and came to the PC (much to many gamers’ relief), and now, it’s one of the best PC games you can play to date.
Monster Hunter: World puts you in the shoes of a monster hunter, and you’ll hunt increasingly bigger and meaner monsters, strip them for parts, and craft bigger, badder armor. It’s a deviously simple gameplay loop that ends up being one of the most compelling and rewarding PC games you can play right now.
There’s an incessant onslaught of content in this game, and Capcom, the developers of this monster hunting hit, are committed to bringing a wealth of free DLC to the game – as well as a new frosty expansion in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. If you’re looking for an addictive, immersive and most importantly, fun game to play on your own or with all your closest friends cooperatively, Monster Hunter: World is the PC game of your dreams. There’s no doubt it’s one of the best PC games you can buy today.
- These are the best co-op PC games of 2019
5. Red Dead Redemption 2
The newest release from Rockstar Games was an instant hit upon release. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an engrossing western following Arthur Morgan and his gang as they try to survive a fictionalized Wild West as outlaws on the run. However, the game is much more than just that.
Whether it’s getting lost in the story, following through on every side quest to its conclusion, or just bonding with your horse, RDR2 is one of those games where you can easily sink 50+ hours into and still have something to do. The gameplay is stellar, and the graphics are gorgeous. You can even run the game in 8K, if you have the hardware. Definitely give this a look if you haven’t already.
6. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the most recent installment in the iconic turn-based strategy game, and it’s without a doubt among the best PC games you can play to date. One of the things that make the PC the best platform for gaming on is the sheer breadth of different game genres on offer. And, what Civilization VI has to offer is its massive scope, despite the fact that it might seem slower paced next to the likes of Fortnite.
Spread your empire across the map and crush your enemies. You build up your empire from a simple settlement to a world power, and you can decide to do this through military might, technological supremacy or cultural influence. Since its launch in 2016, it has had two expansion packs that really cement this game as an epic entry in our best PC games list. Civilization VI: Rise and Fall released in February 2018, with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm following in February 2019.
7. Alien: Isolation
Set 15 years after the events of the first Alien film from 1979, Alien: Isolation is the suspense-filled game that fans of the franchise have long been waiting for. Playing the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of Alien protagonist Ellen Ripley, your mission is to track down and retrieve the flight recorder of the Nostromo spacecraft from the first Alien film, which has been traced aboard the Sevastopol space station.
First and foremost a stealth game, Isolation intensifies the tension by giving you minimal weaponry. Its superb graphics shine on high-end PCs and brilliant AI helps ramp up the dread, leaving you shuddering at every corner. This and more make Alien: Isolation one of the best PC games 2020 has to offer.
Overwatch, if nothing else, has considerably changed the landscape, moving it away from the norm of gray-ish cover shooters to the domain of competitive gaming. Its bright, vibrant colors are only made better by its endearing characters, each coming with their own compelling backstories, which, though non-existent in game, make for a collection of amazing webcomics and cinematics.
Overwatch is also one of the best PC games, owing to the fact that it runs beautifully on all kinds of different hardware. Sure, it’s a little older now. However, even in 2020, it’s the best PC game for anyone with a competitive streak. If you missed out on this game before, do yourself a favor – sign in to your Battle.net account and take Overwatch – not to mention, its colorful cast of characters – for a spin today.
9. Forza Horizon 4
Microsoft’s racing series is only getting better with each release, and in many ways this spin-off has exceeded the main Forza Motorsport line as the best racing games on PC at present. They’re definitely more fun, adding a dash of arcade fun to the strikingly recreated cars and race tracks we’ve come to expect from Forza.
Forza Horizon 4 is easily one of the best PC games you can buy today, and this entry brings the racing to the UK after having explored America, France, Italy and Australia in the previous three instalments of the franchise. Now, you can rip through charming villages, seaside towns and the city of Edinburgh by way of many miles of country roads and dirt tracks in between. It’s fast, frantic and a lot of fun.
You can purchase Forza Horizon 4 through the Microsoft Store. It’s also available as part of the Xbox Game Pass for PC, or you can buy the Xbox One version and get a download code for PC using the Xbox Anywhere feature.
10. Thimbleweed Park
Fans of classic point and click games such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, which are some of the best PC games ever made, should add Thimbleweed Park to their must play list. Made by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, two of the people behind PC classics Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, Thimbleweed Park plays like a love letter to classic point-and-click adventure games.
From the splendid retro artwork, entertaining dialogue and perplexing puzzles, Thimbleweed Park deserves its place on our list of the best PC games, merging the best of old school PC game design with modern technology.
11. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software is a household name when it comes to designing the best PC games. The minds behind the critically praised Dark Souls series have transported PC gamers to some of the most forsaken landscapes and through some of the most challenging yet rewarding gameplay. From Software is back at it once more, with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Sekiro places you in the shoes of the Young Wolf, a shinobi tasked with rescuing his young master. The game will take you through 16th-century Japan, but things will get eerie and supernatural: this is From Software we’re talking about.
Don’t expect an easy time of it, however. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an awfully difficult game to master, and you’ll need quick reflexes to deflect enemy attacks, as well as to master stealth. You won’t be able to hide behind a shield all day, like you were able to in Dark Souls III.
The phrase “build it, and they will come” rings truer than ever with Minecraft, the survival-based sandbox RPG that has now been bought more than 100 million times since its release in 2009. In it, you can construct your own worlds using resources you find in the wild, or discover existing ones created by other players online.
In Minecraft, you can either limit yourself to the numerous tools and blocks offered by the developer, Mojang, or you can install mods to truly capitalize on your investment. Moreover, sometime in 2020, you’ll be able to take part in the Super Duper Graphics Pack, an optional piece of DLC that offers more realistic lighting effects and textures to an already amazing game.
A crudely rendered first-person shooter series, Doom was as controversial as it was adored when it first took PC gaming by storm in the 90s. That’s due in large part to its cutting-edge depictions of gore and violence that only a computer could deliver. But just because Id Software’s brainchild was a phenomenon for PC gamers in the ‘90s, that doesn’t mean that its premise and gore-fille gameplay doesn’t hold up.
Parents be damned, the franchise underwent a revival in 2016 with a fresh reset, aptly titled Doom, and it’s still proving to be among the best PC games years later. Although the multiplayer might not appeal to shooter fans regardless of age, the single player campaign will pit you against demons in Hell for a lengthy mission that is bloody satisfying, pun intended.
14. Fortnite Battle Royale
It’s possibly the biggest game in the world right now, so Fortnite Battle Royale is a natural shoo-in for this list. After all, it is a global phenomenon and among the best PC games to play right now if you like super-competitive online games. This is a game people keep coming back to, and that’s mostly due to its addictive gameplay and regular updates from Epic.
Fortnite Battle Royale is actually a game mode for the Fortnite game, but this mode has become so popular, many people consider it a separate game in its own right. As with other Battle Royale games, the aim of Fortnite Battle Royale is to fight your way through an ever-shrinking map until you’re the last player standing. While that might sound simple enough, there’s a whole lot of depth to this game once you start playing.
Cuphead’s 1930’s animation aesthetics certainly makes this one of the most beautiful looking – and sounding – PC games on our list. Incorporating run-and-gun platforming with boss rush battles, it’s also an extremely challenging game. But, that only means that it’s even more rewarding to play.
With hand-drawn cell animation, watercolor backgrounds and original jazz soundtrack, Cuphead is unlike anything you’ll play on PC. Just keep in mind that the steep difficulty curve may put people off. However, if you’re willing to put in the work and hone your gaming skills, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best PC games you’ll ever experience.
- Going mobile? These are the best games you can play on your laptop
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article