Friday, May 24, 2024

    Best PC games to play right now

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    Perhaps you’ve bought yourself a new PC in a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale. Perhaps you’re looking to play one of the best games ever while you’re waiting for your next favorite to release. Whatever the reason, or list of the 30 best PC games has got you covered. We regularly update the our top list so you have all the latest and best games available at your fingertips – complete with shop links.

    If you are still looking to get more out of your gaming PC setup, we have the best cheap gaming chair deals for chairs that let you game for hours, we’ll help you find the best headset for gaming with whether it’s alone or with friends, and if you’re looking to get into VR, we’ll show you what the best VR headset is. For now, enjoy our list of the best PC games, either with some of the latest picks right here or our top 30 on page two,

    Spider-Man: Miles Morales

    After Spider-Man made its way to PC, Miles Morales, a Spider-Man in his own right, wasn’t far behind. This sequel introduces you to Miles, whose powers are a bit different from Peter, but fundamentally, this jaunt through snowy New York will feel familiar if you’ve enjoyed the first game. Be aware that for all it’s good looks and superhero fun, Miles Morales is a good bit shorter than its predecessor – a good taster for the upcoming Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, either way.

    The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me

    With the Devil in Me, Supermassive Games ends the first season of its Dark Pictures Anthology, a series of interactive horror narratives, comes to an end. While not every dark Pictures game is great, the series has steadily become better with each game. Supermassive isn’t shy to try new things with The Devil in Me, like giving you new movement mechanics and scares that, unlike the studio’s other 2022 game the Quarry, developed by a different internal team, feel a lot more modern and more difficult to anticipate.

    The Devil in Me comes the closest out of all the Dark Pictures games to the team horror most players love Supermassive for, and it made us look forward to the second season of games in a similar vein.

    Call of Duty: Warzone 2

    CoD’s Battle Royale breaks new ground with an all-new map, the fun new DMZ game mode and some of the quality of life options that came with Modern Warfare 2. Warzone is one of the best battle royale’s out there, so a slightly upgraded Warzone promises good things – but part of the truth is that Infinity Ward currently has several server issues and bugs to iron out so that everyone can make the most of the game.

    Evil West

    Not to be confused with Weird West, this is the one action game you should pick up if you miss the times of linear splatter action, mostly unconcerned with story but always up for killing everything that moves.

    And Evil West has killing things down pat, as you take cowboy Jesse and pit him against all kinds of demons and monsters, punching and shooting his way through a startlingly good-looking version of the west, full with exciting lighting effects and engaging combat animations. Sometimes you just want to clobber things, and Evil West has got you covered.

    Goat Simulator 3

    The sequel to Goat Simulator one wants to delight with confusion – not only with its name. In true Goat Simulator fashion, this is a game that sees you doing this you won’t do anywhere else, which is quite a feat in gaming in and on itself.

    Whether your goat is headbutting things as far as possible, trying to become the president or starting a race between bananas with legs, nothing in Goat Simulator 3 makes sense, and it’s fun to see how far it will take things. It’s simply another slice of weird fun, and probably most enjoyable with up to three friends.

    Warhammer 40k: Darktide

    Warhammer 40k: Darktide is coming out of Early Access, but as a live service game, it will keep evolving from here on out. Like Vermintide 2, Darktide is about clearing out of hive full of nasties in the most effective ways.

    The melee combat still feels as good as ever, and Darktide just looks disgusting in the best ways, and the co-op experience with others is really pleasant. While performance and narrative could be improved, Fatshark’s track record suggests that it will down the line, so it’s safe to say 40k fans have found their next battle.


    30. Monster Hunter: World

    Monster Hunter: World (opens in new tab) is an elaborate, extravagant game about slaying huge beasts and turning their tails into axes. Its gorgeous maps – from the bright, enchanted Coral Highlands to the toxic clouds of shrouded unbelly of the Rotted Vale – are fitting backdrops for some properly brilliant fights. The monsters are huge yet elegant, and both learning and countering their moveset makes it feel more like a fighting game than a button-mashing hack-and-slash.

    With 14 weapon types and hundreds of items to craft, climbing the gear tree can feel overwhelming, but it’s still the most accessible Monster Hunter to date. A generous loot system means that, even when you’re grinding for a particular armor set, you’re constantly picking up useful items you didn’t know you wanted. Plus, finding clues about monsters will automatically lead you to their location, meaning you can travel between its excellent fights faster than ever. Happy hunting.

    If you’ve already been playing Monster Hunter World for a while, chances are you’ve moved on to its sequel Monster Hunter Rise. While Monster Hunter Rise doesn’t beat Monster Hunter World, it’s also a great game, made greater by the addition of the Sunbreak DLC, which adds reams of new content to the game similar to what Iceborn did to World. 

    29. Forza Horizon 5

    We’re as happy to say that Forza is getting better with every game as you are to hear it. There is no other racing game out there that feels or looks like Playground Games’ racing spectacle, a game that trades the accuracy of other racers for beautiful vistas and a whole host of activities.

    Trading the streets of Great Britain for Mexico, Forza is like a holiday on wheels that even manages to teach you some interesting aspects of its home country – this game’s job is only done if you want to pack your bags and take a trip once you put the controller down. Whether it’s designing your own cars and courses or hurtling down cliff sides in trick races, there is plenty to do, see and collect in Forza Horizon 5, an exhilarating racing experience for everyone.

    28.  Doom Eternal 

    With new weapons, a more agile Doomguy, and a fresh emphasis on resource management (yes, you read that correct), Doom Eternal(opens in new tab) somehow 1UPs Doom 2016, which was already deserving of a spot on this list. It’s an over-the-top celebration of guts and gore in which you chainsaw enemies in half, rip eyeballs from sockets and stomp on demon’s faces with a giant boot. But, at times, it’s also about restraint. Enemies have weak points to target and weapons that you can disable, so sometimes it’s worth finding a spare half-second in the heat of battle to pause, aim, and hit your shot, because it will save you a lot of pain later. Some enemies are even invulnerable to damage unless you perform a specific counter at a specific time, which is something you don’t expect in a Doom game. 

    Fights are still, for the most part, unbearably tense and hectic. You’ll scramble and double jump to avoid packs of enemies, using the super shotgun’s meat hook to grapple to far-off enemies before turning them into red mist. You have to plan two steps ahead to avoid being overrun, and a new resource system makes firefights feel more strategic, less random. Ripping an enemy in half with a chainsaw nets you armor, while lighting them on fire before sending them to an early grave gets you armor. It turns minions into health packs, and you’ll want to keep a few of them alive for when you really need them. We knew Doom Eternal would be this ballsy – but we didn’t expect it to be clever, too.

    27. It Takes Two

    After A Way Out, Developer Hazelight is back with another co-op only adventure with It Takes Two, this time focusing on a couple that wants to get a divorce. May and Cody have reached the end of the rope in their relationship, but their daughter wants to hear none of it and traps her parents in two dolls using the help of a sentient self-help book. It’s completely fair to raise one, even both eyebrows at this elevator pitch, but designer Josef Fares has proven since Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons he knows what he’s doing.

    It Takes Two really delivers on its name – there isn’t any game out there right now that comes up with as many ways to have two players work together as this one. Most importantly, thanks to an array of gadgets and locations, It Takes Two keeps things fresh, and it even adds several mini-games to the mix – truly a co-op experience with something for everyone.

    26. Alien Isolation

    Beep, beep, beep. Alien: Isolation’s motion tracker is a blessing and a curse: a terrifying sign that the beast is near, and even the thought of the sound puts our hair on edge. But we daren’t put it away in case we turn a corner and, bam, the alien is on top of us, and it’s game over, and we have to leave our PC to go outside for a long, slow walk. So we clutch the tracker close, hiding under a chrome desk in the hope the alien leaves us alone.

    Isolation’s tech helps create a sense of place — the flickering monitors and clunky computers are straight out of ‘70s sci-fi films. And then there’s the alien itself, one of the greatest video game monsters ever spawned. Intelligent, crafty and horrifying, it’s always stalking you, always searching. Grab your tracker and hide for your life.

    25. Rocket League

    Football, but with cars: it’s that simple, and that complicated. Rocket League is, to the beginner, a fast arcade sport where vehicles slam into each other at 100 mph and occasionally bundle the ball into the net. But as you get to grips with the controls, it turns into an aerial acrobatic show with front flip assists, mid-air twirls and last-second winners. The great thing about Rocket League is that it’s fun at both of these levels. 

    You can gather some friends on a sofa and set up a casual 1v1 tournament, with bonus scores for the flashiest goals. You can team up with a squad and really dive into the tactics, rotating goalkeepers and trying to score the perfect team goal. If you want, you can switch it entirely to a game of hockey, with a puck instead of a ball. Each time you play you can feel yourself improving, and your first properly good goal – not one where you’ve accidentally tapped it in with your bumper – is a memorable moment.

    24. Hollow Knight

    Hollow Knight is an underground labyrinth of secrets: burrow in and you’ll be lost in its lofty caverns, tight tunnels, and beautiful, ruined cities, and you won’t want to find the way out. As you jump and slash through it you’ll slowly unpick the lore of this bug-inhabited world, and realise its story runs far deeper than you initially expected. The map feels endless, and even late in the game you’ll stumble on whole huge areas you never know existed. When you travel through them, they’ll connect to a familiar space in a way that instantly makes sense, and feels just right. 

    You’ll battle 28 bosses and visit varied locales, from grand greenhouses to snowy planes being dusted by the ashes of a long-dead being. As you progress you’ll upgrade your character, The Knight, with charms that change your playstyle: one damages foes anytime you get hurt, another lets you fire energy from your sword when at full health. Finding and equipping charms, and landing on the combination that works for you, is just one of the many reasons you’ll want to boot it up for a second playthrough, where you’ll likely get a completely different ending (all five are worth seeing, if you can find the time).

    23. Final Fantasy 14

    Square Enix’s second go at an online MMO is one of the biggest comeback kids of gaming: the base game was repetitive and not much to write home about, but the team didn’t stop there, improving FF14 with every expansion. Now it boasts one of the best stories in online roleplaying, and is truly a game for everyone – those who like to play with friends and strangers as much as those who just want to roam a fantasy world by themselves. 

    The latest expansion, Endwalker, provides a bombastic conclusion to the Hydaelyn–Zodiark arc, somehow managing to up the stakes yet again. With it, Final Fantasy 14 hasn’t only proven that the best Final Fantasy game may in fact be an MMO, it’s also in a position to teach other MMOs a thing or two about crafting satisfying, year-long plot arcs. A preliminary roadmap for at least five more years of content exists, so it’s truly never too late to start the game. 

    22. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered 

    When this game first launched as a PlayStation exclusive, it immediately fulfilled the Spider-Man fantasy. Webslinging, whether in combat or as a traversal mechanic, simply feels fantastic, and Spider-Man’s New York is one of the most beautiful video game cityscapes to date. The story, which you can enjoy even if you’re not familiar with the Marvel comics universe, takes you on a tour with all of Spider-Man’s nemeses, friends, and family members, and even the side missions are continuously fun.

    Marvel’s Spider-Man is the superhero action game to measure licensed games by, full of love for its subject and simply a joy to play, combining stealth, action, and a great story, all of it looking extra sparkly in the remastered PC version.

    21. Call of Duty: Warzone

    Call of Duty: Warzone(opens in new tab) is the best battle royale on PC right now. Apex Legends is a close second, and a better bet if you want to control ultra-mobile heroes with cool abilities, but Warzone plays like the greatest hits of the genre so far, with a few inventive twists. When you die, you get one chance to respawn by winning a 1v1 gunfight, which creates chances for memorable comebacks. Contracts give structure to each round by asking you to find a series of chests, defend a given area to reveal the next play circle, or hunt down an enemy, their location revealed on the map. All this gets you money, which you can spend on kill streaks and loadouts that you’ve put together between games.

    It’s built on top of Call of Duty’s signature high-octane action and low-recoil gunplay, well balanced to allow PC players to team up with friends on consoles. Individual locations on the map have their own personality, and some are even based on existing maps from the Call of Duty series. It means that no matter where you’re fighting, whether it’s on a giant ice lake or the bunkers of a military base, the environment presents you with tons of tactical options. You can play solo, duos, trios or in four-player squads; trios feels like the sweet spot

    20. Disco Elysium

    Disco Elysium’s tale of a washed-up, alcoholic detective sounds like a cliche. 10 seconds in, you’ll realise it’s anything but. You might have a heart attack trying to unhook your necktie – which itself is arguing with you – from a ceiling fan. You can look in the mirror and convince yourself you were once a rockstar that played to screaming audiences, or discuss the complex political breakdown of a city plagued by corruption with a racist lorry driver. And that’s just within the first half an hour.

    Disco Elysium is a game that celebrates language and characters: an RPG without combat where all your duels are verbal, and every conversation is peppered by funny asides from different aspects of your own psyche, all clamouring to have their internal voices heard. You have a long list of choices for nearly every piece of dialogue, and what you say meaningfully impacts the characters around you. It’s witty, it’s bleak, and we can’t get enough of it.

    More than a year after release, Disco Elysium has been released as a Final Cut in March 2021 – if you’re yet to buy it, you’ll automatically receive the Final Cut version. This version adds full English voiceover to the game, as well as new animations, new characters, new cinematic sequences, a new location, full controller support, and more. According to Studio ZA/UM, this is the definitive version of the game, so the best time to play it is now. 

    19. Destiny 2

    Bungie’s co-op shooter had a rough start to life, but it’s getting better and better with each expansion. New campaigns, such as the most recent The Witch Queen, the best campaign so far, manage to combine an interesting story with challenging gameplay and even puzzle elements, while the  More than just an endless loot quest, much of Destiny 2’s brilliance comes from how good it feels to use your powers and see sparks and colours explode on your screen.

    It’s a great pad shooter, but playing with a mouse and keyboard really lets you feel the weapons at work, and control your shots better. And if you’ve never played before then now is the best time to start, because last year it launched as a free-to-play game on Steam. You won’t get the most recent expansions, but you’ll still squeeze hundreds of hours out of the base game, its early expansions, and the slick PvP. You can even transfer your saves over from console

    18. Outer Wilds

    A joyful, playful space story about a character that dies every 22 minutes. During each life, you explore its wonderfully folksy sci-fi world and watch it change, entire planets splitting apart before your eyes. You try your best to learn something new, and then you close your eyes and you’re back at the start, the world reset, leaving you 22 more minutes to try and figure out what the hell is going on.

    It’s the perfect window to dive into its intertwining stories. The world is small enough that your makeshift spaceship can reach any planet in a few minutes, giving you plenty of time to delve into ruins and talk to memorable NPCs. But it’s never long enough for you to uncover the whole truth, leaving you with plot threads to pick up in your next life. Slowly, you’ll start to tie these threads together, and the world only becomes more fascinating with every new expedition. Best of all, the conclusion is absolutely worth sticking around for. 

    17. The Sims 4

    The best life sim on PC never stops improving. The DLC is pricey, but always adds something new to the life of your Sims, such as magic spells, a tropical island world or a themed furniture set for your grumpy teenager’s bedroom. We never tire of the way it can generate dynamic storylines – family dramas, love triangles or personal struggles, and those tales keep us coming back, year after year, expansion after expansion. It’s more than five years old but, with EA showing no signs of slowing down new content, it’s still got plenty of life in it yet.

    16. Subnautica

    Subnautica’s premise reminds us of any number of survival games: it drops you into a foreign, inhospitable land, points off into the distance, and says, “Go build stuff”. But Subnautica is far from average. Its wilderness is entirely underwater, which changes the structure, pace, and tone of your adventure, and creates a palpable sense of dread as you descend further and further into the depths in search of materials (was that a tentacle that just flicked through your peripheral vision?).

    Your goal is to expand your base and escape the planet, and in that sense Subnautica provides the kind of clear structure that other survival games neglect. It has a proper story and satisfying ending, and that narrative pulls you through your journey, always giving you a concrete goal. On top of all that, it’s just an incredibly well-made, and whether you’re mining, crafting or exploring, it’s a joy to interact with. 

    15. Psychonauts 2 

    Honestly, a lot of love for Psychonauts 2 may be nostalgia. After all it’s been 16 years since the first game, and it wouldn’t be completely unfair to say they don’t make action platformers like this anymore. The first Psychonauts (which you really should play even though Psychonauts 2 does include a short recap for its predecessor) followed a medium called Razputin on his journey to join the Psychonauts, a supernatural spy organization. But this soon devolves into a rescue mission that tales Raz into several people’s minds and the colorful worlds that await him within.

    In Psychonauts 2, which takes place mere days after the first game, Raz still hasn’t made a Psychonaut, but at least he’s an intern. That means it’s now his job to navigate different minds and try to elicit actual meaningful change – in Psychonauts 2, the mind is no longer strange for the fun of it, but it’s something that reflects the myriad of issues humans can face. As such, Raz has his arsenal of different supernatural abilities such as levitation to get through the jungle of the mind. Psychonauts 2 isn’t just a fantastic sequel, it can genuinely imbibe you with child-like joy, going “whoah” at a new level’s myriad details or laughing yourself silly at Tim Schafer’s trademark humor. Within all that, it takes the time to be tender, too, to treat its character’s and their brains with respect, culminating in a wholesome experience. If you’ve gotten curious, check our Psychonauts 2 review for more.

    14. XCOM 2

    XCOM 2 is a slick, turn-based strategy game that doesn’t care about your feelings. As you battle an alien invasion you’ll grow attached to your squad, upgrading them, customising their gear and building personalities for them in their head. Then, one wrong move and you’ll watch them get their face torn off by a towering, faceless, pink mutant, and there will be nothing you can do about it. It’s agonising.

    That loss is part of XCOM 2. Without it, the wins wouldn’t feel so good, and you wouldn’t spend so long deciding which piece of cover to sprint to next. The simple controls and intuitive UI make it easy to pick up, and once you get in the flow of a battle you’ll be barking out orders quickly, watching your soldiers pop in and out of cover. You’ll find the odd glitch, and it can be frustrating when your squad misses easy shots, but there’s still no better game for testing your tactical nous.

    13. Deathloop

    Arkane just knows how to deliver. Dishonored 2 has already spent a long time in our top 30, after much anticipation, but now the studio’s next game also deserves a spot. Deathloop is a first-person shooter with elements governed by a time loop. As assassin Colt, you’re trying to escape an island full of gun-toting inhabitants by killing nine targets and breaking the time loop forcing you to relive the same day. The only problem – these targets can’t be found in the same section of the island, and since you can only visit one section per day, you have to find ways to herd them together over the course of the story.

    In order to do this, you not only need to familiarise yourself with your target’s routines Hitman-style, you also need to learn the ins and outs of each section. Arkane once again delivers on great level design, so that there’s plenty to explore. The gunplay feels amazing, and is in typical Arkane style bolstered by a selection of meaningful skills to give you an edge in a fight. This is a time loop game that allows you to retain enough in terms of equipment and progress that things don’t get frustrating. Similarly, there are next to no repeats. There’s a lot to see in Deathloop, and while it refines systems you’ll recognize from other games, it’s another uniquely Arkane affair – executed with style and deeply satisfying throughout

    12. God of War

    Once again one of the most successful Playstation-exclusive games has found its way to PC and -you can all exhale now – it’s a great port. God of War isn’t only an incredible tech showcase thanks to its looks and world with no loading screens, but also a carefully told story of fatherhood and a robust action game. Even if you have no knowledge of the other God of War games, you can understand and empathise with the story of a man trying to make peace with his past, thanks to great acting and a script that takes its time, letting characters express themselves authentically, pacing its big, show stopping moments well.

    From a gameplay standpoint, the action in God of War may follow  easily recognisable patterns, but Kratos’ axe is fun to use, not least because of its recall mechanic, and there is an undeniable feeling of impact to your every action. Add some interesting puzzles and breathtaking locales and you get one of the finest action-adventures you can play, one that truly set the bar for years to come.

    God of War’s sequel God of War Ragnarok is a worthy successor to this great game – while it’s currently a PlayStation exclusive, the existence of GoW on PC makes it likely that Ragnarok is going to follow in the not too distant future.

    11. Half Life: Alyx

    Alyx is the best VR game to date, and feels like a proper evolution of Half-Life 2, one of the greatest shooters of all time. It combines a gripping, emotional story with the most detailed level design you’ve ever seen. It feels like every object can be picked up, examined, and smashed. Sometimes, that’s incidental – when you’re opening draws, crushing cardboard boxes or plucking bottles of vodka from shelves – but often, it’s central to progression. At one point, you must cover your mouth to stop Alyx coughing as you sneak past a blind monster, for example. This level of interaction makes the whole game feel alive, and makes you feel like a very real part of it.

    The shooting isn’t half bad, either. You don’t have many weapons, but your arsenal is punchy and lethal, and feels perfect in your hand. Reloads are done manually, which feels fiddly at first, but speeding up over time is satisfying, until eventually sliding magazines into place is second nature. Frantic firefights are broken up by smart puzzles and slower, atmospheric sections when your only light is a torch. Being in VR makes City 17 feel far spookier than we remember.

    The action is driven by a narrative worthy of the series. As Alyx Vance, you journey through City 17 trying to find your father Eli, while your witty sidekick Russell chats away in your ear. Your quest acquires larger stakes, but we don’t want to ruin anything – suffice to say the spectacular ending is worth waiting for.

    10. Elden Ring

    With Elden Ring, FromSoftware combines the best of its Souls games with a genuinely exciting open world. You’re given the freedom to actually explore, without task markers guiding you, and customary to FromSoft games, there are plenty of secrets and hidden paths to discover. This is a dark but beautiful world, stuffed to a point some of its secrets will likely not be discovered until much later.

    Of course, Elden Ring is a difficult game, maybe the most difficult FromSoftware game yet, but since you can set your own path and some quality of life changes likely inspired from previous games, Elden Ring is likely to attract even those who weren’t sure about the Souls games. This is a genuine breath of fresh air for open-world games, and a game people will be enjoying and talking about for years to come. It’s a perfect example of what makes FromSoftware so popular. Read our in-depth Elden Ring review for more.

    9. Minecraft

    Much like the structures you can build in its world, Minecraft just keep getting bigger. Among other sandbox games, it stands alone in delivering on its promise of total freedom: you can break and place blocks in any way you choose, recreating the whole of Game of Thrones’ Westeros – or crafting a simple seaside shack and living off the land with a fishing rod.

    Its multiple modes mean you can play it any way you like, which is a liberating feeling, but the presence of enemies, hidden treasure and twisting cave systems help lend it structure. Its sandbox world never fails to throw ambitious ideas into your head, and then before you know it you’ve spent five hours working, block by block, towards your next self-made objective. Mods and custom maps broaden its scope even further, and it’s at its best when you’re building your next project collaboratively with a friend.

    8. Spelunky 2

    During the golden age for indie games that was the last decade, everyone seemed to be playing Spelunky, a roguelike that was notorious for being tough as nails but also rich with hidden secrets and opportunities for fun emergent gameplay. All of the high points of the original stay intact with Spelunky 2. It’s big, procedurally generated tombs are still full of traps and monsters out to kill you. To make dying less frustrating than its predecessor, you now start at a hub that allows you to choose what biome you tackle next, which helps with variety. Speaking of variety – there’s a host of all-new enemies, a much larger world including an area filled with lava, and mounts that will die in gruesome ways for you as they help you get ahead.

    As before, the magic of Spelunky lies in how everything that the game throws at you can also be used by you in ways to aid you on your journey. It’s a game of inventive interlocking systems where nothing is ever quite the same, so if you can get past the frustration of dying, there’s always lots to see.

    7. Rainbow Six Siege

    One of the best FPS games on PC for online multiplayer, and it just keeps getting better. Siege punishes you for going in all guns blazing: instead, you need to think about your approach, and co-ordinate with your teammates. The best plans come together like clockwork as your squad shoots out CCTV cameras, breaches the wall on an enemy’s position and holds the perfect angles, pinging headshots.

    It can feel overwhelming to new players, but the depth of its roster means you’re bound to find your groove. Each operator has a role to play, whether you’re a marksman, a demolitions expert or just a muscly man with a giant hammer, and out-thinking your opponents feels as good as out-gunning them. Ubisoft continue to support Siege with regular new maps and operators, and improved tools for new players, as well as an unranked playlist that was added last year, means there’s no better time to pull the trigger.

    6. Hades

    After a successful Early Access period of almost two years, the rogue-like by the makers of Bastion is now out in full. Hades combines the best of Supergiant – stunning art direction, sound and music, and of course a story full of characters that will grow on you for more than the fact that they make for great cosplay. From the get-go, this is supposed to be an inclusive roguelike, dipping its toes into roguelite territory for some permanent buffs to your character.

    Zagreus, the prince of the underworld, is looking to escape, battling through several dungeons on his way to Olympus. Not only is this the best attempt at genuine storytelling in a roguelike, with plenty of surprises, Hades is also just genuinely great on a technical level, featuring speedy combat with different skills and weapons to fit your preferred playstyle. Since losing doesn’t feel like a punishment, you’ll soon find yourself in the flow of “just one more go”, getting to know a varied cast of gods better with every run. There’s a reason it’s our top pick for the best games of 2020.

    5. Dishonored 2

    Dishonored 2(opens in new tab) is a near-perfect assassin sim. In the original, you were hunting a target in a huge level, and you could kill them in any way you liked: in this sequel the maps are bigger and more intricate, your supernatural powers more impressive, and you have the option to play as a second character, Emily, who has her own murderous style. 

    Every level is full of lavish detailed, and every avenue to your target feels like its own, perfect assassination. The smooth traversal makes it easy to get around and explore every corner of the map, searching for clues until you’ve planned your route to your final target. Maybe you go in shotgun blaring, maybe you spirit blink to a rooftop and sneak in through a window, or maybe you trick enemies into walking into their own electricity traps until all the guards are dead. And then, in a flash of metal and a blur of blue magic, your blade is in your target’s neck, and you’re vanishing into the night. It’s simply glorious.

    4. Red Dead Redemption 2

    It’s finally here. After more than a year of waiting, the previously PS4-exclusive cowboy simulator from GTA giants Rockstar galloped onto PC in 2019, and it’s the definitive version of the game. It’s the same story of Arthur Morgan’s quest for redemption in the US wilderness, with the same complex characters and detailed world to explore, but with improved graphics and the option to add Red Dead Redemption 2 mods that let you skip the prologue, transform into an animal, or turn Arthur into the Joker. No, seriously.

    Red Dead Redemption 2(opens in new tab) on PC runs far better than the console versions, and thanks to a recent DLSS update, The Wild West has never looked so beautiful. 

    3. Into the Breach

    Into the Breach’s predictability is its strength. Its rules are so clearly explained, so explicitly laid out, that it leaves no space for chance or mystery. All of your focus can go into finding the ideal place to move your tank, or the perfect spot for a missile strike – and when you inevitably cock it all up, you’ll know exactly where you went wrong. 

    It’s part one of the best strategy games, part puzzle game in which you move pixel art pieces across a chessboard-style map, squashing alien invaders. Each squad you can control has their own gimmicks. One relies on pushing enemies into danger zones rather than dealing direct damage, another is an expert at freezing aliens with icy attacks. Its brilliance comes in applying your arsenal to any given situation, taking 15 minutes to stare at the board until – Eureka! – the perfect next step finally hits you. 

    And it has near-endless replayability: if you overcome the final boss you can try again with a new squad that feels completely different. And even if you fail, the randomised, rogue-like world structure means you can instantly load up another round, complete with a fresh set of challenges to scratch your head at.

    2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    The first two Witcher games showed flashes of brilliance in their believable, gritty characters and low-fantasy setting, but lacked polish. The Witcher 3(opens in new tab) pairs CD Projekt Red’s excellent writing with compelling gameplay, and one of the most expansive, beautiful worlds ever created. There’s a reason it’s at the top of our best open-world games and best RPG games lists.

    The Northern Kingdoms, inspired by European mythology, are populated by fascinating creatures and, more importantly, multi-dimensional characters. They’re all flawed, not least protagonist Geralt of Rivia, but whatever you feel about them, you can’t help but become invested in their fates. Speaking to any of them might launch a five-hour side quest that takes you across mountain and bog, vineyard and dusty city. Perhaps you’re hunting a mythical creature, or simply trying to solve a lovers quarrel: either way, you’ll care about what you’re doing, and you’ll visit some stunning locales while doing it.

    1. Divinity: Original Sin 2

    Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a glorious homage to the bygone days of isometric RPGs. But rather than relying on pure nostalgia, it takes the best bits of the classics – the branching stories, evocative writing, complex characters, and party building – and mixes them with sleek modern design ideas, such as physics-based spells and mod support. It sets up a clear set of rules and then encourages you to break them, something that’s even more fun when you’re playing with a friend, where you can settle arguments about what your party should do next via a rock paper scissors-style mini-game. 

    The combat is the best you’ll find in the genre, and relies on smart thinking and inventive elemental combos rather than random dice rolls. And when the fighting is done, your characters will always have something profound or witty to say to each other: it’s worth listening to every incidental conversation as you delve deeper and deeper into its fascinating fantasy world. 

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