The best PC games you need to play right now

PC is the most versatile platform within the gaming ecosystem. The best gaming PCs and gaming laptops can deliver exceptional performance that bests even the latest consoles in some scenarios, and the variety of titles on the platform is mindblowing.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best PC games you can play now, from the latest triple-A blockbusters to innovative indie experiences that’ll work on just about any machine.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the highest-rated and most-acclaimed games of the last console generation. It’s a prequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption and follows Arthur Morgan as he and the Van Der Linde Gang survive the decline of the Wild West. It’s an action-packed game complete with fantastic characters and an emotional storyline that will have players remembering this title for years to come.

Elden Ring iterates on the classic “Dark Souls” formula, adding an open world filled with mysteries to discover. It’s a brutally difficult game, but a very rewarding one too. Whenever you can’t take down a boss, there’s always the option to go and venture out in the Lands Between to get stronger, whether by fighting more enemies to level up or finding a brand new weapon. Elden Ring has so much content that it can take upwards of 100 hours to simply explore everywhere while going through the main campaign. It’s certainly worth your money.

PlayStation has been bringing some of its biggest titles to PC and Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the first. The game follows Aloy, a young woman who is outcast from her own society. In a lush post-apocalyptic filled with robot dinosaurs, Aloy uses her bow and arrow to take them down. On her journey, she’ll discover her own destiny and the role she must play to save the planet. Horizon Zero Dawn has incredibly enticing worldbuilding as well as exciting action gameplay. It’s worth playing before you get to its sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, which was just released on PS4 and PS5.

Persona 4 Golden was one of the premier titles on Sony’s PlayStation Vita handheld and was eventually ported over to PC. The small town of Inaba has been struck with a serial murder case, and it involves a mysterious shadow world hidden inside a TV. The player must balance going to school and maintaining relationships with classmates, while also venturing out into the Shadow World to fight creatures, hopefully finding clues about the culprit behind the murders along the way. The mix of dungeon crawling and social simulation gameplay elements contrasts in a way that never makes the game feel stale.

In this roguelike game, Zagreus must fight his way out of the underworld in order to reach his mother. Throughout the journey, players will come across many types of weapons and abilities to help Zagreus. Each time he dies, Zagreus must start from the beginning of the underworld again. Every run has a series of randomized rooms filled with a variety of enemies and rewards for beating them. The characters are incredibly charming and well-acted. While players will die many times, there’s always a sense of progression with its permanent unlocks that will leave them satisfied.

One of our picks for the best games of 2021, Halo Infinite takes everything great about the long-running Halo franchise and makes it bigger and better than ever. Now capitalizing on an open-world structure, Infinite gives Master Chief a grappling hook that makes exploring the world of Zeta Halo incredibly fun. The first-person shooter tells an emotional story about trust and the ability to move on from the past. With a robust multiplayer portion too — which you can play for free — Halo Infinite will keep players coming back for more.

Taking place half a year after Trails in the Sky Second Chapter, Trails in the Sky the 3rd features Father Kevin Graham as he ventures into a mysterious realm with its own set of paranormal rules. The game has an in-depth turn-based battle system with fantastic worldbuilding. The first two games in the Trails in the Sky subseries are also on PC as well, for players who want to catch up with the events of this third game.

This is Bungie’s latest expansion for the massively popular shooter Destiny 2, which is now free to play in the form of Destiny 2: New Light. While it is a barebones experience without the expansion packs, its first two major ones, Shadowkeep and Beyond Light, are definitely worth your money. The Witch Queen features Savathun, who is the sister of Oryx (from the original Destiny). There’s a lot of new content in The Witch Queen, including gear, raids and story. Bungie is one of the best in the video game industry when it comes to the feel of first-person shooter gameplay, and Destiny 2 is no different. With four more planned seasons of content for The Witch Queen, players will find plenty to love with this new expansion.

This South Korean massively multiplayer online (MMO) game was released back in 2019, but Amazon Games more recently brought it over to American and European regions. Now it’s one of the most played games on PC. Players can create and customize their own characters while completing the game’s storyline. Once players hit level 50, they get access to a wide range of endgame content, including dungeons and raids. To many players, Lost Ark has a sense of longevity that many MMOs are lacking, and that’s exactly how the game stands out amongst its competition.

Did you play Oregon Trail when you were a kid? That’s what Echo of Starsong is like, except in space. The game switches between different kinds of gameplay like puzzles, exploring planets and resource management. The emotional and heartwrenching narrative of Echo of Starsong is its true strength. It follows a young man named Jun Lee and a woman named Eda. Together, they traverse through the planetary system, Thousand Peaks, in order to find Eda’s long-lost mentor. Players must manage their fuel while traveling through space between different planets and checkpoints. Each visit offers tidbits about the game’s overall universe and every detail is fascinating.

God of War is one of Sony’s most critically acclaimed games, and it’s not hard to see why. The story between Kratos and his son, Atreus, is a heartfelt one. After the death of Kratos’s wife, her final wish is to have her ashes scattered at the highest peak of the nine realms, so both Kratos and Atreus set out on a journey to do that. The game has blistering action gameplay, with Kratos throwing his Leviathan Ax at enemies and finishing them off with gory, cinematic moves. The way that Kratos calls his ax back into his hand like a boomerang invokes some of the most satisfying feelings ever in a game.

Stardew Valley is a farming simulation game inspired by the likes of Harvest Moon. The player inherits their grandfather’s farm and from there, can start growing crops, raising animals and interacting with various folks within the area. While the Joja Corporation has come into Stardew Valley and destroyed its once-vibrant atmosphere, there’s a new opportunity for the player to restore it back to its former glory. It’s a very open-ended game where players can progress at their own pace, and it’s one of the most relaxing PC titles out there.

This game is often called one of the best role-playing games of all time. Utilizing an isometric perspective, Divinity: Original Sin has incredible complexity with its gameplay, story and characters. It’s hard to overstate just how much content is actually in this game. Players can customize their characters’ origins, background, skills, abilities, dialogue and much, much more.

Disco Elysium is an incredibly unique game. There’s no combat, but rather the game focuses on using words and dialogue to go through the many conflicts throughout the game. Your player character wakes up in a dirty hotel room and doesn’t recall any memories. So players are free to shape their own character’s personality through the different dialogue choices. You can just be a bumbling idiot, or you can discuss the deep political complexity behind the poverty surrounding the district.

This game takes place during the time of the Roman Empire, and sees its modern day protagonist traveling back in time to a city under control by the “Golden Rule.” It states that any sin committed by the city’s residents would turn them all into gold. It’s unclear what constitutes as a sin, but players are able to re-enter the portal from where they came in order to reset the time loop. It’s a fascinating story about laws and gods, and the mysteries behind the city start to unravel one by one with each loop.

This is one of the most critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online games of all time. It has incredible narratives and worldbuilding, as Square Enix has supported the game long-term with numerous expansions. Its latest expansion, Endwalker, adds even more content to the game. Final Fantasy XIV’s free trial is equally enormous as well — players can go through the base game, A Realm Reborn, and the Heavensward expansion up to level 60 with absolutely no restrictions on playtime. There’s a ton of different jobs that players can choose from to fit their playstyle. For example, there’s the long-range jobs like the Black Mage, close-range ones like Samurai and support roles like the Healer. Playing with a group of friends is incredibly fun as you tackle raids and dungeons, with each person’s specialized role contributing to the overall synergy of the team. That’s a lot of game time and if you managed to stay hooked at that point, the other expansions are definitely worth your time.

This is less of a traditional game and more of what the title implies: a flight simulator. Players are able to learn how to fly, going from takeoff all the way to landing. What’s impressive here is that the game utilizes Bing Maps to simulate Earth’s entire topography. Additionally, Microsoft’s Azure AI allows the game to simulate real-world events, such as natural disasters, as they happen. It’s an absolutely gorgeous game and allows players to travel anywhere they want from the safety of their own homes.

Valheim was a surprise early hit last year and quickly grabbed players in with its enticing open-world survival gameplay. In this game, players assume the role of a fallen Viking and they must prove themselves worthy to be allowed access to Valhalla. The main goal of Valheim is to defeat the five bosses in the game. But along the journey, players also need to gather materials around the world to build shelter, equipment and weapons. The game has a charming low-resolution 3D art style, which is reminiscent of games from the original PlayStation era.

Observation takes place on a space station that suddenly loses power. Players control an AI called SAM, who has the ability to open doors and turn security systems around the station. By doing so, SAM allows Dr. Emma Fisher to navigate the station in order to look for her colleagues and find out what happened. Throughout the game, players will solve paranormal puzzles, as well as be able to expand SAM’s reach into areas outside of the space station. Observation is a haunting, yet thrilling adventure that’s sure to send chills down your spine.

Paradise Killer is an enticing murder mystery game that involves an overarching group, the Syndicate, that wants to create a perfect society. However, one day, the entire Syndicate is killed and it’s up to detective Lady Love Dies to solve the mystery of whodunit. The game is filled with ecstatic characters with vibrant personalities, but they all have dark secrets that can make any of them the culprit. Paradise Killer boasts an amazing soundtrack and vaporwave aesthetics, making the game an enjoyable adventure despite its gruesome setting.

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