The age of the major PC exclusive may be long gone (beyond a few welcome exceptions), but PC players can still get all the biggest console games, for cheaper, run them faster and at 4K.
With that in mind, we've decided to round up what we think are the best recent PC games available today, and we'll be updating it with 2019's best releases as they come out. They cover every genre and every budget, from blockbuster shooters to indie puzzlers, but they've all got one thing in common: they're absolutely brilliant.
We're limiting ourselves to recent releases to try and keep the list manageable, but if you prefer the classics there are plenty of great PC games in our round-up of the best old games. For smaller titles, check out our favourite indie games, and in case you're a console gamer too, be sure to check out our guides to the best PS4 games and best Xbox One games.
We've done our best to link to places you can buy these games directly, but you might also want to check out our selection of the best digital PC game stores and Steam alternatives for a few more options if you want to pick any of these up.
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Metro Exodus is the third and final instalment of the hugely popular Metro series, and it's safe to say that it's the best to date. Exodus sees Artyom and the Spartan Rangers ditch the dark, dank Metro system to embark on a cross-country mission with the aim of finding other explorers and settling down somewhere safe. Of course, being a Metro game, it doesn't quite go to plan.
The game is the first in the series to offer an open-world format, offering four unique environments for gamers to explore. Each is full of post-apocalyptic points of interest and, of course, dangerous mutated animals to avoid. But despite offering several open world areas to explore, Metro Exodus doesn't lose that panicked, claustrophobic feel that is so synonymous with the series.
It's stunningly good-looking too, offering a truly beautiful glimpse at post-apocalyptic Russia, made even more impressive with real-time ray tracing support if you've got an Nvidia RTX-series GPU.
Essentially, if you're on the market for a tight, story-driven open world shooter that'll make you scream like a kid then Metro Exodus is the game for you.
Read our full Metro Exodus review
World War Z
World War Z may sound familiar, and that’s because the game shares the name (and universe) as the 2013 Brad Pitt Hollywood blockbuster. But while the game sports the same intense zombie action, that’s where the similarities between the two end. Bad news if you were hoping to play through as Brad Pitt!
World War Z is an immersive episodic co-op zombie shooter, following the stories of bands of human survivors amidst a zombie apocalypse. Set in locations across the world from New York to Jerusalem, and with a variety of characters, classes and weapons to choose from, there’s a lot of content on offer for those that love a good zombie game. The mechanics are impressive, as the game accurately simulates the sprawling towers and vast hordes of charging zombies from the film to provide a fun, adrenaline-inducing zombie-killing experience unmatched by recent titles.
There are many similarities between WWZ and fan-favourite Left4Dead, which should give fans an idea of what kind of crazy, OTT action and gunplay to expect from this incredibly fun title.
Anthem is the complete opposite of a traditional BioWare game; it boasts a flawless combat and movement systems, but lacks in the story department. The world of Anthem is intriguing and there’s a lot that the developers can do in future content updates, but the base story didn’t really resonate with us as much as we’d expected.
But the combat and movement systems make this game an absolute joy to play; the novelty of flying around the battlefield conjuring thunder strikes and raining down artillery on swathes of enemies below hasn’t worn off yet, and we don’t see it doing so for some time.
It’s a similar story with end-game content; there’s a good base to work with, and although the content is a little light at the moment, EA has big plans for the future of Anthem and has committed to free content updates for the foreseeable future.
Read our full Anthem review
Far Cry New Dawn
Far Cry New Dawn not only answers the burning questions gamers had after playing Far Cry 5, but it’s a fun, engaging game that stands on its own and gives a hint at the RPG-heavy direction that future games in the series may be heading – and we love it. The heavier focus on RPG elements like ranked enemies provides a new depth to the game, which should stop the game becoming same-y over time.
It’s certainly more than a simple reskin; there are new mechanics, activities and places to explore despite being built on the same map as Far Cry 5. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that the environment is almost unrecognisable, with the exception of a handful of ruined landmarks of course.
For the price, it's definitely worth picking up.
Read our full Far Cry New Dawn review
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
After Assassin's Creed Origins revamped the long-running series, Odyssey took the baton and ran with it, building on Origins' foundations to deliver a bigger, bolder game.
Set even earlier, before the Assassins even existed, this ancient Greek historical fantasy expands on the RPG elements that Origins carefully introduced, throwing in branching dialogue, romance options, customisable combat skills, and upgradable gear.
The core loop of exploration, stealth, and combat is mostly unchanged, with a return of your trusty eagle companion too (this time named Ikaros, in keeping with the setting). Sprawling across the Greek mainland and myriad islands against the backdrop of the Peloponnesian War, the lush setting is up there with the series' best too, and you'll want to explore it to the fullest, whether on foot or at the helm of your trusty ship.
It's worth noting that Assassin's Creed Origins is still fantastic in its own right, and remains one of the best PS4 games too.
Find out more in our full Assassin's Creed Odyssey review.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the final instalment in the Origins trilogy, offering an all-round darker experience than those that came before it. Lara is good at killing, and she knows it. In fact, we think she even revels in it at points in the gritty campaign.
Alongside a dark, Hollywood-esque storyline, new exploration mechanics provide the most immersive open world experience in the Tomb Raider series. You can now spelunk, allowing you to fully explore complex cave systems, and you can swim underwater too.
Lara can cover herself in mud and stealthily approach enemies, taking them out one-by-one. The takedowns are pretty brutal too, but what's new there?
The Challenge Tombs are more extreme than ever, with complex puzzles to solve and deadly traps to avoid. They're bigger, more detailed and generally better than those in previous games - what's not to like?
Take a look at our Shadow of the Tomb Raider review for more information.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
In the dark future of the 41st Millennium, there is only Waaagh! Or war. One of the two.
The point is, the setting of Games Workshop's legendary tabletop game Warhammer 40,000 is unrelentingly violent, so it's no surprise that licensed games have tended to follow similarly violent lines, and Relic's Dawn of War series is no exception.
Thankfully, their third effort sees the strategy series arguably at its peak, bringing together the best of the original's base-building and the sequel's RPG elements, and throwing in a dash of the MOBA genre's fast-paced active abilities for good measure.
The result is a strategy game that demands your constant attention as you manage a host of different unit types, including special super-powered Elites, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and one-off abilities that you'll have to use as efficiently as possible if you want any hope of victory.
There are three playable factions (Space Marine, Ork, and Eldar) and you'll sample them all across the lengthy campaign, which serves as a perfect warm-up for the frenetic 3v3 online multiplayer.
Sniper Elite 4
The Sniper Elite franchise is famous for providing fans with a satisfying sniper-based shooter, and that’s not changing with Sniper Elite 4. While it’s much the same as previous games in the series, it comes with a handful of changes and improvements that take Sniper Elite from being a good sniper game, to one of the best.
Described as a “sniper’s paradise”, Sniper Elite 4 is focused more on gameplay than story – and it’s a smart choice too. In terms of sniper gameplay, Sniper Elite 4 is hands-down one of the best games we’ve ever played, with no game providing more satisfaction as you ping the helmets off the heads of your enemies from over 200m away. Those who want a Sniper sim aren’t interested in deep, brooding storylines and emotional protagonists, they just want to camp and headshot Nazis – what’s so bad about that?
The addition of climbing mechanics and environments that are three times larger than previous games provide a plethora of different ways to tackle your objectives, whether it be all-out chaos with exploding vehicles or a stealthy takedown from a far-away snipers nest. If you're looking for a new, challenging shooter, look no further than Sniper Elite 4.
Read more in our Sniper Elite 4 review.
The best got better with FIFA 19. Genuine improvements to game mechanics join a revitalised offline multiplayer mode to bring shouts of anguish back into the busy living room as well as single player online.
Ultimate Team is a polished money-maker for EA but we don't mind when the gameplay is as slick and accomplished as this. You'll be scoring overhead kicks and 30-yarders in no time.
The Journey is back for the third and final time as the Alex Hunter story comes to an end. It's the best FIFA yet, but you knew that already.
Read more in our FIFA 19 review.
Agents of Mayhem
Set in the same universe as the Saints Row series, Volition's Agents of Mayhem is an extremely fun game to play with a distinct super hero movie/comic book vibe.
It features a wide range of characters to choose from, all with unique abilities and weaponry. The ability to switch between three characters on the fly is unique, and provides a unique way to approach battles.
But while the gameplay is fun, the storyline isn’t the most entertaining we’ve ever come across. It’s enough to get you through the campaign, it’s not a memorable one – and that’s a shame, given the developer’s history with the Saints Row series.
So while the gameplay is enjoyable, it’s a little short-lived and it isn’t a game we imagine you’ll sink weeks or months into.
It's all-out anarchy in the cutest little riot sim you ever did see: Anarcute.
You take control of a group of rioters rampaging through the city, causing all-out destruction in your wake. You can smash down lampposts, throw cars, and eventually even topple buildings, all in the name of overthrowing the cruel totalitarian police state oppressing the populace.
The twist is, every single one of your marauding rioters is a tiny adorable animal. You start out with bunny rabbits and kittens and eventually unlock the likes of the axolotl and even velociraptor as you travel round the world freeing cities including Tokyo, Paris, and Miami from their dictators.
It's all irrepressibly adorable, but it's also amazingly good fun. The controls and mechanics are simple, but hide a lot of depth and a few genuinely challenging boss fights along the way. The main campaign runs for 5 or so hours, but there's a high score system and unlockables to add replayability, and at just £11.99 it's definitely worth it.
In the UK, Prey was widely marketed as 'BioShock in space', and it's hard to think of a more apt description. Like that game, it sees you exploring a derelict retro-futurist setting, surviving the outbreak that brought it to ruin, and working through a plot that questions morality, identity, and even reality.
The biggest innovation here is the game's most iconic enemy, the Mimics, creepy black space spiders which hide as everyday objects like coffee mugs and even useful items like Medkits - after all, if there's anything scarier than spiders, it's surprise spiders.
Sadly, Prey never quite breaks out of BioShock's shadow - there's something about roaming empty hallways, collecting audio logs, and learning new powers that feels all too familiar - but if you're going to be overly indebted to any game, there aren't many better.
It may not be entirely original, it may not break much new ground, but when a game is this good anyway, it's hard to complain too much.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
If you're of a nervous disposition, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard might not be for you. Every sound, every movement, and every room is designed purely to terrify you, to the point where each door you have to open is a fresh assault on your frayed nerves.
With a new first-person perspective, you're tasked with exploring a rotting Louisiana plantation house, with a family of friendly cannibals there to help see you through to the end. It's dark, it's violent, and it's frequently totally terrifying, which is really all that we were looking for.
Sure, it's maybe not quite as innovative as we wanted it to be, and the boss battles are still pretty rubbish, but this is Resident Evil done right, a great mix of old-school charm and some very modern mechanics. If this is a signpost for the franchise's way forward, then we've got a lot to look forward to.
Read more in our Resident Evil 7 review.
It may be 'old' but GTA V's online mode is a game in itself, totally separate from the single-player Story mode.
Rockstar has released regular DLC for Online, some of which have introduced major new gameplay and, with it, renewed interest for many players. They're free, too, and the latest is Motor Wars.
The fact is, GTA Online is a virtual world in which you can while away untold hours doing whatever you like. Aside from the main themes, such as being a CEO, you can play a plethora of mini games.
If you're into racing cars you can do that, or you can play deathmatches like an FPS.
The graphics haven't been updated, but they still look great and the day / night cycle (and seasonal weather) adds yet more interest.
Rocket League sounds simple enough: you control a rocket-powered car in an enormous football pitch, and have to use any means necessary to get the giant ball into the opposing team’s goal. The cars can double jump into the air, and there’s a steep learning curve before you get the hang of actually hitting the ball, let alone sending it in the right direction. But once you do, it’s immensely satisfying, and before long you’ll be getting deep into Rocket League tactics.
Matches range from 1v1 up to 4v4, and last five minutes each, with the potential for overtime. That means matches are long enough to feel substantial and dramatic, but short enough to guarantee that 'just one more game' feeling every single time.
The cars all feature plenty of visual customisation options, so you can firmly place your own stamp on the game when you head into the online play, which gets surprisingly competitive. There are also item unlocks at the end of matches, and the more points you score the faster you level up your online ranking.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
This spiritual sequel to cult classic RPG Planescape: Torment was also a massive Kickstarter success, racking up over $4 million, but this is no mere nostalgia project.
Set in the sci-fi world of tabletop role-playing game Numenera (after the original Planescape used the setting of RPG icon Dungeons & Dragons), Torment is the sort of old-school RPG that's heavy on the text, firmly putting story and character content first. That story explores questions around identity, memory, and morality, and is written smartly enough to avoid easy answers and leave players plenty to think about.
In addition to the main quest line, Torment is packed with sprawling side quests, each of which can be completed in various ways that shape both your character and the world around them - be ready to make some major moral choices along the way.
If we have a complaint, it's that the heavy dialogue focus can slow the game down a bit. You can talk your way out of most fights (even once they've started), and everyone you meet has a lot to say, so expect to spend most of your playtime reading on-screen text.
Torment is also out on PS4 and Xbox One, but if you ask us, this is the sort of classic PC game that just doesn't feel right without a keyboard and mouse in our hands.
The Sexy Brutale
Despite the slightly unsettling name, The Sexy Brutale isn’t especially sexy. Though to be fair, it can get quite brutal, albeit in a sort of cutesy, chibi way - violent murder carried out by adorable characters with oversized, cartoonish heads.
As the game begins, you wake up in the midst of a masquerade ball. The guests are being killed off one by one, and you’re tasked with saving them from their masked assassins without ever being seen.
Luckily, you’ve got an advantage: you can reset the day and work through events again. The Groundhog Day-esque setup means you can take your time exploring the mansion, discovering its secrets and slowly figuring out how to save the next guest by interfering in the natural chain of events.
To make things easier the map covers both time and space, recording every character’s movements as you discover them, so you can plan your strategy correspondingly. The result is a great system whereby you slowly amass knowledge of every character’s actions, and sneak around them to interfere - say by loading a rifle with a blank cartridge - without them ever even realising.
The characters and setting are richly realised, and bolstered by a great swing soundtrack. The story stumbles as it reaches its conclusion - its explanation for the increasingly weird and outlandish goings on doesn’t quite stand up - but The Sexy Brutale is brilliant fun along the way.
The first Titanfall was mutiplayer-only, but used that focus to craft one of the best competitive first-person shooters in years. Now all that hard work has been put to good use in Titanfall 2, which boasts not only tweaked multiplayer but also one of the finest singleplayer campaigns this year.
The six-hour campaign sees you fight your way through an alien planet backed by your friendly Titan - a huge, sentient battle robot. The Titan can operate independently as a form of high-powered backup, or you can climb inside to take direct control, stomping about and firing cannons, rockets, railguns, and more.
What sets the Titanfall 2 campaign apart isn't just the Titans though, or even the wall-running and double-jumping that turns the whole environment into a playground. Instead it's the sheer inventiveness of the level design, which frequently offers up new mechanics or challenges, from electrified walls to time travel, exploring each for a while before moving onto the next before any individual element can ever get stale.
Heading online, the multiplayer will be familiar to anyone who played Titanfall, but has been tweaked enough to make it feel new again too. Titans are less durable, but a new system has players stealing batteries from enemy Titans to bolster their own team's bots, demanding more teamwork than ever before.
The FPS genre is more popular than ever before, and despite novel entries like Titanfall 2 and Overwatch, it can sometimes feel a little stale. That's where Superhot comes in.
The indie hit takes the FPS format and turns it on its head, twisting the gunplay into something more akin to a puzzler. The twist is that time only moves when you do, so as long as you stand still you can evaluate the room and plan your next move.
It breaks combat down into a series of micro-encounters with welcome breaks in between, though you'll need to plan more than one move ahead at any given time to survive. Things are kept exciting by the variety of ways to take your opponents out, from standard guns to a variety of improvised melee weapons, and the ability to disarm enemies and use their own weapons to take them out.
The campaign features a surprisingly sinister plot exploring the seemingly virtual world illustrated by the stripped back visuals, and there's an extensive array of challenge modes to keep you busy when you're done.
It's no easy task to follow up a game as acclaimed as 2012's XCOM: Enemy Unknown, so it's pretty astonishing that XCOM 2 is somehow an improvement in just about every respect.
Once again, you control a small squad of commandos fighting off alien invaders in turn-based strategic combat. Between missions, you have to manage your base and resources, pick your next encounter, and do your best to contain the alien threat.
The big story difference this time is that the aliens have already won, so you're now tasked not with preventing the invasion but instead rebelling against earth's new alien overlords. That story shift inspires a major new gameplay mechanic too: you now begin many missions in stealth, allowing you to carefully move forward and set up the perfect ambush for your extraterrestrial foes.
Maps are now procedurally generated, allowing much more variation than the last game could offer, while the leveling up and psionic systems have also been revamped and improved. If you loved Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is a polished refinement, and if you missed out on that game then XCOM 2 is a brilliant introduction to the series.
Limbo came out of nowhere to become one of the most highly acclaimed puzzle-platformers ever, and developer Playdead's follow-up Inside is somehow even better.
It starts out much as that game did, with a young boy alone in a dark forest. But from there Inside carves its own path, slowly unfolding a world of sinister factories, brainwashed workers, and mysterious genetic experiments, and doing it all without a single word of dialogue.
Along the way you have to navigate a series of 2D puzzles, finding ways to reach new areas, remove barriers, and escape enemies. The puzzles are smart, and are just challenging enough to prove satisfying without ever leaving you feeling truly stuck.
The game's graphics are beautiful, their stark, minimalist style boasting a surprising amount of depth and some stunning lighting effects. Inside remains one of the most unique and memorable gaming experiences of 2016, building to a finale that will prove impossible to forget.