If you're looking for the best PC games to play today then this is the guide for you. We're huge PC gamers here at T3 and we test out all the best gaming laptops, best gaming desktops and best graphics cards by playing the greatest games on PC.
Of course, we love our consoles and can't wait for the launch of the new generation latest this year, but PC gaming has never been constrained by such notions. With a decent set of hardware, you experience games as they were truly intended, without limits and incredible depth and fidelity.
With incredible hardware like Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (the card that sits in the T3 rig) delivering frame rates, resolutions and graphical effects (such as Ray Tracing) that console gamers can only dream of, no matter whether you're playing the new battle royale hotness that is Call of Duty: Warzone, indulging in the Pokemon-esque MMO battles of TemTem or investigating the weird and wonderful in Disco Elysium, PC remains the go to modular platform for gaming.
And with delivery platforms such as Steam and the Epic Game Store providing a steady stream of new releases - not to mention a vast library of well-maintained older titles - there’s really never been a better time to fire up your PC and leap into the world of mouse, keyboard and controller-based fun.
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As such, we’ve selected a piping hot set of amazing games to play on PC today, ranging from brand new releases such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Yes, Your Grace that are making waves with critics and gamers alike, to more established titles that continue to maintain impressive communities and post-launch content.
If you want a quick recommendation for a set of components you can use to build a kick-ass new gaming PC that has power to crush these best PC games, and do so without breaking your back account, then we consider a combination of Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, Intel Core i7-9700K CPU, Aorus Z390 Ultra motherboard, and Corsair Vengeance DDR4 16GB RAM (2x8GB) as an affordable yet powerful sweet spot.
Lastly, we think it important to note that we're now in a very strong period for PC gaming deals, as following the Tokyo Game Show 2019 we've now crashed head first into the winter holiday sale period where retailers slash prices on video games and PC hardware dramatically.
As such, from this point onwards you should make sure to frequently check out specialist PC games retailers such as GOG.com, CDKeys.com, Steam, and GreenManGaming, as well as dedicated online-only multi-format stores like ShopTo.net.
The best PC games to play today
Sony has proved with the current console generation that it's still on another level when it comes to platform exclusives. Alongside the likes of God of War and The Last of Us Part II, we've treated to brand new IP, such as the brilliant and expansive post-post-apocalypse of Horizon Zero Dawn.
After a years-long wait, Sony is finally porting the game over to PC, giving PC players the opportunity to make a gorgeous looking game look ever better. The game will have full support for all the post-launch content, and serves as an amazing way to get players up to speed before the much anticipated sequel, Forbidden West, slashes onto the scene.
A Minecraft game that doesn't involve building or crafting? What heresy is this? This is Mojang's attempt to take the Minecraft licence in a new offshoot direction, trading open-world creation for a top-down dungeon crawler. Think of this as family friendly on the classic Diablo concept, in the same vein as Riverbond or the toy-friendly world of Skylanders.
Collect loot, defeat all manner of Minecraft mobs and explore an endless stream of procedurally generated maps. The game supports both local & online multiplayer, with co-op for up to four players. If you're looking for a fun way to hack & slash with the whole family, this is a great way in for younger players familiar with the brand.
Microsoft continues to make sure its Xbox console exclusives also launch on PC as part of its collective Xbox family with the release of Bleeding Edge. A team-based shooter in a similar vein to the likes of Overwatch and Paladins (only in third-person rather than first). Much like Blizzard's ultra-popular shooter, developer Ninja Theory has really nailed the look and feel of its punky arena shooter.
This is very much a multiplayer-only experience, so you need an internet connection to get the most of it. However, it's got a well-designed tutorial in place for new players and lots of match types to keep you engaged (and plans for future events to unlock new rewards, etc).
Virtual reality hasn't transformed the entertainment industries in the way many had hoped, but that doesn't mean it's been abandoned as some form of tacky gimmick. In fact, the likes of Beat Saber have only gone to prove the medium has plenty of potential, it just needs the right hands and minds to make it an - ahem - reality. Half-Life: Alyx is one of those games. Apart from the fact it's the first HL game in 13 years, it's also one of the most ambitious finely crafted VR games ever made.
High praise indeed, but it's far from hyperbole. A first-person shooter much in the same vein as the first two games (and the episodes that were released after HL2), Alyx sees the titular Alyx Vance once again bringing the fight to the alien Combine. The gravity gun is out, but in its place are the gravity gloves, enabling you to control assets around you in a format far more suited to the interactive power of VR. It's an incredible technical feat on a scale we simply haven't seen before in VR.
DOOM is back! Following on the from the successful reboot in 2016 - including a great port on Nintendo Switch - Bethesda is ready to dust off the Doomguy's chainsaw and send him into the demonic fray once more. Its story campaign is the biggest yet, including denizens from Heaven and Hell, with new resources system that unleashes armour, health and ammo unlocked by killing, burning and chainsawing enemies into oblivion.
The traditional asymmetrical multiplayer utilised in the 2016 reboot has been dropped in favour of a Battle Mode that features more competitive modes, such as one that pits one armoured slayer versus two demons. You can accrue XP across both Battle Mode and the campaign, enabling you to unlock new skins and other cool little extras as you level up.
When Call of Duty: Mobile launched on smart devices last year, the dream of a free-to-play COD was partially realised (even though it's utilising assets and an engine from the series past). But now Infinity Ward and Raven Software have taken the baton from Black Ops 4's popular Blackout mode and created a full fat battle royale game with multiple modes and a free-to-play model.
While many expected Warzone to be a mode in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, it's actually a standalone experience. However, progress is shared between your MW and Warzone accounts, including the Battle Pass, so owners of that rolling rewards system can continue to level up and grab new weapon blueprints, skins, watches and more. The map is huge, with support for 150 players in one match (with incoming support for 200 in the near future). If you're looking for a new BR alternative, this could be the FPS for you.
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PC players have been quite patient when it comes to the Halo games, and that patience is slowly starting to pay off. It was only three months ago that Halo: Reach (Bungie's last entry in the franchise) finally arrived on PC and now the Halo that started it all - Halo: Combat Evolved - has followed suit. This is, of course, the Anniversary version that was was re-tweaked for inclusion in the Master Chief Collection.
Much like other entries in that sizeable collection, this version of Halo comes with full support for online multiplayer so those who loved the original on Xbox (or Xbox 360 and Xbox One) can jump back into a trail-blazing shooter that changed the face of multiplayer gaming. For those that have never tried it - boy, are you in for a treat...
We've had plenty of Pokémon clones over the years, with some doing a better job than others when it comes to partially concealing that intent. For developer Crema, that inspiration is front and centre. In fact, playing Temtem is like playing a game made by people who miss what Pokémon used to be like before it was diluted with unnecessary extra systems that come with two decades of feature creep.
Temtem's titular creatures aren't quick as creative as those from Nintendo's first-party franchise, but then again this is Temtem's first 'generation' and it is still in Early Access so there's plenty of time for the studio to add to its menagerie of beasts. Being able to play through battles in co-op is a nice touch, as is the need to actively play a Temtem in battle in order to gain XP. It's more grindy, but it taps back into that classic formula. Servers have been a little sketchy thanks to the sheer interest this Kickstarter project has received, but the future is certainly looking bright for this indie curio (which also has a Switch port in development).
It's taken a long while to get Monster Hunter World's full experience on PC - years even - but with the arrival of the huge Iceborne experience this month, PC slayers are almost at the point of full platform parity with console players on PS4 and Xbox One. In fact, Capcom has promised that all DLC and live events will be completely in sync by April 2020. MHW has proved a huge hit for Capcom, so new adopters on PC can be assured there's plenty of live left in this game yet.
For those that haven't played the game yet, you take on the role of a mercenary slayer who travels to a lush 'New World' filled with monsters of various different sizes. Hunting beasts earns you cash to spend on new items, while fallen beasts can be used to craft new weapons and armour. The big selling point here is the ability to play online in a party with other players, and with Iceborne's new region and monsters, there's a ton of content to keep you occupied.
In recent years, Bandai Namco has proved it knows how to make the best of Dragon Ball Z. One of the most beloved anime in existence has garnered a well-earned cult following, DBZ has a huge canon of interconnected stories, and with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, players get to experience the length and breadth of Goku's story from all-out battles to the silliest of side-quests.
Of course, this is DBZ, so the battles are suitably over-the-top with multi-stage destructible environments, with the ability to level up and acquire new skills with the usual slew of RPG systems. It's not all fighting, though. You can meet many of the colourful characters from the franchise, and spend your time training, eating, fishing and exploring before you jump into another mind-boggling boss battle.
While tennis simulators aren't as big or popular as they were 10/15 years ago, prolific sports game developer Big Ant Studios - an outfit that's made everything from cricket games to rugby sims - is hoping to turn that around with its second proper swing of the racket. AO Tennis 2 certainly has a lot going for it, with an overhauled career mode (including some FIFA's The Journey and Madden's The Longshot style narrative beats) showing its learned a few lessons from the much maligned AO Tennis.
The improved training academy is a great way to complete challenges and perfect your slices and pull off the right amount of topspin, which will help when you're battling through career mode and competing in scenarios that recreate classic matches from tennis' colourful history. Character models are still a bit rough, but on-court mechanics are vastly smoother and more responsive, which is vital in a fast-paced sim such as this.
Role-playing games have had open-worlds to explore for quite a while now - hey, even games that aren't RPGs have thrown the genre into their own expansive settings - but with so many out there, finding ones that really stand out can be a challenge. So with Disco Elysium, developer ZA/UM creates a future world with a detective who solves crimes with just any possible strategy.
You can solve small scale crimes or build yourself into a hyper-powerful millionaire. The sheer number of choices you have all comes down to the 24 skills you can select, 60 individual thoughts and a whole host of customisation options that enable you to create your own unique detective. It's one of the best indie games on PC of 2019, and it's well worth an addition to your collection.
If you've been hankering for something to fill that gap left behind by the criminally underrated LA Noire, then Blacksad: Under The Skin could be the case you've been waiting for. Set in an alternative take on the United States in the 1950s - alternative in its use of anthropomorphic characters, to be precise - you play John Blacksad, a trenchcoat-wearing private investigator (who also happens to be a cat) with all manner of cases to solve.
With over 30 characters to meet, interrogate and fight, you'll need to explore an atmospheric world full of gangsters, dames and other unsavoury characters. With QTEs a plenty and interactive environments reminiscent of classic point and click games, Blacksad will appeal to anyone missing the late Telltale Games' mostly brilliant output.
While its launch was somewhat overshadowed by revelations around the 'crunch' utilised during its development - and the questionable working conditions in which developers at Rockstar had to operate in - no one could deny the final product was incredible. Say what you will about the company that produced it, but Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the games of the generation.
Serving as a prequel to the original game, RDR2 presents you with a huge open-world set during the end of the Wild West. You'll rob trains, collect bounties, hunt wild cougars and get into all manner of scrapes with your six shooter and your faithful horse. The sheer level of detail - from developing a relationship with your horse to gun care and customisation - is breathtaking, and with the limitless power of a high-end PC, a gorgeous game now looks even better.
Despite other offshoots in the BattleTech mech series, it's actually been 18 years since a proper single-player version of the game with Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance way back in 2001. Piranha Games has brought the series back in a big way, with a huge campaign that covers a massive stretch of narrative in the Third Succession War.
For those who haven't played one of the Mechwarrior games before, it's basically a shooter where you jump into a massive robotic suit and do battle with other mechs across huge battlefields. Destruction is the name of the game, so you can level entire cities as you pilot hundreds of BattleTech variants. You can also play with friends in four-player PvE co-op!
Despite going down with publisher THQ all those years ago, the Darksiders franchise refuses to go quietly into the night. It's already returned with a full fat sequel in Darksiders III, and now it's been given a dungeon-crawling makeover for semi-sequel of sorts Darksiders Genesis. Strife is the focus of this new story set long before the events of the first game.
Teaming up with the grim-faced War, the wise-cracking Strife offers a nice alternative to the slower, heavier melee attacks of his brother. Strife's pistols enable him to grief enemies from afar, adding a twin-stick shooter element to all that dungeon exploration and monster slaying. The change in genre really suits Darksiders' gameplay and visuals and bodes really well for the franchise's future.
While it has its fun moments, it's safe to say Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 was a bit of misfire thanks to a larger scale and an open-world that failed to come together. For the next instalment in the series, developer CI Games has scaled things back by creating multiple sandbox maps in a similar vein to the recent Sniper Elite games. Each has a main target, and a series of side-missions that offer the opportunity to earn more money and learn more information about your central mission.
The more contracts you complete and cash in, the more gear and upgrades you can buy for the next mission. With multiple paths and tactics in each map, Contracts has been designed to offer multiple different playthroughs. The long-range bullet physics will force you to factor in everything from bullet drop to wind speeds, and you'll need to employ stealth to sneak into facilities to retrieve information and sabotage equipment in person.
Need for Speed has had a rocky road on current gen hardware. Developer Ghost Games has delivered some decent efforts, but while the likes of Rivals and Need for Speed were fun but a little forgettable, Payback's scale and customisation were lost to a heavy-handed microtransaction system. Heat represents an attempt by the studio and EA to turn the franchise's reputation around with a return to the street racing of Underground (without NFS's awkward FMV sequences) with the notable absence of any loot boxes.
The result is a confident street racing game all about completing races at break neck speeds and competing in drift competitions. You can build racers to compete in the day, and Fast & Furious-esque motors for night races where cops could interrupt the race and chase you down at any moment.
While Battlefront II's short single-player campaign was serviceable - and even had some really creative moments - it wasn't the grand single-player affair fans were crying out for. In the long years between the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequels, games became of the mediums that kept the franchise ticking over, with the likes of the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series earning much-deserved praise. While those games were very much influenced by corridor shooters of the '90s, Respawn's own addition to the SW universe - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - finds itself shaped by the biggest franchises of today. There's a healthy dose of Dark Souls in there, with a big dollop of Uncharted for good measure.
As a Jedi padawan attempting to survive in the wake of Order 66, new hero Cal Kastis must travel the galaxy and help preserve what's left of the order. While there's no option to lean towards the Dark Side in the way you could with Jedi Knight, but there's plenty of opportunity to learn new Force skills and enhance everything from telekinesis to freezing enemies and blaster fire. There are multiple planets to explore, each with secret areas and shortcuts that reveal themselves through repeat visits. And yes, the lightsaber feels brilliant, offering a weighty sense of feedback as you parry, dodge and cauterise your enemies.
Obsidian continues to cement itself as one of the most innovative studios in RPGs, with everything from grand turn-based RPGs to one of the most popular entries in the modern iteration of Fallout. Its latest offering, The Outer Worlds, has learned plenty of lessons from Fallout: New Vegas, delivering a deep and rewarding RPG experience that's just as comfortable with reams of dialogue and questlines as it is with gunplay and combat tactics.
It plays very much like a Fallout game, with weapons to collect, upgrade and repair, enemies to target (a time dilation mechanic serving as TOW's VATS system), but with very few bugs and some really great writing (which see you travelling to multiple planets and ships across the galaxy) it plays more like a cross between Mass Effect, Borderlands and The Elder Scrolls. It's one of the best games of the year, and well worth an addition to your library.
The latest Call of Duty has arrived, bringing with it the return of original developer Infinity Ward and a re-imagining of the sub-brand that put it and COD on the map - Modern Warfare. And there's plenty to be excited about. A new engine brings a more tactile and visceral feel to weapons and movement in multiplayer, while the return of story mode offers a new take on the world of contemporary shadow warfare (with some added Captain Price, naturally).
Special Ops rounds out the package, serving up a co-op experience all about completing objectives on a large map with a squad of fellow players. Zombies mode has needed a time out for years, so offering up a new PvE experience makes total sense for the series. The season pass and overly expensive DLC packs have also been dropped in favour of free map and content roll outs.
While far from AAA hits, the Trine series from Finnish studio Frozenbyte and carved out their own unique 2.5 platforming over the years and now we've been treated to a fourth entry in the series. Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince carries on that same formula with a choice of three different characters - Amadeus the Wizard, Pontius the Knight, and Zoya the Thief - each with their own unique abilities and skill tree upgrades.
As with previous instalments, expect plenty of side-scrolling platforming and environmental puzzles that require all three characters to work together to progress. You can play solo, or jump into a local or online party, so there's a play style to suit even the most social of players. The combat system has also been been a makeover, making its many boss fights far more enjoyable and a lot more challenging! Each character plays very different from the next, so learning how best to utilise each one is a key part of Trine 4's calling card.
Codemasters has given its GRID series - which saw GRID Autosport re-released on Nintendo Switch earlier this year - a soft reboot of sorts on consoles and PC, offering up a mixture of arcade controls, realistic physics and enough real world cars to make the biggest of petrol heads happy.
F1 racing legend Fernando Alonso has served as a race consultant for the game, and even has his very own mode, full of challenges and disciplines handpicked from his own career. Complete races and you can take on the man himself! With plenty of tracks from around the world to compete on, including support for online races, this latest GRID is another slice of racing goodness.
The latest hit to rise from the ranks of the indie scene isn't a roguelike RPG or some hard-as-nails platformer with 8-bit graphics and a chip tune soundtrack. This one is a proper curio, where you take on role of a mean-spirited goose that's decided to take out its natural appetite for chaos on the occupants of the local village. It's a very silly little experience that makes full use of your goose persona, including a dedicated honk button (naturally).
It's a relatively short game, but your brief time with this odd little offering is full of chaos to cause. You can set up pranks to catch villagers unaware, you steal their hats and run off, wings a-flapping, and you can go full chaotic goose and chase villagers back into their homes with an egregious over-use of the honk button.
September is here, and that means a new FIFA is ready to take to the pitch. While Nintendo Switch players find themselves with a re-packaged version of last year's game with a painful 'Legacy Edition' wrapper, PC players need not carry such worries as they're getting the full version, including all of this year's new improvements. The headliner being VOLTA Football, a new narrative-driven mode that combines story choices and dialogue similar to The Journey and combines it with the fast-paced movement and player customisation of FIFA Street.
It's not the major overhaul it's advertised to be in fairness, but it does it bring one of the best features of one of EA's other big sports franchises - the World of Chel from the NHL games - and transfuses it into a mode where you can create your character and test their skill against the world's best. FUT has been given an update with a few new modes elsewhere, with AI on both sides of the game now showing a little more intelligence when it's needed.
While The Surge took a few too many cues from the oft-imitated Souls series, the dystopian sci-fi element and the creative robotic enemies you often faced helped freshen up those overly familiar features. The Surge 2 very much follows in the same pattern, focusing on again on the limb-targeting element of combat, as well as the ability to loot the body parts you slice off and re-purpose them into armour pieces and weapons for your own cybernetic avatar.
Jericho City serves as a much more diverse open-world setting, offering more challenging environments for those tense showdowns. As you'd expect from a full-on sequel, there are even more weapons and armour mods to craft, and that means there are far more enemy types to take down. The combat is fast and fluid, and with plenty of space for progressions and customisation, it should keep those who have already overplayed Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (and those waiting for Nioh 2) happy with a similar challenging RPG setup.
Today, the 'loot shooter' has become a bona fide template for success, one that's elevated the likes of Destiny far beyond its FPS roots. But back in 2009, when the original Borderlands launched, there was no such thing. The open-world co-operative shooter was a vanguard for what was to come, but it's been five years since the last game in the series. Can the Vault Hunters still find a place for themselves in 2019?
Yes, but not because it's reinvented itself. In fact, it's effectively stuck to the formula that made it such a hit a decade ago. If it was good enough for Bungie to wantonly imitate (and better, in many ways), why should Gearbox tinker too much with it? The result is a loud and bombastic shooter that's simply operating on a bigger scale (more worlds to explore), with a staggering number of guns and gear to loot and more vulgar, teenage boy humour that you could ever ask for.
The latest instalment in Visual Concepts' triple-A basketball simulator is finally here, bringing with it a raft of new changes and updates. First and foremost, the new story mode is by and far the best one yet, taking your created character through a raft of in-match challenges and narrative beats (thanks in large part to a great performance from one Idris Elba). Plenty of other modes have copied the formula, but NBA 2K is still the king.
The Neighborhood, the social hub introduced in NBA 2K18, has also been given a much-needed makeover. Access to all the main features - including accessing the courts for multiplayer games, the shops for customisation and the training courts to upgrade your avatar, is now much more immediate. Earning VC and levelling up is also a little easier, especially earlier on. You can also carry VC over into a new career once you've reached level 90, enabling you level even faster.
Remedy Entertainment, the Finnish studio that gave us (and you) the first two Max Payne games and the brilliant Alan Wake, is no longer bound to the Xbox One exclusivity of Quantum Break and now it's back with the supernatural gunplay of Control. You play Jesse Faden, a recruit for the Federal Bureau of Control, a secret government agency responsible for monitoring and (you guessed it) controlling paranormal forces.
If you've played a Remedy game before, you'll see DNA from its back catalogue here. The horror elements (and the witty dialogue) of Alan Wake is here, as is the reality-manipulation powers of Quantum Break. And, of course, the updated gunplay of the early Max Payne games. What sets Control apart is the dreamlike quality of its levels, playing something like a horrific take on the dimensional travel of Doctor Strange. It's unlike anything else out there and it's brilliant.
The latest snooker simulator is here in Snooker 19, but this is no arcade-friendly take on the world of baize and balls. This is proper, full-fat simulator that takes the intricate planning and skill of the game and recreate it all with some impressively accurate physics.
This means this is very much a sim with seasoned or experienced players in mind, and even with a tutorial mode, it's going to be a tough sell to someone looking for more a chilled out pool affair. For everyone else, bask in the glory of an officially licensed roster of players and arenas, support for online multiplayer (including timed tournaments) and more.
While it's perhaps best known for being forced to change its name from Ion Maiden to Ion Fury (Iron Maiden the band wasn't too happy about that name it seems), the game itself should really be on your radar. A loud and over-the-top shooter that looks and plays like Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior of old... because it's from 3D Realms, the studio that made the original Duke Nukem 3D.
A fast-based shooter all about gunning down waves of enemies with an every-growing arsenal of meaty guns, Ion Fury takes that high tempo gunplay we associate with classic Doom and combines it with non-linear levels, auto-saves and widescreen support. It's bloody, it's brutal and it's just the kind of game that'll satisfy shooter fans from the early '90s heyday and those thinking of giving this 'classic' style a whirl for the first time.
4X - a style of strategy game that tasks you with building an empire on a vast scale - can be quite an intimidating prospect, especially for new players, but developer Triumph Studios is looking to make this grand experience far more accessible with its new sci-fi focused setting.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall tasks you with leading one of six factions who are vying for controls of a procedurally-generated planet. You'll grow your empire with diplomacy and trade, and fall back on the old tactics of all-out war as you grow for a simple clan to a fully fledged-empire.
This generation has proved that not only is survival horror in rude health, but it's operating at a whole new level when placed from a first-person perspective. But combining it with co-op play? That's a tougher nut to crack, but developer Question is ready to give it its best shot with The Blackout Club, where a group of teenagers must use their wits to uncover a sinister nightmare unfolding in their sleepy town.
Every night, new missions are procedurally generated, so you'll need to explore houses and a network of tunnels beneath the town, hiding and evading terrifying foes hell bent on stopping your midnight investigations for good. With a vibe that's Stranger Things meets Life is Strange, this is one of the most intriguing indie games of the year.
It's been two years since The New Colossus, and while we're not getting a full-on sequel to BJ Blazkowicz's memorable second adventure in an alt-history where the Nazis rule the world, we are getting a smaller scale instalment that follows the adventures of his twin daughters during the 1980s. Set in occupied Paris, Youngblood takes the series in something of a new direction thanks to some welcome new changes to gameplay and level design.
For the first time in the modern Wolfenstein series, you can now play entirely in co-op, be it locally or online with a friend. Don't worry, you can play solo with the AI, but having a friend on board does make Youngblood far more accessible in terms of difficulty. You can customise and personalise whichever sister you choose to play with, including buying perks when you level up and customising your weapons with currency collected in-game.
Some changes are less welcome than others. Paris serves as a hub of sorts, but it's also full of respawning enemies so it's not obvious that you just need to run through it rather than emptying your reserves of ammunition in a never-ending gunfight. Level designs are more open, creating a greater support for stealth for longer periods, but they're a far cry from the vertical agency of the Dishonored games. The story is also far weaker than previous games, but much of this comes down to game length and the co-op nature of the game.
Crime noir can often be a captivating genre to behold in literature and on the silver screen, but the results can be a little more hit and miss in video game form. Developers Monkey Moon and Black Muffin have created a modern take on the genre for Night Call, creating something that's both visually striking and incredibly engaging with its narrative. It's a slow-burning mixture of survival and investigation full of twists and unexpected developments.
You play a cab driver working the late shit on the night time streets of modern day Paris. When you manage to escape from the clutches of a serial killer who's been terrorising the city, it's up to you to solve the mystery within seven days or have the police pin the whole thing on you. There are multiple cases to solve along the way, and over 70 characters to meet, so expect of content from this unusual indie offering.
Tackling more sensitive or taboo subjects can be a challenge for any medium, especially when it comes to the topic of mental health. Following the footsteps of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Sea of Solitude follows a young female protagonist as she navigates a world filled with monsters representing her grief and inner struggle with depression.
Dressed as a beast herself, your story is as much about coming to terms with your view of yourself as it is your connection to the past. With a dream-like city inspired by Berlin, you'll use platforming and stealth to evade attacks and make your way to a form of inner peace and emotional realisation. It's a truly unique experience and, much like What Remains of Edith Finch, it's absolutely worth undertaking.
Final Fantasy has been dipping its toes into the online RPG market for quite a few years now with Final Fantasy XIV, and the bold MMORPG now has a fresh expansion that extends the reach of its lore and introduces brand new locations, questlines and characters to the fold. There's now a brand new race in the mix - the Viera - and an additional job role, the Gunbreaker.
As you'd expect with a major expansion, Shadowbringers increases the level cap (this time from 70 to 80), along with the introduction of some fresh new locations to explore. These new locales include Rak'tika Greatwood, Amh Araeng and Il Mheg, each with their own unique NPCs and questlines to follow.
Codemasters has been specialising in racing simulators for years now, and that means it's built up a real pedigree for driving physics and hyper-realistic simulation. F1 2019, the latest entry in the officially licensed series, continues that legacy with a 'sim-cade' feel that's deep enough to sate more experienced players while offering something that's approachable for new virtual drivers.
F1 2019 features a revitalised Career mode, with the introduction of F2 creating a much more realistic path or your created driver as they fight through the ranks to the prestige of racing for an F1 team. You'll have goals to achieve and rivals to defeat, and while it's still a little awkward in places, it's exactly the right direction it should be going in. If you love F1, there's no better way to experience the thrills of a race bar attending one in person.
If there's one game that gets some of the biggest and most consistent content expansions, it's The Sims 4. EA's enduring life simulator continues to roll on, and the latest addition - Island Living - is one of the biggest yet, with some important new changes to how you create your Sims. Island Living introduces a new tropical setting with activities including canoe rides, swimming, sunbathing and more.
Careers include working as a conservationist, saving lives as a lifeguard, filling your nets as a fisherman and exploring beneath the waves as a deep sea diver. There are lots of cultural activities to take part in, and a ton of tropical-themed items to dress your Sims up in. Island Living also features the series' first transgender preset character, with the option to customise your Sims with any physical trait, regardless of gender.
Italian developer Milestone has been making two-wheeled racing simulators for a good while now, and that means it's acquired something of a pedigree when it comes to the genre. MotoGP - alongside the ever-improving MXGP series - are easily its two biggest franchises, and MotoGP looks to be the most accomplished one its produced yet.
There's been plenty of welcome improvements, such as an overhauled AI system that makes CPU-controlled riders more reactive to your behaviour on the track, as well as ability to host and control the rules of an online race in Race Director. There are over 50 modern riders in the game, as well as more than 35 bikes and plenty of tracks from the current season and some classics from MotoGP's illustrious history.
There are plenty of things that made The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim so beloved in the eyes of RPG fans, but being able to battle giant dragons while exploring its snow-capped world was easily one of the most memorable. Now, almost eight years on, those winged beasties are back in the latest expansion for MMORPG, The Elder Scrolls Online.
Elsweyr, the homeland of the cat-like Khajiit people, makes for a more tropical setting than Summerset and Morrowind, and it's made it all the more unusual with the promise of world events that'll see multiple players battling huge dragons. The new expansion adds in an additional class, enabling you to utilise the dark magical power of the necromancer.
Australian studio Big Ant has been whittling away at the cricket simulator curve for years now, most recently with the Don Bradman series and the Ashes Cricket title in 2017, and that's led to the creation of Cricket 19. It's still a little rough in places - this isn't a EA sports sim with an EA budget - but you're getting a fully licensed tie into this year's Ashes.
This version comes with a full Career mode, with the ability to upgrade and customise your avatar's performance on the field, as well as a new Scenarios mode that creates unique situations for you to complete. There's support to create your own, which has already led to lots of community-made challenges that will test your batting, bowling and fielding skills.
The Total War series has had its highs and lows over the years, but British studio Creative Assembly has earned its pedigree during that time and you feel it in every strand of Total War: Three Kingdoms. It's very much a classic instalment in the series, with its grand battles and minute tactical decisions harking back to the days of Medieval and Rome, but there are new modes and ideas that make this the most ambitious TW yet.
Set in China during the often covered era of the titular trio of feuding realms, Three Kingdoms enables you to battle across a map filled with small skirmishes and grand pitched battles or take on a more cartoonish approach in Romance mode, where your general is more of a kung fu superhero ready to take on hordes of enemy soldiers. The addition of a new diplomacy systems really brings the politics of the era to life in a way no other TW has managed, enabling you to forge and destroy key alliances.
id Software shooters have always been known for their shotguns, short-range boom sticks that cause untold damage to any foe dumb enough to stray into your path. Rage 2, much like its quite forgettable predecessor, doesn't disappoint in this department with a shotgun that sends enemies flying across the screen in fits of acrobatic death. And that's when you're not shattering them with super-powered punches and razor-sharp boomerangs.
While it's a little light on story and comes with the usual open-world filler content, Rage 2 really comes alive when it embraces the destructive creativity of its shooter mechanics. You have to fight to earn your new powers by unlocking hidden arks around the map, but it's worth it for the ability to create dynamic cover or the power to freeze enemies in mid-air.
If you're looking for something to fill that DOOM or Wolfenstein void before their own respective new installments arrive this year, Rage 2 is a worthy alternative.
The Yakuza series is slowly getting the full port treatment on PC, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the latest instalment to enter the land of overclocked CPUs and cooling units. A remaster of the PS2 original, Yakuza 2 follows the ongoing story of Kazuma Kiryu, a member of the titular Japanese mafia. While you're going to spend most of your time punching people in arcade style fights, the series' second entry comes with a huge amount of extra content.
There are side-quests to unlock, karaoke to perform and so much more. There's even a cabinet with Virtua Fighter 2 installed, which enables you to play locally against a friend. Utilising the new Dragon engine (which was used to create more recent instalments such as Yakuza 0 and Yakuza 6), this is a faithful scene-for-scene remake that captures the intensity and personality of the original.
Mortal Kombat has returned once again with a new lick of paint and plenty of welcome new features inspired by NetherRealm Studios' most recent fighting game outing, Injustice 2. Mortal Kombat 11 turns the dial up on almost everything it's known for. The fatalities are bloodier than ever. The story mode is the most over the top version we've ever played. The online and local modes are solid, even with poor ping, making it a joy to play against friends and strangers.
There are 25 fighters to choose from this year in the base version, and while a few characters from the roster are strangely absent, a further six will be added in DLC over the next year, including shape-shifting and soul-claiming sorcerer, Shang Tsung. There are a few too many microtransactions, and the time needed to earn everything organically is a little too grindy, but hopefully with further updates this weight will be lifted a little.
The Anno series has been around for the best part of 20 years, and over the years it's evolved into one of the best city-building management sims you can buy. And with Anno 1800, the latest addition to the series, taking the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century as its creative inspiration, the result is an engrossing deep dive into an era where the world was transformed.
As with previous entries, you'll grow a settlement into a vast utopia, whether it be as a noble leader of democracy or a despot with a cast-iron grip and a bloody taste for injustice. You'll establish your own settlements in the New World, build and destroy political alliances and so much more.
Four-player co-op shooters involving waves of brain-hungry zombies is hardly anything new to videogames - after all, it was this formula that eventually led to the rise of the battle royale genre - but that hasn't stopped Saber Interactive from trying to up its game with World War Z.
Based on the film of the same name from 2013 (yes, that one), you and three other players will need to create defensive positions, set traps and fend off hundreds of sprinting zombies. It's hardly the most original of experiences, but the sheer number of zombies that appear on-screen that scramble over each other like a burst dam of undead monsters, is a unique quantity (well, if you don't count Days Gone).
Co-operative loot shooters and survival game are nothing new in 2019, but when the two are combined with the right setting the results can be very interesting. Generation Zero offers up a unique setting, dropping you into rural Sweden during the 1980s. As a group of young travellers, you return to find your home has been overrun by killer machines and it's your job to find out why.
Surviving won't be that easy either. You'll need to scavange for weapons and resources, and you'll need to fight together in order to successfully take down enemy machines (think the combat from Horizon: Zero Dawn). Whether you're using stealth, traps or all-out gunfire to take down your robotic foes, there's plenty of tactical nuance to be had.
The Tropico games have always offered a very unique approach to simulation. Combining politics, city management and creative building. In the shoes of El Presidente, the appointed leader of the Tropico nation, it's your job to take a nation for lowly status to a hub of commerce, trade and political might. How you reach this point is entirely up to you. Do you work hard to build a democracy focused on trade, or do you work your people to the bone as a ruthless dictator? The choice is yours.
The big change for entry number six is the move from a single island to an archipelago of them, so you can now expand your industries, commercial hubs and residential areas across multiple locations. So you can now build bridges to link them together and create a vast network of bustling locales. There's support for online multiplayer with up to three other players so you share the responsibilities of running an entire state.
That shift in size really makes a difference, not just in the diversity to locations and landscape, but also in how you approach the construction and maintenance of your nation. Spreading your infrastructure out to far too quickly often leads to collapse as you attempt to spin one too many plates, but with new transportation options (such as aerial cabal cabs and intercity tunnels) linking your hubs together really gels once you've nailed the new subsystems.
Overall, Tropico 6 is a notable improvement on Tropico 5, especially with the increased sized of each map, the ability to send your agents to foreign lands to steal monuments and secrets and a new research system that's been completely overhauled so speed up how you customise your tropical nation. If you still love your management sims with a dose of sun-baked political mayhem, this is for you.
FromSoftware, the seminal Japanese developer that rewrote the action-RPG rules with the Souls series, has returned with a new game that's both familiar and deeply alien with its ideas. Almost all of the RPG elements used previously - such as selecting a class or levelling up certain specs - have been dropped. Even the classic multiplayer elements have been left out.
Instead, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is all about the moment-to-moment combat of each encounter. In a similar fashion to For Honor's stance system, Sekiro isn't about whittling down a health bar, but rather using positioning and movement to find an opening to deliver a killer blow. There's more stealth involved this time, and the ability to explore with greater agency thanks to a handy grappling hook. Life after Dark Souls is looking good.
The 'loot shooter' has become something of the norm in 2019. With the likes of Destiny 2 and Anthem making their own waves, and a new Borderlands seemingly on the horizon, developer Massive is giving the genre another shot with The Division 2. Much like the first game, this is a third-person cover shooter with lots of RPG levelling mechanics, but now the rate of loot drops has increased, mission design has been improved to create a greater sense of variety and a much smoother approach to endgame content.
The new setting of Washington DC also offers a little more diversity than the New York setting of the original game, with everything from built-up urban areas to lush parks making an appearance. While it might not be as 'apolitical' as its developers claim, it does offer a four-player cooperative shooter experience all wrapped up in the kind of quality we've come to expect from Ubisoft.
Capcom might not be taking too many risk on new IP these days, but it's certainly doing a grand job of polishing up the franchises upon which it's built its name. Monster Hunter and Resident Evil are riding high once more and now it's the turn of Dante and Nero to receive the same treatment. With veteran series director Hideaki Itsuno back on board, Devil May Cry 5 takes that very familiar combat model of gunfights, melee attacks and the acrobatic combos that tie them all together and simply turns the dial up even higher.
There are now more playable characters to enjoy, each with their own set of unique powers and combo styles, although if you're an old school fan there's always Dante and his immaculate locks. From a presentation standpoint, Capcom has knocked this one out of the part and produced a visual carnival of level layouts, monster designs and facial animation. Sure, it looks like most of the cast just walked out of an audition for Final Fantasy XV, but DMC5 is nevertheless a bombastic return to form.
Release out of nowhere earlier this year, Apex Legends has become one of the hottest new titles on the gaming scene. A Battle Royale game in a similar vein to Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), you'll air drop into a large map with your squad and attempt to survive against other like-minded parties.
What sets Apex Legends apart is its wide variety of weapon variants, its unique items (such as bots that heal you automatically and the ability to revive downed teammates) and unique powers tied to each of its characters. Whether you're using portals to outwit your enemies or calling in powerful ordinance, Apex Legends is fast becoming a GOTY contender in 2019.
Following on from the difficult launch of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Canadian developer Bioware is back with a brand new franchise that takes its long years of experience with action-RPGs and rich, story-driven worlds and combines it with the evolving concept of an online setup. As a mercenary living in a dangerous world of monsters and enemy factions, you'll use a mechanised flight suit to fly, fight and collect loot all the live long day.
This is an always-online game and you'll be able to play with up to three other players in a squad. You can customise your javelin with new weapons and perks looted while exploring the game world, with each one raising your effectiveness in battle (much like the power levels in Destiny). If you love third-person shooters, this is definitely one to watch.
Far Cry New Dawn isn't some grand re-imagining of Ubisoft Montreal's long-running open-world shooter. Instead, it takes all the things last year's Far Cry 5 got right and streamlines it into a smaller yet more accessible experience. Outposts can now be claimed over and over again - offering bigger rewards guarded by tougher enemies - while new Expeditions offer new locations to explore outside of Hope County.
The deeper crafting system - which uses resources gathered in the world like a currency for building new weapons and vehicles - feeds into every part of the game, from hunting animals and looting chests to restocking your ammo. If you've ever enjoyed a Far Cry game, but wanted something that plays more like a silly playground, this is it.
The third game in the popular Metro series sees the Dmitry Glukhovsky inspired narrative move outside of the city of Moscow with dramatic results.
Set in 2036, which is two years after the event of Metro: Last Light, Metro Exodus sees the player fight out of the dead capital and proceed on what can only be described as an epic, country-spanning journey into the far east via a heavy duty industrial train called the Aurora.
To say more about the plot would spoil the game, however, fans of the series will be pleased to hear that the same addictive and immersive survival elements that made the previous games stand out are still in play, such as maintaining your weapons, gas mask and equipment, as well as its bombastic and intense combat. But now thanks to the larger, less-confined world in Metro Exodus (don't worry, you still get good doses of classic claustrophobia at times), feel even more effective.
Visually the game looks absolutely stunning on PC, too, with the 4A Engine delivering fantastically detailed environments, strong lighting effects (especially at night when torch use is needed), and particle effects that genuinely add weight to each environment's atmosphere.
Throw in a detailed crafting system, realistic day-night cycle, and a series of alternate endings that are based on the player's own actions, and it's easy to recommend Metro Exodus of one of the best pc games to play in 2019.
From Chucklefish - the same small British indie studio that brought you Stardew Valley and Risk of Rain - comes one of the most exciting releases of the year. Wargroove is a turn-based tactics affair that doffs its cap to the greats such as Advance Wars while adding new elements that are all its own.
With 13 commanders to choose from and four factions to side with, you can use your commander's unique 'groove' to potentially sway a battle in your favour. It's easy to pick up for newcomers, and supports both local and online multiplayer modes. You can even build and edit your own maps!
Over the last few years, British developer Failbetter Games has carved out a very special niche for itself. One where story and narrative are king, where you'll encounter ghosts, cannibals and decidedly nefarious swarms of bees. For its latest project, Sunless Skies, the studio has taken its top-down concept to the air with steampunk-esque trains that chug through the clouds.
This is a text-heavy experience, but with writing as good as this, it's a design decision that only serves to guide you deeper into its twisted little realm. You'll fight other trains, complete quests for an increasingly strange cabal of characters and hey, you might even end up eating your own crew. When in Rome...
Resident Evil 2 - alongside Resi 4 - remains the pinnacle of the survival horror series, even 20 years on from its initial release. Now, in 2019, Capcom has completely remade the game from the ground up with a new engine, and all the modern improvements the genre has benefited from in those years.
You'll still visit the same zombie-infested locations across Raccoon City as the T-Virus takes hold, but now you'll get to experience every terrifying moment in stunning and grisly clarity. By removing all the archaic issues of the old game (such as those fixed camera angels), the Resi 2 remake is a remaster at its absolute best.
Having built a larger and impressively deep (if consistently) buggy survival MMO in Ark: Survival Evolved, the same team returns with Atlas, a pirate-themed online experience that's as big on adventure as it is on bugs. With support for tens of thousands of players on the same server, you can form a crew, sail a ship, attack settlements and hunt for treasure with other players.
There are 700 unique locations set across 45,000 square kilometres of ocean and landmass. It's a huge game where factions are made and dissolved, wars fought and adventure sought at every turn. Oh, and treasure. Lots of treasure.
If you're the kind of PC gamer who lives for real-time strategy titles and Grand Strategy games, then Medieval Kingdom Wars will scratch that tactical itch no end. Including mechanics from both genres, you'll start off as a noble in Medieval Europe and build an army and an armada worthy of serving your king.
There's a roguelike element to Medieval Kingdom Wars as well, that makes every battle and skirmish an intense encounter and you risk resources and soldiers on the potential of winning or losing a vital fight. It's a fun and fresh take that's a decent alternative to the likes of Total War.
While shooters have evolved with the times to incorporate everything from objective-based cooperation to battle royale showdowns, some FPS fans long for the good old days where shooters were fast, frantic and filled to the gills with gore. DUSK scratches that itch - and then some - offering up blocky '90s-style polygons, open-plan levels, ludicrously powerful shoguns and all the obtuse puzzles you could ask for.
There are single-player campaigns to complete, an endless survival mode and support for online multiplayer. It might not look as swanky or as glitzy as the likes of Battlefield V or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, but it doesn't need to. This is ultraviolent FPS nostalgia at its most bloody fun.
Games are often a means of escaping reality, but there's an extra delicious meta-ness to playing a game where the character themselves finds a way to escape their own mundane life. Enter Will, a young shopkeeper who serves customers by day and enters a nearby portal at night to battle monsters and loot treasure.
There's a wonderful ecosystems at place in Moonlighter, where you can sell the things you loot from your nighttime adventuring in your shop, adjusting prices and shelving. Every run is a risk, but with so many unique monster designs there's never a dull moment to be had.
CCGs (collectable card games) have been around for years, but who knew a small side-game in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would prove so popular that Polish developer CD Projekt RED would release it as its own fully-fledged experience.
Introducing Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. If you love the likes of Hearthstone, you'll really appreciate the depth of strategy that comes with playing and stacking certain cards in battle.
Best of all, CD Prokekt RED also released a new - and standalone - single-player campaign called Thronebreaker, which uses the absorbing platform of Gwent to tell further tales from the enchanting world of The Witcher.
2019 continues to prove itself as an incredibly strong year for indie games, and alongside the likes of Celeste and GRIS we've now got another brilliant slice of unusual gameplay in the form of Return of the Obra Dinn.
You play an insurance clerk who heads to Falmouth Port to inspect a ship that's appeared out of nowhere. The titular Obra Dinn was thought lost at sea, but now it's arrived with tattered sails and seemingly no crew? This first-person tale sees you attempting to solve this 19th century mystery and it makes for one of the most engrossing games of the year.
One of the best new IP to arrive on PC and consoles recently, Subnautica places you in the shoes of an unlucky explorer who ends up on an alien world when his Life Pod crashes into the ocean of an extraterrestrial planet. Mixing survival and exploration elements, you'll get to traverse all manner of locations beneath the waves.
From shallow reefs to deep trenches, there are secrets to uncover and dangers to evade as you manage your oxygen supply and use resources found on the ocean floor to craft new items and gear. There's also support for VR, should you wish to really get your feet wet.
XCOM brought a very unique approach to real-time strategy, with intense close-quarters combat with a squad of soldiers that could die and be lost from your game for good at any moment. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden often doffs it cap to this PC classic, while adding plenty of its own personality.
Explore a lush and diverse post-apocalyptic world and build a squad of anthropomorphic mutants that can be mutated to enhance their abilities in combat. Use stealth to gain the upper hand and loot anything and everything.
This collaboration between developer/publisher/delivery platform behemoth Valve and veteran designer Richard Garfield has been years in the making, and it's finally here. Drawing on the lore of the Dota 2 universe (Valve's popular MOBA game), this collectable card game (or CCG) offers a more user-friendly experience with its three lanes, unlimited mana (for playing cards) and no limits on the size of your deck.
There's an impressive deepness to the nuance of its cards and how certain buffs and effects influence your deck, so veteran players from Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering will find plenty to like here. There's quite a few microtransactions, sadly, but the game around them is well worth a try.
Following the rocky reception Star Wars: Battlefront 2 received in 2017 due to the use of microtransactions at launch, Swedish studio DICE has taken a new tact by offering a raft of free DLC over the next year, as well reducing in-game purchases to cosmetics only.
The new WW2 setting brings the series back to its roots, while taking on many of the improvements introduced in Battlefield 1. Maps are bigger and more dynamic in design with all the destructible environments you could ask for. There's a full-on single-player campaign (take that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4), a new Battle Royale mode due in early 2019 and plans for continuous free content.
While it's had a bit of a bumpy ride to get here, the latest instalment in the Fallout series is finally here. For the first time, the series has embraced an online approach - making it the first game in the series to function as an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). So you can explore its post-apocalyptic setting alone or team up and face its manner mutant monsters together.
All the classic Fallout mechanics are here: looting every box and body you can find for resources; targeting weak points with the VATS system and upgrading your character with the SPECIAL progression system. If you're new to the franchise it's a great way to experience what the series is all about.
The Hitman series has been a mainstay in video games since the days of PS2, but the soft reboot in 2016 managed to take all the elements that made the series so enjoyable - large sandbox levels, multiple ways to plan and kill a target and endless disguise options - and simply refined each one to make them even better.
As a result, Hitman 2 is no grand reimagining, but a series of small yet welcome refinements. Maps are bigger than ever, filled with routes and shortcuts so you can plan the perfect kill. The sheer number of options and in-game challenges makes even one level a source of considerable replay value. Add in competitive co-op modes such as Ghost mode (where you complete with another player to kill a target) and you're getting a slick and rewarding addition to Agent 47's record.
The Call of Duty franchise has been releasing instalments on PC for years, but as of late its felt as if the version released outside of consoles was always an afterthought that was never properly optimised for a very different platform. Thankfully, developer Treyarch has heard these concerns by building a port that no longer plays like a PS4 knockoff.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PC has been designed with a wealth of customisation options, meaning you can adjust your FPS experience to suit your particular hardware setup. Every weapon, item, perk and streak has been overhauled to make them suit the very different balance of using a mouse and keyboard, so don't worry about getting a PC version that only really caters for controller users.
While the world continues to pine for Shenmue 3 (a sequel seemingly destined to remain in development until the end of time), the Yakuza series has taken the basic template SEGA set in place and weaved a Japan-set adventure that combines gangsters, melodrama, glorious combat and even karaoke into one bold package).
While its long-been a console-only series since the PS2 days, the '80s-set prequel Yakuza 0 finally brings this seminal series to PC and boy, are you in for an adventure and a half. Experience hero Kiryu's early days an enforcer for the Japanese mafia, and the story that saw Majima's transformation from respectable club owner to unhinged psycho. With an incredible amount of content (from pachinko to karaoke) you'll be doing more than just beating up thugs and exploring those neon-lit streets.
Coming from Paradox Interactive - the same studio that transformed the tactical strategy genre with the X-COM series - BattleTech takes plenty of inspiration from that seminal squad-based series while introducing a few neat features of its own. While controlling a group of mech and pilots, you'll encounter a series of turn-based battles in a campaign that's part scripted and part procedural generation.
The result is a mixture of tactical combat and resource management as you reinforce your mechs with the parts dropped by enemy units and your own fallen allies. It makes for a deep and rewarding time sink, finished off with the kind of polish we've come to expect from Paradox on PC.
World of Warcraft has been around for 14 years, and Battle for Azeroth marks the seventh major expansion in that long history. As the MMO that put the genre - and the successful formula - on the map, WoW has remained a constant in the PC gaming scene, but it's felt a little wayward as of late.
Thankfully, Battle of Azeroth gets back to the war-making roots of the Warcraft franchise, making for some of the best questlines and more elaborate locations we've seen in WoW lore. Its new approach to loot certainly needs some work, but everything else is a move in the right direction for this old MMO dog.
The latest addition to Forza's long-running spin-off series more than lives up to the quality of the first three games, while enhancing it in all the right ways. The new United Kingdom location makes for a brilliant setting for the new dynamic seasons that actively shape the conditions of every race.
With over 400 vehicles to unlock and customise and a constant stream of races, activities and events to keep you hooked at every moment, Forza Horizon 4 cements itself as Xbox One's best arcade racer. And if you have access to an Xbox One X and a 4K-ready TV, you're in for a visual treat...
Warhammer: Vermintide - End Times proved to be something of a sleeper hit in 2015, taking the ubiquitous nature of the Warhammer licence and turning it into a visceral melee/shooter experience with a big focus on teamwork and bloody combat.
Its sequel builds on that same template, increasing the number of characters to choose from, adding in a greater level of customisation and adding far more agency to each gory battle. Its sandbox levels are also bigger than ever, proving plenty of space and elevation to appeal to ranged, magic and melee-focused players.
No PC games list in 2019 would be complete without a title that sits firmly in the zeitgeist. And what’s more zeitgeisty than THE battle royale title that put the subgenre on the map. The modern iteration may have a few of the infamous glitches that made it so popular with YouTubers and Twitch streamers, but with a vast number of improvements and lots of additional content (including more maps), PUBG remains as popular as ever. While not quite as polished as Fortnite, PUBG is still a brilliant introduction to all things battle royale (just watch out for the occasional hacker).
Obsidian has become one of /the/ most prestigious RPG developers in recent years - even managing to turn a licence like South Park into an accessible (and surprisingly deep) turn-based affair with 2014’s The Stick of Truth - so it shouldn’t come as much surprise to learn the studio has created one of the most accomplished additions to the genre in years. Taking the classic D&D template of the original PoE, Deadfire features even deeper role-playing action, more intricate combat systems, a rich and rewarding storyline and enough content to keep you playing throughout the year.
Creative Assembly has carved an impressive niche for itself in the tactical and strategy RPG market, with the Total War brand having proved itself as one of the best in the business. The latest instalment in the series - and the sequel to the real-time brilliance of 2016’s Total War: Warhammer - the imaginatively named Total War: Warhammer II offers two addictive experiences in one. First, there’s an open-world full of turn-based campaign missions, and then within there are the moreish real-time battles that see you clashing together a variety of races from the Warhammer canon in truly spectacular fashion.
There’s a reason Giant Sparrow’s wonderful ‘walking simulator’ has won so many awards as of late. It’s an landmark in video game storytelling, using simple gameplay mechanics and a variety of visual styles to slowly unravel a plot that isn’t afraid to tackle some truly heartbreaking and taboo themes. We don’t want to risk ruining how could the story really is, but we’ll say this is a game to enjoy in long stretches as you follow the linear path it unfolds before you. Coming from the same studio that brought you the affecting odyssey that was The Unfinished Swan, WRoEF will no doubt stay with you for many years to come.
Some of the most popular games on PC right now are coming smaller developers, and that includes the small yet mighty world of Into the Breach. It’s a turn-based affair where you control a set of mechs fighting a giant alien race known as the Vek. The combat mechanics don’t just require you to tactically destroy your foes, but protect civilian buildings on the grid, as they boost your mech making them as important as the act of war itself. Each grid is procedurally generated so you’ll get endless layouts each time you move to a new level, offering tons of replay value for less than £15/$15.
What is it with games with the word ‘league’ in their title taking the industry by storm? First there was League of Legends, then there was Rocket League and know there’s Laser League. Coming from the team that brought you the OliOli series, LL takes the neon-tinted look of TRON and combines it with an intense multiplayer setup where you’ll need to control coloured walls of lasers while dodging those controlled by the opposing team. With multiple classes, 150 characters, tons of maps and all the power-ups you could possibly need to turn the tide of battle.
Tired of playing Minecraft? Looking something a little more mature that still maintains that moreish need to build things in a vast open-world? We’ve got just the thing. In a world inspired by the adventures of muscled-up hero Conan the Barbarian, Conan Exiles combines survival mechanics, a bestiary of monsters, and all the resources you need to build everything from mud huts to fully-fledged cities. You’ll need to hunt and eat to survive, keep cool in the heat and warm in the cold. Even the elements will conspire to kill you, so there’s danger at every turn as you head out to find resources and become a legend to rival that of Conan himself.
From the makers of This War of Mine, comes a new experience that tasks you with managing a community at the mercy of a deadly ice age. Steam power has just been discovered, offering a means of survival, so you’ll need to manage resources, maintain structures and man parties into the outside world to gather resources and unravel the mystery of the coldest of snaps. From making and maintaining laws to preserving the most vital of resources (heat), you’ll have to make some painful and downright crushing decisions to save your people.
Sometimes you don’t want a balanced, objective-based shooter such as Overwatch, or a precise team-focused FPS a la Rainbow Six: Siege. Sometimes you just want grab a shotgun, move at a constant sprint, leap onto a jump pad and turn your opponents into bloody chunks. Quake Champions may be a modern title (and one still in Early Access), but it’s heart and soul are very much in the era of Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament. Each Champion comes with his or her own unique skills, while the inclusion of all your favourite modes means you can rocket jump your way to eternal glory online.
Finally, a post-apocalypse without a zombie in sight. In FAR: Lone Sails, you’ll roam and explore a dried-out ocean that was once home to a thriving civilisation. With your trusty, sail-driven ship, you’ll need to overcome obstacles, maintain your ship and follow a trail of clues to unravel the mystery of the cataclysm that ravaged the world around you. It’s one of the most engaging and enjoyable genre mashups we’ve played in quite some and it’ll have you riding the wind to the very end. A slow burn at times, but one that never feels slow.
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