Best PC games 2018: Quake Champions, Laser League and Into the Breach all make the PC gaming cut

From overclocked triple-A fare to small yet mighty indies, these are the games you need to add to your collection right now

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PC gaming has always represented the pinnacle of video game excellence, and that distinction continues in 2018 with some of the most groundbreaking experiences gracing overclocked towers and modest laptops the world over.

And with delivery platforms such as Steam 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. Especially if you've invested in a decent gaming monitor, a clicky-clacky mechanical keyboard and a sophisticated rodent for your budding eSports career.

In order to break down what can be a pretty intimidating ocean of games to choose from, we’ve selected a piping hot set of amazing games, ranging from brand new releases that are making waves with critics and gamers alike to more established titles that continue to maintain impressive communities and post-launch content.

We’ve listed all the specs you’ll need as well, so you can be sure your machine is beefy enough to run said software. You’ll also be able to download every single entry in a matter of click thanks to our handy shopping links. Honestly, we think of everything. Happy gaming!

Best PC games

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Battle royale with cheese

Specifications
OS: 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
Processor: Intel Core i5-4430 / AMD FX-6300
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB / AMD Radeon R7 370 2GB
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 30 GB available space
Reasons to buy
+Intense multiplayer action+Ideal for snipers

No PC games list in 2018 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).

Best PC games

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

An RPG of distinction

Specifications
OS: Windows Vista 64-bit or newer
Processor: Intel Core i3-2100T @ 2.50 GHz / AMD Phenom II X3 B73
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: DirectX 11 Compatible
Storage: 45 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
Reasons to buy
+D&D at its virtual best+Brilliant maritime setting

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.

Best PC games

Total War: Warhammer II

Make war, not love

Specifications
OS: Windows 7 64Bit
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.0Ghz
Memory: 5 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 460 1GB/AMD Radeon HD 5770 1GB/Intel HD4000 @720p
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 60 GB available space
Reasons to buy
+Intricate strategy management+Deep Warhammer lore

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. 

Best PC games

What Remains of Edith Finch

Heartbreaking yet beautiful

Specifications
OS: Windows Vista SP2 64-bit or later
Processor: Intel i3 2125 3.30 GHz or later
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce GTX 750/AMD Radeon 7790 or later
Storage: 5 GB available space
Reasons to buy
+Engaging and memorable story+A walking sim with a difference

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.

Best PC games

Into the Breach

A grid-based tactical joy

Specifications
OS: Windows Vista/7/8/10
Processor: 1.7+ GHz or better
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Must support OpenGL 2.1 or higher. Intel HD 3000 or better
Storage: 300 MB available space
Reasons to buy
+Randomly-generated turn-based battles+Unique combat mechanics

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.

Best PC games

Laser League

Laser-focused multiplayer fun

Specifications
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core i3-4170 @ 3GHz or AMD A 10-5800K APU @3.78GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GForce GTX 670 or AMD Radeon R9 270x
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 4 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card
Reasons to buy
+Unique competitive experience+Huge amount of customisation

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.

Best PC games

Conan Exiles

An open world with a barbarian twist

Specifications
OS: Windows 7 64 Bit/ Windows 8 64 Bit/ Windows 10 64 Bit
Processor: Intel Quad Core i5-2300 or AMD FX-6300
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 (1GB) or AMD Radeon HD 7770 (1GB)
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 50 GB available space
Reasons to buy
+Dynamic survival sandbox+Build everything from forts to entire cities

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.

Best PC games

Frostpunk

A heart-wrenching mix of strategy and survival

Specifications
OS: Windows 7/8/10 64-bit
Processor: 3.2 GHz Dual Core Processor
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: GeForce GTX 660, Radeon R7 370 or equivalent with 2 GB of video RAM
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 8 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX compatible
Reasons to buy
+Every decision has its consequences+Beautifully realised gameworld

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.

Best PC games

Quake Champions

Frag to your heart’s content

Specifications
OS: Windows 7 and later
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4-945 / Intel Core 2 Quad 6600
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: AMD R7 240 GB / Nvidia GT 730 2GB / Intel HD 530
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 20 GB available space
Reasons to buy
+Intense multiplayer deathmatches+Early Access means steady flow of updates and content

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.

Best PC games

FAR: Lone Sails

Mad Max meets FTL

Specifications
OS: Windows 7+ (64-bit OS required)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.4 GHz, AMD FX 8120 @ 3.1 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 460 / 650m, AMD Radeon HD6570
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 3 GB available space
Additional Notes: Not recommended for Intel HD Graphics cards.
Reasons to buy
+Engaging mix of puzzles and survival+An atmospheric post-apocalypse

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.