Once a year, the global PC Gamer team gathers. The topic: What are the best 100 PC games that you can play today? Ahead of the discussion, the team suggests additions, changes and removals. We then gather over the following hours and days to painstakingly discuss every suggestion. To an outside observer, it might have the appearance of a big, week-long argument.
The result of that discussion is this list, which is our attempt to turn the different opinions and tastes of a nearly 30-person team into an earnest catalogue of our current recommendations—games we think that every PC Gamer should experience.
There are a few rules and principles we stick to. Firstly, this is not a list of the most important PC games—you can find those here. Rather, these are our picks of the best PC games to play right now. How influential a game was doesn't matter. How much we enjoyed playing it at the time is not our concern. The simple question, always, is: does this hold up today?
Secondly, we want to celebrate the breadth and variety of PC gaming. To that end, we limit ourselves to one game per series. Sorry Half-Life 2, but if Half-Life: Alyx is in the list, you can't be too.
The most important principle of all: this is our subjective list. If the people on our team aren't advocating for it, we're not going to include it. And if newer members of the team add the weight of their support behind a game, we're going to push it higher up the list.
Read on, and find 100 great games to add to your wishlist. Maybe you'll love them just as much as we do.
100. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games
Released 2017 | Last position New
Jody Macgregor, Weekend Editor: Puzzle dungeon visual novels of the "you wake in a room" variety, the Zero Escape games burst with gory deaths and narrow getaways. Nine people get trapped in mazes as twisty as the games' plots, jumbles of esoterica and hidden history.
Phil Savage, UK Editor-in-Chief: Satisfying puzzles and philosophical paradoxes, all through an anime filter. The twists will keep you guessing as you navigate the timeline, unpicking a grand mystery.
Mollie Taylor, News Writer: I'm still reeling from Virtue's Last Reward years later. What a goddamn trip.
99. Shadowrun: Hong Kong
Released 2015 | Last position New
Jody: One recruitable companion in this cyberpunk-fantasy RPG is a Japanese ghoul samurai. Bringing him along on heists and infiltrations means fast-talking guards and civilians to convince them he's an actor or a cosplayer. Your whole crew is made of misfits, including a rat-spirit shaman who treats garbage like gourmet. They're one of the best RPG parties around.
Robin Valentine, Print Editor: The excellent Shadowrun: Dragonfall has been in our list for a few years now, but I definitely prefer Hong Kong for its brilliantly evocative setting.
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: I've got a big soft spot for urban fantasy, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong does it a lot better than most. Hong Kong, and especially the Walled City, are messy, chaotic and feel even more alive thanks to the magic that alters them in ways both subtle and significant. It's a great magical cyberpunk yarn, but just as great as a story about cities, and how they—and the people living in them—can become victims of the machinations of the wealthy and powerful.
Josh Wolens, News Writer: Dragonfall is my favourite Shadowrun game, but Hong Kong's take on Kowloon Walled City is a triumph. It's the perfect cyberpunk setting: grimy, dank, and claustrophobic, soundtracked by the thrum of distant machines, and always, always raining. I can't think of a suppurating psychic wound I'd rather spend my time in.
98. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Released 2016 | Last position 95
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: Shadow Tactics is the immaculate tactical stealth success that proved Mimimi Games had the chops to take up the Desperados series. Every mission is a lovely puzzle and there's an immense joy in meticulously setting up and pulling off the simultaneous kill I envisioned using all of my party members.
Phil: One of the most rewarding stealth games of recent years, embracing the hardcore, unforgiving attitude of the genre but still modernising it where it counts. The real pleasure here is being dropped into large maps full of guards, and slowly picking apart the puzzle of their intricate patrol routes as you work your way through. Your motley crew brings a variety of different ways to distract, dispatch and disappear your foes, and it's these asynchronous abilities that make the difficulty so satisfying to overcome. Some are nimble, able to navigate rooftops and tricky terrain. Others are stuck to the ground, but bring traps and tricks to help clear a path. This leads to myriad options within a single level, creating a playground of possibilities.
Shadows Tactics' coup de grace is Shadow Mode, which lets you queue up moves for your whole team to perform at the same time. It's inherently cool, as you painstakingly plan out multiple takedowns, to hit a single button and watch the synchronised action play out.
97. Teamfight Tactics
Released 2019 | Last position New
Fraser: TFT is one of the last autobattlers left standing—the product of a short-lived trend that no doubt benefited from sharing a launcher with the rubbish but immensely popular League of Legends. I love the constant reinvention of characters and mechanics, and building my loadout of heroes mid-battle, but the real appeal is how easy it is to just hang out and shoot the shit with friends while my diligent little warriors duke it out or die.
Phil: Fraser, you're going to get emails for calling LoL "rubbish". Nevertheless, as someone who's also terminally bad at MOBAs, Teamfight has been a welcome excuse to explore the peripheries of Riot's most popular game. You construct a roster, ideally based around the major synergies of that season, and watch them battle your opponents' teams. The battles themselves are entertainingly over-the-top, but it's the experimentation and strategising that keeps me coming back.
96. The Forgotten City
Released 2021 | Last position New
Jody: Groundhog Day with gladiators. There's only one gladiator, but you get the point. You're in a timeloop, reliving a single day in ancient Rome.
Timeloop games seem like a great idea, but it turns out redoing the same thing even more than videogames usually demand is actually super frustrating. The Forgotten City gets around that with two inventions: an arguably anachronistic zipline, and a sensible human being. The wonderful Galerius greets you each day, and when you barrel up to him shouting instructions to save the lives of people you figured out how to save in the previous loop, he just gets on with it. Gordian knot elegantly cut.
That knot was Greek, but you get the point.
Fraser: Anachronistic ziplines and magical timeloops aside, The Forgotten City still revels in history and makes you feel like a time-travelling archaeologist—an enviable job. The time-stuck Romans, meanwhile, are a likeable, or at least interesting, bunch, even when they're being antagonistic. On the last loop, as I shouted my final instructions to MVP Galerius, I was genuinely torn, knowing I'd have to say goodbye to this lost city and nobody would ever know what I went through to save it.
Released 2016 | Last position Re-entry
Nat Clayton, Features Producer: Once, in Berlin, I played an early build of Thumper so hard my thumbs literally bled. Deep, violent bass throbbing through my skull, an assault of neon violets burning my eyes, desperately trying not to shed blood all over a shared gamepad, I embodied Thumper in its entirety—a pure, singular rhythm hell where you stop looking what beats are coming down the track, and start feeling it in the rhythm pounding through your body.
Jody: You're a god-killing space beetle. It's immaculate. The sense of acceleration and impact as you thump into corners is unrivaled, and the end of every sequence is basically a religious experience. Someone write a Book of Thumper and I'll be your apostle.
Phil: Just pure rhythmic anxiety—a digital panic attack from beginning to end. But, y'know, good.
94. Titanfall 2
Released 2016 | Last position 88
Nat: Last year, Titanfall 2 was basically dead. While that campaign is still solid as hell, DDoS attacks had rendered multiplayer servers largely unplayable. But in December, Titanfall 2 got a Christmas pressie in the form of Northstar—a fan-run server browser that shot new lift into the knackered old mech.
In 2022, Titanfall 2 isn't just playable. It's thriving. While early builds only allowed for certain modes on certain maps, Northstar is now a wonderfully chaotic mess of custom gametypes and modded mechs, the best of which sees BT literally throw you into the start of each new round. It's a throwback to the good ol' server browser days, and a perfect place for Titanfall 2 to spend its long-overdue retirement.
Fraser: This is still one of the best FPS campaigns around, with each level boasting the kind of creativity that puts it on par with the wildly imaginative Dishonored 2. Plus your best friend is a mech.
93. Fallout: New Vegas
Released 2010 | Last position 87
Jody: New Vegas blends the strengths of Fallouts old and new. It's got some of the originals' problem-solving variety, letting you talk round a fascist legionnaire or a brain in a jar, and the 3D world and VATS combat of modern Fallout, with the pleasant ding of XP earned and the foreboding rumble of new quests begun.
Imogen Mellor, Features Producer: Can't believe we don't have rules against games that require a library of mods to work well.
Jody: Three mods isn't a library! All you really need is New Vegas Anti-Crash, the 4GB Patcher if you're on Steam, and MTUI to expand the interface. Then you're good to go.
Nat: Janky, ugly, rubbish.
Chris Livingston, Features Producer: Bethesda plus Obsidian, yeah, you're gonna get tons of jank. But for an RPG I've already played multiple times I could dive back in today and have a wholly different experience with new choices and consequences I've never encountered before.
Sean Martin, Guides Writer: Plus it's got some of the best expansions ever made. I'm not sure any other Fallout DLC has hooked me quite the same way as robbing a ghost casino in Dead Money or tracking Ulysses across the hellscape of The Divide. Each expansion tells its own story, but still informs the decisions you have to make in the main game. Masterful stuff, really.
92. Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection
Released 2020 | Last position 92
Phil: Two classic RTSes in one loving package makes this an easy recommendation despite the age of its source material. Red Alert, in particular, is practically timeless—an alternate history World War 2 where Einstein travels back in time to assassinate Hitler. The result is much as you'd expect: campy FMV cutscenes, a pumping industrial soundtrack, and the deadly thrum of Tesla Coils as they prepare to decimate your army. Still a joy to play.
Evan Lahti, Global Editor-in-Chief: It's not the most strategically deep RTS in 2022, but it is a delightful '90s time capsule and a perfect example of what early CD-ROM games were.
Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Now do Red Alert 2, please.
Released 2016 | Last position New
Rich Stanton, Senior Editor: Inside may be bringing up the rear in this list but, for me, it's one of the very best experiences I've had in gaming. A contemporary re-casting of the Frankenstein myth, the environments are a near-seamless blend of clever puzzles and evocative, bleak suggestions about where you are. Horror, science fiction, and for my money the best twist in games.
Sean: For me, Inside is the perfect narrative sidescroller: it's got atmosphere, a moody soundtrack, smart puzzles, and most important of all, tension. As you pilot the boy through rainswept ruins and enslaved cities towards whatever end, Inside does that rarest of things, making you consider the act of playing the game itself, and the nature of that control.
Nat: Inside is a game you only play once. But that one time is a masterclass in mood, in building up tension and dread as you push a small child further into a brutalist meat grinder. It's playing in almost the exact same space as Limbo, a trial-and-error platformer more than a real puzzler, but the artistry on display is phenomenal, woods and barns and deeper, darker industrial places all painted in a dreary watercolour greyscale that pushes you towards hopelessness.
Robin: Has to be said, it's got one of the best endings of any game. If it's not been spoiled for you yet, then oh boy are you in for a treat.
Released 2020 | Last position 80
Morgan Park, Staff Writer: Snowrunner is the best game about driving trucks through mud ever made. Not that it has much competition, but this is one sim you should really try for yourself. Jobs are various versions of "deliver X to Y," but they're really just reasons to have fun carving a path through natural hazards. It also sports some of the best physics-based suspension and land deformation tech around. It dropped a few places this year, but Snowrunner is still an easy recommendation.
Fraser: Mud plus snow is a winning combination. Snowrunner is more of a physics puzzler than an open-world driving game, and those puzzles are going to make you work hard and get absolutely filthy doing it. There are few things as satisfying as liberating a stuck vehicle out in the muddy wilderness.
89. Homeworld Remastered Collection
Released 2015 | Last position 78
Nat: Homeworld is PC gaming's great space opera. A majestic, galaxy-spanning drama played out in a way only games could manage—by way of a perfectly executed three-dimensional spacefaring RTS. Gearbox did a hell of a job remastering the games to not only look gorgeous, but play with a little less '90s faff, and a thriving mod scene means Homeworld also doubles as a phenomenal RTS adaptation of Star Wars, Star Trek, Halo, Mass Effect and more.
Fraser: Homeworld's 3D movement still feels like a revelation, decades on. I was still in school when I took command of a refugee fleet looking for a new home, but it's no less impressive now. The remaster is extremely welcome, but if you switch off the enhancements you'll still find a game that's rich in atmosphere and smarts.
88. Tekken 7
Released 2017 | Last position 74
Mollie: Bombastic, crisp combat and an electrifying soundtrack keep me coming back to Tekken 7 time and time again. I still can't find another fighting game that's this much fun to watch and play. It has a steeper learning curve than the likes of Street Fighter, but it's totally worth it. The dramatic slow-mo cam that inches in on the final punchup should be in every fighter!
Morgan: Tekken freakin rules. Its' the only fighting game that I like to watch (partially thanks to those crisp hitboxes and slo-mo finishers) and the only one I've considered playing. I recently sat through a multi-hour video explaining the series storylines and I now understand why its fighting tournament setup also makes for a pretty good Netflix anime series.
87. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Released 2015 | Last position 71
Morgan: This 7-year-old open-world stealth gem is starting to show its age, but the best bits of Metal Gear Solid V are still some of the best moments in the genre. Even the best immersive sims struggle to match The Phantom Pain's freeform approach to missions and huge variety of tools.
Rich: See I don’t think it does feel old, though that may be down to there being nothing that’s picked up the baton. Still a dream to play and a take on open-world that favours density over scale, but it’s the endless different ways to play that keep this installed on my machine: every so often, I just feel the urge to call in a chopper blasting out Kids in America.
Wes: Some say Kojima's a visionary because of politics or somesuch. Nuts to that. He's a visionary because everyone's going to be collecting cassette tapes in five years and MGS5 called that shit in 2015.
Josh W: One of the few games I went out of my way to get every achievement in, just because I wanted excuses to keep playing.
Released 2018 | Last position 71
Sean: In the often warm and cosy city-builder genre, Frostpunk is a shard of ice. You're not an omnipotent eye in the sky governing a faceless population; as you balance sacrifice and survival in a snow-strewn apocalypse, Frostpunk forces you to face the people, and ultimately be held accountable.
Jody: When I played SimCity I'd always get to that point where my city was running so nicely there were no challenges left. That's when I'd open up the disaster menu. Floods and fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, sometimes Godzilla. It was fun in the same way as watching a sandcastle you've built all day get washed away by the tide.
In Frostpunk, the disaster's already here. Winter isn't coming, it's arrived and it's never going away. All that's left of humanity is one pseudo-steampunk city in a pit of misery. You don't get to pick where to build it like in a regular city builder, nor do you get to sprawl your grid of streets across a map. There's no sandbox here. There's just the pit, where you mine coal and fight sickness and shore up buildings to keep out the cold.
Then it gets even colder, and you need to crank up the generator to dangerous levels. Anyone beyond the shrinking range of its warmth freezes to death and there's nothing you can do about that. Frostpunk starts somewhere after the point I'd reach at the end of a game of SimCity, and then it tells you to hold back the tide.
85. Alien Isolation
Released 2014 | Last position 83
Jody: Alien Isolation is a cinephile's dream, recreating the look and sound of Alien with loving care. It's also a nightmare, recreating the xenomorph from gurgling growl to lashing tail and letting it loose to stalk you through a space station's corridors. (The corridors are also lovingly recreated.)
If someone's not into strategy games I don't feel guilty convincing them to play one. When people aren't into horror, it's usually with good reason. If you don't like being afraid you won't like Alien Isolation. It's terrifying. That said, if you enjoy the relief of triumphing over a boss in a soulslike, think how relieved you'd feel confronting actual fear rather than some guy who transforms into a thing with long arms.
Sean: Made by Alien fans for Alien fans, and it's so easy to recognise the care and attention to detail in how wholly it embodies that cinematic style. Also I'm pretty sure it's responsible for popularising all those smart, scary monsters that hunt you in games now. Thanks for that!
Fraser: Every year I say I'm finally going to finish my playthrough of Alien Isolation, and every year I fail. This year I've actually made some progress though! This is a testament to how much this thing terrifies the shit out of me, but also how utterly perfect it is as an Alien game. I have to keep going. Slowly. Very, very slowly.
Josh Lloyd, Video Producer: I don’t think a licensed game has ever captured the art and production design of the original media, or so successfully built on it, as Alien Isolation does. You really feel like you’re in the same world as in the original movie, and there are so many small details, like the eye holes slightly visible on the xenomorph that the performer would use to see, that really hammer that point home. You feel truly helpless against every threat, and it’s honestly just cruel to have so many things in the environment sound exactly like the hiss of the Alien.
Josh W: I loved Alien Isolation, and then it went on for another 10 hours.
Jody: The early parts are the best parts, for sure. Just like the Alien series as a whole.
Released 2019 | Last position New
Robin: The vibes are just impeccable. If you could distil Control's weird, SCP-inspired atmosphere into a liquid, I'd drink a gallon before lunchtime. And I love how much fun it is to move and fight through its bizarre, impossible spaces while you're soaking all that in.
Fraser: It's brutalist architecture porn. And as striking as it is, boy does it have a glow up when you turn on ray tracing. There are a lot of flat, reflective surfaces in the Oldest House, so it's a great showcase of those fancy reflections.
Josh L: Control is a game all about being lost, lost in the maze-like architecture of the Oldest House, lost on your place in its world and lost in the knowledge—or rather the unknowableness of the objects and places the bureau deals with. It’s easily the best game Remedy have put out (and I say that as a big fan of Max Payne). There's really nothing quite like it. Even outside of the gameplay, the cutscenes are edited in such an experimental way, the only point of comparison would be the likes of David Lynch, who’s appearance inspired the look of one of the game’s characters.
Jody: Nice vibes for sure. Shame about the shooting.
Released 2019 | Last position 50
Wes: In Satisfactory we built a power plant tower so tall you could see it from across the planet. We built factories with so many glass windows that even an RTX 3080 gave up on rendering them all. We connected conveyor belts carrying precious resources across the desert to a cargo train that spiraled up the side of a mountain. We built a mining facility so far away it needed aerial drones to collect its materials—even though we couldn't actually build drones yet.
Satisfactory begins as a game about optimization, finding the most efficient ways to pump out resources. Master that, and you're left with a sandbox that rewards building however and wherever the hell you want, just for the satisfaction of it.
Morgan: The stories that come out of Satisfactory sold me on it instantly. I, too, want to look over a mighty empire of automation and discover that my robot children no longer need me. I'm also just really into watching materials actually travel down conveyor belts and pass through machines, instead of everything happening inside a menu. More games should do this.
82. Resident Evil Village
Released 2021 | Last position 43
Jody: Village is Resident Evil at its most decadent and gothic. There's a bit with a baby in a puppet house that's as scary as the series has ever been, a werewolf attack in the village that pays homage to Resident Evil 4's early siege, and the vampire-haunted Castle Dimitrescu, which lives up to its reputation. Playing RE8 a while after release, I didn't think Lady D could possibly be as cool as the hype around her suggested, but she absolutely was. And there are plenty of surprises after that, with plot twists I wasn't expecting, neat references to older games in the series, and a Mercenaries mode that's basically bullet heaven.
The puzzle with the sinking platforms on the lake is rubbish, though.
Jacob Ridley, Senior Hardware Editor: If you're a new player looking for a good entry point into the Resident Evil series, Village is it. It's more run and gun than previous games, but since it's a modern vision of Resident Evil it's not short of variety to keep things interesting. You visit heaps of beautifully designed levels throughout, and each one offers a taster session in everything Resident Evil has done well over the years. The story does follow on from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, so you may find you want to start there before hitting up Village, but Village does do a pretty good job of explaining what's going on in case you're not up to speed.
From Village you can dive back into the horrifying and gory world of Resident Evil with the remakes, but be prepared to feel a lot more panicked and underpowered in those games—Mr. X is absolutely terrifying in high definition.
81. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Released 2012 | Last position 37
Rich: As CS:GO's twitter bio says, this is "your favourite first person shooter's favourite first person shooter." Still attracting almost a million daily players, still the biggest esport around, and still the best 5vs5 tactical shooter—and despite what some fans say, Valve continues to put out intermittent content updates and new modes.
Evan: It's the purest competitive FPS on PC. And incredibly, the most-played game on Steam 10 years into its lifespan. But it's waning in importance as the tail of battle royale and extraction shooters lengthens. I love CS, but I'd rather play Hunt: Showdown in 2022.
Morgan: It's remarkable that CS:GO has held onto its community so tightly after Riot burst out of the gate strong with Valorant. Speaks to the timelessness of Counter-Strike's stop-and-pop design that it doesn't need new seasonal guns or magical movement abilities to stay interesting.
80. Company of Heroes 2
Released 2013 | Last position 65
Fraser: There's understandably still a great deal of fondness for the original Company of Heroes, but here the multiplayer really got to shine, leading to CoH2 having a much longer tail. And, honestly, I've had enough of France and the invasion of Normandy. The main campaign has a lot to recommend it, too, if you don't mind the Russian cold, and is further elevated by the impressive non-linear Ardennes Assault expansion, paving the way for the impending Company of Heroes 3 and its dynamic campaign.
79. Psychonauts 2
Released 2021 | Last position New
Morgan: Psychonauts 2 is what happens when the brilliant folks at Double Fine get as much time and budget as they need to make a 3D platformer. This is a gorgeous sequel that picks up right where the first left off. A charming, heart-wrenching story through the lens of a 2005 collectathon platformer.
Jody: The original Psychonauts was a wonderful concept buried under uneven concessions to its genre. Which is to say, it was a Double Fine game. What a concept, though: a summer camp for psychics run by a spy ring that trains them for espionage by letting them rummage around inside the mental landscapes of troubled folk. If only it weren't for the fussy boss fights, and platforming that was let down by poor controls and checkpointing.
Like Morgan says, Psychonauts 2 is Double Fine finally getting the freedom it needs to make a game that lives up to that idea. So, uh, thanks, Microsoft? It's a Pixar movie you can run around in, zooming across levels based on a psychedelic Yellow Submarine or a papercraft library where you end up trapped in a book, leaping across pages as the platforming suddenly transitions to 2D. One level's a hospital that is also a casino, with a maternity ward where wannabe parents gamble on a roulette wheel of babies. It's constantly imaginative and twisted.
78. Anno 1800
Released 2019 | Last position 62
Phil: A city-builder about creating elaborate, automated production chains—ferrying myriad resources from across the world to turn into the goods your citizens crave. The cities you create will be ornate and beautiful, but the real joy is found in watching a successful, stable supply of sewing machines leave your factories.
Fraser: The DLC has made it feel a bit bloated, especially now that you can set up colonies in even more places, but the logistics porn keeps me coming back anyway. It's intensely satisfying serving the needs of your demanding citizens, and like Phil says the cities make for great eye candy.
Released 2013 | Last position New
Evan: Perhaps the best raw, customizable storytelling engine on this list, RimWorld is the progeny of hyper-granular colony sims like Dwarf Fortress. Your pet turkey can break individual bones (or lose their beak to say, frostbite in the winter after a specific level of cold exposure). It's moddable as hell: I played 125 hours this year with a multiplayer add-on.
Fraser: I've started and abandoned so many RimWorld games, and I don't think I'll ever stop. Every fresh start means it's time for new experiments, which have been greatly enhanced by the expansions, introducing royals, psychics and cults. It works surprisingly well on Steam Deck, so I've fired it up yet again to play on the go. Finally I can live the dream of sitting on a noisy bus while leading a colony of tyrannical transhumanist cannibals.
Katie Wickens, Hardware Writer: Firmly is Rimworld embedded in my yearly game rotation, as the call of sandbox colony sims inevitably draws me in when real life gets hard to parse. "So much agency, so little time," I cry, eyes bloodshot as the rising sun breaks me from my hypnotic state. Rimworld has so much to give, with each restart delivering a totally unique experience. I bid thee tug on my heartstrings once more, o' tiny pawns of the outer Rim.
76. Arma 3
Released 2013 | Last position 69
Evan: The launch of the early access prototype Arma Reforger in May complicates this a bit: Arma is improving on its path to Arma 4, but slowly. For now, Arma 3 is still my recommendation for a feature-complete military sandbox. Arma 3 continues to remind us that scale is one of the precious feelings games can give us. That doesn't just mean "big maps." In Arma's case, scale is as much about the absolute freedom players have to be a part of epic firefights in different, interconnected ways: to be the ace helicopter pilot, the frontline medic, the tank killer, or the commander watching it all happen from a map-level perspective.
Morgan: Arma 3 is the game that pushed me to finally get a desktop PC in 2013. I picked up the best prebuilt PC a 16-year-old could afford, meaning Arma 3 still ran like crap. That's OK, because I still managed to dump 100 hours into AI scenarios, Day-Z adjacent sandbox survival modes, and a proto-version of PUBG battle royale developed by PlayerUnknown himself (you'd join servers from your external internet browser, it was pretty cool). Arma is one of the few series out there actively pushing the capabilities of videogames and placing that power in the hands of players to make new things. After a decade of updates, Arma 3 is both gigantic and often cheap.
75. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Released 2011 | Last position 75
Robin: I can't believe this is still on here. Both we and Bethesda need to let it go already
Nat: I'm with Robin.
Jody: I get it. I'd be tempted to replay Morrowind if I wanted a full playthrough of an Elder Scrolls RPG today, yet I still keep Skyrim installed and hop back on the regular just to check out new mods. I've recently explored a cyberpunk city and begun a multi-part quest mod with fully voiced followers. Skyrim's alive, and people are doing more interesting things to it than most live-service games.
Mollie: Robin, you're going to have to pry Skyrim from my cold, dead hands. It's been my comfort game for the past decade, the one I can easily fall back into for some bittersweet nostalgia. Will I ever play anything other than a stealthy archer? Who knows. Old habits die hard.
Sean: Skyrim is irreplaceable, but that's also its biggest fault. Without another Elder Scrolls game to take its crown, I'm doomed to keep returning to it even though I know full well I've done everything there is.
Released 2020 | Last position New
Lauren M: How does one bond with friends if not by stomping around a haunted house and wailing increasingly awful "where are you?" Blink-182 impressions at angry ghosts?
Jacob: I used to jump into Phasmophobia expecting to be terrified almost immediately, now I do it because it's a great social game to play with a handful of friends. Enjoying a stroll through an abandoned and potentially haunted campsite or prison is now my idea of a good time, just shooting the breeze and poking fun as we idly check for ghosts on our vast array of ghost hunting gear.
I love those moments simply tracking spectres so much that I've actually explored haunted castles (or those claiming to be haunted) with friends in real-life because of it. Phasmophobia made me realise I love the quirky ghost-hunting culture that I thought only existed in episodes of early 2000s British TV show Most Haunted; a world filled with EMF meters, spirit boxes, infrared thermometers, and 'I'd rather be ghost hunting' caps.
Rich Stanton: I return to Phasmophobia every few months with the same group, because it's always different. Yeah we've seen much of what the game has but its combinations, its capacity to shock you out of over-confidence, remains undimmed. My favourite horror experience ever.
Fraser: Too many people know what my screams sound like now. Thanks, Phasmophobia.
Josh L: I love paranormal investigation shows, and this game lets me experience that world for myself, in VR, and it's terrifying, I love it!
73. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
Released 2004 | Last position 93
Jody: Bloodlines remains an unbeatable example of a specific kind of RPG: one with sexy vampires you can kiss. It's got atmospheric urban hubs to explore, wonderfully animated NPCs, and a sudden switch to full horror that scared me shitless even on playthrough three.
The Unofficial Patch continues being updated long after fixing Bloodlines' biggest bugs (back in the day I got stuck in half-open doors and had to reload more than once). It even inserts shortcuts past combat-heavy areas, the main weak spot of a game otherwise happy to let you sneak, talk, or kiss your way out of problems.
Actually, I think kissing caused more problems than it solved. But they were newer, more interesting problems, so that's OK.
Josh W: It just nails the World of Darkness vibe so well: the scheming elders, the ancient conspiracies, the general millenarian dread. Sure, some aspects—like literally every interaction in the Chinatown section—have, ah, not aged so well, but where Bloodlines shines, it shines brighter than any game that's tried to do the same thing before or since.
Phil: Someone should make a good Bloodlines sequel. That'd be neat.
72. Cities: Skylines
Released 2015 | Last position 72
Katie: Seven years is a long time for any game to stay relevant, but Cities: Skylines remains the (big) apple of my eye as one of the greatest city builders of all time. It's not moved in the top 100 list this year, since we consider it truly representative of the genre—the pinnacle of traffic management and a well rounded city design sandbox.
The game's easy to pick up, and deep strategies reveal themselves as you learn to manage traffic flow, master road hierarchy, and exert your authority with evil cycle-to-work schemes. The fact there are still tons of active modders in the community today, and that Colossal Order is still releasing DLCs, means there's a constant stream of content to keep you amused until they finally grace us with Skylines 2.
Fraser: Every time I think I'm done, Colossal Order spits out some new DLC, or someone directs me towards a new must-have mod, and then I'm hooked all over again. I've got two cities on the go at the moment. One of them is a new attempt at a cyberpunk city, after my last one got a bit out of control thanks to some broken mods. The other is one that's aggressively anti-car, because cars can fuck right off.
71. Warhammer: Vermintide 2
Released 2018 | Last position 77
Sean: Vermintide 2 is the most down-to-earth Warhammer game around; it's essentially about five roommates trying to deal with the end of the world. They drink together, bicker together, and yes, slaughter an endless number of humanoid rats together. In a setting rife with OP gods and champions, I love that it's about a bunch of misfits just trying their best.
Robin: And I love that that set up lets it just be this perfect encapsulation of what the Warhammer Fantasy setting is about. It's got that wonderful humour and satire in the dialogue, the characters sniping back and forth, but always against this absurdly grim, violent backdrop. It's authentic to that world in a way that I think few games outside of Total War manage.
Fraser: There are few things in this world as cathartic as smashing lots of evil rats. Vermintide 2 is the best panacea for a bad day. Just try to frown when you're covered in blood and guts and fur.
Wes: After a few years of playing Vermintide's missions over and over, I really enjoy the roguelike-esque mode Fatshark added. A full run takes a couple hours, but each level is a smaller commitment than a normal stage. Bring on Darktide.
70. Farming Simulator 22
Released 2021 | Last position New
Chris: For years I wondered what the appeal of a hardcore farming sim was, but then I spent a couple seasons plowing, planting, cultivating, growing, and harvesting. When my first crop of beets began pouring into my trailer—and I am not being sarcastic here—it was a genuine rush. The deep complexity of the farming systems and the exquisitely recreated farming vehicles, which to my mind are just as impressive as sci-fi spaceships, make it easy to turn farming into an obsession.
Morgan: I haven't kept up with the Farming Sim series in recent years, but I'm glad to know it's as chill as ever. This is the game that truly kicked off the "simulator" trend on Steam, but it's never treated the label like a joke. This is an honest-to-god snapshot of farm life: a lot of menial labor building up to a single delivery that doesn't pay quite as much as you hope, but enough that you should probably plant more wheat and do it again.
Sarah James, Guides Writer: If Farming Simulator has taught me anything, it's that you don't want to be anywhere near me when I'm reversing something with a trailer attached to it.
Phil: Excuse me while I mourn the fact that this has become our sim du jour over Euro Truck Simulator 2—for my money still the king of the pretend-to-do-someone-else's-job genre.
69. OlliOlli World
Released 2022 | Last position New
Robin: I genuinely had to uninstall this game to make myself stop playing it, because I was in so deep I could feel it giving me RSI.
Phil: I love a recommendation that's secretly a cry for help, Robin.
Dave James, Hardware Lead: I fell in love with this game while I was reviewing the Steam Deck. It's the perfect pick up and play game and fits perfectly with Valve's handheld. As much as it's a skateboarding game it reminds me of the compulsive nature of scrambling action puzzler, Trials 2, where I would restart levels time after time and settle for nothing less than a clean run every time. It's the same thing with OlliOlli World, but with a more esoteric aesthetic.
68. Football Manager 2022
Released 2021 | Last position 66
Dave: While Football Manager 2022 absolutely is a management simulation of what it's like to control the finer points of a football team in modern times, it's also one of the most engaging RPGs around. Most people will simply dismiss it as little more than a set of spreadsheets with no soul, but for the people for whom FM has become the game they play, it means so much more than that.
Sure, at its simplest FM is about shuffling a pack of little computer people into an order and with a strategy that will win you more football matches than you lose, but the wider career can last for years, even decades, as you live a full life in football. And in that lifetime you can experience the many varied highs and lows of football; whether that's a last minute winner delivering an elusive Champions League win, a courageous full-back declaring their sexuality to a packed press conference, a brilliant season pushing your tiny home team of Bath into the professional leagues, or the pain of relegation, sackings, and a son who turns out to be too rubbish a footballer to fit in with your team and you have to destroy their career and the tender age of 21 with a cancelled contract.
It's also become a game I don't just play at my PC; I deliberate over transfer decisions in the shower in the morning, agonise over tactical tweaks long after I've shut down my rig from a bad run of matches, and dream of actually making it into the football league again.
Lauren Aitken, Guides Editor: I hate spreadsheets in real life, but will apparently spend hundreds of hours in one to take Rangers to the top of the Champions League. My favourite regens were called D.J. Truman and I.B. Innocent, and that's all I have to say about FM22.
Released 2018 | Last position 67
Robin: This game's such a vision for what the place of point-and-click games could be in the modern industry. Instead of resting on laurels of nostalgia, it's pulling in inspiration from Bioware and Telltale to craft a brilliantly textured narrative and world to go with its smart puzzles.
Fraser: Not just one of the best adventure games around, Unavowed is also a high point for urban fantasy. There are shades of Dresden Files and John Constantine, but this is a singular yarn, grounding the fire mages, ghost assistants and confused demons with human drama, and setting it in a version of New York that absolutely feels tangible. Designer Dave Gilbert loves this city and loves these characters, and that makes me love them too.
66. Jackbox Party Pack 8
Released 2021 | Last position New
Morgan: Jackbox Games continues to demonstrate why it's the master of party games. You'd think eight releases later these packs would be out of good ideas, but Party Pack 8 features some of the cleverest games the series has ever seen, like a hidden drawing murder mystery game Weapons Drawn or a genius twist on Family Feud in Poll Mine. I especially love the creativity of Job Job, a game where you write stories using word clouds written by each other.
Imogen: I wanted Jackbox to be kicked off this list in favour of Gartic Phone. Sure, Jackbox is unique and fun, but it's the series that's good, not any one individual game. Whenever I’ve played it with friends, I've needed to boot up multiple entries to enjoy the night to the fullest.
Mollie: Sometimes I think Jackbox has had its day. Then I'll end up drinking with some buddies, the game will come out and the floodgates open to countless Jackbox-themed inside jokes. I agree with Imogen, the series is good rather than one particular pack standing out as the must-have. I'm partial to Jackbox 5 myself—the last time I played Patently Stupid I had bellyache from laughing so hard. Even if each pack has its duds, you're bound to find a good time from at least one game.
65. Guardians of the Galaxy
Released 2021 | Last position New
Morgan: This gorgeous, well-written, and downright fun story didn't get the love it truly deserved across the internet last year. Yes, the combat is simple, but Eidos Montreal's take on the Guardians of the Galaxy demonstrates a lot of love for the source material and a high bar of comedy that I wouldn't have expected from the Deus Ex studio. The characters are so good, this game made me like the Marvel movies a lot less. Give it a shot.
Fraser: GotG has been accused of being a movie knock-off that couldn't afford the expensive cast, but it's really one of the best comic adaptations around, capturing the argumentative found-family far better than any two-hour MCU flick ever could. Like Morgan says, the gags are great, but the comedy is accompanied by powerful emotional highs and lows that make this rollicking space adventure incredibly heartfelt and genuine.
64. Card Shark
Released 2022 | Last position New
Fraser: I'm terrible at cards and even worse at sleight of hand, but Card Shark makes me feel like a master. As the mute apprentice of Comte de Saint-Germain, I've learned a lot about how to part 18th century French nobles and revolutionaries from their cash. The mechanics of deceit are both complex and compelling, embracing the tactile nature of card games and then layering oodles of intrigue and a nice big conspiracy on top.
I finished the whole thing in a single long afternoon, but I've hardly stopped thinking about it since. I even picked up a real deck of cards to see if the game rubbed off on me, but no, I've still got the dexterity and wits of a sloth.
Morgan: Ashamed that I haven't given this one a proper shot. Cheating at cards is such an immediately fun game premise and I'm delighted that it actually works.
63. Portal 2
Released 2011 | Last position 63
Wes: Surely you've heard of Valve's FPS puzzle comedy Portal and its sequel, which will make you laugh and feel incredibly smart at the same time. I'm going to assume you've played the campaign, because you strike me as a reader of fine taste and culture. What really keeps Portal 2 on the Top 100 year after year is its co-op campaign and staggering Steam Workshop scene, providing effectively infinite test chambers to solve. Play nothing but Portal 2 and Kerbal Space Program for the next year and you could probably earn an honorary physics degree.
Nat: It's so easy to forget how Valve's writing was on top of its game in 2011. Razor sharp and effortlessly funny, even without memetic cake jokes.
Morgan: Portal 2 lives in the corner of my brain reserved for perfect games. It's not a crowded space. Man, I can't wait for Valve to make narrative games again.
Sarah: It's hard to believe Portal 2 is over 10 years old. I haven't played recently but I remember the last time I fired it up, it hadn't aged at all. I think it's time for another replay.
62. Microsoft Flight Simulator
Released 2020 | Last position New
Nat: I'd always written off Flight Sim as this stodgy old thing, something dads fuss over on their yellowed old CRT in the garage. But a 1:1 scale model of the Earth is a hell of a thing, and with a flight model that can be as accessible or as finicky as you like, I've found endless joy in even the familiar drudgery of an Edinburgh to London flight—especially if I'm doing it in the Halo Pelican.
Fraser: My love of flight is usually overshadowed by my hate of airports and uncomfortable seats. Flight Sim's perfect for me, then, cutting out all the shit and just letting me soar above the clouds and occasionally do flyovers of Paisley to see if it accurately simulates the amount of broken glass and dog poo on the streets. It doesn't, but it's still an incredible recreation of Earth.
Morgan: My brief love affair with Flight Sim in 2020 sent me down a long road. Not only am I way more familiar with plane operations than I never imagined, but I'm also way more afraid of these magnificent steel beasts that regularly defy god. Even when I think I'm doing everything right, stuff goes wrong and I just start flipping switches. I'm not sure I'll ever sleep on a flight again.
61. Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Released 2021 | Last position 91
Jody: So many space games are about being a pilot or the spaceship itself. Mass Effect understood we wanted to be the ship's captain, just like on TV. The one who bosses people around, gives inspiring speeches, leads the away team, plots the journey, and, yes, macks on blue alien honeys.
Imogen: Mass Effect is two of my favourite aspects of games rolled into one. Stupid otherworldy politics that make no sense and gun action. Oh, and my third favourite too, smooching aliens. The point is Mass Effect games showed me how deep relationships can go in games whether they be platonic, intergalactic, or romantic. Nothing has ever made me feel the same as realising the consequences of the suicide run or saying goodbye to Tali.
Mollie: I'm all here for alien smooching. Every day I wake up disappointed that I'm not dating Garrus IRL. What a babe.
Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: I often find myself ragging on Mass Effect, its militarism, the way it ended, the questionable ethics of its workplace romances. But at the end of the day I replay the whole trilogy at least once every two years. It's a touchstone for me, a world I'm always happy to go back to. It also doesn't hurt that the Vanguard class lets you teleport around shotgunning dudes in the most satisfying way imaginable.
Nat: They "improved" the Mako for this "remaster", as if it were ever possible to improve on perfection. Gutted.
60. Paradise Killer
Released 2020 | Last position 59
Morgan: A murder mystery visual novel set in a twisted vision of heaven. The pitch was enough for me to try Paradise Killer, but what kept me around is the unique approach to its central mystery, allowing players to track each citizen's timelines, solve puzzles out of order, and make your own conclusions about whodunnit. It's pretty serious business wrapped in a completely absurd world, with memorable characters like Lady Love Dies, Dr. Doom Jazz, and The Witness To The End.
Fraser: Detectives are prone to clichés, but not in Paradise Killer, where everything and everyone is as bizarre as they are absurdly cool. To solve the brutal murder, you first need to make sense of this world and its strange rules. Unravelling this mystery isn't all that challenging, it turns out, but it's absolutely rewarding.
Wes: I did wish in the end that this mystery had required a bit more deduction and a bit less "talk to everyone after finding every new piece of evidence," but I loved how freeform it was, loved that it would've let me present my case way earlier if I'd chosen to, loved how it cleverly organized evidence, and loved the creativity poured into every single bit of this world. If I'm not interviewing an immortal skeleton bartender assassin in the next mystery I play, why bother?
Josh L: I’m not usually into visual novels, but this game's striking environments, engaging mystery and not to mention the fantastic soundtrack absolutely pulled me in.
59. Path of Exile
Released 2013 | Last position 54
Fraser: After nearly a decade, no ARPG has managed to grip me like Path of Exile and its incredible, labyrinthine passive skill tree. And with every new expansion and league, it subtly reinvents itself, beckoning me back. There are always new builds to experiment with. New challenges to overcome. Path of Exile 2 is coming, but I'm in no particular rush to move on. Every ARPG that's come since simply reminds me why this one is the best of the bunch.
Jody: If you find Path of Exile a bit murky and boring-looking, may I recommend the vibrant MMO/ARPG Lost Ark? Lost Ark is basically Path of Exile yassified.
Sarah: I've tried getting into Path of Exile several times but I always feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the skill tree so never usually get very far. Diablo 3 suits me much better when I want my ARPG fix.
58. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Released 2019 | Last position 53
Wes: I put 120 hours into Elden Ring this year, yet it's Sekiro I think about most. It's FromSoft's tightest game: all action, no RPG fat, 10,000 blood-spurting death blows standing between you and victory. Is there a Louvre for ninjas?
Sean: Sekiro did for me what all of Soulsborne could not: make parrying fun.
Josh W: People like to talk about Sekiro being a game of mastery. To hear some folk tell it, it's a combination rhythm/fighting game, all about perfect parries and graceful dodges, but I think that misses something important. Sekiro didn't click for me until I realised it wasn't just a game about straight-up sword fights, it's also about throwing ash in your opponent's eyes and fleeing the battle, about dousing them in oil and setting them alight, and about exploiting all the nasty, low-down tricks in the shinobi handbook to fight every battle purely on your terms. Honour is for suckers: let it warm the dead in their graves.
57. Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Released 2020 | Last position 52
Lauren A: AC Valhalla is the least Assassin's Creedy game in the franchise, making it the best of all. It should definitely be higher up in this list because who doesn't love roleplaying as a sexy Viking lady with a big hammer? Unimaginative people, that's who.
The various DLC added classic black box missions and new abilities that turn Valhalla from a regular Viking adventure into a mythical masterpiece as you smash god-tier enemies to pieces as the All-Father.
Fraser: I'm a bit tired of Assassin's Creed now, but Valhalla is still a cracking Viking RPG, full of entertaining characters and one of my favourite AC protagonists. I wish Ubisoft would spice up the increasingly staid quest structure and stop just piling on very similar systems, but I've still put more than 150 hours into this behemoth.
Josh L: As mentioned, this really isn't an Assassin's Creed game, but maybe that's a good thing?
Robin: Ubisoft don't get enough credit in my book for the sheer scale and craft of their modern open worlds. I think accusations of bloat are warranted—Valhalla is absurdly long and full of filler—but they're not justification for dismissing the incredibly technical achievement that is the game's rendition of medieval England.
Released 2021 | Last position New
Mollie: A zen puzzler with very few words, yet says so much through the possessions you neatly stow away inside cupboards and wardrobes across multiple years and living spaces.
Jody: Every object clicks in place delightfully, telling a story while it does. But the partner who doesn't leave wallspace for your degree, aaargh.
Fraser: I find it nearly impossible to keep my flat tidy with a chaotic cockapoo puppy roaming around, so tidying up in Unpacking was incredibly cathartic. The more I played, though, the more it was the unspoken story pushing me forward. And now I'm worried about what my own possessions might tell people about me. I'd better hide some stuff.
Wes: My girlfriend brought her diploma home recently, and thanks to this game I had a slight moment of panic about whether she'd have any place to put it.
Mollie: Awww, Wes.
Sarah: Unpacking is such a chill game. It's so satisfying to organise a room—or an entire house—just the way you like it. The story of the nameless person who's stuff you're organising with each life-stage is subtle and surprisingly moving (no pun intended).
Released 2017 | Last position 55
Morgan: Prey is everything great about immersive sims crammed into one huge space station. It's got wrenches, shotguns, computers with mouse pointers, and a set a systemic rules that everything follows. I'll never forget the first time I bypassed a locked door by sniping a button with a nerf crossbow. This is Arkane's grand homage to System Shock and I'm still amazed it turned out so good.
Jody: This is the direction I want immersive sims to go. A singular location modeled down to the tiny, characterful details. Talos I is a lonely place, perfect for sci-fi horror, but you get to know its people through the things you find—even character sheets from their roleplaying game.
Morgan: Hell yeah, Jody. If you can't tell, it's us two that love Prey on staff. This year and last we tired to usurp Dishonored 2 with Arkane's true masterpiece, but were swiftly defeated by consensus. This is way too low!
Josh W: Add me to the list of Prey-lovers. History will vindicate us.
Phil: As a representative of PC Gamer's Dishonored 2 camp, Prey is great. It has one of the only truly good crafting systems in gaming, and is absurdly smart throughout. Everyone should play it, no arguments here.
I just wish, for a game with as much combat as Prey has, the enemy design was better. Mimics are fun little trick at first, but by the end of my time in Talos I, I was glad to see the back of them.
54. The Sims 4
Released 2014 | Last position 42
Lauren M: Every one of us who enjoys The Sims 4 is eagerly awaiting the day it has legitimate competition. Until that happens, it's still genuinely the only game filling the ongoing demand for building dream homes and simulating wacky families. Plus I can be a werewolf living in a little cottage now.
Mollie: My love-hate relationship with The Sims 4 continues. There's still nothing quite like it, but I struggle to recommend a game that requires remortgaging your house to experience fully.
Katie: Further to Mollie's comments about how gosh darn expensive this series is, I've never considered stealing a game so hard as I have with the Sims 4. It's a genuinely impressive evolution of a game that saw me through some difficult times as a kid, but it's become so much of an antithesis of its original idea, I also struggle to recommend it in its entirety.
Morgan: I experience The Sims 4 entirely through my partner, who both plays the game and watches YouTubers who make gorgeous houses, complain about missing features, and justify spending a whole lot on DLC packs. You can tell from their passion that The Sims is really special, even if EA is always on the edge of souring its community on the whole series.
53. Chivalry 2
Released 2021 | Last position 58
Tyler Wilde, Executive Editor: Chivalry 2 wouldn't work if its combat design weren't so clever. The complex blocking, riposting, and countering system creates the possibility for skilled players to enter into a multiplayer swordfight outnumbered and win, which is brilliant. At the same time, a lot of Chiv 2's fun purely comes down to the volume of janky, farcical ways to beat the piss out of other players. Thus the medieval warfare game charged a few yards up the list this year (yelling at the other games in Ye Olde English as it passed) thanks to its Steam release and a big update which added two new objective maps and, most importantly, horses. Galloping around with a pointy stick is as fun as it sounds like it would be.
Fraser: You can murder someone with a chicken.
Released 2021 | Last position New
Robin: One of the things I love most about Dorfromantik is that it is fundamentally aimless. As you build up your little slice of countryside one tile at a time, trying to match up elements like fields, rivers, and railways, you're not trying to exploit the landscape or build a map-conquering empire; you're not recruiting an army to conquer your enemies; you're not even really trying to complete an over-arching goal, most of the time, other than just a good score and a pleasing layout. You're basically just quietly piecing together a place that would be quite nice to go on holiday to. There's a satisfaction to placing pieces in the best, highest-scoring ways, but really for me it's subsumed by the satisfaction of this lovely field all fitting together just right inside this perfect loop of river. It's one of the best mindfulness tools I've ever used. Which is perhaps a sign that I should just get into model railways.
Katie: Everyone keeps telling me this game is "super chill," but it kind of stresses me out. I think it's down to the fact I'm always having to shift my attention to the other side of the map where some forest or village needs completing. It's not even timed, but it forces me to go against my Mother's wisdom: "Finish one thing before you start another."
Wes: I spent a solid two weeks just building little worlds on the couch with this gem on my Steam Deck. When you plop down one of those combined boat/rail stations in the middle of a lake and tie an entire river system together: mmm, tasty.
51. Rainbow Six Siege
Released 2015 | Last position 21
Nat: Rainbow Six Siege isn't my go-to shooter (see #4). But it's the best take on a slower, more tactical kind of shooter—a more bombastic Counter-Strike where positioning is key, kills are quick, and every single wall can come crashing down at a moment's notice. Plus, while the launch lineup was a fairly dull roster of masked CS:GO rejects, Siege's operators have only gotten cooler, gayer and more mechanically bizarre as the game continues to grow.
Mollie: I still don't know shit about Siege. My map knowledge sucks, my operator knowledge sucks, I suck. But I think that actually helps me enjoy this game so much more. I always have a good time dicking around with friends in Siege—playing footsies with my pal while scooting around a hostage will never not be funny to me.
Morgan: Rainbow Six Siege isn't my main squeeze anymore, but it's still one of the best competitive shooters around. No shooter has managed to outdo its per-bullet wall destruction and I don't know if I'll ever have a bigger thrill in videogames than clutching out a round with a combination of good aim, smart camera positioning, and teammates giving useful callouts.
50. Hardspace: Shipbreaker
Released 2020 | Last position New
Nat: There's nothing so satisfying as a job well done, especially if that job is peeling apart a billion-dollar spaceship like an onion. Hardspace: Shipbreaker's zero-gravity disassembly feels like learning a real trade, mastering the ins and outs of its ships even as those ships become more and more hazardous to take apart. When a laser meant to trim off hull plating ends up igniting a fuel canister that blows half the ship (and you) to pieces, you can't help but laugh.
Jorge Jiminez, Hardware Writer: The thing about Hardspace: Shipbreaker that I love is how fast it can escalate at any given moment. One minute you're skilfully cutting apart a ship making some serious cash then, ooops, who put that fuel line there? It's a game that loves putting you under the pressure. Death isn't a big deal because you're a replaceable clone. And sometimes clones accidentally blow themselves up. Work in the future is hard to come by, I guess.
49. Kerbal Space Program
Released 2011 | Last position 49
Dave: As one of the oldest games on the list it would be easy to dismiss this 11-year-old space sim. But there are so many layers to KSP, so much charm, and so many tricky, varied gameplay challenges, that it's still absolutely worth playing in 2022.
Wes: I lobbied against KSP this year because I'm saving myself for co-op in Kerbal Space Program 2. If you want to take a crash course in astrophysics now, though, or just build some funny rockets and watch them explode, this is certainly the right choice.
Josh W: I have never gotten to the Moon (or Mun, as it's known in the Kerbal-verse) and I will never get to the Moon: I simply lack the patience. But what I have done is had a great time learning about the physics of space travel by strapping little green halfwits to heroic quantities of rocket fuel and sending them to meet their god. They're still out there, somewhere, drifting in the space between the stars.
48. Spelunky 2
Released 2020 | Last position 48
Evan: Its procedurally-generated environments and slippery physics are a brutal combination, but Spelunky 2's unfair deaths are balanced by moments of wonder as you dig through more of the moon's odd crust. Get knocked into a lava pit by baby draculas on one run, discover the secret passage to an alien mothership on the next.
Phil: As an old Spelunky 1 obsessive, I've still not actually played the sequel. Everything about it seems bigger, harder and just busier than the hard-as-nails roguelike I grew comfortable with. It's a series that lives by the motto "fuck around and find out", and here there seems to be more to find out than ever. Tens—maybe hundreds—of hours finding out, to the point that I'm scared to take that first step. I know I'll cave eventually. It's just a matter of time.
47. It Takes Two
Released 2021 | Last position New
Imogen: It Takes Two is a co-op adventure where a divorce-bound couple's kid accidentally turns them into toys. The story is nothing special—and I hate that damn thrusting, gyrating book—but It Takes Two has some of the best platforming I've ever seen so it deserves this spot.
Wes: I wouldn't put It Takes Two on the Top 100 for its platforming, which is fine. I'm absolutely here for Dr. Hakim, though. More thrusting, book man.
Josh L: Don’t be fooled, It Takes Two isn’t actually a game. It’s several games stacked on top of each other in a trench coat, each with their own fully-developed and satisfying mechanics. None of the level gimmicks miss, the story is engaging, and it’s always fun to play. It’s so much game you need an entire second person just to handle it.
Robin: Having played this with my fairly videogame-averse partner, I think it's secretly one of the best gateway games out there. It gently introduced her to 3D platforming, shooting, puzzle-solving, and more, all while I could play along with her to demonstrate the trickier techniques or point out where we needed to go next. It's such a clever design for a co-op game, because it means you can play it with nearly anyone.
46. Forza Horizon 5
Released 2021 | Last position New
Jacob: We've left the rainy coastline of Britain and flown halfway across the world for the next stop in the Forza Horizon series. The bright sunshine and varied landscape of Mexico makes for an excellent playground to burn up rubber in, and there's no shortage of excellent cars to take for a spin in what has to be Forza's finest and most fun Horizon fest to date. Just try and take it easy on the anime car decals, yeah?
Phil: Have you been spying on my garage, Jacob?
Fraser: The Hot Wheels expansion has seen me return to Forza Horizon 5, and it's an even more joyful experience than before. The playground has never been this zany and exhilarating, causing me to whoop and cheer with every massive loop. In real-life, I don't care about cars or driving, but this is what I thought it would be like back when I was a kid, tossing tiny vehicles around in my bedroom.
45. Half-Life: Alyx
Released 2020 | Last position 45
Dave: That liquid shader and Jeff… Alyx is easily the best VR game and one of the best Half-Life games.
Chris L: Despite being wedged in the middle of an established timeline, Alyx managed to take some surprising turns and contain some, ahem, full-life consequences for Half-Life lore. And I've never played a VR game that felt so completely comfortable and natural to move around in that I was able to keep my headset on for hours at a time. Brilliant game.
Josh L: Alyx manages to take the top spot for 'game you need to play once you get VR’, a spot once held by Beat Saber. Sure, Boneworks got close, but Alyx is so polished, immersive and interesting that it’s not just one of the best VR games on the market, but one of the best Half-Life games.
Josh W: Yeah this game's probably great, but the moment I came across a poison headcrab I ripped off the headset so hard it tore hair out.
44. Rocket League
Released 2015 | Last position 27
Tyler W: Early in this year's Top 100 meeting I said that I'd deal with it if the rest of the staff decided to bump Rocket League off the list to make room for something new. After all, what more can I say about a multiplayer game that doesn't need any more iteration to be fun forever? I've been writing about how Psyonix's car soccer game is great for seven years now, and it continues to be great, but I have no notes. Not any that relate to the fundamental design of Rocket League, at least; as much as I've probably blamed "the physics" for bad nights, I wouldn't change a thing about the weird, ultra-challenging way the rocket-powered cars handle.
The more I thought about Rocket League and all the good times I've had over the course of my thousand-plus hours, the more I resented my past self for being so deferential. No Witcher 3 fans are shoving it out of the top 10 (spoiler) just because we've spent the past seven years saying that it's good, so why should I let a game I once called "the only good videogame" be cut? I'm glad that Rich, PC Gamer's other primary Rocket League-liker, kept his guard up and it only ended up moving 17 places. I know it isn't traditional to say this unsarcastically, but what a save!
43. Kentucky Route Zero
Released 2013 | Last position 35
Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: Playing Kentucky Route Zero must be what it's like to experience ASMR. It's a tingly, intimate adventure game about the rot of capitalism that slips into the deepest parts of my brain and whispers to me that, despite everything, maybe it'll be okay.
Nat: A haunting tale of American decline that seamlessly traverses adventure game, text adventure, amateur stage play and dive bar gig. Kentucky Route Zero is a literary experience rivalled only by the likes of Disco Elysium, one less constrained by the look and shape of what a "game" is supposed to be—especially when it comes to between-act interludes. Play it with the lights dimmed, and a heart open to some literary melancholy.
Released 2021 | Last position New
Wes: Quake: Groundbreaking FPS, Romero's last game at id, grandfather of esports, progenitor of the rocket jump, yada yada yada. Quake could live in the Top 100 forever, honestly, but it's back for an especially good reason this year: Nightdive's 2021 remaster, which makes it absolutely sing on modern PCs. No more digging around folders to configure one of the dozen confusing Quake source ports: you can just boot it, crank your fps to 144, tweak your FOV and be off and running. Quake Remastered also includes some entirely new stuff: Wolfenstein: The New Order developer MachineGames built two expansions that dwarf the scale and intricacy of the original game, riffing on '90s level design after 25 years of study. A+.
Jody: The foomp-tink-tink-tink of Quake's grenade launcher is still one of the best sound effects in all of videogames.
Released 2020 | Last position 41
Jody: Supergiant's a consistent studio with a string of bangers to its name. It began with Bastion, a rare action-RPG with a story worth caring about, and Hades built on its strengths. The combat is frenetic, varying with your loadout but usually built around using a perfect-feeling dash to get yourself both out of and then back into danger. The story's just as engaging, a Greek myth saga that takes the obscure son of the god of the underworld and makes his quest to escape Hades into a sexy soap opera.
Imogen: Hades is hot. Hot action, hot setting, hot characters, hot dialogue. It's all a melting pot of extremely spicy takes on roguelikes, gods, and mythology. What's not to like?
Nat: Pyre's still better.
Wes: Crazy talk. Pyre was by far Supergiant's weakest game to play, even if you loved the story. Hades made up for that in a big way, with action that keeps getting more fun and varied as you unlock more modifiers.
Robin: Hades is super fun to play, really beautiful to look at, and full of endearing characters—but what really stuck with me about it is how it plays with the roguelike format. By building the play-die-repeat structure into its actual story, and using that to create a world that reacts instead of resetting when you fail, it creates a loop that's engaging far beyond just the usual buzz of mechanical progression. I think it'll quietly be really influential on the genre.
Released 2020 | Last position 40
Nat: Harebrained Schemes' riff on BattleTech is proof that the stodgy old wargame could be brilliant. It's a turn-based strategy that hides the fussy dice-rolls of the tabletop game without losing their complexity, a space opera that trades the tired '90s pulp BattleTech so often trades in for a grand interstellar tragedy. BattleTech is a crunchy, personal, Bebop-esque tale of a mercenary band struggling to survive—but one that still realises blowing a robot's entire left torso to smithereens should feel phenomenal.
Jorge: BattleTech is one of those strategy games I can play all the time. Career mode lets your mercenary troupe of Mechwarriors take jobs all over the star system in any way you want for fame and profit. If you love mechs and strategy, BattleTech is a no-brainer.
Fraser: One of the best mech games around, and one that's been enhanced and elevated by the work of talented modders. Even if you've gone through the campaign, there are plenty of reasons to fire it up again and drop some beefy metal bastards into the battlefield.
39. Into the Breach
Released 2018 | Last position 25
Robin: I really think this is as tight and focused as turn-based strategy has ever been. Every level is an exquisite, satisfying puzzle, with the roguelike structure adding enough weight and drama to make you agonise over every move. When I first saw this still on our list, part of me thought 'Has it had its day?'. But the truth is I don't think anyone's even come close to making something as brilliantly precise in the time since. And thanks to the Advanced Edition update released this July, it even has some new surprises for veterans in 2022.
Evan: Big yes on the Advanced Edition. The new Squads (and enemies) in there often feel quite powerful (imagine a chess piece that lets you teleport any two units!!) but that splashiness is the perfect bait for those of us that already played the game front to back in 2018, when it was our Game of the Year. The elegance of design is enduring, and we continue to see Into the Breach as a modern classic.
Phil: Normally your next choice in a turn-based tactics game is pretty obvious: move your lads into cover, pop them on overwatch, and console yourself that, if anything goes wrong on the enemy turn, that was just the luck of the draw. But Into the Breach tells you exactly what the enemy are going to do, and gives you the chance to stop them. And then it gives you a bunch of extra objectives that award bonus resources that you absolutely, definitely need. I'm frequently spending long, fraught minutes planning every single turn, desperately searching for the combination of moves and attacks that will make sure everything is OK. Everything is never OK though.
38. Citizen Sleeper
Released 2022 | Last position New
Jody: A synthetic being on the run, you pretend to be an ordinary citizen of Erlin's Eye station by spending a pool of dice each day on activities like working shifts at a dive bar, tending a garden, or hacking security systems. Meanwhile, your artificial body's condition decays and your planned obsolescence draws closer. So do the hunters who want to drag you back to the corporation that technically still owns you. There are more pleasant timers too: as you make friends their stories unfold, a new chapter arriving every few cycles.
Keeping track of all this can feel almost like a job, but really what it adds up to is a full life. One with danger and compromise, but also companionship and inspiration. The blimps in Blade Runner say a new life awaits you in the off-world colonies, and in Citizen Sleeper that's true.
Wes: The lovely character illustrations really pulled me into the lives of everyone I met, and the writing took it from there. I expected the dice rolls to be tedious additions to a visual novel, but they end up essential to Citizen Sleeper's vibe. As your body breaks down you have fewer dice to work with, so I had my heart in my throat more than once using a wimpy 1 or 2 die on a dangerous job. The dice add tension to each early decision and a gratifying sense of having 'made it' as life slowly gets easier.
37. Nier: Automata
Released 2017 | Last position 37
Ted: This existentialist sci-fi ARPG's runaway success turned its creator, the masked weirdo Yoko Taro, into a gaming icon, but I remember my feeling of shock and euphoria when I discovered it was being made at all. Poor sales on the first Nier caused developer Cavia to shutter, and it's a small miracle we got this mind melting masterpiece of androids duking it out at the edge of history.
Mollie: One of those games I wish I could experience again for the first time. Gorgeous and emotionally charged with some of the best damn combat I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Bless Yoko Taro for bringing 2B into this world.
Wes: What other game will let you commit suicide by eating a fish?
36. Return of the Obra Dinn
Released 2018 | Last position 36
Wes: How the hell did Lucas Pope decide that unravelling the mysterious fate of a 19th century ship and its dead crew using a magic pocket watch would make for a brilliant puzzle game? Lucas Pope, will you trade brains with me? Mine's only lightly used, but it does come with priceless memories of the 12 hours it took me to learn what happened to every sailor on this damned vessel.
Chris: It's refreshing (and risky) for a game to trust the player as much as Obra Dinn does, but by giving me the absolute minimum of help to untangle a bunch of interwoven mysteries, it meant that each time I solved one I felt like a genius. A unique detective game.
Phil: If you're coming to this for the first time, try to rope a friend into starting it too. It's a great game to compare notes on, discussing the slightly different ways you each arrived at the solution.
35. Guild Wars 2
Released 2012 | Last position Re-entry
Lauren M: Somehow, it was an MMO that finally made me into a better platformer. Nevermind the excellent living story, PvP, and top-tier in-game holidays. I love jumping puzzles.
Seriously though, Guild Wars 2 has earned my loyalty even though I'm not the active player I once was. ArenaNet has been tackling seasonal stories with its Living World format before such a thing was popular in live service games. Guild Wars 2 has been brave enough to rebuild its main player hub multiple times over the years based on those stories—I'm not talking seasonal decor, I mean old Lion's Arch versus destroyed Lion's Arch versus the new Lion's Arch. The dedication is incredible.
Its approach to shared open world events and shared credit for kills inspired other MMOs to do the same. Its structured PvP modes are still excellent. And yeah, I actually like the jumping puzzles.
Phil: I tolerate jumping puzzles, but I love Guild Wars 2. As someone who dips in and out of games erratically, and always forgets to cancel an MMO subscription in time, Guild Wars 2 has been a blessing. No subscription, and its expansions don't invalidate the gear and skills I earned before. Its newest expansion is doing some breathtaking things with its open world encounters, too.
Sarah: I've only played a dozen or so hours of Guild Wars 2 and I don't think it's a bad MMO. It's just one that I've added to my "not as good as World of Warcraft" list.
Phil: Sarah, it's painful to see what years of WoW addiction condition a person to believe. I promise you there's a better MMO out there. It's this one.
34. Old World
Released 2020 | Last position 34
Fraser: Civilization might still be the biggest name in historical 4Xs, but Old World will make you forget all about it. Mohawk Games' ancient world strategy romp is a special concoction, splicing turn-based conquest and expansion with personal diplomacy, intrigue and heaps of drama. It's Civ for fans of Crusader Kings, and the kind of game I dreamed of but never thought would appear. It's people, not nations, that move this epic forwards. Stepping out on their spouses, murdering their siblings, building cults—they're a busy bunch. And by limiting it to the ancient world, Mohawk gives these characters room to grow, instead of skipping a century in the blink of an eye. After all this soapy drama, it's hard to go back to Civ's comparatively plain immortal rulers.
Wes: Old World really does add the exact dash of characterization Civ needs. When I previewed it I was worried the final game would be a bit boring, but I'm glad to be wrong.
33. Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Released 2019 | Last position 22
Nat: Halo Infinite was, unfortunately, a bit of a bust. But who needs Master Chief's flawed open-world outing when the MCC is right here, a perfect package of four all-time great FPS campaigns (plus Halo 4), with the ability to hop between the multiplayer offerings for each at will. While seasonal updates have ceased, the game continues to receive cosmetics and playlist updates every now and again—and with full mod support for Halos 1 through 3, the MCC will likely continue to shape and reshape what Halo on PC looks like for years to come.
Halo Infinite? Never heard of it.
Wes: After the tyranny of Xbox Live's rigid playlists, I love being able to just click "CTF." That's peak Halo.
Released 2020 | Last position 79
Imogen: Another year, another jump up the list for Valorant. Riot Games' delve into low time-to-kill, ability supported FPS mayhem is going from strength to strength and, since release, the game keeps growing and improving at an astonishing rate. What makes the game special isn't just its cast, balancing, maps, or visuals, it's Riot's dedication to supporting the game with players in mind. Never have I played a game with such a continuous rolling meta, and it keeps Valorant exciting.
31. Destiny 2
Released 2017 | Last position 31
Sean: Destiny 2 still feels so fluent as a shooter to me: the way that its movement, weapons, and supers combine to create such an audacious style of gameplay in both PvE and multiplayer. It can't help but feel like the evolution of what I loved in the original Halo games, and that's an ongoing experiment I want to be part of.
Phil: "Experiment" is the right way to describe it, Sean. Over the years, Bungie has completely changed the cadence and content of its seasons, had multiple different systems for its guns, and—more controversially—spent a while removing older campaigns and activities in order to prioritise the new. There's still not an obvious map for how a live-service game should operate, and Bungie's never been afraid of taking a shot in the dark—for better and worse.
Nevertheless, Destiny 2 is broadly in a good place right now. This year's expansion, The Witch Queen, added the best campaign in the series' history—filling it with exciting encounters that build on the already strong foundation of its movement, gunplay and space magic