The best PC games

60. Planescape: Torment

RELEASED 1999 | LAST POSITION 34

Tyler: This should be higher. Maybe it will be, next year, after I launch a campaign to force everyone affiliated with PC Gamer to play the remastered version—which, thankfully, doesn’t tamper with a single line of dialogue. Torment is a witty, weird RPG that emphasises story and dialogue, and is filled with surprising events that feel like they could’ve been made up by a clever DM on the spot. I remember, early on, how you can let an embalmer who thinks you’re a zombie fill you with stitches—increasing your max HP. Every little thing matters, nothing is filler, no sidequest is boring.

59. World of Warcraft

RELEASED 2004 | LAST POSITION 68

Leif Johnson: WoW has some fantastic competition these days, but it remains the MMORPG in the mind of the public at large. And rightly so. Blizzard’s behemoth is a world not just in terms of space, but also in how successfully it’s evolved after weathering more than a decade of shifting tastes and audiences. Be it in dungeons, PVP, or thrashing Alliance in the Temple of Kotmogu, it’s still easy to find the fun.

58. Civilization VI

RELEASED 2016 | LAST POSITION New

Evan: Through its Districts system, Civ VI made city planning matter. I like having to think long-term about each tile placement. Hopefully religion and espionage will get deeper.

Tyler: When Civ V came out, everyone, including me, said that Civ IV is better. The same is happening with Civ VI and Civ V, but with full mod support and the city planning Evan mentioned, which I love, Civ VI is the one to play now.

57. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

RELEASED 2002 | LAST POSITION 44

Leif: It may be a fantasy RPG, but it shoves bearded wizards and stodgy castles aside in favour of an alien wonderland resembling fever dream during a mind meld of Frank Herbert and Frank Frazetta. But looks alone don’t secure its legacy, as funky as its mushroom towers and racist elves may be. Its greatness lies in how thoroughly it wrapped us in its weird world, forcing us to remember details from tomes and chats to see the saga to its end. 

Matthew: I’m still sad I can’t experience it all over again. For me, no other Elder Scrolls game has come close to delivering a story with the scale and nuance of Morrowind, and the setting is the most vivid. A dense, generous, deliriously compelling RPG (with the best giant mushrooms in gaming).

56. Company of Heroes

RELEASED 2006 | LAST POSITION 84

Tom S: A World War II RTS that distills the noise and fury of Saving Private Ryan into a clinical game of take and hold. The first Company of Heroes is still a design peak for Relic. The asymmetrical power curves of the Axis and Allied forces create an absorbing tug-of-war. In a long-fought game infantry armies give way to tank warfare, and the destructible maps are gradually levelled. There’s a sense of escalation to every fight, and the campaign features some of the best levels Relic has ever made. I keep coming back to it every year to see if it has faded yet, and it still hasn’t happened. It looks great for an 11-year-old game, and sounds incredible, too. The unit barks are baked into my mind, but the chatter still gives the battlefield a sense of life, and the ker-chunk discharge of a tank’s main weapon is as impactful today as ever.

55. ARMA 3

RELEASED 2013 | LAST POSITION 43

Evan: When I think of Arma, I think of the photos of soldiers goofing off inside their FOB, posing and pranking one another. They do it, I’d guess, to alleviate the tension that comes with fighting. Arma is authentic because it recreates that need for silliness to balance its seriousness. Its need for tactics and fidelity demand some amount of military lingo, compasses, maps and an eye for spotting enemies far away. But, inevitably, someone will do something stupid: barrel rolling their Little Bird, firing a Javelin at a sedan, shooting a heli with a sidearm. Somewhere within that balance of sim and silly is the cloth from which breakouts like Battlegrounds are cut. 

54. Dota 2

RELEASED 2013 | LAST POSITION 12

Chris Thursten: There are a lot of games that are superficially like Dota 2, but there’s only one game that actually is Dota 2. This is competitive Calvinball, macroeconomics with wizards, a game of high-stakes five-a-side with more rules than one person can ever know. What this complexity amounts to is a vibrant language shared by everybody who loves this mad game. Shame about all the angry internet men.

53. Tales from the Borderlands

RELEASED 2014 | LAST POSITION New

Fraser: One of the rare spinoffs that’s better than its progenitor. It gives us a broader look at the anarchy of Pandora and its demented inhabitants, but more importantly it’s blessed with a trick that a lot of otherwise funny games don’t have: comedic timing. 

Phil: By avoiding the more wacky elements, Tales from the Borderlands is both funny and heartfelt. I’d argue it’s Telltale’s best work.

52. Crusader Kings II

RELEASED 2012 | LAST POSITION 31

Chris L: It’s unusual for a grand strategy game to be so personal. Rather than playing as a faceless leader, you’re an actual person with flaws and desires, and the people surrounding you are unique individuals with their own goals and needs. It makes for an engrossing blend of managing the big picture of world events, while dealing with the domestic soap opera of relationships and betrayals. There’s more character building and storytelling in Crusader Kings II than in most RPGs. Your character also has a realistic lifespan: even if you survive assassination attempts, battles, illnesses and other threats, you’re still going to die of old age, at which point you resume the game as an heir. The impermanence of your characters and the passing of the torch from generation to generation gives your dynasty a real history, and your choices and actions real meaning.

51. Left 4 Dead 2

RELEASED 2009 | LAST POSITION 25

Tom S: Left 4 Dead 2 has supplied me with the best co-op experiences of my life. It’s a fascinating experiment in automatic pacing, but the AI director that controls the zombie army would be useless without the beautifully designed levels. 

Evan: A guaranteed fun Friday night: download a bunch of dumb character and gun mods and play GoldenEye 4 Dead with your friends,—its a surprisingly inspired, zombie-filled recreation of the N64 classic shooter.

Wes: Left 4 Dead 2 is still the perfect co-op experience on PC. Moments of mindless zombie blasting give you time to chat, horde rushes and special infected send you yelping for help, and you can’t help but laugh at the chaos around you. Showdowns demand real teamwork if you want to make it out alive. And the Community maps can keep you going forever.