50. Path of Exile
RELEASED 2013 | LAST POSITION 100
Steven: Path of Exile is an action RPG like Diablo 3 except every few months everything changes and you have to start from scratch. That might sound exhausting, but it’s a key reason that Path of Exile will probably be a game I play well into old age – the perfect blend of complex theorycrafting and cathartic violence that keeps you clicking and clicking. And just when you think things are getting boring, its developers roll out a new expansion that remixes the whole formula.
49. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
RELEASED 2011| LAST POSITION 33
Chris: We’re in for a long wait for The Elder Scrolls 6, but thankfully Skyrim is still utterly playable whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth. There’s adventure around every corner and the freedom to experience it however you want. And if you’ve done it all there are thousands of mods to give you dozens more hours of fun.
48. Opus Magnum
RELEASED 2017 | LAST POSITION 46
Phil: My favourite of Zachtronics many idiosyncratic machine building puzzlers. In Opus Magnum you lay out alchemy machines using tracks and arms and a handful of commands. Once done, leaderboards show how all of your friends have somehow made better, more efficient designs, encouraging you to refine your own creation.
RELEASED 2009 | LAST POSITION New entry
Andy: As a platform for accessible creativity, Minecraft is unbeatable, really. Whether you’re just building stuff freeform in creative mode, or fighting to stay alive in survival mode, this is an enormously playable game—especially with friends. And when you join a multiplayer server, seeing the work of hundreds of players is really impressive.
46. Devil May Cry 5
RELEASED 2019 | LAST POSITION New entry
Tom: A third-person brawler with beautiful animation and an incredible moveset spread across three varied characters. Dante provides fan service with four familiar combat styles and some classic weapons while Nero and V entertain with rocket arms and demons you can summon from thin air. Normal mode is a long tutorial that drip-feeds weapons and abilities. With that done you’re free to attack difficulty levels that remix enemy mobs and provide a great challenge.
45. Sunless Skies
RELEASED 2019 | LAST POSITION New entry
Fraser: Sunless Sea in space is probably a pretty reductive description of Sunless Skies, but it’s Sunless Sea in space. Failbetter’s cosmos is a wild place, though, and the game is all the weirder for it.
Evan: To expunge the creeping nightmares that haunt your captain, you have to buy “comforting lies” at an opulent psychic retreat where a hallucination of The Queen might cure what ails you. You owe it to your imagination to spend a few hours in Sunless Skies’ wholly original setting.
44. Sid Meier's Civilization 6
RELEASED 2016 | LAST POSITION New entry
Fraser: The most recent Civs have all gone through this cycle where they start out very promising, with some intriguing shifts in direction, but don’t truly knock the previous game off the top spot until they’re a couple of expansions in. Civilization 6 has reached that point. The unstacking of cities, climate change, golden ages and dark ages—it’s full of new features and twists on old ones, but stops short of becoming bloated. Some of the best changes are in diplomacy, whether you’re a bloodthirsty bastard or only interested in love and peace, with a World Congress and international crises making everyone work together, or at least pretend to. Pretending is the best part, because then you get to do the maniacal laugh and the big reveal when you suddenly betray your pal in the World Congress and send them spiralling into a dark age. Diplomacy is brutal stuff.
Samuel: Like Fraser, I’ve waited until Civ 6 got its two expansions, as with previous entries in the series. It’s the dependable ‘dad’ game everyone needs in their lives, one of those constants on PC we all need to sink 40+ hours in every now and then when we can’t think of anything else to play. Adding climate change, golden ages and dark ages in Gathering Storm and Rise and Fall keeps the formula from getting stale.
43. World of Warcraft
RELEASED 2004 | LAST POSITION 29
Andy: This remains the only MMO that I’ve dedicated a decent chunk of time to, and it’s still one of my favourites to occasionally dip back into. Its large, interconnected world, Azeroth, is the culmination of decades of craft, making it one of the richest fantasy worlds on PC. Hell, I even enjoy playing it by myself.
Steven: A lot of people don’t enjoy its latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, but I love the direction Blizzard is taking WoW these days. It’s more accessible and ambitious, taking risks and throwing out the rulebook on how MMOs should work. Sometimes Blizzard gets it wrong, but other times they create something new and special. Either way, the ride is always interesting.
42. Arma 3
RELEASED 2013 | LAST POSITION 24
Phil: Bohemia’s military sim is a broad enough platform that it can be whatever you need it to be. Want to embark on large-scale multiplayer tactical operations? You can do that. Want to muck about in go-karts? You can do that, too.
Andy: For a while I was hooked on player-made Arma 3 singleplayer missions. There are thousands out there, created using the game’s deep scripting tools, and some of them are better than anything created by developer Bohemia.
41. Crusader Kings 2
RELEASED 2012 | LAST POSITION 31
Fraser: Crusader Kings 2 was one of the first games I reviewed, and it’s grown to the size of around a dozen games since. It’s still an RPG-infused grand strategy game where you take charge of a dynasty and muddle your way through history, assassinating the occasional spouse and maybe fomenting rebellion against your king (or squashing it, if you are the king), but these days you can join Satanic cults, become mates with the Emperor of China or even play in a world populated by talking animals. Now it’s not weird when you marry your horse.
Chris: Even if you’re not into strategy or history, you should play it. Once you’re past the learning curve it’s an amazing story generator and every session will result in a memorable soap opera.