The best PC games come in all shapes and sizes, from massive open-world AAA titles, like The Witcher 3, to small but immersive indie games, like Disco Elysium. But, given the 500-plus games you're likely to have between your Steam and Epic Games Store library, how do you know which to play first? That's where we come in with a list of the best PC games we're playing right now.
Laptop Mag kicked off its best PC games race earlier this year with our gaming reviews program, in which we test how games perform on PC. We've recently reviewed Marvel's Avengers, Mortal Shell and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands and we're not done yet.
- Check out the Xbox Series X games and PS5 games confirmed so far
- See the best VR-ready laptops and best gaming laptops
- Check out our best gaming monitors and best gaming mouse pages
Don't count out our Xbox Series X and PS5 coverage either, as we were able to review both consoles and the accompanying games when they launched. Speaking of which, here are the the first games we'll buy on next-gen consoles.
We recently reviewed The Last of Us Part II, which is a masterpiece, and Ghost of Tsushima, which is also amazing. Check out our recent Microsoft Project xCloud beta review and Amazon Luna review. Our Senior Writer Kimberly Gedeon spent a week hunting for VR love and faced relentless rejection — until this happened. Also, check out our recent Hitman 3 Review.
We know that the best PC games out there ranks in the thousands, including games like Divinity: Original Sin 2, Doom and Minecraft, but we can't list all of them. So, these are the best PC games we're loving right now (this list isn't ranked from best to worst).
What are the best PC games?
Despite everything that’s going on right now, 2020 was a strong year for PC gaming. The game of the year contender that jumps right to mind is Doom Eternal. Doom Eternal is everything that fans of first-person shooters could want, boasting a fantastic single-player campaign that soars far above its predecessor. With an incredible world, phenomenal original soundtrack and necessary quality of life changes, Doom Eternal provided some of the most unadulterated fun we’ve had playing a video game in quite some time.
Third-person action-horror Resident Evil 3 just launched, and although it’s not as good as Resident Evil 2, it still has a solid foundation with thrilling boss fights, gripping environments and a refined combat system. Looking for something that’s a little like Overwatch but different? After landing board-first into one of Bleeding Edge's colorful maps and launching into the hack-and-slash brawler-esque chaos of combat, we quickly realized that this could be one of the best PC games — that is, as long as Ninja Theory can deliver post-launch.
Outside of 2020, there are amazing PC games, like The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (fantasy adventure), Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (how to die simulator), Fortnite (battle royale) and Rocket League (competitive sports?). Just last year, Gears 5 (cover-based shooter), The Outer Worlds (first-person RPG) and Mortal Kombat 11 (fighting game) kicked so much ass that they made it on our 2019 games of the year list. Some of our personal favorites are Monster Hunter: World (action RPG) and Beat Saber (VR rhythm game).
The best PC games you can play today
- Doom Eternal
- Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla
- Gears Tactics
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Resident Evil 3
- Bleeding Edge
- The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- Rocket League
- Resident Evil 2
- Gears 5
- The Outer Worlds
- Apex Legends
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Disco Elysium
- Beat Saber
- Monster Hunter: World
- Total War: Three Kingdoms
Bugsnax is the game we need going into 2021; a reminder that creativity can cure. While the concept borrows from other materials, the execution is wildly original. But that's no surprise; Bugsnax is the latest creation from Young Horses, the studio behind the hilarious and bizarre adventure game Octodad.
This latest release is larger in scale than the studio's previous games, and I'd argue it's more successful, if not quite as memorable. Bugsnax is an easy game to enjoy, but difficult to describe. It takes you on a whimsical adventure in which your goal is to capture Bugsnax, half-snack, half-bug creatures, using various tools and techniques. Doing so helps you uncover the mysteries of Snaktooth Island where the game takes place. Along the way, you'll encounter a cast of characters brilliantly brought to life by excellent voice acting.
Bugsnax is an easy game to recommend for players of all ages. It blends a Pixar-worthy narrative with challenging puzzles, a compelling mystery and interesting characters — but it is the unconditionally innocent whimsy that will put a helpless smile on your face.
— Phillip Tracy
See our full Bugsnax review.
2. Doom Eternal
Exploring Doom Eternal's wicked hellscape is far more delightful than one would expect in a game that boasts brutality and violence. Players travel through futuristic alien worlds, metropolitan cities torn asunder by demonic corruption, and gigantic buildings taking inspiration from Renaissance-era architecture. Further heightened by its extensive color palette, Doom Eternal's environments are so staggeringly beautiful that every moment requires time to reflect and appreciate the sights.
Doom Eternal understands the franchise too well, getting so wrapped up in its own memes that it's often difficult to engage with its more serious moments. As muddled as the story is, it quickly takes a backseat, wasting no time throwing the player into the demon-slaying action. Thankfully, the narrative builds toward the latter half and wraps things up in an epic fashion.
— Mohammad Tabari
See our full Doom Eternal review.
3. Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator — a visually striking, breathtaking virtual experience that launches you into Earth’s vast skies — will have you singing Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird.” You’ll be captivated by Bora Bora’s stunning paradise of aquamarine lagoons. You’ll be enthralled to spot the vegetation-covered, limestone cliffs of Thailand. You’ll be wowed by the colorful and bulbous cathedrals of Moscow.
“I don’t know where my soul is! I don’t know where my home is!”
As skydiver Felix Baumgartner once said, “Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are.” Planet Earth seems boundless in Microsoft Flight Simulator, from the deep coastal fjords of Norway to the majestic baobab trees of Madagascar. Despite Earth’s vast expanses, Microsoft has managed to stuff Bing’s massive satellite data of Earth — all two petabytes of it — inside this hypnotizing game, leaving simmers feeling awestruck by the sheer number of cities (over two million) that one can visit.
With what seems like an infinite number of locales to explore, you’ll never get tired of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
— Kimberly Gedeon
See our full Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 review.
4. Assassin's Creed Valhalla
Assassin's Creed Valhalla is my first AC game since Unity, so I didn't get to experience the RPG transformation that took place in Origins. I've only dabbled in Odyssey, so I really didn't know what to expect with Valhalla. The pessimist in me thought I would find a bloated, aimless open-world action RPG, but what I actually found was something more carefully crafted.
Don’t get me wrong, Valhalla has its fair share of issues, and it doesn’t really keep up with other big action-adventure RPGs currently out there now or launching soon. However, the moment that Assassin's Creed Valhalla clicked with me was when I roamed the lively snowy peaks tops of Norway and randomly encountered the Elk of Bloody Peaks only to go axe-to-antler with it at the edge of a glowing pool of water on a mountaintop. It was immersive and magical.
Between its fun combat and stealth mechanics, immersive exploration and gorgeous world design, Assassin's Creed Valhalla is a great game if you find it on sale. At a lower price, I could see Valhalla being one of the best PC games to play.
See our full Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review.
5. Gears Tactics
Gears Tactics looked kind of silly when the trailer first dropped at E3, but it should have been apparent then that a Gears of War-meets-XCOM game is a match made in blood, guts and glory. The turn-based strategy combat works well for Gears because it’s a cover-based shooter, so technically the format is the same, except you can plan out your moves more tactically.
What Gears Tactics brings to the table apart from thoughtful turn-based mechanics is how well the developers Splash Damage and The Coalition approached cosmetics and character creation -- everything is free from both currency and gender. Even diving into the settings proved to be fruitful, as I discovered a wealth of performance and accessibility settings.
While I enjoyed the gameplay, the story failed to immerse me into its pre-Gears universe. I played 8 hours before reaching an interesting plot point. Despite that, for the gameplay alone, Gears Tactics is one of the best PC games you can play right now.
— Rami Tabari
See our full Gears Tactics review.
6. Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is a phenomenal game. If you missed Guerilla’s critically acclaimed RPG back in 2017 and have strong enough hardware to handle the poorly optimized mess that is this PC port, I would recommend picking it up on a very deep sale.
Horizon Zero Dawn drops the player in a large open world to scavenge materials, hunt beasts both robotic and organic, and craft an arsenal of elemental weapons and armor. The game’s already dangerous lands became even more threatening as I played on Ultra Hard, which often forced me to sneak through environments to avoid its lengthy catalog of fierce machines. Because many enemies had the potential to devastate me in a single hit and set me back by up to 10 minutes of progress, I found most encounters to be deeply horrifying.
This design philosophy emphasizes how unexpectedly gorgeous the end of the world can be. Stories revolving around a planet void of life are plenty compelling for sure, but Horizon Zero Dawn perfectly understands how to best illustrate what will actually happen once nature reclaims the Earth.
— Mohammad Tabari
See our full Horizon Zero Dawn review.
7. Resident Evil 3
Resident Evil 3 is a solid game that, unfortunately, has to live up to the hype of Resident Evil 2. It doesn’t come close to the excellence of its predecessor due to many underwhelming moments, bland puzzles, and a campaign that is shorter than it should be (which is probably why it’s bundled with Resident Evil Resistance). However, Resident Evil 3 still has a solid foundation with thrilling boss fights, gripping environments and a refined combat system.
Improved combat fluidity makes enemy encounters more engaging in Resident Evil 3 compared to its predecessor. Rather than stumbling around aimlessly, players can now execute a dodge to swiftly maneuver around lethal blows. When performed shortly before an enemy attack, players will activate the Perfect Roll, causing time to slow down, fire rate to increase and the cursor to automatically lock onto the enemy’s head for a short period of time.
— Mohammad Tabari
See our full Resident Evil 3 review.
8. Bleeding Edge
Bleeding Edge arrives at a time after hero-based games like Overwatch and DotA transformed their respective genres so radically that, for better or worse, countless others have attempted to replicate what they've accomplished. However, none have attempted to take that hero-based concept and integrate it into a different type of game. But that's where Ninja Theory's latest hack-and-slash brawler comes in.
Bleeding Edge is immediately captivating thanks to its colorful cast of characters. Representing New York is my personal favorite: Daemon — a ninja-punk who formed the gang of digital misfits known as the Bleeding Edge. Each member of the Bleeding Edge has three special abilities and the option to choose from two super-moves. As far as basic abilities go, you have your regular attack, evade, parry and jump.
While Bleeding Edge offers only two game modes right now (Objective Control and Power Collection), both of them are incredibly intense. On top of that, Bleeding Edge's maps offer colorful environments and immerse you into the world with the map hazards in place.
Bleeding Edge has so much potential, and it's one of the few competitive games I've played that I'm going all in for.
— Rami Tabari
See our full Bleeding Edge review.
9. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Coasting off the popularity of the Netflix show "The Witcher," CD Projekt Red's trilogy of Witcher games is enjoying a resurgence. And The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is not only by far the best in the series but it's also one of the best PC games to date. The final chapter in Geralt of Rivia's video game adventure offers all the sword wielding and spell casting you'd expect, with plenty of dialogue and morality trees, along with a massive bestiary of mythical creatures to fight.
In the final entry, you're on the trail of a grown up Cirilla, on the run from the titular Wild Hunt. Along the way, you'll meet series favorites, including Triss, Dandelion (Jaskier) and, of course, Yennefer of Vengerberg. So, toss your coin (and several hundred hours of your life) to your Witcher and play through a fun, engaging story.
— Sherri L. Smith
See our full The Witcher 3 retrospective.
10. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
FromSoftware's latest "kill yourself" simulator is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It's a high-octane action-adventure game that doesn't stop trying to get you to toss your laptop out of the window until the credits roll. But I have good news: It's not impossible.
You start off as a shinobi with nothing but a sword, but as you play, you'll gain more skills and weapons to fend off your foes. Eventually, you'll get used to jumping, parrying and timing your attacks on bosses and the like. Then, you'll get the real tutorial session: Genichiro Ashina, a complete and utter beast who'll force you to master all of your skills. After you do that, you'll be a straight boss at Sekiro.
That is, you will be until you have to fight the Demon of Hatred, when you'll eat dirt and literally have to unlearn everything you know in this game. Then, and only then, can you fight the last boss and end your suffering. Oh, and there are also like three endings you have to worry about. Time to get good. It's worth it, though, as Sekiro is one of the best PC games.
— Rami Tabari
Say what you want about Fortnite, but the game's cultural impact is unprecedented. From turning gamers into celebrities to handing out millions in tournament prize cash, Fortnite is a phenomenon that seemingly won't go away.
Attributing this game's incredible success to a free-to-play model that relies entirely on microtransactions doesn't do justice to the game or its developer, Epic Games. Fortnite jumped on the battle royale genre (h/t to PUBG), launching with a gorgeous, ever-changing map, various weapons with different abilities and fully customizable characters.
But battle royale games (Fortnite in particular) can be frustratingly ruthless. To keep people coming back, Epic Games regularly adds new content and rewards players with new skins, challenges and modes.
What ultimately separates Fortnite from similar games is a challenging but rewarding building system that adds depth and complexity to the standard run-and-gun gameplay. And with Fortnite's lighthearted aesthetic, silly dancing and funny video clips, this title never takes itself too seriously, which is an appealing quality for people who just want an escape. It easily ranks among the best PC games.
— Phillip Tracy
12. Rocket League
Rocket League is soccer, if each player was replaced with a rocket-powered car. It's as if a team of 8-year-olds designed a sport, but Psyonix ran with the concept and produced one of the best PC games ever.
Although it's a few years old, Rocket League has benefited from frequent updates that added new maps, modes and cars. Psyonix has done crossovers with Halo, Rick and Morty, Batman and even The Fast and the Furious franchise. What's more, a cross-play feature means you can compete with opponents over different platforms, including Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It was also one of the few PC games on macOS and Linux (Psyonix recently ended support for these however). Whether you're playing online or hosting local party games with friends, Rocket League belongs in your gaming library.
— Marshall Lemon
13. Resident Evil 2
The remake of Resident Evil is bloody beautiful. Seriously, this is one of the few games that can leave you slightly nauseated, yet transfixed in the same moment in the beauty of the horror unfolding before you.
Capcom lovingly re-created the survival horror classic, ditching the tank controls and finite saves in favor of modern third-person shooting-game mechanics and gorgeous animation. And you get Mr. X, a relentless, mutated monstrosity hellbent on hunting you down. And if you really want to have some fun, try out some of the mods that strip the silent terror down to its skivvies or turn it into Pennywise the dancing clown from Stephen King's "IT." After you beat the game, you could try to speedrun it to try to get an S or A rank, which'll get you unlimited ammo for stuff like the ATM-4 Rocket Launcher and Minigun.
— Sherri L. Smith
14. Gears 5
Gears 5 is an excellent third-person, cover-based shooter, in addition to being the best Gears of War games ever made, thanks to its in-depth storytelling, beautiful open-world environments and believable characters. It's seriously one of the best PC games I've ever played.
When I saw the first trailer for this game at E3, I thought Gears 5 was going to flop. But when I played the campaign, I was blown away by how the story seamlessly connected itself to the rest of the series. If campaign isn't your thing, don't worry: Gears 5 also has a game mode called Escape, which traps you in a Swarm nest and forces you to fight your way out in a limited amount of time. It's super intense and a great way to experience Gears with friends. There's also Horde mode and countless PvP modes to keep you busy.
— Rami Tabari
Control is a stunning work of art, overwhelmingly cinematic in its directorial presentation and exceptional performances. It's one of those experiences that further lessens the gap between film and gaming, meshing the two together into a comprehensive package. If you have the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics, you'll get a showcase of lights and shadows. It's the first game I've seen that feels truly improved by ray-traced graphics. (On the flip side, it will make older graphics cards cry, even those that can't ray trace).
The game has a weird, engrossing story that assumes you're smart enough to stick around and accept things before it's all explained. Control does suffer from some difficulty spikes, but playing around with a series of crazy superpowers in an endless, mysterious building belonging to a secret government agency will keep you stuck to the gameplay regardless.
— Andrew E. Freedman
16. The Outer Worlds
"It's like Fallout in space." That's what everyone's been saying about The Outer Worlds. And in a way, they're right. It is an Obsidian game after all. Full of dialogue branches and morality trees, this action-RPG puts you in the shoes of a passenger of a long-lost colony ship, suddenly woken from cryosleep hundreds of years after going under.
You venture into the Halcyon star system to find a way to rouse your fellow passengers from their seemingly never-ending slumber. Along the way, you'll meet a cast of colorful characters and run afoul of the powerful Board, which controls the lives of every colonist in Halcyon. And speaking of color, The Outer Worlds is bursting with it. In this environment full of weird alien life and vibrant vistas, take some time to stop and take in the scenery. Just make sure to watch your back while you do so.
— Sherri L. Smith
17. Apex Legends
If Fortnite isn't your speed, but you're interested in the battle royale genre, you may find your new favorite first-person shooter in Apex Legends. It combines badass mechanics from Titanfall and all of the character-spunk from Overwatch, making one of the best PC games to date.
In groups of three, you'll drop from the sky with your buddies to hunt down the opposing teams until there is only one group left. Each character has a unique set of abilities on top of an ultimate move that they can charge up. Communication is key, as every battle can be extremely clutch, but you can just as easily get the drop on your enemies if you coordinate carefully. Apex Legends quickly rose to the top of the pile of battle royale games when it launched, because it introduced so many cool concepts into this new genre, elevating the experience.
— Rami Tabari
18. Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 finally made its way to PC almost a year after its initial console launch. If you played the original Red Dead Redemption, you knew that Red Dead 2 was going to be a sad tale. But until you get to the heart-wrenching finale, you'll explore a sprawling, breathtaking world from Rockstar as Arthur Morgan, a member of the ill-fated Van der Linde gang.
On the run after a bank robbery gone bad, Morgan works to make money to keep the gang going while trying to stay one step in front of the law. A story about loss (of lifestyle, friends and family), Red Dead 2 is at times funny and poignant, with plenty of action in between. Throw in the letterbox cinema mode, and RDR2 is a welcome homage to those old Western classics.
— Sherri L. Smith
19. Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 is the most refined, replayable and wonderfully disgusting Mortal Kombat game yet. NetherRealm Studios' latest brutal brawler features the tightest, most technically sound combat in the series, complete with a great tutorial for getting even the most novice kombatants up to speed.
The game's superb, cinematic story mode celebrates MK's past and present by way of a bonkers time-traveling narrative, while the Towers of Time and Krypt give solo players plenty to do week after week. Mortal Kombat 11 is also gorgeously gory, with ridiculously over-the-top Fatal Blows and Fatalities that, unlike on consoles, you can enjoy on PC at a silky, blood-soaked 60 frames per second. And if you're willing to spend the extra money, you can buy the Kombat Packs, which'll give you access to cool guest characters like Terminator T-800, Spawn and Joker.
— Michael Andronico
20. Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium is the most impressive isometric RPG we've seen in over a decade. With an absolutely bonkers storyline, the game tells its in-depth narrative more effectively through clever text-based dialogue than most games can do with fully animated cutscenes. It's also wholly breathtaking, as it succeeds in bringing its gritty world to life with a considerable dedication to detail.
In Disco Elysium, your choices matter, and everything you do within its world feels like it's contributing to the narrative. You play as a cop in a capitalist authoritarian regime, looking forward to solving a murder case while simultaneously regaining your memory, which you lost after a mental break. This is a meticulously haunting RPG experience where you define the kind of cop you want to be. It's one of the best PC games you can play right now.
— Mohammad Tabari
21. Beat Saber
Whoever said, "Let's take a lightsaber battle and add catchy tunes," thank you for the highly addictive phenomenon that is Beat Saber. Start with the epic lightsaber moves of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, toss in the wacky randomness from a game like Hole in the Wall and then add your favorite top 40 hits, and you've got Beat Saber, a ridiculously fun virtual reality title.
Armed with a pair of lightsabers, you have to hit the boxes floating your way in the designated direction while maintaining the beat. Not enough of a challenge for you? Try dodging the huge walls flying toward you at breakneck speed while still hitting the right beats. It's a fun VR title with lots of replay value. We have never had so much fun playing a VR game before.
— Sherri L. Smith
22. Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World is arguably one of the best multiplayer co-op experiences to date. Hunting monsters is tough, and it's always better with a friend, maybe even three. This entry into the series boasts not just gorgeous graphics and refined gameplay mechanics, but also a streamlined experience that opens its arms up to newcomers and old-timers like me.
If you're looking for some intense action, epic grind fests and the ability to create an adorable kitty cat as your companion, Monster Hunter World is the game for you. Oh, and the Iceborne DLC? Well, that'll send your butt straight to a harsh tundra for some more pain and suffering. From Low Rank all the way to Master Rank, Monster Hunter: World holds no prisoners. And the hardest parts are when you get epic crossovers, like Final Fantasy's infamous Behemoth. Yeah, have fun.
— Rami Tabari
23. Total War: Three Kingdoms
Each release in the Total War franchise feels like a coin toss. On one side is a buggy, incomplete mess, and on the other is the next best game in the storied series. Creative Assembly has gotten its act together after the bitterly disappointing Total War: Rome II, and the developer's latest release, Three Kingdoms, is a turn-based strategy masterpiece.
Set in the Three Kingdoms period (A.D. 220-280) in China during the fall of the Han dynasty, the latest Total War game effectively balances military strategy with diplomacy and all of the complexities that come with governing a kingdom. With smart AI, improved performance and gripping storytelling, Three Kingdoms marks the best of the franchise.
If you're looking for an approachable PC game, this isn't it. Like its predecessors, Three Kingdoms is extremely complex, and it can be difficult to know what to do next or to predict the impact of your actions. But if you're willing to learn how to rule a dynasty, Total War: Three Kingdoms will reward you at every turn, making it one of the best PC games out there.
— Phillip Tracy
How to choose the best PC games for you
Choosing the best PC games you’ll enjoy most comes down to what you’re looking to get out of the game. Are you looking for a well-written story? The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is a safe bet. Or maybe just a fun multiplayer experience? Try Fortnite. If you want something that focuses on gameplay, you could always try out the VR rhythm game Beat Saber.
There’s also genres and gameplay styles to consider. Do you like first-person shooters? Apex Legends might be for you. Or are you into third-person action games? If you can take challenging difficulty, then Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a good choice. For a third-person cover-based shooter, none master the form more than Gears 5. If you’re looking for a hyper-realistic third-person western to play, then Red Dead Redemption 2 has your name written all over it. A fighting game fan? Look no further than Mortal Kombat 11. There are thousands upon thousands of games out there, you’re bound to find something for you.
We also have a list of game hubs that are keeping track of the most anticipated games coming down the road, including:
- Halo Infinite
- Elden Ring
- Grand Theft Auto VI
- Resident Evil Village
- Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
- Senua's Saga: Hellblade II
- Dying Light 2
- The Elder Scrolls 6
- Gotham Knights
- Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War
How we test the best PC games
While we haven’t reviewed or tested every single game on this list, we have played them and recognize which ones belong here. However, for the ones we have reviewed, we test how they perform on a PC.
First, we benchmark the game on a laptop to see how it runs, and then we dive into any bugs or glitches we experienced during gameplay. We also rate what kind of graphical settings the game has. For example, some games give you one option for overall graphical quality, while others will go all out and offer twenty different settings for each graphical component that makes up the game. For each game we also dive into the minimum and recommended requirements, so you know exactly what kind of laptop you need to run it. As an added bonus, we also detail what launcher the game is on, since that is a contributing factor for someone buying a game (although, it really shouldn’t be).