Top 50 Best PC Games of All Time to Transform Your Gaming Experience

Embark on a journey through virtual worlds that have captivated gamers for decades with our comprehensive list of the Top 50 Best PC Games of All Time. From epic fantasy adventures to heart-pounding action, these titles are not just games, but transformative experiences that have defined the gaming landscape. Whether you’re a veteran gamer or new to the scene, this list will guide you through the masterpieces that have set the standard for what a great PC game should be.

Key Takeaways

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt sets a high bar for storytelling and open-world exploration in role-playing games.
  • Half-Life 2 revolutionized the first-person shooter genre with its physics-based gameplay and immersive narrative.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim offers an unparalleled sense of freedom and adventure in a massive fantasy world.
  • Portal 2 combines clever puzzle mechanics with a witty script to create a unique and memorable gaming experience.
  • Dark Souls challenges players with its ruthless difficulty and intricate level design, rewarding persistence and strategic thinking.

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Embarking on the epic journey of Geralt of Rivia, players are treated to an expansive and meticulously crafted world in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Released on May 19, 2015, by CD Projekt Red, this title is not just celebrated as a pinnacle of RPGs but is often hailed as one of the greatest games of all time.

The Witcher 3’s narrative depth, combined with its improved combat mechanics, sets a new standard for the genre. Players navigate through a landscape teeming with lore, engaging in quests that are as emotionally impactful as they are thrilling.

The beauty of The Witcher 3 lies in its ability to blend storytelling, gameplay, and world-building into a seamless and immersive experience.

Here’s a quick glance at the game’s credentials:

  • Developer: CD Projekt Red
  • Publisher: CD Projekt
  • Release Date: May 19, 2015

With its Game of the Year accolades and a Metacritic score that reflects its critical acclaim, The Witcher 3 is a must-play for any gaming enthusiast.

2. Half-Life 2

2. Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2 is a must-play for every gamer, setting a benchmark in the realm of first-person shooters with its compelling narrative and innovative gameplay. The game’s physics engine was groundbreaking at the time of release, allowing for a level of interaction that was unparalleled, turning the environment into a tool for solving puzzles and defeating enemies.

The arsenal at your disposal feels satisfying to use, with weapons that have a tangible weight and realistic sound design. The game’s influence is still felt today, inspiring countless other titles in terms of mechanics and storytelling.

Half-Life 2’s legacy is not just in its critical acclaim but also in how it pushed the boundaries of what a video game could be, blending action, story, and technology into an experience that was ahead of its time.

While the long-awaited sequel remains elusive, the series made a triumphant return with Half-Life: Alyx, a VR masterpiece that further expands the universe and showcases Valve’s commitment to innovation.

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Released on November 11, 2011, by Bethesda Game Studios, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim continues to be a monumental title in the RPG genre. Its vast open world, filled with towering mountains, ancient dungeons, and a plethora of quests, offers players an unparalleled level of freedom to explore and shape their own stories.

Skyrim’s blend of an engrossing storyline with the liberty of partial free-roaming creates a gameplay experience that is as immersive as it is expansive. The game’s steep learning curve is a small price to pay for the depth and complexity that await those who persevere.

In Skyrim, every choice carves out a distinct path, making each journey unique and every adventure legendary.

With its release on multiple platforms, including a remastered version in 2016, Skyrim has not only stood the test of time but has also expanded its reach to a broader audience, ensuring its legacy for years to come.

4. Portal 2

4. Portal 2

Portal 2 stands as a paragon of puzzle-platforming genius, expanding upon its predecessor’s innovative mechanics with a richer narrative and more complex puzzles. This sequel not only delivers a satisfying single-player experience but also introduces a separate co-op campaign, doubling the fun.

Portal 2’s brilliance lies in its ability to seamlessly blend its challenging puzzles with a witty and engaging story that keeps players invested from start to finish.

The game’s critical acclaim is reflected in its numerous awards and high scores across various platforms:

  • Metacritic Score: 95/100
  • IGN: 9.5/10
  • GameSpot: 9/10

Portal 2 is a must-play for anyone who appreciates clever game design and a story that sticks with you long after the credits roll.

5. Dark Souls

5. Dark Souls

Dark Souls stands as a monumental achievement in gaming, renowned for its punishing difficulty and intricate world design. This title has not only defined a genre but also set a benchmark for atmospheric storytelling and challenging gameplay.

The game’s mechanics are a testament to its depth, with a combat system that rewards patience and precision. Players must navigate a relentless environment, where every corner can hold untold dangers. The sense of accomplishment from overcoming the game’s notorious bosses is unparalleled.

  • Exploration: The interconnected world of Lordran is rich with secrets and lore.
  • Combat: A demanding system that emphasizes skill and timing.
  • Progression: Character development and weapon upgrades are crucial for success.

Dark Souls is an experience that forges its players through fire, a journey that is as rewarding as it is unforgiving. It’s a game that demands respect and in return, offers an unforgettable adventure.

6. Doom (2016)

6. Doom (2016)

Doom (2016) revitalized the classic FPS franchise with a modern twist, offering a blend of relentless action and strategic gameplay. The game’s success lies in its ability to make players feel both invincible and vulnerable, a balance that creates an exhilarating experience.

  • Developer: id Software
  • Genre: FPS, Action
  • Release Date: May 13, 2016
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Doom’s gameplay is a high-octane thrill ride, with a focus on fast-paced combat and fluid movement. The addition of new mechanics, such as the Glory Kill system, encourages aggressive play and rewards skillful execution.

The game’s design encourages exploration and discovery, with hidden secrets and upgrades that enhance replayability. Doom’s impact on the genre is undeniable, setting a new standard for FPS games and leaving a lasting legacy.

7. BioShock

7. BioShock

Diving into the dystopian depths of Rapture, BioShock offers a hauntingly beautiful and philosophically rich experience that has left an indelible mark on the gaming landscape. The game masterfully blends elements of sci-fi RPGs and FPS, creating a unique hybrid that challenges both your combat skills and moral compass.

The atmospheric setting and compelling narrative are complemented by a deep character development system, allowing players to tailor their abilities through hacking skills and psionic powers. BioShock’s storytelling prowess and innovative gameplay mechanics have cemented its status as a timeless masterpiece.

BioShock’s influence extends beyond its own genre, inspiring a generation of games with its thought-provoking themes and immersive world-building.

While the game does not shy away from mature content, including excessively rude language and gratuitous nudity, it is these bold choices that contribute to the game’s lasting appeal and critical acclaim.

8. Mass Effect 2

8. Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 stands as a pinnacle of BioWare’s storytelling prowess, delivering an epic space opera where every decision impacts the fate of the galaxy. As Commander Shepard, players navigate complex moral dilemmas, forge alliances, and face consequences that resonate throughout the entire trilogy.

  • Developer: BioWare
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Release: January 26, 2010

The game’s rich narrative is complemented by a robust combat system and deep character customization, allowing for a highly personalized gaming experience. The sequel improved upon its predecessor in nearly every way, with enhanced graphics, more responsive controls, and a more engaging plot.

Mass Effect 2’s legacy is not just in its narrative depth or gameplay mechanics, but in the way it masterfully blends them to create a truly immersive experience.

With the release of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition in 2021, a new generation of gamers has the opportunity to experience this classic in remastered form, ensuring its place in the pantheon of great RPGs for years to come.

9. Grand Theft Auto V

9. Grand Theft Auto V

With a staggering 190 million copies sold, Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) remains a titan in the gaming industry. Its expansive open-world, action-packed gameplay, and the record-breaking development budget of $265 million have cemented its place as one of the most influential titles of all time.

The multiplayer component, Grand Theft Auto Online, has transformed Los Santos into a vibrant and persistent online world. Here, players can engage in a myriad of activities, from completing jobs and heists with friends to exploring player-created content like races and deathmatches.

The game’s longevity is further bolstered by its active community, particularly on roleplay servers where content creators craft unique, improvised narratives. This has contributed to GTA V’s enduring popularity, making it a must-play for any gaming enthusiast.

Key Facts:

  • Release Date: September 17, 2013
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games

10. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

10. Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI offers a complex and engaging strategy experience that has captivated gamers since its release. The art style and music of the game are particularly noteworthy, creating an immersive atmosphere that complements the strategic gameplay. While the AI may be considered average, the game shines in its ability to be equally fun whether playing solo or with friends.

Civilization VI encourages players to expand their empire across the map, advance their culture, and engage in diplomatic relations with other nations. The depth of the game’s systems allows for multiple strategies and a unique experience with each playthrough.

The game’s longevity is bolstered by its active community and the availability of multiple expansions that add new layers of complexity and content. Whether you’re a seasoned strategist or new to the series, Civilization VI is a must-play title that continues to be a staple in the PC gaming landscape.

11. Minecraft

11. Minecraft

Holding the title of the best-selling video game of all time, Minecraft has captivated over 300 million players worldwide with its limitless possibilities. The game’s open-ended nature encourages creativity and has a massive appeal across various age groups. With a staggering 172 million active players, the Minecraft community thrives on collaboration and the sharing of imaginative creations.

Minecraft’s economic impact is equally impressive, boasting a net worth of $1.7 billion and generating approximately $350,000 daily. This financial success cements its position as the best-selling PC game ever, outpacing other industry giants.

In the realm of video games, few have managed to create a cultural phenomenon like Minecraft. Its influence extends beyond gaming, with plans for a live-action film set to hit theaters in 2025.

The game’s popularity is reflected not only in sales but also in its vibrant community. Players engage in the Minecraft Community’s Collective Review, rating and providing feedback on each other’s work, fostering a supportive environment for creativity.

12. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

12. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BOTW) is not just a game; it’s a groundbreaking adventure that redefined open-world gaming. Its sequel, Tears of the Kingdom (TOTK), continues this legacy, building upon BOTW’s foundation with new twists and mechanics that enrich the experience.

In TOTK, players will find themselves in a familiar yet evolved Hyrule, where the ability to fuse items introduces a fresh layer to the gameplay. Despite the limitations of the hardware, TOTK remains a testament to innovation within the series.

The game’s critical acclaim is reflected in its impressive Metascore:

Platform Release Date Developer Genre Metascore
Switch May 12, 2023 Nintendo Adventure 96

While the core of the game remains true to BOTW, the new additions ensure that TOTK offers a distinct and modern adventure. It’s a journey filled with action, discovery, and the creative freedom that has become synonymous with the franchise.

13. Red Dead Redemption 2

13. Red Dead Redemption 2

Embark on an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland with Red Dead Redemption 2. This open-world masterpiece from Rockstar Games offers an immersive experience that combines action, storytelling, and stunning visuals to create a living, breathing world.

  • Release Date: October 26, 2018
  • Developer: Rockstar Games
  • Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Action-Adventure

The game’s narrative depth, attention to detail, and dynamic game world set a new benchmark for interactive entertainment. With a vast array of activities, from main story missions to side quests and hunting, players are free to explore the American frontier at their own pace.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s commitment to authenticity and player freedom creates a truly compelling gaming experience that’s hard to put down.

Whether you’re engaging in a shootout with outlaws, bonding with your horse, or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery, Red Dead Redemption 2 offers a unique adventure that’s as close as you can get to living in the Wild West.

14. Overwatch

14. Overwatch

Overwatch has evolved from a groundbreaking team-based shooter to a significant cultural touchstone. The game’s vibrant cast and dynamic gameplay have solidified its status as a staple in the competitive gaming scene. With its roots in classics like Team Fortress 2, Overwatch combines elements of strategy and character-driven action, making every match a unique experience.

The transition to Overwatch 2 has been marked by a series of enhancements aimed at refining the player experience. The shift to a 5v5 format, hero updates, and the introduction of a seasonal battle pass system are just a few of the changes that have been implemented. These updates, along with new maps and modes, ensure that Overwatch remains a fresh and engaging title for both new and returning players.

Overwatch’s ability to reinvent itself while maintaining the core of what made the original game so appealing is a testament to its enduring appeal. The upcoming Season 9 is set to revitalize the game’s experience further, with significant changes to competitive play and combat that fans can look forward to.

15. Divinity: Original Sin 2

15. Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 stands as a remarkable example of the modern RPG genre, blending deep narrative with intricate gameplay mechanics. The game’s freedom in character development and strategic combat is unparalleled, offering players a truly unique experience with each playthrough.

  • Rich storytelling and world-building
  • Extensive character customization
  • Multi-layered, tactical turn-based combat
  • Cooperative multiplayer and engaging single-player modes

Divinity: Original Sin 2 not only revitalizes the classic RPG formula but also innovates with its complex systems and interactive environments. The game encourages experimentation and rewards creative problem-solving, setting a new standard for the genre.

The game’s ability to seamlessly integrate cooperative multiplayer with a compelling single-player journey allows for a dynamic gaming experience. Whether you’re delving into the narrative solo or strategizing with friends, Divinity: Original Sin 2 offers a robust adventure that caters to a wide array of playstyles.

16. The Last of Us Part II

16. The Last of Us Part II

Released on June 19, 2020, by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us Part II stands as a monumental sequel in the action-adventure genre. With a Metascore of 93, it’s clear that this PlayStation 4 exclusive has left a significant mark on the gaming community.

The Last of Us Part II delves into themes of revenge, grief, and the consequences of violence, pushing players to confront uncomfortable truths within a beautifully crafted post-apocalyptic world.

The game’s narrative is a departure from the original, focusing on a more complex interplay between characters. It’s a story-heavy experience that lasts over 20 hours, featuring multiple protagonists and a gameplay that is as visceral as it is emotionally taxing.

  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: Naughty Dog
  • Genre: Action, Adventure
  • Release Date: June 19, 2020

If you’re looking for games with a similar narrative depth, titles like ‘Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga’ and ‘Frostpunk 2’ are upcoming releases that promise to offer rich, story-driven experiences.

17. Hades

17. Hades

Supergiant Games’ Hades is a roguelike that redefines the genre with its intricate narrative woven into the fabric of its gameplay. As players guide Zagreus, the son of Hades, through his relentless attempts to escape the Underworld, they encounter a rich tapestry of Greek mythology brought to life.

The combat system in Hades is a highlight, offering a frenetic and fluid experience that encourages experimentation with different weapons and playstyles. This, coupled with the game’s deep replayability, ensures that each run through the ever-changing labyrinths of the Underworld feels fresh and exciting.

The game’s unique approach to storytelling, where each attempt to escape the Underworld reveals more about the characters and the world, sets Hades apart from its peers. It’s a testament to how narrative and gameplay can be seamlessly integrated.

Hades’ success is reflected in its critical acclaim and the strong community that has formed around it, celebrating both its gameplay mechanics and its narrative achievements. It’s not just a game; it’s an experience that continues to captivate and engage players, making it a standout title in the 2020s.

18. Disco Elysium

18. Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium stands out as a revolutionary role-playing game, where players dive into the depths of detective work and moral ambiguity. With its rich narrative and unprecedented freedom in character development and decision-making, the game has redefined what it means to craft a personal story within a digital world.

The game’s unique skill system allows for a wide range of interactions and outcomes, making each playthrough a distinct experience. Players find themselves in the shoes of a detective with a complex personal history, tasked with solving a murder that spirals into a story much larger than anticipated.

In Disco Elysium, every choice matters, and the city of Revachol becomes a character in its own right, with its history and inhabitants shaping the journey.

The game has been praised for its deep lore, stunning art style, and the sheer amount of paths available to the player. It’s a testament to the power of narrative in video games and a must-play for anyone who values storytelling in this interactive medium.

19. Control

19. Control

In the world of gaming, Control stands out as a beacon of narrative-driven action and intricate world design. Players find themselves in the Oldest House, a place where reality bends and the supernatural becomes the norm. The game’s protagonist, Jesse Faden, seeks answers to her past while navigating a labyrinth of paranormal threats and enigmatic puzzles.

Control’s gameplay is a harmonious blend of psychic abilities and gunplay, allowing for a dynamic combat experience that keeps players on the edge of their seats. The ability to customize Jesse’s powers and loadout adds a strategic layer to the encounters, ensuring that no two playthroughs are the same.

  • Dynamic Combat: Engage with enemies using a mix of telekinesis, shield construction, and conventional firearms.
  • World Design: Explore the shifting architecture of the Oldest House, a location that defies the laws of space and time.
  • Narrative Depth: Unravel a compelling story filled with mysterious organizations and otherworldly phenomena.

Control is not just a game; it’s an experience that pushes the boundaries of storytelling and design in the medium. It’s a title that will be remembered for its ambitious approach and the way it makes players question the nature of reality itself.

20. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

20. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain stands as a pinnacle of stealth-action gameplay, combining a vast open world with intricate mechanics that reward tactical thinking. The game’s narrative, while controversial for some, offers a complex web of espionage and betrayal that has become a hallmark of the series.

  • Open-world design allows for freedom in approach
  • Deep customization options for weapons and gear
  • Real-time weather and day/night cycle affect gameplay

The Phantom Pain’s multiplayer component, FOB (Forward Operating Base), adds a layer of strategy as players invade each other’s bases, further enriching the game’s depth.

While the game concludes the story of Big Boss, it also leaves many players yearning for more, a testament to its engrossing world and gameplay. The legacy of The Phantom Pain is evident in the anticipation for future titles bearing the Metal Gear name, even as fans await news on the series’ direction.

21. Death Stranding

21. Death Stranding

Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding stands out as a genre-defying experience, blending elements of exploration, social connection, and a unique narrative that has captivated players worldwide. Its enigmatic storyline and unconventional gameplay mechanics have sparked widespread discussion and analysis.

In a desolate world fragmented by a mysterious event known as the Death Stranding, players take on the role of Sam Bridges. Tasked with reconnecting isolated communities and mending a shattered society, the journey is as much about the connections formed as it is about the physical traversal of the treacherous landscape.

The game’s reception has been polarizing, with some praising its bold vision and others finding it divisive. Regardless, it has left an indelible mark on the gaming landscape. Here’s a quick look at some key details:

  • Release Date: 2019
  • Platforms: PS4, PC
  • Developer: Kojima Productions
  • Genre: Action, Adventure

As we look to the future, rumors of a sequel, Death Stranding 2, suggest that the journey is far from over, with a potential release window in 2025 for the PS5.

22. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

22. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice elevates the Souls-like genre with its precise combat mechanics and a captivating feudal Japan setting. The game’s steep learning curve is rewarded with a deeply satisfying sense of mastery as players overcome its notorious difficulty.

Sekiro’s single-player experience is both punishing and exhilarating, demanding players to adapt and perfect their skills against a variety of unique and challenging foes.

With its release, Sekiro not only garnered critical acclaim but also achieved significant commercial success, selling over ten million units as of September 2023. It has left an indelible mark on the gaming landscape, winning several year-end awards, including The Game Award for Game of the Year.

23. Hollow Knight

23. Hollow Knight

In the vast landscape of action-adventure games, Hollow Knight stands out as a true gem, offering players an immersive experience in its enigmatic insectoid world. The game is not only a testament to smart game design but also features sharp combat that keeps players engaged for hours on end.

The story of Hollow Knight is as captivating as its gameplay, with a depth that invites exploration and discovery. The game’s world is rich with lore, hidden paths, and challenging enemies, all of which contribute to a rewarding sense of progression as you uncover the secrets of Hallownest.

Hollow Knight’s success lies in its ability to blend a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere with a compelling narrative and tight gameplay mechanics.

Whether you’re battling fierce bosses or simply admiring the hand-drawn art, Hollow Knight offers a gaming experience that is both challenging and aesthetically pleasing. It’s a title that has earned its place among the best, resonating with players long after the credits roll.

24. Celeste

24. Celeste

Celeste is a shining example of platforming perfection, combining challenging gameplay with a touching narrative. The level design is meticulously crafted, offering a satisfying blend of precision and exploration. Players guide Madeline, a young woman battling her inner demons, to the summit of Celeste Mountain, facing numerous obstacles along the way.

The game’s difficulty is notorious, yet it remains accessible due to its forgiving checkpoint system. Each chapter introduces new mechanics, keeping the gameplay fresh and engaging. The soundtrack, composed by Lena Raine, is both haunting and uplifting, perfectly complementing the game’s emotional depth.

Celeste not only tests your dexterity but also tugs at your heartstrings, making every victory feel deeply personal.

With its lovable cast and intriguing atmosphere, Celeste has earned its place among the best PC games of all time. It’s a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and the triumph of the human spirit.

25. Stardew Valley

25. Stardew Valley

Nestled in the charming genre of farm simulation, Stardew Valley stands out as a beacon of relaxation and creativity. Players are transported to their own slice of rural paradise, where the daily routine includes planting crops, raising animals, and mingling with the townsfolk. The game’s open-ended approach allows for a personalized experience, with each decision shaping the player’s unique story.

With its pixel art charm and engaging gameplay, Stardew Valley offers a reprieve from the high-octane action of many modern titles, providing a peaceful yet compelling gaming experience.

The game’s impact on the genre is undeniable, inspiring titles like ‘Palia’, which combines social simulation with MMO elements. Fans of Stardew Valley can look forward to a major update coming in March, promising to enrich the already vibrant world with new features and content. As the community buzzes with anticipation, it’s clear that Stardew Valley’s influence continues to grow, shaping the landscape of indie games and beyond.


As we wrap up our journey through the pantheon of PC gaming, it’s clear that the titles we’ve explored are more than just games; they are transformative experiences that have shaped the landscape of digital entertainment. From the adrenaline-pumping action of the finest FPS games to the immersive worlds of the best RPGs, each game on our list has left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of gamers worldwide. Whether you’re revisiting these classics or discovering them for the first time, the top 50 best PC games of all time offer endless hours of engagement, challenge, and joy. As the gaming industry continues to evolve with upcoming releases and new genres, these timeless masterpieces stand as a testament to the creativity and passion that drive this ever-changing art form. So, power up your rig, dive into these legendary titles, and let the transformation of your gaming experience begin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What criteria are used to rank the best PC games of all time?

Ranking criteria include critical acclaim, innovation, cultural impact, gameplay mechanics, narrative depth, and player engagement among other factors.

Can older PC games still be considered among the best?

Absolutely! Many older games are revered for their groundbreaking features and continue to influence modern gaming.

Are there any free PC games that are considered the best?

Yes, there are free PC games that have received high praise and are considered some of the best due to their gameplay, community, and accessibility.

How do CRPGs (computer role-playing games) stand out among the best PC games?

CRPGs are renowned for their complex storytelling, character development, and strategic gameplay, making them stand out in the PC gaming landscape.

What are some of the highest-grossing PC games that are also considered the best?

Some of the highest-grossing PC games have also received critical acclaim and are often listed among the best for their gameplay quality and cultural impact.

How often do lists of the best PC games get updated?

Lists of the best PC games are frequently updated to reflect new releases and changes in player preferences and critical reception.