Welcome to our pick of the best PC games of 2019. With TechRadar’s PC Gaming Week 2019 now underway, we’ve selected the best PC games from all kinds of genres, with each entry on this list proving why the PC is such an awesome gaming platform.
Plus, now that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is here, along with Intel’s Coffee Lake Refresh processors, now’s the best time to get into PC games. The PC is perhaps the best gaming platform in the world – forget about your PlayStations and Xboxes – thanks to a remarkably huge catalogue of brilliant games, starting with the best Steam games 2019 has on offer.
The best PC games cover a wide range of genres, from platformers and point-and-click adventures, to retro favorites and action-packed first-person shooters that take advantage of the best modern graphics tech for eye-popping visuals. There are even co-op PC games that you can play with friends.
The sheer number of brilliant PC games can leave you wondering where to get started, which is where our best PC games of 2019 list comes in. We’ve put together the definitive list of the best PC games, from oldies like the Orange Box to newer fan-favorites like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Believe us when we say you’ll want to get all of these PC games installed so you can experience them firsthand.
Looking for the best games to play on your laptop? Check out our best laptop games instead. But if you’re looking to game on your PC, you chose the perfect time to jump in on the platform, and as a warm welcome, we’ll dive into the best PC games you can play in 2019.
The best new PC game: Borderlands 3
The Borderlands franchise might not have much in terms of innovations. Plus, its third installation’s vehicle combat isn’t all that impressive, and its humor isn’t all that clever. However, Borderlands 3 has still proven itself more than capable of showing gamers a rollicking good time, with its arsenal of weapons and gear, deep RPG systems and new areas to explore, making it our pick for the best new PC game right now.
It isn’t just your combat skills that are tested here; you’ll be better off sharpening your survival skills as well, as you’re dropped on a Mad Max-esque arid planet where encounters with dangerous local wildlife is to be expected as well. In Borderlands 3, however, you can get a respite from that to explore exciting – not to mention, stunning – new locales with better climates. And, having better weaponry this time around, like the ‘guns on legs’ and guns that moonlight as explosives, only make your journey all the more riotous.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is aging like fine wine. Even four years after its release, it’s still one of the most impressive open world games that’s ever existed – mixing Skyrim’s unapologetic scale with Grand Theft Auto V’s ridiculous depth. It’s such a jam-packed game, which is why it tops our list of the best PC games in 2019. Staggering, beautiful and an absolute time sink – in a good way – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt isn’t just the best PC game of 2019. It might just be one of the best video games of all time.
2. Dark Souls 3
While it’s debatably not as hard as earlier entries in the series, From Software’s Dark Souls 3 takes everything you like about the Souls series and blends it with elements found in Bloodborne, the developer’s more recent title for PS4.
We won’t sugar coat it: you’re going to die in Dark Souls 3, possibly more than once. It takes patience to master its complicated combat system, but it also plays fair, which allows it to be more approachable for casual players to take part in its bleak, fantastical world. And, on the bright side, it’s much more optimized for PC than the first two games. Now that you can pick up Dark Souls: Remastered, and see where the apocalyptic series began, there’s never been a better time to link the first flame.
It’s easy to see why Control is already taking the gaming world by storm. The creative team at Remedy Entertainment made sure that there’s plenty to love in this game, paying very close attention to the intricate details. A deeply cinematic game, this action-adventure offers its players spectacular visuals, inspired environment design and standout performances, as well as a deeply satisfying combat experience.
Control places you in the capable shoes of fiery-haired Jesse Faden. You’re tasked to seek out The Oldest House, a building in New York City that’s in a constant state of architectural flux and only appears to those who desire to find it, and locate your missing brother, all while heading the Federal Bureau of Control as its director and overseeing the containment of paranatural entities.
There’s nothing quite like Control on the market, and it makes it one of the best PC games to play right now.
4. Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter has been one of the biggest gaming franchises you’ve never heard of for years now. With Monster Hunter: World, the series broke into the mainstream and came to the PC (finally), which makes it one of the best PC games you can play today.
Monster Hunter: World puts you in the shoes of a monster hunter, and you’ll hunt progressively bigger and nastier monsters, strip them for parts, and craft bigger, badder armor. It’s a deceptively simple gameplay loop that ends up being one of the most compelling and rewarding PC games you can play right now.
There’s a ceaseless onslaught of content in this game, and Capcom, the developers of this monster hunting hit, are committed to bringing a wealth of free DLC to the game – not to mention a new frosty expansion in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. If you’re looking for an addictive, immersive and most importantly, fun game to play on your own or with all your best friends cooperatively, check out Monster Hunter: World. There’s no doubt it’s one of the best PC games you can buy today.
5. Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most anticipated console ports to ever hit PC gaming, and you won’t any arm-twisting to wander back into Los Santos’s hugely detailed and highly interactive world. This time, however, it’s 10 times more fun with the PC’s richer graphics and smooth 60 fps gameplay.
And, don’t think you’ll be done after you’ve finished its 30-hour campaign. There’s an overflow of post-game content to enjoy, after all. Most recently, that includes The Doomsday Heist in GTA Online and even a radio station hosted by Frank Ocean.
6. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the most recent title in the iconic turn-based strategy game, and it’s one of our picks for the best PC game you can play to date. One of the things that make the PC the best platform for gaming on is the sheer breadth of different game genres on offer. Civilization VI might seem slow paced next to the likes of Fortnite; however, its scope is huge.
Spread your empire across the map and crush your enemies. You build up your empire from a simple settlement to a world power, and you can decide to do this through military might, technological supremacy or cultural influence. Since its launch in 2016, it has had two expansion packs that really cement this game as an epic entry in our best PC games list. Civilization VI: Rise and Fall released in February 2018, with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm following in February 2019.
7. Alien: Isolation
Set 15 years following the events of the first Alien film from 1979, Alien: Isolation is the suspense-filled game that fans of the franchise have long anticipated. Playing the role of Amanda Ripley, daughter of Alien protagonist Ellen Ripley, you’re tasked to track down and retrieve the flight recorder of the Nostromo spacecraft from the first Alien film, which has been traced aboard the Sevastopol space station.
First and foremost a stealth game, Isolation heightens the tension by giving you minimal weaponry. Its brilliant graphics shine on high-end PCs and clever AI helps ramp up the dread, leaving you trembling at every corner. This and more make Alien: Isolation well-deserving of a spot on our list of the best PC games.
Overwatch, if nothing else, has significantly altered the landscape, moving it away from the norm of gray-ish cover shooters to the dominion of competitive gaming. Its bright, vibrant colors are only made better with highly likeable characters, each coming with their own interesting backstories, which, while non-existent in game, make for a collection of amazing webcomics and cinematics.
Overwatch is also one of the best PC games, due to how well it runs on all kinds of different hardware. Sure, it’s a bit aged now, but even in 2019, it’s the best PC game for anyone with a competitive streak. If you missed out on this game before, do yourself a favor – sign in to your Battle.net account and take Overwatch – not to mention, its colorful cast of characters – for a spin today.
9. Forza Horizon 4
Microsoft’s racing series is only getting better with each release, and in many ways this spin-off has exceeded the main Forza Motorsport line as the best racing games on PC at present. They’re definitely more fun, adding a dash of arcade fun to the strikingly recreated cars and race tracks we’ve come to expect from Forza.
Forza Horizon 4 is easily one of the best PC games you can buy today, and this entry brings the racing to the UK after having explored America, France, Italy and Australia in the previous three instalments of the franchise. Now, you can rip through charming villages, seaside towns and the city of Edinburgh by way of many miles of country roads and dirt tracks in between. It’s fast, frantic and a lot of fun.
You can purchase Forza Horizon 4 through the Microsoft Store. It’s also available as part of the Xbox Game Pass for PC, or you can buy the Xbox One version and get a download code for PC using the Xbox Anywhere feature.
10. Thimbleweed Park
Fans of classic point and click games such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle, which are some of the best PC games ever made, should add Thimbleweed Park to their must play list. Made by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, two of the people behind PC classics Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, Thimbleweed Park plays like a love letter to classic point-and-click adventure games.
From the splendid retro artwork, entertaining dialogue and perplexing puzzles, Thimbleweed Park deserves its place on our list of the best PC games, merging the best of old school PC game design with modern technology.
11. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software is a household name when it comes to designing the best PC games. The minds behind the critically praised Dark Souls series have transported PC gamers to some of the most forsaken landscapes and through some of the most challenging yet rewarding gameplay. From Software is back at it once more, with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Sekiro places you in the shoes of the Young Wolf, a shinobi tasked with rescuing his young master. The game will take you through 16th-century Japan, but things will get eerie and supernatural: this is From Software we’re talking about.
Don’t expect an easy time of it, however. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an awfully difficult game to master, and you’ll need quick reflexes to deflect enemy attacks, as well as to master stealth. You won’t be able to hide behind a shield all day, like you were able to in Dark Souls III.
The phrase “build it, and they will come” rings truer than ever with Minecraft, the survival-based sandbox RPG that has now been bought more than 100 million times since its release in 2009. In it, you can construct your own worlds using resources you find in the wild, or discover existing ones created by other players online.
In Minecraft, you can either limit yourself to the numerous tools and blocks offered by the developer, Mojang, or you can install mods to truly capitalize on your investment. Moreover, sometime in 2019, you’ll be able to take part in the Super Duper Graphics Pack, an optional piece of DLC that offers more realistic lighting effects and textures to an already amazing game.
Id Software’s Doom was a phenomenon for PC gamers in the ‘90s. The crudely rendered first-person shooter series was as controversial as it was adored, thanks in large part to its cutting-edge depictions of gore and violence that only a computer could deliver.
Parents be damned, the franchise underwent a revival in 2016 with a fresh reset, aptly titled Doom. Although the multiplayer might not appeal to shooter fans regardless of age, the single player campaign will pit you against demons in Hell for a lengthy mission that is bloody satisfying, pun intended.
14. Fortnite Battle Royale
How could we not add what’s possibly the biggest game in the world right now to this list? Fortnite Battle Royale is a global phenomenon – not to mention, among the best PC games right now, if you like super-competitive online games. This is a game people keep coming back to, and that’s mostly thanks to the addictive gameplay and regular updates from Epic.
Fortnite Battle Royale is actually a game mode for the Fortnite game, but this mode has become so popular, many people consider it a separate game in its own right. As with other Battle Royale games, the aim of Fortnite Battle Royale is to fight your way through an ever-shrinking map until you’re the last player standing. While that might sound simple enough, there’s a whole lot of depth to this game once you start playing.
Cuphead’s 1930’s animation aesthetics undoubtedly makes this one of the most stunning – and sounding – PC games on the list. Combining run-and-gun platforming and boss rush battles, it’s an extremely challenging game – but that also makes it very rewarding.
With hand-drawn cell animation, watercolor backgrounds and original jazz soundtrack, Cuphead is unlike anything you’ll play on PC, and while the steep difficulty curve may put people off, if you’re willing to hone your gaming skills, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best PC games money can buy.
Welcome to TechRadar’s PC Gaming Week 2019. We’re celebrating the most powerful gaming platform on Earth with in-depth articles, exclusive interviews and essential buying guides that showcase everything PC gaming has to offer. Visit our PC Gaming Week 2019 page to see all our coverage in one place.
Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article