Whether you’ve just gotten a new gaming PC, are building a new PC for yourself, or have just decided to gift yourself with some new games, we have ten suggestions to make your gaming experience fun. Not all of them are new or the most graphically demanding, but they should provide you with hours of enjoyment.
Unlike gaming on a console, there are several ways for PC gamers to get their fix, from Steam and Origin to Epic Game Store and GOG. It’s important to know that not all platforms offer the same games. When they do, shop around — you might find a better price on one versus the other.
We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-used games, apps, and entertainment. Check out our app picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs, Macs and TVs; our favorite mobile games from Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass; and our top choices for gaming PCs, the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. We’ve also listed our favorite streaming shows on Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, some great sci-fi books, and exciting new podcasts. (Note: pricing was accurate at the time of publishing, but may change.)
If you’re looking for a first-person shooter that masterfully mixes the satisfying mobility, responsive controls, and sci-fi lore of the Halo series (it’s made by Bungie, after all, the same developer that makes Halo) with the endless replayability found in games like Borderlands, Destiny 2 is easy to recommend. The game is now free to play on Steam, so there’s no cost required to play through the base game. After that, you can pay for even more content.
<em>Destiny 2</em> /
Available for free from Steam
Hades is the latest game from Supergiant, the developer of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre. Right now, it’s in Early Access on Steam and Epic Games, which means that it’s technically incomplete. But it already offers a lot — and the developer aims to keep adding to the game in 2020. Hades is a rogue-like (every attempt is different in some way, including shuffled item drops, enemy encounters, and level layouts), similar in a sense to The Binding of Isaac. As such, it offers tons of depth, the writing is excellent, and the controls are responsive on keyboard and mouse, or with a controller. It will likely make its way to consoles at some point, but right now, the PC is where you can play it.
Available for $24.99 (Early Access) from Steam and Epic Games
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s sequel to Red Dead Redemption landed on consoles in 2018, but it only recently graced the PC platform. Now that it’s had a few months to shake out some annoying bugs, you should check it out. It’s a technical marvel, and it’s a fun game, too. Unlike the prior entry in the Red Dead franchise, or recent Grand Theft Auto games (which it bears some similarities to), Red Dead Redemption 2 is a more slow-paced adventure that takes its sweet time unrolling, with plenty of twists along the way. The fun gunplay is still a constant presence, though, and when you finish the long campaign, you can hop into the free Red Dead Online component of the game that comes included with it.
<em>Red Dead Redemption 2</em> /
Available for $59.99 from Steam and Epic Games
Remnant: From the Ashes
At the core of Remnant: From the Ashes is loot, and a lot of it. But it’s not just another loot shooter; this title has similar squad co-op and controls to what you’d find in The Division 2, but with a world that’s steeped in fantasy. This game has a reputation for being difficult — and difficult, it is — though it’s much easier and more fun to make your way through with a trusty group of friends. If games like Destiny 2 and Borderlands 3 are up your alley, you should give this one a try.
<em>Remnant: From the Ashes</em> /
Available for $39.99 from Steam
If you want to play through an awe-inspiring first-person adventure that lets you travel through space but doesn’t require you to shoot at things, Outer Wilds is a worthwhile game. Just don’t call it a walking simulator. It’s a game that can deceive you with its simplistic look and unassuming first half-hour of gameplay. After a little more time, though, you’ll be hooked, trying to discover every last secret floating around in Outer Wilds’ universe. And while I mentioned that there’s no shooting in this first-person game, it’s still plenty tense in ways better left unsaid if you want to go in fresh.
<em>Outer Wilds</em> /
Available for $24.99 from Epic Games
It’s tough to make a list of PC games you should play without mentioning a game in the popular battle royale genre. There’s a good chance you’ve already played Fortnite and PUBG, but Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown is one that may have escaped you. This game puts you and a few friends, along with plenty of other random players, into a sprawling, dangerous, and gorgeously designed map that’s filled with monsters that want to kill you. In addition to standard Player vs. Player gameplay, the other big goal of the match is Player vs. Enemy: dispose of the map’s baddies efficiently and quietly in order to score the most experience points and make your escape with the loot in tow. Neither is easy to do, especially since it’s a battle royale game wrapped in survival horror aesthetic, but the feeling of barely escaping with your life feels fantastic.
<em>Hunt: Showdown</em> /
Available for $39.99 from Steam
Disco Elysium is the kind of game made for people who want the freedom of choice, and want to see their actions have an impact on the in-game world. This PC exclusive (until it arrives on consoles later in 2020, at least) is a modern take on the classic RPG genre. It features a stirring whodunit story filled with open-ended conversation paths and memorable characters. It also has plenty of intricate game systems that let you have a personalized experience, and it rewards multiple playthroughs.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
The Halo series is coming — in full — to the Windows PC. I don’t really need to tell you why that’s exciting, but I’ll go ahead anyway. Only the first two Halo titles ever came to Windows — long before the advent of digital game platforms — but now all six of them will conveniently be in a single pack on Steam for $39.99. There are two things worth noting, though: only Halo: Reach is available to play right now (with glorious 4K/ 60 FPS support), with the others coming to the collection in 2020. And if you’d rather not buy the whole collection, you can play Halo: Reach with a subscription to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for PC.
<em>Halo: The Master Chief Collection</em> /
Available for $39.99 from Steam or via Game Pass on PC
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
FromSoftware’s latest game runs best on PC, and this means you can enjoy more detailed visuals compared to the console versions, as well as faster load times. Faster load times doesn’t sound crucial, but in a game like Sekiro, where you’ll die again and again, it’s really nice not to be punished by long load times. Another note (which might be controversial to some): the PC version can be modded to allow for cheats. Cheats for Sekiro caused a stir earlier in the year, spawning the incredible “you cheated not only the game, but yourself” meme. Don’t feel bad if you need to cheat, though, especially if you just want to have fun in this tremendous action game without suffering too steeply.
<em>Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice</em> /
Available for $59.99 from Steam
OK, we’re adding a second battle royale title, but this one is well worth having on the list. Apex Legends is a first-person shooter from Respawn Entertainment, the same crew that developed Titanfall and, more recently, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Like Overwatch and Team Fortress 2, Apex Legends puts a class-based spin on an already-popular genre. With the studio’s pedigree, this game is, unsurprisingly, very fun to play. The progression systems in place are rewarding and will keep you playing for a while. Better yet, this game is free.
<em>Apex Legends</em> /
Available for free from Origin
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.