The best PC games of 2023

elden ring
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Choosing the best PC games is arguably a ridiculous task. Unlike consoles, the PC has a catalog of games that spans decades and masses of genres. And one person's gaming delight could be another's gaming dread. 

But on this list, we've gathered a range of games that should appeal to a lot of people, and that are worth playing today. Sure there are classics like Half-Life 2 and Deus Ex that aren't on this list, but that's because you've likely played them or there are starting to look their age. 

Rather this list is of games you should try today, and those that we have plenty of thoughts upon. Just make sure you have one of our best gaming PCs or best gaming laptops, and one of our picks for the best gaming mouse and best gaming keyboard, to really get the most out of these games.

The best PC games you can buy today

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1. Elden Ring

Elden Ring screen shot

(Image credit: FromSoftware Inc.)

Elden Ring was always going to be good, given it's a FromSoftware game, with the developer known for delivering tough but brilliant games. But for the game to redefine how we see open-world games, was something unexpected. 

Every corner you turn in Elden Ring can reveal something new, be it a quiet glade for some respite in a dangerous world, a new weapon, or some horror to slay. There's a map but precious little in the way of guidance. You're simply left to explore and progress through the Lands Between by figuring things out. 

Combat is still traditionally Souls-like tough, but the scope to explore and then come back with better gear and skills to take on a boss is a joy. And that combat is hugely flexible, with all manner of 'builds' available, from a classic sword-and-board warrior to a spell-slinging mage with a great big sword for flattening enemies who get too close. Oh and there's Melania, the hardest boss FromSoft has ever made... arguably. 

Read our full Elden Ring review

2. Baldur's Gate 3

An image taken from Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian)

After more than six years in development and a lengthy Early Access period, Baldur's Gate 3 has arrived. And to say it was worth the wait would be something of an understatement. It's not only one of the best PC games of 2023, but it's making a case to be one of the strongest PC releases of all time. Don't believe us? Just take a look at its nearly flawless review scores

Based on Dungeons and Dragons (the 5th Edition rules to be precise), Baldur's Gate 3 is a deeply immersive role-playing game where your choices matter and you're given the freedom to carve out your own path through its dozens upon dozens of quests. In fact, our computing editor has found the turn-based combat and eccentric characters so engrossing that he's had to resist calling in sick just to play it some more — that's the hallmark of a game worthy of a high spot on this list.  

3. Disco Elysium

best PC games: Disco Elysium

(Image credit: ZA/UM)

A detective waking up with amnesia after a bender, might seem like a bit of a noir-esque cliche of a story. But Disco Elysium makes it far more interesting, As you try and figure out what happened and solve a murder, you're accompanied by a range of inner thoughts, from one communicating your 'lizard brain' to others determining logic, empathy, rhetoric and a lot more. This helps frame the city of Revachol in a light that's more than just what you can see on the screen. 

What makes Disco Elysium further stand out from other isometric RPGs, is how you don't need to really figure your way out of the situation. Rather you can argue, surmise or trick your way through all manner of encounters; sometimes with hilarious results. This all makes for a superbly refreshing game and one of the best games to play on pretty much any platform, We feel it's essential. 

Read our full Disco Elysium review

4. Mass Effect Legendary Edition

best PC games: mass effect legendary edition

(Image credit: EA)

Mass Effect Legendary Edition takes the previous three Mass Effect games that span the Xbox 360 and Xbox One and remaster them for more advanced hardware,  specifically the current-gen consoles and PCs with plenty of power. 

But that remaster isn't just a graphics refresh. Rather Mass Effect Legendary Edition Brings in a suite of quality-of-life changes to make the game feel and play better; this includes removing some of the jank of the first game. And thrown into the mix is all the DLC content from all three games, with the exception of one missing bit from the first game, making it the way to play Mass Effect. Play it you should as it's one of the best action sci-fi RPGs ever made, complete with an excellent story from Bioware. 

Read our full Mass Effect Legendary Edition review

5. God of War

God of War (2018)

(Image credit: Sony)

What started life as a PS4 exclusive, like the aforementioned Horizon Zero Dawn, in now on PC. And what a showcase it is. This astonishing action-adventure game that reboots the God of War of old, looks fantastic on PC, running at 60 frames per second rather than the 30 fps on the base PS4. 

Even if it didn't run well, it's still very much a game you should play. It dives deep into Old Norse mythology, which is an un-tapped vein of lore and information, and wraps it up in a father and son story that's genuinely compelling. The action is also awesome with it never getting dull and throwing in a decent dollop of challenge at the same time. But this is a game that you really don't want to miss out on. 

Read our full God of War review

6. Control

best PC games: Control

(Image credit: 505 Games)

Within The Oldest House, the headquarters of the Government Bureau of Control, something ancient and alien has emerged, and it certainly isn’t friendly. As Jesse Faden, a victim of a paranormal incident searching for her long-lost brother, you will navigate and fight your way through this strange unfriendly facility, which has also somehow become your responsibility to save.

You will fight using conventional(ish) weapons and gain superpowers bestowed upon you by the contents of the Oldest House’s rooms and vaults, with neither the spaces nor the objects quite behaving like you'd expect. It’s a mind-bending challenge for fans of government conspiracy stories and the idea of humankind meeting and struggling to deal with incomprehensibly enormous and powerful forces. Even if the details of the story don't matter to you, this is one of the best PC games purely for the game's highly screenshot-worthy environments and effects.

Read our full Control review

7. Monster Hunter Rise

Monster Hunter Rise - Facing a Magnamalo

(Image credit: Capcom)

Already a member of our best Nintendo Switch games, the PC version of MH: Rise allows the game to come into its own thanks to the greater power available on gaming PCs.

The game's still the same: a story revolving around ending a "Rampage" of wild monsters, and a gameplay loop of defeating monsters, getting loot and upgrading your gear to prepare for your next quarry. Helping you along the way is your rideable Palamute companion, and a new grappling hook, both of which help shake up travel and combat in new ways.

It's unfortunate that the PC version doesn't offer a save transfer option from the Switch, as this is undeniably the better version of the game. If you've not played it already though, or fancy another trip to Kamura, this is well worth your time.

Read our full Monster Hunter Rise review

8. Psychonauts 2

best PC games: Psychonauts 2

(Image credit: Double Fine Productions)

It's been too long since the original Psychonauts amazed us all with its enjoyable platforming and imaginative environments, so we've been delighted to try out the sequel. 

With new and more customizable psychic powers, it's even more fun to play as Raz the second time around. Plus with the extra power of a modern PC, each unique environment and set of enemies looks fantastic. Plus with the story taking place directly after the original (and a detailed recap at the start of the game), there's no discomfort while trying to understand exactly what's going on.

Read our full Psychonauts 2 review

9. Little Nightmares II

best PC games: Little Nightmares 2

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment)

A sequel that's just as good as the original, Little Nightmares II once again puts you in the shoes of a vulnerable kid trying to escape the clutches of monstrous adults. This time you're not alone though. You play as Mono, the boy wearing a paper bag, but you're joined by Six, the girl with the yellow jacket who starred in the original game.

As you'd expect, there are enemies to avoid or fight, plus lots of environmental hazards and traps to work your way around. The visual design and sound design are as atmospheric as ever, which helps create a baseline sense of unease as you traverse the Pale City. It's on the shorter sides of these best PC games, but it's still all too memorable.

Read our full Little Nightmares 2 review. 

10. Hades

best PC games: Hades

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

After hiding on the Epic Games Store as an exclusive early access title since late 2018, Hades has now finally launched as a full product on other platforms, and quickly became recognized as one of the best PC games around. This is a rare combination of a roguelike game with a comprehensive, branching story. You, playing as Hades' son Zagreus, have to continually fight your way through Hades (the place, not your father) over and over until you make it to Mount Olympus.

The other famous gods of the Greek pantheon are also there for you to interact with. They serve as both characters in the story and as your method of upgrading your character with powers and abilities that reflect their place in the pantheon. Each run means trying out a new combination of these gifts, and every failure still moves you forward.

Read our full Hades review

Available from Steam and the Epic Games Store

11. Microsoft Flight Simulator

best PC games: Microsoft Flight Simulator

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

None of the other best PC games on this list offer you the whole world to play with, but the latest flight sim from Microsoft gives you exactly that, with both a mind-boggling scale and a meticulously detailed hangar of aircraft to pilot. 

You have the choice of both light aircraft or huge passenger jets, letting you play as a lone amateur aviator or the captain of a commercial flight. The game promises to model their flight characteristics accurately, which are affected by real-time weather and daylight effects, so it'll be difficult to get a better idea of flying one of these machines without actually stepping into the cockpit in real life.

While you can nerd out over every single setting and control of your plane, you can also let the game take care of the tricky stuff while you enjoy flying around, seeing landmarks from across the globe or touching down at one of the game's many detailed airports. 

Read our full Microsoft Flight Simulator review

12. Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition

best PC games: Horizon Zero Dawn

(Image credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Chances are you've not played this (unless you own a PS4 also), and since this version comes with all the DLC packed in, there's no better way to experience this open-world adventure. Somewhere in the US after an unknown apocalyptic event, tribes of humans try to live quietly in amongst the hordes of animalistic robots that roam the lands. As the outcast Aloy however, you are bound for greater things.

While your human enemies are armed with the same array of spears, bows and slings as you are, taking on the machines, particularly the larger varieties, requires a lot more tactical thinking.

There is a story to play through, one which helps explain the world and how it came to be this way, and that's quite enjoyable on its own. But it's exploring the beautiful but desolate urban areas reclaimed by trees and plants, hunting down your metal prey via traps and frontal attacks, and finally bringing it down after a long tense battle that secures H:ZD a spot on the best PC games list.

Read our thoughts on Horizon Zero Dawn

13. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

best PC games: Ori and the Will of the Wisps

(Image credit: Xbox)

This sequel to 2015's Ori and the Blind Forest builds on the original's 'metroidvania' style gameplay - exploring every corner of a large world collecting various abilities and powers, but with additional gameplay refinements and variations and a new story that's just as emotive as the original. Unlike many metroidvania games which are populated by just you and everything trying to kill you, there are lots of friendly NPCs you can encounter too. They will give you your quests and also help contextualise the world, making it feel like it's worth protecting.

This member of our best PC games list is a treat for your eyes and ears too. The artwork was all hand painted and then scanned, making it look beautiful in a way like precious few other games on the market. Meanwhile, the orchestral score helps to underscore epic and intimate moments in your journey.

Read more of our thoughts about Ori and the Will of the Wisps

14. Devil May Cry 5

best PC games: Devil May Cry 5

(Image credit: Capcom)

Dante's back and better than ever. At long last, Capcom released Devil May Cry 5, which brings the crew from the four previous games together to fight a new threat of a demonic nature. Not only do you get to see Dante back in action with all his signature tricks (and a few new ones), we get to see Nero and his new interchangeable robot arms, plus new hero V and his two controllable demon familiars.

Together, they'll drive back the demon hordes the only way they know how -- in smokin' sexy style. There's a long campaign to play through with challenging enemies and bosses across several difficulty modes, or there's the new version of the Bloody Palace: a survival gauntlet that pits you against 101 levels of baddies for you to slice and smash through. It's one of the best PC games if you're an action fan looking for a fun story or a combo system to master.

Read our full Devil May Cry 5 review

15. Resident Evil 2

best PC games: Resident Evil 2

(Image credit: Capcom)

Resident Evil 2 has been released and ported to new platforms more times than we can count. But trust us on this –– you need to play this version. This edition of RE2 is more than a touched-up re-release, it's a fully remastered game that has been rebuilt from the bottom up. This eliminates the less approachable parts of the game, such as the loathsome tank controls and fixed camera angles, and enhances the parts of the experience that were well-loved, while also updating the graphics to near photo-realistic quality. 

It's even scarier and more gore-soaked than the initial entry. Plus, you've got the terrifying Mr. X, an indestructible behemoth who will chase you through the police station your player characters Leon and Claire have found themselves trapped in. Both have their own campaigns to play too, meaning you will get plenty of scary but enjoyable hours out of this totally refreshed experience.

Read more of our thoughts on Resident Evil 2. 

How to choose the best PC games for you

A good starting point for picking the best PC games out is to go by genre. While these are by no means strict criteria for what is and isn't included in certain games, it'll help you get a general idea of what each game is about.

For more detailed research, look up some reviews to see what the critics and fans make of a certain game. If you're lucky, there will be an option to try out a free demo version of a game, so you can experience a limited amount of content and then make your mind up.

You should also consider how much time you want to invest in playing a game. Story-driven games tend to be much shorter than the average RPG for example, and games featuring multiplayer allow for potentially infinite value if you're prepared to invest the time in mastering them. Consider these few pointers when making a purchase, and you'll always pick something you'll really enjoy.

Classics PC games to play today 

Given the scope of PC gaming, there's a vast amount of classic games to play. Some may feel a bit ropey or dated to play today, but here's a quick list of games you should play if you want to go a little retro with your PC gaming.  

  • Half-Life Source and Half-Life 2
  • Deus Ex
  • Rome: Total War
  • Diablo 2 
  • Baldur's Gate 2 
  • Dragon Age Origins 
  • Age of Empires 2 
  • WarCraft 3 
  • Team Fortress 2 
  • Bioshock
  • Company of Heroes
  • Homeworld 
Richard Priday
Senior Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide senior writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

With contributions from