The 5 Best PC Games of All Time

Gordon Freeman

Gaming on a PC is as popular as ever. With exposure through the advent of mods, the incredible number of sublime indie games and a back-catalog that would keep you entertained until the end of time, many new gamers are beginning to see the benefits that come with gaming on the keyboard and mouse.

Especially for console gamers, the first time experience of PC gaming can be a daunting experience, what with the number of launchers and hardware requirements from some of the platform’s more demanding titles, especially in recent times.

But if there’s one thing that the PC doesn’t lack, it’s a sheer variety of stunning games that will satisfy even the fussiest of gamer. Whether you clamor for a story-driven experience, or simply taking a gun to the face of your enemy online, the PC platform has an abundance of choice.

Best PC Games of All Time

To help you get started, here is a list of five of the best options for beginning your collection on PC. These are by no means the definitive collection of the best, but simply games that showcase why PC gaming has been very much alive and well for over 25 years:

World of Warcraft

Undoubtedly the game that defines the Massively Multiplayer Online genre, when it comes to PC gaming, chances are that at some point in time you will have played World of Warcraft.

Since 2003, Blizzard’s MMORPG behemoth has defined and redefined what it takes to make a successful subscription game in the current climate of free-to-play games.

Combining and balancing a huge number of abilities, skill trees and challenging PvE and PvP content for over 15 years, World of Warcraft has peaked at around 12 million active subscriptions in the past, towards to end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion.

While the views on their latest expansion Battle for Azeroth have been mixed amongst fans, for new players there is a mountain of content with which to get your teeth into for the first time. WWorld of Warcraft Classic takes you back to where it all began in the vanilla version of the game and is due out later this year and available as part of a standard subscription.

The question is, will your allegiance lie with the Alliance’s High King or the Horde’s Banshee Queen?

World of Warcraft is free-to-play up until level 20, so you can even try the game without committing to a subscription immediately. The game can be downloaded through Blizzard’s Battlenet client, while its latest expansion is available on its store digitally.

Planescape: Torment

If you grew up in the nineties and early 2000s with a PC capable of playing games, chances are you will have tried at least one of the abundance of fantastic RPGs the decade had to offer.

Fallout, Diablo, Baldur’s Gate, System Shock, The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall, the Might and Magic series and all of their sequels are just a few of the great roleplayers available to PC gamers at the time.

However, the one that stands out and is often heralded as the best game of all time is Planescape: Torment.

Based on the Planescape multiverse, familiar to longtime fans of Dungeons & Dragons, and written by legendary videogame writer Chris Avellone, Torment follows the story of The Nameless One, an immortal who loses his memory when killed as he tried to piece together those memories of his previous lives on a journey through the city of Sigil and other planes.

It’s classic roleplaying gaming at its best, and if you’re a new PC gamer who enjoyed the likes of Dragon Age, Divinity: Original Sin or just a sucker for a narrative-driven adventure, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better start than Planescape: Torment.

The Enhanced Edition of Planescape: Torment can be found on Steam.

Minecraft

It’s easy to quantify exactly why Minecraft is the second best selling game of all time and closing the gap on current #1 Tetris. Starting as a pre-alpha build, singleplayer block builder in 2009 on PC, its creator Markus “Notch” Persson and his team Mojang used Java as its foundation and developed it into one of the biggest and most recognisable gaming franchises in the world.

And with good reason. Its unique, blocky style made it a hit with creatives as they could take elements from every facet of the game and create pretty much anything that they want, whether that be inspired or recreated from popular culture (credit to Reddit user BioHazic) or simply a project of grand scale to see what was possible in the Minecraft world.

It has since seen the light of day on just about every platform available, whether that be on console, Linux, mobile phone, and even on Amazon’s FireOS, meaning that you can play Minecraft on your TV using an Amazon Fire Stick. Since Microsoft Game Studios purchased Mojang and Minecraft in 2014, the game has continued development, and they continue to bring new features.

The beauty of Minecraft is that the only limitation is your imagination. And with mods for the game that can enhance the experience even further, like for example this recent shader pack that adds ray-tracing to the game, if you haven’t tried it yet, the PC version is an excellent place to start. Minecraft can be purchased from the official website.

Half-Life series

Another set game that began life on the PC and was later brought to many other formats, Half-Life is arguably the pinnacle of PC gaming narrative shooters.

The first game, released in November 1998, was met with huge critical acclaim for its evolution in storytelling. Gone were the shooting galleries that you would typically find in first-person shooters of the time, and replaced with an immersive and interactive world that guided you, the mute Gordon Freeman through the Black Mesa Research Facility as you come to realise the world of an experiment gone wrong.

Meanwhile, Half-Life 2 sees you arrive at City 17 where you join as resistance lead by former Black Mesa scientist Dr. Eli Vance against the multi-dimensional rules of Earth, the Combine. The biggest revelation was the introduction of the gravity gun, a weapon that allows you to pick up almost any object and launch it at will. Add in some fantastically designed set pieces, bring everything together, and you have an excellent first-person shooter.

At the time, both games were heralded as classics, and to this day both are still highly regarded. Not only this, but their existence also brought about mods that eventually became franchises in their own right, including Counter-Strike, Team Fortress and Day of Defeat.

Not only this, but Half-Life 2 also introduced the Source Game Engine, which has since been used by many developers to produce some excellent games, including Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Titanfall and The Stanley Parable. And this is before we mention the advent of Steam that came with the game. Cumbersome at first, today it’s a mainstay in the PC gaming community and often your first download as a gamer on PC.

So what better place to start scratching that shooting game itch than one of the greatest first-person shooters ever on PC? Now if we could just get that third installment Valve.

The Half-Life games can be purchased via Steam. Half-Life 1 is also currently being recreated via the game Black Mesa, which is in Early Access and can also be purchased on Steam. 

Total War series

Generally considered something of a dying art on PC, both real-time and turn-based strategy games are becoming rarer on PC as player trends in gaming become more frequent. That’s not to say that you can’t find a great strategy game in 2019, and what better place to look that combines the two types of a strategy game than Creative Assembly’s Total War series?

Historically accurate take on infantry and architecture, or faithful to the source material if you like all things Warhammer. The Total War series has been the one constant in the community when it comes to providing for strategy gamers, with its mix of resource and military management in turn-based form, and the battle of might and wit covered in real-time.

Whether your taste is from the Roman Empire, the classic feudal campaigns, colonial Americas or even 16th-century Japanese warfare, the choice is abundant when it comes to picking your flavor of the setting. There are even mods for earlier games that will keep everything fresh, including converting the world of Medieval 2 into Middle Earth!

Just remember to take a break every once in a while. Time really flies when you’re trying to take over the world. The Total War series can all be found on Steam.

Once again, this is not the only games that you could classify under the best on PC bracket. Several Indie Titles could also make the cut, but the five above have their homes on PC, and as such are definitely worth seeking out first. However, the PC’s library is vast and exciting. There’s never been a better time to get into PC gaming. Game on!

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