The number of PC exclusive titles shrinks every year, with more console ports being announced every year. However, there are still plenty of titles that haven’t made the jump to any of the major consoles, either because the developer doesn’t see the need to port the game or because it simply won’t work without the keyboard and mouse control scheme. Here are some of the all-time best PC-exclusive games and why you should play them.
The best PC exclusive games of all time, our top ten picks
While Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have all courted indie developers to their consoles over the years, the PC is often where some of the most creative and unique games get their start. Some of these indie hits like Among Us make the jump to consoles, but many remain exclusive to their PC roots.
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
There is just something about a good strategy game that doesn’t translate well to console controllers. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is a remake of one of the best strategy games of all time, offering all the in-depth planning that has made this one of the best entries in the long-running series. The mechanics of this game hold up more than two decades after its initial release, so the updated graphics and user interface features only serve to make it better.
It’s one thing to fight against other human nations for domination, but Endless Legends adds a fantasy twist to this formula. Giving you the chance to control elves, orcs, and other fantasy races as you vie for control of the world. Each nation has its own strengths and weaknesses and exploiting those becomes the key to success. The setting is a bit dark and it has a steep learning curve, but once you wrap your head around it, Endless Legend is a great PC exclusive to dive into.
FTL: Faster Than Light
You’re the captain of a ship with a difficult mission – make it to the other end of the galaxy and stop an invading alien armada before it can reach Earth. To do so, you’ll need to recruit other aliens and find parts and fuel on your way to your final confrontation. FTL is a brutally difficult rogue-like, with each playthrough depending heavily on how lucky you get with random encounters. However, that difficulty makes it all the more satisfying when you finally manage to make it to the end and save humanity.
We may never get to see the long-delayed Half-Life 3, but Half-Life: Alyx gave us a taste of what that game might have been. Set five years before the events of Half-Life 2, we got to follow the story of Alyx Vance as they attempt to steal an alien superweapon. This game has remained a PC exclusive since its 2020 release partly because it is a VR shooter and is tied heavily to the PC architecture. It may eventually see a release on console VR, but for now, it remains exclusive to PCs.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is one of the most unique MMO experiences you’ll ever play. Instead of offering a set quest list, the game encourages exploration to find the next bit of the story. Along with the unique leveling system, this game can throw even experienced MMO players for a loop at first. However, more than a decade after its release it continues to get excellent story and content updates, maintaining a healthy and active community.
This is one of the biggest MMO hits of the last year. Lost Ark is a free-to-play MMO that is exclusive to PC. There are multiple classes to experiment with, a deep story to follow, and dungeons to complete as part of your journey to uncover the mysteries of the continent. Once you’ve reached the end game content, you can go back and start again with another class, skipping many of the early missions and starting immediately at a higher level to save you unnecessary grinding.
Ready to get spooky? Phasmophobia is one of the creepiest games you’ll play on PC. Join a group of ghost hunters as you investigate a haunting at a residential home, an abandoned school, or a prison. Track down the ghost’s location and successfully identify it to earn money to buy better equipment. This is one of the most atmospheric games out there, with a great mix of tension and jump scares to keep you uncomfortable throughout.
The Stanley Parable
The Stanley Parable is a game about video games and the infinite choices that they present. Though it eventually got a port that was available for consoles, the original remains one of the best PC-exclusive games of all time, constantly breaking the fourth wall and exploring what happens when you, the player, try to go where the game developer doesn’t want you to.
Total War: Warhammer III
In the grim-dark future, there is only war. Total War: Warhammer is a real-time strategy game set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. This game is hectic, challenging, and fun in equal measure, offering players multiple modes to play through and objectives to complete. The game’s controls can be very complicated at times, making this one that might not appeal to beginners to the genre, but returning fans will find plenty to love here.
World of Warcraft
Nearly two decades after its initial release, World of Warcraft is still one of the biggest names in online gaming. Most MMO players cut their teeth on this massive title and it has remained hugely influential throughout multiple expansions and re-releases over the years. WoW might not be the only name in MMOs anymore, but it is still one of the best PC-exclusive games you’ll find.