100 Great PC Games You Should Play Before You Die

The must-plays every PC gamer should know

Credit: FromSoftware

50. Pyre

Credit: Supergiant Games

As with all Supergiant Games, Pyre's feels like a triumph in originality. It weaves together metalhead visuals, carceral politics and the real-time tactics of team sports to sublime results. 

What’s more, the specific way that the narrative handles — and adapts to — the choices you make gives Pyre a unique kind of replayability. Supergiant have managed to produce the rare game where the branching, choice-driven narrative isn’t just some superficial illusion, it’s integral and authentic.

49. Fortnite

Credit: Epic Games

Epic’s earth-shaking battle royale shooter has drawn in an entire generation of gaming fans and set a high standard for what an always-online multiplayer experience can look like. The game boasts a bevy of modes, colourful characters and a battleground that can drastically change from month to month. 

However, there’s more than just momentum involved in keeping Fortnite afloat.

Regardless of whether Fortnite itself sticks around in the years to come, the game’s legacy as a once-in-a-generation smash hit built atop the ruins of Epic’s foray into tower defense games is all but assured.

48. Bioshock 2

Credit: 2K Marin

Drawing players back to the drowned and dilapidated city of Rapture, the sequel to the iconic Bioshock sees you become into one of the boss-like monsters you fought in the first game. This escalation creates new narrative and more robust combat possibilities. 

Bioshock 2 does justice to its hallowed foundations, finding new themes and gameplay within the ruins  and giving the story of Rapture the ending it deserves.

47. Return of the Obra Dinn

Credit: Lucas Pope

Lucas Pope’s follow-up to the critically-celebrated Papers, Please has little in common with its predecessor but is no less worthy of acclaim. 

A first person adventure game with vivid, dreamlike visuals, Return of Obra Dinn sees you take on the role of an insurance investigator tasked with unravelling what happened to the crew of the titular derelict. Though the answers are rarely as enchanting as the journey, there’s a deep, primal satisfaction that comes with filling out the blanks in this multi-dimensional logic puzzle.

46. Total War: Warhammer

Credit: Creative Assembly

Total War: Warhammer is an authentic and ambitious effort to pin down one of the most feral settings in fantasy tabletop gaming into one of strategy gaming’s most venerated series. It plays a lot like previous installments but Warhammer’s chaotic streak frequently threatens to throw the tactics of conventional warfare up into upheaval. 

Creative Assembly’s penchant for large scale warfare simulations is a perfect match for the pulpy pandemonium of the source material here. Total War: Warhammer manages the deft feat of being both the game that breaks free of the series’ formula in ways that surprise and delight you while also feeling like the most obvious crossover ever conceived.

45. Elsinore

Credit: Golden Glitch

Best described as a Hamlet simulator, Elsinore deconstructs and brings new dimensions to Shakespeare's most renowned tragedy. You play as Ophelia, who is caught in a Groundhog Day-inspired time loop where she must relive the events of the play over and over again. 

Ultimately, Elsinore is a game about persistence, perception, cause and effect with each new life representing a fresh chance at salvation, redemption or escape.

44. Tales from the Borderlands

Credit: Telltale Games

While Telltale’s The Walking Dead was the game that popularised and exemplified their episodic, choose-your-own-adventure style of interactive fiction, Tales from the Borderlands is arguably the studio’s most audacious effort.

Based in the same universe as Gearbox’s popular first-person-looters, Tales from the Borderlands borrows from sitcoms like Spaced as often as it does heist films like Ocean’s 11. The whole affair is only made that much wackier by how closely the project was perched on the precipice of complete disaster. 

It’s much more difficult to make people laugh than it is to make them cry - and, at its best, Tales from the Borderlands is cripplingly funny.

43. Tacoma

Credit: Fullbright

Tacoma finds new life in a premise all-too-familiar for PC gamers. You’re an insurance investigator sent to a derelict space habitat to find out what happened to the absentee crew of the titular Tacoma Station by retracing their steps and reviewing security footage. 

You might think you know where this is going but you don’t. Tacoma is both a celebration and subversion of the classic isolation investigation thriller.

42. Battle Brothers

Credit: Overhype Studios

This is a turn-based tactical RPG in which you get to lead a rowdy, uncouth mercenary company in a gritty, low-power, medieval fantasy world.

Adopting good strategy is paramount to doing well in Battle Brothers. You can choose who to hire and fight, which contracts to accept, and what weapons to equip your warriors with, as they battle fierce enemies like dire wolves and the undead. 

Want to hire a drunkard, or a disowned noble and arm them with a lute? In this game you can. Oozing character, it has some of the best – and funniest - writing we’ve seen in a game. All the characters come with their own background stories and traits too and there is an excellent character development system. 

41. Sunless Skies

Credit: Failbetter Games

Sunless Skies is a harrowing adventure game that blurs the lines between survival roguelike and decision-driven RPG.

Set in an alternate version of history where the Victorian imperialism expands into the stars through eldritch means. You quickly find yourself at the helm of your own ship and cast adrift into a world of Victorian decorum, cosmic horror and space trains. Sunless Skies is an adventure that can rightfully lay claim to be unlike any other.

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