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Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Best PC Games Right Now (2013 To Present)

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PC gaming has been around for quite a while, but it only continues to improve as technology gets more advanced and as more and more great games come out. But because so many games do come out on PC (especially Steam) all the time, it can be hard to know what to play. To help you out, we went back a few years and rounded up the best PC-exclusive games.

For this feature, we included some (but not all) of the PC games that received a score of 8 or higher on GameSpot, with priority going to games that were nominated for awards at the end of their release years. To narrow the scope further, we only picked games that released in 2013 or later--sorry, CS:GO.

Many of the games that released during this period are some the best release on the platform. You can spend tons of hours in classic CRPG-style games or immerse yourself in more narrative-driven indie adventure games. Suffice to say it, there's plenty of high-quality options available to you.

What PC games from 2013 onward do you love the most? Let us know in the comments below. And for more PC recommendations, be sure to check out our new show, Steam Punks, where we pick out a few hidden gems on Steam for you to try each week. You can also see our list of the biggest PC games to play in 2018 for more of what's to come.


Battletech -- 8/10


"Battletech is a game that selfishly takes its time to be meticulous in every respect, and pushing through the density and idiosyncrasies of its many, slow-moving parts can be tough. But if you have the will to decipher it, albeit, at a deliberate and punishingly plodding pace, you can find yourself completely engrossed in its kinetic clashes. Battletech's intricate components ultimately foster a fascinating wealth of nuanced systems that build a uniquely strenuous, detailed, and thoroughly rewarding tactical strategy game." [read the full review]

-- Edmond Tran


Total War: Thrones of Britannia -- 8/10


"Thrones of Britannia is an exciting experience despite the cuts to integral components of the Total War series, such as city planning hinging on military needs, specific building customization, and expanded intrigue options. But this has given Creative Assembly room to focus on enhancing parts of the strategy experience that aren’t quite as impenetrable to newcomers, and to allow the series to return to some of the beloved parts of previous historical games to balance out its newer, slimmer form. While there are minor issues with AI, and pacing suffers when you’ve comfortably gotten the upper hand, this is still a worthy and engaging contribution to the Total War stable that has successfully taken its cues from history’s winners and losers alike." [read the full review]

-- Ginny Woo


Far: Lone Sails -- 8/10


"Lone Sails is a transfixing, lovely experience, one that takes recurring indie game tropes and does something unique and fun with them. It's short enough that you could play through it in a single two or three-hour session, but it will likely stick with you for a long time. I can see myself going back in a few months just to revisit the ship, like checking in on an old friend." [read the full review]

-- James O'Connor


Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire -- 8/10


"Deadfire is dense, and it isn't a small game, easily dwarfing its predecessor in terms of scale. There's a lot to do, and it's easier than ever to get lost in the little stories you find, without following the arcs that the game has specially set out for you. Still, it's worth taking your time. The richness of Deadfire takes a while to appreciate, and like the brined sailors that call it home, you'll be left with an indelible attachment to these islands when you do finally step away." [read the full review]

-- Daniel Starkey


Frostpunk -- 9/10


"Frostpunk is among the best overall takes on the survival city builder to date. Its theming and consistency create a powerful narrative through line that binds your actions around the struggle to hold onto humanity in uncertain times. Hope is a qualified good, but you may not always be strong enough (or clever enough) to shelter that flame from the cold." [read the full review]

-- Daniel Starkey


Into the Breach -- 9/10


"There is so much strategic joy in seeing the potential destruction a swarm of giant monsters is about to unleash on a city, then quickly staging and executing elaborate counter maneuvers to ruin the party. Into The Breach's focus on foresight makes its turn-based encounters an action-packed, risk-free puzzle, and the remarkable diversity of playstyles afforded by unique units keeps each new run interesting. It's a pleasure to see what kind of life-threatening predicaments await for you to creatively resolve in every new turn, every new battle, and every new campaign. Into The Breach is a pristine and pragmatic tactical gem with dynamic conflicts that will inspire you to jump back in again, and again, and again." [read the full review]

-- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer


Divinity: Original Sin II -- 10/10


"From lonely farmhouses through pitched battles with gods in far-flung dimensions, Divinity: Original Sin II is one of the most captivating role-playing games ever made. Its immaculately conceived and emotion-wrought fantasy world, topped by brilliant tactical combat, make it one of the finest games of the year thus far, and it has to be regarded as an instant classic in the pantheon of RPG greats." [read the full review]

-- Brett Todd

Note: Divinity: Original Sin II is coming to PS4 and Xbox One in August.


Total War: Warhammer II -- 9/10


"With Warhammer II, Total War doesn't reinvent anything so much as it iterates on the ideas that made the first so special. At its heart there's still the marriage of Total War's big-scale strategy and Warhammer's precise tactical play. But, through a thousand tiny tweaks, they've refined the experience into one of the most intriguing and exciting strategy games ever." [read the full review]

-- Daniel Starkey


The Red Strings Club -- 9/10


"From the game's opening piano chords, The Red String Club's futuristic exploration of themes regarding human emotion, strong writing, and exciting situations create an experience that is deeply gratifying. The cast of relatable, three-dimensional characters elevate the stakes of every bullet fired, secret divulged and cocktail poured. They are flawed and dangerous, but also convey admirable human characteristics that feel inspirational. The Red Strings Club is a tense adventure about a cast of characters that endanger themselves for goals that aren't necessarily guaranteed, a rewarding journey into the human soul, and a game that pushes the limits of what a point-and-click adventure can do." [read the full review]

-- David Rayfield


Civilization VI -- 9/10


"Civ 6 has a few rough edges, but they’re pushed far into the periphery by spectacular strategic depth and intricate interlocking nuances. Any frustrations I experienced were immediately eclipsed by my desire to continue playing. Just one more turn, every turn, forever." [read the full review]

-- Scott Butterworth

Note: Civilization VI's latest expansion, Rise and Fall, received an 8/10 on GameSpot and adds "several key features that both complement and change up the base game." You can read our full review for more.


Endless Space 2 -- 8/10


"4X space sims have long been known as the territory of the serious strategy gamer, but Amplitude has broken away from the pack here. Outstanding depth and tactical challenge have been preserved, although not at the expense of the strong storytelling needed to emphasize the sense of awe and wonder in galactic exploration that’s always been a huge part of the genre’s appeal. Amplitude has done a masterful job combining these two elements into a single game, where the quests and strategy and politics and economy are all tied into a whole much greater than the sum of its parts." [read the full review]

-- Brett Todd


Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III -- 8/10


"An odd chimera of its forebears, there's a lot in this fast-paced RTS that’s a little bit off. Parts of the interface don't work sometimes, inter-match army management is half-baked, and the micromanagement needed to use the game's signature hero units effectively doesn't jibe with the extensive base-building you'll need to support them. But those problems fall away when you’re in the heat of battle. Dawn of War III builds and maintains an organic tension that yields huge pay-offs, and there’s nothing else quite like it." [read the full review]

-- Daniel Starkey


Hacknet - Labyrinths -- 8/10


"The feeling of playing Hacknet in a dark room with headphones on and being absorbed by its engrossing puzzles and soundtrack--full of heavy beats and filthy synth sounds--feels as close as you can get to the Hollywood hacker experience. The puzzles are uniquely challenging without feeling inaccessible, and the Labyrinths expansion takes the formula further by integrating deeper investigations and adding more puzzle variety. Despite the stumbling climax and steady learning curve, Hacknet - Labyrinths is one hell of a ride that leads you down the rabbit hole and back again." [read the full review]

-- James Swinbanks


Orwell -- 8/10


"Orwell is a hard experience to pull back from, even as the dirtiness of your job sinks in. It uses simple mechanics to tell a complex and engaging story, one that feels particularly relevant right now. This is a game where your choices matter and resonate, and which will leave you with plenty to think about once it’s over." [read the full review]

-- James O'Connor


World of Warcraft: Legion -- 9/10


"With Legion, it's hard to remember when WoW's narrative and questing were ever this strong before. Time will tell if Blizzard will serve up a healthy dose of new content to keep the expansion and game alive (a la Mists or Lich King) or if it will suffer the fate of Warlords of Draenor, but right now (about a month after the expansion's release) Blizzard has proven it can still craft an MMO experience as well as--if not better--than anyone else." [read the full review]

-- Don Saas


Quadrilateral Cowboy -- 9/10


"Quadrilateral Cowboy succeeds in astonishing ways: It makes you feel like an incredibly accomplished computer hacker and agent of espionage. It creates an eccentric, thorough world that feels good to exist in and creates characters you can empathise with, despite the lack of a clear plot thread. Quadrilateral Cowboy presents you with a spectrum of moments, and each moment makes you feel great." [read the full review]

-- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer


Total War: Warhammer -- 9/10


"When you're in the middle of a siege and you're coordinating an assault with a friend, Total War: Warhammer approaches perfection. You’ll be tested on all fronts and asked to manage complex battles with broad, nuanced outcomes. Every system and piece feeds into others, and your choices make all the difference. It's a triumph of real-time strategy design, and the best the Total War series has ever been." [read the full review]

-- Daniel Starkey


Offworld Trading Company -- 9/10


"It's a bit chilling to think that in Offworld you're playing out the same obsessive pursuit of capitalism that led to the fall of its finctional Earth--an event hinted at in tutorial dialogue--yet it's so recklessly entertaining and biting with its satire that I couldn’t help but get lost. When combined with truly deep and intricate strategic options, Offworld is a revelation. It's almost unparalleled in the genre. Each and every game is thrilling. Every moment is a challenge. And the brutality of the free market ensures that you can never rest on your laurels, less you be quashed by the invisible hand." [read the full review]

-- Daniel Starkey


Devil Daggers -- 8/10


"Most of the time, Devil Daggers finds elegance in its simplicity. By stripping the pomp of many modern shooters, it reveals the complexity beneath, molding the fundamentals into something exhilarating, something always worth one more try." [read the full review]

-- Mike Mahardy, Video Producer


Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak -- 9/10


"Homeworld was always about loneliness. It was always about clarity and focus. Kharak isn't new in that regard, but it is special. It shows us that when you get things right--and excel--that formula isn't easy to exhaust. Kharak does its part to add to that, though. Its use of voice acting and efficient visuals is a brilliant addition that's far from superficial. It helps narrow the scope of what you need to manage, so that it can load you up with as much as your brain can handle. It’s a fast, daunting experience that's tough to shake, making Kharak as intoxicating as Homeworld has ever been." [read the full review]

-- Daniel Starkey


That Dragon, Cancer -- 9/10


"It’s virtually impossible to not bring one’s own biases into That Dragon, Cancer, because death and disease are universal. Just as it’s impossible to quantify whether the exploration of those two heavy topics is worth the time and considerable emotional energy, it’s impossible to truly quantify the immeasurable value of being able to not just forever present the best version of a person to the world, but being able to earn his presence in every way his parents did." [read the full review]

-- Justin Clark


The Beginner's Guide -- 8/10


"The Beginner’s Guide is an absorbing journey into the thoughts and processes involved during the creation of a video game. It succeeds in helping you understand and sympathize with game developers as artists and people. It equips you with important tools to perceive and think about both video games and other mediums in intelligent ways. It’s a game that lives up to its namesake--it’s the beginner’s guide to the meaning of video games." [read the full review]

-- Edmond Tran, AU Editor / Senior Video Producer


Her Story -- 8/10


"We have an intimate level of knowledge about this woman in the wake of her own personal tragedy, and the strength of Her Story as a narrative experience is that even as the right clips put the truth in sharp relief, your ability to uncover it is both satisfying and horrifying. This feat of intelligence and insight sticks with you long after the credits roll." [read the full review]

-- Justin Clark


Interloper -- 8/10


"Interloper distills the core elements of every good RTS and adds a little extra to put it over the top. No matter if you love or loathe traditional real-time strategy, the deep tactics and puzzle solving crammed into a nicely condensed package here come highly recommended." [read the full review]

-- Brett Todd


The Stanley Parable -- 9/10


"The Stanley Parable is both a richly stimulating commentary on the nature of choice in games (and in other systems, too, like our workplaces and our families) and a game that offers some of the most enjoyable, surprising, and rewarding choices I've ever been confronted with in a game. Going the wrong way has never felt so right." [read the full review]

-- Carolyn Petit


Arma 3 -- 8/10


"ARMA III is a game with few modern counterparts. The influence of Operation Flashpoint isn't felt in many current games, even the modern OF, leaving the ARMA series to lead a charge accompanied by Red Orchestra, Iron Front, and too few others. With that uniqueness comes a dedicated community willing to overlook the flaws because they crave a kind of tension and large-scale teamwork unavailable anywhere else. You should consider joining that crowd. ARMA III is a beast. It occasionally flails and moans, but once you learn how to balance yourself upon it, it gives you a marvelous, turbulent, and memorable ride." [read the full review]

-- Kevin VanOrd


Dota 2 -- 9/10


"The original Dota was an unexpectedly powerful blend of clashing genres and disparate elements that ended up taking over the world, and Valve's successor retains the original rules and characters while adding in a cheery free-to-play model and slick production values. The experience of playing Dota changes day by day--some evenings will be exhilarating, while others will kick your morale to the curb--but there are few games as worthy of your time investment as this. Those who choose to commit to Dota 2 will find many happy hours within this immaculate update." [read the full review]

-- Martin Gaston


Antichamber -- 8.5/10


"There are moments in Antichamber that remain with you long after you've uncovered your last clue and solved your last puzzle. What has been created within its barren walls is supremely intelligent and wildly inventive, and Antichamber doesn't give up its ideals for the sake of accessibility. The few spells of frustration are fleeting and never compromise Antichamber's powerful achievements in design and style. 'Every journey is a series of choices,' you're told at the beginning of your adventure. You should choose to begin yours in Antichamber: it really is quite unlike anything else." [read the full review]

-- Mark Walton




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