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Best PC games 2022

MSI Aegis R
MSI Aegis R (Image credit: Windows Central)

In many regards, PC gamers have it better than their console counterparts. One reason why is the sheer breadth of titles available, but this can make it challenging to keep up with the best titles on the platform. We're here to help you out with a shortlist of PC games you need to play — both new and old. Even though it's a few years old (and frankly an obvious choice), The Witcher 3 remains our top pick.

Best overall: The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Windows Central Best Award

This choice may appear a little too obvious, but The Witcher 3 really is one of the best games ever released on PC. The story is engaging, each side quest is interesting, and the world CD PROJEKT RED managed to bring to life feels authentic. It's mind-boggling the first time you fire up Geralt's adventure.

The Witcher 3 is a medieval-inspired experience, following the adventures of Geralt of Rivia as he attempts to track down his protege, Ciri. Along the way, Geralt gets caught up in all sorts of political intrigue, trading his supernatural hunting services for coins and information.

Even the mini-game, Gwent, was such a hit that the developer managed to release a standalone game. It's the whole package, so long as you can overlook the so-so combat system. And since you've probably seen the Netflix show by now, what better time to check out this truly epic game for a bit more Geralt of Rivia.

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Witcher 3 Sunset

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The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3

The winds be howling

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning visuals
+
Engaging story
+
Interesting characters
+
Story decisions
+
Unique world

Reasons to avoid

-
Combat is only OK

Best battle royale: Apex Legends

Apex Legends

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

EA decided it would be a good idea to cash in on the battle royale fad, and Apex Legends is what subsidiary Respawn Entertainment came up with. Many consider it a free-to-play battle royale version of Titanfall, but it's much more than that.

If you're familiar with PUBG, the aim of this game is to drop down with teammates and be the last team standing. You don't control mechs; instead, it's more of a traditional run-and-gun shooter, but each character available has unique special abilities that keep each round feeling fresh.

It's a fun game, especially with friends, and the number of customization options available and addictive gameplay make the grind an enjoyable experience. Even with the popularity of Call of Duty Warzone, Apex Legends is still the cream of the crop when it comes to Battle Royale gameplay. There's no other title in this genre that feels this good to play.

Apex Legends

The top of the tree when it comes to battle royale games

Reasons to buy

+
Addictive gameplay
+
Unique battle royale game
+
Free
+
Great design
+
Fluid movements

Reasons to avoid

-
Battle Pass costs money
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Other microtransactions

Best RPG: Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

Disco Elysium

Source: ZA/UM (Image credit: Source: ZA/UM)

Coming almost out of nowhere, Disco Elysium is one of the single most "must play" games on any platform today. While it looks on the surface like a traditional, top-down, isometric RPG, that couldn't be further from the truth. Disco Elysium takes the rulebook and tosses it out of the window.

It makes no apologies for its tone and makes it perfectly clear that topics like politics can belong in video games done right. Disco Elysium shies away from nothing and truly is a role-playing game in the very closest of terms.

The options to play your own way are limitless, and with subsequent playthroughs, you can have an entirely different experience, making different choices and playing a different way. 2021 will see a free expansion to the game for current owners, too, and if you're yet to play this exceptional game, you need to change that right away.

Disco Elysium

Solve crimes, do drugs

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptional storytelling
+
Unique experience
+
Deep RPG mechanics
+
Story decisions
+
Runs on almost any PC

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for younger audiences

Best racing: Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 Release Screenshot

Source: Xbox Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Xbox Game Studios)

Forza Horizon is a series many follow for its addictive racing gameplay and online features to foster a virtual petrol head community. The latest installment, Forza Horizon 5, is a stunning entry, sporting a vast open-world based across the varied terrain of Mexico. It's taken the formula perfected in Forza Horizon 4 and just expanded it. Quite a bit.

You'll be able to race around in your favorite vehicles, destroy most of the environment, and enjoy the experience of driving in various weather conditions — all in glorious 4K with an uncapped frame rate on PC.

There is a ton of content to play in the base game but as with previous Forza Horizon games, there will be regular content updates, more cars to come, and the promise of a pair of full expansion packs to widen the game world even more. And if you subscribe to PC Game Pass or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you can play it as part of your membership.

Forza Horizon 5

The biggest racer yet

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible graphics
+
Excellent gameplay
+
Online features
+
Big open world
+
Soooo many cars

Reasons to avoid

-
Massive download
-
Average multiplayer experience

Best action: Grand Theft Auto V

Chances are you've already played Grand Theft Auto V, but if you haven't, you should. It's the largest entry in the GTA series, following the story of three broken individuals. Aside from the engaging storyline, you can go around and cause havoc across the city, just like in other GTA titles.

While the single-player action is addictive, the real gem is GTA Online, which is a completely separate game provided in the same package. Rockstar updates it with new content weekly, so there's always something fresh to get stuck on. Play it with friends, and you'll have so much fun.

It's hard to believe this game has been this popular for this long, or even that there are people who still haven't played it. It will go down in history as one of the all-time greats, and until GTA 6 becomes a thing, there's still plenty of reason to keep playing.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand theft madness

Reasons to buy

+
Three protagonists
+
Large open world
+
Graphics
+
Free online play
+
Regular updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Loading...
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Cheaters

Best competitive shooter: Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft continues to release updates for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege tactical shooter, providing players with yet more content to dive through. The popular game mode Terrorist Hunt tasks two squads of players to either attack or defend a specific location, and there's simply no other multiplayer title that matches the tense, skill-driven action.

You'll need to master the art of destruction and gadgetry in this game. Experience a new era of fierce firefights and expert strategy born from the rich legacy of past Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six games. We're big fans of this installment, and if you're looking for a new multiplayer experience, this is it. Our only issue is the steep learning curve, which may put off newcomers.

Rainbow Six Siege

Tactical shooting

Reasons to buy

+
Unmatched skill-based multiplayer
+
Flawless atmosphere
+
Regular free updates
+
Huge player base
+
Plays well even on modest hardware

Reasons to avoid

-
Steep learning curve

Best free-to-play: Destiny 2

Destiny 2

Source: Bungie (Image credit: Source: Bungie)

If there's an example of a free-to-play game done right then Destiny 2 is about as close as it comes. It's been around for a number of years now, but initially was a full-priced game launched in partnership with Activision. The developer, Bungie, split from Activision and relaunched Destiny as a free-to-play game with its "New Light" onboarding mission chain for new players.

Destiny 2 has gone from strength to strength ever since. The events of 2020 and 2021 have caused some delays to the content roadmap, but in early 2022 the next massive expansion, The Witch Queen, is set to take the story in another new direction. Unlike many games with a "battle pass", the seasons in Destiny 2 are part of the yearly story cycle, with each taking the narrative forward.

Destiny 2 can become quite the time sink, which is good or bad depending on your outlook. The endlessly replayable nature of its gameplay and the loot chase always provides fresh challenges, and taking on the various dungeons and raids is hugely rewarding. You're not going to be able to play everything for free, but there's more than enough to give you a taste and help you decide if it's a game worth your investment.

Destiny 2

Loot and shoot across the galaxy

Reasons to buy

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Massive amount of content
+
A lore hunter's delight
+
Regular content updates
+
PvP and PvE game modes
+
Doesn't need a mega-powerful PC to play

Reasons to avoid

-
Older content has been removed
-
Hard to follow the story for more casual players

Best strategy: Stellaris

Stellaris

Source: Paradox (Image credit: Source: Paradox)

Stellaris is one of the best 4X strategy and sci-fi games out there. You start with your own civilization in vast space and need to develop your empire. The early game is much-loved by fans for making you truly feel as though you're exploring space for the very first time.

Multiple expansions have been released, adding tons of new content and free patches to refresh the game for all Stellaris owners. The game itself is easy to get into but challenging to master, requiring you to manage planets, populations, relations with other civilizations, and ensuring you have enough resources to maintain a fleet.

Stellaris

See what's out there

Reasons to buy

+
Solid UI and graphics
+
Addictive gameplay
+
Plenty of depth
+
Replayability

Reasons to avoid

-
AI is a little dumb
-
Steep learning curve

Best simulation: Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator Tbm Snow

Source: Xbox Game Studios (Image credit: Source: Xbox Game Studios)

What to say about Microsoft Flight Simulator that accurately conveys the sheer grandeur of it all. Many words come to mind, but mesmerizing probably hits about right. This reboot of one of Microsoft's older, much-adored franchises delivers on a level far beyond anything imaginable.

It can bring even high spec gaming rigs to its knees, but with the right power behind it, this is simply one of the most beautiful games you will ever lay your eyes on. Part of that is the incredible digital recreation of the planes, and part is the stunning world you see out of the cockpit window.

Microsoft has used both the power of the cloud and its in-house mapping data to render and then stream a 3D model of the real world to Flight Simulator players. That's over 2 petabytes of data available, which would be impossible to render natively on even the best gaming PCs. But by offloading that to the cloud, the experience in Microsoft Flight Simulator truly is unlike any other.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Flying high in the sky

Reasons to buy

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Stunning graphics
+
Cloud-rendered 3D modeling
+
Free on Game Pass
+
Endless replayability
+
Tons of content

Reasons to avoid

-
Demanding to run
-
Can be expensive

Best casual: Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

Source: ConcernedApe (Image credit: Source: ConcernedApe)

Stardew Valley is one of those interesting games that took the gaming world by storm. Harvest Moon and other life simulation games are usually console-bound, aside from The Sims. ConcernedApe decided this would simply not do and brought about a killer experience for PC gamers to enjoy.

In Stardew Valley, you move into the area after inheriting a piece of land from a relative, and it's down to you to sort it all out, pull up trees, plant crops, construct buildings, raise animals, and much more. It's not just about farming, too, since there are caves to explore, monsters to slay, and fish to catch.

The game goes through the four seasons, and there are even activities held by the nearby village. Multiplayer works well with multiple players who live on the same farm, housed in their own buildings.

Stardew Valley

Grow your own farm!

Reasons to buy

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Addictive gameplay
+
Gorgeous design
+
Multiplayer
+
Plenty to do
+
Countless crops and animals

Reasons to avoid

-
Somewhat limited for some

Best for kids: Minecraft

Minecraft First Night

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Minecraft is a blocky world where everything is a block, including your character. You can mine these blocks, build with them, make strange contraptions, defeat bosses, explore mysterious locations, download and install mods, and join your friends to create worlds together.

It's a game that has been around for years but sees a steady stream of updates with new content and has millions upon millions of people playing worldwide on all platforms. If you fancy building something, designing your own home, or recreating the Death Star to scale, this is the game you need.

It's an excellent sandbox for kids to play in, and they're unlikely ever to get bored. Best of all, it's so easy to run on virtually any PC that it's almost a no-brainer.

Minecraft

Unleash your creativity

Reasons to buy

+
So much to do
+
Best played with friends
+
So many mods
+
Works on even lower-powered hardware
+
Free with Game Pass

Reasons to avoid

-
A lot of content behind a paywall

Best indie: Hades

Hades Megara

Source: Supergiant Games (Image credit: Source: Supergiant Games)

Hades is the latest and greatest from independent superheroes Supergiant, known for games like Transistor and Bastion. And it's easily one of the best new releases to launch in 2020. It's even got a cross-save feature allowing you to hook up to the Nintendo Switch version.

Following a familiar isometric RPG formula, Hades injects a dash of roguelike-style death and rebirth, weaving in a witty and infectious narrative that revolves around Greek mythology.

Hades' combat is the true star of the show, with stylish combos and strangely addictive sliding attacks that simply never get old. Hades felt like it came out of nowhere to widespread acclaim and thoroughly earned its place as one of the finest PC games you can play.

Hades

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful artwork and music
+
Strong story and voice acting
+
Addictive gameplay loop
+
Plenty of endgame content
+
Cross-save with Nintendo Switch

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs plenty of time investment

Best ARPG: Path of Exile

Path of Exile

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Path of Exile isn't just a game; it's a journey. If you love RPGs where you can select and build a character through level progression and skill tree point allocation, this is the game for you. It's also jam-packed full of loot, allowing you to kit out your budding adventurer with some high-hitting, fancy-looking gear.

Much like Diablo, the game aims to progress through the story, taking down hordes of enemies. After that, the game truly begins with end-game content in the form of maps, as well as additions from all the different leagues that are run regularly. These allow you to start fresh each season to take part in the new content.

It's social-based, too, featuring a huge user-driven market with in-game items used as currency. There's a fairly steep learning curve, but once you've got into the groove and find a playstyle and character build that suits you, it becomes one hell of an addiction. I, personally, have invested hundreds upon hundreds of hours and loved each and every moment.

Path of Exile

Craft your own adventure

Reasons to buy

+
Addictive gameplay
+
Rolling leagues
+
So much loot
+
Can play with up to 7 friends
+
Some incredibly fun playstyles

Reasons to avoid

-
Steep learning curve

Best sports: Football Manager 2022

Football Manager 2020

Source: Sports Interactive (Image credit: Source: Sports Interactive)

Football Manager has been around for decades. It was originally called Championship Manager, and today, we've been blessed with Football Manager 2022, which brings with it the latest transfer updates, as well as plenty of improvements.

The aim of the game is quite simple. You need to take control of a team and lead them to victory in local leagues as well as international cups. It's not quite that simple, though. There's a lot of depth here, including player scouting, statistics, development, youth, morale, media, and much more. It's easy to decimate your winning streak with nothing but a player substitute.

Still, once you get the hang of the mechanics and start winning matches, it becomes a rush to keep clicking the advance button, much like Civilization. Just one more day in-game turns into an entire weekend lost and forgotten.

Football Manager 2022

Proper footy

Reasons to buy

+
The best manager game
+
So much depth with so many teams
+
Fully licensed
+
Budding community with transfer updates
+
Gorgeous UI

Reasons to avoid

-
So much to master
-
Match outcomes can be unfair

Best card game: Inscryption

Inscryption

Source: Devolver Digital (Image credit: Source: Devolver Digital)

If you're a fan of card games with a splash of the roguelike, then Inscryption is a must-play. If you're worried about it being a mere Slay the Spire clone, fear not, this is very much its own beast.

It's also a game that you're best served to go into completely blind. You don't have to take our word for it, just check out the overwhelmingly positive Steam reviews. Virtually all its players agree that newcomers shouldn't look anything up, just download it and go. The almost 95% rating on SteamDB is all you need to know about.

So that's where we're going to leave it. You know what you have to do.

Inscryption

Just play it

Reasons to buy

+
Just
+
Play
+
It

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't win over those who don't like card games

Bottom line

So many great PC games have been released over the years, but there's one that always stands out: The Witcher 3. It's now used as a benchmark of what new RPGs should be in terms of quality, and that's great for all PC gamers.

It's an encapsulating story, a gorgeous world, and packed full of interesting characters. You'll sink a whole lot of hours into this game, and that's not taking into account GWENT, the side card game that's been spun off into its own title.

If you're not a fan of RPGs, there are plenty of other games available, whether you like adventure games or even just racing games. Check them out, or try all of them.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.