While action games are universally loved by all, only a handful deserve the status that comes with the title of “best,” especially on a platform as competitive as PC.
These are the kind of games that get your heart pounding with energetic combat, fluid movement, and impressive graphics that just might melt your monitor.
In this list, we’ll highlight the best action games on PC to play in 2022, including the best action RPGs and best action-adventure games on PC.
Lastly, we’ll be updating this list with new titles in the future, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite PC action games!
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Forgive Me Father
Platforms: Steam, EGS, GOG
Forgive Me Father is a dark retro horror FPS with a comic book aesthetic that’s equal parts old-school DOOM and H.P. Lovecraft.
In it, players take on the role of either a priest or journalist as they navigate a world consumed by madness and eldritch horrors.
Combat blends classic 90s FPS gunplay with active skills and powerups that can help out in a pinch while battling hordes of unpredictable enemies.
There’s also a sanity mechanic and unique dedicated skill trees for both characters you can play as.
Platforms: Steam, GOG
The original Ziggurat is a beloved PC staple that blends FPS action with magic, roguelite progression, and fast-paced movement in a satisfying package.
With Ziggurat 2, the action shooter is redesigned from the ground up with the goal of improving the formula across all areas.
This includes better procedurally generated dungeons with more verticality and variety as well as new weapons, enemies, and spells.
Between missions, players can visit the Citadel to recruit new and old allies, upgrade equipment and skills, and plan for their next adventure.
The Legend of Tianding
The Legend of Tianding is a side-scrolling action game about a legendary Taiwanese folk hero named Liao and his plight to rob the rich, feed the poor, and fight for justice.
The story takes place in early 20th century Colonial Japanese Taiwan and sees players exploring the Dadaocheng area of Taipei city while controlling the legendary outlaw.
Liao is equipped with a tanto, waist sash, and fast-paced Kung Fu moves that make for tight technical combat with advanced aerial combos, grappling hook maneuvers, and more.
Players can also equip different magic talismans to modify Liao’s playstyle and unlock unique bonuses such as increased health recovery, faster stamina-regen, and reduced damage.
Platforms: Steam, GOG
One such game that takes cues from its predecessors (both in terms of style and gameplay) is Ultrakill, a stylish and ultraviolent retro FPS from Arsi Patala and New Blood Interactive.
Despite its old-school art style, the game still has a lot of modern game design philosophies working behind the scenes that make it hard to put down once you’re hooked.
This includes skill-based style scoring and a health-regen system that encourages you to rip through enemies and bathe in their blood.
Platforms: Steam, EGS, GOG
Severed Steel is a stylish FPS that has you controlling a one-armed sharpshooter tasked with infiltrating a superstructure overflowing with bad guys.
Gameplay revolves around flashy first-person gunplay and a fluid stunt system complete with bullet time and destructible environments.
Since the character you play as has only one arm, there’s no reloading whatsoever, requiring you to seek out more enemies and pry weapons from their cold dead hands.
The game also features a dynamic squad-based AI that allows for unscripted enemy encounters and ensures no two gunfights play out the same.
Standing in stark contrast to many of the games on this list, Mighty Goose belongs to a subsection of side-scrolling 2D platformers known as run n’ guns.
In it, you don the mantle of the titular hero Mighty Goose, a mech-wearing fowl and one of the best bounty hunters across the galaxy.
Gameplay sees you blasting your way through sprawling 2D levels brimming with enemies, weapon power-ups, and giant overpowered mech vehicles.
Retro-inspired pixel art is further complemented by a bombastic soundtrack comprised of crunchy synth-rock and funky jazz-fusion melodies that bring this old-school action game to life.
Platforms: Steam, EGS, GOG
Huntdown is a fantastic side-scrolling arcade shooter with over-the-top action and comedic undertones complemented by satisfying game mechanics.
In it, you play as a bounty hunter tasked with liberating their futuristic city from a criminal underworld of thugs who have overpowered the police.
The game sees you traversing 20 gritty, neon-soaked levels inspired by 80s cityscapes as you track down gang leaders to collect the bounty on their heads.
Levels and characters are depicted in 16-bit pixel art graphics complete with hand-drawn animations, fluid 60 FPS performance, and a synth-tastic soundtrack.
MADNESS: Project Nexus
Next up, Madness: Project Nexus is a third-person run n’ gun-style shooter with arcade-inspired chaotic combat.
In it, you take on the role of a deadly little bean man as he infiltrates heavily guarded facilities, cult camps, moving trains, and more while fighting back against oppressive soldiers and cannibal bandits.
Your character can wield a host of guns including pistols, rifles, shotguns, and machineguns with unique perks as well as countless melee weapons for when you’re low on ammo.
Project Nexus features an 8-hour story campaign that supports local co-op and an arena mode where players can customize their warrior from the ground up and progress through specialized skill trees.
Platforms: Steam, EGS, GOG
You ascend a massive structure performing fluid parkour maneuvers like wall-running in tandem with a fancy grappling hook that puts you in the crosshairs of armed guards.
Combat in Ghostrunner is quite demanding, requiring you to dodge incoming fire using a time slow down ability before moving in for the kill with your cyber-enhanced katana.
If you’re a fan of the cyberpunk aesthetic, then you’ll definitely be blown away by the game’s neon-rich visuals and synth-heavy soundtrack as well.
Platforms: Steam, EGS, GOG
Control sees you playing as Jesse Faden, a woman tasked with exploring a secret government facility called the Oldest House, which just so happens to be overflowing with paranormal activity.
While some parts of the game can feel spooky, the game is less horror and more cinematic action, resembling a fast-paced third-person shooter.
Jesse can wield supernatural abilities and a shape-shifting gun called the Service Weapon, which alternates between different firing modes to deal devastating damage.
Control combines the best parts of Metroidvanias, shooters, and science fiction to deliver a thrilling rollercoaster of frenetic combat and dynamic exploration.
The sequel doubles down on the push-forward combat design of its predecessor while encouraging players to discover new tactics throughout its sandbox levels.
Environments are presented as massive jungle gyms that make it easy to avoid incoming fire as you take down the biggest threats.
The addition of a new grappling hook provides an extra layer to the game’s traversal system, with movement overall feeling more fluid than ever.
The game describes itself as a “hypnotic scramble of early first-person shooter design that values speed above all else,” and in our experience that definitely rings true.
The first time you pick it up, your eyes will need some time to adjust to the distorted bright colors, trippy environments, and fast-paced combat.
However, keep at it and soon you’ll find yourself flying from room to room killing anything that crosses your path and aiming to reach the end with a new high score.
Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 takes place five years after DMC 4 and tells a brand new story from the perspective of three different playable characters.
Dante makes his grand return, this time joined by Nero, a demon hunter with a retractable arm, along with V, one of Dante’s clients who can summon animal familiars to battle on his behalf.
The trio set off on a world-spanning adventure to defeat the Demon King Urizen before he can carry out his sinister plan to destroy the mortal realm.
We recommend getting the Special Edition since it introduces a host of new content, including Vergil as a fourth playable character, new Bloody Palace and Legendary Dark Knight modes, and expanded graphics options on PC.
NieR: Automata takes a unique approach to storytelling by requiring multiple playthroughs to fully understand what exactly is going on.
It follows two androids entangled in a war created by humans pitting their kind against ancient robots who invaded Earth in the past.
Throughout the protagonists 2B and 9S’s journey, you’ll learn more about their origins and the war itself, while also being forced to grapple with deep philosophical questions regarding life and humanity.
Gameplay revolves around fast-paced hack and slash combat oozing with style and increasingly ridiculous battles against larger-than-life enemies.
Grand Theft Auto V
Platforms: Steam, EGS
The Grand Theft Auto series has you playing as different work-for-hire criminals willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty for various mob bosses, street gangs, and sometimes just for the sake of anarchy.
GTA 5 presents the biggest and boldest experience to date, introducing three new playable characters in its single-player story as well as the ability to create your own avatar in GTA Online.
Whether you’re looking to flip stolen cars, participate in street races, or clean out every bank vault, there’s a near-endless number of ways to get into trouble, earn cash, and increase your street rep.
The online version of the game is well-supported with post-launch content and benefits from a host of community-made servers, mini-games, and activities.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
The third entry in the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise follows the explorer as she travels to a tropical rainforest to stop the evil organization Trinity from triggering an ancient Mayan curse.
Gone are the days of playing as an inexperienced Lara who would stand her ground when necessary, but otherwise avoid violent conflict.
Instead, we get a version of Lara who’s more unhinged than ever before, exploring new hellish tactics that allow for both stealth and more action-based approaches.
You can dive into Shadow of The Tomb Raider without having played the first two entries, but they’re worth checking out as well.
Resident Evil 3
Just like the original, the game follows Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira as they try to survive a zombie outbreak while also being pursued by a highly sophisticated bioweapon called Nemesis.
What makes RE3 remake such a good action game is the urgency in which Nemesis hunts you down, forcing you to keep moving forward and discover different ways to momentarily distract or stun him.
A lot of the game is spent focusing on this idea, and it makes for some of the most heart-pounding moments you’ll ever have playing a video game.
The Yakuza series is known for its distinct blend of action-heavy combat and intricate story spanning decades of games.
While the franchise is littered with remarkable entries, for this list, we’ve decided to highlight Yakuza 0, which serves as a prequel that sets up events for later installments.
It chronicles the beginning of Kazuma Kiryu’s criminal career and has you guiding him from low ranking thug to the head honcho of the Yakuza crime family.
The game tosses you into semi-open world environments where you’re forced to battle rival gangs using a variety of melee weapons or sometimes just your bare fists.
At the start, Hotline Miami presents itself as a top-down stealth game where you’re both outgunned and outnumbered by enemies.
It’s only after memorizing certain guard behaviors and coming to grips with the fact that a single bullet or knife wound could spell out your death at any moment, that things truly open up.
The game does a great job of helping you adjust to its brutal combat difficulty by presenting dozens of scenarios designed for you to repeat over and over again until you find the perfect route.
Eventually, you find yourself racing through rooms, killing enemies solely off instincts as you get closer to your goal: wiping out the entire Russian mafia.
Supergiant Games are known for putting out polished, well-written indie games that put a unique spin on a familiar concept.
In it, you play as the titular Hades as he sets out to escape an ever-shifting underworld guarded by powerful gods.
Each run sees you exploring a randomized map filled with obstacles and rewards that can help you advance to the next area.