For as long as we can remember, PC gaming has reigned supreme as the only platform where players aren’t limited to specific hardware or even one digital store.
While Steam continues to dominate in terms of sales and brand-recognition, competitors like the EGS, GoG, and Humble Bundle serve as decent alternatives for players looking to buy new and exclusive titles.
Here, we’ve highlighted some of the best experiences available on PC in 2021, with an emphasis on recent releases.
We’ll be updating this list regularly, so make sure to check back.
Lastly, if you’d like more gaming recommendations, consider reading our other curated lists and buying guides:
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My Friend Pedro
My Friend Pedro is based on a 2014 Adobe Flash game of the same name and maintains many of the original’s mechanics and controls. The game is a shoot em’ up in which players traverse uniquely themed levels, killing enemies in real-time while also being capable of entering a slowed-down version of reality.
A large chunk of MFP’s appeal stems from its Hollywood-esque action sequences that see players chaining together flashy kills using pistols and shotguns as well as environmental objects such as a skateboard, barrels, and cooking pans.
The game awards points based on each shot landed, multiplied by the number of kills achieved, and gives players a ranking at the end of every level.
Gibbous – A Cthulu Adventure
Gibbous is a point-and-click adventure game heavily inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, more specifically, the Cthulu mythos. The game is experienced through three connected protagonists: Don R. Ketype, a Detective on a case to retrieve a mysterious evil tome, Buzz Kerwan, a librarian who stumbles upon it, and Kerwan’s cat, Kitteh, who gains the ability to speak after being exposed to the book.
What follows is a supernatural journey packed with equal parts comedy and horror as the three heroes attempt to unravel ancient conspiracies. Most impressive is Gibbous‘ visual presentation, which features traditionally-animated characters and hand-painted environments.
Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 stays true to the series’ core while offering a streamlined scoring system developed for newcomers. The hack n’ slash action game is set five years after DMC 4 and sees players controlling three demonic-powered protagonists: Dante, Nero, and V, as they try to prevent the Demon King Urizen from destroying the mortal realm.
While veteran players will enjoy the return of Dante and Nero’s stylish playstyles, V offers a unique alternative, with his arsenal consisting of creature-summoning spells. If you enjoy chaining together flashy combos and watching your score meter rise, DMC 5 may be the perfect game for you.
Outer Wilds is a mystery game that sees your character trapped in a perpetual Groundhog Day-style time-loop. You play as the newest recruit of Outer Wilds Ventures, an up-and-coming space program looking to expand its knowledge of the solar system and its many secrets.
Your journey sees you explore historically-rich planets with unique weather conditions and hidden locations to discover. However, unraveling the mysteries of your alien ancestors won’t be easy as black holes, oxygen deprivation, and other environmental hazards are all part of this reality.
Void Bastards is a strategy first-person shooter that has you planning and executing a space prison escape. Inspired by games like BioShock and System Shock 2, gameplay focuses on exploring derelict spaceships, scavenging whatever supplies you can find, and taking out any enemies who get in your way.
However, unlike most shooters, you don’t have to fight every battle with guns; Void Bastards features a number of traps and tools that can be upgraded and used to distract or deter enemies, leaving room for different playstyles. The game utilizes Roguelike mechanics that add variety to each run as new characters come equipped with unique skills.
Amid Evil is an FPS inspired by retro shooters like Unreal, Doom, Quake, and Heretic, with it being considered a spiritual successor to the latter. Set in the ancient past, the game sees players taking on the role of “the Champion,” a skilled warrior who’s been bestowed with a holy battle-ax.
After a mysterious and powerful force begins destroying lands within different realms, the Champion is called upon to enter an inter-dimensional gateway and defeat the evil force’s minions. Amid Evil offers fast-paced first-person action and the ability to kill enemies with a variety of weaponry including axes, swords, and magical staffs.
Baba Is You
Baba Is You is a quirky top-down puzzle game that presents its rules as physical objects in the game’s world. While controlling Baba, a small white creature, you can walk up to interactive-objects and manipulate their positioning to alter the environment.
For example, you may encounter a solid wall that needs to be passed in order to collect a flag, with the words ‘Wall Is Stop” located nearby. Removing the word ‘Stop’ from the chain of objects will result in Baba being able to pass through and collect the flag. It’s an interesting mechanic that encourages experimentation and can lead to some surprising results.
Resident Evil 2
Following the huge success of the first Resident Evil remake, Capcom’s updated version of Resident Evil 2 is nothing short of a horror game masterpiece. It features completely redone assets as well as some QoL improvements that make the 20-year-old title feel like a current-gen release.
You control rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield as they attempt to escape Raccoon City in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
While the core experience of RE2 has remained pretty much the same and sees you scavenging for ammo and healing items, the story has been reworked in some areas, giving characters like Ada Wong a much more prominent role.
Hypnospace Outlaw is a sim game that aims to replicate what it was like to surf the internet in the 1990s. Players are invited to explore a range of bizarre and captivating websites where they’ll be monitoring for copyright infringement, internet bullying, viruses, and adware.
Additionally, the game allows you to read through emails and download a variety of unique apps designed to keep you entertained while wasting time. Hypnospace Outlaw features a vibrant, Vaporwave-inspired aesthetic brimming with raw HTML, flashing text, low-res fire GIFs, and embedded audio.
Wargroove is a turn-based tactics game developed and published by Chucklefish that heavily draws inspiration from the Advance Wars series. The game takes place in a fantasy setting and has characters and environments rendered in 2D-pixel art. Wargroove has players taking control of one of thirteen commanders, each with their own campaign, motivations, and personality.
Every commander has a special move called a “Groove”, which can be activated when a meter is completely filled. Every Groove is unique and alters the battlefield in different ways, making for some interesting battles. Aside from a campaign mode, the game includes the ability to craft custom maps, cutscenes, and scenarios using an in-game editor.
The Metro games have only gotten better with each new installment and Metro Exodus is by far the most impressive entry in the series. Aside from upgraded current-gen graphics, the game features larger sandbox environments to explore as well as a more focused story and stealth-based gameplay.
In it, you play as everyone’s favorite Russian post-apocalyptic scavenger Artyom, as he encounters new hazards and enemies in the wasteland of the former Russian Federation. With resources extremely scarce, you’ll have to make every bullet count and scour every nook and cranny for supplies to keep you in the fight.
Risk of Rain 2
Risk of Rain 2 is an Early Access Steam title that’s been making big waves due to its shift from a side-scrolling 2D platformer to a fully 3D third-person shooter. However, the sequel has maintained the series’ energetic combat as well as its Roguelike mechanics, which sees you attempting to survive as long as possible while enemies become increasingly difficult.
The game rewards you for fighting through hordes of alien monsters with better gear to augment your character’s abilities. Currently, Risk of Rain 2 has six different character classes, which developer Hopoo Games plans to add to in the future.
Mordhau is a hack n’ slash medieval fighting game that pits you against other players in battles ranging from small scale scuffles to massive 64-player wars. The game’s central and most satisfying aspect is its realistic free-form melee and ranged combat, which grants you total control over your character’s attack motions and allows for unique fighting styles.
Included are a variety of modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, one-life Skirmishes, and more large-scale battles in Battle Royale and Frontline. Mordhau also features customization options for equipping your character with different types of armor and weapons like two-handed broadswords, bow and arrows, axes, and more.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an action-adventure game developed by FromSoftware and published by Activision. Set during 16th century Sengoku Japan, the game has you playing as Wolf, a deadly Shinobi seeking revenge against a samurai who’s wronged him.
The game features more stealth mechanics and traversal options than other FromSoftware games such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne, including a grappling hook that lets players latch on to rooftops. However, you can expect the same FromSoftware polish when it comes to combat, as Wolf has an arsenal of abilities that he can use to take down the many powerful enemies you’ll encounter.
The Division 2
The Division 2 is a culmination of everything developer Massive Entertainment has learned from player feedback regarding the first game and contained a lot more content at launch than the original. The game is set in Washington D.C. seven months after the events of The Division and sees your character caught in the middle of a civil war between survivors and deadly enemy factions.
Players can team-up in online multiplayer with a squad of four and explore dynamic environments brimming with enemies. Additionally, PvP has been reworked and now includes multiple ‘Dark Zones’ where players can face-off against one another to earn more powerful loot. With a recent update that added a brand-new 8-player raid, Ubisoft has plans to support the game long-term.
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is a Roguelike card-strategy game developed by American studio MegaCrit and published by Humble Bundle. At the beginning of each playthrough, the game has you selecting from one of three predetermined characters, each with their own unique starting conditions and decks of cards.
The goal of the game is to make your way through several levels of a spire, with each level having a set number of encounters determined by a branching path that culminates in a boss battle. During each run you’ll come across campfires that allow you to heal or upgrade cards, shopkeepers that offer cards to purchase, chests with random loot, and random choice-based encounters.
Observation is a sci-fi adventure game developed by No Code, best known for creating the horror adventure anthology Stories Untold. The game has you take on the role of an AI named S.A.M. as you try to piece together what happened to the crew of a seemingly abandoned space station.
As S.A.M., you’ll have access to the station’s operating systems, cameras, and a variety of tools to assist with your investigation. Developer No Code is comprised of former staff from Rocksteady, Rockstar North, and most notably Creative Assembly, makers of Alien Isolation, which Observation seems at least partially inspired by.
Inspired by the beloved Harvest Moon games, Stardew Valley is a farming sim that offers players a relaxing, enjoyable experience. Days are spent growing crops, gathering resources, crafting items, exploring mines, and completing tasks for a cast of well-written NPCs, each with their own distinct personality.
The game offers a lot of flexibility in terms of how you choose to spend your days, allowing you to focus on doing the activities you enjoy most. Over the in-game years, you’ll get to know the community of Stardew Valley well, forming relationships that can leave a lasting impression.
By this point, Hollow Knight has pretty much solidified its place in Metroidvania hall of fame. The game is centered on its title protagonist, a silent sword-wielding knight on a quest to unlock the mysteries of Hallownest, a dark and dangerous kingdom that offers great rewards to any brave enough to explore its treacherous environments.
The 2D action-platformer does an excellent job of finding new ways to use its Metroidvania format to encourage exploration by providing the player with massive environments littered with collectibles and rewards. Additionally, experimenting with different load-outs opens up new opportunities to min/max and reach hidden areas.
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter: World streamlines many of the creature slaying franchise’s features in order to appeal to a larger audience. While it may not always deliver on this promise when it comes to its antiquated online matchmaking systems, once you and your friends assemble, everything else is smooth sailing.
Quests can be completed with up to four players and scale in difficulty depending on how many players are in a squad. World’s already satisfying combat and crafting systems become infinitely more fun and approachable when you have teammates calling out whenever they find a rare material or spot the monster you’re attempting to hunt.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 delivers on everything it sets out to achieve, offering a vibrant open-world, multi-layered combat, and strong narrative that allows you to shape the game’s story. You play as Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter known as a Witcher, on an adventure to find your adopted daughter who’s being pursued by an evil force known as the Wild Hunt.
The game is ambitious in creating a huge open-world, filled with plenty of activities to take part in. The result is a world that feels authentic and truly lived in. If you’re a fan of this genre, The Witcher 3 will no doubt peak your interest as it’s one of the most exciting action RPGs of the decade.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Sporting three playable characters in its single-player story as well as the ability to create your own in its online component, GTA 5 is Rockstar’s biggest, most driven attempt at making a large open-world filled with plenty to see and do. The result is a shockingly realistic depiction of a real-world, albeit one crammed with over-the-top crime activity.
The online version of the game is well-supported, with the latest addition “Heists” allowing for you and your friends to take on extended missions that require careful planning and teamwork to pull off. There are also a bunch of community-made servers, mini-games, and activities that increase replayability.
Overwatch may have not been the first hero-shooter, but it’s certainly the most appealing of the genre, reaching a wide audience with its colorful art style and low-entry skill requirements. This is not to say the game is easy, as each hero has a specific role to fulfill and mastering a character’s kit can take awhile.
With themed holiday events throughout the year as well as new character skins and emotes to unlock, Blizzard takes several measures to ensure the game doesn’t grow stale. As of today, Overwatch features 30 playable characters as well as a thriving e-sports community.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey PC Gaming
While Assassin’s Creed games had begun to grow stale in recent years, 2017’s Origins breathed new life into the series, delivering a refreshingly new story and approach to gameplay while keeping the streamlined combat and traversal the series is known for. Odyssey looked to continue the momentum that had been built and thoroughly exceeded expectations.
The game blurs the line between realism and a power fantasy even more than Origins and is extremely ambitious in both its scope and RPG elements. Odyssey boasts a strikingly realistic depiction of ancient Greece while offering an epic adventure filled with enough quests to keep you busy for upwards of 70 hours.