That’s why we’ve decided to highlight some of the best PC games to play in 2019. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list with new games in the future!
Return of the Obra Dinn
From the same developer that brought us Papers, Please, comes Return of the Obra Dinn, a stand-out title for both its bold, 1-bit monochromatic art style as well as its ability to take you on an engaging, atmospheric adventure. You play as an insurance adjuster, tasked with determining how the crew of a mysterious ship met their demise.
To complete this task, you’re given a “Memento Mortem”, a pocket-watch that replays the moments before a character’s death. The game offers little in terms of tutorials and hand-holding, encouraging you to make discovers on your own by paying close attention to clues you encounter along your journey.
Deep Rock Galactic
Deep Rock Galactic has you and a team of up to three other players take on the role of space-dwarf miners, dividing up your time evenly between exploring caves, drinking beer, and kicking barrels. The game revolves around mining resources and finding key items while waves of alien-spiders attack you and your party.
Once your objective has been completed, you’ll have to race back to your escape pod before a timer runs out and you and your friends are left behind, losing any resources you’ve gathered. There are four distinct character classes as well as a variety of skills and weapons to upgrade, which makes each replaying missions feel fresh.
Pyre is an action role-playing sports game that manages to strike a perfect balance between thoughtful storytelling and challenging gameplay. The game has you switching back and forth between on-screen narrative sequences where you learn more about the members of your party, and competing in Rites, a 3-v-3 football/basketball hybrid sport where each team attempts to launch a glowing orb into their enemy’s pyre, whittling its health down to zero.
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.
GRIS is a beautiful, puzzle platformer that does little to explain itself, instead encouraging you to make sense of the game’s story in your own way. You play as an unnamed female protagonist who loses her voice at the start of the game, stripping the world around her of all its color as she collapses on the ground.
Gameplay centers on maneuvering through different structures until you reach the end of a level and encounter what can best be described as a series of bosses. Since there is no combat in GRIS whatsoever, you instead use a variety of skills and the environment in order to defeat these creatures and restore color back into the world.
While most 2D platformers place a priority on gameplay over storytelling, Celeste delivers strongly on both. You play as Madeline, whose goal is to climb a mysterious mountain in order to escape the problems she faces in her everyday life. Clearing each of the mountain’s challenging levels requires precise platforming, forcing you to plan when to jump or dash very carefully.
Since its release, the game has been widely favored by critics and fans alike for its great use of platforming mechanics. Aside from gameplay, Celeste is revered for its powerful narrative and excellent original soundtrack.
Hollow Knight is a challenging, 2D Metroidvania action-adventure game. While its dark color palette and wonderfully hand-drawn art style blend together wonderfully, the crux of the game lies in its rich upgrade system and expansive world. Many of the game’s enemies can be extremely difficult, requiring precise timing and specific approaches to defeat.
While playing Hollow Knight can be tough, especially in the earlier sections, the game rewards you for being patient and learning enemy patterns with a seemingly endless world to explore.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
If you’ve ever wanted to drive a big truck without having to get a license or even proper training, then Euro Truck Simulator 2 is for you. Like other great sims, the game does an exceptional job at depicting a real-world activity without making it feel overly complex.
You start out as a truck-less, money-less driver, picking up cargo from one city to another in order to earn cash. As things progress, you’re able to open up your own garage, purchase more vehicles, and even hire NPC drivers to complete jobs for you. There’s a lot of road to explore as the game totes 71 cities in 12 different countries across its open-world.
Civilization 6 stands out among its predecessors for managing to build on the best parts of Civ 5, without losing focus of the series’ core principles. Among these is a change in art style, causing leaders to appear more vibrant than in previous games, as well as the ability to unstack cities in order to reduce crowding on the map. The game is regarded highly for its breadth of content and deep gameplay mechanics.
Coming from Frontier Developments, the same company that created Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 back in the day, comes Planet Coaster, a spiritual successor that provides you with all the tools you could ever need to build your very own amusement park. The game features three different modes: Career, Sandbox, and Challenge. Career mode has you completing scenarios with certain conditions while both Sandbox and Challenge mode offer you an empty plot of land and all features unlocked from the start.
There’s plenty of variety when it comes to properly theming your park, with fantasy, pirate, sci-fi, and even more themes well-represented in the game’s catalog. Additionally, Planet Coaster includes a feature which allows you to share your creations with other players around the world.
Stories Untold is a puzzle adventure game that’s broken up into four episodes, with each chapter telling a different part of the story. The game has a 1980s retro aesthetic, incorporating technology as well as sci-fi tropes from the time period. It utilizes elements from traditional adventure genres, such as text-based adventures, puzzle-solving, and first-person exploration.
While gameplay slightly differs between each chapter, challenges boil down to completing a series of tasks in order to reach a chapter’s conclusion. Dialogue is well-written and each chapter does a great job at immersing you in its atmosphere. Stories Untold is a refreshing take on the horror game genre and never shies away from showing its classic adventure game roots.
Monster Hunter: World
While Monster Hunter games have typically always appealed to a much smaller community, Monster Hunter: World is Capcom’s biggest attempt, and a mostly successful one at that, at bringing in a Western audience to the creature slaying franchise. World features a number of quality of life improvements to the series, with an updated UI and tutorials to welcome new players.
While some parts of World still feel cumbersome and confusing to figure out, the important thing here is how well the game delivers on its main component: hunting monsters. Creatures and environments look stunning and each locale has a number of systems in place that make them feel like living ecosystems. If you’ve ever been curious to play a Monster Hunter game but felt too intimidated, give World a chance.
Divinity: Original Sin II
Original Sin II is one of the best incarnations of a video-game approach to tabletop RPGs. The game has you and up to three party members exploring the fantasy world of Rivellon. You can create your own character, choosing their race, gender, stats, and even origin story, or pick from a handful of pre-made ones.
The game truly shines in how many tools and possibilities it provides you with for tackling challenges. Usually if you can think of a bizarre, out of the box solution for a problem, Original Sin II has a way for you to attempt it. The co-op version of the game is worth mentioning as well, which allows you and your friends to split up completely and perform actions that will affect the game’s world for every member of your party.
Diablo III still holds up as arguably the best from the dungeon crawling series. The game has you choosing between one of seven character classes, tasked with defeating the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo. You’ll be exploring procedurally generated dungeons, defeating enemies who drop loot with random stats and varying quality, improving your loadout as you progress.
It should be noted that the game has faced criticism due to its DRM, which requires you play the game with an online connection. However, quality of life improvements and new features make Diablo III a great time-killing game.
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.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Not many games manage to maintain relevancy in the gaming community as long as Skyrim has. That’s in part due to excellent mod-support which has allowed players to enhance and extend their experiences with the game.
However, even vanilla Skyrim plays well, featuring a number of changes from its predecessors. The ability to dual-wield weapons, a more detailed open-world, and the removal of classes, which allows players to improve on skills they actually use and create character builds that feel unique and personal.
Grand Theft Auto V
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 and dumb enemy AI. However, that’s no slight against the game as GTA 5 is one of the best games to cause mayhem and live out your criminal fantasies.
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 mini-games and activities to check out.
While it may not be the original hero shooter, Overwatch quickly dominated the genre with its colorful art style and entry-level skill requirements appealing to a wide-range of players. Featuring nearly 30 playable characters as well as a thriving e-sports community, Overwatch is still wildly popular, and for good reason.
The flow of the game changes drastically based on what class, and even what hero you’re playing, making the game feel fresh and exciting even after hundreds of hours. 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 become stagnant.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
After adopting a live service model, Ubisoft Montreal has had much success with Siege, and has seen the tactical shooter’s playerbase increasing in recent years. Offering a number of multiplayer modes, operators with different abilities, and content expansions, some free to download, Siege has built a solid foundation that has led to a thriving community of both casual and competitive players.
What makes the game stand out from others in its genre is its ability to create tension in matches and its emphasis on cooperation. Since not all operators are created equal, matches can be skewed in one team’s favor from the start, causing players to have to work together and find creative ways to bridge the gap.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
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 core elements the series is known for. Odyssey looked to continue the momentum that had been built and was successful in its goal.
The game blurs the line between realism and power fantasy even more than Origins, having you take on the role of either a male or female mercenary fighting for both Athens and Sparta while trying to unite your family and uncover an evil force. It’s extremely ambitious in both its scope and RPG elements, offering a striking depiction of ancient Greece and an epic adventure, worthy of Greek myth.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Shadow of the Tomb Raider serves as the third and final installment of the 2013 rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy. The game has you playing as a more experienced Lara Croft, facing tougher threats than ever before. However, this time around Lara is better equipped and more than willing to execute enemies in new and often gruesome ways.
New stealth mechanics like blending in with environments by covering yourself with mud as well as a more introspective narrative leads you to see Lara in a different light for the first time in the series. The game doesn’t require you to have played the previous entries, but those are pretty good too so we definitely recommend checking them out.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Blackout Mode
Although Black Ops 4 has faced some steep criticism for its lack of a single-player campaign, Treyarch’s refocusing on multiplayer content definitely pays off, especially with the addition of Blackout Mode. While the battle royale trend had already plateaued when Black Ops 4 dropped, seeing Call of Duty’s take on the genre was still pretty impressive. For the most part, its standard battle royale: up to 100 players fall out of the sky, land somewhere on the map, loot and shoot till one person is left standing.
However, where Blackout differs is its large map size, in fact the largest map of any Call of Duty game before, littered with familiar locations from its long line of previous games. Additionally, the game features more stable frame rates and a better selection of weapons than other royale games. If you’re a fan of core multiplayer modes or zombies, don’t fret as they’re all here as well, and play better than ever.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Serving as a follow-up to 2014’s The New Order, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is set in an alternate version of 1961 where the Nazis won WWII. The game has you controlling BJ Blazkowicz as him and a ragtag team work together to bring down the Nazi regime in America. The game features solid shooter mechanics, something the Wolfenstein games are well-known for, and comes up with some neat ways to keep you from growing tired of killing waves of Nazis.
Among these is the ability to dual-wield seemingly every combination of weapons as well as being able to vault over objects and use them for cover. Most impressive is the game’s ability to paint a vivid picture of how dark and twisted this alternate version of America is, from propaganda posters on city walls to seeing KKK members casually stroll through city-blocks. Did we mention you get to kill Nazis?
Respawn’s efforts to expand their playerbase and include a single-player campaign for the sequel to 2014’s Titanfall worked out in their favor. While Titanfall 2 comes with a number of improvements since the last game, its campaign stands out as an enjoyable “buddy cop” set-up as you control a pilot and his mechsuit BT-7274, affectionately called “BT”. Watching the relationship between the two of them develop is entertaining and immerses you in the game’s story.
Another point of note is how excellent each level is designed, accented with parkour challenges and the addition of new mechanics such as time travel later in the game’s story. This attention to detail is carried over into the multiplayer component as the game contains improved maps with more verticality than the previous Titanfall.
Lethal League: Blaze
For those unfamiliar with the original game, Lethal League has you and up to four other players take turns hitting a baseball, with each subsequent hit causing the ball to travel more quickly than the last. As the match progresses the ball begins to travel at insane speeds that are impossible to follow, with each strike causing time to momentarily freeze and mind-bending visuals to appear on screen.
While the sequel keeps the core mechanics of the original game, it brings with it a number of quality of life improvements. The switch from 2D sprites to 3D models is a warm welcome and the addition of new characters and game modes provide players with a bit more to chew on. There’s no movesets to memorize as the game’s simple controls and straightforward mechanics make Lethal League Blaze worth checking out for new players and fans of the first game.
Skullgirls – 2nd Encore
Skullgirls is a fast-paced 2D fighting game that draws inspiration from classic titles like Marvel Vs. Capcom. The game features a tag battle system which allows you to create different sized teams of up to three characters. Fighting occurs through classic six button play, with each character having a wide variety of moves and combos that can be performed.
The cast of Skullgirls are depicted in a stylistic, hand-drawn art style and each have drastically different movesets, adding depth to the game’s combat. The 2nd Encore edition of the game includes five new characters, new skins, a story mode, a survival mode, and brand new challenges with unique win conditions.
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
With the success of The Witcher 3, followed by the card-strategy game Gwent, and now Thronebreaker, it seems like CD Projekt can do no wrong when it comes to making a Witcher game. Thronebreaker is a mix of RPG elements and card-battle mechanics combined in order to create an entirely new kind of game, one where decisions are neither good nor bad, and carry weight throughout its 30-hour story.
The game has you embark on a brand-new adventure in the Witcher universe, meeting diverse characters with interesting backstories and conflicting goals and perspectives to your own. The story has you making difficult choices that will impact the world around you, while enemy encounters are carried out through strategic card battles that use mechanics from Gwent.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Still regarded as the king of all card-strategy games, Hearthstone has shown no signs of dethronement with its latest expansion Rastakhan’s Rumble, adding 135 new collectible cards as well an alternate shaman-class hero, King Rastakhan. The game is well-supported by Blizzard, with updates, card balances, and hero reworks implemented frequently.
Although you’ll ultimately need to invest some money in order to climb the ranks of PVP, there are guides for building cheap, powerful decks to get you started. Additionally, you earn in-game currency from battling that can be used to purchase cards as well. All in all, Hearthstone is the most polished card game on the market and has a wide-array of different heroes to try for free.
Whether its PC or console, AAA or Indie, New-York born and raised Justin has a natural curiosity to seek out hidden gems and share them with other gamers. He also maintains his own YouTube channel in addition to writing and managing the social media profiles for GamingScan.