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The most demanding PC games that push your rig to the limit

Whether you prefer gaming laptops or desktop PCs, it’s always fun to push your rig to the very limit with some of the latest games. Older and indie titles have their own charm, but if you want to really see the best graphics that game studios currently have to offer, you’ll need to check out some games from the last couple of years.

These games take advantage of the latest technologies, including Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and ray tracing. To run them on max settings, you’ll need an outstanding graphics card. If you’re in the market for a new PC that comes with one of the latest GPUs, check out our guide to the best gaming desktops and laptops. Once you’re all set with a shiny new monster PC, here are some games that will help you make the most of it.

Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy
83%
5/5
T
Platforms
Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Avalanche Software
Publisher
Warner Bros. Games
Release
February 10, 2023
Hogwarts Legacy - Official Launch Trailer 4K
A treat for any Harry Potter fan, Hogwarts Legacy is a new title that can be played on a somewhat aged PC, but looks much better on a modern rig. Even the minimum graphics requirements are somewhat steep, and if you want the full experience, you’ll need some top-notch hardware — including copious amounts of RAM.

Like most modern AAA titles, Hogwarts Legacy comes with four sets of recommendations for specs. To be able to run it at minimum specs, you’ll need at least an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 4GB or an AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB. This should be paired with an Intel Core i5-6600 or an AMD Ryzen 5 1400. Even though these components aren’t new at all, you’ll still need at least 16GB of RAM, and that amount only goes up as we move up the ladder.

The recommended setup for Hogwarts Legacy includes Intel’s Core i7-8700 or AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600 and a GTX 1080 Ti or an RX 5700 XT. Intel’s flagship Arc A770 also makes an appearance here, but is no longer recommended if you want to play at max settings. For that, you’ll need an Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti or an AMD RX 7900 XT, 32GB RAM, and a Core i7-10700K or a Ryzen 7 5800X.

If your PC is all set to run Hogwarts Legacy, make sure to check out our guide to optimizing the settings to help you squeeze out every bit of performance.

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered

Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered
87%
M
Genre
Fighting, Adventure
Developer
Insomniac Games, Marvel Entertainment, Nixxes Software
Publisher
PlayStation Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release
November 12, 2020
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered | PC Launch Trailer
“Like other Sony games that have been ported to PC, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered includes enhanced graphics and a slew of tech options from Nvidia and AMD. However, those believable urban surroundings through which Spider-Man zips at high speeds come at a price — the system requirements are pretty high. To optimize this beast of a game, check out our in-depth guide.

If you’re OK with gaming at very low settings and at a mere 30 frames per second (fps), all you need is an Nvidia GTX 950 or AMD equivalent alongside an Intel Core i3-4160. Let’s be real, though — this is not how such games were meant to be played, and while you can still enjoy the gameplay, you won’t enjoy the graphics at those settings.

The devs recommend that you run at least an Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB or an AMD RX 580 with an Intel Core i5-4670 or an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 to play comfortably at 1080p. For anything better than that, you’ll have to get a solid GPU, meaning either the RTX 3070 or the RTX 3080, or the AMD equivalent, such as an RX 6950 XT. The CPUs range from an Intel Core i5-11400/AMD Ryzen 5 3600 to the last-gen Core i7-12700K or Ryzen 9 5900X. The latter are recommended for the ultimate performance tier that prioritizes ray tracing, though.

God of War

God of War
94%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4
Genre
Hack and slash/Beat 'em up, Adventure
Developer
SIE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release
April 20, 2018
God of War - E3 2017 Gameplay Trailer (Official)
While God of War was released in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, it only received a PC port in early 2022. It’s no surprise that this visually stunning game calls for some pretty high specifications, but if you’re willing to play on lower settings, you can compromise quite a lot.

The bare minimum, meaning 720p gaming at 30 fps, equals an Nvidia GTX 960 and an Intel Core i5-2500K, along with 8GB RAM. But the game runs at 30 fps on the PS4 and at 60 fps on the PS5, so gaming on a PC gives you the unique possibility of pushing those frame rates higher still.

For 60 fps at 1080p, you’ll need at least an Nvidia GTX 1070 in combination with a less-than-average CPU (Core i7-4770K or Ryzen 7 2700). Bringing that up to 1440p will force you to upgrade your GPU to at least an RTX 2070 and the CPU to a Core i7-7700K or the Ryzen 7 3700X. The highest tier, which calls for a 4K monitor, also requires an RTX 3080 and an Intel Core i9-9900K, as well as 16GB RAM.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2
92%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia
Genre
Shooter, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Rockstar Games
Publisher
Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar Games
Release
October 26, 2018
Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Trailer
You’d think that a game that was released at the tail end of 2018 wouldn’t make it into a ranking such as this, but Red Dead Redemption 2 is notoriously heavy on the PC, which is why we still use it for benchmarking graphics cards like the RTX 4090.

Red Dead Redemption 2 has a very low barrier of entry compared to most of the titles on this list. It may not run smoothly, though. The better your hardware, the higher the frame rates, the better the visuals, and the higher the resolution.

At the minimum, you’ll need an Nvidia GTX 770 or an AMD Radeon R9 280, an Intel Core i5-2500K or an AMD FX-6300, and 8GB RAM. The recommended specifications are higher, but you can easily run it on a 5-year-old PC as long as you have a GTX 1060 6GB or an RX 480 4GB, as well as an Intel Core i7-4770K or an AMD Ryzen 5 1500X.

Those components may not let you play on max settings at a resolution higher than 1080p, though. Seeing as this game can still push even some of the latest components to the limit, the real answer here is the higher the specs, the better.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Dying Light 2: Stay Human
76%
3/5
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S
Genre
Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Techland Publishing, Techland
Publisher
Techland Publishing, Spike ChunSoft
Release
February 04, 2022
Dying Light 2 - E3 2018 Gameplay World Premiere Trailer
Red Dead Redemption 2 may have had some mercy on your wallet, but the same cannot be said of Dying Light 2: Stay Human. Don’t worry, though — there’s some wiggle room, especially if you’re not too bothered about ray tracing.

As long as you’re satisfied with 1080p gaming at 30 fps, you can make do with an Intel Core i3-9100 or an AMD Ryzen 3 2300X. Add to that at least 8GB RAM and an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti or an AMD Radeon RX 560, and you can start the game. Achieving optimal frame rates will bump up the requirements considerably — you’ll need at least a Core i5-8600K or Ryzen 5 3600X in combination with an RTX 2060 6GB or an RX Vega 56 8GB. You’ll also need at least 16GB of RAM.

Ray tracing will cost you a lot in this particular title — so much so that you’ll need an RTX 3080 10GB to run the game at a smooth 60 fps. If you’re not sure what graphics settings to use, check out our handy guide.

Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection

Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection
Platforms
PlayStation 5, PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre
Adventure
Developer
Naughty Dog, Iron Galaxy
Publisher
PlayStation Studios, Sony
Release
January 28, 2022
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection - Launch Trailer | PC Games
Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection marks another PlayStation 5 exclusive that received a PC port. Being a PS5 game, this iteration of Uncharted serves up some outstanding visuals — if your PC can support it, that is.

Like many other games on our list, Uncharted starts out with a modest set of system requirements. As long as you have a GTX 960 or an AMD Radeon R9 290X paired with a Core i5-4430 or a Ryzen 3 1200, you’re good to go. However, that means gaming at the lowest possible settings.

For 30 fps at 1080p, the developer asks that you get at least a GTX 1060 (or RX 570) and upgrade the CPU to your Intel or AMD chip of choice — either the Core i7-4770 or the Ryzen 5 1500X. A smooth 60 fps at 1440p will cost you much more, including an RTX 2070 or an RX 5700 XT, as well as a Core i7-7700K or a Ryzen 7 3700X. Moving on to 4K requires a beefy GPU (RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT) and a decent CPU (Core i9-9900K or Ryzen 9 3950X).

Forspoken

Forspoken
63%
3.5/5
M
Platforms
PlayStation 5, PC (Microsoft Windows)
Genre
Fighting, Role-playing (RPG), Adventure
Developer
Luminous Productions
Publisher
Square Enix
Release
January 24, 2023
Read our full Forspoken review
Forspoken - Official Launch Trailer
Forspoken is a newer release, and much like Uncharted, it’s only available on the PlayStation 5 and the PC. So far, the PC port hasn’t made a splash on Steam, receiving mostly mixed reviews for what seems to be a fairly bland storyline. However, what the game lacks in storytelling, it makes up for in visuals — and to show those off, you’ll need a hefty PC.

Forspoken was among the first games of this generation to call for a whopping 32GB of RAM at the highest performance tier. Even the minimum tier requires 16GB, which could cost you a pretty penny if you’re using some of the best DDR5 RAM.

The minimum spec requires at least an Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB or an AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB, as well as an Intel Core i7-3770. The “recommended” tier scales things up a whole lot, now calling for an RTX 3070 or an RX 6700 XT, as well as a Core i7-8700K or a Ryzen 5 3600. This tier also bumps up the RAM requirement to 24GB.

To run the game at max settings and in 4K, you’ll need either an AMD Ryzen 5 5800X or an Intel Core i7-12700. The GPU choices are pretty weird: you’ll need either an RTX 4080 or an RX 6800 XT. Seeing as the RTX 4080 is miles above the AMD card, it’s a weird choice, but Forspoken may be more optimized for Team Red with its AMD FSR 2.0 support.

If you already have a PS5 and don’t want to spend much more on a PC, you’ll enjoy playing Forspoken better on the console. The PC port really needs a high-end PC to run smoothly at high settings.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077
78%
M
Platforms
PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Google Stadia
Genre
Role-playing (RPG)
Developer
CD Projekt RED
Publisher
CD Projekt RED
Release
December 09, 2020
Cyberpunk 2077 Gameplay Reveal — 48-minute walkthrough
Cyberpunk 2077 was controversial from the moment it launched. After multiple delays, gamers were hoping for a breathtaking experience, but the game arrived terribly under-optimized.

Over two years later, things are much better in the PC version, but it’s still an extremely demanding title. Forget ray tracing if your PC isn’t a complete beast, and even if it is, you’ll need an RTX 4090 to play at a smooth 60 fps with ray tracing enabled. 

The game comes with a wide range of system requirements. It’s very conservative in its lowest tier, with a GTX 780/RX 470 and a Core i5-3570K or an FX-8310, but I’m not sure I’d like to see the game run on such a setup. Gaming on high settings at 1440p will set you back considerably more, with GPU choices including RTX 2060 and RX 5700 XT. The RAM requirement also goes up to 12GB, and each tier after this one calls for 16GB.

Cyberpunk 2077 claims that you can run it at 4K, on ultra settings, with ray tracing enabled, if you have at least an RTX 3080 and a Core i7-6700 or Ryzen 5 3600. While that might be true, you won’t get great frame rates with this setup, and the first generation of cards that can really support this kind of spec is the Nvidia RTX 40-series. It’s an expensive game to run, but the visuals are out of this world.

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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