The PC continues to be one of the best platforms for video games, with a great library of titles across every imaginable genre. The biggest marketplace for buying these games remains Steam, and Valve’s store has amassed a collection of truly legendary games over the years.
Whether you’re interested in the latest first-person shooter or an enormous role-playing game that never has to end, Steam has you covered, and we’ve compiled a list of its very best games. Separated by genre, these are the best games you can play on Steam.
Sports and racing
Typically, sports games star digitized athletes who run around a field and attempt to score points, but Psyonix took a different a different approach with Rocket League. The soccer-like game places players in control of small rocket-boosted cars that zip across the pitch and ram head-first into giant soccer balls. What looks like a simple game requires a tremendous amount of practice and control, and that depth has helped keep its dedicated player-base engaged for years.
‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’
Who would have thought that a Dragon Ball game released in 2018 would be one of 2018’s very best games? A tag-team fighter that uses an art style remarkably similar to the anime, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a blisteringly-fast game that still manages to be welcoming for newcomers – even those completely unfamiliar with the genre. Despite this, its depth has made it a favorite at esports events, and its large cast of characters means there are sure to be at least a few heroes you want to send into battle. It also has plenty of callbacks to famous Dragon Ball Z show moments that are sure to make fans very happy.
Read our full Dragon Ball FighterZ review
Firaxis revived the X-COM strategy series from the brink of death with XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which combined tough-as-nails turn-based combat with a slick coat of classic sci-fi paint, and the sequel only makes things better. XCOM 2 is unquestionably harder than its predecessor, but it also provides you with far more options for tackling the alien occupiers who have taken over Earth. With every decision you make potentially having huge consequences, it’s not for the faint of heart, but those willing to take command will not be disappointed.
Read our full XCOM 2 review
‘Grand Theft Auto V’
Rockstar’s latest crime-causing social satire sold more than 100 million copies for a reason: Grand Theft Auto V is a magnificent open-world action game with enough content to keep players busy for years. Many have willingly done so, enjoying its single-player content as well as the always-evolving Grand Theft Auto Online. The Steam version wasn’t available when the game first launched, but user-created content and mods have helped to make it the definitive version of the game.
Read our full Grand Theft Auto V review
The Hitman series has always been at its best when it allows players to just experiment and see the craziest things they can do in its sandbox levels, and IO Interactive has never understood that more than in Hitman 2. The game only contains a few different locations, but each of these are endlessly replayable with different ways you can assassinate your target.
Want to throw someone into a pit of cement or have defense robots shoot your target so you don’t get your hands dirty? You can, or you could just shoot them or throw them off a roof like a “normal” assassin. The only limits here are in your imagination, and new “Elusive Targets” give you a reason to keep coming back.
Read our full Hitman 2 review
One of the best action games of 2018, Dead Cells uses roguelike elements without conforming to the genre entirely. Its slick combat and challenging enemy design make it extremely addictive, even if you have to start from your original location when you happen to fall, and there are enough different weapon and ability combination to suit nearly any style of play. What it lacks in overt innovation it makes up for in execution, and Dead Cells’ clever secrets give you a reason to explore every nook and cranny of the environment.
One of the most visually stunning video games ever made, Cuphead is essentially a playable 1930s Disney cartoon, complete with cigarette burns and imperfections on the film filter it uses. At times frustratingly difficult, the game blends action-platforming and shooting together in a similar fashion to the Mega Man series, and its gorgeous enemy designs make us feel nostalgic for a time very few of us were even alive. The music and classic sound effects further reinforce the ‘30s theme, and they stuck in our heads for months after completing it.
Its sequels are also available on Steam, but the original Dishonored stands as the best game in the series because of the remarkable design of Dunwall – a Victorian-inspired city that has been brought to its knees by a plague. The dark and disturbing locations are sandboxes for creative stealth, and protagonist Corvo’s magical abilities let him take either non-lethal or very lethal approaches to any situation. You can avoid fighting by “blinking” from location to location, or you could pause time after someone fires a bullet, mind control them into walking in front of said bullet, and then watch them die. It’s your choice.
Read our full Dishonored review
It has been available for more than seven years, but Valve’s Portal 2 remains one of the most engaging, hilarious, and creative video games ever made. Building on the portal-traveling premise of the original but with more complex puzzles, an even funnier storyline, and a charming new companion character, Portal 2 managed to smash the lofty expectations fans had, and it remains just as playable now as when it first released. User-created levels let you play others’ puzzles, and a separate cooperative mode makes it perfect to enjoy with a friend.
Read our full Portal 2 review
‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’
Sure, you can play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on just about any device imaginable at this point, but none of them can hold a candle to the PC version. With mod support, higher resolution, better textures, and even fan-made story content, it’s the definitive platform for Bethesda’s masterpiece.
The role-playing adventure is set in one of the most gorgeous and fully-realized worlds ever made, filled with secrets to uncover and monsters to slay, and you can always make your own fun by causing chaos if you don’t want to do quests.
Read our full The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review
‘The Witcher III: Wild Hunt’
Very few developers can create a world as lifelike and “lived in” as CD Projekt Red, but the Polish studio’s role-playing game isn’t just a virtual sandbox – it also has one of the best-written stories in the medium, whether you’re enjoying the main quest or one of the game’s countless side missions. No two missions in The Witcher III are the same, and seeing everything the game has to offer can take hundreds of hours. It’s a testament to the game’s quality that many players are willing to spend that time.
Read our full The Witcher III: Wild Hunt review
Toby Fox’s Undertale looks like a simple retro-inspired role-playing game at first glance, but that is merely a curtain, behind which a truly brilliant adventure hides. Subverting traditional role-playing conventions, Undertale manages to be a commentary on video games themselves, poking fun at character tropes, user interfaces, and combat mechanics while telling a hilarious story. It’s certainly not going to push the power of your PC – or Mac, as it runs on both – but it’s the type of game you won’t find anywhere else.
Simulation and creation
The RollerCoaster Tycoon series has been in total free-fall over the last several years, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great theme park simulation to play on Steam. Created by simulation masters Frontier Developments, Planet Coaster is everything you could want from a modern RollerCoaster Tycoon game, including detailed coaster creation and customization options, as well as the ability to micromanage every aspect of your park. We all know that means you’re going to try to kill your guests, but don’t just say that.
What do you do when you can’t wait any longer to play a full-fledged Harvest Moon sequel? If you’re designer Eric Barone, you just make your own game, instead. Stardew Valley may have aimed to continue the Harvest Moon legacy, but Barone’s game surpasses its inspiration with a colorful cast of characters, deep customization and crop options, gorgeous pixel artwork, and the charm and love that only a truly passionate creator could give a project. With multiplayer and consistent updates, Stardew Valley has only gotten better with age, too.
Despite having “mod” right in the name, Garry’s Mod is a full game you can purchase on Steam – or, rather, it’s a collection of games. Designed with the Source engine technology used to power much of Valve’s library, Garry’s Mod gives you almost limitless control over the types of games you can create for it. “Prop Hunt” and “Trouble in Terrorist Town” are popular modes, pitting players against each other in meta-gaming matches that test their ability to tell truth from fiction, and they often end in hilariously terrible fashion for everyone involved.
‘Ori and the Blind Forest’
A “Metroidvania” game at its heart, Ori and the Blind Forest is a polished and stylish 2D action-platformer that isn’t afraid to through enormous challenges your way, but it manages to avoid making them feel unfair with its unique checkpoint system. You can place a checkpoint nearly anywhere to prepare for difficulties ahead, and finally nailing a particular obstacle is a wonderful feeling. On top of that, the game’s heartwarming and tear-jerking story makes it even more satisfying to complete.
Most 2D platforming games aren’t the heaviest on story, but Celeste isn’t like most 2D platforming games. Tasked with reaching the top of the titular mountain, protagonist Madeline’s journey is far less straightforward than it initially seems, and supernatural elements complicate things further. Each stage in Celeste makes use of a simple air-dash ability, essentially turning them into mini-puzzles, and the brilliant level design helps to make Celeste one of the most satisfying games on Steam.
Read our full Celeste review
Calling Superhot a first-person shooter would be doing the game a disservice, as it’s one of the most unique games to ever come out of the genre. Wrapped up in a techno-fiction story about hackers and artificial intelligence, the game’s levels can technically be completed in just a few seconds. However, you’ll quickly die unless you take advantage of its main twist: Time only moves when you do. In effect, Superhot becomes a strategy game, as you must plan every movement in advance in order to escape alive.
When a game stays in “development Hell” for as long as 2016’s Doom did, you don’t usually expect it to be good. Id Software defied players’ expectations completely, delivering a fast, over-the-top first-person shooter that not only understands exactly what players loved about the first two games, but also everything they didn’t like about the third. What’s left is intentionally light on story and heavy on demon-killing goodness, with a new melee system letting you pummel the hellspawn into smithereens with satisfying, crunchy attacks.
Read our full Doom review
‘Rainbow Six Siege’
What a different time can make in a game. Rainbow Six Siege launched as a decent competitive shooter back in 2015, but Ubisoft’s game has improved over time with balancing changes, the addition of playable characters and maps, and the introduction of new anti-cheating software to ensure players get the fairest experience possible. New content is still coming out for the game today, and its community remains committed to keeping the game’s status as a premiere esport.
Read our full Rainbow Six Siege review
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