Despite competing platforms like the Epic Games Store and Origin, Steam remains the place to play on PC. It’s easy to see why, too. Steam offers a larger library than any other DRM platform, but beyond that, it comes with a slew of extra goodies that other platforms can’t compete with. No matter if you want to look up an achievement guide or browse community-made mods, Steam has a feature for it. As long as you don’t mind a DRM platform, it’s usually best to buy PC games on Steam.
If you just built a gaming PC, or if you want a few more options to pad your library, here are the best games on Steam.
- The best free-to-play games on PC
- The best single-player games on PC
- The best multiplayer games on PC
Divinity: Original Sin II
Divinity: Original Sin II captures what Steam is all about. It’s a dense RPG with plenty of achievements and Steam trading cards, and it has a packed Steam community, with guides for everything from outfitting your character to choosing the proper weapon. Outside of deeply ingraining with Steam’s social features, Divinity: Original Sin II is just a great game. It’s a sprawling CRPG with a thoroughly engrossing story and deep, tactical combat. Even better, the Steam version supports cross-save with Nintendo Switch, so you can take your adventure on the go without losing any progress.
Civilization VI — and all of the Civ games, for that matter — are deeply complex, 4X strategy games, but you’d never know that as a newcomer. Although there are plenty of tips and tricks to learn, Civilization VI is still accessible to someone new to the genre. That’s all the more impressive, considering the game doesn’t sacrifice any of the depth that strategy fans love. If you’re new, make sure to check out our leaders and cultures guide. That’ll give a good overview of how to play whatever leader you want.
Read our Civilization VI review
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
It’s hard to choose a better Steam game than one made by the developers who made Steam. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive remains one of the most relevant competitive shooters, despite being nearly a decade old. CS:GO’s simplistic yet ruthlessly competitive multiplayer traps players in for hours on end. It’s a game where you want to play for just one more round. Valve recently moved CS:GO to a free-to-play model, too, so you can jump in on the action without spending any money.
Mordhau is a game that can only exist on PC. Instead of simply pressing a button to execute an attack, you must swing your mouse like you’d swing a medieval weapon. It’s a small difference, but it fundamentally changes how Mordhau plays. It’s a multiplayer medieval slasher, where you can compete with others in everything from small skirmishes to 64-player wars. Instead of just blind swinging, Mordhau offers a tactical approach with its 240 system. Other games, such as Chivalry Medieval Warfare, have gotten close, but Mordhau’s execution of this system is second to none.
Disco Elysium is a game about choice. The game starts when you, playing as a detective, wake up in a grungy motel without any indication of how you got there. Worse, you can’t even remember your own name. Things start to clear up when you meet your supposed partner in the motel lobby, who informs you that the two of you are there investigating a body hanging from a tree in the back. From there, it’s up to you to role-play how you want, building or destroying your character in any way you see fit.
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
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 all of them 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.
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 nearly a decade, 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 Steam community is still active, too, with a laundry list of guides on how to make your copy look its best.
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.
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.
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
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