The 47 Best PC Games According to Metacritic

We've selected the best PC games of all time according to both critics and users on Metacritic.

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There’s always been a certain disconnect between what critics say and what the public thinks about media, including video games. To explore this, we conducted an experiment comparing the best PC games according to critics and users on Metacritic.

We’ve selected the best PC games of all time, a total of 47 masterpieces, according to critics and users. There’s little agreement between the two parties. However, we believe that each game has its own merits and you should try them at least once.

How Metacritic Rates Video Games

Metacritic is a popular website launched in 2001 that aggregates reviews for movies, music, books, and video games. In recent years, checking a game’s Metascore, which is the average score from critics, has become fairly common among users before buying the product.

However, critics are not always unbiased, and some may even be influenced by bribes. In addition, some websites may be given more weight in the average score than others. Therefore, it’s important to also consider the user reviews, which are separate from the critics’ scores.

The scores from both critics and users can yield very different results, but they are equally valuable.

Best PC Games According to the Experts

1. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

It’s hard to recall a recent game that has won over the gaming community as strongly as Disco Elysium. What makes its achievement all the greater is that some might consider it a difficult game to play, with heavy reliance on text, philosophy, and dice. But despite everything that might put you off, you should definitely try it sooner or later.

2. Half-Life 2

After being crowned the “best PC game ever”, Half-Life 2 had the daunting task of keeping the bar equally high. Its place on this list shows to what extent it was successful, becoming one of the titles that set the path to be followed by the industry in the following years in terms of graphics, physics, artificial intelligence, and, above all, narrative.

3. Grand Theft Auto V

Becoming the second game ever to sell more physical copies, only behind a phenomenon like Wii Sports (and without taking into account the digital ones, which would widen the gap), GTA V has become a mass phenomenon that, after 11 years, still tops the sales charts. It’s not there by luck, of course. It’s one of the most attractive and fun open-world games ever created.

4. Baldur’s Gate 3

Despite only arriving on the market a few months ago, Baldur’s Gate 3 has already become one of the critics’ favorite role-playing video games. Industry experts highlight the quality of its writing and character composition. In addition, its PC performance has been especially praised, with no game-breaking issues.

5. The Orange Box

With The Orange Box, Valve went above and beyond by not only delivering all the chapters of Half-Life 2 and the multiplayer of Team Fortress 2 to console users but also including the genius of Portal in the pack. Portal is probably the best puzzle game that the gaming world has seen in the last 20 years.

6. Half-Life

Released in 1998, Half-Life was Valve’s first game, which allowed them to build an empire on the success of its graphics engine. It’s undoubtedly one of the best games in history, and despite its graphics, it has stood the test of time very well. It’s a game that’s just as recommendable today.

7. BioShock

Story, graphics, gameplay... BioShock has everything you could ask for in an FPS, but it also managed to take storytelling to the next level. It’s an action-adventure game that takes you on a journey into the depths to discover an underwater city in which a utopia has become an absolute hell that has escaped the control of its creators.

8. Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Available in the Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition along with the Throne of Bhaal expansion, Shadows of Amn is the perfect example of why BioWare has become one of those studios to go to without hesitation when you’re looking for a good story. It’s a magnificent role-playing game in which it’s impossible not to get completely absorbed for more than 60 hours.

9. Persona 5 Royal

Critics also consider Persona 5 one of the best role-playing games of all time and it received universal acclaim when it was released in 2016. In fact, it received many industry awards in its day, which is not surprising if you consider its addictive gameplay, provocative story, and terrific graphical style.

10. Portal 2

It was very difficult to improve what was already a great game, but if there’s a studio capable of retracing its steps and making your head explode, that’s Valve. With Portal 2, they proved that the success of Portal was not a mere coincidence. The world and mechanics they had created could still go much further to create the ultimate mix of adventures and puzzles.

11. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Turned into a meme for its ability to jump from platform to platform almost without batting an eyelid (among many other curiosities of his adventure), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is another one of those role-playing games that grabs your attention from the start. It’s a mixture of RPG and open-world gameplay in which following the story is only part of the fun, and the opportunity to create your own is its best asset.

12. Mass Effect 2

After accelerating the pace of the first game and going even deeper into everything that Mass Effect managed to present, Mass Effect 2 became one of BioWare’s best games and one of the most awarded titles on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. It’s a game that’s as great as it is fun, and neither the third installment nor the recent Mass Effect Andromeda managed to surpass it.

13. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Considered by many as the best installment of the Grand Theft Auto series, the truth is that Vice City had a special aura. It managed to be even more badass than GTA III while referencing some of the most iconic movies of the 80s, delivering the ultimate gangster story.

14. Sid Meier’s Civilization II

The addition of new troops and a more effective and realistic combat system that abandoned probability calculations turned Civilization II into Sid Meier’s definitive game. It’s a strategy title in which you must take control of a tribe and take it to the top of the social evolutionary scale. Once you start playing, it’s impossible to stop.

15. Quake

After the success of games like Doom or Wolfenstein, Quake became the father of modern FPS by transferring that gameplay to a 3D environment. It’s a magnificent game with an unbeatable atmosphere that, despite the passing of the years, is still able to bring a smile to anyone who gets to the controls.

16. BioShock Infinite

After the stumble of a second installment that failed to maintain the level of the first BioShock, BioShock Infinite became famous for being one of those developments in which the creative department seemed to run more than the technology could deliver. Much of what it proposed ended up getting lost along the way, but despite this, it managed to deliver a memorable closure to the saga that’s impossible not to admire.

17. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Before Skyrim became popular and with fans of Morrowind disappointed, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion managed to capture the attention of both gamers and non-gamers alike due to its engaging story and excellent gameplay. Although it was considered ahead of its time, it failed to impress visually and technically.

18. Elden Ring

Only a few games can make it to a top list so easily, and Elden Ring by From Software is one of them. It’s an excellent open-world game that has surprised critics and gamers and has quickly become one of the best games of the current time.

19. Grim Fandango

One of the best adventure games in history, Grim Fandango is a classic that deserves to be among the best PC games, at least according to critics. The game features an original and wonderful story, with exceptional attention to detail. If you’re a fan of the adventure genre, you must try it sooner or later.

20. Diablo

More than 20 years ago, Blizzard released one of the best action RPG games of all time. Diablo became a game that kept us hooked for months with its loot system and replayability. The game’s goal was to destroy the worst evil that had ravaged the earth.

21. Sid Meier’s Civilization IV

Some titles know how to engage players from the first minute, and Civilization IV is undoubtedly one of them. It won our attention with its renewed graphics, but it’s the addictive gameplay that has made it one of the best strategy games in history. A superb game that is worth every minute and dollar invested in it.

22. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt turned the franchise into a must-play game, thanks to its protagonist, Geralt of Rivia. Although the first two titles were great games, what the CD Projekt RED team achieved here was exceptional and placed them among giants like Rockstar.

23. Company of Heroes

Relic created one of the most memorable strategy games with Company of Heroes. Even today, it still stands as one of the best real-time strategy games of all time. If you’re in the mood for World War II games, you should play both the original and its expansions.

24. Dwarf Fortress

Created by Bay 12 Games, Dwarf Fortress is a simulation and roguelike game that immediately caught the attention of critics and gamers alike when it was released. Known for its difficult gameplay, its ASCII graphics and poor interface were criticized at launch, but it remains one of the most loved by critics.

25. Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx was a virtual reality game that proved to be a tremendous success, earning critical acclaim and increasing sales of VR headsets. Valve took on the challenge of creating a VR game and succeeded in creating a highly recommended game that surpassed all expectations.

26. Divinity: Original Sin II

Divinity: Original Sin II was funded in less than 12 hours. Divinity: Original Sin II not only managed to keep alive a saga beloved by users, but also set a new bar in the genre of action games. It is a masterpiece that deserves recognition for its story, mechanics, and strategy.

27. Unreal Tournament 2004

Unreal Tournament 2004 was a game that not only won over audiences at the time but also helped to establish eSports as a professional sport. It was a game that crossed borders and set new standards in the industry. If it weren't for successes like this, Epic Games would not be what it is today.

28. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Starcraft II is a classic in the history of video games and one of the most influential titles of the last few decades. The game was intended to be just a pastime but ended up being a phenomenon that helped to establish eSports as a major industry.

Best PC Games According to the Users

1. Umineko When They Cry: Question Arcs

Umineko When They Cry is the second visual novel series released by 07th Expansion. It’s known as a “sound novel” because of the importance of the audio elements in creating the atmosphere that the gaming community loves so much. Another great attraction of the game is the relationship created between the author and the reader, who must solve the mysteries of each episode.

2. Rome: Total War

Rome: Total War - Collection is an excellent strategy game that offers a lot of gameplay hours with its included expansions. The game allows you to engage in monumental battles that can keep you busy for days. When it was released, the Total War franchise amazed us with its ability to simulate large-scale battles with hundreds of soldiers fighting each other, which was a remarkable achievement for its time.

3. Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire

Jagged Alliance 2 is a strategy game that was released for PC in 1999 and was a great success at launch. It received very good reviews from critics and continues to please users today for its freedom of action, tactical gameplay, and memorable character traits.

4. Starcraft

Although Starcraft 2 has become one of the great classics of video game history and one of the most influential of the last few decades, the original title remains one of the favorites among users. At launch, it was the best-selling PC game of the year and remains one of the best-selling strategy games of all time.

5. Starcraft: Brood War

StarCraft: Brood War is the expansion of StarCraft and another of the most popular games among the gaming community. Brood War was very well received in its day. It’s not surprising since its result shows the care that its developers took when creating it, much closer to that of a complete game and not just another expansion.

6. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness

A commercial success at launch, Warcraft II is still very popular among gamers and has also served as an inspiration for the real-time strategy game genre. Warcraft II surpasses the original game in virtually every aspect and users especially appreciate the new control system that the second installment incorporated.

7. Master of Orion II: Battle of Antares

Next on the list is Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, which we’ve already discussed in the review selection. Therefore, we’ll move on to Master of Orion II: Battle of Antares, a 4X turn-based strategy game set in space. It’s considered by some to be the pinnacle of the genre, and its high ranking on the list of user-loved games indicates that it’s still very popular.

8. The Curse of Monkey Island

Developed by LucasArts in 1997, The Curse of Monkey Island remains popular today. Users enjoy its cartoonish art style and the music used in the game. Although some describe it as challenging, the puzzles encountered in the game are not frustrating to the point of causing players to give up.

9. Heroes of Might and Magic III

The popularity of Heroes of Might and Magic III is undeniable. Although critics also praised it, users ranked it among the best games. This could be due to the new version, which arrived 15 years after its original release, with updated graphics and widescreen compatibility.

10. Half-Life 2: Episode Two

In the past, Half-Life 2 had planned to release a trilogy of episodes, but unfortunately, the series was never completed. However, the second installment of the game gained immense popularity among millions of players, surpassing the original works in terms of quality, as per the user’s opinion.

11. Mad Games Tycoon 2

Mad Games Tycoon 2 is the sequel to Mad Games Tycoon, a simulation game in which players become the director of a game development studio. This meta theme is a hit with users, who continue to include it among the best games of all time.

12. Omori

Sunny is the teenage boy protagonist of Omori, the name given to his dream world alter-ego. The gaming community enjoys being able to explore both the real and surreal worlds, and the fact that the game’s ending depends on the player’s actions is particularly appealing. It’s one of the best games ever to portray anxiety and depression.

13. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

We skip Half-Life: Alyx, which we’ve already reviewed in the critics’ list, to talk about the first Final Fantasy XIV expansion on the list. Heavensward has received excellent reviews, particularly for its PC version. The most powerful aspect of Heavensward is its story, which deals with issues such as racism and religious dogma.

14. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is an expansion pack for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It was released in 2017 and received critical acclaim from users. Within just a couple of months of its release, it had already reached a cumulative total of 10 million accounts, making it one of the best games ever according to users.

15. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hearts of Stone

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hearts of Stone is the first expansion for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The game is praised for its outstanding graphics, sound, and gameplay. It also features memorable characters that players can interact with throughout the game. The gripping narrative of the game allows players to enjoy a story outside of the main Wild Hunt story.

16. OneShot

OneShot is an independent game released for Windows in 2016. It’s known for its metafictional aspects and the constant breaking of the fourth wall, which makes it an interesting game to play. Additionally, the special relationship that is created between the player and the protagonist, Niko, is another reason why it is highly regarded.

17. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is the third expansion of the Final Fantasy XIV series. It was released after Heavenswar and Stormblood. Although it's a little lower on the users’ list, it's still a game appreciated by the community, particularly for the way it is written. At the time of its release, it was considered the best Final Fantasy game to date.

18. The Evil Within: The Assignment

The Assignment is the first DLC for The Evil Within, a horror video game that received generally positive reviews after its release. The game provides players with an opportunity to experience survival horror from a new perspective, revealing Juli Kidman’s past.

19. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is another game that has won the hearts of gamers worldwide. It is known for its music, style, and atmosphere. However, what makes it among users’ favorites is its gameplay, which includes combat elements and challenging difficulty levels.

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