A new year means a fresh slate for PC games. There were follow-ups to beloved titles and indie releases that shocked gamers with their sheer excellence.
When Supergiant Games launched Hades, it climbed the ladders of many Game of the Year lists. Its roguelike offers an experience that’s as fantastic as it is unforgiving.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
After a year that seemed to have sucked, 2020 brought some much-needed oxygen into the PC gaming space. We had emotional, gripping experiences like A Plague Tale: Innocence and The Outer Worlds; a brilliant new addition to the League of Legends franchise; and an utterly unique RPG unlike anything else on the market with Death Stranding from Kojima himself.
But there was also Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition, Larian Studios’ CRPG of unparalleled depth and scope. It juggles a dizzying number of complex and immersive systems, allowing you to be a goody-two-shoes or a right evil bastard in equal measure. Its world is dauntingly large and it’s easy to make a mistake, but the game rarely punishes you for those mistakes. Even murdering someone you’re supposed to talk to doesn’t usually end up being a huge problem: chances are, you can just loot their corpse and get back on track.
Baldur’s Gate 3
If you’ve played Divinity: Original Sin 2, you’ll feel right at home playing Baldur’s Gate 3. Larian Studios has taken over where BioWare left off, delivering a modern reboot of the tabletop roleplaying game style that the franchise pioneered.
The game is set in the forested western corner of Faerun, populated by too many fully-realized characters with heart-wrenching choices and powerful relationships to count. It has a densely packed system of tactical combat that rewards clever positioning, and a world that feels like it was designed to be explored and experienced with the full range of the player’s creativity.
The game also features next-gen graphics, a massive 64-player PvP battle mode, and new game modes. It’s a solid PC release that shows that the platform still has a stronghold in the RPG market.
As the reigning platform for first-person shooters, PC gaming is home to a unique breed of games that are unsuited for consoles. Whether you’re looking for weird indie curios or the latest remaster of a classic, there’s something for everyone on PC.
Elden Ring takes place in the Lands Between, a fictional realm ruled by demigods. After the queen Marika shattered her mystical ring, her children fought over control of its fragmented pieces. You play as a Tarnished, one of the descendants of the queen who have been banished from the Lands Between for their role in her destruction.
FromSoftware has managed to expand the Souls-like genre into a genuinely exciting open world. It features a depth of story, robust action, and incredible technology that looks extra sparkly on PC. It’s also accessible to those who might not be fans of the studio’s other games, delivering a meaningful story about fatherhood while retaining all the gameplay that made its predecessors great.
Seven years after its release, indie developer Derek Yu’s Spelunky remains one of the best platformers ever made. When Mossmouth announced a sequel, we couldn’t wait to check it out. Spelunky 2 is the same game as its predecessor, but it feels new again. It offers a fresh slate for secret hunters and speedrunners, while also offering a rare example of a game that is as much about playing as winning.
The world of Spelunky 2 is denser than the original, with more areas, traps, and items. Back at base camp, characters you unlock will mill around, egging you on to explore more and better your own run. And if that’s not enough, the game has new dungeons to revisit with more treasure and foes to face.
God of War
The past year has been a wild one for all of us. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and play. The virus has forced many to rethink their habits and focus on the things that matter most to them. Fortunately, gaming has been here to help in many ways.
Kratos returns in this awe-inducing reimagining of the God of War series. It’s a stunning game that elicits universal praise for its art direction, music, graphics, world design, combat system, and characters. It’s also an apex for the franchise and the character of Kratos as it moves on from the Gods of Olympus to a world full of Norse gods and monsters.
Hades is one of the most delightful PC games of 2020. Supergiant Games spent years in early access before releasing this delightful roguelike that blends a heartfelt need for family with silly Greek-themed powers and colorful randomized rooms filled with hellhounds, hydras, and other denizens of the underworld.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just beginning your journey, Destiny 2 is the best version of the beloved shooter-looter in existence. Its sprawling worlds, fantastic characters, and satisfying gunplay are unmatched in the MMO-style genre.
It’s taken years for Destiny to hit its stride and overcome the love-hate relationship fans developed with it, but this year marked a high point. Lightfall is a welcome addition that, even with its flawed story, adds new activities, weapons, and subclasses. Its core mod changes make weapon crafting more accessible, and its difficulty now better suits the player’s power level.
Creative Assembly’s pitch-perfect recreation of Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece is a must-play for sci-fi and horror fans alike. Its next-gen graphics and multiplayer battles will test your computer, but it’s worth the extra performance boost. A decent mid-range machine should be able to handle it easily.