There have been expansive lists for the best PC games before. That's nothing new. But the Shacknews' Chatty community is comprised largely of diehard PC gamers that have expoused the virtues of desktop gaming for over decades. So it only seems right that this core group of dedicated users take several weeks to evalute and organize a list of the best of the best in PC games.
This is the fruit of their efforts, led by Chatty's watcherxp. After weeks of tallying votes taken over our Chatty boards and privately channels, this is the list of the Top 100 PC Games of All-Time. Today, we continue the countdown with #60 through #41.
#60 - Civilization V
The latest iteration of the Civilization series has proven to be among the best, with four levels of AI taking players from the distant past all the way into the future. With 18 playable civilizations, Civ V proves to be engaging in just about every way, whether engaging in diplomacy or expanding your empire through military conquest.
"I also enjoyed Civ 4 but since the combat in 5 is less horrible Ill go with this."
"Better than 3, which is where I picked up the series. A giant sink of time and faux productivity. Addictive in the extreme."
"It has been decades of progress for the Civ series and I finally feel they have created a game with many subsystems which are all interesting and function. Civ 5 has five different victory conditions with even more strategies to get there. Almost every system and victory condition has its place and is fun to play with. Diplomacy still has some issues but it is mostly works. Culture and religion aren't just for decoration and have real value. The multiplayer is fun and the modding community is pretty good. It will be a very long time before someone outside Firaxis can make an empire building game this good."
#59 - Star Control II
Before Skylanders was ever a blip on anyone's radar, Toys for Bob was known for Star Control II, dazzling sci-fi gaming fans everywhere. It packs in one of the most immense adventure games you'll find on PC or any gaming platform, with a sterling plot, phenomenal dialogue, intuitive combat, and a deep diplomacy system. To say it improves upon its predecessor would be a major understatement.
"I spent a lot of sleepless nights in front of the computer playing Star Control 2. When I wasn't playing it, I talked about the amazing plot and hilarious characters. It also happens to be the first game where choice played a critical role in how story played out. You had to convince allies to join your cause, and sometimes trick old foes into coming to your side too. Very sophisticated storytelling for its time."
"Space exploration was never so much fun! Again, this game integrated multiple elements: discovering new races ala Star Trek, building your ship, research, fun ship combat (I played SuperMelee by the computer with friends for hours!!!), a great story, hilarious dialogue and let's not forget one the best soundtracks in gaming!"
"I controlled the universe, it was amazing."
"Honorable mention to Starflight."
#58 - Sim City 2000
It would have taken a lot to improve upon the original, but Maxis proved more than up for the challenge. New facilities were plentiful, with about a dozen new building types, nine new power plant varieties, and a bigger world featuring multiple cities with trade routes and all. It was the first Sim City made grander than anyone previously thought imaginable and still considered to be one of the major peaks of the series, only topped by Maxis' next effort.
"The foundation upon which SC4's greatness was laid. One of Will Wright's most accessible and most complicated games, which is a particular achievement."
"I really thought I'd be living in an arcology by now."
"The first PC game that I played for multiple hours straight."
#57 - Diablo
It's the one that started it all. It's Blizzard's first venture into Sanctuary and the model for any future game in the genre. It's got randomized loot drops and lots of them, it's got a deep, dark narrative, it's got a deep customization system, and it has an engaging multiplayer system. Diablo remains one of the standards for dungeon crawlers, even to this day.
"Oppressive atmosphere, near-total randomization, and addictive, easy-to-pick-up gameplay. This game is the reason I've spent 6 years of my life and counting writing Blizzard North's story."
"Brought Rogue gameplay with a great graphics tileset to the PC. Hugely influential title."
"What needs to be said? This game became the game that all other clickers were defined by. How many times have we heard, 'The perfect Diablo Clone?'"
"After finally coming into the world of online gaming with Quake, Diablo kept me there. The atmosphere and music are still some of the best the industry has ever seen, and the gameplay was tremendously addictive."
"Ring of 1000 represent"
#56 - XCOM: Enemy Unknown
There was some skepticism as to whether the XCOM franchise could thrive in the new decade. Firaxis quickly relieved everyone's fear, faithfully living up to the classic franchise with its near-perfect take on the turn-based RTS. With a fresh new alien menace to face and with the engaging Iron Man mode behind it, Enemy Unknown is truly a reboot done right.
"Brought back classic turn-based tactics and pulled no punches."
"A great remake that while changes the X-COM experience, it creates a new, unique, and most importantly fun one. Not better than the original, but a good followup. It's like the opposite of the JJ Abrams version of Star Trek."
"A remake of the original XCOM had some brilliant design decisions to make it more approachable and quicker gameplay. The overworld still has a purpose although it isn't perfect. The expansions add a fair-fight team vs team which I always want in a tactical game to know if I truly am superior to the AI thinking instead of being superior on a weapon and equipment level. There is also an urgency and reason not be too conservative. Firaxis has great animations and interfaces that are clearly communicated without too many numbers or steps to jump through. New XCOM is the easiest tactical game to play and I appreciate how it brought the genre back."
"Played the originals and constantly got crushed. they did an incredible job on the remake"
#55 - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto 3 took the series forward, but Vice City was just good fun. Fully wrapped in 80s culture with a soundtrack to match, Vice City was a timewarp in the best possible way. The GTA series has been criticized for forgettable characters in the past, but Tommy Vercetti suffers from no such problem, cementing himself as one of the series' most memorable frontmen.
"Great soundtrack. Good voice work. I'd jump into the game just to weave through traffic on a motorcycle on the long highway straights."
"A GTA had to make the list - I've bought every inception at release and have yet to be disappointed. Vice City tops the bunch because the gameplay was perfectly balanced and because it came at the perfect time to be retro before it was cool - Vice City is the proto-hipster."
"Other games in the series are more important, but none were more fun. Out of all of the GTA games, I still think Vice City does the best job of making you feel like your character went from henchman to boss. Plus, dat soundtrack."
#54 - Baldur's Gate
The Infinity Engine is beloved by RPG fans and Baldur's Gate was the first to use it. Combined with BioWare's prowess for hardcore RPGs and this 1998 release stands as one of the all-time classics. Few D&D licensed titles stand out like this Forgotten Realms-inspired effort.
"Baldur's Gate was my first RPG of this style and it sucked up so many hours. I was pretty young when I first played this, so it took forever to beat the game, but eventually I did. Unlike KotOR, I played this more for the gameplay. The game was so open ended, you could play for days without doing anything in the main story. There are many memorable NPCs and lines of dialogue that are still stuck in my head."
"Hardcore RPGing at its finest. Would have picked BG2 but to be honest I never finished it!!"
"In my opinion, Baldur's Gate is the most epic series of video games that currently exists. Depending on who you ask, the whole trilogy clocks in at around 200 hours, so if you're looking for a game to lose yourself in, look no further than Baldur’s Gate. Baldur's Gate heralded in a new era of RPGs in the late '90s, and it’s not hard to see why. This game is the launching point for the modern CRPG. Sure, it lacks the glitz and glam of voice acting for every line, but every character is written well enough for them to evoke their unique personalities. Baldur's Gate II and its expansion, Throne of Bhaal are clearly the high point of the series. While the sprawling environments of the original Baldur's Gate were amazing to experience, the rather empty landscape became a chore to explore. However, Baldur's Gate II is dense. It is so, so dense, it is easy to get lost. But if you stick with the game, you will find that it is a veritable world of narrative adventure. You might play Skyrim for 200 hours too, but I doubt you’ll experience as magnificent of a story as Baldur's Gate."
#53 - FreeSpace 2
It's hard to think of Volition as anything other than the house that Saints Row built. But once upon a time, Volition was into space combat simulators and they made one of the greatest ever created. FreeSpace 2 stood out as one of the all-time fantastic space simulators, with a brilliant modding community behind it. Though other games in the genre outsold, few of those featured a better presentation than FreeSpace 2.
"Best reason to ever own a joystick and keep on handy."
-Sailor of Fortune
"The ultimate space simulator. Great story, great music, great voice acting, best modding community of all time, etc, etc, etc. I could spend hours talking about this game and what it does. Volition's best game."
"Better designed and written than the much more popular Lucasarts and Origin titles, it stands up better today."
"This is Admiral Petrach, signing off."
#52 - Dragon Age: Origins
BioWare understands what makes a great RPG and that was evident, once again, with 2009's Dragon Age: Origins. With memorable characters, replayable quests, the ability to queue up character attacks, a deep story, and fantastic visuals, Origins stands out as one of the better modern RPGs. There's a good reason that so many are looking forward to Dragon Age: Inquisition later this year.
"This was one of those games that once I started playing, I did not want to stop for anything. There hadn't been a huge old school RPG like this in a while and everything about it hooked me. Revisiting it recently, it hasn't aged as well as some other games (it used to be much higher on my top list). But still an amazing RPG that hearkens back to BioWare's best games."
"Dragon Age: Origins is BioWare's glorious return to form. While I loved Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect, BioWare's strengths have always been in their epic storytelling and tactical (as opposed to action-oriented) combat. KotOR, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect are simpler games from a narrative perspective, whereas Dragon Age's storyline is much more than a struggle of good vs. evil. Although somewhat generic, the world building of Dragon Age was very well executed. The characters, absolutely stellar. The plot itself... a little derivative, but hell, what a package! Dragon Age brought BioWare back to its roots, and my God, was it beautiful. When I look at Dragon Age critically, it is essentially an incremental update to the Baldur's Gate formula, with greater production values. When narrative construction is your strength, sometimes an incremental improvement is desirable: a huge, epic experience that builds upon and perfects the strengths of its predecessors. Dragon Age is just complicated enough to make it a deep, engrossing RPG, suitable for the hardcore gamer, yet simple enough to be accessible to a wider audience."
#51 - Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has its flaws, with many elements left unpolished. However, it shines through its RPG elements and its brilliant script in ways that many of its contemporaries simply do not. Boasting a deep narrative and a rich supernatural world, Bloodlines stands as a cult classic and one that deserves all the recognition it's getting through this list.
"Such a kooky, atmospheric game. Wish it could've been even better."
"Underrated, buggy as hell game that was still amazing"
"That f***ing hotel scared the s*** out of me! Oculus Rift may kill me off when it gets released."
"...fantastic world and atmosphere, it's important you see. One of the best written RPGs ever, that is also important, more so for RPGs"
#49 (tie) - Starsiege: Tribes
Starsiege: Tribes was released in 1998 and stands well alongside Quake and Counter-Strike as phenomenal multiplayer experiences. Featuring 40 maps and five game modes, players had no shortage of weapons and armor types to equip. Oh, also jetpacks! There were jetpacks!
"Shazbot! The introduction of a jetpack, floating bases, and a disc launcher into the established world of team shooters proved a huge hit for me. I was always most fond of the CTF game mode."
"Revolutionized the FPS combat genre for the better. One of the easiest games to pick-up-and-play. Spinfusor is one of the best weapons of all time."
"My hands-down favorite multiplayer experience. Even beats out UT and Quake 3."
"Spawning into pregame, hearing the hum of your spinfusor during the match countdown, was a calm-before-the-storm excitement that typified the feel of a Tribes game. Objects could move terribly fast, actions could happen in a split second, but the pace of the game had quiet moments and a definite overall rhythm. Great change of pace from arena-shooter DM. The team sizes were large enough to avoid always railroading you into a specific role, or putting the weight of the team on your shoulders 100% of the time, but also small enough so that you could affect the outcome of the match. And it had skiing! ... no game deserves to accidentally stumble on a mechanic that is that much fun."
#49 (tie) - Left 4 Dead 2
Valve's sequel released to a lot of controversy. It only came a year after the original. But since its arrival, it has been a staple for anyone looking to bust zombie skulls. More than that, it's been a Chatty co-op staple since the day it hit.
"Awesome co-op game. Dognose, Romsteady and I play this game almost every night."
"More zombies. But realism mode almost made it too hard."
"Killing zombies? Good.
Killing zombies with friends? Good!
Killing zombies who used to be friends? VERY GOOD!"
#48 - Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares
Civilization isn't the only classic 4x turn-based strategy in town. Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares featured a vast galaxy filled with multiple star systems to explore and numerous alien races to encounter along the way. It stands as one of the truly great science fiction strategy games ever.
"My favorite turn-based game ever."
"This is the game that got me addicted to 4X games. Building a galactic empire one turn at a time was simply the most enjoyable thing for me at the time, and it led to me love of Alpha Centauri."
"One of the best strategy games ever put out. Not too much micromanagement, and in depth enough that you felt you really controlled all colonies growth"
"So many hours, this game is dangerous! Perhaps the original Master of Orion has a cleaner design, but level of customization and choices in MoO2 out weigh MoO1."
"The best 4X game of all time."
#47 - Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
The second Age of Empires game improved upon the original in just about every way. First and foremost, though, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings was far simpler to get into. With a low barrier of entry, there was ample room to get into the game's engaging multiplayer.
"I've never been big into RTS, but this was approachable and the multiplayer was a lot of fun. A good match was pure magic."
"This was an awesome LAN party game during college. Even with its dated graphics we'd still kick out some marathon Age of Kings games. Judge, jidar, Dorf, pres589 and a couple other non-Shackers would crank out troops and throw them into the fray. So much fun."
"Trebuchets FTW. Learned more world history in this game than I did in World History in Public Education."
-Sailor of Fortune
#46 - Thief II: The Metal Age
This is considered by some to be the peak of the Thief series. That's because Thief II focused mainly on what made the series so great: stealth. Eschewing the original's more superfluous elements, Thief II hit the stealth note just right. No zombie killing missions here.
"About damn perfect. Right mix of tension and levity. Things are objects. They have properties. Do with them as you wish. The environment/NPCs/etc were a nice balance of creepy and comedic. It wasn't all doom and gloom. The audio still amazes me and we are still lagging behind on the concepts it tried and succeeded at. Who thought making the music a patchwork of what are essentially maps and triggers could be so effective? Apparently no one else making games and audio is still the red headed step-child of software development."
"Didn't know a thing about. Cover looked cool. Taught me some sneak"
#45 - Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness
While Warcraft III arguably stands as one of Blizzard's all-time great efforts, it was Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness that set the table for what was to come. If the ongoing war between the orcs and the humans wasn't enough to keep players engaged, there was an intuitive map editor to help craft whole new scenarios for single and multiplayer. Blizzard continued to hone their craft and prove that few are better at what they do.
"Although it didn't create the RTS genre, it created a standard for all to follow."
"I sunk too many hours into this over IPX/SPX wrappers on dial up not to include it"
"Just beating out the more complicated Warcraft3 and the simpler Command and Conquer, this game was fun, exciting and also excellent multiplayer like Quake3. Defining the genre before the introduction of heroes in War3, and the insanely popular tower defence (DOTA), War 2 did everything right. honourable mentions to Starcraft 1 and 2, both of which took a more sci-fi tech edge to what war2 got right."
-the man with the briefcase
#44 - Grim Fandango
There's a reason that this was one of the most heavily-requested remakes. Tim Schafer's Grim Fandango was masterful with its intuitive adventure elements and its rich sense of dark humor. Few games take advantage of its Day of the Dead setting quite like Grim Fandango. Its lovable characters and beautiful world is what good gaming narratives are made of.
"The best adventure game ever made."
"I still miss Glottis... Felt like I left a friend behind when I finished that game. Amazing that a game could achieve that at the time."
"An adventure game so enthralling that I wanted to stop and not finish it just so it wouldn't be over."
"Nonstop smiles all the way through. It had great characters and a thoroughly awesome day-of-the-dead-meets-Maltese-Falcon world, and better voice acting than any game from 1997 had any right to have."
"Schafer's finest. A brilliant, genious fusion of mesoamerican and film noir influences. Smart puzzles, strong characterization and, for my money, the best closing line in any game."
#43 - Day of the Tentacle
From one LucasArts classic to another. The 1993 classic Day of the Tentacle blends together the graphic adventure format and tosses in the element of time travel. More than that, though, it was one of the first games to remove the idea of death and dead ends, creating a humorous adventure that never stalled and never slowed down. It was truly a pioneer and well ahead of its time.
"I loved the characters and plot of this game. It was such a funny story. You could have put Maniac Mansion or Grim Fandango here, but I think DOTT was the best of those 3."
-the man with the briefcase
"DOTT had such cleverly humorous puzzles, it still blows my mind. I knew I was playing something special when I played that game the first time."
"I feel like I could... like I could... like I could... TAKE ON THE WORLD!!"
#42 - BioShock
It was the first trip to Rapture. Fans thought they had seen it all with System Shock 2, but the spiritual successor introduced an unforgettable world that challenged players' concepts of dystopia, as well as Randian and Orwellian philosophy. Wrapped in a perfectly good FPS, BioShock challenged minds, as well as trigger fingers.
"I want to put this higher, because it's beautiful, but the gunplay really f***ing sucked."
"I was engrossed with the world of Bioshock. The Little Sisters, Big Daddys, and Splicers all combined with the eerie underwater biome from the early 1900s was a perfect combination of weird, science fiction, and fantasy that blew me away. I'll also never look at a golf club again the same way."
"This game blew my mind when I first played it. I had never been a big FPS player and the freaky enemies, awesome atmosphere, setting, and aesthetics, and interesting storytelling kept me hooked."
"It's BioShock, everything that can be said has already been said."
#41 - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
The Witcher was a truly incredible experience and CD Projekt RED went all out for its second effort. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a true fantasy RPG in every sense of the term, with amazing stories tailored to the individual. There's a good reason why Shacknews named this one its 2011 Game of the Year.
"This is the piece of media where I can tolerate fantasy. Doesn't patronize, doesn't bore you to death with a 1000 books worth of boring lore."
"I give more of a crap about what happens to Triss then I do to any other character in any other game ever. That's something."
"Great graphics, adventure and action. And you get to do it with chicks!"
"This is the benchmark for the modern big-budget fantasy RPG. This game is bitter, dirty, bloody and beautiful. It provides excellently improved gameplay over its predecessor, an incredible-looking world populated with interesting characters, and weighty moral choices with real consequence rather than obvious good-vs.-evil."
"My 2011 GOTY that surprised the hell out of me considering how much I hated the combat of the Witcher 1. Great, mature fantasy story."
The remainder of the Top 100 will be released throughout the week. To see the Chatty community discuss the ongoing list, be sure to check out the original Chatty thread for their reactions. Special thanks to watcherxp and the rest of the Chatty community for voting. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the next 10 games on the list!
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Shacknews Chatty Community's Top 100 PC Games of All-Time: #60-41.
After weeks of tabulating the votes, the Shacknews Chatty community has come up with their Top 100 PC Games of All-Time! Today, we count down #60 through #41!
No Morrowind yet. That's a good sign.
I wonder how many franchises will be represented in the top 20. I bet it will be less than 20!
HL1 and HL2 are almost shoe-ins for top 10. Q1/Q2/Q3 are all serious possibilities for top 20 and I'd give it a fair shot of 2/3 of those being top 10.
At least one Civilization will probably be up there. Probably TF2 or Counter-Strike. Doom, Duke, and Quake all seem like they might be there.
I know that Quake is this website's seminal game, but IMO three Quake games in the top 20 would be a disappointing representation of the PC as a whole if stuff like Baldur's Gate, Planetscape, Deus Ex, Fallout, SC4, or other masterpiece games were put to the side.
Freespace 2, MercFox. FreeSpace 2 didn't make the top 50.
I didn't vote it #1 because it isn't the best game of all time, but now I'm thinking I should've homer'd and voted it 1
haha wow some of those quotes belong on boxes. nice job all round.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines' hotel level scared the heck out of me too. Good times.