The Best PC Games to Play Right Now

The PC side of the gaming industry offers up one of the largest libraries available to gamers. We've compiled a list of some of our favorite games that we feel every PC gamer should play right now.

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With the largest library of any gaming platform, PC gaming is one of the hardest to get into at times. We aren’t talking about PC part prices here, we’re talking about having way too many games to choose from. In order to make things a little easier we’ve compiled a list of our favorite PC games of the moment. Remember that we’ll be updating this and our other lists are time goes by, so check by often for newly improved entries.

We’ve already covered the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 libraries, so be sure to check those out if you plan on buying one of those systems.


Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Set 200 years after the previous Elder Scrolls Game, the fifth installment of the popular RPG series thrusts players into the role of Dragonborn, a hero who is born with the soul and power of a dragon. With an in-depth character creation system, a massive open-world to explore, and several different factions to join and rise to the top of, Skyrim is the ultimate RPG game for fantasy fans. And we haven’t even talked about the thousands upon thousands of mods waiting to be installed.


Fallout 3

Another popular RPG, Fallout is virtually ‘Skyrim with guns’. Set within a post-nuclear holocaust world, players take on the role of a Vault Dweller, leaving behind the relative safety of the vault for the first time. Leave the safety of Vault 101 behind and take on the nasty creatures of the Capital Wasteland as you search for your father in a living, breathing, post-apocalyptic world. If the base game isn’t enough for you, there are thousands of mods just waiting to be installed and put to use.


Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity is a fantastic return to the old-school Infinity Engine that games like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescapre: Torment were made on. Taking place in the fictional world of Eora, Pillars of Eternity puts players in the shoes ‘The Watcher’ a person who can remember their past lives. Tasked with finding the priest who cursed them before they go mad, players must make their way through the Eastern Reach of Eora on a quest to not only save themselves, but also to save the region from the powerful and dreadful Hollowborn curse. With a well-crafted story, the beauty and mechanics of the golden era of RPGs, and a simplistic and yet beautiful art-style, Pillars of Eternity is a must-own for RPG fans.


Portal 2

As the successor of Portal, Valves 2007 hit puzzle game, Portal 2 wasn’t expected to be that great. Many gamers couldn’t see how a sequel could come out of the puzzle game, however, Valve managed to pull it off with flying colors. Picking up a bit after the first game left off, players are once more thrown into the eyes of Chell, who is awoken after years of suspended animation in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. With new characters like Wheatley, the return of GLaDOS, and the introduction of a new co-op game mode, Portal 2 was a better refined version of an already great idea.


GTA V

Grand Theft Auto games have always been a huge undergoing, but after waiting almost 2 years longer to receive the newest iteration of the popular open-world game, PC fans were more than ready to get their hands on Los Santos in its newest form. Featuring a first-person mode, new multiplayer heists, and some of the best optimization a GTA game has seen on PC, GTA V is a welcome treat, and a reliable time-killer for PC users everywhere. Step into the shoes of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin as you work to build up your cash, and take down the sleazy FIB agents trying to extort you.


Duke 3D

Picking up directly after Duke Nukem II, Duke Nukem 3, or Duke 3D, is a return to the glorious alien ass-kicking that is Duke Nukem. Released in 1996, Duke 3D might look a little dated now, but it was the epitome of fantastic FPS action in its day. With highly destructible environments, real-life inspired locations, and plenty of edgy scantily clad girls, Duke 3D is a welcome addition to the library of any self-pronounced PC gamer.


System Shock 2

The spiritual god-father of Bioshock, System Shock 2 is a 1999 first person survival horror video game which has been hailed often as one of the greatest games of all time. Set within a cyberpunk envisioning of 2114, players take on the role of a lone soldier aboard the Von Braun spaceship. Awakened after a mysterious virus takes over the ship, the players must then make their way through the ship towards different objectives while surviving the mental and physical onslaught of The Many, a hive-minded alien infestation.


Starcraft 2

Set four years after Starcraft: Brood War, StarCraft 2 is the massive sequel to Blizzard’s wildly popular science fiction real-time strategy game. With a well-told campaign mode, and hours upon hours of multiplayer matches waiting to happen, Starcraft 2 is a must-have for RTS fans who are looking to sink their teeth into one of the most polished, well-crafted real-time strategy games available on PC. With multiple packs available, Starcraft 2 is a bit of a hefty game to take on, and players will want to make sure they begin their playthrough with the Wings of Liberty game set. From there they can then move on to Heart of the Swarm, and lastly, Legacy of the Void.


Half-Life Series

Step into the shoes of theoretical physicist, Gordon Freeman, and experience the Black Mesa Incident firsthand. Developed by Valve, creators of Steam, the first Half Life game is regarded as one of the greatest games of all time. Originally designed and released in 1998, the first game saw a sequel, Half-Life 2, in 2004 and continued to bring in praise and acclaim through another two releases. Unlike many of the games of the time, the Half-Life series used scripted sequences within the gameplay to further the story’s plotline, thus removing all possibility of cut scenes, and thereby greatly increasing the fluidity and immersion of the game and its story as players never left the first-person view, and were able to witness the story completely through Freeman’s eyes.


Hearthstone

Featuring characters from their well-known Warcraft series, Blizzard released Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to the public in 2014. As a virtual collectible card game (or CCG) Hearthstone has swept across the world, pulling in millions of players with the simplistic and elegant design. Don’t let the looks fool you, however, as the game is extremely difficult to master, and with additions to the card pool still growing, it’s not going to be easy to collect every card. Facing off against opponents in one-versus-one battles, the players must battle to deplete the other Hero’s health. Games can take place in online human-versus-human interactions, or players can practice against the CPU, or even pick up special Adventure Mode wings which offer alternate card backs and cards as a reward.


Know a game you want to recommend? Sadly we weren't able to include every game we wanted in this list, so be sure to leave your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below for others to see.

Filed Under

From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 16, 2015 2:30 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, The Best PC Games to Play Right Now

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 2:48 PM

      Those are some ancient games, yo.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 2:48 PM

      I'm not sure what this article is trying to tell me other than the Shack staff has good taste in PC games.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 2:50 PM

        Slow news day, needs content.

        • reply
          July 16, 2015 3:14 PM

          We actually have started rolling these out because a user asked why we didn't do them, and we thought they were a great idea to start adding them in, and keeping them updated.

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 3:42 PM

            Awesome

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 4:03 PM

            I'm not sure the title is doing any favors then. Maybe "Shack Staff: What we're playing this week" or something.

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 4:07 PM

            Since you want to keep them updated, let's try this:

            - Alien: Isolation
            - Shadow of Mordor
            - Far Cry 4
            - Dying Light
            - Witcher 3


            • reply
              July 16, 2015 4:09 PM

              Oh wait, it's what the staff is currently playing?

              Just call the article "What We Are Playing" and list each staffer contributing with a quote or something, it's not exactly the first time it's been done on the shack.

              At least it's not a listicle.

              • reply
                July 16, 2015 4:29 PM

                No this isn't a 'what we are playing' article. This is a 'we think you should try these games out' article. It will evolve and change over time.

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                  July 16, 2015 4:34 PM

                  so should the headline.

                • reply
                  July 16, 2015 8:23 PM

                  I think the reason people think it's weird is because the games you are telling people to check out are all games that everyone with a PC has already played.

                  • reply
                    July 16, 2015 8:33 PM

                    That's sort of the point. It's meant to be a primer for newcomers. A little history lesson with a dash of modern hits mixed in. We'll be updating it so the modern parts stay modern, and we constantly reevaluate which classics are still "essential reading" so to speak.

                    • reply
                      July 16, 2015 8:36 PM

                      Does "newcomer" mean someone moving from console to PC or someone who was basically born yesterday?

                      • reply
                        July 16, 2015 8:38 PM

                        We are trying to push our content into the burgeoning "infant gamer" demographic.

                      • reply
                        July 16, 2015 8:48 PM

                        "And so, whether you are here to stay, or coming of age on your way to gaming systems unknown, welcome to PC gaming. It's mod...ier here."

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 2:52 PM

      Right now right now I'd say Witcher 3 & Rocket League are the games to play. Terraria just got a big patch, Witcher 3 has a new huge one with a lot of improvements on the way.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 2:54 PM

      Deus Ex

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 3:00 PM

      Needs more Mortal Kombat X.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 3:04 PM

      what a bizarre list

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 3:28 PM

        These are some PC games

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 3:33 PM

        Yeah it's odd because the title includes the words "Right Now" and the list has some really old games on it. Maybe if an older game had a hot new mod coming out for it, the title would fit better.

        "With highly destructible environments, real-life inspired locations, and plenty of edgy scantily clad girls, Duke 3D is a welcome addition to the library of any self-pronounced PC gamer."

        And those scantily clad girls will show their BOOBIES! w0w0w0w0w0w0w0w

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 3:36 PM

        It really is the epitome of the kind of content I've been really disappointed with in the articles recently.

        It's just a lame listicle with no actual understandable reason for existing. Hey guys here are some random high rated games!

        • reply
          July 16, 2015 4:30 PM

          These aren't random high-rated games. These are games that staff members enjoyed and felt others should give a whirl. The list will evolve and change over time.

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 4:40 PM

            Language like this suggests you're just compiling a list of games other people think are great: "The spiritual god-father of Bioshock, System Shock 2 is a 1999 first person survival horror video game which has been hailed often as one of the greatest games of all time."

            There's very little in this article about why you or the rest of the Shacknews team love these games so much. A lot of description, and not much emotion.

            • reply
              July 16, 2015 4:41 PM

              We didn't want to take the typical opinionated take on these articles. Instead we thought it would be better to provide some backstory/description of the game other than 'I love it because *insert nice things*'.

              This is a learning process, and the start of something we will be continuing. As I said in an earlier post - it will evolve and change.

              • reply
                July 16, 2015 4:47 PM

                Well, I think by its nature this article is opinionated. You've selected these games for a reason, but the reason is vague. The intent is to get people to try these games because you believe they are special, correct? If that's the case, then I think you should make an argument for their greatness.

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                July 16, 2015 4:48 PM

                The opinionated take is what distinguishes you from other sites and justifies your choices. You're not telling me anything I don't already know about Fallout 3.

              • reply
                July 16, 2015 5:06 PM

                If you're going to publish a fluffy opinion piece at least include an opinion

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 5:08 PM

            What does evolve mean? You are going to edit this article occasionally? Or is this going to be a regular feature where you just lift five new games every time?

            • reply
              July 16, 2015 8:23 PM

              It's the former. The idea behind all of these lists is that if someone were to go out and buy the platform today, right now, what would the staff recommend they play to get a nice rounded idea of what it has to offer? Sometimes that's newer games, sometimes it's classics. Each of the lists will be updated every few months, and we'll be cycling off older ones and adding newer ones as they fit.

              We have a PS4 and Xbox One list as well, but for obvious reasons, PC is a much more crowded field. Since it doesn't have a natural generational cutoff, we took a more holistic approach with some older entries. Keep in mind we're not saying these are the only ten games worth your time, just that they're a good starting point.

              • reply
                July 16, 2015 8:27 PM

                Would you really recommend that someone who had never owned a PC before went out and bought System Shock 2 and Duke 3d?

                • reply
                  July 16, 2015 8:29 PM

                  For the same reason I'd recommend someone who's never played a Nintendo game before should try the original Super Mario Bros: yes, absolutely.

                  • reply
                    July 16, 2015 9:14 PM

                    There's a huge difference there. If someone has played a modern platformer, they can jump into SMB with about 5 seconds of instruction. If you took someone who had literally never played a PC game before (which is apparently the audience of this article) and gave them System Shock 2 they would really struggle at best.

                    • reply
                      July 16, 2015 9:45 PM

                      Forget playing the game well, just getting the thing to run on modern systems can be difficult.

                      • reply
                        July 16, 2015 9:54 PM

                        From CD installs? Sure. However, both GOG and Steam do a good job making both Duke3D and System Shock 2 pretty much just install and double-click to start.

                        • reply
                          July 17, 2015 8:02 AM

                          I'm not saying it would be hard to install, but it would be a rough experience for someone who has never played a PC game (interface, controls, difficulty, etc)

                          • reply
                            July 17, 2015 9:47 AM

                            I actually very much agree with you, especially regarding the control issue, which is why I replied to Sniper21's point instead.

                            Duke3D Megaton Edition does actually have full controller/xinput support right out of the box. Hell, it supports that better than standard kb/mouse, as next/previous weapon and quick kick are non-intuitive keys rather than mouse bindings.

                            System Shock 2 though, even with the tutorial, is a bit more like jumping into the deep end.

                      • reply
                        July 16, 2015 11:23 PM

                        System Shock 2 runs fine on modern hardware. It's System Shock 1 that is tricky.

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                        July 17, 2015 2:19 AM

                        GOG.

                      • reply
                        July 17, 2015 9:49 AM

                        I've been thoroughly corrected. Last time I tried installing SS2 it was from CD. It didn't go well. Glad GoG and stream make it easier.

              • reply
                July 17, 2015 12:51 AM

                If you're going to make these lists a feature on your site you should find a permanent place for them. No one will find them buried in the news section.

        • reply
          July 17, 2015 6:28 AM

          Listicles are what get pageviews. Everything else just gets lost in the sea of google.

          • reply
            July 17, 2015 8:03 AM

            It's not that it's a listicle, they do those every day. It's that it doesn't make any sense.

        • reply
          July 17, 2015 6:59 AM

          Relax, not every article needs to be a ground breaking piece of journalism. Let them do some weak lists when news is slow.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 5:07 PM

        I think someone was bored.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 3:14 PM

      You won't BELIEVE #6

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 3:24 PM

      Kerbal!!!!!!

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 3:30 PM

      I would argue Pillars of Eternity isn't a great game to play right now, as the upcoming expansion patch sounds pretty huge. I'm holding off on my playthrough until it's released.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 4:45 PM

        Why would you argue Pillars of Eternity isn't a great game to play right now if you apparently haven't played it?

        • reply
          July 16, 2015 8:37 PM

          For most people, the first playthrough is the only playthrough, and with the massive revamp just around the corner, he has a point. I'm holding out on launching it for that reason.

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 8:38 PM

            The game is pretty fantastic as it is. I mean, you can wait. But it's still a great game to play.

        • reply
          July 16, 2015 9:41 PM

          Sure, it's a great game now. I put in several hours before getting distracted by the witcher. I'm just having trouble picking it back up knowing all the improvements that are coming with the expansion.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 10:45 PM

        Here's a video that deets the 2.0 changes that will land will the expansion for Pillars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0GvsA6exuY

        The guy narrating sounds like a huge dork. Jeesh, can't they get a better people.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 3:35 PM

      "Good PC Games to Play Sometime"

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 3:40 PM

      "The Best PC Games to Play Right Now" And no Witcher 3 or Rocket League oookay then

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:11 PM

      Yes, let's ignore the hot new multiplayer game, which is the definition of a "right now" game, and instead suggest you play something released in 1996.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 4:44 PM

        What is the hot new multiplayer game?

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 6:55 PM

        I can't tell if you're being sarcastic.

        Sometimes it's good to read a article about games that are more than two weeks old.

        • reply
          July 16, 2015 7:49 PM

          OK, well then it is missing Infinifactory and The Talos Principle and Minecraft.

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 7:50 PM

            And Kerbal Space Program.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:13 PM

      Duke 3d

      Oh Shack, you've never changed.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:14 PM

      come on guys :/

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:19 PM

      You forgot Solitaire.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:28 PM

      Heres a list of pc games that exist.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:31 PM

      Ahem, it's OBLIVION with guns.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 4:36 PM

        we used the phrase 'Skyrim with guns' because it became so popular, and there are many people who might not have played the series until Skyrim. Yes it is possible. I know people like that.

        • reply
          July 16, 2015 8:12 PM

          Huh. So you are trying to speak to those who aren't familiar with PC games but your blurb on Duke 3D says " self-pronounced PC gamer."

          Who is editing this stuff?

          • reply
            July 16, 2015 9:17 PM

            I think it's pretty clear that no-one read over these things:

            "games like Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescapre: Torment were made on"

            "Picking up a bit after the first game left off, players are once more thrown into the eyes of Chell, who is awoken after years of suspended animation in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center."

            "Grand Theft Auto games have always been a huge undergoing"

            "real-life inspired locations, and plenty of edgy scantily clad girls,"

            "the Half-Life series used scripted sequences within the gameplay to further the story’s plotline, thus removing all possibility of cut scenes"

            "Hearthstone has swept across the world, pulling in millions of players with the simplistic and elegant design"

            • reply
              July 16, 2015 9:22 PM

              (second last there is just wrong, of course it doesn't remove all possibility of having cutscenes, which btw aren't cut scenes, or did you mean cut scenes and that it removed all possibility of scenes being cut from the game, but then that makes no sense either, I dunno, you dunno, no-one knows, no-one can know)

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 4:36 PM

        Fallout with magic.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:37 PM

      You won't believe the games they don't want you to know about!

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 4:39 PM

      Should add path of exile to it, it's an actual PC only game as well and it's good. Deserves support.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 5:26 PM

      I'm looking forward to The Best Nokia 5110 Games to Play Right Now

      Snake

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 5:36 PM

      self-pronounced PC gamer

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 5:44 PM

        I'll have you know I'm an academy nominated, independently verified, peer reviewed, warboy witnessed, correctly cited PC gamer.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 7:10 PM

      “Right Now” is actually a completely terrible time to play Grand Theft Auto V on PC. The latest patch has absolutely murdered performance.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 7:44 PM

      Great list. I would recommend swapping out Fallout 3 for New Vegas which is a better game in every respect.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 9:03 PM

        Fallout 3 is a better open box theme park, but otherwise, yeah.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 7:58 PM

      No Witcher 3? Broforce? Banished?

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 8:42 PM

      How Shack is this list, heh

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 8:45 PM

      Are these games going back into the Disney vault soon or something?

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 9:03 PM

      Can you guys add Time Commando? That game was clutch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Commando

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 9:35 PM

      The idea that someone stumbles onto Shacknews.com, actually reads this article because they've never seen these titles before and thinks it's useful, is fucking hilarious.

      Maybe one of those Japanese soldiers who still thinks WWII is going on or an Amish kid on Rumpletinker finds a lost iPhone with the chatty app. These are literally the only probable situations I can think of. Otherwise this reads drier than a Wikipedia entry on a few successful games released in the last 15 years.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 10:31 PM

      Yo

      http://www.shacknews.com/article/86485/shacknews-chatty-communitys-top-100-pc-games-of-all-time-10-1

      But yeah I agree, if you're going to publish a staff-opinions or current-favorites kind of list, include more actual personal comments.

    • reply
      July 16, 2015 10:43 PM

      Witcher 3 seems to be missing. At first I thought it was because you did PC only, but that clearly wasn't the case.

      He's a current PC-only list for the masses:

      Her Story
      Pillars of Eternity
      Kerbal Space Program
      Heroes of the Storm
      Crypt of the Necrodancer
      Cities: Skylines


      Yeah, I feel good about all of those. It's been a great year of gaming.

      • reply
        July 16, 2015 11:02 PM

        I then read through the rationale of the list, so here is my new list with my limited understanding for the existence of the staff picks:

        Planescape: Torment
        Minecraft
        Portal
        Half-Life
        Myth: The Fallen Lords (back when people played it)
        Diablo 2 (with expansion)
        Skyrim
        Day of the Tentacle
        Tribes 2 (back when people played it)
        Sim City 4
        Dungeon Keeper

      • reply
        July 17, 2015 1:29 AM

        Spent about 10 minutes with Her Story and I have to say I'm intrigued. Looking forward to playing through this FMV investigation sim.

    • reply
      July 17, 2015 12:04 AM

      you need a link to the steam purchase page or the... um... closet? I don't know where to get half these games.

    • reply
      July 17, 2015 12:46 AM

      I'm really not convinced what is the purpose of all these "lists" articles. Do they really generate so many clicks?

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        July 17, 2015 3:24 AM

        My understanding is yes, the listicle is the Tim Tebow of internet click bait.

      • reply
        July 17, 2015 6:20 AM

        SEO. They're meant to appeal to search algorithms by mentioning a bunch of popular topics while having enough "content" that they're not automatically written off as an attempt to game the system.

    • reply
      July 17, 2015 1:56 AM

      That's a hot listicle you've got there.

    • reply
      July 17, 2015 4:09 AM

      Good list. But I noticed a funny thing: in each entry, you misspelled "Diablo II." I'm sure it was an honest mistake.

    • reply
      July 17, 2015 4:15 AM

      No Witcher III? For shame Shacknews! For shame! :P

      • reply
        July 17, 2015 6:21 AM

        WAIT, they didn't include der_Witcha 3?!?!? WHAT THE

    • reply
      July 17, 2015 8:50 AM

      Starcraft 2? Duke 3D? These are great games but are they the best to play right now? Seems a bit silly.