This has been one of the most eventful years for PC gaming. The price of some PC components were unreasonable (we’re looking at you, Nvidia and AMD) for a large part of the year, which made us wonder whether it’s better to switch to consoles entirely. On the software side, Steam has slowly been losing games — first from big studios and recently, some indie studios as well. The Epic Game Store made its entry into the PC gaming space late in the year and picked up some neat exclusives such as Hades from Supergiant Games and Super Meat Boy Forever from Team Meat, apart from Epic’s own immensely popular battle royale game Fortnite. It’s almost reached a point where every major gaming company has its own game storefront, which we have mixed feelings about.
All the talk about storefronts aside, 2018 was a very good year for PC games. We got a chance to play some remastered classics as well as top-of-the-line fresh titles and here are our top picks.
Best PC games of 2018
Few games we’ve enjoyed as much as Darksiders 3 (Review). It’s a third-person game where the protagonist, Fury, uses a whip for combat. Dodging slows down time in this game and as you, you gain additional elements such as fire and lightning to add damage and open pathways to explore new areas. The combat is really satisfying and the story, featuring the seven deadly sins as the main antagonists is well-presented.
The best thing about Darksiders 3 is how organic the world feels. Gunfire Games has treated the entire world as a single dungeon so the way you explore its many locales and traverse from one area to the next feels natural.
Buy: Darksiders 3
Just Cause 4
We’ve always liked the Just Cause series of games for its over-the-top nature. Just Cause 4 (Review) has all the elements that made the first three games so much fun to play, and then some more. You’ll reduce entire army bases to rubble in one mission and in another you’ll find yourself literally flying into the eye of a storm. The story is ridiculous as ever, which is not a problem as hardly anyone plays Just Cause for the story.
We love the fact that some missions exist just so that you discover how to best use a cool new weapon you just acquired or make use of its grappling hook mods that let you pull objects together or send them flying into orbit. The visuals are great, and in our experience Just Cause 4 performs very well on PC.
Buy: Just Cause 4
Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition
Traditionally, Final Fantasy games have been rather lacklustre experiences on PC with anaemic visual options and poor performance. It’s something that extends back to the original release of Final Fantasy VII on PC nearly 20 years ago. Final Fantasy XV (Review) released on Windows in 2018 and what an amazing port it is. This game is a gold mine for customisation nerds, as you can control every aspect of how the game plays via the settings menu in-game.
There’s also an optional download for a high-resolution texture pack, which takes the total download size to around 130GB. From support for resolutions well beyond what is possible on the PS4 and Xbox One to integrating next-generation tech such as Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling, Final Fantasy XV is great on PC provided you have a rig that can keep up.
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition
Okay, we’ll admit straight up — Age of Empires: Definitive Edition (Review) is not for everyone because it’s a remaster of a game from 1997, with very few additions. We loved it because it’s a faithfully recreated version (including every single cheat code) of one of our all-time favourite realtime strategy games and because it launched at a very reasonable price (Rs. 574) in India.
We’re big fans of games with a historical setting and this one is among the best in that category. If you love gathering resources, building a beautiful town, and a massive army to crush your foes, look no further than this one.
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Rise and Fall
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is a massive turn-based strategy game where a single match can last for weeks. This game can be a bit intimidating for new players but once you get over that minor hump, you’ll find yourself sinking in countless hours in this fantastic game.
Rise and Fall is its first expansion that was released in 2018 and it adds a tonne of content including a new loyalty mechanic and civilisations. Unlike most DLC, the Rise and Fall expansion is almost as big as a full game on its own. Rise and Fall is a solid addition to a great game, and fully deserves its place on this list.
- Destiny 2 Forsaken: It may not be the most popular game in the world, but Destiny 2 has a hardcore fanbase that keeps playing regularly. The Forsaken DLC added a lot of new content, including a fantastic campaign, but it requires the base game and older expansions to play which makes it too expensive.
- Forza Horizon 4: One of the few games to make it to this list on more than one platform, Forza Horizon 4 is the best arcade racing game of this generation. It’s every bit as good on PC as it is on Xbox One, with the added advantage of running fairly well on relatively low-end computers.
- Into the Breach: Made by the studio that made FTL: Faster Than Light, Into the Breach is a wonderful turn-based strategy game set in the far future. Humanity is battling an army of giant monsters called Vek. With a great story, excellent turn-based gameplay where you have a limited number of turns, Into the Breach is an excellent choice for strategy game fans.
- Return of the Obra Dinn: Return of the Obra Dinn, whose demo we had written about, is a new game released by Lucas Pope, who made the excellent Papers, Please. You play as an insurance adjuster whose job is to investigate a derelict ship and determine the fates of its crew members. It’s a really unusual first-person game and if you have the patience to go through clues over and over, the story is very rewarding too.
- Subnautica: Subnautica has one of the best science fiction stories we’ve come across in 2018’s games. It’s set on an ocean planet where the protagonist crash lands and finds alien creatures who communicate telepathically. His bid to escape leads him to revelations about an ancient alien race that had arrived here to find a cure to a pandemic. It’s a lovely first-person, open-world adventure and survival game that’s worth checking out.
Which are your favourite PC games of 2018? Let us know via the comments.