Feature

The Top 10 PC Exclusive Games

by Matt Miller on Feb 22, 2016 at 12:35 PM

In the last few weeks, we’ve been highlighting our choices for some of the best games to play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U. In many cases, those lists saw crossover between consoles, with games like Fallout 4 appearing on multiple lists. We’ve opted for a different approach with PC, where many of the platform’s most striking games can only be played if you own a gaming computer. As such, our PC list includes only current PC exclusives.

A huge number of games deserve praise for their excellent PC releases, but if the game came to mobile or console, we’ve opted to leave it off the selections below. Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Diablo III, FTL: Faster Than Light, and Hearthstone would all be strong contenders, but those and many others can be played in some form on other platforms, so they are not included here. 

We’ve also tried to account for the fact that many PC games have long lives that stretch far past their initial release.  As such, we’ve opted to consider any game with an active and engaged community of players over the last five years, even if the original release predated that time period. Great older PC exclusives, like Wasteland or EverQuest, didn’t make the cut, as those communities simply aren’t as active as they once were. 

So, without further ado, check out our current selections, along with excerpts from our original reviews Note that in several cases, these reviews pre-date later expansions or improvements to any given game.

We also invite you to offer up your own selections for the best PC exclusives in the comments below! 

10. Heroes of the Storm

“Heroes of the Storm succeeds like so many other Blizzard titles by taking what makes a genre great and distilling things down to the fun, and it does so with plenty of charm and character. With quick and action-packed games, Heroes of the Storm is accessible to new players, but with enough depth that to ensure that you are still learning new ways to use your abilities in different situations and battlegrounds after hundreds of games. As with many games in the genre, Heroes of the Storm is best experienced with friends.” – Daniel Tack

To read the full review and learn more, click here.

9. Undertale

“At first glance, Undertale is a retro RPG that feels similar to the seminal classic Earthbound – but it’s so much more than that. It is the culmination of many meticulously crafted moving parts that come together to create something magical. The music, dialogue, characters, and combat system make every encounter unique; after finishing the game, I wished I could experience it again for the first time.” – Daniel Tack

To read the full review and learn more, click here.

8. Starcraft II 

“I've never spent so much time with an RTS without popping a vein in frustration over unit AI or pathfinding – none of those issues have appeared here at all. The gameplay is all StarCraft all the time, but with the benefit of a decade of iteration to improve it without sacrificing the pacing and impeccable balance that are its soul. This is a sublimely engineered game with a simple, elegant core design and all of the rough edges ground away.” –Adam Biessener

To read the full review of the initial release of Wings of Liberty and learn more, click here, or check out our reviews of Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void.

7. Path of Exile

“Path of Exile’s loot collection and combat looks and plays like others in the genre, but its innovations have widespread effects separating it from the competition. Its multiplayer longevity is difficult to predict, but as a campaign-driven action-RPG, Path of Exile succeeds.” –Kyle Hilliard

To read the full review and learn more, click here,  or a more recent review of Path of Exile: The Awakening.

6. Pillars of Eternity

“Making a game broadly accessible and appealing often results in something easy and simplistic. Pillars of Eternity is proof that role-playing games can be engaging and challenging no matter the player, and embrace complexity in storytelling and gameplay without sacrificing a wider audience. Obsidian’s crowd-funded return to the RPGs of yesteryear is a triumph; its rich cast of characters, myriad upgrade options, and story-filled quests are the equal of any modern genre entry, and a suitable successor to the games that engendered it.” – Matt Miller

To read the full review and learn more, click here.

Next Page: Our picks for the top five PC exclusives you can play right now.

5. XCOM 2

“You're constantly under the gun in XCOM 2, and the deck is often stacked against you. Firaxis' masterclass in strategy design has you second-guessing all your choices and analyzing your smallest decisions. It might sound stressful, and at times it is, but XCOM 2's battles are so compelling that it's easy to pick yourself up after defeat and jump back into the fray. Successfully navigating XCOM 2's storm of difficult choices is enough to make you feel like a true legend.” – Ben Reeves

To read the full review and learn more, click here.

4. World of Warcraft

“While most of the standard massively multiplayer conventions are in place, all of the non-fun fat has been trimmed away, leaving behind a wholly unique and absorbing experience that is simultaneously simple, deep, and incredible engaging. The epic grandeur of the setting combines with continually entertainting activitiy. Every turn of the corner brings a new sight, sound, battle or wonder.” – Matt Miller

To read the full review of the original World of Warcraft, you can check out Game Informer issue 142, or read more recent coverage of the latest expansion by clicking here.

3. Civilization V

“Civ V's genius lies in the way that Firaxis has aggressively chopped the number of decisions that a player has to make during the course of a game while taking away almost none of the meaningful ones. As a hardcore Civ player, I appreciate some of these ancillary aspects of the design, but the removal of all the fat is unquestionably Civ V's greatest accomplishment.” – Adam Biessener

To read the full review and learn more, click here.

2. League of Legends

“The basic schtick is to use a single champion unit, which starts at level one with just a handful of gold, to turn the tide of battle between two NPC armies that continually spawn at opposite corners of the map and run headlong into each other. You're constantly struggling to stay ahead of the power curve as experience (and more importantly, gold) improves every champion on the field over time. Purchased items have a massive effect on champion power; it's not uncommon for a "carry" player (someone fed gold and protected by his team with the goal of becoming overpowered in the endgame) to consistently two- or three-shot champions toward the end of a round. There's a lot of room for strategy in how you get to that goal, and riding that power curve is great fun.” – Adam Biessener

To read the full review and learn more, click here.

1. DOTA 2 

“How do you improve a game that has millions of active players, spawned an entire genre, and introduced new words into the gamer vernacular while it was still a mod for a decade-old strategy game? Valve chose not to, instead approaching Dota 2 more like chess. The game itself is sacrosanct and not to be changed, but everything else, from the infrastructure behind online matchmaking to its graphical presentation, is fair game for updates and improvements. The result, unsurprisingly, is a world-class service for a game that is just as brilliant and frustrating as it was when I fell in love with it four PCs and nearly a decade ago.” – Adam Biessener

To read the full review and learn more, click here.