The Last of Us System Requirements — Can I Run It?
The Last of Us PC Requirements, with benchmark, recommended specs, and minimum requirements to see if your PC can run it.
The Last of Us minimum requirements
- Memory: 16 GB
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon RX 470
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K or Ryzen 5 1500X
- File Size: 100 GB
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
The Last of Us recommended specs
- Memory: 16 GB
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER or Radeon RX 6600 XT
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 or Ryzen 5 3600X
- File Size: 100 GB
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Can you run it? Test your computer against The Last of Us system requirements.
Can I Run It?
Test Your PC AutomaticallyCan I Run It?
Enter your system details
Can I Run The Last of Us?
The Last of Us Part 1 download size is 100 GB for installation. The cheapest graphics card you can play it on is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 to meet the Last of Us minimum requirements. But, according to the developers the Last of Us recommended spec graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER. The Last of Us PC requirements state that you will need at least 16 GB. Additionally, the game developers recommend somewhere around 16 GB in your system. To play The Last of Us you will need a minimum CPU equivalent to an Intel Core i7-4770K. Whereas, an Intel Core i7-8700 is recommended in order to run it well.
The Last of Us Part 1 size
100 GB of storage space is nothing to sniff at so if you need more space, check the PCGamesN buyers guide for the best SSD for gaming.
The Last of Us PC Part 1 release date
Gamers have been waiting for almost 10 years for The Last of Us PC release date, now set for March 28, 2023.
The Last of Us Steam Deck compatibility
Developer Naughty Dog has confirmed that The Last of Us will be Steam Deck compatible, but we don’t know whether it will be Playable or Verified.
The Last of Us will run on PC system with Windows 10 64-bit and upwards.
Looking for an upgrade? Try our easy to use The Last of Us set up guides to find the best, cheapest cards. Filter for The Last of Us graphics card comparison and CPU compare. We’ll help you find the best deal for the right gear to run the game.
The Last of Us FPS — what frame rate can you expect?
How many FPS will I get on The Last of Us?
An FPS Monitor is the first step in understanding how the parts in your gaming PC are actually performing in real-world conditions. It’s the perfect way to track The Last of Us FPS drops and stutters.
Download our free FPS Monitor via Overwolf to count your frame rates as you play, and test how tweaks to your settings can boost FPS and increase The Last of Us performance. Our app is compatible with hundreds of the best PC games and available now.
The Last of Us System Requirements — Can You Run The Last of Us?
|953 Players (Last 24 Hours)
|Naughty Dog LLC
|PlayStation PC LLC
The Last of Us Release Date
|28th of March 2023
The Last of Us PC price today:
What is The Last of Us?
Experience the emotional storytelling and unforgettable characters in The Last of Us™, winner of over 200 Game of the Year awards.
Looking for ready made system? We have 103 laptop computers in our database that can run The Last of Us.
We take over 3 gaming laptops under $1000.
Check our full compare laptops chart for the right systems or these best deals we’ve picked out below.
Free FPS monitor to track your game frame rates
12th of May 2023
Diablo 4 System Requirements
GTA 5 System Requirements
Valorant System Requirements
FIFA 23 System Requirements
Fortnite System Requirements
Minecraft System Requirements
Red Dead Redemption 2 System Requirements
Street Fighter 6 System Requirements
Hogwarts Legacy System Requirements
Elden Ring System Requirements
CSGO System Requirements
The Last of Us System Requirements
Apex Legends System Requirements
Genshin Impact System Requirements
Forza Horizon 5 System Requirements
Call of Duty: Warzone 2 System Requirements
Resident Evil 4 Remake System Requirements
Assassin’s Creed Mirage System Requirements
Dead Island 2 System Requirements
Star Wars Outlaws System Requirements
Best PC games 2023: What to play right now
When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.
(Image credit: Capcom)
2023 is about halfway over, and it’s already brought us a bunch of exciting new PC games, big and small: If you haven’t heard about Tchia or Pizza Tower yet, you’re about to.
This list is specifically our answer to the question «what new PC games should I play right now?» with picks pulled from the best recent PC games, a few old favorites we think now is a good time to revisit, and some hidden gems. It’s a reflection of what the PC Gamer team is playing right now, not a list of the all-time best games ever, although there’ll be overlap. (Our highest review score of last year was 95%. Very few games have scored higher than that in PC Gamer’s nearly 30-year history.)
For a more comprehensive list of great PC games past and present, check out our annual Top 100 list of the best games on PC. We have some fresh picks for the best Steam Deck games if you have one of Valve’s handhelds on the way.
We also stay on top of the year’s calendar with our guide to the new games of 2023, organized by month.
Some good news related to this list: The graphics card shortage has finally eased up, which means it’s now possible to build a new gaming PC for a non-outrageous price. We have a guide to putting together an entry-level gaming PC for around $750, and we have some recommendations for pre-built PCs, too.
Reference these emojis to narrow down what you’re looking for in our selection of the best PC games.
- 💻 = Suitable for low-end PCs
- 🙋♀️ = Singleplayer
- 🙋♀️🙋♀️ = Multiplayer
- 🎮 = Best with a controller
- 🆓 = Free-to-play
What we’re playing now
These are the games the PC Gamer team is currently playing: the up-to-the-minute (or at least, month) stuff on our Steam quick launch menus. For more, check out all of our recent game reviews as well as last year’s GOTY winners.
Diablo 4 (85%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️
We’re not in love with the live servicey stuff, especially where the MMO treadmill design undermines the gruesome, occult atmosphere, but the clicking on monsters? That bit is great.
Street Fighter 6 (89%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️🎮
The new Street Fighter rules, especially for newcomers: After messing about in the tutorials, character guides, and combo trials, I feel like I understand Street Fighter better than I ever have. Could my scrub days be over? (Unlikely.)
Amnesia: The Bunker (93%) 🙋♀️
Amnesia keeps it compact for the latest brilliant game in the series, which is set in a WWI bunker. You have one gun, and there is one monster… which can’t be killed with a gun. Good luck!
System Shock (80%) 🙋♀️
A darn good remake of the immersive sim classic that reviewer Josh called «the de facto way to play System Shock in the modern era.»
Jedi: Survivor (80%) 🙋♀️🎮
Another bad PC port in a string of them, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying Respawn’s second crack at Star Wars, and patches seem to be gradually improving the performance.
Honkai: Star Rail (90%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️
The new RPG from the Genshin Impact studio brings «impeccable visual style and strategic depth,» we said in our review. You just have to put up with another gacha game to enjoy it.
Wartales (83%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️
A band of mercenaries, turn-based combat, and a grim low fantasy realm: Yep, it’s a computer game. But as our review says, don’t be dissuaded by its dreary look: there’s a «deep and richly rewarding» tactical RPG under the mud.
Everspace 2 (85%) 🙋♀️
We used to be sad that the great 2003 space adventure Freelancer never got a sequel, but we can finally dry our eyes: Everspace 2 is here, and it’s even better than Freelancer.
Tchia (90%) 🙋♀️
One of the best open world games of this year and of any year: Tchia is «an enchanting world filled with adventure, excitement, beauty, physics-driven fun,» Chris said in his glowing review.
Terra Nil (80%) 🙋♀️💻
Take it easy with this relaxing «reverse city builder» about tidying up environments, restoring habitats, and leaving no trace of your intervention behind.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (89%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️🎮
The PC port wasn’t exactly the best it could be at launch, but things are improving, and we’re glad: «Wo Long is a master of its craft that future soulslikes should study under,» we said in our review.
Company of Heroes 3 (82%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️
The big experimental Italian campaign is a dud, but down at the RTS layer, Company of Heroes 3 is «spectacular,» Fraser said in our review.
Pizza Tower (90%) 🙋♀️💻🎮
«Play as Peppino Spaghetti, the supersonic Italian middle-aged man» in this ode to Wario Land that’s better than Wario Land.
Vampire Survivors (87%) 🙋♀️💻
The best value on Steam: This is a $5 bullet hell roguelike that would run on a toaster and is hard enough to stop playing that you might want a copy for your toaster. Pick it up on sale and the entertainment to cost ratio gets even more absurdly favorable.
Best of the best
(Image credit: ZA/UM)
These games aren’t all piping hot out of the oven, but some things get better with age. They’re the cream of the crop on PC, either scoring 80%+ in a review, winning one of our GOTY awards, or appearing on our list of the Top 100 PC games. If you just want a damn fine PC game from the past several years, check these out.
- Dwarf Fortress (84%) 🙋♀️💻 : The simulation classic now has, get this, graphics.
- Dead Space (84%) 🙋♀️: A remake done right.
- Dredge (89%) 🙋♀️💻: Fishing horror, a strong combo.
- Pentiment (88%) 🙋♀️💻: A great, narrative-focused murder mystery set in the 1500s.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns (88%) 🙋♀️: A deckbuilding tactics game and a superhero friendship simulator.
- The Case of the Golden Idol (89%)🙋♀️:💻 Challenging detective puzzles with a fascinating story.
- Elden Ring (90%) 🎮🙋♀️🙋♀️: Surprise, surprise: This open world fantasy gauntlet from Dark Souls creator FromSoftware is brilliant.
- Immortality (95%) 🙋♀️💻: Her Story director Sam Barlow’s latest video mystery is his best yet.
- Teardown (90%) 🙋♀️: A physics-based destruction engine that would’ve been fun even if it weren’t also a genius puzzle game.
- Grounded (90%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️: A survival game that doesn’t forget that games are supposed to be fun.
- Disco Elysium (92%) 🙋♀️💻: Our 2019 Game of the Year and #1 best PC game for two years running.
- Crusader Kings 3 (94%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️💻: The king is dead, long live the king!
- Hitman 3 (90%) 🙋♀️: The art of assassination, polished as finely as Agent 47’s head.
- Slay the Spire (92%) 🙋♀️💻: The deckbuilding roguelike all others aspire to beat.
- Minecraft (96%) 💻🙋♀️🙋♀️: Build anything you can imagine, as long as it’s made of cubes.
- The Witcher 3 (92%) 🙋♀️: Still one of our all time favorite RPGs.
- Total War: Warhammer 3 (90%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️: A brilliant final act with the series’ most inventive and unusual factions yet.
- Strange Horticulture (90%) 🙋♀️💻: A beautiful and engrossing detective game packed with mysteries, puzzles, plants, and intrigue.
- Forza Horizon 5 (90%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️🎮: Even a marginal improvement on the best racing series around is worth celebrating.
- Wildermyth (90%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️💻: Narrative design as genetic engineering, it will live in your head like an imaginary friend.
The best competitive multiplayer games right now
Hunt: Showdown 🙋♀️🙋♀️
Quietly one of the best multiplayer games you can play today. Morgan elaborated on why last year: «When enjoyed with friends, Hunt is one of those games that seems to magically manufacture special moments.»
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (83%) 🙋♀️🙋♀️
Infinity Ward has again set the bar for gun design in Call of Duty. There’s plenty to complain about (the crashes, for one thing), but a lot of changes that we find fun, both in Modern Warfare 2 proper and its free-to-play companion game, Warzone 2.0 (especially DMZ, the extraction mode).
Apex Legends (93%) 🆓🙋♀️🙋♀️
One of our favorite current battle royale games. The map is fantastic, the ‘ping’ communication system is something every FPS should have from here on, the guns and movement are great fun (no wallrunning, but sliding down hills feels great).
Rainbow Six Siege (90%) 🆓🙋♀️🙋♀️
Siege might lack the sharp hit detection and purity of CS:GO, but it’s a more accessible and modern FPS that rewards clever timing and coordinated teamwork as much as aim.
The best PC games by genre
(Image credit: Playground Games)
Find our selection of the best PC games just a bit too broad? Perhaps you know you’re after a gripping story, or an intense racer, or the kind of sim you can spend a whole weekend playing like a second job. Our genre lists have curated recommendations for RPGs, racing, strategy, and more. Check ’em out:
- Best FPS games
- Best MMOs
- Best racing games
- Best RPGs
- Best strategy games
- Best survival games
- Best battle royale games
- Best cyberpunk games
Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.
Contact me with news and offers from other Future brandsReceive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors
Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the rise of personal computers, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early PCs his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call «boomer shooters» now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he’s focused on the site’s news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.
With contributions from
- Wes FenlonSenior Editor
The 27 best computer games for those who haven’t played before
So, here’s how to start playing computer games. Be careful! We do not know the answer to the question of how to finish playing.
First, let’s explain how not to start playing computer games. You should not start with Bloodborne (as well as with any other game from From Software). It’s one of the best games ever, but it also pushes the boundaries of psychological abuse that a developer can afford to inflict on a player. So let’s start with something simple and understandable.
This is not a rhetorical question. If the world of computer games for you was limited to puzzles on a smartphone, then you will first have to determine what kind of experience you are going to get. The division below is very conditional, but try to think of what is closer to you personally.
1. Emotional response. What you read books and watch movies for, you can also get in games, only with even more immersion, because you yourself will be able to control characters and make moral choices. In this case, you’d better start with quests or RPGs.
2. Adrenaline and thrills. If you skate, ski or surf, or do boxing or wrestling, then you need a good action or arcade game.
3. Logic, simulation and R&D. Talking on the phone, drawing symmetrical patterns on the first piece of paper that comes across? Do you also like to play Chinese Go or chess? You’re more likely to like calm sims, strategy games, or 4K games.
What to play on
A. Computer. It has two advantages: first, you already have it; secondly, keyboard and mouse controls are better suited for some game genres. Less lucky if you have a Mac, but there is something to play here.
B. Smartphone. You won’t believe it, but mobile platforms also have their own masterpieces, and in all available genres. Here the situation is reversed, iPhone owners win, but Android is not so bad either.
C. Game console. If COVID-19 had not happened, then we would not recommend buying a PlayStation or XBox right now: new generations of consoles are being prepared in the fall. But a pandemic is raging on planet Earth, and this has somewhat changed the circumstances. For the current generation, the maximum number of games has been released, and the consoles themselves have fallen in price as much as possible, so it’s worth playing here and now. And do not forget about the main advantage of consoles: you can play while lying on the couch.
What to play
1A. Story games on the computer
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Let’s start with the most obvious, because you couldn’t help but hear the song about the charitable transfer of money to the Witcher’s account («In Minted Coin»). If you liked the series on Netflix, then feel free to buy the game. And if you haven’t watched the series, then even more so buy the game: it will be even more interesting. A console version is also available.
Disco Elysium. The strangest and at the same time the most outstanding game of 2019 from the Tallinn studio. The protagonist is an alcoholic detective who wakes up as if in Hunter Thompson’s dreams and investigates a murder in a «disco city». The main disadvantage is that the game requires a good knowledge of the English language and the American disco subculture of the 60s and 70s. But those who are in the subject, the game will reward.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A textbook RPG, the pinnacle of Bethesda Softworks’ creativity as a developer. Do not be afraid that this is the fifth part of the game: the series has been going on for so long (since 1994) that there are very few people who honestly played all parts. Also available for consoles.
1B. Story games on smartphone
Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Fantasy RPG with turn-based combat and attractive graphics. It is notable for the detailed study of the huge world and the increasingly complex combat system, which by the end of the game will require considerable calculations in the mind. Also available for all other platforms.
The Banner Saga, parts one and two. A role-playing game about the Slavic peoples in the style of contour animation, where the battles are more like chess. The game is perfectly Russified, so it is available even to those who for some reason learned Urdu at school. Also available for all other platforms.
Reigns: Game of Thrones. Yes, this is the official Game of Thrones game where all gameplay is swiping left and right. We will not even try to convince you of the uniqueness of this game — just go to YouTube and see how many fans have made many hours of videos on this game and how many thousands of views these videos are gaining. A special plus: the game has excellent Russification.
1C. Story based games on
NieR: Automata. The main thing in this game is to overcome the cognitive dissonance from the combination of a concentrated Japanese visuals and an existential-philosophical plot. Critics especially note the game’s soundtrack, and if you don’t shed a tear over Pascal’s storyline, then you have no heart. Also available for PC.
Last of Us: Remastered. Released exclusively for PS4, it is also the main hit of the console. A story about survival in a post-apocalyptic world, which, in terms of the degree of character development and drama, surpasses all cinematography on the same topic.
Grand Theft Auto V. You can buy the console and GTA5, and this set will last for the next year. The game is designed so that you do not do what is asked of you for hours, but simply drive expensive cars around a conditional copy of Los Angeles, commit illegal acts and run away from the police in an F-16. Also released for PC.
By the way, read: «Grafon brought in: computer scientists made GTA V real (video attached).»
2A. Actions on PC
Diablo. Three parts have now been released (the first one was back in 1998), and Blizzard has already announced the fourth. But there is little difference between the games — this is violence on the left mouse button (you won’t be able to play on the touchpad). This fighting formula was called hack’n’slash, and in the entire history of computer games, the best way to relieve nervous tension has not yet been invented. There is also a version for consoles, but we don’t recommend it.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. At least one game from the eSports league should have appeared on this list, let it be CoD4. The developers struggled to convey aspects of modern combat, calling in for consultation from US Marines. Full realism still didn’t work out: for example, you don’t care at all if your wife and neighbor are cheating on you while you are in a hot spot. Available for other platforms.
DOOM. Mother of all 3D shooters, father of bloody violence in video games. In 2016, Bethesda rebooted the series (the original two DOOMs came out in 1993 and 1994), and Doom: Eternal came out a month ago. The rarest case when fans are delighted with remakes.
2B. Actions on smartphone
Lego universe games. One of the main manufacturers of building toys for children also produces cute computer games. You can choose the plot yourself: there is Harry Potter (and a bloody foot), and Star Wars, and Batman. Game worlds and characters are recreated from Lego bricks, so there is no talk of any violence. A rare action that does not tire. Released for almost all other platforms.
Bastion. One of the best games of the decade from an independent developer. Initially, it may seem like an ordinary hack’n’slash arcade, if it weren’t for two details: peppy music in the background and a voiceover that comments on the hero’s internal conflict in a mannered way. It is not known why the authors of other games did not think of this before, but both critics and players liked this saturation of the atmosphere.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. As the Americans say, «Binding of Isaac is something else.» This is one of the best roguelike games in the most controversial genre. If you get into roguelikes, then you can consider yourself a member of one of the most snobbish and conservative gaming communities. Released for almost all other platforms.
2C. Actions on the console
Mortal Kombat. In the 80s on slot machines, and in the 90s on consoles, fighting games were the most popular games. But Mortal Kombat has always been the king (and Street Fighter the queen, if you will). Over the past 25 years, the gaming landscape has changed beyond recognition, and of the fighting games, only MK has survived to this day. That does not mean at all that the game has become less exciting and dynamic.
Need for Speed. The oldest of the races. Even experienced game journalists will not be able to remember how many parts came out. The games form two series: supercar races on freeways during the day and street racing in tuned stock cars at night around the city. Choose the one you like.
Dead Cells. Perhaps the most difficult game on the list, but you will not immediately understand how much. There are no saves in DC, so you have to start over every time. And the full passage can take several hours. Not the best option for shattered nerves, but more than offset by the sense of humor of the developers. Also available for PC and iOS, but you won’t be able to play without a controller.
Who would have thought: «The Witcher 3 and God of War: what your favorite porn actresses play.»
3A. Simulators on the computer
Starcraft II. Main esports strategy. You build a base, get resources, train an army — and go into battle. The game has an amazing property: it is interesting not only to play it, but also to watch the competitions of e-sportsmen. But for this you have to study the mechanics of the game.
The Sims 4. Don’t believe the evil tongues that say The Sims is a dollhouse simulator. The game has exactly half of the audience — male, which is most often involved in the planning and construction of houses. Either he visits and beats the inhabitants of the city. But we didn’t tell you such nonsense — would a normal person buy a game for this? Also available on consoles, but the controls aren’t that great.
OpenTTD. Fan-made remake of transport tycoon simulator 1994 years, in which they did not even touch the graphics. Build airports, depots, railways, semaphores, airplanes, buses, etc. And try to sit at the game for less than five hours! The only free game on the list.
3B. Simulators on smartphone
Stardew Valley. Do you remember ten years ago everyone played Happy Farmer? The idea has not gone away, but only concentrated in SV, in which, in addition to all the dacha mechanics, they added another related plot. The game is available on almost all platforms.
Terraria. Platform RPG game with a huge world. Sometimes it is even called the 2D version of Minecraft. Like in The Sims, many players don’t give a damn about the storyline and start building a house. And in vain, because the epic nature of the late bosses will be envied by games with millions of budgets. Also exists for almost all platforms .
Kingdom Rush. The first Tower Defense games appeared long before smartphones, but it was on mobile platforms that they flourished — primarily due to limited controls and the ability to play matches within 10-15 minutes. KR is one of the best representatives of the genre, so it’s worth starting with it. The most casual game on the list.
3C. Simulators on the console
Civilization 6. It may seem strange to some that we placed Civilization in consoles, and not in a number of computer games, but a paradox happened to the game. It turned out that it is very convenient to control it with a joystick, so the path to world leadership (well, or to the fate of modern Venezuela) can be passed lying on the couch. Also available for PC, iPhone, and iPad. Farming Simulator 19
— a tractor. And this is good news, because no one will try to overtake you, shoot you or accuse you of interfering in the presidential election.
Elite: Dangerous. Remake of a very old game. So old that its gameplay could be described as «a triangle attacks a point with a wand.» The player was asked to see this as a space battle, but that was normal: it was 1984. 36 years later, you’re roaming space in your Sidewinder in 4K, and the galaxy is the size of a real one: there are 500 billion solar systems in the game. No, you don’t have to fly all over to pass. But playing with the feeling that you will never be able to grasp the whole game is what the gaming industry has evolved for all 36 years.
What about the Nintendo Switch?
Almost all of the above games have been released on the Nintendo Switch. However, if you are going to buy this console, then immediately start playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — an out-of-competition hit.
Text author: Pavel Shlyapnikov
Games that you need to complete at all costs — Games on DTF
We impose our favorite games.
Each of us probably has a list of games that I would like to advise everyone. Of course, it is subjective, and the games there are not even always good.
Let’s not hold back this time: tell us in the comments about three games that you would like to impose on the entire DTF. Try to convince the rest and do not be shy in the methods — suddenly it will work out. Well, we’ll start.
The Last of Us
Previously, I always wrote Half-Life 2 in such collections, but those days are gone. Valve’s revolutionary game has finally disappeared into the air, disintegrating into thousands of small nuances, without which no modern release can do.
The new «Half-Life 2» for me was The Last of Us. This summer, Naughty Dog will be six years old, but the industry is still learning how to build a narrative the way Naughty Dog did, and so far it’s mostly done by mastodons like Sony Santa Monica and Rockstar, but simpler studios fall into the mud over and over again in the face.
The Last of Us, like any game that almost immediately achieved the status of a classic, has many critics now, but the way Naughty Dog managed to create a connection between the main characters through a routine, and then effectively break it, causing me very strong and conflicting feelings, still delights.
I don’t think I’ll ever find a common language with people who whine about pulling stairs and «boring beginnings». They don’t see the forest for the trees.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
There are games that forever divide your experience into «before» and «after», and Hellblade is definitely one of them. And it’s not just that this is an incredible audiovisual experience, but also several gameplay tricks that the developers resort to to get their point across — from the illusion of eternal death to the final battle, which ends with a grandiose revelation. Hellblade needs to be experienced by everyone and everyone.
A little indie trivia that suddenly turns out to be a deep and at the same time extremely concise statement about free will and interactivity in games as such. Stanley Parable has been on my mind for years. She is a genius without any exaggeration.
Contra: Hard Corps
I sincerely believe that a person cannot say that he loves action shooting games if he has not played this masterpiece of game design. Gorgeous level design and constantly changing game mechanics, crazy dynamics (of the last one, only Vanquish can compare with it), non-linearity, music, one of the best in games in general, unique bosses, each of which needs its own approach.
And, of course, hardcore. As a child, I went through Hard Corps with almost no deaths, but now the passage is already difficult. Be sure to play, in any of the available ways.
Silent Hill 2
I have a similar opinion about the second Silent Hill, only in the case of psychological thrillers and horror. Maybe I’m a bore, but when someone tells me that he understands horror, the first thing I ask him about is Silent Hill 2. If you haven’t played, you have no right to say that you understand the topic.
Part 2 still looks and plays great and is worth playing by all means.
Alien 3 on NES
But Alien 3 is hardly important for the industry. The NES version is also crooked — the camera moves with the player, but with a delay. Because of what you never see what lies ahead for you. In addition, the timer is running out: game locations are labyrinths in which cocoons with people are cunningly hidden somewhere. If you do not know the location and location of the «hostages», then you will never pass the level the first time.
But all this creates an amazing experience — painful and incomprehensible, but unique. You die first, and only then do you understand how to play (no, not like in Dark Souls). You resign yourself to losing, death in Alien 3 on NES is your middle name. A very gloomy feeling that rarely gives a game.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I’m probably writing this in a rush, because Breath of the Wild just came out yesterday. But the emotions never faded, and therefore the first thing I decided to put on this list is Zelda. I hope I don’t regret it later.
Breath of the Wild took a very long time to accelerate. At first, it seemed that all it had was an unusual style, a simple plot, and a non-standard view of the gameplay. For the first five or ten hours, I could not understand why the game was being praised so much, but I made a promise to myself to finish it — because, in fact, for the sake of it, I took the Switch.
And, as usually happens in such stories, it was not in vain. It was worth getting involved in Zelda, forcing myself to go through a couple of story quests and get used to the setting, and I could not tear myself away from it. The game has a strong sense of exploration — each foray into the open world was like an adventure in itself. And this is almost without activities and side quests, of which there are hundreds per square kilometer in modern service games.
In addition, Breath of the Wild itself is an example of outstanding game design. The entire vast Hyrule is like a continuous test for the player, no matter which direction you go. Zelda forces you to think outside the box and rewards you for taking an unusual approach to the next task, whether it’s fighting monsters or climbing a mountain.
I haven’t had such a feeling for a long time when I don’t want the game to end. Breath of the Wild is the first Zelda I’ve played, but I can’t wait to touch other parts to feel that sense of freedom and fairy tale again. I think I now understand what it’s like to slowly become a fan of Nintendo.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
At first I didn’t want to include games from Naughty Dog because it’s a kind of cheat — name any title and everyone will agree with you anyway. But in the end, I couldn’t resist.
The second part for me is not the best installment in the series, but it is thanks to her that I fell in love with Uncharted. It for the first time appeared what everyone wears Naughty Dog on their hands for — incredible cinematography and amazing attention to detail. Fascinating firefights in the middle of falling houses and temples, ancient mysteries, a slight touch of mysticism and an almost “cinematic” level of cut-scenes. All the key moments of the game, including the level on the train and the shootout in the mountains, I went through with my jaw dropped.
And, of course, the plot. He became truly dramatic only in the fourth part, but in the second — on the level. Drake and Sally are arguably one of the best protagonist duos in adventure games, and that’s why it was very sad to part ways with them in A Thief’s End.
A great game that combines limitless possibilities with addictive gameplay that can keep you hooked for hours. This is an exemplary “survivor”, which, although not too complicated, is deeply thought out — and you want to understand it.
And Minecraft wouldn’t be so great without its unique style. What other game will almost every gamer recognize just by the texture of a block of grass? Or the first notes of the soundtrack as the sun begins to set? The music from C418 still has a calming effect on me — and even though I’ve heard every track thousands of times, it doesn’t get boring at all.
In general, I’m madly in love with this game. Minecraft will be ten years old this year, but it’s unlikely to ever get old. At least for me, for sure.
Even if you hate JRPGs, Earthbound is still worth a try. Formally, all the signs of Japanese role-playing games of the nineties are here — turn-based «combat», grind, a party of several characters and all that. However, there are no knights, no super magic, no confrontation between people and gods, which Final Fantasy loves to refer to.
The plot of Earthbound takes place in the 20th century, so the environment here is as familiar to us as possible, but damn unusual for a JRPG. However, this is not the main merit of the game, but the way it handles the video game format in general — this is a truly postmodern game that came out four years before Metal Gear Solid. She masterfully juggles genres and 1990s industry tropes, turning them upside down, making fun of them, and constantly making the player feel stupid.
It’s an amazing experience and a must have. In addition, without Earthbound there would be no Undertale, and this also says a lot.
When talking about cinematic platformers, Prince of Persia is most often mentioned first, but only because it was a pioneer in this genre. However, Another World does everything the Broderbund game does, but a hundred times better.
The main advantage of Another World is its narrative. It is linear, it takes about 30 minutes, there is not a single dialogue and not a single note explaining the plot, but in the end you still feel the scale of the fantasy world in which the main character finds himself. In half an hour you have time to get acquainted with the flora and fauna of this place, with its culture, population, order and technology. And when, finally, the time comes to leave this world, the heart becomes heavy.
Realms of Arkania: Star Trail
At first glance, this looks like a standard RPG with discrete movement from the nineties in the spirit of Wizardry or Might & Magic. In fact, Star Trail provides the player with a freedom that is not even in Fallout or Daggerfall. At first it’s a little confusing and you have to relearn how to think not in terms of RPGs, but in terms of real life.
Do you think that a bard, according to the laws of the genre, can only inspire your heroes in battle with his songs? That’s how it is, but he can also sing a couple of songs in the tavern and earn your team some money. Do you think that a character of the «hunter» class is only good for shooting opponents from afar? Yes, but you can also really send him on a hunt to get food for the rest of the heroes.
Realms of Arkania: Star Trail has a rich and very flexible role-playing system based on the German board game Das Schwarze Auge, which gives you incredible freedom to play. If you always thought it was impossible to identify yourself with the characters in party RPGs, then just try Star Trail.
Heroes of Might and Magic
I think the Heroes series is a must-have for any self-respecting gamer. Despite the fact that it was far from HoMM that invented the turn-based strategy genre in its classic form (this is the merit of the original King’s Bounty), it was this series that popularized all the features that have become the gold standard for the genre. It’s no joke, but after all, HoMM is just a spin-off, and in the end it overtook the original Might & Magic RPG series in popularity.
Obviously, I will advise the third part: it was in it that the developers brought all the ideas to mind, introduced a lot of necessary chips (for example, a dungeon and quick battles) and made a legend out of the Heroes — the «three» is still actively played . However, I will not recommend the original HoMM III: absolutely everyone, both beginners and oldies, I recommend the HotA fan add-on, which eliminated many in-game errors, fixed graphic jambs and introduced a lot of pleasant and useful things.
And besides HoMM III, there are decent games in the series — and each has its own pace, mood and atmosphere. So if you want something different within the series, I highly recommend the second and fifth parts.
I’ve been thinking for a very long time which strategy Blizzard would recommend as a «must have» gaming experience. After all, she created StarCraft, which is largely responsible for the emergence of eSports, and StarCraft 2, the first campaign of which is currently (in my opinion) the benchmark for RTS game design.
But if you choose one thing, it’s still worth stopping at the third part of Warcraft. A revolution in the RTS genre, timeless graphics and a story that fans still remember. Few people do not know about the tragic history of Arthas, the feat of Grommash, or the conquest of Durotar by the Horde. And not only the campaign in Warcraft is good: multiplayer with a dozen different battlefields took countless hours of life for millions of players, and a flexible map editor made it possible to popularize entire genres: MOBA and Tower Defense.
Due to its incredible depth, the highest quality and a monstrous variety of game elements, Warcraft III brought up generations of gamers and spawned one of the most important conflicts on the Internet — Horde vs. Alliance.
A great game with a very sad fate. A poor start, broken promises, and some other minor problems cast a big shadow on the game, but over the years, gamers fell in love with it — which, however, did not save the franchise from oblivion. And despite the fact that instead of the promised simulator of life in a vast universe, players received a collection of funny mini-games with a very cool editor, this still does not take away the title of a unique game from Spore.
Yes, a lot of things that were promised didn’t make it to release, and some stages in it are frankly boring. But for some reason, many people forget that in the game, which was released more than 10 years ago, there was a fully implemented simulation of not just a pack of animals or a tribe of funny monsters — Spore imitated the entire process of evolution. Personally, it’s still hard for me to realize this, although I played the game three times.
The Spore gem is her editor for everything from animals to spaceships. It is flexible, easy to learn and very fun: as soon as you add an extra limb to your protégé, he will immediately begin to examine it and, what is most incredible, correctly use it during the game — no matter where you put this hand to him. What can I say, the game can be played with a worm, which has nothing but a mouth and an eye.
Whatever monster you create, whatever empire you build, it immediately enters the game. Let’s say you created a race of fishmen for fun and saved it in your collection to show your friends. And as a result, the game itself, without any additional settings and commands, populates these same fishmen in your game world as soon as you save them. And you can interact with them, communicate, make friends and fight! All in all, Spore is an entire pocket universe that you use as a sandbox for fun. And it’s really fun.
King of Dragon Pass
This game is called a strategy game, but it would be more correct to say “decision making simulator”. The player controls a tribe of barbarians in the fictional universe of Glorant. He resolves the problems that arise before his people, organizes campaigns and raids, trades with neighboring tribes, builds sanctuaries for the gods and builds relationships with various strange races.
The game is unique in how sensitive it is to the player’s choices: individual decisions lead to new and new tasks, the image of your village changes greatly depending on the decisions made, and so on. In addition, the game makes you really feel like how its universe works. For example, in order to receive the blessing of the local gods, the player must perform rituals in their honor, during which he must demonstrate knowledge of the fictional myths of Gloranta. In a word, a very responsive game.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Elder Scrolls 3 has many advantages and many disadvantages. But what really makes it unique is how well the universe is built there. On the one hand, Vvardenfell is completely different from our world and the “high fantasy” inspired by it. Own architectural styles, own religion, own cooking, own art, own materials for clothing and weapons.
But at the same time, the developers were able to convincingly show exactly how this fictional society works, why the rich people are rich there, what the peasants do, where the food comes from, what makes the Temple of the Tribunal popular and why it breeds heresies. Unfortunately, neither before nor since has any other AAA-RPG shown such attention to detail in these matters.
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
This game came out between the second and third «Civilizations» and was designed to answer the question: «what will happen if the flight to Alpha Centauri, which ends many games, is crowned with success. » In many ways, the game is similar to a regular civilization with gathering resources, building settlements, and developing your faction. But the developers have improved a number of mechanics compared to the second part. For example, the player chooses not a specific new discovery, but the general direction of research, diplomacy has additional options, units can be customized based on the discoveries made.
Why did most of these innovations never make it into Meyer’s subsequent games? Finally, the game is simply very stylish, both visually and at the level of text, with which the developers illustrate the essence of new discoveries and solutions.
Duke Nukem 3D
A first-person shooter from an era when sprite monsters were considered bad manners. A cult game about the once iconic character — Duke Nukem, a guy with the appearance of Dolph Lundgren in his best years, who was engaged only in rescuing girls from alien invaders and drenching caustic witticisms.
For the genre, it is important for a non-standard approach to weapons, for example. I can’t think of another game before Duke Nukem 3D where you could shrink your opponent to the size of a rat and stomp him with a boot. Or freeze it with an ice cannon and smash it into a thousand small pieces with a kick. And here you can give money to strippers. It doesn’t affect anything, but it’s cool, the youth liked it.
Space Quest V: The Next Mutation
A classic mouse-controlled quest from the era when large pixels were considered a necessary evil, not a retro gimmick. The protagonist, space cleaner Roger Wilko, due to a technical error in the academy’s computer, passes the exam with excellent marks and gets a spaceship cleaner at his disposal. Further — pure Star Trek, if the script for it was written by the authors of Futurama.
We fly from planet to planet, get into trouble with killer robots and mutants, and are amazed at how many beings and forces in the universe want to destroy the unremarkable janitor Roger Wilko. A classic, in a word, and the best game in the series. Neither the previous four parts, nor the subsequent sixth did not personally produce such a wow effect on me as Space Quest 5.
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Fallout 2, but about steampunk and magic. This is perhaps the definitive description.
One of the most advanced isometric RPGs in the world. Rich lore, deep characters, long dialogues with a lot of answer options and, of course, a character development system that really affects the passage.
If at the start, for example, you make a character with high strength but low intelligence, then all characters will treat your hero as mentally retarded, and you can only answer with phrases like “Mmm? Ooo? I do not understand you?». If you play a woman, then you can get a job as a courtesan in a brothel. If a half-orc, then everyone will consider you a second-class creature. Such nuances in Arcanum are a wagon and a small cart.
Lucas Pope has already proved twice that it is possible to make a game about parsing documents exciting, touching and highly social. His Papers, Please is an example of out-of-the-box and bold game design, and a must-play for anyone who enjoys games with complex moral choices.
On the one hand, Papers, Please is essentially a border guard simulator in a totalitarian state — a game with constantly repetitive gameplay that is easy enough to get tired of. Day after day, the hero sorts out the documents, and the faces of minimalistically drawn people slowly become indistinguishable from each other. On the other hand, Papers, Please constantly throws up new tasks for the player: almost every day, the analysis of documents becomes more complicated, and the hero faces various life difficulties.
The repetitive gameplay serves the game only: combined with a powerful emotional story, it shows that a tragedy for one person is just a routine for another. In Papers, Please, the gameplay doesn’t feel conventional or secondary; it’s tightly woven into the narrative and helps to unfold it.
Tale of Tales are the pioneers of the walking simulation genre, proving that the almost complete absence of gameplay does not make the work empty, and that the duration of the gameplay does not affect the quality of the product and the completeness of the game’s plot. In their free interpretation of the story of the red riding hood, the Belgian developers violated all the unwritten canons of game design, making it as «incomprehensible» as possible for the average player.
There is only one task in The Path: to get to Grandma’s house without turning off the direct path. But for the unquestioning implementation of the instructions, the player will be rewarded only with a notification that he failed the task. To start a real game, you need to break the rules and turn into the forest. From this point on, The Path no longer gives any instructions, which creates the feeling that it «broke», and the player seemed to be in some kind of secret location that he should not have seen.
The Path easily sacrifices player convenience in order to better reveal the characters. The heroines here walk and run at different speeds, and some are slow, but each has its own running animation that suits her character. Separately, the moment where the girls go very slowly to the grandmother’s house is remembered. This scene builds up suspense and is reminiscent of going down a very long staircase in Silent Hill 2.
Even if we ignore The Path’s importance for the gaming industry as one of the first successful walking simulators, it is worth playing if only because it is an unusual horror game with a unique visual style and amazing sound design. Music by Jarboe and Kris Force makes the game really creepy.
In addition, The Path remains one of the few games today that is entirely dedicated to the theme of female maturation. Each of the heroines is a person with their own childhood or teenage problems. The developers treated their characters with great trepidation and even created a livejournal diary for each of them.
A successor to and parody of old side-scrollers like Super Mario Bros., Braid is a must-see as one of the most significant indie games of the 2000s.
First and foremost, Braid is an inventive 2D platformer with a unique time rewinding mechanic that instantly transforms the game from a banal side-scroller into a piece of game design. The gameplay of Braid is closely tied to a seemingly straightforward, but in fact quite ambiguous plot.
But in addition to all its merits, Braid gave fame to its creator Jonathan Blow — one of the brightest figures in the gaming industry. After the release of the incredibly successful Braid, Blow opened up the opportunity to speak publicly not only about the game and its many interpretations, but also about the gaming industry as a whole. His fresh and highly critical view of the work of his colleagues has shaken up the industry as much as Braid itself.
If you’ve played at least 20 JRPGs, then you already know the three main sins of this genre — it’s creepy grind, simple dialogue and naive plots, often designed for teenagers. Another rescue of the world from a stereotyped evil demon, the search for mysterious artifacts, as well as boring talk about eternal love and true friendship.
Twenty years have passed since the release of Xenogears, and still no game has been released that can compete with the deep script from Tetsuya Takahashi. There is no other such JRPG, you can not look for it. No Final Fantasy even came close to the level of the Xenogears scenario. In terms of scale and detail, it can only be compared with Planescape: Torment, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and the Legend of the Galactic Heroes anime.
Some themes of Xenogears echo the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. The game is imbued with the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, the works of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Xenogears also contains numerous allusions to Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism (mostly Kabbalah), and other religious movements.
Epic intro video
And the most amazing thing is that all this is presented in a very casual manner. There are huge humanoid robots, talking animals, mutants and the typical design from the anime of the late nineties. This may turn some players off, but because of its well-developed story, Xenogears will appeal to even those who can’t stomach anime and JRPGs.
Shenmue I & II
I once heard the phrase that Shenmue is the «Casablanca» of the video game world. Like, the game is certainly a cult, but shamelessly outdated, and now it is better to perceive it as a museum piece. Another popular opinion is that Shenmue influenced the open world in video games and introduced interesting mechanics for its exploration, but today it does not strike as it struck 18 years ago.
I do not agree with such statements. Now, both Shenmue titles are a must-see for their subtle oriental aesthetic and meticulous attention to detail. Compared to modern projects, today’s games often lack interactivity.
In Shenmue many things can be touched, opened, fiddled with, closed and put back in their original place. There are few closed doors in the game, many locations are allowed to enter and explore, even taking into account the fact that they are not useful. Everything here works for atmosphere and immersion. You can’t eat in Shenmue, but you can go to any restaurant, chat with its owner and visitors. For each minor NPC, over a hundred simple lines and responses are recorded. An almost tangible and believable world to the smallest detail — that’s what many modern projects lack.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Symphony of the Night is the best Metroidvania game and the best entry in the Castlevania series. The idea of a platformer with RPG elements in a large open world is a masterpiece. The game simply has no significant flaws. Here is the gameplay for at least 15 hours, and a large open world in the form of two incarnations of Dracula’s giant castle.
This is exactly the beauty of the Metroidvania genre. The player explores both castles, communicates with the characters, and gradually unlocks new abilities to enter previously inaccessible locations.