Best PC games in July 2020

Despite understandable game delays of late, there are still fantastic new PC releases to play this year. Here are the best PC games of 2020 (so far).
  • Best Steam Exclusive
    Genre
    VR Shooter
    Release
    23 March 2020
  • Best Offline Game
    Genre
    Strategy
    Release
    28 April 2020
  • Best Online Multiplayer
    Genre
    Battle Royale
    Release
    10 March 2020
  • Best Epic Exclusive
    Genre
    Action-Adventure
    Release
    27 August 2019
Recent Updates: 1 month ago
This month, some quality game releases have led to the addition of Desperados III, GTFO, Deep Rock Galactic, and West of Dead.
2 months ago
This month, VR has finally found its killer app in Half-Life: Alyx and Call of Duty takes a shot at multiplayer redemption with battle royale mode Warzone.
Desperados 3 John Cooper art

Certain parts of the world (like Australia) are slowly returning to normal, which means that more games are reliably hitting their release dates across platforms in the lead-up to next-gen gaming. For PC, we’ve updated our 2020 list to include a handful of quality cross-genre titles, as well as the inclusion of a couple of classics (one remastered, one more recent).

Looking for our Xbox One picks? Find all of them right here.

Desperados III

There was a time when the real-time-strategy genre splintered off into the real-time-tactics subgenre, and then birthed legendary titles like the Commandos series. Commandos inspired spin-offs, including the original Desperados, so it’s fitting then that the developers behind the resurgence of the subgenre, Mimi Games, has taken what it started with Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and evolved to brilliant new levels with Desperados III.

For those familiar with any of those games, Desperados III is a must-buy. For anyone else, Desperados III is a game that rewards tactical planning and well-timed execution. The Wild West setting is the backdrop to a strategy games whose depth rewards methodical approaches, and the difficulty appropriately spikes the deeper you get into it. Try the demo if you’re uncertain, but there’s a good chance you’ll want to take the full experience for a ride afterwards.

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For fans of…

Real-time tactics games that reward careful planning.

GTFO

The fully spelled-out meaning of the ‘GTFO’ acronym may be NSFW, but it aptly encapsulates both the gameplay and intensity of GTFO. This is a co-op experience like no other, where friendships will be tested and you’ll learn which of your gaming mates can operate best under pressure. The structure is simple: drop into a poorly lit complex with up to three others to complete objectives in somewhat procedurally generated levels.

You really do want three other players at your back because ammo is scarce, enemies are plentiful, and the difficulty is right up there. GTFO is still in Early Access but, outside of the damage feedback on the shooting that could use some oomph, you wouldn’t know it from the overall polish. The regularly updated expeditions add a reason to keep checking back in as you creep your way through tense levels that always inevitably end in a lot of gunfire, a lot of yelling, and a whole lot of fun.

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A shared co-op experience of the kind of pain you get from a Dark Souls game.

Rainbow Six Siege

It’s damn near criminal that we haven’t included Rainbow Six Siege in this list earlier. Sure, it’s a game that was originally released in 2015, but it’s become the go-to example of how to successfully handle the tricky live-service model of gaming. Four times a year, the Siege community is gifted with major content drops in the form of new or revamped maps, plus new playable Operators that can be unlocked with earnable in-game currency.

At its core, Siege is a high-lethality shooter where everyone is a headshot away from sitting out the round. But because of the tactical nature of Siege, even a fragged teammate can be useful for watching cameras and providing intel to those still alive. This truly is the thinking player’s shooter, which is underlined by a potent combo of fantastic sound design, epic levels of tactical destructibility, and an asymmetrical roster of attacking and defending Operators, which are all packing unique gadgets or abilities.

It’s a lot easier for newcomers to test the competitive Siege waters these days, and if you’re on the fence about playing it, wait for one of the regularly occurring free weekends to take it for a spin.

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A satisfying hero shooter that prioritises ‘shooter’ above the ‘hero’ part.

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection

Remastered games are a tricky affair. Sometimes they roll around and the shiny sheen of revamped graphics and modern-day resolutions are a pretty distraction from some seriously outdated gameplay. While the real-time-strategy genre has come a long way in recent years, the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is still a great nostalgia hit for fans of the original game.

Hell, even if you missed the originals (as I did), there’s still a lot of fun to be found in this loving update to the original Command & Conquer and Red Alert. If you’re after the better gameplay, stick with Red Alert. But there’s a lot of entertainment value to be found in both, from the still-amazing (and modernised) soundtrack, to the tongue-in-cheek storytelling, and the main-thrust fun of flattening a base with dozens of your most powerful units.

Best of all, the price is right at $29.95. Can we please have a remaster of Command & Conquer: Generals next, please, EA?

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Reliving the birth of the real-time-strategy genre in resolutions that match your rose-tinted memories.

West of Dead

You could do a lot worse than being inspired by Dead Cells, one of the best roguelikes released in recent years. And that’s exactly what West of Dead has done in terms of its gameplay foundation, albeit with enough new stuff to mean it doesn’t feel like a clone. For starters, it’s an isometric twin-stick shooter, albeit less in the vein of the nuclear body count of Helldivers.

You play as a Ghost Rider-like recently deceased gunslinger (voiced by Ron Perlman) who has no memory of how he’s ended up in this hellish purgatory, but finds out more about why he’s there and who’s responsible for it as you get deeper into the game. Death means restarting your run, but there’s a chapter system that tracks progress in a more meaningful way than Dead Cells. Expect to die a bunch, too, as is the nature of these games, but it’s also the best way to be forced to try new weapons, gear, and abilities. In so doing, you’ll find new favourites for perfecting your next challenging battle against the many tricky fights ahead.

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Roguelikes with an iconic art style and cover-based Wild West shooting.

Deep Rock Galactic

Welcome to your next co-op shooter addiction. Deep Rock Galactic was already great in Early Access form, but it’s been refined to a sharp pickaxe edge now that it’s hit full release. It’s a cinch to pick up and play as you jump into the dwarven boots of one of four classes, then descend into the depths of caves that are as packed with as much plunder as they are with pests.

Deep Rock Galactic is part Left 4 Dead and part Red Faction, with fully destructible levels that are procedurally generated to help keep things fresh. This is the kind of co-op game you keep installed just in the off chance your mates want to play it. Grab a mate or three and dig into the deep fun of this co-op gem.

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Co-op shooters that reward tight teamwork and tonnes of replayability.

Monster Train

If you’re a fan of deck-building games, there’s a good chance they all start to bleed into one. That’s because many of the genre mainstays stay close to the gameplay magic of their Magic: The Gathering origins. This is where Monster Train steams in and rails against genre expectations.

Sure, you’re still building a killer deck and fighting increasingly trickier opponents. But Monster Train uses a three-tier vertical playing fields for fighting foes as you battle to keep them away from your pyre. As if that’s not enough of a mix-up, the roguelike elements mean every failed run acts as not just a lesson, but as a way of building a better deck.

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For fans of...

Deck-building games with a devilish roguelike twist.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal tears out the guts of what worked in the Doom 2016 reboot and injects it with some much-appreciated depth to the moment-to-moment frantic gunplay that rewards fast thinking, quick reflexes, and a healthy dose of experimentation.

While the Super Shotgun is somehow even more overpowered than before care of a “get over here!” – or, rather, “get me over there!” – grappling hook (aptly named the “meat hook”), your best bet of surviving the waves of fiendish hellish hordes is in finding the rhythm of grenading, flaming, executing and flicking between arsenal items, all to a soundtrack that’s every bit as killer as the 2016 explosive excursion to hell.

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Old-school shooters devilishly sliced with contemporary and trendsetting features.

Gears Tactics

Turn-based tactics games like the XCOM series can be incredibly intimidating. While an initially head-scratch-worthy genre jump, Gears Tactics is built to please Gears fans and those seeking a more aggressive form of tactics experience.

Gears Tactics acts as a prequel to the cover shooter series, but while the story isn’t particularly engaging, the attention to detail in the character models is incredible. Gameplay-wise, you can play defensively with an incredibly potent ‘Overwatch’ feature that shoots any Locust loon foolhardy enough to step in your sights. But the real gem is in how Gears Tactics incentivises you to push forward with gameplay mechanics that make for action-packed missions that can, mercifully, be knocked over in 20 to 30 minutes.

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Gears of War and those keen to try a tweaked take on turn-based tactics games.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Battle royale games are as popular as ever, but Call of Duty’s last foray into this arena with Blackout proved to not have staying power. Fast-forward to Warzone and Infinity Ward has built a battle royale game that’s fast-paced, frantic and, most importantly, fun-filled. It has problems, mostly to do with less-than-stellar netcode and ill-fitting audio, but it takes what’s appealing about the shooter subgenre and strips away the boring stuff.

Best of all, it’s free, while cross-platform play between PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players means it’s easy to find a game at any time of day (even if consolers have a frustrating snap-to-chest auto-aim edge in head-to-head fights).

Plus, Warzone’s hefty Season 4 Reloaded update is out in the wild now, and it’s a marked improvement over the start of the season. Some token weapon balancing might actually help shift the meta a smidge, but it’s a new explosive-round semi-auto sniper rifle and 200-player mode that are the big reasons to check in again.

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For fans of...

A battle royale experience that rewards full-send gameplay.

Half-Life: Alyx

We’ve been playing on an HTC Vive Cosmos, and the hype is real for both the base station-less VR headset and a return to the gaming universe that put Valve on the map. Sure, it’s not Half-Life 3, but Half-Life: Alyx acts both as a tide-over fix for Half-Life fans and a great first experience for anyone new to VR.

Where other VR games feel more like experiences, Valve has cleverly woven VR staples into an incredibly rich game world, which results in a compelling marriage of gameplay and tech. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s a must-play for Half-Life devotees and a must-buy for VR headset owners.

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For fans of...

Half-Life 2 and/or having playable vindication for why you bought a VR headset.

Red Dead Redemption 2

It looks gorgeous on PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X but, with the right rig, Red Dead Redemption 2 is positively stunning on PC. The best bit for impatient players who already started (or finished) on PlayStation 4 is that you can sniff out ways to convert your save game to the PC version and keep playing. Ex-Xbox One players are less fortunate, but there are ways to download post-prologue or later-chapter save states to not have to rehash. But, hell, even if you do have to revisit, Rockstar’s sprawling western epic is best played on the high-frame-rate, high-fidelity realities of PC. Plus, there’s Red Dead Online to sink your teeth into with all of the accuracy perks of a gaming mouse.

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Immersive game worlds that can lasso hundreds of gameplay hours.

Journey

It’s taken years for Journey to shift away from PlayStation exclusivity. Now that it’s on PC, this is an absolute must-play for those who want a jaw-dropping experience. What Journey lacks in duration and gameplay complexity, it more than makes up for in gorgeous presentation.

The simplistic-but-iconic art design plays second fiddle to a rousing strings-filled soundtrack that’s one of the best to be included in a game. Despite incredibly simple controls and no dialogue, there’s still a visually driven story that guides you from start to finish. If you’re fortunate, you’ll run into other players along the way. If not, there’s still the simple joy of basking in a beautiful game world for a perfect two-hour getaway.

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Short-lived games that leave a lasting impression.

My Friend Pedro

My Friend Pedro is easily the best game about an incredibly competent killer who’s guided by his imaginary friend who happens to be a sentient banana. Okay, so maybe My Friend Pedro is the only game that fits that mould, but it’s also a tonne of fun.

The earlier levels of the 2D side-scrolling shooter lull you in with the basics of the shooting mechanics, but things soon take a sharp turn towards Tricky Town when it comes to blasting multiple enemies. You can treat this like a run-and-gun shooter. But the real joy is found in playing with your prey and killing them in increasingly creative (and clip-worthy) ways.

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Absolutely bananas gunplay.

Mordhau

First-person is often seen as the domain of guns, while melee-focused games tend to be presented in third-person perspective. Mordhau defies this logic, allowing for third-person hack-and-slashery but, ultimately, wanting you to swing, block and kick at bludgeoning foes from the bloody and intimate first-person view.

Seen as a successor to the wildly popular medieval blood-brawler Chivalry, Mordhau increases combat depth without allowing for the kind of exploits that eventually tarnished Chivalry’s appeal. You can learn the ropes of Mordhau amid the bloody and severed limbs of the online foray, but you’re better off sharpening your blades in solo or co-op modes first. The next logical step is to hone your one-on-one duelling confidence in Duel servers.

There’s even a medieval-themed battle royale mode for those who like to dull skill with a dice-roll chance of finding better loot than a better-playing opponent. Really, though, the shining star is the sheer bloody mayhem of the large-scale battles where infantry and cavalry collide in the kind of gory battles that’d make Mel Gibson blush.

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Mind-bending madness.

Control

This has got to be cheating, right? Control was just added to our list of best Xbox One games, and now it’s on the PC list, too. While Control is a great game to play on console, it’s positively stunning on PC.

And you can upgrade ‘stunning’ to ‘exquisite’ if you have invested in an Nvidia 20-series graphics card. While Sony and Microsoft tease ‘ray tracing’ as a next-gen tech, that future is already here with a 20-series video card. And that tech is at its absolute best in Control.

This is more than mere eye candy, too. During our play-through, the newfangled lighting and real-time reflective surfaces didn’t just cause ocular diabetes from all of the sweet, sweet eye candy, it actually helped in gameplay. Enemies can be seen around corners, and finding people or items of interest in this mysterious ever-shifting house is even easier when you can scan a room via reflective surfaces.

If you somehow missed Control at launch, there are now even more reasons to play it. For starters, Nvidia 20-series graphics card owners can get any more eye-candy/frames-per-second gains care of the DLSS 2.0 update . More importantly, The Foundation DLC is the main reason to return, and its wackiness finds weirder depths when you learn more about the shady history of the Bureau.

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For fans of...

Medieval-themed severance packages.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

The Total War series built its name on accurate historical battles grounded in reality before veering off to the fantastical, dragon-riding realms of the Warhammer universe in recent years. Total War: Three Kingdoms sits somewhere between those two extremes, basing its narrative on the often-adapted Chinese classic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

As a result, battles resemble historical skirmishes, with swords clashing and archers causing havoc from afar, but hero characters play a larger-than-life role befitting of the 14th century fantasy epic. All the grand army-level strategy you’d expect is there, it’s just overshadowed somewhat by the epic duels your heroes get caught up in during the middle of a battle.

David Milner

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For fans of...

Painting miniatures.

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm

An expansion to the already bursting Civilization VI, Gathering Storm adds the requisite new world leaders, units, technologies and civics. The most significant addition, however, is mother nature herself: from howling sandstorms to city-swallowing floodwaters.

As you expand your empire, you’ll now need to consider the environmental impact of your resource-pillaging and smog-spewing industries if you want to avoid catastrophic climate change. Fortunately, it’s less bleak than reality: the new future era opens up fictional carbon-capture technology to help right the balance.

Not only is Gathering Storm an excellent strategy game, being one of the first major Triple-A titles to gamify climate change, it’s an important one.

David Milner

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David Attenborough. Risk. Avoiding the end of the world.

Rage 2

The three people in the world desperate for a sequel to 2010’s promising-but-flawed Rage somehow got their wish. We’re not sure why either but we’re glad it happened.

Unlike the original, which was infamously hampered by its use of “MegaTextures” – a rendering technique designed to break everything – Rage 2 is a fully functioning open-world. The landscape is a little on the bleak side and the populace a little on the shooty side, but otherwise it’s a pleasant enough post-apocalypse to blast your way through.

Wisely, id Software passed development duties on to Avalanche Studios (of Just Cause fame), a team that knows how to cram an open-world with fast vehicles and explosions. It’s not the smartest shooter on the market, but it feels fantastic.

David Milner

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For fans of...

Fast vehicles and explosions. The original Rage (hello?).

Outer Wilds

To say too much about Outer Wilds would spoil it because there’s simply nothing else like it. At its most basic level, it lets you explore an entire solar system in a beat-up VW Bug of a spaceship. You can land on whatever planetoid you want and explore to your heart’s content. The catch – and it’s a doozy – is that the sun will explode in 22 minutes of real time, creating a supernova, destroying everything in your little corner of space.

But instead of the infinite void of death, the explosion creates a time loop, sending you back to where you begun. On the next run through you’ll have the knowledge acquired on your last run, allowing you to progress a little further, a little faster. Think a cross between the movie Groundhog Day and Super Mario Galaxy and you’ll be in the ballpark… but still way off.

David Milner

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Mind-bending indie games. Time paradoxes.

Apex Legends

Though Respawn Entertainment still has a long way to go if it wants Apex Legends to be a genre-leading live service with ever-flowing new content, there’s no denying the underlying fundamentals are best-in-class. No other battle royale on the market feels this good to pull the trigger in, this good to run around, this good to crawl your way into the final circle of ever-encroaching doom.

Set in the Titanfall universe (just without the Titans falling – go figure?), Apex Legends adds a hero-shooter element to the battle royale formula. This means you’re not entirely reliant on scrounging decent weapons and can, in a pinch, survive with clever use of your hero’s signature abilities. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Most noticeably, the bullet-sponge enemies of the original have been given a huge health nerf. No longer will a garbage man in a t-shirt and jeans be able to walk away from a full clip to the face, a merciful concession to players that like a semblance of reality with their firefights.

The loot management has been drastically improved, and the endgame Dark Zone now normalises weapon damage so you won’t end up in unwinnable shootouts with overpowered players. If you’ve got a small but dedicated crew looking for some co-op shooting, you can’t go wrong.

David Milner

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For fans of...

Titanfall. Not paying for stuff.

The Division 2

Ubisoft Massive has improved upon the original The Division in practically every way imaginable. Shifting the loot-scavenging, looter-ravaging mayhem from New York to Washington DC has changed more than aesthetic: among the decaying ruins of the US capitol’s monuments and government buildings, you’ll find some of the best online co-op multiplayer on PC.

Most noticeably, the bullet-sponge enemies of the original have been given a huge health nerf. No longer will a garbage man in a t-shirt and jeans be able to walk away from a full clip to the face, a merciful concession to players that like a semblance of reality with their firefights.

The loot management has been drastically improved, and the endgame Dark Zone now normalises weapon damage so you won’t end up in unwinnable shootouts with overpowered players. If you’ve got a small but dedicated crew looking for some co-op shooting, you can’t go wrong.

David Milner

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Loot grinds like Destiny. Backpacks and beanies.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

If Sekiro is going to be classified as a “Soulsborne” game it needs a huge asterisk next to it. While it’s lathered in FromSoftware’s signature unforgiving difficulty – arguably to a greater degree than ever – the combat and traversal systems are completely overhauled.

As Wolf, a one-armed Shinobi on a vengeance quest through Sengoku-era Japan, you’re far more nimble and acrobatic than the nameless heroes of the genre’s past. Your grappling hook is used to zip around rooftops, and can even be thrown mid-jump, lending proceedings a tinge of Spider-Man-y goodness. Sword-fighting, meanwhile, is heavily rhythm based; you’ll start reading foes’ attack patterns like a Guitar Hero runway, waiting for the perfect moment to deliver the killing blow.

Sekiro doesn’t quite reach the heights of PS4-exclusive Bloodborne, but it’s still a masterwork from one of the industry’s finest developers. If you’re looking for 2019’s best offline solo PC game, look no further.

David Milner

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Utter misery. Dark Souls.

Metro Exodus

Where the first two Metro games toyed with claustrophobia, confining action to the depths of the Moscow subway system (just with added irradiated monsters for good measure), Exodus hits the surface. Structured as road-trip story, a crew of nuclear apocalypse survivors commandeer a train and set off across the country in search of salvation.

Somewhat ironically, the locomotive means the game loses a dash of the signature on-rails diorama vibe: instead of narrow corridors containing vignettes you just so happen upon at the right time, each stop on the journey is set-up as a mini-open world hub, with side quests and more freedom to explore than ever.

Shooting is still the weakest element, with questionable hit detection and deliberately underpowered-feeling weapons to match the “world gone to scrap” theme, but it’s worth tolerating for the compelling tale and gorgeous visuals. Controversially, it won’t hit Steam until next year, making it 2019’s best Epic Games Store exclusive so far.

David Milner

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Russian speculative post-apocalyptic fiction (RSPAF for short). Trains.

Mortal Kombat 11

A brutally refined third-draft of the formula established with 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot and tweaked with 2015’s Mortal Kombat X. Where NetherRealm once got distracted with kart-racing minigames, 3D arenas and make-your-own fatality nonsense, here the developer is razor-focused on what matters: the competitively balanced, combo-heavy, mix-up-focussed 2D fighting system. As a result, Mortal Kombat 11 is the best entry in the series’ 27-year history.

The roster is nostalgia-heavy, with returning favourites like Noob Saibot, Baraka, Jade, and Kano making their first playable appearances of this era. To top it off, the story mode is unashamed B-movie pulpy goodness. It’s all time travel, undead wraiths, and a seriously pissed off thunder god. With absurdly impressive production values, it has no real competition in the genre.

David Milner

Outside of a disk-space-destroying 100GB+ download requirement, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is a worthy purchase for those still playing Mortal Kombat 11, those who haven’t played in a while, or the newcomers looking to make the most of the most amount of content. Whatever your reason, come for Aftermath’s story and stay for three new fighters, which includes the impossibly cool RoboCop. Your move, creep.

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Competitive fighting games. Spleens.

Resident Evil 2

The first half of Resident Evil 2, confined almost entirely to a single location, the Raccoon City Police Station, is a master class in level design and building tension through limitation. You’re always on the brink of running out of ammo; always a missing key from the salvation waiting beyond a locked door; always a few blows from gory death at the swarming hands of the undead. It’s unbearable but brilliant.

Capcom’s ode to its own glorious past is one of the finest examples of a remaster in recent times. Controls have been updated to suit modern sensibilities (see ya, tank controls!), the map has been given just enough of a tweak so that returning players can puzzle it all out again, and the visuals have been redone in the RE Engine built for 2017’s Resident Evil 7. This is how it should be done.

David Milner

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Resident Evil 2 (the original one). Nostalgia.