The PC is the oldest gaming platform. It was around at the dawn of gaming, and it continues to be home to the biggest blockbusters and the most intriguing indie games. Some gamers may scoff at the costs or the keyboard-and-mouse control setup, but PC gaming is more affordable than it's ever been before (not to mention its games are cheaper at launch, and digital distribution retailers such as Steam often offer ridiculous sales with deep discounts), and the keyboard-and-mouse remains the best way to control first-person shooters, the genre that's driving game development these days.
But the PC offers many other benefits. Right now, the best-looking games are on PC -- video tech continues to grow while it remains stagnant on consoles, and the PC offers higher resolutions than consoles can (as they're tied to HDTVs, not PC monitors). Many PC games also offer modding, which allows gamers to add their own content to many games, and dedicated servers, which gives you more control over multiplayer matches in many games.
We at GamePro love PC gaming, and here are what we feel are the 15 best PC games of the current generation, as selected in a poll conducted by the staff. This is more than a "Best of" list. We hope this feature encourages discussion about the games on the list, and what makes them best on the PC.
The Red Alert series has evolved greatly from its gritty sci-fi RTS roots to a more cartoonish take on naval, air, and land combat. Set in a parallel universe where Hitler was killed by Einstein before he could take power (due to Einstein’s use of a time machine), the Red Alert series asks, "What if?"
What if, instead of Germany remilitarizing, the Soviets instead became the invasive force threatening Western Europe? In Red Alert 3, the Soviets are able to alter history themselves by taking out Einstein before he can invent any of the advanced weaponry that the Allies use. The results are unexpected, and three sides form -- the Allied nations, the Soviets, and the Empire of the Rising Sun. Each side has its own unique set of units, including amusing inventions like attack bears, transforming helicopters, and camouflaged tanks.
14 | Borderlands
A blend of first-person shooter and loot-driven RPG, Borderlands is one of the most fun games available on PC. Your goal is simple: survive as you seek out “The Vault,” a place that contains fabulous alien treasure and technology. But the planet of Pandora is a dangerous place, full of nasty monsters and psycho convicts. The game gives you plenty of weapons--developer Gearbox Software boasts that they have more than 1 million firearms in the game--and each of the four characters have special skills suited to their roles, like sniper and tank.
Exploring the world of Pandora, either on foot or in weapon-baring buggies, is just fun; the gunplay is fast, and online co-op with up to four players is smooth (not to mention the best way to play the game). The game has four pieces of DLC—if you don’t purchase the Game of the Year Edition, which has all of the DLC, check out The Zombie Isle of Dr. Ned and The Secret Armory of General Knoxx.
Blizzard may be the name most associated with real-time strategy, but Relic is the one that brought the genre into the modern era. Witness Dawn of War II, which is one part RTS, one part squad-based shooter, and one part RPG. It's a unique mix, and one that's perfectly suited to the Warhammer 40K universe.
Rather than building bases and commanding armies, Dawn of War II puts you in command of a small squadron of Space Marines. But despite their small numbers, they are more than capable of holding their own against everything from Orks to Tyranids. It's a unique RTS that changes the rules in all the right ways.