While we have a post dedicated to the best PC exclusives of 2018, both upcoming and already released, multiplatform games that are awesome and also happen to be available on PC aren't something you'll find there. While there will be some overlap, a bunch of fantastic games released this year have also made their way to PC, or are upcoming. The beauty of PC gaming is that with a bit of tweaking just about any game can run on most systems, and there is a huge burgeoning indie scene so every niche is represented - but regardless of your typical preferences, these are games that deserve to be on your radar. The best stories, most engaging gameplay and flashiest visuals to make your rig sweat are all here.
Over the past few years, video game crowdfunding has dipped significantly, and yet reading this list you might not think it's true, as some properties, either due to huge nostalgia factors, or for having a successful predecessor, managed to pull through with crowdfunding and produce highly detailed and quality productions. 2018 also marks the arrival of a niche-but-cult franchise on the PC, albeit later than on other platforms. Most of these games were pretty heavily marketed, so anyone interested in the medium will likely know a bit about them, but some might be sleeper hits you'll want to look up afterward.
Monster Hunter World
The notoriously opaque and odd Monster Hunter franchise is making its debut on PC with the newest World installment. Already out on consoles, World is getting near unanimous praise from fans and critics alike in spite of still having plenty of that initially impenetrable Monster Hunter DNA. The last time I played a Monster Hunter game, it was on the PSP, and though fun, the control scheme was designed for the tentacles of Lovecraftian horrors, not human hands and it had some dizzyingly unintuitive design decisions. World is said to still have the latter, while somewhat improving the former.
In case the name didn't make it obvious, in Monster Hunter: World, you are scouring the World for Monsters, of whom you are a Hunter. The game has a number of vast and visually varied environments, including a huge coral reef where you can breathe, for some reason. World also has a wide variety of weapon types, each of which play differently instead of just having different stats, and need time to get used to. You can also customize your anthropomorphic cat companion, which should be a huge plus in anyone's book.
Iconoclasts is a pixel-art Metroidvania game that is the passion project of a sole developer, who has been working on this game for ten years. It's one of the best looking examples of pixel-art games, it's writing is absolutely masterful, the gameplay is fun, there is plenty of content, and it basically ticks every single box on a universal "good game" checklist. It's also got that hard-to-define quality that some games have, games that were works of genuine enthusiasm and passion over games tailored to fit a business model and focus groups.
Iconoclasts drops players into a world where an oppressive theocracy is in power, and everything is powered by Ivory, of which there is a shortage. The rigid dictatorship assigns citizens their jobs, and mechanics authorized to fix Ivory powered machines are more akin to priests than to greasemonkeys. The game's protagonist, Robin, an unlicensed mechanic, gets into a world of trouble after being discovered. The game's storyline is unique, and benefits from a cast of well-developed characters. In terms of gameplay, focus is placed in exploration, puzzles and bosses, though this shouldn't be too new to veterans of the genre.
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Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Subnautica is a beautiful, stunning, terrifying and challenging survival game set primarily in the waters of an alien world. This underwater adventure is one of duality, where the world is both enchanting and deadly, the ambience both relaxing and frightful, the fauna both cute and deadly. Subnautica's unique story unwraps as you try to build a sustainable undersea base while you wait for rescue.
While some of Subnautica's difficulty levels can border on the unfairly unforgiving, it promotes creative solutions to the challenges you face, features a fantastic building mechanic, meaningful crafting projects, your standard trifecta of survival stats of hunger, thirst and fatigue with oxygen mixed in. This game will feed you to underwater beasts, and have you coming back for more.
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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Developer: Square Enix
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age wasn't initially released this year, but it did only make its debut on PC in 2018, 12 years after it first launched on the PlayStation 2. This fairly old-school JRPG got a visual overhaul and a bunch of other improvements over the original version, like a revamped jobs system. The story takes more than a pinch of inspiration from Star Wars, so even players who usually bounce off JRPGs can get into it.
The game isn't grindy at all, the side activities aren't a waste of time and the storyline is all kinds of epic as you attempt to topple a malevolent empire. The interesting setting and charming cast of characters further strengthen FFXII's stance as a standout RPG in 2018.
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Into the Breach
Developer: Subset Games
Into the Breach wears the Pacific Rim influence on its sleeve happily while bringing more than a bit to the table in terms of original ideas. From the creators of FTL, Into the Breach is a similarly charming and difficult roguelike constantly forcing you to make decisions that have you pick the lesser of two evils. Tactics in Into the Breach are unique, as each match is played out on a small 8x8 grid, over the course of just 5 turns, and during your turn you'll already know what the enemy will move next.
In spite of this unconventional mechanic, Into the Breach remains sometimes punishingly difficult as your mechs will almost always be outnumbered by the Kaiju-like huge evil bugs, the Vek. Failing mission objective isn't what will lose you the game, thus dealigning victory and survival in a genius way.
As the months roll by, more and more games will be added to this list with a bunch of promising releases upcoming. You're also welcome to add your own nominees below in the comments!