The best PC games of 2013

Features James Hunt Mar 6, 2013

Here’s our guide to 2013’s best games

2013 is guaranteed to be an exciting year for PC gamers, so to help you plan your purchases in advance we’ve taken a look at some of the best titles due out in 2013. As well as collecting together screenshots and pricing information (where available), we’ve also done our best to show you the system requirements so that you can check your computer’s suitability to run each game and, perhaps more importantly, keep a look out for the upgrades you’ll need to make in the future if you want to run them.

While we can’t cover every game being released this year (Woodcutter Simulator 2013 was regrettably unable to make the cut), we’ve done our best to pick a range of titles that are both popular and interesting. If you want to find out more, we’ve also provided a link to the websites for each game, so don’t be shy about having a look. Most of all, remember to pre-order for the best chance of a bargain!

1. DmC Devil May Cry

Price: £29.99 (Steam)
Site: www.devilmaycry.com
Release Date: January 2013
Requirements: Windows Vista or later, Intel Core Quad 2.7GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 3GHz or better, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon(TM) HD 6950 or better, 9GB HDD space

Developer Ninja Theory returns to the start of the Devil May Cry series in this retelling of its hero, Dante’s, origins, updated for a new era. Set against a contemporary backdrop, DmC Devil May Cry is more brutal and visceral than ever, allowing players to use Dante’s range of powers and weaponry to navigate the dangers of Limbo.

As in previous instalments in the series, the fighting is combo-focused and fluid, but new ‘Angel’ and ‘Devil’ modes explore Dante’s dual heritage as well as offering access to new attacks and game dynamics. Although initial screenshots left fans of the series fearing the worst, the game’s eventual release secured it favourable reviews and its metacritic rating of 84/100 makes it one of the best games released so far this year. Visually, the PC version looks even better than the console incarnation (and it’s cheaper!), so there’s no question that this is a PC game worth buying.

2. The Cave

Price: £9.99 (Steam)
Site: thecavegame.com
Release Date: January 2013
Requirements: Windows XP or later, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz / AMD Athlon 64 2.2GHz or better, 1GB RAM, 512MB GeForce 220 / Radeon 4550 / Intel HD 3000 graphics, 1.5GB HDD space

A new platform-adventure game from Ron Gilbert (most famous for his work on the Monkey Island series), The Cave was released last month to good reviews and may well be 2013’s first must-play game. Available on Steam for Windows (as well as console platforms), The Cave allows players to select three characters from a choice of seven and then guide them through the titular cave, solving puzzles in an attempt to escape. Some puzzles require three characters to solve, while others can only be solved with specific characters.

Thus, The Cave rewards multiple playthroughs, with each combination of characters opening up different story paths. With a mix of funnybone-tickling comedy and brain-teasing puzzles, The Cave is as original as it is fun, and while it probably won’t tax your system to its fullest extent, you’ll still get hours of enjoyment out of it.

3. Dead Space 3

Price: £29.99
Site: www.deadspace.com
Release Date: February 2013
Requirements: Windows XP or later, 2.8GHz processor or equivalent, 2GB RAM, GeForce 6800 / ATI X1600 Pro or better, 10GB HDD space

The latest instalment in the popular third-person survival horror game, Dead Space 3 is developed by Visceral Games and published by EA. Set primarily on the frozen planet of Tau Volantis, the game sees protagonist Isaac Clarke return alongside new character John Carver as the pair attempt to end the Necromorph threat once and for all. An ambitious co-op mode sees players encountering alternate situations as a result of the story - in one sequence, Carver retreats into his own mind, meaning the player in control must fight their way out while the one controlling Clarke protects his body in the ‘real’ world. Destined to be talked about, Dead Space 3 is a must-buy for any fans of survival horror games.

4. Crysis 3

Price: £31.99
Site: www.crysis.com/us/crysis-3
Release Date: February 2013
Requirements: Windows Vista or later, quad-core CPU, 4GB RAM, DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB video RAM (e.g. Nvidia GTX 560, AMD Radeon HD5870)

February sees the release of another ‘threequel’ instalment in a massive videogame franchise as Crysis 3 hits shelves. Developed, once again, by Crytek, the game is set 24 years after the events of Crysis 2 and sees players take on the role of Prophet as he returns to New York, only to find it encased in a giant dome by C.E.L.L. PC gamers will be pleased to know that following criticism of Crysis 2, which was technically restricted by console compatibility, Crysis 3 has been developed (in the words of Crytek’s CEO) to ‘melt down PCs’ with its high-definition graphics and requires a hugely powerful system to run at full detail. The retail ‘Hunter Edition’ includes access to new weapons and armour, as well as a multiplayer experience boost and three exclusive dogtags.

5. SimCity

Price: £34.99
Site: www.simcity.com
Release Date: March 2013
Requirements: Windows XP or later, AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core 4000+ / Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz or better, 2GB RAM, ATI X1800 / Nvidia 7800 / Intel 4100 graphics or better

One of the PC’s most well-loved and enduring franchises returns in March for its first proper instalment since 2003’s Sim City 4. The new Sim City will introduce the most detailed city-simulation ever, populating your virtual world with simulated individuals and connecting you to friends and neighbours over the internet for a richer and more complex experience. Choose whether to compete or collaborate on everything from litter problems to climate change, and deal with the successes (and failures) of those around you.

It’s tantalisingly close to release, and even though the system requirements are quite high, there’s no question that it’s one of the most anticipated PC games in years - proof, if any were needed, that the platform is capable of much more than any console.

6. Tomb Raider

Price: £24.99
Site: www.tombraider.com
Release Date: March 2013
Requirements: Windows Vista or later, dual-core 1.6GHz CPU or better, 2GB RAM, ATI X800 GTO / Nvidia GeForce 7800 GS or better, 12GB HDD space

Another PC favourite-franchise getting a reboot in March is Tomb Raider, reimagined by developer Crystal Dynamics to take it far away from its archaic 1990s ‘bad girl’ image. The first to be published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is set in a new continuity and is designed as the first in a new series. In the game, players follow Lara Croft as she moves away from being a frightened survivor of a shipwreck to the battle-hardened Tomb Raider we all know and love. The game emphasises new survival elements of Lara’s struggle, and players must search for food and water as well as exploring locations and evading groups of hostile mercenaries who share the island she has become stranded on.

7. Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Price: £29.99
Site: eu.battle.net/sc2
Release Date: March 2013
Requirements: Windows Vista or later, Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ or better, 2GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT (512MB) / ATI Radeon HD 4850 or better, 20GB HDD space

In case there was any doubt that March 2013 is the month that old gaming franchises return with a vengeance, it also sees the release of the second instalment in a planned trilogy of games that make up the complete story of StarCraft 2. An expansion pack for the original Starcraft 2, Heart of the Swarm brings new units and missions, refined graphics and a host of other updates to this much-loved RTS series. Few names are as synonymous with PC gaming as Blizzard (which, lest we forget, also oversees the wildly popular World of Warcraft MMO), so whatever it has planned for StarCraft 2’s latest chapter, you can be certain it’s going to be a massive hit.

8. Bioshock Infinite

Price: £28
Site: www.bioshockinfinite.com
Release Date: March 2013
Requirements: Windows Vista SP2 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7GHz or better, 2GB RAM, ATI Radeon 3870 / Nvidia 8800 GT / Intel HD 3000 graphics or better, 20GB HDD space

Finally, if you want to play something a bit more up to date, Bioshock Infinite is also released in March, the long-awaited follow-up to the Ayn Rand-referencing first Bioshock game from the original developer. Some stunning trailers and an interesting visual style suggest that this game is going to more than live up to its predecessor.

Set in 1912, the game is set primarily in the floating city of Columbia and grants players access to weapons, gear, and a selection of psychokinetic powers as they attempt to rescue a missing girl named Elizabeth. Perhaps most interestingly, the game will feature an ultra-hard ‘1999’ mode that allows players’ story decisions early on to potentially lead to unwinnable situations late in the game. Try it at your own risk!

9. Dead Island: Riptide

Price: £27.99
Site: deadisland.deepsilver.com
Release Date: April 2013
Requirements: Windows 7 or better, 2.5GHz quad-core Intel or AMD processor, 2GB RAM, DirectX 11 compatible video card with 1GB of RAM (e.g, Nvidia 400-series or AMD 5000-series), 10GB HDD space

You can’t take three steps these days without bumping into a zombie game, but this year’s sequel to 2011’s much-loved Dead Island promises to be one of the better examples, continuing directly on from its predecessor with an engine and development team in common. Dead Island: Riptide replaces the original resort with a new location, but it brings back the same first-person, open world gameplay and adds a selection of skills, new enemies and vehicles, and even a new playable character. It’s guaranteed to be a hit, and if you’re at all interested in PC gaming, the vibrant locales should show off your system’s capabilities beautifully.

10. Star Trek

Price: £32.99
Site: www.startrekgame.com
Release Date: April 2013
Requirements: TBA

It’s perhaps a little too early to call this one of 2013’s best games - not least because movie adaptations and tie-ins are historically awful - but the fervour that surrounds JJ Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise and its forthcoming sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, means it’s hard to ignore the release of the game. Set between the first film and its sequel, the game puts gamers in charge of Kirk and/or Spock as they lead the Enterprise crew in battle against legendary Star Trek villains, the Gorn.

Another title built around co-op gameplay, it’s the first chance many games will have to explore the ‘reboot’ version of the Enterprise and spend more time with the characters from that world (all voiced by the movie cast). As we say, it’s too early to suggest it’ll be one of the best games of the year, but it’ll definitely be worth a look if you’re a fan of the franchise.

11. Resident Evil Revelations HD

Price: £29.99
Site: www.residentevil.com/revelations
Release Date: May 2013
Requirements: Windows XP or later, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ or better, 2GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS / ATI Radeon HD 3850 or better, 8GB HDD space

Originally released for the Nintendo 3DS (of all systems), Resident Evil Revelations was so well-received by critics and gamers alike that Capcom has given it a bit of a polish and is planning to re-release it for non-handheld systems in a few months as Resident Evil Revelations HD. Featuring classic Resident Evil survival horror gameplay, there’s a high emphasis on exploration and ammo management, and players can switch between over-the-shoulder third-person and first-person POVs.

Extra features for the HD release include higher-resolution graphics and support for achievement systems, including Steam achievements on the PC. And if you’re hungry for Resident Evil games, don’t miss the belated PC release of Resident Evil 6, which is finally dragging itself out this March, only five months after the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions appeared on shelves.

12. Double Fine Adventure

Price: $30
Site: doublefine.com/dfapay
Release Date: Q2 2013
Requirements: TBA (but low)

Double Fine Adventure - whether it ends up being called that or not - is already a gaming phenomenon, having attracted $4 million of investment from 87,000 Kickstarter backers when the project went live last year. Due for release some time in 2013 (allegedly Q2, but that sounds optimistic), DFA will be the first adventure game from Tim Schafer since 1998’s Grim Fandango and is due to be released on a variety of platforms including Windows. Its success inspired a wave of high-profile Kickstarter gaming projects, many of which we’ll be coming to later. Specifically developed as an old-style point-and-click adventure game, it’s unlikely to tax your system, but one thing is certain: this is one release that every PC gamer is going to need an opinion of, and the best way to get one is to play it.

13. Project GODUS

Price: £20
Site: www.22cans.com
Release Date: Q3 2013
Requirements: TBA

Another game born out of Kickstarter, Project GODUS is also the first full release from Peter Molyneux’s new company, 22 Cans. A god game that appears to share elements with the game Black & White, which Molyneux spearheaded at his old company Lionhead, Project GODUS requires players to spread influence throughout the land, sculpting and changing it to create a habitable environment for your followers. Described as half-sandbox, half-strategy, you get the opportunity to take your followers into other realms to conquer the worlds of other players in the world’s first single player, multiplayer, cross-platform sandbox/strategic game. We don’t quite know what to make of it at this point, but even when Peter Molyneux’s games are bad, they tend to be bad in interesting ways, so we’ll be first in line to play this when it’s finally released!

14. Dead State

Price: $25
Site: www.deadstate.doublebearproductions.com
Release Date: December 2013
Requirements: TBA

There’s just about time to squeeze in one more zombie game before the end of the year, and surprisingly it’s the long, long, long-awaited Dead State, a turn-based RPG set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse which was first brought to everyone’s attention in 2010, although things got serious when the part-time developers received Kickstarter funding in 2012.

Despite the rather familiar subject matter, it looks as though the game will offer a unique type of gameplay, placing the user in charge of managing a local school, which is sheltering survivors from the attacking hordes. Designed to create semi-random unique experiences with each playthrough, game designer Brian Mitsoda has set his sights high, saying that he hopes it’ll contain “a broader examination of how humans deal with a crisis beyond their control.” So, er, no pressure then.

15. Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse

Price: £15
Site: revolution.co.uk/games/bs5
Release Date: Q4 2013
Requirements: TBA

The fourth and final Kickstarter-funded entry on our list is the new Broken Sword game from Revolution software, which was successfully funded in September 2012. The first created using 2D-style visuals since Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror, this classic adventure game reunites conspiracy-foiling heroes George Stobbart and Nico Collard for their first all-new adventure since 2006 - although recent re-releases of the first two games for mobile devices have kept the pair in the eyes of gamers everywhere. Broken Sword games have typically been praised for their precise plotting, well-realised characters and rounded sense of humour, so the release of a new title in the series means that PC gamers will be able to get hold of a very different kind of gaming experience when the title is finally released towards the end of 2013.

16. Watch Dogs

Price: £TBA
Site: watchdogs.ubi.com
Release Date: Late 2013
Requirements: TBA

Very little has been seen of Watch Dogs besides it’s rather fantastic trailer, but one thing is certain: it looks like a huge amount of fun. Set in the Chicago of a world not entirely unlike our own, which is nonetheless run by an Orwellian surveillance computer, Watch Dogs puts you in charge of Aiden Pearce, a hacker who can control all of the technology around him. In this sandbox-style world, missions are accomplished by hacking nearby devices, whether that’s as small as jamming phones to force people to leave rooms or as large as manipulating traffic lights to ensure that they meet with an unexpected end while crossing the road.

Price, requirements, release date and even the game’s plot specifics aren’t yet nailed down, but everything we’ve seen so far makes it look like a contender for 2013’s best game. That’s certainly something worth getting excited about.