From first-person shooters to flight simulators, there are a good number of PC games that will max out your next PC’s capabilities to bring a visually immersive experience not seen previously.
So, if you’re buying or upgrading your desktop or laptop PC soon, the eye candy that you can expect on a screen is going to be clearly enhanced with the increased performance from both your CPU and graphics chip.
Here are five titles to max out the capabilities of your new machine:
The first-person shooter featuring Keanu Reeves has been hyped up, loved and hated by fans and critics equally but there’s one thing that is indisputable – the game’s dystopian future is stunning looking.
From the realistic reflections on the dirty puddles to the gritty street lighting in a Bladerunner-like urban nightmare, Cyberpunk 2077 will draw on every ounce of performance from your PC.
Running it at 4K with everything maxed out is tough but you can still get a glimpse of the game world with some demanding features like ray-tracing turned off. This is the game to test any PC today.
Still on cyberpunk, one of the most most talked-about indie games to appear in years is The Ascent, which is also set in a Bladerunner-like world.
Indeed, many gamers now say it looks more like the seminal 1980s movie than the blockbuster Cyberpunk 2077 game it is often compared to.
With lighting effects that show off the dingy, depressing and downtrodden nightscape that is a signature of the genre, The Ascent is as good looking a game as any that has come along recently.
The visual effects, which include dramatic ones of enemies blown up in an instance, will make you thankful you have a great graphics card and CPU to display them.
Anyone who is interested in PC performance would have come across the Metro series of first-person shooters, which debuted in 2010 with Metro 2033.
You roam the subways and other areas in a post-apocalyptic Russia, warding off attacks from human survivors as well as mutated creatures that have appeared after a devastating world war.
The latest PC game, Metro Exodus from 2019, has many beautifully designed yet terrifying locales that come to life with great PC graphics.
You’d need a powerful PC, though, as the recommended specs call for 8GB RAM for system memory and no less than 8GB for video card memory.
You should have a zippy CPU and GPU to get things running at an ideal resolution (at least Full HD) and with many of the visual effects turned on to showcase the light and darkness of a fallen world and its mutated terrors.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
The latest entry to the Assassin’s Creed action-adventure game series from last year has some snazzy graphics for a game world set during the Dark Ages in Europe.
Explore the English countryside as well as realms in Norse mythology such as Asgard in a visually arresting game that draws heavily on the Vikings.
Aurora borealis, snowy scenes and magical forests come to life in one of the most rewarding games in terms of graphical content. Even the water looks inviting with its viscosity, clarity and movement so a side quest to go fishing looks fun.
Once again, your PC will need to be up to speed to see all the visual effects in their glory. Playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla without the splendour of its game world is something of a travesty.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
There is little need to talk up Microsoft’s long running series that has been around for 38 years. Well, except that it has kept upping the realism with faster PC hardware and the latest version out last year lets you climb into a cockpit and feel like you’re really flying.
Though you may get by with a graphics card and CPU from a good few years old, the game looks so much better with the latest hardware, like an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU or an Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card. The clouds look more realistic and the airports that you approach seem more lifelike.
There is a long list of graphics settings in the game, from the usual depth of field and texture sampling to even the windshield effects and water waves you might encounter. All these affect performance and Microsoft Flight Simulator is still one of the toughest games to run with “everything” turned on in Ultra setting.
That said, with the more powerful CPUs and GPUs today, the game is one of the best looking around. Fly a plane is fun but so is enjoying the scenery sometimes.