HomePC GAMESForza Horizon 5The RPS 100 (2023): our top PC games of all time (50-1)

The RPS 100 (2023): our top PC games of all time (50-1)

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Welcome to Part Two of The RPS 100 for 2023, our annual countdown of our favourite PC games from across the ages. Earlier this week, we ranked our favourite games from 100-51, which can be found over in Part One of this year’s list. But now it’s time for the big 50, going all the way to our collective number one. And I’ll tell you now, it’s not the same as last year.

The RPS 100

I always love putting together big team lists like this. As explained in Part One, this list isn’t intended to be a definitive ranking of the best PC games of all time, or the most important or influential. It’s simply the games that we as a team love the most, and hold closest in our hearts – a snapshot of who we are as a team right now, that will no doubt change and evolve as the years go on.

In previous years, the team simply put forward their personal top tens, but this year, we each voted for our top 25 favourite games of all time, with our number one earning a full 25 points (and number two getting 24 points and so on). As a result, some games have seen quite big jumps up and down this year, but we’ll be sticking with this format going forward, so hopefully the rankings should be more stable in the future. In any case, the list you see before you is the culmination of all those top 25 lists added together, representing our current tastes and personal Bestest Bests. If games have shifted or dropped off the list entirely, that doesn’t mean we love them any less. They’re just at #101. I swear to Horace.

Of course, with this being such a personal list, there will naturally be some stone cold good ‘uns that we’ve missed – so if you get to the end of this list and think it’s an absolute travesty against the classical PC canon, why not have your own say in The RPS 100: Reader Edition? There’s still time to get your votes in for that, too, but you’ll need to be quick as voting will close at 5pm BST today. For now, though, here is Part Two of this year’s RPS 100.


50. Disco Elysium


A man attempts to sing karaoke in a bar in Disco Elysium
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/ZA/UM

Disco Elysium feels like a booze-soaked fever dream, and since finishing it I’ve never quite managed to shake off the thumping RPG hangover it gave me. It’s an incredibly stylish and dialogue-heavy game that’s part detective murder mystery, part psychodrama. A grisly murder lies at the heart of it, but the world that spins around that axis is a tangled web of strange characters, shady politics, and a city on the edge of collapse. And it’s all told through a wonderful vomit of verbiage. An incredible detective RPG, that will forever occupy your mind after finishing it. RW


49. Rocket League


Rocket League screenshot of the game with a car and ball
Image credit: Psyonix

Rocket League is still, in my opinion, the best competitive game ever made. It’s football with cars, so it’s incredibly easy to understand as both a player and a spectator. It’s ridiculously fun and chaotic even when you’re just starting out and learning how to do basic flips and blocks and aerials. And 1000 hours later, it’s just as fun and chaotic, but from your new camping spot on the mountainous skill curve, you’re just beginning to appreciate the true depth of this frenetic, near-perfect physics ’em up. To this day it’s the game I became best at, and I still play it regularly, close to a decade later. It’s genuinely flawless. OT


48. Titanfall 2


A soldier stands next to a mech in Titanfall 2
Image credit: EA

Forty-eighth? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised: Titanfall 2 never got the attention and, frankly, love that it deserved. Some of the crispest, sharpest shooting in modern FPSs, fluid switching between speedy wall-running manfights and weighty mech battles, even a creative and perfectly-paced singleplayer campaign, and all anybody could say about it was, “Oh yeah, there’s a new Battlefield coming out next week too.” History has been kinder to Titanfall 2 than those first few months were, but in a just world, it would have had classic status from the start. And we might have Titanfall 3. JA


47. Age Of Empires II: Definitive Edition


A screenshot of a settlement near a river in Age Of Empires II Definitive Edition
Image credit: Xbox Game Studios

Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition is a brutally fast and challenging RTS that demands your constant attention as players fight over resources and through each other’s empires to be the last one standing. I binged it earlier this year and it broke me. Never before have I clicked so hard, so fast, on so many things. I had a Google Doc up on my second monitor throughout every match, with timestamped lists of actions to take in order to win on each difficulty. It hooked me, and I had to stop playing lest it consumed me entirely. Fiendishly replayable. Endlessly entertaining. Maybe I should redownload it to play another match… HH


46. Jazztronauts


A cat from Jazztronauts
Image credit: Jazztronauts team

Hop in in an interdimensional bus to ram-raid random Steam Workshop levels and steal everything in them for your criminal cat bosses, not only breaking the fourth wall but yoinking it too. This mod for Garry’s Mod is a silly celebration of how video games are built from magic tricks, and how creative and weird their players are. Round up some pals and laugh yourselves silly as you go on a crime spree across Harry Potter roleplaying maps, Counter-Strike levels, recreations of people’s childhood homes, and whatever the hell else is on the Workshop. AOC


45. Dragon Age II


A warrior firing a beam of light in Dragon Age 2
Image credit: EA

A while back, when Twitter was still functional, I saw a tweet going around that said “QT this with your most controversial Dragon Age opinion”, and so many people replied with “I actually really like Dragon Age II!” that it became instantly clear to me that we actually all just like Dragon Age II. Of the three current entries into BioWare’s big epic fantasy RPG (with elves! Cow men! A dog!) DAII is trying the most different things, and I think it’s all the better for it. You’re stuck in one city for the entire game, but the story spans decades, so you see the social and political situation change. That’s a very cool choice! It also leans into the absurdity of fantasy by having a Sarcastic Asshole dialogue choice that’s referred to as Purple Hawk among the fandom, changes up the relationship system by introducing what is essentially a Frenemy end of the scale, and lightens up the combat without making it actually easy. It’s actually really bloody good, when you think about it… AB


44. Subnautica


Undersea exploration in a Subnautica screenshot.
Image credit: Unknown Worlds Entertainment

Stranded on an alien planet with a vast blue sea, your only option is to dive into its depths and turn those fish and coral into oxygen tanks and home pods. Let it be known, the game is as much about the wonder of discovery as it is a full blown horror experience. Your first descent into the inky black depths is genuinely terrifying and thrilling in equal measure. What will your beam of light reveal? What new materials might you discover? What was that noise? ET


43. NieR: Automata


2B poses wearing a giant sword in a Nier: Automata screenshot.
Image credit: Square Enix

An open world action RPG which ends suddenly if you eat a mackerel, NieR: Automata is Platinum at their absolute best. The combat is slick as heck and you’ll struggle to predict what might happen next at practically every turn. You’ll be popped in bullet-hell boss battles, with banging music that swells as angry orbs fill your screen. Then all of a sudden you’ll engage in some top down puzzler. Then a 2D platformer. Oh and the story? Yeah, it’s anime bonkers and surprisingly philosophical, best unravelled over multiple playthroughs which – you guessed it – offer plenty of surprises, too. ET


42. Hypnospace Outlaw


A 90s era web page about Zane Rocks from Hypnospace Outlaw
Image credit: No More Robots

It’s hard to believe it these days, but there was a time when the internet was dripping with personality. Hypnospace Outlaw captures the essence of the world-wide-web circa 1999, providing you with hundreds of web pages to explore, created by both users and brands alike. As an enforcer for tech company Merchantsoft, it’s your job to hunt down misdemeanours in Hypnospace, an alternate-reality web browser users access while they sleep. Hypnospace may be quirky and surreal, but it’s also surprisingly empathetic, stuffed full of stories about real people looking to belong in an exciting new frontier for humanity. It’s a time capsule of an era that never existed, yet one that still feels tangibly real. LR


41. Factorio


Bustling industry in a Factorio screenshot.
Image credit: Wube Software

The factory must grow. To the detriment of the alien landscape, its inhabitants, and your free time. Factorio is the founder (and best) of a glorious strategy sub-genre called the factory sim. It’s a masterpiece of engineering that challenges you to incrementally build similar masterpieces, kilometres in length and width, that churn out thousands of circuit-boards and pipes and alloys with the eventual aim of building a rocket and leaving the planet. By which point, you’re already too invested in your mega-factory to abandon it, so you continue for another two hundred hours while the ever-growing hordes of biters burrow their way through your walls as recompense for polluting their world. OT


40. Saturnalia


Anita, one of the player characters in Saturnalia, standing between open church doors, and lit in a strange, yellowish light
Image credit: Santa Ragione

Readers will know I went absolutely off my gourd when this horrible little folk horror game released on the Epic Games Store last year. It’s coming to Steam later in 2023, with a new first-person mode that I will absolutely be too scared to play. Set in an isolated Sardinian mining town in the 80s, Saturnalia puts you in the shoes of three outsiders trying to escape Gravoi on the night of its regular folk horror murder festival. Io, Saturnalia! But with a cannibalistic masked creature that follows you through the unlit streets of a maze-like town. Only one character has a map, by the way, and it’s not in the HUD, because barely anything is. To escape, and to uncover the web of secrets holding the town together, you’ll have to scuttle around the fabulously neon-lit alleyways and hope the creature doesn’t start to follow you… AB

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39. Firewatch


The Two Forks Lookout station watch tower in Firewatch, viewed from the forest floor below.
Image credit: Panic/Campo Santo

Few games convey longing quite as effectively as Firewatch. A longing for solitude. For companionship. For answers. For peace. The mysteries that linger between the trees aren’t nearly as important as what protagonist Henry left behind when taking on the job as a fire lookout in the Shoshone National Forest. Accompanying him is as much a journey of self-discovery as anything else. Then there’s Delilah, Henry’s supervisor who only ever communicates with him via radio. Their relationship is complicated, beautiful and raw. Two lost souls, hiding in the wilderness in the hope life cannot find them among nature’s untamed density. Firewatch is very special indeed. LR


38. Slay The Spire


A battle between a hooded figure in an animal skull and a large snake in Slay The Spire
Image credit: Mega Crit Games

Climb and fight through a towering city as one of four fantasy weirdos in this offbeat deck-building dungeon crawler. Pick your path, encounter strange people, fight stranger monsters, and build your run by grabbing cards and items. Slay The Spire is largely happy to let you become overpowered, holding potential combinations that might let you cast dozens of spells in a turn or near-one-hit bosses. That’s always fun. But what most keeps me coming back after all these years (and after the many games Slay The Spire inspired) is the satisfaction of juicy maths. AOC


37. Project Zomboid


Project Zomboid players teaming up to build a base and paint the walls. They are all wearing construction clothes
Image credit: The Indie Store

I’m a zombie nerd, and I have often dreamed about living in the zombie apocalypse. No more capitalism! Real life The Walking Dead! Project Zomboid is perhaps the closest to that dream that I’ll ever get. Project Zomboid is an isometric survival game that offers an in-depth simulation of apocalypse life with ridiculous detail, in which you try to survive for as long as possible. To some, that’ll prove overwhelmingly complex, and understandably so! It has a steep learning curve, but getting through that reveals an intricate survival sim that is impossible to put down. HH


36. Team Fortress 2


A close-up look at the seal in Team Fortress 2's Selbyen map.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Valve

The gold standard for class-based shooters, and despite regular doomsaying, one with proven timelessness. If it’s possible to get bored of backstabbing a Medic as Spy, or landing a perfect double-meatshot as Scout, or airblasting a critical pipe bomb back into the owner’s face as Pyro, then I wouldn’t know even after a decade and a half of playing. TF2 also has one of the most active creative communities in all of gaming, its Steam Workshop and uncountable fan-made animation videos a testament to the enduring strength of Valve’s character designs. JA


35. Half-Life: Alyx


A Combine in an orange suit hangs from the ceiling over a hole in the floor while another approaches with a head crab attached in Half-Life: Alyx
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Valve

Half-Life: Alyx is better than the Half-Life 3 I spent 13 years creating in my head. It advances the story of Half-Life in unforeseen ways, introduces brilliant new characters and adds additional layers of depth to those you already know and love. Exclusive to VR headsets, it’s easy to understand why Alyx didn’t quite receive the wider acclaim it so clearly deserves. But it simply couldn’t exist anywhere else. This is a bold leap forward for the tech, a showcase for just how immersive and tactile VR games can be. Alyx is a genuine masterpiece, but with such a steep barrier to entry, it remains widely inaccessible to most players. A shame. LR


34. Kentucky Route Zero


The opening scene of Kentucky Route Zero sees a truck parked at the edge of a gas station named Equus Oils, which is absolutely dominated by the giant statue head of a horse just behind it.
Image credit: Cardboard Computer

It may have taken Cardboard Computer seven years to release the full game, but it was well worth the wait. Kentucky Route Zero tells the story of Conway, a delivery driver whose last job tasks him with searching for The Zero, a lost underground highway that runs underneath Kentucky. KRZ may have magical realist elements, but it’s ultimately very grounded, exploring tough subjects such as debt, homelessness, alcoholism, and death. It’s a damning and devastating portrait of the US from the perspective of small-town folk. KRZ tells the tales of those who have been forgotten, forced to forever wander the ghostly highways of Kentucky for eternity. RW


33. Infra


A hangar scene from Infra
Image credit: Loiste Interactive

Infra is the only game I know to open with a PowerPoint presentation. This first-person explore-o-puzzle game puts you in the safety boots of a structural analyst in a Scandanavian city, exploring dams, sewers, waterworks, and power plants to snap photographs of health & safety violations, solve puzzles, and save the day. It’s a touch wonky but has an endearing weirdness and unpredictability which contrasts strongly with you doing a mundane job in mundane places (albeit the prettiest, Source engine-iest mundane places you ever did see). Half-Life 2 meets Myst? Deus Ex but a day job? Surprising. Fascinating. AOC


32. Soma


A piece of key art for the sci-fi horror game SOMA showing a robot looking in a cracked mirror and seeing a sad woman in the reflection
Image credit: Frictional Games

Though Frictional are still more famous for the Amnesia series of survival horror games, Soma – which may as well be called Existential Crisis Under The Sea – remains my favourite Frictional game. You play as a man who has a brain scan one day in the present and inexplicably wakes up hundreds of years later in a research facility at the bottom of the sea. Said facility has been taken over by a rogue AI, and isn’t that just always the way? And, as you uncover the horrifying truth about what happened to all the people in the facility, Soma takes care to put the psychological in psychological horror, asking you questions about self and personhood and how you even know that you are you, which, as Charlie Brooker would surely agree, is the scariest thing of all. AB


31. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


Third person view of the hero from Skyrim walking through the town of Riverwood
Image credit: Bethesda Softworks

Bigness is no quality without stuff to fill it with – it’s why I’m still unconvinced by the promise of Starfield’s gajillion planets. But with Skyrim, it felt Like Bethesda nailed the balance between scope and density, creating a fantasy nation that felt huge but always had something to investigate around the corner. At its best, Skyrim takes that curiosity-piquing “What’s over there?” feeling and escalates brilliantly: spontaneous conversations turn into twisty, sprawling quests, and errant turns off the path lead to grand hidden valleys and unspoken-of underground cities. What a wonderful world to explore, even with the bugs. JA


30. Persona 5 Royal


The Phantom Thieves get ready for battle in Persona 5 Royal.
Image credit: Sega

A stylish turn-based RPG with plenty of heart, Persona 5 Royal sees you join the Phantom Thieves, a group of high-school teens who enter the twisted minds of dodgy characters and expunge their innermost demons. Build connections with your pals and you’re not only earning trust, you’re gearing them up for battle. Royal remixes the original with a wealth of changes that further your life simming and give your thievery added spice. A lengthy 120+ hour journey awaits, but like all time spent with great friends it can vanish in an instant. ET


29. Bioshock


A Big Daddy confronts the player in Bioshock
Image credit: 2K

Ah, BioShock, the face that launched a thousand takes. Part first-person steampunk sci-fi action adventure, part answer to the question “how much can players misunderstand the explicit moral of a story?” What’s undeniable is that a) stomping around giant underwater city folly Rapture firing bullets of a gun in one hand and bees out of your literal other hand is fun, and b) the story with all little girls sucking magic powers out of sea slugs, and big lads like diving suits crossed with farm machinery, has been very influential. As was the level design! It’s easy to make jokes about it (as I have here demonstrated) but BioShock is actually a very good FPS in a very cool setting, and is still probably the strongest of the three-part series. If you like steampunk alt-history, shootin’ stuff, and ethics 101 then BioShock is inescapable. See, jokes again. AB


28. Hardspace: Shipbreaker


A view of a spaceship, floating in orbit, mid-breakdown in Hardspace: Shipbreaker
Image credit: Focus Entertainment

Take derelict spaceships to pieces for fun and profit in this first-person salvager. It is immediately joyous to dynamically slice a spaceship with your laser cutter, and it’s a joy that’ll likely get you killed if you go slicing willy-nilly. As you learn how best to dismantle ships safely and profitably, Shipbreaker blooms into a quiet game of methodical process. It offers the satisfaction of a job well done, and your job is salvaging spaceships for a calluous corporation. Cool. AOC


27. Pentiment


Andreas in the dream court that represents his mind in pentiment
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Xbox Game Studios

Pentiment is the game that made me immediately go out and buy The Name Of The Rose. It’s a medieval murder mystery with monks and manuscripts, and a man called Andreas Maler, and… I’ve run out of Ms. You start as a young Andreas, toiling in a monastery scriptorium when suddenly a bad murder occurs! And more over successive decades, as you investigate and decide who the culprit was each time. That’s not as much the point as it is seeing the devastating effects on the town (and Andreas) over time, both socially and politically. But the star at first sight is the gorgeous 2D animation, and the animated text bubbles that appear as if written in wet ink by a careful hand. It’s truly a lovely game to behold. AB

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26. Into The Breach


Mechs battle bugs in an Into The Breach screenshot.
Image credit: Subset Games

Do you know where the word ‘quintessential’ comes from? The internet will probably tell you that it refers to the fifth, most exceptional element after the four known lesser elements of fire, water, earth and air. A teacher also once told me it was derived from the practice of alchemy, that as metals were further and further refined to remove impurities, it was thought to achieve its purest and greatest form on the fifth refinement, hence the word ‘quintessence’. Wherever it actually comes from, though, I think both descriptions perfectly encapsulate what Subset Games have achieved with Into The Breach. It is simply the most perfect strategy puzzle box ever conceived, refined to its purest, most elegant form, and sitting comfortably above those that came before it. It is the quintessential strategy game, born of a rare, magical alchemy whose like we’ve never seen again. Pure bottled brilliance. KC


25. Horizon Zero Dawn


Aloy prepares to fire an arrow at the Thunderjaw bearing down on her in Horizon Zero Dawn.
Image credit: PlayStation PC LLC

Between the overgrown cities, glistening lakes, and snow-blanketed mountain trails, Horizon Zero Dawn might showcase the prettiest post-apocalypse you’ll ever see. Even so, I think the most impressive thing here is the ecosystem of Machines: the clanking robosaurs that put the action into this action RPG. Their aggressive AI and diverse attack methods mean that fights are intense, but rarely repetitive, and it’s moreishly rewarding to use timing and smarts to overcome laser-shooting mechabeasts while armed with a bow and spear. Some of HZD’s tougher battles had me feeling like I was out of breath myself, covered in spilled oil and dodge roll-induced cuts. Love it. JA


24. Hades


The son of Hades stands in front of a large door in a large chamber in Hades
Image credit: Supergiant Games

If you don’t have the patience for the death loop of roguelikes (guilty) I would still recommend you play Hades. Developers Supergiant Games nail the most important rule of any roguelike – make failure fun. Scampering through the underworld as Hades’ son splicing and dicing monsters is great, but you know what’s better? Learning the juicy histories and family dramas of the Greek Gods, that’s what. Unlockable weapons and abilities switch up each run’s playstyle, but each failure means you get more opportunities to chat with the Gods, and wow they are a gossipy bunch. Supergiant have yet to make a game that’s not an absolute banger, and Hades is the best of the bunch. Also, all the characters are super hot, so there’s that. RW


23. Vampire Survivors


A warrior stands in a grassy field surrounded by skeletons and blue fire in Vampire Survivors
Image credit: Poncle

An action RPG triple distilled into a garlicky tonic, Vampire Survivors was our game of the year in 2022. And for good reason. You walk about, you auto-attack hordes of monsters, you level up, get stronger, and rinse more monsters; all possible with one hand in a pack of crisps. Joy lies in experimenting with power ups and seeing not only how they might react to one another, but in how your auto-attacking sprite might transform into an unstoppable force of chaos swirling around them, often by accident. Happy accidents, as Bob Ross would say. ET


22. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One


Telltale's The Walking Dead: Season One is an episodic adventure game set in the world of Robert Kirkman's zombie comics, released in 2012.
Image credit: Skybound Games

Telltale’s whole Walking Dead adventure is some of their best work, but Season 1 is the one, ya know? Lee and Clem’s short-lived time together is always the one game that made your mate at the pub cry, and for good reason. It immediately sets up a crew that you genuinely want to survive, and then hands you the keys to drive that story. As you play through each episode, you’re faced with tough choices and constant twists that leave you desperately eager to plunge straight into the next episode. It’s an endlessly enthralling episodic adventure, up there with the greatest of the genre, and is still Telltale’s biggest accomplishment. HH


21. Dark Souls


Dark Souls Remastered gaping dragon boss fight
Image credit: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco Entertainment

It’s become a bit of a thing to roll one’s eyes at Dark Souls and I think it’s a shame. The game’s a challenging action RPG where you’ll explore an all-timer of an intertwining map and get kicked into some catacombs by a balding hyena. Perhaps most of all, I think it centres around discovery through a sense of self-discovery, forcing you to learn through repeated deaths until you reach a solution, and often what follows is pure elation. Also, play the Prepare To Die Edition, I beg of you. The Remastered Edition may have provided some ‘Quality Of Life’ improvements, but do you really want to play a version entirely devoid of a dreamlike mystique and beauty? Trust me on this one. ET


20. Inscryption


A stoat card speaks to you in Inscryption
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Devolver Digital

A deckbuilder with a sinister slant, Inscryption’s pressure to succeed stems from your opponent: pearl white eyes that loom out of the dark, a gnarled claw rapping on wood. A win might mean you get closer to escaping from this creep and the cabin he’s locked you in. Look around and you might just find a way to overcome his fickle games. Listen to the babble of your cards. Tear them apart with a pair of scissors. Get your hands bloody and it’s remarkable how deep its well of strategy runs… and where it might take you. ET


19. Yakuza 0


Kiryu fighting in a Yakuza 0 screenshot.
Image credit: Sega

The best of a fantastic bunch, Yakuza 0 is a melodramatic descent into the seedy criminal underbelly of Japan. The story follows the origin stories of series icons Kiryu and Majima as they get embroiled in a conflict over a plot of land, with both of their arcs twisting into each other with surprises at every turn. Not only is it a masterclass in storytelling, it’s a masterclass in finding genuine fun in your free time. Race little cars, run a hostess bar, have a chicken run your real estate business. All of them somehow offering life lessons amidst the laughter. ET


18. Deus Ex


Dastardly conspirators stand beneath a statue of a hand clutching the globe in a Deus Ex screenshot.
Image credit: Eidos Interactive

Every conspiracy theory of the late 90s collides in this seminal cyberpunk immersive sim. 23 years on, the ideas of Deus Ex still feel fresh, even when the implementation can feel dated. It is still a joy to skulk in perpetual night as a cyborg secret agent who, bless his heart, has no idea what’s going on around him. As JC Denton explores secret bases, hide in vents, picks locks, tranqs enemies, hacks security bots, uncovers secrets, discovers hidden areas, and chats philosophy, the globetrotting adventure is still a delight. You’re thinking about replaying it right now, aren’t you? AOC


17. Outer Wilds


Riebeck from Outer Wilds playing his banjo by the fire
Image credit: Annapurna Interactive

Detective games often thrive on small canvases. Spread your mystery too thin, and you run the risk of losing its threads altogether. But with Outer Wilds, Mobius Digital proved that you can have an entire solar system as your own personal corkboard if you’re bold enough, even if it does have the unfortunate side effect of going supernova and destroying itself every 22 minutes. Despite these timeloop constraints, Outer Wilds and its planet-hopping mystery about what happened to its ancient (and very extinct) Nomai race is just expertly plotted, and is yet another game that occupied every waking thought of mine while I was playing it. If there was ever a game that could live rent free in my head until the end of time, it’s Outer Wilds and its team of banjo-twanging explorers. KC


16. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles


The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles - Ryunosuke Naruhodo and Herlock Sholmes stand next to one another in a court room.
Image credit: Capcom

The original Phoenix Wright Trilogy is still one of the greatest visual novel series you can play today, but it’s Capcom’s pair of Victorian-era prequels starring Phoenix Wright’s ancestor Ryunosuke that have just edge(worth)ed ahead in our wider estimation. Part of that’s down to its more modern and characterful 3D visuals and its beautifully animated cast of suspicious ne’er-do-wells as they squirm under pressure inside its imposing courtrooms, but the mysteries themselves are also just jolly good fun, taking Ryunosuke, his assistant Susato and even Sher- sorry, Herlock Sholmes on a wild ride of escalating conspiracy theories, devious murder plots, exploding machines and thrilling trials. As prequels, they also operate as brilliant standalone adventures, too, meaning you don’t need any prior Phoenix Wright sleuthing knowledge to enjoy them. Like one of rival lawyer Barok Von Zieks’ fine red wines, this is a game you’ll want to savour every last drop of. KC


15. Apex Legends


A character jumps towards Ballistic with a blade raised while dodging bullets in Apex Legends
Image credit: Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends is the king of battle royales, and has been ever since its surprise release in 2019. Whenever I return to Apex after playing a different shooter for a while, I fall in love all over again with the movement, the gunplay, the maps (well, one map in particular – Olympus lovers unite!), and the incredibly well-balanced roster of Legends. All 24 heroes play wildly differently to one another, they all have hidden depths that it can take hours of play to discover and utilise, and – most importantly – they’re all brimming with character and incredibly fun to play, just like Apex itself. OT


14. Mass Effect 2


Miranda's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2, the squad are aiming their guns at a trecherous dude.
Image credit: EA

I’ve often said that Mass Effect 2 is my favourite ever game, with the caveat that one must first have played the first Mass Effect. Both are operatic sci-fi space RPGs about life and death choices that build as you race to save the entire galaxy, alongside squad members of aliens and space marines that you can kiss or get killed, but one has terrible controls and is kind of a ballache to play. So you do the math(s). Mass Effect 2 gussies up the combat, giving you cooler space-magic Biotic powers should you want them, and throws in some new and beloved characters to your crewmates. Plus, if it were possibly, it really raises the stakes vis. the galaxy ending stuff, and the seeds that were planted in the first game start to sprout in what is now BioWare’s impressive “your choices matter” style. AB

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13. Heaven’s Vault


A woman treks through a desert with a robot in tow in Heaven's Vault
Image credit: Inkle

Heaven’s Vault is one of those games that defies easy categorisation. Even the standard RPS “’em up” shorthand would have to be “translate ’em up” and that’s leaving a lot out. You play as an archaeologist in a space nebula connected by a group of strange space rivers, translating artefacts and messages left by an ancient civilisation. You only know a little of their language and must build up your dictionary, tinkering with it as you explore with your robot pal, to uncover the secrets of your home system. It’s beautiful and imaginative and, years later, is still probably unlike anything else you’ve played. AB


12. PowerWash Simulator


A screenshot from PowerWash Simulator which shows the player powerwashing a theme park sign.
Image credit: Square Enix

11. Paradise Killer


A suspect in Paradise Killer, a blonde woman in a black catsuit and cloak, and a gold skull mask over her face. She is conjuring magic pink circles in the air
Image credit: Fellow Traveller/Leoful

The detective genre was in desperate need of a shake up and Paradise Killer is the equivalent of setting off a glitter gun in an old man’s pub. Undoubtedly one of the most stylish games of recent years, Paradise Killer is an assault on the eyeballs, but in the best way possible. Playing as Lady Love Dies, you need to investigate a homicide case on the beautiful vaporwave Paradise Island. It’s a very hands-off detective game that lets you unravel the mystery at your own pace, meaning you need to collect evidence, talk to witnesses, and follow up leads all on your own intuition and logic. You can even end the game when you like, just point the finger and see if you’re right. If you’ve put in the work, it shouldn’t be a problem, right? RW


10. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines


A woman holds a sword in a samurai pose while a solider floats in a magic chokehold behind her in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Image credit: Activision

Through the sheer force of its noirish allure, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines was able to rise far above its immensely troubled development and launch to become a widely acknowledged cult classic. Based in the World Of Darkness TTRPG setting, Bloodlines is an action-RPG that actually manages to translate the essential appeal of the tabletop source material into the medium of a video game. Featuring a solid cast of characters and a wide variety of ways for your fledgling vampire to interact with and influence the world around them, Bloodlines still feels bang on-trend nearly two decades later. RJ


9. Stardew Valley


Farming in a Stardew Valley screenshot.
Image credit: ConcernedApe

Stardew Valley took a bit of a tumble on this list in 2022, but this year it’s shot back up to number 9 – a worthy place for this farming juggernaut. This spiritual successor to Harvest Moon has been the go-to game for life sim and farming fans. It appeases both casual farm hands looking for something relaxing to kick back with, and hardcore farming enthusiasts hoping to build a vegetable empire. With plenty of activities to do and neighbours to chat with just beyond your homestead, this utterly charming farming sim will almost certainly eat up your hours. RW


8. Elden Ring


A hooded warrior gets biffed by several medieval soldiers in Elden Ring
Image credit: RockPaperShotgun/FromSoftware/Bandai Namco Entertainment

A game with a world so expansive and dense I don’t think I’ll ever wrap my head around it. Elden Ring is FromSoftware’s most approachable action RPG, encouraging you to push into its fogs of war and seek out fresh challenges to replace your insurmountable ones. It might trade the interlocking mystery of its predecessors for sheer breadth, but the quality doesn’t ever seem to drop. Is this the definitive Souls experience? Maybe not. But my word, is it an adventure for ardent fans and greenest of newcomers. ET


7. The Sims 2


The full box art render for The Sims 2, which shows 14 very different Sims in tableu, including an astronaut, pizza delivery girl, an alien, and the Grim Reaper.
Image credit: EA

Four generations into the blockbuster life simulation franchise, The Sims 2 still stands out as the pinnacle of the series. This was the game that introduced Simmers to fully 3D graphics; a detailed character creation suite; a life cycle that included ageing, genetics, and generations; days of the week, injecting some variety into your Sims’ routines; and countless other milestone firsts that would go on to become series staples. While the third and fourth mainline Sims titles have plenty of appeal (not least the fact that you can still buy them), there’s been no period of innovation since to rival The Sims 2. RJ


6. Minecraft


In-game screenshot of Minecraft showing a character riding a horse.
Image credit: Mojang, Microsoft

What even is Minecraft? To me, it’s an exploration game; the chance to travel across seas and plunge into caves that no living soul has seen before. To someone else, it might be a creative tool, a means or rearranging the atoms of the universe itself to build stunning structures and fantastical machines. To someone else, it might be a second home, a simulated but always accessible place in which they work, eat, converse and sleep. I can’t say for sure what Minecraft is, but I know why it’s so high on this list: it enables all those things, and more, brilliantly. JA


5. Dishonored 2


The player holds up their hand to cast a spell on two guards in Dishonored 2
Image credit: Bethesda Softworks

Still the champion supreme of stealth games and immersive sims, Dishonored 2 remains my favourite PC game of all time – but not, perhaps, for the reasons you might expect. We all know it’s a bona fide classic of its genre, but my personal passion for it was partly born out of my own misunderstanding of how the first game’s chaos system worked. After royally biffing the good ‘low chaos’ ending, I made it my mission with Dishonored 2 to not only do a completely clean run, but to ghost it as well and remain completely invisible. It was a tall order, but wrestling with these objectives only deepened my appreciation of the sheer cleverness of Arkane’s craft and design. There’s still nothing quite like it, and even today each of its levels feels like a devious puzzle box just waiting to be picked apart and put back together again – albeit never quite in the same order, or with the same components. It’s brilliant in every sense of the word, and a true masterpiece. KC


4. Citizen Sleeper


A side on screenshot of The Eye space station in Citizen Sleeper
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Fellow Traveller

Citizen Sleeper had a huge impact on the RPS Treehouse last year, which has deservedly catapulted it straight into our collective top five – a mighty achievement I have no doubt will be replicated in several future versions of this list as well. Set on the fringes of outer space in a makeshift colony of runaways and outlaws, this is an RPG that fuses the cold, hard finality of tabletop dice rolls with a warm, gooey core of human storytelling. Its evocative text logs not only conjure fantastic and beautiful images in the moment, but its tales of survival, revenge and corporate conspiracy are also expertly paced across multiple days and cycles as you go about your daily routines of keeping yourself fed and maintaining your robotic body. The luck of the dice roll means it won’t always go your way, but never has failure or fighting against the odds felt so thrilling and worthwhile. KC


3. Half-Life 2


Alyx and Dog from Half-Life 2
Image credit: Valve

Never mind 2004, you can boot up Half-Life 2 today and it still plays like an absolute banger: its fast, dynamic, kinetic shooting has aged just as well as its deft sci-fi storytelling and instantly recognisable technogloom aesthetic. And, outside of maybe Titanfall 2, I still don’t think I’ve played another FPS campaign that keeps itself so fresh and revisitable. HL2 is a master of introducing new twists to combat or traversal, teaching you in its ways, then either folding it into your arsenal or dropping it for something else new before it gets dull. A masterclass in game building with care, thought, and intent behind every square inch. JA


2. Return Of The Obra Dinn


Staring at a skeleton in a Return of the Obra Dinn screenshot.
Image credit: 3909

It doesn’t take much detective work to realise we love a good murder mystery here at RPS, but Return Of The Obra Dinn is simply in another league entirely when it comes to its artful construction and execution. Told through a series of monochromatic vignettes frozen in time, the tale of this ill-fated passenger ship is gradually eked out through the eyes (and bodies) of its many victims and murderers, your magical pocket watch reconstructing the moments leading up to each crew member’s death so you can file an appropriate damages report to your employers. Determining the identity and cause of death for each of its 60 lost souls is no easy task, however, and you’ll really have to get down in the (sea)weeds of your deduction to complete your logbook. It may have slipped a position compared to last year’s list, but Obra Dinn remains the finest piece of detective work we’ve ever seen. KC


1. Portal 2


The two robot pals get ready to solve puzzles in Portal 2
Image credit: Valve

Remember Portal? It’s those amazing physics puzzles in a mysterious science facility, but bigger and with better jokes, and with Stephen Merchant putting in one of the greatest voice acting turns in games by playing, essentially, the character of Stephen Merchant. Valve done did it again. When I was 21, a time in my life when I am quite sure I was insufferable, I played Portal 2’s co-op levels with a guy who lived hundreds of miles away and had such a great time that I was compelled to get on a train for four hours, spend one of the worst nights of my life with this boy, only to suffer the indignity of getting on the train home the next day hungover and for him to almost immediately stop talking to me. That’s how fun Portal 2 is: it will ruin your life. In an extremely localised and inconsequential fashion. AB


That’s it for this year’s edition of The RPS 100! We hope you enjoyed picking through this year’s rankings, but the fun isn’t over yet. Next week, we’ll be publishing more stories about this year’s top ten, exploring why they continue to have such a tight grip on us all these years later, and we’ll be capping it off with your favourite games of all time list, The RPS 100: Reader Edition. There’s still plenty more to come from The RPS 100, so keep an eye out for it all next week.

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