PC gaming continues to grow on me. Up until recently, I was used to the comfort of consoles. However, thanks to the Steam store and other online services, I've been introduced to a number of outstanding games. The other night, for example, I took part in a rousing session of Star Wars Battlefront II.
On that note, here are the games no PC player should be without.
The Orange Box [Download]
This is one of the best package deals you'll find in gaming. For $20, you can get your hands on five different Valve classics – three Half-Life 2 games, including Episode One and Episode Two; the lively multiplayer action game Team Fortress 2; and the humorous puzzle/strategy game Portal, a game that is still considered one of the best of this generation. This is a deal no one should pass up, even if it doesn't include Portal 2. No matter – you can add that to your collection for an extra $20.
BioShock Infinite [Download]
Irrational Games' stellar follow-up to the original BioShock takes to the skies, as you guide Booker DeWitt through the peril-filled streets of Columbia trying to locate a special girl named Elizabeth. Danger awaits throughout, between automated terrors, ruthless thugs and the vicious Songbird, a speechless hunter who could end your trek rather quickly. With exceptional visuals and exciting gameplay, BioShock Infinite is worth the investment.
League of Legends [Download]
Some folks insist that World of Warcraft is the way to go when it comes to MMOs. It's quite good, but don’t forget about League of Legends. Here, you'll learn about the various characters and items that are available, and you'll also be able to find a balanced online party to help you along, even if all players aren't exactly the cooperative types. This game takes minutes to set up, and then you'll be off-and-running, leveling up like crazy and turning your warrior from rookie to all-powerful warrior. Step into this world and enjoy.
Trials Evolution: Gold Edition [Download]
Originally introduced on Xbox Live Arcade last year, this physics based racing game hit its stride on Steam. The Gold Edition comes with even more levels, including an apocalyptic pack that'll challenge your best racing nerves. The gameplay is divine, forcing you to use your balancing skills to avoid crashing while you shoot for the best overall racing times. The competitive leaderboards also add quite a bit to the game, as you can race against other players' ghosts to see who is the best of the best. This is a true Evolution of how racing games should be.
Company of Heroes 2 [Download]
If you're looking for a solid introduction to strategic war games, look no further than the oft-delayed – but finally released – sequel to Company of Heroes. This time around, you'll command the Soviet Read Army as you battle against enemies in a World War II campaign set in 1941. With a strong command system, battles that will keep you coming back for more and beautiful graphics that make you feel like you're in Russia, it comes highly recommended. Just make sure you bring your war face.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted [Download]
If you're looking for a game to help get your feet wet in EA's online Origin service – which is free to sign up for, by the way – give Need For Speed: Most Wanted a try. This spiritual successor to Burnout Paradise, also made by the development crew at Criterion Games, has you racing around the city accepting challenges while staying one step ahead of the law. This game contains a glorious amount of cars to choose from, as well as over-the-top crashes that will keep you enticed to do even more damage. Best of all, the game is available for just $29.99.
Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine [Download]
Finally, if you're looking for a game that introduces you to the vast independent development community, but also offers an enjoyable multiplayer experience, you'll want to sign up for this heist. Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine combines a pleasant retro-style top-down presentation with terrific gameplay components, which you'll need in order to successfully complete each heist. It's even more fun when you invite fellow players into the mix, as you work cooperatively to get the job done – without getting the attention of the guards, obviously. Some thinking is involved, but it's all for the better as you finish the jobs and clean up the cash. Don't miss out on this party.