We all know those types of games – ones that seem like they’re going to set your PC on fire. Especially if you’re playing with a laptop, and start to realise why some PCs benefit from a proper cooling system.
But it’s not just the PC or laptop, some games are just objectively hard to run because of their enormous size and incredibly advanced graphics. Some also are simply not optimised that well and can have trouble on even the most advanced machines. Here are seven of the hardest games to run on PC in 2023.
1. Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 was released in 2020 by CD Projekt Red, and had one of the rockiest launches of any video game, due to its severe performance issues and lapses in quality. But overall, the game still scraped by with some positive reviews, and several updates managed to fix the game into a more playable state.
The sprawling metropolis of Night City is notoriously hard to run, and some players have struggled to ever get the game running to an acceptable level. Make sure that your PC has the requirements for this one.
2. Red Dead Redemption 2
This one is pretty clear, as Rockstar pulled no punches with this one. After the success of Red Dead Redemption, they had to top their performance with the sequel in 2018 and they did exactly that.
But Red Dead Redemption 2 is easily one of the hardest games to run on PC. Building on the map size and depth of the first game, Red Dead Redemption 2 also has unbelievable graphics, which can start to chug on your machine if you don’t have the requirements.
3. Microsoft Flight Simulator
All aviation fans will know this one. Microsoft Flight Simulator (released in 2020) is probably the most detailed flight simulator currently available on the market right now. But due to this, the game is one of the most demanding PC games ever made.
This is mostly down to the fact that it uses 10s megabits p/s to stream real-time weather data to your PC, so when you’re flying the weather is live. It also has detailed cloud-processing effects, which can put a huge strain on your PC.
We can only imagine what Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 is going to do to our machines, as the developers have described the game as “designed to take advantage of the latest technologies in simulation, cloud, machine learning, graphics and gaming to create the most sophisticated, immersive and awe-inspiring flight simulator of all time.”
4. Escape from Tarkov
This game is also incredibly demanding on PC and can suffer from bugs, so if you’re looking to play Escape from Tarkov, make sure that you have a strong PC. There are also a lot of settings that you can adjust to make your gameplay experience smoother (such as turning off binaural audio to fix stuttering), and some prefer to do this anyway to prioritise game performance over graphics.
5. Metro Exodus
It’s no secret that Metro games have always pushed graphics to the limit for each game they have released, and Metro Exodus is the latest one. Released in 2019, this was one of the most demanding PC games of the time – and if that wasn’t enough, on 6 May 2021, they released the Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, which ramped up the graphics to even greater levels.
In 4A Games’ own words: “Didn’t think Metro Exodus could look any better? Hold our vodka.”
You can read about all the graphics upgrades on Nvidia’s website. These changes make the game look absolutely crisp, but you may need a few extra fans for your PC, as this one will really test its strength.
Control is a supernatural action-adventure game developed by Remedy Entertainment which was released in 2019. It’s a game that spares no expense on the graphics too, and the ray tracing, shadow effects and diffuse lighting all take a hit on the graphics card.
Only play this one if your PC can handle it.
7. Hogwarts Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy was released in February of 2023 and garnered good reviews. The open world of Hogwarts has been created in vivid detail too, so all Potterheads can explore to their heart’s content.
There were a few troubles when the game was released on PC, and many parts of the game weren’t optimised. The game is also incredibly demanding, and uses Unreal Engine 4 to deliver some impressive graphics, but is very heavy on your system’s RAM, so make sure you have sufficient RAM before playing.
You can’t always tell which games are going to run well, and sometimes it takes a bit of tweaking in the game settings to make sure that your PC is running the game as best as it can.
Make sure for each of these games that you check the system requirements too, which should all be available before you make a purchase.