The very best PC video games that demand a mouse and keyboard

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Up to date Feb 2, 2023 1:55 PM

There are video games which you could (and perhaps ought to) play on a PC, after which there are video games that you just want to play on a PC. Technique video games, massively multiplayer on-line video games (MMOs), old-school isometric role-playing video games (RPGs), multiplayer on-line battle arenas, (MOBAs)—a few of the greatest PC video games rely so closely on the free motion of a mouse or the prolonged vary of inputs in your keyboard that it appears like it could be not possible to play them with a controller. Whether or not you’re a potential PC participant in search of causes to put money into a gaming rig, or a seasoned PC builder trying to commune with the platform’s roots. These video games are on the coronary heart of PC gaming, partly as a result of the expertise of taking part in them is so particularly tied to its conventional instruments.

How we chosen one of the best PC video games

As a former sport critic, I’ve performed loads of video games on many platforms. Meaning I’ve a better-than-average data of the video games on the market. I’ve additionally reviewed a lot of gaming peripherals—together with mice, keyboards, and controllers—so I’ve a powerful understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. The entire video games on this checklist function interfaces that require both the power to level and click on or a better variety of gameplay-focused buttons than on a controller. In lots of instances, these video games can be found on PC and consoles, however taking part in them with a controller appears like a compromise.

The very best PC video games: Our Critiques & Suggestions

Now that we all know the excellence between a “controller sport” and a “mouse and keyboard sport,” let’s take a fast take a look at some superb video games that you must completely at all times play with mouse and keyboard, no matter whether or not or not you technically produce other choices.

Greatest techniques sport: XCOM 2

Why it made the lower: XCOM 2 strikes an ideal stability between tactical fight, macro planning, and useful resource administration, creating an insanely compelling technique sport.


  • Sensible, diversified squad-based techniques.
  • Useful resource administration layer requires short- and long-term planning
  • Plenty of cool enemy alien designs


  • It may be exhausting to see once you’ve already misplaced a sport.
  • Nonetheless considerably buggy, even years later

XCOM 2 has loads of layers. A technique sport the place you command humanity’s resistance drive preventing a strong alien military that’s taken management of Earth, XCOM 2 forces you to make macro- and micro-decisions to outsmart and defeat a military a lot bigger and deadlier than yours. Your sources are at all times restricted, together with your troopers, who’re completely killed once they fall in battle. (Coincidentally, this results in a lot of enjoyable runs the place you title your troops after pals, household, pets, no matter.) Alternating between base-building and squad-based techniques gameplay, you will have talent and luck to finish every mission. 

As a techniques sport, XCOM 2 advantages closely from mouse and keyboard controls. Every soldier has a reasonably big selection of actions they will do every flip, that are mapped to the quantity keys. A mouse additionally means that you can rapidly transfer your characters, scroll to go searching every stage, and navigate menus round your ship extra effectively than in the event you used a gamepad.

Greatest technique sport: Civilization VI

Best PC Games

Why it made the lower: The Civilization collection has lengthy been one of the enjoyable and infinitely thrilling sport franchises. The latest entry, Civilization VI, is the top of the collection thus far.


  • Infinitely replayable
  • Tons of particular eventualities and content material
  • Historical past is enjoyable!


  • Addictive gameplay might hold you up all night time

The Civilization collection has been the apex of the empire-building “4X” style (discover, develop, exploit, exterminate) for greater than 20 years. Although the latest entry within the collection, Civilization VI, is already greater than 5 years outdated, it stays a uncommon revelation. You management the sources of a whole civilization, from the primary people to the close to future. Over the span of human historical past, you need to develop your “Civ” and change into probably the most profitable empire on this planet, whether or not by conquest, cultural affect, or technological supremacy, to call just some.

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Although there are console variations of Civilization VI that work surprisingly effectively, the text-heavy menus and extensive world that you need to scan every flip makes the PC, and a mouse, completely important. It additionally options loads of hotkeys for assigning and automating the various duties your settlers, employees, and warriors perform. Civilization is among the many most accessible 4X video games, nevertheless it’s a style outlined by complexity. The extra advanced the sport, the extra necessary it’s to have a mouse and keyboard.

Greatest esport: Dota 2

Best PC Games

Why it made the lower: Apart from being one of the in style aggressive video games on this planet, Dota 2 is a deeply tactical squad-based motion sport that grows and evolves over time to remain recent.


  • Free-to-play
  • Among the many hottest esports on this planet
  • Tons of characters, every with their very own distinctive skills and techniques to study


  • Could take a very long time to study
  • Group could make new gamers really feel unwelcome

Multiplayer On-line Battle Enviornment video games, generally known as “MOBAs,” are the top of aggressive and “esports” reputation. These 5-on-5 third-person RPG-infused motion video games—together with League of Legends, Dota 2, and, most just lately Pokemon Unite on the Nintendo Swap—look easy on the floor: Two groups battle to stage as much as acquire floor and finally destroy your opponent’s base construction. (That’s the “historical” in Dota 2). Although it seems to be comparatively easy at a look, there may be immense selection among the many many characters’ skills and specs. There’s a lot to study, however the expertise could be very rewarding for gamers who’re prepared to place within the time and discover a squad to play with.

Although MOBAs could be constructed for a controller or cellphone, the PC remains to be the house base for MOBAs like Dota 2. The style was initially created as an alternate mode in Warcraft III and its click on to maneuver gameplay displays that lineage. You additionally profit from having a keyboard with a quantity/perform row to rapidly entry all of your skills. Whereas there are cellular and console MOBAs which might be price taking part in, the core MOBA expertise occurs on a PC with a mouse and keyboard.

Greatest MMORPG: Ultimate Fantasy XIV

Best PC Games

Why it made the lower: The ascendant MMORPG appears to seize increasingly followers with its deep lore and tie-ins to the higher Ultimate Fantasy universe and Sq. Enix RPGs like Nier: Automata.


  • Compelling story
  • Advanced capability pushed RPG fight
  • Big participant base and social scene


  • Requires a severe time funding to succeed in “the good things” within the story
  • Month-to-month subscription

Relying on what gaming publications you learn, Ultimate Fantasy XIV feels just like the online game of the second in 2023. Although it’s been round since 2013, the second MMORPG tackle Ultimate Fantasy appears to be attracting new followers on a regular basis at a time when most MMOs, together with World of Warcraft, appear to have fallen again into place as a distinct segment RPG sub-genre.

FFXIV is a pure MMO at coronary heart, which suggests followers come to it for an epic, sweeping story … and that you just want loads of hotkeys. Regardless of attracting a notable PlayStation neighborhood, there are numerous mechanics that match higher with a keyboard, from the aforementioned vary of skills to textual content chat, to an ungodly quantity of small textual content that will be simpler to learn on a monitor that’s instantly in entrance of your face.

Greatest RTS for PC: Starcraft II

Best PC Games

Why it made the lower: The Starcraft II didn’t crave out the identical cultural legacy as the unique, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an epic standout amongst real-time technique video games.


  • Three video games, three campaigns
  • First marketing campaign and multiplayer are free-to-play
  • An iconic RTS expertise


  • Deep esports roots might make it exhausting for brand new gamers to study

I can’t consider a sport extra emblematic of real-time technique (RTS) than Starcraft II. The sweeping, three-part successor to one of many unique esports, Starcraft II nonetheless provides one of the best stability between traditional RTS gameplay and fashionable visuals. After greater than years for the reason that first half, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, launched, the collection reveals its age. Nonetheless, in any case this time, I can’t consider a greater introduction to the style. (However, after 10 years new gamers might have a tough time discovering somebody to play with who received’t destroy them).

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Greater than any style on this checklist, RTS wants a mouse and keyboard. From scrolling across the map to wrangling particular teams of models and setting hotkeys to swap amongst squads, there’s a tremendously excessive ceiling for growing your skills as a participant via shortcuts and macros. I can’t think about even making an attempt to play Starcraft II with a management.

Greatest Isometric RPG: Divinity: Authentic Sin 2

Best PC Games original sin 2

Why it made the lower Divinity: Authentic Sin 2 is an extremely open role-playing sport recognized for its nice writing and an old-school isometric “CRPG” gameplay-style that’s made for mouse and keyboard.


  • Nice writing
  • Seems like Dungeons & Dragons dropped at life
  • On-line co-op


  • Very advanced, bordering on unapproachable
  • Very lengthy

Divinity: Authentic Sin 2 is the very mannequin of recent main isometric western RPG. (Generally known as a pc RPG or “CRPG.”) It’s the largest and most nuanced try to transpose the wondrous expertise of tabletop role-playing video games like Dungeons & Dragons into online game kind. Universally lauded for large writing and the power to do, seemingly, no matter you need in its sprawling open world, Authentic Sin 2 is a testomony to the truth that some older gaming traditions stand the take a look at of time.

Like techniques video games, CRPGs have loads occurring. There are two sorts of motion, a protracted checklist of skills to select from for every character, and tons of textual content to spotlight and click on on. All of those mechanics are made for mouse and keyboard: It’s simpler to scroll, to click on, and to hotkey with mouse and keyboard. As with some video games on this checklist, you possibly can play Authentic Sin 2 on consoles, however the controller-based expertise will transfer a lot slower than taking part in with mouse and keyboard. Because the sport can already take upwards of 100 hours to complete, I wouldn’t wish to waste any time.

What to contemplate when choosing one of the best PC video games

A few of the greatest PC video games really feel higher with a mouse and keyboard. Others really feel higher with a controller. That PC offers you the choice to simply select between the 2 is one among its nice strengths. Whereas this checklist focuses on video games which might be entrenched on the mouse and keyboard facet of that line, it might probably typically be robust to see the distinction.

I would like extra inputs!

Often, you want a keyboard in video games which have a lot of instructions and inputs. Each the PS5 and Xbox controller have 10 gameplay-facing inputs: For video games like MOBAs and MMOs, the place you’ve a lot of actions and talents, designers typically should design menus so that you can dig via. On a keyboard, you possibly can simply assign each enter it is advisable to a special key. Keyboards additionally open the door for hotkeys and “macros,” customized combos you activate with a single key. The extra sophisticated a sport will get, the extra helpful your keyboard turns into.

Level and click on

The mouse continuously feels very important as a result of it offers you the power to maneuver a cursor in a short time and exactly work together with a sport. In technique video games, the mouse turns into a dynamic device that allows you to spotlight particular characters or buildings, transfer round a map freely, or work together with digital buttons on-screen. Many video games try to simulate this with an analog stick, nevertheless it by no means provides the identical stage of management. In first-person video games, shifting your mouse to manage your subject of view permits for extra situational consciousness. In first-person shooters, particularly, a mouse helps you to transfer your reticle to a really particular spot (like an enemy’s head) far faster and with a lot higher accuracy than an analog stick.

Wait … so then why aren’t there any first-person shooters on this checklist?

PC players have lengthy claimed the first-person shooter as a PC-first style due to the benefits from utilizing a mouse and keyboard. Whereas it’s true that you must undoubtedly play a first-person shooter with a mouse and keyboard on PC, I don’t consider they’re completely vital. Taking part in a first-person shooter on consoles with a controller could be simply as enjoyable as utilizing a mouse and keyboard, simply so long as everybody you’re taking part in is doing the identical. Positive, you could not flip or purpose fairly as quick, however the motion nonetheless feels clean and the sport remains to be enjoyable. With the video games on this checklist, I discover taking part in controller actively detracts from the expertise.

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In fact, like every little thing else on this, that is finally a matter of private style. I do know there are PC gamers who would quite die than play Name of Obligation with a controller, they usually’re wonderful to proceed doing so. No hurt, no foul.

Are there video games you shouldn’t play with a mouse and keyboard?

Character motion video games like Grand Theft Auto V or Murderer’s Creed Valhalla typically really feel a lot better on a controller. With an analog stick, you’ve a way of instantly controlling your character with nuanced 360-degree motion. I’ve by no means seen a mouse and keyboard format that would obtain comparable outcomes. It might come down to private choice, however I additionally discover that platformers additionally work greatest with a controller, as in addition they require extra nuanced motion.


Q: What sort of mouse and keyboard ought to I purchase?

There’s a large world of gaming mice and gaming keyboards on the market. Varied producers make completely different sorts of gaming keyboards to swimsuit the various wants and tastes of gamers based mostly on whether or not they worth consolation, pace, efficiency, or bells and whistles associated to the video games they play. Whereas I can’t inform you precisely what to purchase, Common Science does have tales devoted to one of the best gaming mice and one of the best gaming keyboards, which may also help you pick new gear that’s best for you.

Q: Are there different video games I ought to play with a mouse and keyboard?

Completely. There are tons of video games which might be designed to work particularly with a mouse and keyboard. All PC video games will default to utilizing mouse and keyboard controls till you plug in a controller, so in the event you’re having hassle deciding between a gamepad or M+Okay, simply begin taking part in and see the way it feels! In some instances, one of the best PC video games will exit of their option to inform you that they really feel higher with a controller, however the choice is finally as much as you.

Q: Are there video games you solely play with a mouse? Or only a keyboard?

There are various nice PC video games on the market which you could play with only a mouse. Level-and-click journey video games, many city-builders, and “auto-chess” video games all rely totally on pointing and clicking, quite than utilizing keyboard inputs or shortcuts. Keyboard-only video games, nevertheless, are uncommon: You possibly can technically play preventing video games and plenty of platformers with only a keyboard, although most video games profit from utilizing a mouse slightly bit to navigate their menus. 

Ultimate ideas on selecting the right PC video games

As fewer and fewer video games get designed for particular platforms, video games that depend on a mouse and keyboard more and more really feel increasingly distinctive from their much less demanding cross-platform friends. Most of the greatest PC video games on this checklist signify genres which might be deeply linked with PC gaming’s historical past, courting again to when the platform used to really feel utterly separate from what was occurring on consoles. There are many arguments amongst PC gamers about whether or not it’s higher to play with a mouse and keyboard or a controller. For me, these video games spotlight the extra necessary fact, that taking part in with a mouse and keyboard opens the door for brand new sorts of video games that wouldn’t make sense with out this combo’s distinctive capabilities.