Top 10 Best Action Games For PC

The PC has been feeling some neglect in the action genre ever since consoles took the forefront in the eyes of the gaming public. But that's not to say that the platform is dead--far from it! Here are ten of the top action games on the PC.

by on 22nd Nov, 2010

The "action" and "action-adventure" categories within the realm of gaming have always been broad in comparison to more focus genres like RPGs, which tend to have variation in narrative and combat/fight systems, but nearly always encompass some sort of epic story, often with a high degree of emotional involvement. This is not to say that one doesn't get all wrapped up any type of game but an RPG, because this simply isn't true. This was the first factor I considered for this list, the degree of engagement by the player, which is subjective by definition. These are certainly not the only titles I've gotten sucked into, and I know plenty of gamers who I know will totally disagree with some of these, even though I still respect them. Unless they disagree with #, in which case we have nothing more to talk about, sir. Nothing. 

In any case, here are my favorite 10 Action Games for PC! 


Assassin's Creed  

assassins creed

Some days you start out as a barman and end up confined in a top secret lab, owned by the Abstergo Corporation, which happens to be run by Templars, who apparently still exist in 2012. Desmond, the barman in question was once a member of a modern day faction of the Assassin's Brotherhood, a group that was historically at odds with the Templars. He also happens to be a descendant of one of the members of the original Brotherhood, Altair ibn La-Ahad, and using a device known as the Animus, Desmond must try to access his "genetic memories" in order to recover artifacts known as the "Pieces of Eden", which are rumored to give the possessor the power of mind-control. Naturally, the Templars want to use this power in conjunction with an orbiting satellite to enslave the entire planet. Like you do.  

Health within the game is dependent upon how accurately Desmond's memories match those of his ancestor, with damage being depicted as degrees of deviation from from the actual memory. When health is at 100%, the "eagle vision" feature becomes available, which highlights all visible characters in a given scene as either red or blue, depending on whether they are friends or foes. Utilizing elements of stealth, historical fantasy, and science fiction subgenres, Assassin's Creed is a groundbreaking series that has informed a lot of subsequent titles.  


Duke Nukem 3D

duke nukem 3d

The Duke Nukem titles, a series of first person shooters featuring the snarky, alien-infested adventures of one Duke Nukem, are so popular that when a new generation title was announced, Duke Nukem Forever,  gamers the world over rejoiced. Then the title was postponed again and again, and was eventually thought to be dead in the water for good. That is, until the morning of September 3, 2010, when we walked into the PAX Prime Expo hall only to discover that Duke Nukem Forever was alive and well at Gearbox, with a playable demo, pee jokes included. Still no official release date, but in the mean time there is Duke Nukem 3D to tide us over.  

Even though this title is nearly 15 years old, it is still so popular that people have ported it to OS X, several Linux distress, and modern versions of Windows. There are over 2000 fan-made levels that have been included in official spin-offs and add-ons and even an early demo, LameDuke, that was released in 1997 as a bonus version.  

Sure, the graphics are terrible by today's standards, and maybe the action is a little choppy, but on the other hand, not every game is awesome enough to have its theme song covered by Megadeth. If it's good enough for Dave Mustaine, it's good enough for me. 


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

modern warfare

Another first person shooter, this title is the fourth installment in the Call of Duty series, but the first to deviate from the WWII setting of the previous games. Set in 2011, Modern Warfare follows the story of civil war in Russia after the execution of a Middle Eastern leader by a radical faction. Fighting takes place in multiple locations throughout the world, including Pripyat, Ukraine, a now-abandoned city right next door to the scene of the notorious Chernobyl disaster.  

With access to modern weaponry such as rocket propelled grenades and C-4 explosive, gameplay is a natural continuation of previous titles with regard to movement, damage, and AI teammates. Both the single-player campaign and multi-player modes received critical acclaim, though the game took some flak for not revolutionizing the concept of the first person shooter. Personally, if that's the biggest issue, I'm content to play anyhow. The graphics and general realism of the environments more than make up for any perceived lack of innovation with regard to gameplay. Bonus Fun Fact: The ending credits feature a rap performed by Mark Grigsby, who happens to be Modern Warfare's lead animator. 


Left 4 Dead series

left 4 dead

Ah, the Zombie Apocalypse. A topic near and dear to my heart, and I know I am far from alone in that capacity. There is an obnoxious quantity of zombie-related games, but both of the Left 4 Dead games are particularly intriguing in that the co-op mode doesn't just involve playing together, or helping each other out. In certain instances, a player actually needs his or her co-players, like when the player respawns in a locked closet, or needs healing but is not carrying any form of medicine. Teammates can bring one another back from the brink of death with a defibrillator or lure the infected away from other teammates with a pipebomb.  

If one takes it as a foregone conclusion that the goal of a first person shooter is to simulate a situation for a player to experience, then the L4D and L4D2 are the clear leaders in the zombie category, due to the fact that players must help each other through verbal communication, strategize together, and depend upon one another, which is more challenging than it sounds. There are certainly a lot of people that hate these games for this exact reason, and while this is totally a matter of personal preference, one has to wonder how long these folks might last in a real zombie apocalypse. Not that those of us who are lucky enough to have the luxury of being gamers are probably going to be leading the Zombie Resistance when the apocalypse goes critical anyway.  

Enjoy tasting delicious, fellow numb-butts! 




This title, released by Hothead for PC in October of 2010, is potentially going to be the most controversial on my list, due to the fact that this game was not particularly high profile, and a lot of folks dismissed it due to the cartoonish graphics, and that it includes clear elements of an RPG. However, both the original Deathspank and the sequel, Thongs of Virtue have been some of my favorite games this year, and I would argue that at best, the mode of gameplay, which is similar to Diablo, is and RPG-action hybrid. It certainly helps that the dialogue is full of cheeky smartarsery, and the world in which Deathspank exists is so absurd that after a while, players don't bat an eye when given quests which involve collecting unicorn feces or buying felt from a traveling salesman. While the original is more heavily dependent on melee weapons and features a more RPG-oriented aesthetic (unicorns, right?) the second game takes place during a war which references WWI and features more ranged weapons and a few science fiction elements, as well.  

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