The best PC games of 2018 (so far): 10 titles you need to own right now

We’re halfway through 2018 and we’ve already had some incredible games on the good ship PC. We’ve had everything from deep and richly rewarding role-playing titles and triple-A co-op brawlers to some of the best and brightest games from the independent scene. And we’ve still got a whole six months to go. 

So, to ensure you’re up to date on all the latest movers and shakers in the PC gaming scene, we’ve gathered together ten of the best games that have made a lasting impression on the industry.

Yoku’s Island Express

1. Yoku’s Island Express

One of the newest releases on our list, Yoku’s Island Express may be hot off the presses, but it’s already made a big splash among the PC gaming faithful. And for good reason, too. 

Games with pinball mechanics aren’t often afforded much attention, but when you combine them with 2.5D platforming and a charming level design ethos you’ve got one of the best indie games we’ve played in quite some time. 

It’s easy enough to welcome in platforming newbies, but deep enough in its secrets and collectables to keep seasoned players invested for hours on end.

Beat Saber

2. Beat Saber

The only VR-focused title on this list, Beat Saber has become one of the most talked about games to enter the PC corner of the industry. 

It’s become the most reviewed VR game on Steam, and has already sold 100,000 units in less than a month. So what’s made it so popular? It’s a simple combination of music rhythm movement, awesome electronic tunes and a couple of unofficial (but still very cool) lightsabers. 

It’s an experience built from the ground up with virtual reality in mind and is one of those games that reminds you the music rhythm-action genre is alive and well in a vibrant new form.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset

3. The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset

The Elder Scrolls Online has been doing the rounds on PC since 2014, so why has it made it onto our list for 2018? 

With the next and sixth instalment in the mainline series only just hinted at during this year's E3, developer ZeniMax Online has been hard at work offering an MMORPG that’s slowly been expanding in size and breadth. 

Much like the Morrowind Expansion, the recently-released Summerset DLC opens up the map to the beautiful home of the High Elves, and serves as a standalone title in its own right. With new locations, new quests, new NPCs and all manner of new spells, weapons and recipes, Summerset makes TESO feel fresh and new once more.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

4. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

While the Castlevania series has taken many forms over the years, many have longed for those classic 8-bit and 16-bit days where the Belmonts used whips and all manner of weapons to hunt Dracula and his monstrous kin. 

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a spiritual successor very much in that retro vein, and with Koji Igarashi overseeing its development (that’s the man behind the likes of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night), it’s already proved to be a faithful recreation of an open-ended platformer full of things to hunt (and beasts to hunt you).

Into the Breach

5. Into the Breach

There are a fair few indie games on this mid-year roundup, and that’s for a good reason – some of the best concepts, mechanics and designs are coming out of studios with smaller teams and far fewer resources. 

Into the Breach is one such example, offering up a grid-based tactical affair where you command a powerful mech. 

Rather than simply looking to defeat enemies, the key gameplay twist that sets it apart requires you to protect buildings and structures as they keep your faithful mech powered-up. When you add in Ben Prunty’s vibrant and eclectic soundtrack and you’ve got a must-own PC title.

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

6. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

In the world of PC games, there are role-playing games then there are role-playing games, and developer Obsidian knows this better than most. 

Mainly because its produced some of the best entries to ever grace the genre – and that just happens to include Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Keeping the same isometric POV as the original, the sequel introduces a new slew of companions to populate your party, as well as shipfaring and ship combat and enough lore, quests and NPCs to keep you playing long into 2018 (and beyond). If you have even a passing interest in RPGs, this has to be in your collection.

Celeste

7. Celeste

Twitch-based platformers have had something of a revival as of late, and it’s not hard to see why with the likes of Celeste making a big impression both on PC and in the wilds of the console market. 

Coming from a two-man development team consisting of Matt Thorson and Noel Berry (the former having already made the brilliant Towerfall: Ascension), Celeste combines wickedly challenging 2D platforming, an eye-catching pixel art style and an emotional story about overcoming mountains both figurative and literal. 

It’s the kind of game that will make you learn every corner of its many screens like the back of your hand, but you’ll feel like you’ve earned every inch of it.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2

8. Warhammer: Vermintide 2

Games Workshop has been busy licensing out its many Warhammer brands to developers and publishers the world over, with varying levels of success, but few have nailed the blood, filth and all-out ultra-violence of the medieval Warhammer realm, which is the setting for Warhammer: Vermintide 2

The first Vermintide offered a four-player co-op experience that turned melee-based PvE combat into an art form, and the sequel ups the ante with five characters, 15 careers and all manner of customisation options to hold back the Skaven horde and the new threat of Chaos armies. 

There’s even a new Heroic Deeds System to keep you grinding for more rewards and loot amid all that blood and gore.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

9. Dragon Ball FighterZ

A fighting game? On PC? Have we lost the plot? While the traditional fighter might be something you more closely associate with consoles and arcades, the PC market has still managed to bag plenty of red-hot additions to the genre – and the anime-faithful Dragon Ball FighterZ is easily one of the most popular in 2018. 

And when we say ‘faithful’ we’re not overdosing on hyperbole either. It recreates some of the most iconic battles from the series’ extended lore, right down to the very same frames, enabling you to finally understand what it means to go full-on Super Saiyan.

Frostpunk

10. Frostpunk

We’ve seen plenty of survival games in recent years, but Frostpunk aims to evolve the genre with a unique tactical twist. 

Rather than attempting to keep one character or a small group alive, you have to manage an entire society. The last remnants of mankind are resigned to one final city, and your choices are all that stands between life and succumbing to the dangers of a frozen and desolate world. 

You’ll need to manage resources, send out parties to gather supplies, govern your citizens and use all manner of steam-based machines to keep those denizens warm. Just expect to have your moral compass severely spun by the end of it…

  • TechRadar's fourth annual PC Gaming Week is officially here, celebrating our passion with in-depth and exclusive coverage of PC gaming from every angle. Visit our PC Gaming Week 2018 page to see all of the coverage in one place  

Huawei is working on Snapdragon 710 competitor dubbed the Kirin 710

After the recent arrival of the Snapdragon 710 to the smartphone market, a new report claims Huawei is now working on its own equivalent that will allegedly be named the Kirin 710 in order to indicate that it will be taking Qualcomm on directly.

The Snapdragon 710 chipset currently aims at closing the performance gap seen between flagship smartphones and mid-tier ones, with the chip itself being built using the 10nm process that allows for big performance improvements without extra energy consumption that could affect battery life. Huawei’s chip, on the other hand, will have the same goal …

Bethesda announces The Elder Scrolls: Blades at E3, coming soon to Android and iOS

Surprise us colored that Bethesda’s Todd Howard, quite possibly the most charismatic presenter E3 has seen thus far, did not reveal a new version of the wildly-popular and milked-to-death The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim late last night. No, you won’t be able to yell Fus-Ro-Dah at your smart fridge or Amazon Echo device, but hey, you will be able to play a brand new game set in The Elder Scrolls’ universe on your smartphone!
Dubbed The Elder Scrolls: Blades, the game is a pure first-person RPG bringing its console-grade graphics to Android and iOS devices. With a …

OnePlus Asphalt Cup will see gamers compete for a OnePlus 6

After a successful OnePlus 6 launch in India last month, the increasingly-popular brand is back, this time in partnership with publisher Gameloft, in order to create the OnePlus Asphalt Cup for the Indian market.

The competition, which kicks off in just two days’ time on June 13 and ends July 8, will see players compete against each other by playing the Asphalt 8: Airborne game, with the top gamers who participate then receiving certain prizes. Specifically, the overall winner will take home a cash prize of just over $13,350, while those in second and third place will receive roughly …

DIY HomePod: How to turn your old iPhone into a Siri-powered smart speaker

Smart assistants are all the rage these days, and rightfully so – all of the major players on the market have either released a couple of these or revealed their plans to enter the smart assistant territory with a loud bang. The likes of Apple’s HomePod, Google’s Home, Max, mini, and most importantly, the wide range of Alexa-powered Amazon speakers quickly made the scene pretty congested.

The other week, we showed you how to create your own Google Assistant smart speaker. Sort of. It included using an old Android beater and a dedicated external speaker or audio system. Well, we didn’t want …

Xiaomi’s smartphone shipments grew a whopping 88% during Q1 2018

Ahead of the company’s initial public offering, Xiaomi has revealed that its smartphone sales grew significantly during the first quarter of 2018, although it has still failed to turn a profit.

The low-cost brand didn’t mention any exact shipment numbers but did confirm that it saw extreme growth of 88% during the first three months of the year. Despite the lack of official numbers, however, Counterpoint Research recently estimated shipments of 28.1 million for the brand during Q1, giving Xiaomi a global market share of 8%. This, alongside the company’s various other divisions, allowed …

Galaxy Note 9 will finally put the finger scanner in a good place

As if to serve as a tangential evidence that Samsung has finally learned its lesson and will put the finger scanner on the Note 9 where it belongs on big-screen handsets – the middle of the rear, at a distance from the camera lenses – a case for the upcoming handset that shows exactly that, has emerged from a reputable leakster. 

It jibes with the leaked CAD-based renders of the Note 9 that were circulated last week and depicted a horizontal dual camera that has the finger scanner positioned beneath it, but with more separation between the reader and the lenses …

Is Apple already working on its own Mac processors in a secret lab?

It’s widely known that Apple is rumored to have ambitions of building its own processors for Mac desktops and MacBook laptops, but no one expected the huge undertaking to begin so soon. 

The Oregonian reports that Apple has opened a hardware engineering lab in Washington County, Oregon, hiring nearly two-dozen people in a variety of roles, most notably bringing in Intel expatriots. Of course, Intel has been the sole provider of Mac computer processors for more than a decade.

Naturally, Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment, with The Oregonian having obtained this information from “job postings, social media profiles and an individual familiar with Apple's recruiting efforts.”

Specifically, these LinkedIn job postings call for design verification experts, people skilled in ensuring a final product meets the original expectations.

Has Project Kalamata already begun?

The Oregonian doesn’t know exactly where this new engineering lab is located beyond that it’s near the border between Beaverton and Hillsboro in Washington County. The outlet is keen to point out that this location would put the lab closer to Oregon’s computing hardware hub than the cluster of software and services companies in Portland.

Apple is far from the first technology firm to open offices or even research facilities in the Oregon and Washington area, and this isn’t even Apple’s first in the region. The company operates a data center and a software development team in areas around Portland, Oregon.

But, the location of this particular facility and where Apple seems to be focusing its recruiting efforts (e.g. silicon experts) strongly suggests the company’s goals. You don’t poach frankly expensive hires skilled in chips and semiconductors with no intent to make use of those talents.

Remember, just two months ago, it was reported that Apple had a secret project planned to remove Intel processors from Mac computers, starting in 2020, known as Kalamata. This Oregonian report seems too close to be purely coincidental. 

Via Engadget

This is what the iPhone 9 could look like

Apple is rumored to launch three new iPhones this fall and the one that we are most excited about this year is actually not the most expensive one, but the most affordable of the three: this rumored 6.1-inch iPhone 9 is said to have an edge-to-edge screen with a notch like the X and an image showing it from all sides has just gone live. The image comes courtesy of the prolific leaker @OnLeaks, who has an excellent track record with giving us an early peek at phones that are not officially available.

And if what this early picture shows is indeed true and this phone keeps the …

What should you consider before moving B2B sales models online?

The world of ecommerce continues to change at lightning speed. According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2017 in Great Britain, 77% of adults had bought goods or services online in the last 12 months. 

This trend has spilled over into B2B, with companies finding that their customers now expect the same seamless buying experience that B2C offers – according to Forrester/Internet Retailer B2B Buyer research, 53% of these buyers will make half or more of their work purchases online by 2018, and 74% say buying from a website is just more convenient. It therefore makes perfect sense for organisations to move from an offline-only sales model to a hybrid of offline and online and perhaps online-only.

However, B2B business practices have been built up over many years supported by legacy systems and often out-dated ways of working have become so established that this results in a B2B ecommerce opportunity that remains largely untapped. Taking a B2B business online can be a complex transition for any organisation and requires a thorough review of current practices and a strategic look at business goals. There are key questions merchants need to ask before they begin the transition to move their sales-models online, in order for them to be fully prepared.

How important is our website in our sales process?

If your organisation uses highly customised pricing or you are bound by agreements with distributors, you may use your website as a catalogue of rich product content but don’t allow buyers to purchase goods online. These sites can work as search-engine friendly catalogues that generate leads for offline sales but converting to a fully functional B2B online ordering portal is the logical next step.

A fully transactional ecommerce website for customers who have pre-existing relationships with account managers can offer an easy way to re-order and buy and can tailor functionality dependent upon the customer or job role. 

Do we know our online pricing strategy?

If your organisation uses a pricing structure that has evolved through organic growth you are likely to have customers who have complex specific pricing agreements. Replicating a unique set of contracts online requires a platform that supports specific product pricing and discount negotiation otherwise you will be severely limited to groups of customers who all have standard pricing. 

Is our sales team fully engaged?

Offline sales teams often view ecommerce as a compromised alternative that don’t take into account the skills they have developed over years of hard work. If sales are predominantly order takers, then self-serve websites will be seen to threaten their role. It is therefore important that sales and the ecommerce site works together to empower your sales team and not replace them. 

A new eCommerce website can enhance the sales process by giving them the time to nurture their existing relationships, cross sell and up-sell and spend more time looking for new opportunities by removing a lot of the time-intensive, repetitive tasks that can consume a salespersons’ work day. 

What other information do we need to consider?

In order to sell effectively online, your customers expect to see real-time inventory availability, pricing, and shipping information. In most cases, this data lives in other systems, such as your ERP, inventory management, and Product Information Management systems. In order to provide a full omni-channel customer experience and up to date information you will need a solution that offers order management and integrates well with other systems.  

SEO – what’s the opportunity?

You may well already have a website that works when someone searches for your company name but what about your products? You may have a useful site, but if no-one knows you’re there, how can you optimise sales? One of the benefits of building a strategic ecommerce site is to increase the visibility of your brand through your product catalogue as it gets crawled and indexed by search engines like Google and Bing. 

SEO helps buyers find your site, but you will need content that goes beyond product descriptions and price. Original and useful content is important and use descriptions that bring the product to life and differentiate them for customers, and do not rely on just product IDs. 

Don’t wait

eCommerce is connected to every level of your business, so its impact is significant. It’s not like Accounting or Warehouse management that primarily exist to support one function of the organisation.  It’s worth engaging experts to help you in the early stages of a new or revitalised B2B ecommerce project, to help you develop your strategic roadmap. The future of B2B business is tied to the success of ecommerce so it is critical to get this right from the very beginning. The faster you move your business online, the more successful you will be in attracting the next generation of buyers – and they are the ones who will grow your business fastest. 

Brian Green is director of EMEA, Magento