Best cheap PC games: the best games to play without breaking the bank

Some PC gamers with large budgets for the best gaming PCs or gaming laptops may not have much money left over to spend on the best PC games. Others may simply want something inexpensive to pass the time. Regardless, there are plenty of remarkable titles that won’t break the bank available through various services like Steam. They also run the gambit of genres including shooters, racers, RPGs, real-time strategy and more. 

To help thrifty PC gamers, TechRadar has provided some of our favorite games that offer the best bang for your buck. Besides costing significantly less than the latest big budget game from Bethesda or EA, these titles also feature fairly respectable system requirements. This means that you don’t need the best graphics card just to get in the game. 

Without spending more than a Benjamin, these titles have everything that makes a game great. This means, great gameplay, creative visuals regardless of age and high replay value.  

  • The best Steam games are bona fide classics

Dead By Daylight

(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

If you’re looking for some serious asymmetrical survival horror, look no further than Dead By Daylight. Released in 2016, the game has evolved into one of the most unique multiplayer experiences in gaming. Four survivors try to evade a seemingly indestructible killer looking for a human sacrifice. Though the main game cost a dub, there is plenty of DLC content available to purchase including some inspired by films like Halloween to even other survival horror franchises like Resident Evil. However, the main game content is definitely enough to last several terrifying nights.


(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Blizzard’s wildly popular “hero shooter” may have a sequel on the way but the original team based multiplayer romp still has legs left. In Overwatch, two teams of six battle over various objectives including escorts, securing various map points and attack/defend. Besides the well realized cast of characters that feel like fighting game characters, the visual style itself is definitely noticeable. The competitive nature of the game was also good enough for Blizzard to create the Overwatch League in case players have esports aspirations. PC gamers with console owning friends will be happy to know that Overwatch will eventually support crossplay real soon.

Street Fighter V

(Image credit: Capcom)

Capcom’s fifth mainline entry in its Street Fighter series may have had a rocky launch due to a lack of content. Nearly five years later, it’s a fully fledged fighter with a slew of characters, costumes, grand online options and a pretty solid story mode. Besides a fighting system inspired more by Street Fighter III through the EX gauge, the “V-Gauge” system allows for some pretty clever offensive and defensive options during combat. Launched alongside the Playstation 4, Street Fighter V also looks pretty impressive due to its unique water-colored inspired visuals.  

Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition

(Image credit: Microsoft Game Studios)

Age of Empires III features a ton of new features outside of the new coast of audio/visual polish. Celebrating the 15 anniversary of the original real-time strategy classic, Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition feels like it’s worth more than $20. This edition of the real-time strategy classic also features some UI enhancements, AI improvements, all of the previously released expansions, new modes and two new civilizations. PC gamers looking to step their toes into the real-time strategy realm have a great place to start.    

Diablo III

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

While PC gamers around the world wait for Blizzard to provide some type of release date information for Diablo IV, Diablo III wasn’t considered the fastest selling PC game of all time for nothing. The latest release in Blizzard’s isometric hack-n-slash actionier features an amazing eight-ten hour storyline spread across five acts and five character classes. Most importantly, that attributes to some incredibly fun drop-in multiplayer as well. Gamers who enjoy the main quest and have some extra dough may also get some extra mileage through the Reaper of Souls expansion. 

Hotshot Racing

(Image credit: Curve Digital)

Inspired by the best arcade racers of the 80’s and 90’ from OutRun to Daytona USA, Hotshot Racing, Hotshot Racing features a rock solid driving engine that matches its unique aesthetic. One of the most entertaining indie games within the genre released in a while, it features over a dozen racing circuits and a cast of eight racers with a handful of unique vehicles each. Besides offering fun single-player content, there’s also an eight player online mode. Taking things a bit further, those who want some old-school couch competition with nearby friends can enjoy a two-to-four split-screen mode as well.    

Worms Reloaded

(Image credit: Team17)

One of the most underrated series in gaming, Worms has earned acclaim as a quirky turn-based-tactics game featuring militarized earthworms of utter destruction. An extension of one-time 2009 console exclusive Worms 2: Armageddon, Worms Reloaded expands on combat scenarios alongside new customization options of the cute little critters. The strategic back-and-forth between combatants is still a sight to see and offers tons of depth past the simple design despite the lack of real overhauls to the base gameplay. 

Doom (2016)

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

It took over a decade between the release of Doom III and the Bethesda backed reboot of Doom. Thankfully, it was more than worth the wait regardless of how lackluster the multi-player was. Considered one of the best single-player first-person-shooters released within the past several years alongside its newer (and more expensive sequel), Id Software left the more survival horror inspiration behind for a whiteknockle fight against the hordes of hell. Besides the fast paced combat, Doom (2016) provided some unique twists on modern shooter conventions due to its “glory kills” system. 

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege – Standard Edition

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Day one Rainbow Six fans were disappointed by the idea of the first game utilizing the name since 2008’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 would go the multiplayer online route. However, the end result maintained the tactical spirit of the original games with a serious competitive lean. Two teams of either attackers or defenders engage in objectives ranging from bomb defusing to hostage rescue. The slower paced combat leads to some tense moments over the 11 base maps. Though the standard edition offers a lot of content, there are several seasons of new operators and maps too.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Standard Edition 

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

If you don’t want to take the monthly subscription plunge of games like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV, you may find some real enjoyment out of Elder Scrolls Online. Matching ten different races with six classes, the MMORPG has maintained a serious player count since its initial 2014 release. Free of a subscription model since 2015, Elder Scrolls Online can be played in the base version for $20. And if you want to go farther than that, there’s a plethora of expansions and DLC available to purchase. 

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