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Best GPU-Melting Games

#4: 'Crysis 3'

This series spawned the eternal question of “Can it run Crysis?” Most middle- to high-end systems can do it easily today, but at the time of its release, Crytek pushed the standard for visual quality even higher in the final installation of the series. Most of the game takes place in an abandoned New York City, where Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming the area with flora. As you hunt for the dangerous Ceph aliens, you’ll notice the realistic movements of water as you wade through small lakes and rivers. The lighting throughout the open areas is astonishing; you see the city slowly transform into a giant urban greenhouse. This is all possible through the CryEngine, and the series’ visuals make it a staple in PC gaming history.


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#3: 'Grand Theft Auto V'

There’s a huge difference in the Los Santos of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and that of Grand Theft Auto V. In the latter, the environment is more well-defined throughout the entire game world. Dynamic weather, day and night cycles, and the plethora of people on the streets further adds to the immersion. Even when you’re not robbing banks or shooting other players, Grand Theft Auto V is a visual marvel, so be sure to take a relaxing drive around Los Santos at some point.


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#2: 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim'

Today's hardware means that the base game can easily run on most systems. However, it’s not a visually appealing experience, and this is where the modding community comes into play. Countless creators are making their own graphical improvements to the world of Skyrim. You can find upgrades on water visual quality, lighting, tree textures, and even character models. These enhancements ensure that your journey through Skyrim is not just full of gameplay content, but also full of magnificent views of nature and man-made structures.


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#1: 'The Witcher III: Wild Hunt'

The overall story and content within The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is impressive, to be sure, but it’s also a game with some amazing visuals. The open world of Velen and Novigrad is full of impressive sights such as bustling cities, vast plains of grass, and lush forests. We’ll even single out the kingdom of Skellige, which has some of the most beautiful scenery in the game due to the area’s close proximity to mountain ranges and forests. If you’re looking to upgrade your system’s performance based on a single game, this would be it.


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Cast Your Vote!

We have new categories available in our ongoing Tom's Hardware Definitive List of PC Games threads in our forums. Be sure to head over to our PC Gaming forum page and contribute to the conversation.


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  • Cryio
    This list is horrible. GPU melting games?

    1. Batman Arkham Knight now runs like a dream on PC. It's arguably more important to have an SSD than a fast GPU. It even runs fine on 1 GB GPUs today (minim spec is 2 GB VRAM)
    2. Shadow of Mordor is a last gen game with slightly prettier graphics. It runs on a toaster, even on max settings.
    3. Battlefield 1, again incredibly optimized, it runs flawlessly on Intel HD graphics easy, lmao.
    4. Skyrim? Seriously. Get out.

    What this list should've contained: Quantum Break, Gears of War 4, Dishonored 2, Far Cry 4/Primal, Watch Dogs 2, Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
    Reply
  • Sir3x6
    Yes, CRYIO skyrim. There is not one PC game that will tax a high PC unless modifed. Skyrim may be old, but the Skyim/Nexusmod community continue to improve it.

    Here is a link to some of my screenshots of my modded game taken over the past 4 years, that tax a Titan Black.
    https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/users/11731803/?tb=images&pUp=1
    Reply
  • JoeMomma
    Just Cause 3 melted my GPU so bad I was only getting 20 fps.
    That same GPU was able to run GTA V at 80 fps.
    I had to invest in a new $400 GPU in order to play it at 60 fps.
    Reply
  • ClubSpade12
    20179669 said:
    3. Battlefield 1, again incredibly optimized, it runs flawlessly on Intel HD graphics easy, lmao.

    Are you kidding? This game doesn't run on max settings for my 1070 or my friend's 480 smoothly. If you can find proof that the game runs at even 30fps on Intel graphics I'd be surprised.
    Reply
  • daniyalkhokhar
    3 words, Dark Souls 3
    Reply
  • coolitic
    This list is garbage.
    Reply
  • pigboy122
    what about Ark?
    Reply
  • pigboy122
    Ark Survival i mean.. :)
    Reply
  • blppt
    Black Desert Online? Seriously? The main reason I cant get into it is that even with details completely maxed it looks terrible. And the draw in is horrendous.
    Reply
  • puckettgw
    To the guy who said Battlefield 1 runs on Intel HD... this list isn't "the games you can probably run on lowest settings on shit hardware." If you've got an intel HD graphics chipset that runs this game at max, you're lying. Straight up.
    Reply