7 Demanding PC Games to Test Your Graphics Card

Gavin Phillips 01-11-2018

PC games are demanding. Every year, new games hit the market that stretch hardware capabilities. There are ground-breaking games whose graphics alter the course of gaming forever. Myst, Doom 3, Crysis, World of Warcraft, BioShock, Half-Life 2, The Witcher 3, and many more spring to mind. That’s not even close to an exhaustive list, either.


They share a common theme though. At the time of their release, the game could push your system hardware to its limits.

So, what games should you reach for to stress test your new graphics card right now?

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released in 2015 to plaudits across the board. Years later, and people are still blown away by the beauty of its extensive RPG world. Even now, The Witcher 3 is still one of the best ways to max out your system.

In fairness, The Witcher 3 is impressively resourceful regarding GPUs. To achieve maximum beauty, you do need a powerful modern card. However, even older cards like the Nvidia GTX 770 or an AMD Radeon R9 290 can still bring the world to your monitor. The recommended system specification for The Witcher 3 is:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-3770 or AMD FX-8350
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics Card (NVIDIA): NVIDIA GTX 770
  • Graphics Card (AMD): AMD R9 290

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will definitely max out those GPUs, even on Medium settings. Those with Nvidia graphics cards Nvidia Graphics Cards: Which One Is Right for You? Nvidia graphics cards are the most popular for a reason. But which model should you buy and why? We explain the jargon, the cards, and their performance. Read More such as the 1070, 1070 Ti, 1080, or 1080 Ti (or the AMD equivalents) can take their settings all the way to Ultra, depending on the rest of your system hardware.


The awesome Logical Increments gives you a much better idea of what hardware you need to experience The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt at its best. Also, you can see where your current hardware might get you regarding graphics.

Be sure to check out our Witcher 3 tips 10 Essential The Witcher 3 Tips for New Players For first time players unfamiliar with the game, here are the essential The Witcher 3 tips to guide you on your journey. Read More so you can master the game.

2. Far Cry 5 (2018)

Far Cry 5 takes the state of Montana and pops it into your computer. You can wander around the vast open world exploring every mountain, creek, glade, and river. I spent more time looking at the scenery than playing through the storyline. (In fact, that’s true of several games on this list.)

Far Cry 5 is a slight misnomer on this list. You can still experience Montana, and its religious cults using similar hardware to series predecessors Far Cry 4 and Far Cry Primal. However, if you want constant 60+ FPS at 1080p on Ultra settings, you definitely need a top-tier GPU. Moreover, the only way to hit a constant 60+ FPS at 1440k on Ultra is using two GPUs in CrossFire or SLI configuration.


If these terms are confusing to you, check out our explanation of video game graphics and settings Video Game Graphics and Settings Explained What do video game graphics settings like texture quality and anti-aliasing mean? Here's everything explained and how they affect you. Read More .

3. Final Fantasy XV (2018)

Final Fantasy XV is the latest entry in one of the most popular gaming series of all time. Square Enix is known for creating detailed, expansive environments, and the world of Eos delivers in multitudes.

Final Fantasy XV does require a high-performance GPU to see it at its best. The drop off in graphical fidelity between its Low, Medium, High, and Highest settings are notable, especially between Low and Medium. Furthermore, the world truly bursts with life at Ultra, especially if you can support Ultra settings at 1440p.

4. Kingdom Come: Deliverance (2018)

Crytek’s CryEngine has long carried a reputation as a system hardware destroyer. The original Crysis (2008) was used as a system benchmarking tool for years. (Some free Windows benchmarking tools for you to try. The 10 Best Free Benchmark Programs for Windows Use these fantastic and free benchmark software for Windows to troubleshoot your system and keep it updated. Read More ) Crysis 3 (2013) was much the same, and at the time of its release, only the most up to date hardware could run it on its highest settings.


Kingdom Come: Deliverance licenses a heavily modified version of CryEngine 5, named Dunia Engine. The Dunia Engine first came to prominence in Far Cry 2 but was still powering Far Cry 5 and its amazing visuals. So, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has similar graphics and hardware requirements to Far Cry 5, as well as a similarly spectacular game world.

In fact, Eurogamer tested Kingdom Come: Deliverance using an i5-8600K CPU with a Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti on Ultra, and struggled to hit a solid 60 FPS. Dropping draw distance, shadows, and lighting to High brought Deliverance to a steady 60+ FPS. But you can see the level of hardware you need to experience Kingdom Come: Deliverance at its absolute finest.

5. Arma III (2014)

You’re thinking, “How can a four-year-old game still push modern hardware to its very limits?” Well, Arma III has such extensive graphics customization that you can still use it in an attempt to melt your computer.

As one of the best tactical shooters The Best Tactical Shooter Games You Need to Play Tactical shooter games take the genre up a notch. Often based on military conflicts, here are the best tactical shooters to play. Read More Arma III has a few features that push your hardware to its limits. Notably, the game environments are colossal. The largest Arma III map, Altis, covers 270 square kilometers. Obviously, you’re not looking at or rendering the entire map at one time. However, you can set your view distance to 25 kilometers, take a helicopter into the skies, and marvel at the sheer scale of the world. And that takes some serious processing power.


Processing the number of units on a map throughout a large multiplayer game is also resource intensive, especially once the bullets start flying overhead. However, this is an older game, so there are some allowances. Those with extremely new hardware could use Arma III mods to add more graphical fidelity to the game to maximize their experience.

6. Fallout 4 VR (2017)

The world of VR gaming is growing from strength to strength. The first iterations of VR headsets were clunky, running at relatively low resolutions, and many users suffered from motion sickness due to inconsistent frame rates.

The Nvidia GTX 10xx series (particularly the GTX 1070, 1080, and their respective Ti models, which make our list of the best graphics cards to buy The Best Graphics Cards for Any Budget Finding a high-performance budget GPU can be tough. We've rounded up some of the best graphics cards for any budget. Read More ) make VR gaming a pleasure rather than a nauseating sad time. If your system hardware can handle it, Fallout 4 VR is one of the most entertaining and expansive virtual reality experiences available at the time of writing.

7. Destiny 2 (2017)

Destiny 2 is another game where you will stop to stare at the majestic world around you. The sheer scale of Destiny 2 is phenomenal, regularly fusing soaring intergalactic vistas with intricate detailing. Detailing that you might miss unless you take time to enjoy it. Another thing Destiny 2 does extremely well is lighting. Each location feels unique and has its own color schemes, while developer, Bungie, has worked hard to make transitions between zones both simple and dramatic.

Destiny 2 is actually optimized really well. Those with older hardware can certainly still enjoy battling the brutal Red Legion. Those with new hardware can crank the dial up to 11 to experience a visually stunning space story (the actual narrative is so-so) that maximizes everything your system can give.

Go and Test Your System’s Hardware!

I haven’t included Deus Ex: Mankind Divided or Quantum Break because, while requiring some serious hardware to run, that’s also down to them being poorly optimized games. Which, in turn, gives them a false position in the hardware requirements list. Also, while Forza Motorsport 7 really pushes the boundaries of system hardware, Forza Horizon 4 runs with similar specs.

CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 and CryTek’s Hunt: Showdown are set to push everyone’s hardware to its absolute limits. Other gamers are keeping tabs on Red Dead Redemption 2. A PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 would offer another beautiful open world game that would see more than a few gamers’ scrambling for PC hardware upgrades.

Hardware constraints aside, these are the best PC games you can play right now, for free! And you might also be interested in the most influential PC games that changed gaming The 10 Most Influential PC Games That Changed Gaming Forever These are the most influential PC games everyone should play at least once. And the best thing of all? They're fun! Read More .

Related topics: Benchmark, Graphics Card, PC.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Fik of the borg
    December 15, 2019 at 4:08 am

    Semi-related comment:
    Why most modern games seem to be Shoot 'em ups / Kill 'em ups in some form? What happened to styles like the Myst series, or those idiotically fun Sierra-online WhateverQuest, which should be very easy to adapt to modern 3D format?

  2. Finn McLaren
    November 6, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Hello, I just wanted to say that you created a wonderful blog concerning a proper graphics card I think I would go with the Nvidia's GTX 1070 Ti Due to the fact that they seem to fit my needs greater and get the best bang for my buck, but I have a question do you think that prices always correlate to the quality of graphics card? Anyways keep up writing! Finn McLaren

  3. sfsd
    November 2, 2018 at 6:30 am


  4. Darko
    November 2, 2018 at 5:39 am

    I call this BS, all this games especially crytec enging one has no justification for such huge hardware demand, its just bad coding and very bad optimization. Im case of Kingdome Come forvexame not only gtx1080TI has a strugle too get even near 60fps @4k but the allmighty RTX and RTX Ti as well and stupid as it goes for the same near ultra levels the diferemce between RTX and RTX TI is roughly 15 fps in some cases more depending on the scene but none of them are able to maintain 60fps constat on all ultra settings. CRYTEC ENGING IS A PILE OF GARBAGE!