Most Demanding PC Games 2021 [Updated December 2021]

Forza Horizon 5 Key Art

2021 has been a great year for gaming, with it being the first full year since the release of the PS5, Xbox Series X, and the Nvidia RTX 30 series, and AMD RX 6000 series of GPUs. If you managed to secure any of these graphics cards then you’re probably looking to push it to its limits and see how well it can perform by checking out the most demanding PC games.

Well, we’ve got you covered because these, especially at higher than 60fps, will push your PC to its limits, some utilize ray tracing and DLSS too.

NOTE: This list has been updated on December 21, 2021, as we are now at the end of the year and all of the major titles have been released, and plenty of demanding games have been released since this list was last updated.

The Most Demanding PC Games As Of December 2021

Here are our picks for the most demanding PC games that you can play in 2021, in no particular order.

1. Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 Key Art
Credit: Microsoft

Minimum requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 version 15063.0 or higher
  • Processor: Intel i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVidia GTX 970 OR AMD RX 470
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 110 GB available space

Recommended requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 version 15063.0 or higher
  • Processor: Intel i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVidia GTX 1070 OR AMD RX 590
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 110 GB available space
Forza Horizon 5 Specs

Racing games are always a great way to see what current hardware is capable of, with them typically being among the best-looking games that are released during a certain time period.

Forza Horizon 5 is a fairly demanding game, especially if you intend to go beyond 1080p or at a higher frame rate than 60, with the developers recommending an RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT, which will be needed to play on Extreme graphics setting beyond 1080p while maintaining a good frame rate.

2. Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite Key Art Main
Credit: 343 Industries

Minimum requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 RS5 x64
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 or Intel i5-4440
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD RX 570 or Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 50 GB available space

Recommended requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 19H2 x64
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X or Intel i7-9700k
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Radeon RX 5700 XT or Nvidia RTX 2070
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 50 GB available space
Halo Infinite Specs
Credit: 343 Industries

Halo Infinite was finally released in November and December 2021 following a year-long delay, and it was definitely worth waiting for.

The game is incredibly demanding too, with 343 Industries claiming you need an RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT for ultra gameplay, although it can be played at ultra on weaker cards but at a lower frame rate.

READ MORE: Halo Infinite Review (PC) – A perfect end to 2021

3. Far Cry 6

Far-Cry-6-Splash-Art

Minimum requirements (30 FPS)

  • Operating System Windows 10 (20H1 version or newer, 64-bit versions)
  • Processor AMD Ryzen 3 1200 @ 3. Ghz or Intel Core i5-4460 @ 3.1 Ghz (AVX, AVX2 and SSE 4.2 support required)
  • RAM 8 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video card AMD RX 460 (4 GB) or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 (4 GB)
    DirectX
     DirectX 12
  • Hard Drive 60 GB available storage 

Recommended requirements (60 FPS)

  • Operating System Windows 10 (20H1 version or newer, 64-bit versions)
  • Processor AMD Ryzen 5 3600X @ 3.8 Ghz or Intel Core i7-7700 @ 3.6 Ghz (AVX, AVX2 and SSE 4.2 support required)
  • RAM 16 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video card AMD RX Vega 64 (8 GB) or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB)
    DirectX
     DirectX 12
  • Hard Drive 60 GB available storage

Far Cry 6 is the latest entry in Ubisoft’s popular open-world FPS franchise, and it is a fairly demanding game with it requiring a GTX 1080 just for high settings at 1080p/60fps.

If you want to play at a higher refresh rate, such as 144hz or above then you will likely need an RTX 20 or 30 series.

4. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Key Art Main
Credit: Ubisoft

Minimum Configuration – Low preset 1080p 30 FPS

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 1200 – 3.1 Ghz / INTEL i5-4460 – 3.2 Ghz
  • RAM: 8 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video Card: AMD R9 380 - 4GB / GeForce GTX 960 4GB
  • Storage: 50 GB HDD (SSD Recommended)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 12
  • Additional note: Requires GPU with DirectX 12 (Feature Level 12_0) support

Recommended Configuration – High preset 1080p 30 FPS

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 – 3.2 Ghz / INTEL i7-4790 – 3.6 Ghz
  • RAM: 8 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video Card: AMD RX 570 – 8GB / GeForce GTX 1060 – 6GB
  • Storage: SSD (50 GB)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 12
  • Additional note: Requires GPU with DirectX 12 (Feature Level 12_0) support

Recommended Configuration – High preset 1080p 60 FPS

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 – 3.0 Ghz / INTEL i7-6700 – 3.4 Ghz
  • RAM: 8 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video Card: AMD Vega 64 – 8GB / GeForce GTX 1080- 8GB
  • Storage: SSD (50 GB)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 12
  • Additional note: Requires GPU with DirectX 12 (Feature Level 12_0) support

2K Configuration – Very High preset 1440p 30 FPS

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X – 3.7 Ghz / INTEL i7 – 7700 – 3.6 Ghz
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video Card: AMD Vega 56 – 8GB / GeForce GTX 1070 – 8GB
  • Storage: SSD (50 GB)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 12
  • Additional note: Requires GPU with DirectX 12 (Feature Level 12_0) support

2K Configuration – Very High preset 1440p 60 FPS

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X – 3.8 Ghz / INTEL i7 – 8700K – 3.7 Ghz
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video Card: AMD RX 5700XT – 8GB / GeForce RTX 2080 S – 8GB
  • Storage: SSD (50 GB)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 12
  • Additional note: Requires GPU with DirectX 12 (Feature Level 12_0) support

4K Configuration – Ultra High preset 2160p (4K) 30 FPS

  • Processor : AMD Ryzen 7 3700X – 3.6 Ghz / INTEL i7 – 9700K – 3.6 Ghz
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel mode)
  • Video Card: AMD RX 5700XT – 8GB / GeForce RTX 2080 – 8GB
  • Storage: SSD (50 GB)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 12
  • Additional note: Requires GPU with DirectX 12 (Feature Level 12_0) support

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the latest entry in the series, releasing alongside the next generation of consoles in November 2020. Valhalla sees the series go Nordic as Vikings are the main theme of the game.

Being a modern title, the game is quite demanding, especially when starting to head into 4K territory. It requires an Intel i7-9700K and Nvidia RTX 2080 to play at 4K 30fps, so we can only imagine 60fps is even harder to achieve.

BUY ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA HERE

READ MORE: Who Is The Best Mario Character To Party With?

5. Control

Control Ultimate Edition Key Art
Credit: Remedy Entertainment

Minimum Requirements

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4690 / AMD FX 4350
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 / AMD Radeon R9 280X
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 7, 64bit
  • DirectX: DX11

Recommended Requirements 

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-7600K / AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660/1060 / AMD Radeon RX 580
  • For ray tracing: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10, 64-bit
  • DirectX: DX11 / DX12

Control is often used as a benchmark game when testing ray tracing, and with good reason, because it looks beautiful with RT turned on.

While not the most demanding to play without ray tracing, turning it on will see your frames drop as the game has a lot of reflective surfaces which make use of it.

BUY CONTROL HERE

6. Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Key Art Box
Credit: Aerosoft/Xbox Game Studios

Minimum Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • VIDEO CARD: Radeon RX 570 or GeForce GTX 770 
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.0
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.0
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 150 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 2048 MB

Recommended Requirements 

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or better
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • VIDEO CARD: Radeon RX 590 or GeForce GTX 970
  • PIXEL SHADER: 5.1
  • VERTEX SHADER: 5.1
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 150 GB
  • DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 4096 MB

Microsoft Flight Simulator saw its latest release in 2020, and it looks incredible and is also really demanding to play. The game uses over 2TB of map data to accurately recreate the entire planet. With a bit of detective work, you will be able to find your house in the game.

READ MORE: Will GTA 6 Be On PC?

The requirements above aren’t too demanding, but neither of those will be for maxed-out settings. One thing to know is, the game favors a consistent frame rate over a choppy higher one.

So if you can squeeze 30fps out of this then that isn’t a bad thing, even the top gaming rigs are only doing 60fps. And when it comes to flying through the sky for hours and hours, a few extra frames don’t really enhance the experience.

BUY MICROSOFT’S FLIGHT SIMULATOR 2020 HERE

7. Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077
Credit: CD Projekt Red

Minimum Requirements: 1080p Low

  • CPU: Core i5-3570K or FX-8310
  • GPU: GTX 780 3GB (or RX 470 4GB)
  • RAM: 8GB RAM
  • Storage: 70GB storage
  • OS: Windows 7 or Windows 10 64-bit
  • Target: 1080p Low
  • CPU: Core i7-4790 or Ryzen 3 3200G
  • GPU: GTX 1060 6GB, GTX 1660 Super (or R9 Fury)
  • RAM: 12GB RAM
  • Storage: 70GB SSD storage
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Target: 1080p High
  • CPU: Core i7-4790 or Ryzen 3 3200G
  • GPU: RTX 2060 (or RX 5600 XT)
  • RAM: 12GB RAM
  • Storage: 70GB SSD storage
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Target: 1440p Ultra
  • CPU: Core i7-4790 or Ryzen 3 3200G
  • GPU: RTX 2080 Super, RTX 3070 (or RX 6800)
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 70GB SSD storage
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Target: 4K Ultra
  • CPU: Core i7-4790 or Ryzen 3 3200G
  • GPU: RTX 2060 (or RX 6800)
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 70GB SSD storage
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Target: 1080p RT Medium
  • CPU: Core i7-6700 or Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: RTX 3070 (or RX 6800 XT)
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 70GB SSD storage
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Target: 1440p RT Ultra
  • CPU: Core i7-4790 or Ryzen 3 3200G
  • GPU: RTX 3080 (or RTX 3090)
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Storage: 70GB SSD storage
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Target: 4K Ultra

Ah Cyberpunk, what could have been? It is hard to tell whether the game is demanding or not because right now the game is really broken, which causes a lot of performance issues. It is that broken that Sony removed it from their PlayStation Store.

When it comes to PC, the game is really hit and miss. At the time of writing this, I use a Ryzen 3700X and an Nvidia RTX 3070 FE, so a pretty decent rig.

READ MORE: Cyberpunk 2077: A Broken Game and A Broken Promise

I recently played the game and it auto-set the graphics to maxed out, ultra settings, and ultra ray tracing and I was getting 90fps, I can’t complain at that.

But, I decided to turn off ray tracing because I’d rather have higher frames over better reflections, 70fps, strange.

As I continued to lower settings I ended up at just 40fps on the lowest settings possible, how? And then when someone called V my performance tanked down to just 20fps, and this was after the most recent patch.

Over time a lot of these performance issues should be fixed, but it is a shame that a game so hyped could end up disappointing so much.

BUY CYBERPUNK 2077 HERE

8. Grand Theft Auto V

GTA 5 Michael Trevor Franklin Heist Key Art Promo
Credit: Rockstar

Minimum Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5GHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)
  • Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
  • HDD Space: 65GB

Recommended Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHZ (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHZ (8 CPUs)
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB
  • Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible
  • HDD Space: 65GB

Despite releasing in 2015, GTA V is still a stellar example of PC gaming, especially when pushed beyond 60fps and the graphics settings cranked up.

Rockstar’s most successful game to date, generating tens of billions of dollars, still sees hundreds of thousands of gamers play daily.

Buy a high refresh monitor, turn up the graphics and listen to your fans go wild as this game pushes your system to the limit.

BUY GRAND THEFT AUTO V HERE

9. Metro Exodus

The cover art for Metro Exodus.
Credit: Deep Silver

Minimum Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4440 or equivalent
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 7/8/10
  • VIDEO CARD: GeForce GTX 670 / GeForce GTX 1050 / AMD Radeon HD 7870
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 59 GB

Recommended Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770k or equivalent
  • CPU SPEED: Info
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 10
  • VIDEO CARD: GeForce GTX 1070 / GeForce RTX 2060 / AMD RX VEGA 56
  • FREE DISK SPACE: 59 GB

Like Control, Metro Exodus has become a popular ray tracing benchmark game and was one of the earlier games to utilize the feature.

READ MORE: 7 Games Like Valheim That You Need To Play

While not very demanding with RT turned off, a GTX 1070 is a very reasonable requirement, it is incredibly demanding with ray tracing turned on and it looks incredible.

If you own an RTX 20 or 30 series, definitely give this game a go to see how good ray tracing can look.

BUY METRO EXODUS HERE

10. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 Key Art Box
Credit: Rockstar

Minimum Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 7
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K / AMD FX-6300
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB / AMD Radeon R9 280
  • Disk Space: 150 GB

Recommended Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • RAM: 12 GB
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
  • Storage Space Required: 150 GB

Perhaps the most demanding games available at the time of writing this, Red Dead Redemption 2 has become 2021’s Crysis.

This game will make most PCs beg for mercy, with many top spec systems struggling to hit 60fps in 4K.

Even at 1080p, you will need something like an RTX 3070 to play over 100fps with the game’s graphics completely maxed out, but it is worth it.

RDR2 is a perfect example of how good PC gaming can look. If you played it on a console in the past, it is definitely worth another purchase just to see how good the game can look.

BUY RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 HERE

Similar Posts