The Most Demanding PC Games of 2020

Written by Chad Norton on Sun, Feb 9, 2020 4:00 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

There are a lot of good looking games coming out this year, and graphics and performance are often intertwined in the same sentence. With games becoming more and more demanding, the race to upgrade your rig to play the next big games with MAX settings becomes an all-too-real issue. So here we’re going to talk about what might possibly be the most demanding PC games of the year in 2020. That way, we can all either prepare or cry. Probably cry.

First of all, let’s get some good news out of the way: some games this year are going to run pretty well, or at least we imagine so. With remakes and sequels typically using the same engines as each other we can gather that these games should, at least, run smoothly on PC. You can read all about the expected performance success stories right on over here.

Great so that’s the good news! Now let’s get on to the tearjerkers, the soul-crushing weight of realisation that these games listed below will mostly likely be some of the most demanding games of the year. Get ready to start saving, maybe even sell your house/rob your landlord if you’re looking to play these ones on Max settings:

Cyberpunk 2077

Let’s get this one out of the way first as, I think it’s safe to assume, Cyberpunk 2077 will probably be the most demanding game of 2020. That is, if you want CP2077 to look anywhere near as good as it did during the gameplay reveal. Not only has it been delayed due to circumstances surrounding performance, there are literally tonnes of features announced for the game which sound like you’d need an IBM supercomputer to run. That, and The Witcher 3 also had a rocky start on launch, plus The Witcher 2 still doesn’t run very well to this day.

The track record for performance and optimisation isn’t looking too good for CD Projekt Red, so Cyberpunk 2077 is most likely going to be one hell of a demanding game on your system. The system requirements have yet to be announced but we can guess they will be higher than Everest after a cheeky smoke. If you’re looking forward to this game (who isn’t really?) then be prepared to possibly upgrade your rig. 

In the words of Johnny Silverhand: “Wake the fuck up, Samurai… We have a PC to burn”, or something like that I think?

 

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord

The Mount & Blade games have always been pretty big in scope, and the new addition to the franchise, Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord, is no different. The last game in the series was quite demanding for it’s time, and with the new game having better graphics, more units, and more things going in general we’re assuming it’s going to be pretty taxing on your CPU at least.

 

Star Citizen: Squadron 42

Will this game ever come out? It seems to be stuck in limbo at the moment. But here we are anyway. A single player version of the game is supposed to be coming out this year: Squadron 42, and we’re going to guess it will probably be the worst optimised game of the year.

It sure looks good, crazy good actually, but the base game that you can play right now (the still very-early-state version of Star Citizen) is poorly optimised and runs not-so-well in most areas. With Squadron 42 being a big step-up in terms of gameplay, this will be one to watch out for (although perhaps not in a good way).

 

Assassin's Creed: Ragnarok

Whatever the next game in the franchise to come out will be, we can assume it will be similar to the past two entries in the series: Assassins Creed: Origins and Assassins Creed: Odyssey. Both of those games ran just about okay when on lower settings, with the higher settings being extremely demanding for most systems. In particular, both AC Odyssey and Origins shred through a CPU like a hot hidden blade through the gut.

So the next game, being bigger and better than ever, will most likely be the most demanding in the series to date. If Ubisoft doesn’t up its optimisation game, we might hit Ragnarok-bottom in terms of performance here.

 

Microsoft Flight Simulator

It’s amazing that this type of game is on this list, but not as amazing as that tremendously surprising trailer! Weather effects, animals, 3D buildings modelled from satellite images and AI?? We’re going to guess Microsoft Flight Simulator will be a formidable test for PC gamers.

But what is more interesting is that it might be even more demanding on your internet speed, as Microsoft has said there will be tonnes of geometry data pulled from the cloud to constantly update the game  with real-time weather and geometry. If you really look into it, Microsoft Flight Simulator might be one of the craziest games ever made, and it will certainly be pretty demanding to say the least.

 

Marvel's Avengers

Marvel's Avengers is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated games of 2020 for fans of homogeneous content. However, will it be up to snuff when it comes to performance? Probably not… This joint venture is from Eidos Montreal, whose previous ventures include Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, while Crystal Dynamics has consistently pushed graphical boundaries with the Tomb Raider franchise.

So it’s safe to say that Marvel's Avengers will be pretty demanding. You won’t be needing Tony Stark’s arc reactor to run it but somewhere pretty close, we'd imagine.

 

Dying Light 2

Another game that seemingly will never come out, but regardless of that we’re going to guess it will come out late this year, or at least that way we can talk about it on this list. The first Dying Light ran really well and was fairly less demanding. However, it's been a considerable amount of time since the last game and the graphics are getting a lovely overhaul. So whilst we anticipated the minimum specs for Dying Lgiht 2 may be reasonable to hit, if you want to take full advantage of the graphics settings however: raytracing will be available in Dying Light 2, and for that you’ll need a raytracing compatible graphics card, which speaks for itself in terms of performance demand.

 

Watch Dogs Legion

Let’s be real: Watch Dogs 2 was pretty demanding already, Ubisoft seem to have a really tough time with optimisation. But while other games in Ubi's franchises tend to streamline a lot of their mechanics, Watch Dogs has so much systemic stuff going on at all times that it’s difficult to get a consistent framerate even on high-end computers. With Watch Dogs Legion allowing players to control almost anybody they want in the world, we’re going to go ahead and say that it will be very demanding on your CPU, quite ironic for a game all about fast-acting technology.

 

Godfall

There's a through line of logic here. Godfall's a next-gen game, therefore very taxing… perhaps. It's still early days for this one yet but, with no PS4 version in development, this makes Godfall the only next-gen exclusive game currently announced. The PC version could well require a rig far more powerful than a typical modern AAA title.

 

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II

All signs are currently pointing toward the Xbox Series X being the fastest games console on the planet when it launches later this year. Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 may or may not release in 2020, we just don't know yet, but it's a beautiful game nonetheless. Ninja Theory has clearly been given a much larger budget for this sequel and it shows. The initial reveal trailer was all in-engine. Achieving this level of visual fidelity could require an eye-wateringly powerful gaming setup.

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So there you go, our predictions for the most demanding games of 2020. What do you think? Was there any we got wrong? Are there any that we forgot? Let us know!

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16:20 Feb-10-2020

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

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10:49 Feb-10-2020

We don't even know the requirements

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01:20 Feb-10-2020

For some reason i dislike the Cyperpunk 2077 graphics. Let's hope that they will skip the current gen consoles.

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16:43 Feb-10-2020

I feel ya. It is grimy and grim-looking. Hopefully, it has more of a sheen to it when I see it not through a video stream.

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01:36 Feb-11-2020

Yeah, the game does not seem that demanding at least on the GPU, we dont know about the CPU, AC Origins and oddyssey made me get rid of my ol i5 3570k, the poor thing was at 100% most of the time and was getting stuttering with that, also was getting stuttering in outer worlds and other titles, but mostly on AC.

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19:38 Feb-09-2020

Half Life Alyx is the most demanding game. Running VR only games smoothly and with high settings is a miracle of God xD

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01:37 Feb-11-2020

Nah, that does not count, releasing a half life game vr only, Alyx does not exist to me

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19:37 Feb-09-2020

I really like Ubisoft games in itself, but the optimization is throwing me off every single time so I never finished any Ubisoft title

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10:49 Feb-10-2020

Even AC 4 runs like s*it

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01:38 Feb-11-2020

Man, that CPU is struggling, that is why, those games are very CPU and GPU intensive, there is no game that stress that much the CPU and the CPU that much.

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10:11 Feb-11-2020

They are unreal tho, other games run perfectly fine, Battlefield V and FFXV without any hitches

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18:50 Feb-09-2020

Imo Watch Dogs 2 isn't badly optimized at all and visually Cyberpunk 2077 doesn't even look THAT impressive. It just has scale and lots of NPCs. That's why it will be demanding.

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19:16 Feb-09-2020

Well if you take into account Ray tracing then it's safe to bet that it will be the most demanding game of 2020

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01:40 Feb-11-2020

I think i saw a video a few years back, a dude was running a high end i7 with a gtx 1080 ti overclocked and was getting barely 35 fps with ultra settings at 1080p, no kidding.

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17:51 Feb-09-2020

Dying light 2 and Cyberpunk will not that difficult to run for me high/ultra setting must be possible.

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10:50 Feb-10-2020

Yeah let's hope both of us will be fine

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01:41 Feb-11-2020

yes, our rigs should be completely fine, at least for 1080p high-ultra settings.

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16:27 Feb-09-2020

I have a feeling cyberpunk and flight sim are gonna be the 2. AC is usually demanding but also badly optimized so we'll see. And for people who don't understand the difference that's a problem. Optimized should be a game that uses gpu at 99% to get u the best fps, and don't tell me its cpu bottlenecked because my PC def isn't. i have a few games that don't use gpu usage and that's where we get unoptimized games from. Also not fully utilizing all the cpu cores, especially recently with 6+ cores being very affordable.

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18:41 Feb-09-2020

unless ubisoft releases a broken patch like they did with AC origins.

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10:52 Feb-10-2020

Well it will most probably have 2 DRM as well so you can imagine how it will run

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17:10 Feb-10-2020

Seriously this is getting annoying to see ppl spread misinformation.


AC Origins DRM's only led to longer load times and did not affect game performance. the current iteration of Denuvo and the other DRM's like steam and uplay do not impact performance, and can increase load times at worst, which is still faster if u r running games from SSD tht is. the DRM's can only cause issues if they r not implemented properly and many big studios implement DRM's in the game properly as of now.


The only downside is the long time preservation of games and looking at how the entire industry is gearing for cloud based gaming, I would consider DRM to be the least to worry abt compared to this.

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23:51 Feb-10-2020

a patch is significantly different than including a DRM, at one point it Ran amazingly on my PC then as of late its unstable.

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16:09 Feb-09-2020

I am somewhat worried running cyberpunk 2077 1440p high settings with a 4 core i7. The city seems tense might hammer the cpu hard.

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01:43 Feb-11-2020

Nah, you should be fine, it is still a very capable CPU, maybe even an overclocked i7 4770k could handle this game, but we dont know for sure.

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07:24 Feb-11-2020

I hope my 5.2ghz 1.4V oc will conquer all games for the lifetime(5 years from the beginning of 2017) of the system.

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Can They Run... |

| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-7300HQ 4-Core 2.5GHz GeForce GTX 1050M Ti 4GB 12GB
Core i7-10750H 6-Core 2.60GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Core i5-4440 3.1GHz Radeon HD 6670 v2 Gigabyte OC 1GB Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 720p
Core i3-1005G1 2-Core 1.20GHz UHD Graphics 630 4GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-10400F 6-Core 2.90GHz Radeon RX 560 4GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 7 4800H 8-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-9300H 4-Core 2.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 8GB