PC Games That Best Use HDR Support

Highlights

  • HDR technology enhances the visual experience in video games by creating brighter whites and deeper blacks, resulting in a more realistic image.
  • Monitors with HDR support allow PC gamers to enjoy games with HDR enabled, providing an immersive and visually stunning experience.
  • Games that fully support HDR, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Sea of Thieves, take advantage of the technology to create breathtaking environments and enhanced lighting effects.

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High Dynamic Range, or HDR for short, has become a new high standard for displays. The technology allows for a wider range between the brightest and darkest points on your screen. Essentially, an HDR display creates brighter tones of white and deeper tones of black. When used in video games, the rendering effect creates a more realistic image without impacting the performance of your game. As monitors continue to adopt this technology, more and more PC gamers can enjoy the experience with HDR enabled.

Related: Great Indie Games With Impressive Graphics

There are plenty of great-looking HDR games on PC, but not every release supports the feature. Each game on this list has full HDR support. With Windows 11, you can enable auto-HDR to turn this setting on automatically. Whether you are playing on Ultra settings or Medium settings, HDR is the cherry on top that will make your games even more immersive.

Updated on October 21, 2023 by Gabrielle Castania: As we continue to roll out new features here at TheGamer, we’re updating some of our content to include specs and info for these PC games. Now, you’ll have even more information on the best HDR games before you even head to Steam for a download.

19 Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Underwater Cave Exporation

The third and most recent entry in the new Tomb Raider series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, proves the visual impact HDR implementation can have. Shadow of the Tomb Raider runs the gamut of environments, from dim caves to brightly lit jungles, and both of these spaces take full advantage of HDR.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider also supports ray-tracing, which improves the game’s lighting. Combined with HDR, this ray-tracing support will blow your mind and will make for an unparalleled experience. But be prepared to drop some serious cash to make that happen.

18 Sea of Thieves

Sea Of Thieves: A Galleon Anchored Outside An Island

Sea of Thieves

Released
March 20, 2018

Developer(s)
Rare

Genre(s)
Adventure

Sea of Thieves is constantly improving, and its audience has grown sustainably. Since its launch, Sea of Thieves added Pirates of the Caribbean content and improvements to the core gameplay structures. These changes make it one of the best online coop games.

One thing that does not get enough credit is how great Sea of Thieves looks, especially at high settings on PC. The art direction relies on a vivid color palette and pops in HDR. It is by far the best way to experience the game and continues to stun when you witness sunset or sunrise while sailing the seven seas.

17 Age of Empires 4

age of empires 4
via Relic

Age of Empires 4

Franchise
Age of Empires

Released
October 28, 2021

Developer(s)
Relic Entertainment, World’s Edge

Genre(s)
Simulation

Age of Empires 4 made a huge splash in the PC gaming community in 2021. The return of this massive franchise was long-awaited, and the game has never looked better graphically. HDR highlights these improvements and further immerses you into the gameplay.

Age of Empires has a very neutral color palette of dirt, grass, and water, but these tones benefit from the wider color gamut offered in HDR. When you construct a massive empire, your empires’ colorful soldiers and buildings will pop on the relatively muted landscape. Age of Empires is back, and this time it’s more beautiful than ever before.

16 Battlefield 5

Battlefield 5 Krag-Jørgensen

battlefield 5

Franchise
Battlefield

Released
November 20, 2018

Developer(s)
DICE

Genre(s)
FPS

The Battlefield FPS series has always been known for impressive graphical fidelity. Battlefield 5 is no exception, and developer DICE delivers a breathtaking open world defined by stunning visuals. Turning on HDR enhances the brutal realism achieved by spectacular firefights.

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If you’re looking for realism, high-octane action, and team-based objectives, Battlefield 5 is just perfect for you. This entry in the series is a brilliant blend of impressive visuals and addictive gameplay.

15 Star Wars: Battlefront 2

Battlefront 2's key art.

Although it faced extreme controversy upon release, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has undeniably pushed the limits of graphical capabilities and attention to detail. Set in the Star Wars universe, Battlefront 2 features impeccable recreations of familiar environments, characters, and objects. When playing in HDR, the quality of this attention to detail is enhanced, bringing even more life to the world DICE recreated.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has changed drastically since its initial release and maintains a committed following of fans. If you’re a Star Wars fan and have an HDR monitor, this should be the first game you boot up.

14 Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village House Beneviento

Resident Evil Village

Franchise
Resident Evil

Released
May 7, 2021

Developer(s)
Capcom

Genre(s)
Survival (dupe), Horror

Resident Evil Village is an exceptional example of great HDR implementation. The game itself takes place in a dreary and drab European village. This setting demands a substantial range of darker tones to appreciate the aesthetic Capcom created. From misty outdoor scenes to interiors lit by candles and fires, you will want to experience this game in HDR.

Resident Evil Village is set three years after Resident Evil 7 and builds on the franchise’s immersive horror storytelling and increases the action. Perhaps one of the most effective uses of HDR technology yet.

13 Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

18-Assassin's Creed Odyssey How To Become The Hero Of The Arena

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Franchise
Assassin’s Creed

Released
October 15, 2018

Developer(s)
Ubisoft Quebec

Genre(s)
Action RPG, Open-World

Ubisoft’s foray into ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is replete with visual splendor. The world feels vast and mysterious, incentivizing players to explore every square inch of Greece. Pair that with an intriguing story, and you have a must-play entry in the franchise.

When playing in HDR, the wheat fields of Sparta, the Mediterranean Isles, and the buildings of Athens look visually stunning. Additionally, as the time of day changes, certain areas can look breathtaking, and you will likely want to drop into photo mode to take some amazing screenshots.

12 Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Senua looking at a sunset in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a surprise hit back in 2017. The game takes place in Helheim and tasks Senua with retrieving the soul of her dead lover. Along the way, you will face challenging enemies and cope with Senua’s deteriorating mental health. As you play and inevitably die, Senua gets increasingly infected by “rot,” threatening her very existence.

Hellblade is as challenging as it is beautiful. Traveling through Helheim and the world Ninja Theory meticulously designed is equally beautiful and horrifying. When playing on an HDR display, the level of immersion is outstanding, particularly in sections with dense fog or sunsets.

11 Cyberpunk 2077

V watches a medical team rescue a dying person

Cyberpunk 2077

Released
December 10, 2020

Developer(s)
CD Projekt Red

Genre(s)
RPG, Action

The world of Cyberpunk 2077 begs for the HDR treatment. From the neon signs of Night City to vast wastelands, playing with an HDR display is a game-changing experience.

RELATED: Games Set In Dystopian Futures

Set in a dystopian future, Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world RPG that completely immerses you from start to finish. This is an undeniably beautiful game, and witnessing Night City in HDR is all the reason you need to invest in a new display.

10 Halo Infinite

Master Chief in Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite

Franchise
Halo

Released
December 8, 2022

Developer(s)
343 Industries

Genre(s)
First-Person Shooter

Halo Infinite is the first Halo game to launch on PC. That means it is the first to take advantage of high-quality graphics settings and high FPS. While both PC options are outstanding, pairing them with an HDR monitor or TV is the cherry on top that makes Halo’s graphics pop.

From darker interiors with glowing light sources to large outdoor landscapes basking in the sun, there is no situation in which Halo’s implementation of HDR does not shine. Halo Infinite marks the next generation of the franchise, and that generation relies on HDR.

9 Death Stranding

Sam Bridges looks at floating "BBs" above the ocean in Death Stranding

Death Stranding

Released
November 8, 2019

Developer(s)
Kojima Productions

Genre(s)
Action

When it came out on PlayStation 4, Death Stranding showcased just how beautiful a unique open-world game could be in your living room. Later, when it came to PC, Hideo Kojima could even better realize his vision with the extra horsepower available on some setups, and these improvements pop in HDR.

The world of Death Stranding combines vast rocky environments with futuristic hubs and Beached Things. Death Stranding does not shy away from its cinematic inspirations (or from delivering truly poignant dialogue), and its implementation of HDR helps it achieve that feeling.

8 God of War

Kratos talking to the world serpent in God of War

God of War (2018)

Franchise
God of War

Released
April 20, 2018

Developer(s)
Santa Monica Studio

Genre(s)
Action, Adventure

When God of War launched on PC, it brought the full suite of graphical customization options, including HDR support. Fans who played God of War on PlayStation already know how great this game looks in HDR. But combining this HDR-heavy art direction with the higher resolution textures and higher frame rates on PC was a game-changer.

RELATED: The Most Graphically Demanding RPGs

Few games look better than God of War, and this game is a must-play in the series. If you’re looking for a new game to push your HDR monitor to its full potential, look no further than God of War.

7 Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

A small plane flies over a turquoise blue ocean

The crème de la crème of HDR gaming on PC is none other than Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. HDR is a rendering technique that lets game developers create a more realistic range of visual tones, and this is essential for Flight Simulator’s mission to recreate the entire Earth.

Yes, that is correct; you can fly over your actual house in beautiful HDR. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is a visually spectacular experience, and its mind-blowing visuals are a testament to the new generation of gaming and the potential of HDR itself.

6 Forza Horizon 5

a beautiful panoramic view of a salty marshland in forza horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5

Franchise
Forza Horizon

Released
November 9, 2021

Developer(s)
Playground Games

Genre(s)
Racing

Forza Horizon 5 brings the franchise to the stunningly beautiful Mexico. Playground Games meticulously created a jaw-dropping version of Mexico that roars to life in HDR. If you want to test out your brand-new monitor or TV, Forza Horizon 5 is where you want to start.

The realism that this setting adds is unmatched and is one of the best implementations of HDR in a game. It is simply the best use of HDR on PC and one of the best games of 2021. Do yourself a favor and try Forza Horizon 5.

5 Horizon Zero Dawn

horizon zero dawn
via Guerilla Games

Horizon: Zero Dawn

Franchise
Horizon

Released
February 28, 2017

Developer(s)
Guerrilla Games

Genre(s)
Action, RPG

Next up, we have Horizon Zero Dawn. Like many other games on our list, this game already looks phenomenal. This game was first released in 2017, with the PC version released in August of 2020. In HDR, the world of Horizon Zero Dawn around you will truly come to life.

In addition to being able to toggle HDR rendering on and off, you can also adjust the brightness. This will allow you to create the perfect environment to game in.

4 Elden Ring

A Tarnished kneels with their sword in the ground

Elden Ring

Released
February 25, 2022

Developer(s)
From Software

Genre(s)
RPG, Action, Action RPG, Soulslike

Elden Ring truly needs no introduction. At the 2022 Game Awards, this FromSoftware game won Game of the Year, as well as the award for Best Art Direction. Everything in the game is beautifully picturesque, distracting you from the fact that the world is indeed, very deadly.

With HDR enabled, The Lands Between will nearly jump off your screen. With a higher contract, you will be able to see every detail. Like other games we have included, be sure to experiment with the setting to find the HDR settings that work best for you.

3 Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Peter Quill holding his Element Guns in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

guardian

Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series

Released
April 18, 2017

Developer(s)
Telltale Games

Genre(s)
Graphic Adventure

Guardians of the Galaxy follows a mismatched group of heroes as they make their way around the galaxy. Although the game shares a title with the MCU movies, the storylines are different, allowing you to have a fresh and new experience with these Marvel characters.

Related: The Best Raccoons In Video Games

It may feel like Guardians of the Galaxy was seemingly made for HDR. With a higher contrast between light and dark, you will have another completely immersive experience.

2 Monster Hunter World

A wide shot of various characters from Monster Hunter: Iceborne standing around in a frozen tundra covered in thick winter clothing.

Monster Hunter World

Franchise
Monster Hunter

Released
January 26, 2018

Developer(s)
Capcom

Genre(s)
Action RPG

Monster Hunter World is not the most recent Monster Hunter game, but it is certainly the most realistic. Releasing in 2018, Monster Hunter World brings us a new art style, straying away from the typically cartoonish appearance of the series.

Adding HDR to Monster Hunter World is the icing on the cake, especially with the Iceborne DLC. Now, rather than just seeing a flat white blanket of snow, you will be able to see minute details that you may have missed. Additionally, with HDR, many effects will give off a neon appearance, making them quite noticeable.

1 Ori And The Will Of The Wisps

Ori standing before a massive bear in Ori and the Will of The Wisps

Ori And The Will Of The Wisps is definitely one of the most colorful games on our list. Without HDR enabled, all the colors stand out, creating a bright setting that takes your breath away though.

With HDR though, the world comes alive, with the brightest colors glowing right off the screen. Ori And The Will Of The Wisps with HDR enabled may even leave you thinking, “I didn’t know my screen was capable of doing that”. This game in HDR is truly a work of art.

Next: The Most Colorful Games Of All Time

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