The best PC games for HDR

You’ve just picked one of the best HDR monitors, and now you need some of the best HDR PC gaming to go along with it. Many PC games don’t support HDR or come with a horrible implementation (I’m looking at you, Destiny 2). I’ve rounded up a few HDR games that I reach for on PC that offer plenty of eye candy without too much hassle.

If you’re not sure what HDR does and why it can go wrong, be sure to read our in-depth HDR explainer. Many HDR monitors, outside of expensive options, don’t look great either. If you’re worried about messing with HDR, you might want to invest in a TV with HDR10+ or ​​Dolby Vision.

For some games, HDR is about highlights and shadows, and for others, it’s about the bits in between. Forza Horizon 5 falls into this last category. HDR pushes dynamic range to its limits, but what stands out are the softer tones in between. In forza horizon 5, HDR isn’t about blowing the sun across the sky; it’s about bringing a touch of realism to the wonderfully crafted map of Mexico.

It’s a little off-putting at first – HDR is supposed to bring out the colors, and in forza horizon 5, it dulls them. Mexico’s harsh, direct lighting would wash out colors, however, and after a bit of time I appreciated that extra level of realism.

It’s no secret that Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a beautiful game, but you have to play it with HDR to appreciate its depth. It’s one of the best HDR implementations you can find on PC, showing what careful attention to technical detail can do when combined with superb design art.

HDR works particularly well in-game thanks to its variety of level designs. The Silent Woods are solemn and dark, with the blue hue of night lighting up the area, while Baur’s Reach is vibrant with its snowy backdrops and hints of orange and purple. HDR in Ori and the Will of the Wisps seems to pull colors that shouldn’t exist, and it looks better than many AAA games.

Cyberpunk 2077 has come a long way since launch, and now that performance issues are mostly behind the game, it’s easy to appreciate the dynamic world of Night City. Casting HDR isn’t good enough with most displays – combined with ray tracing, in particular, results in weird halos and terrible color mapping.

Don’t give up on HDR immediately, though. Cyberpunk 2077 offers a few sliders for adjusting the look, including a separate option for HDR in the menus (a setting sorely lacking in many HDR PC games). With the right settings for your display, you can bring Night City to life with HDR in ways you’ve never seen before.

The rebooted Hitman Trilogy is amazing, and all three games feature gorgeous HDR. I went there with Hitman 3 because of the levels and the way they display HDR. All three games feature a rather subdued color palette, emphasizing shadows in deep corners that could hide a sneaky assassin. Hitman 3 does too, but with an incredible pop of color in the world.

If you want a quick shot of HDR, start the Chongqing level to see the bright neon lights reflecting off the city streets in the rain. It’s the best showcase, but the six tiers look dynamic and vibrant. As well as Chongqing, I’m a fan of Dubai with its cinematic outdoor intro and Gatsby-esque sets, as well as Berlin with its colorful club setting, laid-back outdoor bar and stark “warehouse” lighting in the back.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice assaults your senses. That’s what the game is all about. The audio experience will take you far, and the wonderfully detailed world builds on that. But to fully appreciate the story and themes of Hellblade, you have to play it with HDR enabled.

Developer Ninja Theory has made a name for itself for its beautiful visuals over the past two decades, but Infernal Blade is a technical marvel. It looks better than a lot of games released in 2022, and it was released in 2017. Don’t vomit Infernal Blade as part of an HDR hype demo; it’s the one you’ll want to play on your own.

Disco Elysee is an unlikely choice for the best HDR games, but it seems fair so good. The game is a classic non-combat RPG, and it locks players in with impeccable writing and quest design, and an art style all its own. It is a battered watercolor that comes to life.

Atmosphere is the name of the game, and while the art style translates without HDR, it’s at its best with HDR. The blotchy world of Elysium is full of dark colors, and HDR is just another layer that relies on immersion.

If you’re looking for easy eye candy, look no further than Tetris effect. It’s particle overload, and the HDR is perfectly mapped to show the specular highlights of evolving scenes in the background without cutting them off. It’s HDR that’s about to be too much, but with the game’s dynamic art design, it never crosses that line.

It’s a game that’s only limited by the screen you’re playing it on. It’s no secret that HDR on monitors isn’t always great, and Tetris effect is a game you want to play on the best screen possible. Throw it on an OLED TV like the LG CX, and you’re in for one of the most dynamic visual experiences available in gaming.

It’s also a great game. You will load Tetris effect for a quick hit of particles and stay for hours cleaning lines.

How to tell if a PC game supports HDR

There isn’t a database of all HDR-supporting PC games, and any that exist are generally incomplete or skip titles without a proper in-game HDR setting. I recommend using the PCGamingWiki to find out if a game you want to play supports HDR. This wiki lists the graphics features of most PC games, and it’s the most comprehensive list of HDR PC games I’ve found.

This is still a wiki, so the information you find may not be accurate. The best way to find out if a PC game supports HDR is to start it up and check in the settings menu.

How to tell if your monitor supports HDR

HDR enabled Computer displays are defined by VESA’s DisplayHDR standard. Stand-based monitors usually come with a label, either on the box or on the monitor itself. If you don’t have either, you can search for your monitor on the DisplayHDR website to see if it’s supported.

Although DisplayHDR is the HDR standard for PC monitors, it has several levels. The lowest level, DisplayHDR 400, doesn’t give the experience you might expect from an HDR display. As DisplayHDR itself points out, not all HDRs are created equal.

How to Enable HDR in PC Games

Most games have an HDR option in the settings menu. You’ll usually find it in graphics settings, but you can also find it in display settings. Turn it on, adjust the sliders (if available) and you’re good to go. Some games, however, require you first enable HDR in Windows 10.

If HDR isn’t displaying correctly in a game, follow these steps to enable HDR in Windows:

  1. hurry windows key + S at the same time; search for “HDR.”
  2. Open HDR Settings and select your screen if you have multiple monitors.
  3. Toggle the Use HDR switch to At.

Your screen may flicker for a second, but then HDR will work.

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About Dorie Castro

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