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The best games on Google Stadia: Who needs hardware?
Google Stadia has built up a respectable catalog of games since its launch in 2020, and now that anyone can play for free the only thing stopping you from getting in on the action is actually buying a game. That’s right, no hardware required, just buy one of the best Google Stadia games and start playing in seconds!
Before we hop into our picks, we should point out that not all games play equally on the cloud gaming service. It’s up to developers to optimize their games for the platform. Some might be great games, but don’t live up to their console or PC counterparts.
Don’t want to give Google your credit card details or be worried about overspending? Grab a Google Play Store gift card below and use that to purchase games or a Stadia Pro subscription. You can use Google Opinion Rewards for Stadia purchases, as well.
Best Google Stadia games:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Google Stadia games regularly as new titles make their way onto the platform.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Assassin's Creed Odyssey Stadia Ultimate Edition includes all season pass content.
Ubisoft’s most ambitious Assassin’s Creed title to date builds on what made Origins great. There’s an enormous world to explore that recreates the iconography, history, and mythology of Ancient Greece, a compelling main story with razor-sharp writing, and enough side content to keep you playing for weeks, if not months. The open-world RPG feel — complete with dialogue choices, skill trees, and a randomized loot system — might not be what fans of the series expect, but it’s a change for the better.
While there’s a little too much grind and generic Ubisoft quest design, Odyssey is still a fittingly epic romp that isn’t afraid to crack a joke or two and features the series’ best lead character since Ezio… as long as you pick Kassandra and not the boring dudebro on the cover.
If you want the full Assassin’s Creed Odyssey experience, the Stadia Ultimate Edition also comes with all the season pass content.
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: $59.99
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Stadia Ultimate Edition: $119.00
The second title on our list was included with Founder’s Edition and Premiere Edition purchases as Stadia Pro game, and remains free with a Stadia Pro subscription even today. Since it’s probably already in your library if you’re a Pro subscriber, it’s the perfect way to dip your toes into Stadia without having to make any extra purchases. You can also buy the games separately if you don’t want to pay the subscription fee, although this works out to be significantly more expensive.
Destiny 2 straddles the fence between FPS and MMO, with plenty of content to dive into. After a tumultuous launch followed by a split from publisher Activision, developer Bungie went back to the drawing board and retooled almost every aspect of its sci-fi sequel. Armed with more in-depth expansion content, improved world-building, and a rewarding loot system, Destiny 2 now delivers on the incredible potential the series has been threatening to achieve since its original outing in 2014.
The game is best enjoyed with friends in co-op mode so you can dive into the phenomenal six-person raids, but you can also play solo if that’s your thing. You can even sync your progress from other platforms, although true cross-play isn’t available yet. There are fewer players on Stadia than on other platforms, but there is a tight-knit community built around Destiny 2 on Stadia. Check out their Discord channel to find your next raid party today.
- Destiny 2: The Collection is included with Stadia Pro
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light: $39.99
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light + season: $49.99
- Destiny 2: Beyond Light Deluxe Edition: $69.99
Red Dead Redemption 2
Widely hailed as one of the best games of this generation, Red Dead Redemption 2 more than earns its spot among the best games on Stadia. Although it was released on PC in 2018, the game is extremely demanding, and many gaming rigs won’t be able to play it to its fullest. Stadia won’t deliver the exact same quality as an ultra-powerful PC, but it gets pretty darn close.
No words will do Red Dead Redemption 2 justice. Go buy it now.
RDR 2 is an open-world western opus from Rockstar… you know, the team that also makes Grand Theft Auto, that franchise that’s sold nearly 300 million copies and made more than $9 billion. Yeah, that company. There’s some serious pedigree here, and RDR2 more than lives up to expectations.
No description will truly do it justice, however, as everything from the gameplay and graphics to the story and dialogue is meticulously crafted. Do not hesitate to pick this one up if you haven’t already played it on another platform.
- Red Dead Redemption 2: $59.99
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Special Edition: $79.99
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition: $99.99
4A Games’ epic Metro series (based on the Russian Metro 2033 novels) is back and better than ever in Metro Exodus. It’s been available on consoles and PC for a while now, but the minimum requirements prevented many players from taking part. Thankfully, Stadia lowers that bar to virtually any device with a screen.
Metro Exodus sees a rag-tag group of survivors attempt to escape from the Moscow Metro and find out what’s going on in the outside world. Vast post-apocalyptic worlds await, with irradiated dangers and unfriendly locals around every corner. It’s still distinctively Metro, but it does stray into Fallout territory at times, for better or worse.
The previous two titles in the Metro series, Metro 2033 Redux, and Metro Last Light, are also available on the platform, but aren’t necessarily required playing before hopping into Exodus.
- Metro Exodus: $39.99
- Metro Exodus Gold Edition: $64.99
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Stadia launched with all three entries in Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of the iconic Tomb Raider series, but Rise of the Tomb Raider is the best of the bunch. The PC version featured a graphical overhaul when it was released a few months after the console version, and Stadia lets you enjoy it on screens of any size.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a third-person adventure game that sees legendary video game heroine Lara Croft brave the cold wastes of Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh. The game is semi-open world, and as you gain experience you can specialize in the type of gameplay you’re interested in, whether it be stealth, scavenging, or just good old-fashioned killin’.
You don’t have to play the first game to enjoy Rise of the Tomb Raider, but if you are a long-time Stadia Pro subscriber you might already have it in your library. All three games are frequently on sale, as well, so don’t hesitate to pick them up whenever they’re discounted.
- Tomb Raider (2013): $19.99
- Rise of the Tomb Raider: $29.99
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider: $59.99
Mortal Kombat 11
Our list of the best Stadia games wouldn’t be complete without at least one fighting game, and Mortal Kombat 11 edges out SNK’s Samurai Shodown for the spot. Despite the quick reaction times needed to play fighting games competitively, input lag is hardly perceptible in MK11 for Stadia, provided you have a stable internet connection.
Mortal Kombat 11 offers the same gory, over-the-top action as the earlier entries in the series, including the return of some of the most iconic characters thanks to a time- and dimension-bending story campaign that’s as corny as it is fun. Beneath it all is a solid fighting game with tons of single-player content to work through when you’re not mashing buttons against online opponents.
- Mortal Kombat 11: $49.99
- Mortal Kombat 11 Premium Edition: $89.99
It’s no secret that CD Projekt Red’s highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 was a major disappointment to PC and console gamers. At launch, it had so many game-breaking bugs and crashing issues that the company offered refunds for unhappy customers. It was even removed from the PS4 digital store since the experience was so terrible.
In an interesting twist of fate, the best platform to play Cyberpunk 2077 was (and still is) Google Stadia. Gameplay is smooth and it sidesteps the high minimum system requirements for PC gamers. With next-gen upgrades for the PS5 and Xbox Series X delayed into early 2022, this isn’t likely to change any time soon.
If somehow you haven’t heard of Cyberpunk 2077 at this point, it’s a sprawling third-person RPG from the same studio as the Witcher series. Based on a dystopian tabletop role-playing game of the same name, it takes place in a future with cybernetic implants, bioengineering, and overbearing megacorporations.
- Cyberpunk 2077: $59.99
Doom Eternal was one of the earliest titles announced for Google Stadia, and now that it’s finally available we can safely say it’s lived up to the hype. Sure, it’s not technically 4K 60fps (it’s upscaled from 1440p), but can you really tell the difference?
The flashy FPS puts you in the shoes of the impossibly badass Doomguy, who’s back and better than ever with an enormous arsenal of over-the-top weaponry. Unlike other shooters, the gameplay focus is always on pressing forward with your grappling hook and chainsawing your demonic opponents to regain health and armor. There is no duck and cover in Doom Eternal.
As you ramp up the difficulty, the game becomes as much about building a strategy for each room as it does about aim. Expect to die — a lot — and have a blast doing it.
- Doom Eternal Standard Edition: $59.99
- Doom Eternal Deluxe Edition: $89.99
Final Fantasy XV
Square Enix’s keystone series has seen a number of permutations in its 20+ years of existence, but the latest entry is the first to be available in full 4K glory. Final Fantasy XV is one of the best Google Stadia games and truly one of very few traditional RPGs currently on the platform.
Final Fantasy XV breaks with Square Enix’s tried-and-true JRPG formula by switching to a fully real-time battle system and sticking to a quartet of main characters on a fantastical road trip. When a powerful crystal is stolen from the Lucian royal family, heir to the throne Noctis and his three best bros have to team up to get it back before the world of Eos is plunged into eternal darkness.
If you’ve already played FFXV or just want more RPG action on Stadia, check out Octopath Traveler or SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech.
- Final Fantasy XV: $39.99
If you haven’t already heard of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (or PUBG) in 2021, I hope you’ve enjoyed your time living under a rock. Serving as a major springboard for the battle royale genre that took the world by storm in 2017, PUBG was one of the most popular PC games in the world for years. The mobile version of the game (PUBG Mobile) later grew to be even more popular.
Gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from a battle royale game, mostly because later games copied the formula which PUBG itself adapted from H1Z1 and others. 100 players are dropped onto a massive island, where they must scavenge for weapons and equipment to eliminate the other players. The goal is to be the last man standing, which is no easy feat.
PUBG was announced and released for Google’s cloud gaming platform on the same day. It recently went free-to-play on all platforms after previously costing $30. But what truly makes this one of the best Stadia games is cross-play with consoles. Grab it today and play instantly with your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 owning friends.
- PUBG Battlegrounds: Free
Orcs Must Die! 3
Orcs Must Die is has been a fan-favorite franchise for nearly a decade now, and the latest installment was a timed exclusive on Stadia. To sweeten the pot even further, it’s currently available as a Stadia Pro title for subscribers to grab free of charge.
Like its predecessors, Orcs Must Die 3 is a tower defense game with a twist. Instead of playing from a top-down perspective, you take direct control of a single character from a third-person view. It’s still charming and goofy, but the scale of battle has been taken to a new level thanks to Stadia’s unique hardware.
The game truly shines in co-op. Teaming up with a friend to fight off never-ending hordes of enemies in increasingly gory and sadistic ways is what really makes this one of the best games on Stadia.
- Orcs Must Die! 3: $29.99
The final entry on our list of the best Stadia games might sound like a strange pick for the latency-sensitive platform. Thumper is an intense rhythm game where you control a space beetle that flies down a track at breakneck speed.
All you can do is jump, hit notes, and lean into curves, but timing is everything. It’s a perfect game for people who like to grind for new high scores as they strive for that elusive perfect run. This is also a great game to showcase the incredible low-latency capabilities of Stadia for naysayers.
- Thumper: $19.99
That’s it for our list of the best Stadia games! Check out some of our other Google Stadia guides below.