This is the 9th generation of consoles, and with each iteration of graphics cards, both PCs and consoles are bringing us a step closer to photorealism. Hardware is getting more powerful, but it is also getting expensive. The only hardware-less solution, cloud gaming, is still remote to much of the world and continues to develop. Until it makes the distant reality of playing high-quality titles on any system more accessible, our only option is to be selective in picking games.
It is very much possible to play games without a dedicated GPU, and yes, there are plenty of quality ones too. While the minimum recommended specs are included whenever possible, the general rule of thumb is that unless your PC is more than 10 years old, you can run most of the games.
30 Games That You Can Play Without a Graphics Card
1. Assassin’s Creed
There isn’t any better way to spend time than learning more about ancient civilizations. Assassin’s Creed 1 takes place during the Third Crusade in the Holy Land in 1191, and you can visit places like Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus. The game has a richly detailed open world, at least for its time, and offers total freedom in gameplay—whether you want to be sneaky or go on a rampage.
The game was first released in 2007, and was successful enough to be followed by 11 mainline entries and the series eventually became one of the most critically acclaimed franchises. The minimum requirements for Assassin’s Creed include Intel Pentium D, which was released in 2005. Safe to say, any decent post-2010 CPUs with integrated graphics should run the game. If you have a more modern configuration, you can easily run the following entries of the saga: Assassin’s Creed II, Brotherhood, and Revelations.
2. Among Us
If you’re looking for some dumb fun with friends, fun enough for a hysterical laugh, and then switch to a competitive mood in seconds, then Among Us is just that. The game doesn’t really need an introduction. If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes daily on the internet these past years, you’ve likely heard about the game. Even with randoms, the game is a blast and still has an active player base, so don’t worry about longer matchmaking queues.
The minimum requirements for Among Us are SSE2 and 1 GB RAM. All that means is that it can run on almost all PCs unless you’re using something like a pre-2000 set-up. Even then, it is worth a shot. The game is also available for free on Android, so you can always emulate the Android version on your PC through BlueStacks or other Android emulators.
3. Beyond Good & Evil
When Beyond Good & Evil was first launched, despite the good reviews, it never gained widespread popularity. The developers said it was a commercial failure, and dropped the immediate plans for the sequels. But charm never dies, and the game’s appeal grew wider after a few years, and it slowly became a cult classic. In BG&E you play as a journalist and solve an alien conspiracy. The game has a good story, gameplay, and it still has the charm.
The recommended specification is Pentium III, and to give you an idea, it was released in 1999. We doubt any PCs from that era have even survived, and if they have, they belong in museums!
After being expelled from seven schools, a frustrated mother and “rich old phony” step-father drop their child off at a local boarding school to go on a one-year honeymoon. Despite how funny the synopsis sounds, it has a well-written narrative and is coupled with even more fun gameplay. The game, though, wasn’t all positively received because of its nature. It raised questions from parents and was opposed by some even before the launch. It was even banned in Brazil but was later lifted in 2016.
The minimum requirement for Bully is an Intel Pentium 4. The game was released in 2008, so if you have a CPU with integrated graphics that was released around 8 years ago, the game will run smoothly. Older CPUs are still playable, but something older than 2008 may not cut it.
5. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
First released in 2012 and the last mainline entry of the Counter-Strike franchise, CS:GO is one of the most popular shooters. It was distinct because you never respawn adding a tactical and teamwork layer to the game. The best part is that it continues to receive
CS:GO was first released in 2014, and requires a stronger GPU to run than the other games on the list. The recommended specs are higher, and some older PCs may struggle. However, it is entirely possible to run the game without a dedicated GPU. All decent integrated GPUs released after 2015 should run them comfortably. Older hardware can still run them at a lower resolution. It is free, so nothing to lose. Give it a go!
6. Call of Duty
Exactly the opposite of a tactical game is Call of Duty. Every game in the franchise is action-packed, and while there are some serious tactical set pieces in some Modern Warfare games, it is normally all about going guns blazing. Some older CoD games still have active multiplayer. Though you might have to wait a little longer in the queue, it is definitely playable. Otherwise, you can enjoy the campaign, which is all neatly done.
As for system requirements, all Call of Duty games before 2010 can be played on any decent system. They’ll be your safe bet to enjoy, and some good integrated graphics can handle Modern Warfare III. Older CoD games were generally considered to have better campaigns compared to modern CoD games, and that’s good news.
7. Duke Nukem 3D
Now that you’ve looked into some of the most popular first-person franchises, it is time to look into one of the genre’s pioneers. Duke Nukem is widely regarded as one of the forefathers of the FPS game, and despite being old enough to be called “ancient,” it is still surprisingly fun. Fairly similar to Doom, you shoot enemies (and objects too!) and progress through levels that are all unique.
It was first released in 1996, and that also means your system power is the last thing to worry about when playing the game. Does your PC turn on? Then yes, you can play Duke Nukem 3D.
8. Devil May Cry
There’s nothing to quite literally describe the entire Devil May Cry series. It is high-octane, over-the-top, and cocky. It is one of the most memorable third-person action games, and that’s mainly because of the combat. It is very fast-paced and when first playing you will be just mashing buttons and enjoying it, but as you continue to learn and pull sick combos, you’ll start to feel like a god.
The series has five main installments, and while the most recent one cannot be played without a graphics card, the previous four are something you can play. The fourth installment was released first in 2008, any decent integrated system post-2013 can run them fairly well. Older CPUs can run the first 3 games of the series.
9. Doom 3
If you’re sick of the Earth, well, some are, you can visit the future Mars in Doom 3. Unfortunately, it is more miserable than here on Earth. Who is worse than humans? Demons, but slightly. Doom is arguably one of the best first-person games as it is fairly simple. All you do is shoot, shoot, and shoot. What more do you even need? Set on Mars in 2145, Doom 3 is about blowing up demons that invaded Mars after a failed teleportation experiment.
Doom 3’s system requirements are fairly non-demanding. You need anything better than a Pentium IV 1.5 or an Athlon XP 1500 processor. It’s easy to run on any of the latest iGPUs, and even good enough for decade-old hardware.
10. Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 is a game that you’ll either love or hate every second of it. It is annoying, and that’s because the physics of the game are realistic, which is often a recipe to un-fun a game. The animations and the amount of detail still hold up, and it is often touted as a game that was ahead of its time. It still has the potential to be your next favorite and is a unique experience that is more than worthy of a shot.
Despite being more than a decade old, Far Cry 2 is demanding. It demanded the best hardware when it was first released. While the system requirements may be on the higher side than most games on the list, any decent CPU with integrated graphics is enough. If you struggle, then you can lower the resolution.
11. Fallout 3
Fallout still maintains a distinctive identity among first-person shooters. It is almost always set in a post-apocalyptic world. The gameplay is on point, and so is the narrative. Fallout 3 takes years after a nuclear disaster that devastated most of the world. You’re a simple person with a simple objective: search for your father who was a scientist.
The story that follows is something that you’ll remember for years. Fallout 3 needs something more powerful than an Intel Pentium 4. If it doesn’t run well, you can try Fallout 2, which is also a great RPG experience. And if your system is good enough, add New Vegas to your list.
12. Fall Guys
Most multiplayer games are competitive and can often be toxic. This makes them stressful and takes away the fun. Fall Guys is the opposite, it is light-hearted and also competitive, all depends on how you view it. In Fall Guys, you’re a cute bean and you race against the other 60 players through a series of platforms to cross the finish line. Like a funnier American Ninja. It has an active multiplayer so no long waiting in the queue.
The system requirements are very high for Fall Guys, but it can be played without a discrete graphics card. It may struggle if you have very old hardware, but you can lower the resolution and hit 30 FPS, and despite that, it is still fun and playable. Thanks to the game recently going free to play, nothing will be lost in trying.
13. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Vice City, and III
The first game that you ever tried to download was likely one from the GTA franchise. It is insanely popular. There’s nothing to say about them really, as everything is self-explanatory. All GTA titles are simple; they’re set in a fictional city that gives you total freedom to do anything you want. Each game also has an accompanying storyline that is a narrative masterpiece and is remembered very fondly.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Vice City, and III are all playable without graphic cards. They’re available on mobile, so your PC should be good enough. If it does struggle, you can always lower the resolution or play the Android version through emulators.
14. Halo 3
Much of Xbox and Microsoft’s success in gaming is attributed to Halo. The series’ main character, Master Chief, is the mascot of Xbox and virtually defines the entire history. Halo 3, much like other games in the franchise, is a sci-fi shooter that takes place in 2552. It is the final game in the trilogy and concludes the arc, and was widely praised for the narrative.
You don’t necessarily have to play other previous games to enjoy Halo 3, but if you can run Halo 3, you can easily run all its prequels. The minimum requirements for Halo 3 are Intel Core i7-975, or AMD A12-9800 APU, but it is recommended to have a dedicated GPU with these CPUs. That doesn’t mean you can’t run it, any decent integrated GPUs that aren’t older than 5-6 years can run Halo 3. As always, older processors will have to lower the resolution for a smoother experience.
15. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight is a 2D side-scrolling soulslike game with a beautiful art style. It is one of the “must play” games if you like the genre. The combat is challenging, and there are plenty of bosses. It is a Metroidvania-style game (think of it as a quasi-open world). Unlike traditional 2D games, there is a huge area to explore that you can always track back and visit.
Being a challenging game, it requires quick responses and is recommended to play at a stable 30 frames per second. The art style is also detailed and is somewhat demanding, especially in later areas of the game. No matter the required specs, Hollow Knight can be played without a discrete graphics card. The most recent integrated systems will have no trouble running it, while older ones still can, but only at 720p stable 30 FPS.
16. Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 is another first-person shooter on the list but is also one of the most iconic games. HL2 did so well for the time that the developers are afraid to release a sequel, citing that no matter how good of an installment it will be, they’ll never be able to match the expectations. Like many shooters, HL2 is about shooting, puzzles, and storytelling, where players play as Gordon Freeman, and is a direct sequel to the original game. There is a wide variety of enemies and levels, while the narrative was also received positively by critics.
In regards to whether you can run the game or not, don’t worry. Most integrated GPUs will have no problem. Just make sure your system isn’t older than 2010, which is highly unlikely. Anything more powerful than an AMD Athlon 2.4 or an Intel Pentium 4? You’re good.
17. Just Cause 2
Raise chaos and bring havoc to the entire world. Why? just cause you can. The franchise is known for being “unique” in how it approaches open-world gameplay. Instead of being formulaic and sticking to the ground, like GTA or Watch_Dogs, Just Cause turns the heat up by 10 and pretends everything you see is not for you to view but to blow them up. The open world is huge and offers a diverse landscape. Not everything is a cityscape, as there is a fair bit of jungle.
Just Cause 2 was impressive for its time, so any integrated graphics that were released around 2010 won’t be enough. The game is also unsupported for Windows XP, but any processors younger than 7-8 years can easily clock 30 frames per second. If you end up loving the game, give Just Cause 1 & 3 a go. They can both be played without a graphics card, but 3 will need a more powerful CPU.
18. League of Legends
League of Legends is perhaps the most popular MOBA game of all time. To give you some perspective, it was first released back in 2009. To this day, it is played by millions of players monthly. There must be something to have that pull even after all those years, right? LoL is a PvP game where you play as a champion, each having a different playstyle, and compete against other players or teams. It is free to play and continues to provide ongoing support, keeping the player base engaged.
The system requirements aren’t too high, so there is need to worry. Besides, it’s free to try, so even if it does give a horrible performance, you’re losing nothing. The plus side is, if it does run, you won’t need any other game as it is addictive.
There is a possibility that you have already played the game, as this is the first choice for everyone without a discrete graphics card. Minecraft is an open-world sandbox that lets you live your fairy life. You can create almost anything. The only thing that limits you is your imagination. Your CPU won’t be coming to spoil anything, as it runs perfectly fine on less powerful machines.
If you’re struggling to run, there are alternatives that you can try. The game has been ported to mobile, and like other games in the list, you can play the mobile version instead through emulators. You’ll need a minimum of Intel HD Graphics 4000 or AMD Radeon R5. It is not recommended to play Minecraft with systems that are less powerful than this. Although if you have something around this ballpark, download it and hit the resolution low and you’re good to go. If you’re purchasing it through Steam, you can refund within two hours of playtime.
20. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
In the gallery of stealth games, Metal Gear Solid 2’s name is written in golden letters. Most contemporary stealth games, although the genre is largely dead, owe much to the entire MGS series. MGS2 is a stealth-focused “Tactical Espionage Action” and a must-play if you love stealth. Even if you do not like stealth, the game’s narrative, which was very polarizing at the time, is worth experiencing.
Stealth games are the opposite of action games, and they require an infinite amount of patience. Don’t play the game thinking you can rush through shooting everything. Playing like that, you’ll miss the whole point of these games. That’s still fine, as we don’t want to gatekeep playstyles.
MGS 2 was re-released by Konami a few years ago under the name MGS: Substance, but was quickly delisted because of some licensing issues. The publisher recently announced they’re preparing to relist the games, but no definite date on when they’ll be back and available on the official storefront. It may be available at the time you’re reading this, otherwise you can download the archives that are freely available elsewhere on the internet. MGS2 system requirements are low and can run on ten-year-old hardware.
21. Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Is this the first and only racing game on the list? Well, we deeply regret disappointing you if, by any chance, you are a racing game fan. Anyways, the Need for Speed games are the Fast & Furious equivalent of racing games. Most Wanted still doesn’t feel dated and is just as fun as when it was initially released. In NFS: MW, you compete in races, become infamous, rise through the ranks, and defeat the most wanted racer. It is more action than a sim, so you’ll like it more if you prefer arcade racing games.
There are two NFS: MW, one that was released in 2005, while the other is more recent and was made available in 2012. We recommend playing 2005’s NFS as it requires less power and most integrated systems can hold on their own. MW 2012 is still playable but requires Quad-Core CPU coupled with an NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 560 or ATI RADEON 6950. Both can be played without a discrete card, just that the latter will require more power while the former is less intensive and doable by any iGPU.
22. Portal 2
Portal 2 is quite a unique experience, unlike anything else. In the humdrum of generic and tried-and-tested games, this will amaze you. In Portal 2, the gameplay is about creating “portals” through a device called the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. It is capable of creating a gate on any flat surface, and you can place entry and exit gates to travel between the portals. If you were too young at the time of the game’s release, the concept is similar to the latest Splitgate shooter. In fact, Splitgate is inspired by Portal.
Portal 2 was launched in 2012. That means any great integrated CPU that was released after 2015 will not have a single issue. Although older CPUs will struggle, there is always an option to drop the resolution. If it’s unplayable, you can play the first Portal.
23. Prince of Persia: The Sand of the Time
The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a timeless classic. A remake is currently in development at Ubisoft Montreal, but the publisher is still quiet after multiple delays. Until there are any new updates, we can always take a trip back to the original game. The Sands of Time is a 3D platform puzzle game, where you play as an unnamed prince. Despite the passage of time, parkour and wall climbing are as fresh as ever and will make you fall in love with the series.
The recommended configuration for the Sands of Time is the equivalent of an 800 MHz Pentium III or AMD Athlon 64. If your CPU is more capable than it, with integrated graphics, the game will play better. If you end up liking it, try more older PoPs as the franchise is filled with great games.
Psychonauts is a platformer; the genre will be your best friend when you’re gaming without a discrete graphics card. Psychonauts did not perform well enough to warrant financial backing. Perhaps if it had, we would have seen a slew of sequels. We still had a sequel last year, and while that is something too much to handle without a dedicated card, the first one is possible.
It has everything you expect from a platform but also comes with its own quirks. This is just another game on the list where you don’t have to worry, even if you have 1 GB of RAM and a Pentium.
25. Pro Evolution Soccer
While the list mentions only PES, this doesn’t mean you should shy away from trying older FIFA games. As for which games to play, you can easily try pre-2013 games without a hitch. More powerful CPUs are capable of running more recent installments, even the latest ones. These games are easy time killers and are best played as a couch co-op with friends and family.
Older versions of both PES and FIFA are not all available for purchase on digital stores like Steam or Origin. Like everything else, there are free archives available. Just look them up on Google. The latest version of PES, now rebranded as eFootball, is also available for mobile. Generally, you should be able to play most Android games through emulators on any half-decent system. Keep this as a choice if you want the latest version of the game and enjoy queue-less multiplayer.
26. Rayman Legends
We’ll never forgive Ubisoft for not making another Rayman game. While Rabbids, first intended as a Rayman spin-off, is killing it in other franchises, Rayman will be dearly missed. Rayman Legends is also a platformer and a direct sequel to Rayman Origins (you can play both without a dedicated graphics card!). There are over one hundred and twenty levels in the game. Everything can be enjoyed with friends, as the game also features 4 player co-op.
The system requirements for the game are high, but since the game is featured in our list, that means it is possible to run without a GPU. The game’s performance seems reasonably good on Intel HD 405.
27. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Arguably the best Star Wars adaption of gaming, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR) is an RPG based on earlier comic book series. Developed by BioWare, the game lets you play as a Jedi and pick three classes: Scout, Scoundrel, and Soldier. The game’s narrative is centered around defeating Malak. In an effort to achieve it, you travel across different planets in the galaxy. A full-fledged remake is also currently in development by Aspyr, and the game has also been ported to mobile.
The game can be played on any system that has a higher than 1.8 GHz processor. That’s it.
28. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
It has been almost a decade since Sam Fisher’s series went awol. He has so far only made cameo appearances in the other Tom Clancy franchises, and while Metal Gear is practically dead after the split between Konami and Kojima, Splinter Cell is the last of its kind. Although some would say Hitman is alive, it doesn’t scratch the itch of those games, but they are still very good in their own right.
The third installment in the franchise, and universally hailed as the best of the series, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, will not let you walk over missions. It also had an inventive multiplayer mode (though it is dead now), Spies vs. Mercs. A remake of the original Splinter Cell is in development, so we can revisit and relive the moments that made the franchise stand out again. As for system requirements, don’t worry. If you are able to run most of the games in the list, you can do this too.
Terraria is often referred to as 2D Minecraft, and while that is a good way to give someone a brief idea about the game, it also does a disservice. The art styles of both games are different, and while one is 3D, the other is a side-scroller. In Terraria, you craft, collect weapons, gear up, and defeat bosses. While Minecraft is more about “building” than anything else. For a few lucky people who like both 2D side scrollers and Minecraft, this is the perfect game.
The system requirements remain the same as in Minecraft; anything above Intel HD 3000 is a good bet.
30. Tomb Raider
The last game on our list is Tomb Raider. The original three games, I, II, and III, can be played on any system. The first installment in the soft reboot “survival trilogy” can also be played, but you’ll need a very good and recent iGPU. The entire series is about Lara Croft, who explores dangerous tombs and ruins in search of artifacts. The gameplay is a mix of combat, stealth, climbing, and solving puzzles. Newer games have more survival elements to them.
What else can I play?
While the list is extensive and includes plenty of games that will keep you hooked for years, there are still more. If you have the latest iGPU, you can play as recent as 2020 releases, only if you’re willing to dip the resolution lower to 720p at 30 FPS. There are always games that we desperately want to play but have questions regarding our hardware. Just search for those titles individually, or check out forums like Steam or Reddit and ask for recommendations.