We made it! And it feels like quite a strong decade of video games overall – Starting in the 360/ps3/wii era, and then transitioning into ps4/xbo/wiiU/switch. VR has been born and somewhat refined during this era as well, from the Oculus Rift’s birth and then refinement with the valve index. Graphics have gone from a shitty geforce 300 series in 2010, to the absurd 2080ti which you costs as much as a preowned car – though I suppose nowadays a top end phone also costs the same amount, the samsung Galaxy S was released in 2010, and the specs in comparison to the current S10 is a crazy difference.
The era has seen the birth of new game genres, Dark Souls popularized the appropriately named soulslike genre, and Battle Royale went from a cult film classic to the next MOBA thanks to games like Fortnite.
Battle passes and games as a service have started to be a thing as well now, instead of the standard DLC or Expansion model we were all still not particularly enthused with, now most games will launch with a season pass and modern FPS will continue to abuse you with micros and lootboxes even after you’ve purchased the game, even if you’ve already paid £50 for it.
Anyway, lets move on to the list!
20. Max Payne 3 
I don’t really have much special to say about this, I just really enjoy the gunplay in Max Payne 3 and it’s super smooth and satisfying to play.
Whilst the location and story wasn’t as good as the previous 2 games, this was still a great game.
19. Titanfall 
I’m pretty sad about the changes they made to Titanfall 2, because the original game was such a good FPS. The changes they made to movement made waves in FPS for the next few years with wall running and double jumps becoming standard for a bit, and the Titan VS Pilot gameplay was well balanced and allowed for a surprising amount of cat and mouse moments. Respawn also did away with having 8 different assault rifles in favor of unique weapons where everything had it’s place and playstyle, which I actually really liked because it totally cut out that meta of ‘best AR’ because you only had limited options.
18. Resident Evil 2 (Remake) 
They did it, and it was great. I was skeptical of the over the shoulder view initially but they really managed to preserve the feel of the original while still making it a new and fresh Resi game. The engine and graphics were very impressive also.
17. SSX 
Still the best snowboarding game out there in my opinion, and nobody else is really competing for it. It wasn’t the perfect sequel to tricky and had some over reliance on being edgy but it was so fun to play and landing big air was super satisfying. It’s a shame it’ll probably never see a re-release because god i’d love to play it again in 60fps.
16. Mario Galaxy 2 
The best 3d mario game ever made in my opinion, and oh my god the soundtrack…
15. Dark Souls 2 
One of the dark souls had to go in, if im honest, I don’t really know if Dark Souls 2 is my favourite of of the soulsbourne games, but it’s the first one which really made me understand the magic, so I guess it holds that special place in my heart.
14. The witness 
I love puzzle games, and the witness was an amazing one, I feel like those who wrote it off never really got very far into it to see the real magic in the game, it had some of the best ‘eureka’ moments I’ve ever experienced in a video game and one of the biggest ‘holy shit’ moments of the decade. If you enjoy puzzlers at all, this really is a must play.
13. Monster Hunter World 
Monster hunter has always been one of those games i’ve wanted to get into, but not been able to hack the controls (and to be fair, it didn’t help that it didn’t have a main release on a console I owned).
MHW was that perfect storm of a fantastic release, a lowered barrier of entry with the QoL additions, a bunch of friends who were keen to play, and it finally being on PC, I have 200 hours clocked already and Iceborne preordered and ready to go when it drops in a week.
12. Red Dead Redemption 
After a slightly too long tutorial, RDR turns into basically the best western game ever made – with the only real contender being it’s sequel. I’m not entirely sure what makes the original a better game, perhaps I just liked the sand and desert over forest and mountains (in a western), or perhaps I just played RDR2 too recently for the flaws to be forgotten yet.
11. Celeste 
Arguably Celeste doesn’t do anything special, but it’s so incredibly refined and sleek, just enough story and world building, fantastic soundtrack, loads of bonus levels, and a difficulty which goes from casual all the way to ‘what the hell am i looking at’.
10. Obra Dinn 
Lucas Pope has once again basically created an entirely new type of game, and in the same way that Papers Please has it’s clones, I really hope we see some similar detective games like Obra Dinn because it was a damn good puzzler.
9. Rainbow 6 Siege 
R6S is the only thing i’ve played this decade to even come close to being the next Counter Strike. Attack and defense feel different yet similar, the operators are enough to keep players occupied and there is just such an insane amount of ways to play each objective that you would have to be playing for a very long time to see all of the tricks each map and operator have to offer.
8. Payday 2 
Payday is such a simple premise that i’m shocked more people haven’t tried to copy the formula, it was a great game on launch but the relentless DLC which has been released has both worked for and against it, with a fair bit of bloat but also there are now an insane amount of maps and difficulty levels that you can really spend quite a long time playing just trying to clear each mission once. It’s also great coop in coop and most importantly I guess it’s just really fun to shoot hordes and enemies in the face.
7. Yakuza 0 
My first introduction to the Yakuza series and easily the most memorable, it takes too long to explain the magic of the Yakuza games so if you haven’t already tried one, I strongly suggest doing so. I actually loved the story in Y0 and while later games (6/K2) changed the engine and made huge quality of life changes, I still think Yakuza0 has the best combat.
6. Undertale 
I hate most turn based RPGs but the combat system in Undertale really did something different, that combined with quirky characters, some great humour, storyline twists, turns and multiple endings, and the soundtrack was fantastic too. I had true goosebumps the first time ‘hopes and dreams’ started playing during the final fight.
5. Divinity Original Sin 2 
The scale and scope of Divinity OS2 was crazy, I really enjoyed the amount of ways you could accomplish things, and the way the world was set out. Combat constantly skirted the border of too hard which had a possibly unintended side effect of forcing you to tactically cheat your way through in a way which promotes gameplay mechanic knowledge and thinking outside the box. It’s the Baldurs Gate sequel we always wanted in terms of freedom, and I can’t wait for Larian’s next project.
This honestly might be the best western Tactical RPG that I’ve ever played.
4. A Hat in time 
Charm for days, Hat in Time was just super enjoyable to play all the way through. Every chapter of the game has new ideas which makes this more than just a generic 3d platformer – It’s a platformer, oh now the floor is literally lava, now you’re solving a murder mystery, now you’re leading a conga line, now it’s a horror game, now it’s open world, etc etc etc.
The powers are well thought out and functional, super tight controls, the game rarely tries to slow you down, also Hat Kid and her interaction with the world is just too adorable – giant grin on my face every time I play.
Did I mention the soundtrack is incredible? This might be my favourite 3d platformer of ever.
3. Grand Theft Auto 5 
Part of me hates that GTA5 was so good, because it’s become the cash cow that Rockstar won’t stop milking, that said, I played the shit out of the singleplayer in GTA5, getting 100% completion, and I really enjoyed the majority of it. The shooting (on PC at least) is way better than previous games, the world seemed to have loads to do, the story with its 3 characters was much more exciting to me that GTA4’s Niko, and similar to payday2 there is just something incredibly satisfying heists in games. Here’s hoping that GTA6 continues to expand on the world detail and small things which make GTA5 so good, instead of just being a fresh paint of coat.
2. Factorio 
I love a good automation game and Factorio is probably THE automation game – a genre which may not have even existed before this decade. The puzzle and incremental aspects of Factorio just make it really satisfying to play, especially as you take breaks after building to just zoom out and look at how far you’ve come – from literally mining coal by hand to nuclear reactors which automatically process uranium. The modding scene is very much alive as well, making it very hard to exhaust the content – though to be honest, even just launching the missile in vanilla is a real challenge in itself, even on peaceful modes.
1. Minecraft [2010 (Alpha)]
So before one of you drops the ‘um acktually’, the Alpha of Minecraft was only released mid 2010, the 2009 build didn’t even have inventory or crafting, the 1.0 release wasn’t until 2011.
With that out of the way, Minecraft was probably one of the decade’s most influential games, and I’ve clocked a ton of hours in both it’s creative and survival modes. Even the beta was super enjoyable so the kids today are practically spoilt in how huge in scope minecraft has become, with towns, underwater temples, quests, trading, leveling system, enchanting, etc.
We also have to mention the modding scene, because the mods for minecraft are what really take it from a 9/10 to that 11/10 status – there are so goddamn many, you want to play a Battle Royale map? have jetpacks? ingame computers that you can script on? Factory automation stuff? Transport fluids using pipes and pumps? Fly to the moon and have to build self sustaining oxygen? You can do all of these things, it’s actually insane!
Also I genuinely believe that redstone is going to lead and inspire a new generation of kids to become engineers, and that is an amazing thing.
Games which made the shortlist but were cut from top 20
The walking Dead