This, of course, runs from 2010 to 2019... in case you're reading this in 2030.
This last decade has been incredibly special for me. Yes, I played video games prior to us arriving in 2010, but I was often doing other things like watching a TV show or the same movie over and over rather than playing games almost every day. This was the decade I cemented my future as a video gamer. However looking back at most of the games I have played and beaten, it’s clear to me that I lost my way half way through the decade. Early in the decade I had beaten a good ten or so games each year (yes, some would say rookie numbers), but during the middle of the decade those numbers dwindled to a point I only completed around three games in one year. Fortunately I’ve found my way back, and although, yes, I still buy games and never complete them to the point I have a massive backlog, I finally enjoy gaming once again. This is why this last decade has been special to me, as I grew as a person and found what I am truly passionate in.
But enough about my soppy story, you’re here because you want to know what my top games of the last ten years were don’t you? Or at the very least what my top pick of the decade is… well just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see. However if you’d like to go on a journey, join me as I run down my Top 25 Games of the Decade.
Disclaimer as always: This is my opinion alone. These are of games I have finished as of writing this or continuously play (if a multiplayer only title). This is not a “1 per franchise” list, so expect to see sequels on this list.
Some games that appear on this list also appear on my Top 10 Games of 2019, which you can read here.
25. Rayman Origins (2011)
Rayman Origins helped me through a weird time in my life. My mother was constantly in and out of hospital, the Playstation Vita, along with the Vita version of this game had just come out, and I was almost nearing the end of my college years. I found myself quite entranced at the simplicity of the game, and yet it offered a challenge I couldn’t help but want to beat. I had almost completed the game to its full completion; every level sped through, every Nymph and Teensie freed… but there was one last thing standing in my way: the Land of the Livid Dead. If you’ve ever played Geometry Dash, it played out like that, as you, as Rayman, had to run through the entire stage with only a handful of checkpoints, avoiding everything the level threw at you. After hundreds of attempts I thought I’d never beat it. But somehow, I succeeded, and in that moment I knew I never wanted a difficult challenge again. Oh how foolish I was to think that.
24. Ori and the Blind Forest (2015)
I don’t play a lot of Xbox One games anymore; there’s something about the console that just feels clunkier than the PlayStation 4. When Ori and the Blind Forest was released, I didn’t think anything of it, but there was a lot of buzz for it at the time on Twitter, so I decided to take the plunge. What I didn’t expect was the heart breaking story it told, the gorgeous art style, the puzzles that ultimately challenged you. This was the game that was probably my first true Metroidvania experience, and ever since beating it the game has stuck with me. They announced a sequel a couple of years ago, due to release on 11 March 2020 (five exact years to the date the first game released), which you can bet I’ll be dusting off my Xbox One just to play it. Best of all it’s released in the week of my birthday; what a wonderful gift!
23. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019)
Sekiro is one of those games which seemed like it was going to disappoint the entire Dark Souls fanbase; it had no cosmetic gear (so no Fashion Souls for the die hards), no stat upgrades, and for the most part the idea of the game was to be stealthy rather than fight with brute force; it seemed like the complete opposite to what fans of the franchise had come to expect from FromSoftware. And yet, at the Video Game Awards it won Game of the Year, and I couldn’t be happier for it. Sekiro was something special; it was simple, and yet still invoked that challenge while presenting new and interesting ideas. It was essentially a nice middle ground while we wait for the bigger game, Elden Ring, to come out.
22. Dark Souls II (2014)
From one FromSoftware game to another; I’ll be going into my first experiences with the franchise later in the list (a tease for you), however we’re here for Dark Souls II. One thing I’ll admit right now is that this is the game of the trilogy I remember the least. It wasn’t bad at all, it was still fantastic, but compared to other FromSoftware games it was definitely one of their weakest. That said, I still had an infuriating time with this game (which is “Souls” code for “I had an amazing time playing this”). The one thing I would like to say about this game though, as fantastic as it is: screw the Poison Maiden Statues.
21. Fez (2012)
It’s a damn shame we’ll never get to see the sequel to Fez after the behaviour of Phil Fish. If you didn’t already know, a sequel was in development, but it was cancelled forever after Phil Fish announced his retirement from video game development through a series of rants over Twitter. Suffice to say many believe he suffered from serious mental health issues, which can clearly be seen in the video game documentary “Indie Game: The Movie”. When Fez did come out however, it absolutely blew my mind how such a game could exist; a 2D game pretending to be in a 3D world was something special. Some of the puzzles in order to obtain cubes to complete a bigger cube were baffling and challenging, but I loved it all the same. I wonder what Fez II would have been…
20. Firewatch (2016)
How do you make a walking simulator actually fun? Gone Home is great but it required you to use your imagination a lot, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture took a small village and somehow managed to make it even more boring, and Death Stranding didn’t exist yet. Firewatch was one of those games that made me want to go outdoors; no other game has made me feel such a way, and its partly why I decided to take the plunge and go to California in 2017… not that I entered many forests in my time there. The story it told was believable, it had heart, it had scares, it had comedy, and yet most of the gameplay had you walking around from place to place picking up trash and watching for fires. What seemed like a harmless, peaceful adventure turned into a more thrilling and mysterious tale. Nothing has ever seemed to top Firewatch for me in the genre, and I wonder if anything ever will.
19. Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010)
If the last decade included the year 2009, Modern Warfare 2 would be on this list. If Modern Warfare 2 was the peak of Call of Duty’s greatness, Black Ops was the epilogue to that greatness, as the franchise hasn’t been the same since. Yes we’ve had great Call of Duty titles like the Modern Warfare remake, but Black Ops was in a time when shooters were absolute nonsense and were actually memorable; I still remember the plot twist of the story to this very day as if I played it yesterday. The franchise never used to take itself too seriously but also tried not to be too out of the ordinary; it struck a balance. Since then, the franchise has lost its way as it tried to become too serious and, surprisingly, a lot calmer and quieter. The franchise used to make noise, now it makes a puff sound.
18. American Truck Simulator (2016)
If Firewatch is at the peak of “walking simulators”, American Truck Simulator is at the peak of “driving simulators”. While yes the game is essentially Euro Truck Simulator 2 but “‘Murica”, it’s an absolute fantastic feeling when you’re driving from one side of the map to the other listening to some banging country tunes from a live radio station. If ever I was born in America, I’d like to think a truck driver would have been my profession; it just looks like easy money (if you’re a truck driver… is it easy money? I’d like to know…). I’ve lost countless hours to driving from location to location, and they’ve added more states to the game which means more road to drive on. Damn I need to go back to this game… my friend would agree with me too, as I somehow managed to even get him to play it, and he’s all about keeping fit, not sitting on your ass for hours driving a virtual truck!
17. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu / Eevee (2018)
This was the game that made me fall in love with Pokemon again. Yes, Pokemon Go came out in 2016 and was exciting for the first few months of its release, but this was the first Pokemon game in a long time I could not truly put down until I had obtained all 153 Pokemon (151 plus Meltan and Melmetal). As I mentioned in my Top 10 Games of 2019, nostalgia is a powerful thing, and Game Freak pulled so hard on those strings that although it was the same game as Red and Blue, but with a new lick of paint, the franchise felt fresh and alive again. I legitimately found the joy of Pokemon again and made me hopeful for a brighter Pokemon future… that I know is not coming, but I can dream.
16. Darksiders (2010)
Of all the games on this list, this is the one that came out the earliest in the decade. It’s scary to think that this franchise is almost ten years old as of 5 January 2020. Darksiders is a bigger game than many think; it became a sleeper hit and takes more than 15 hours to complete. Yet I’ve beaten this game a total of three times now and think about it almost every month. This game grabbed and held onto me in my teenage years and wouldn’t let go until Darksiders II came out, which was a little more disappointing. Darksiders III on the other hand was fantastic, but it still couldn’t beat the magic of the first game… I say magic; it’s a game about angels, demons and the apocalypse. But the game took the God of War and the Zelda games and thought “what if” and it just worked. I’m just glad the franchise is alive and kicking still after the whole THQ and Vigil Games closure.
15. Resident Evil 2 (Remake) (2019)
Survival horror is back baby! Sure it wasn’t dead per se with the likes of Alien: Isolation, but it was the Resident Evil franchise that (mostly) kicked off the genre in the first place, so it feels as if we’ve come full circle. Resident Evil is finally relevant again and remade for a whole new generation of players, mine included. Resident Evil 2 is genuinely terrifying as you never know what’s around the corner. While Mr. X is terrifying, walking around the corner calmly and quietly and seeing a licker on the wall just chilling there is crap yourself scary. They apparently cut a lot of other monsters from the original for the remake, so I have to wonder if the game would have been even scarier had they included them. Knowing that in the original Resident Evil 3, Nemesis chases you for ninety percent of the game has me wondering if this will hold true for its remake. If it is… god save us all.
14. Shadow of the Colossus (Remake) (2018)
When playing the PS3 remasters of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Ico to me was a good enough game; it was a little annoying having to escort a woman around the place and not get caught, but it was decent enough. Shadow of the Colossus on the other hand… I had heard good things about it but nothing had prepared me for the majesty of climbing these enormous behemoths (bar two smaller ones) and the utter heartbreak I’d get for killing these poor innocent creatures. Then they decided to remake the damn thing didn’t they, forcing me to experience that all over again but with upgraded visuals. While I might not have got all the lizard tails in the remake, I made sure to complete the time trials, and boy what a challenge they were, but a challenge I’m thrilled I took all the same.
13. Mass Effect 2 (2010)
No matter how much I tried, I just could not get into the first Mass Effect game. I don’t know what it was about it I couldn’t get into… it might have been that other games around its time just felt and played better. Mass Effect 2 on the other hand was a different story. While yes it might have helped to have played the first game beforehand, the second game just felt like a massive improvement, just like Assassins Creed II was to the first game in the franchise. This game became a minor addiction to me as I tried to be the best Shepard I could be, as well as to try to save everyone in the suicide mission (if I recall, all but one person survived). Mass Effect 3 was pretty darn great too aside from its ending, but hey, I suppose you can’t repeat greatness all the time.
12. Assassins Creed Brotherhood (2010)
Speaking of Assassins Creed, the second game was incredible, and unlike Mass Effect 3 trying to repeat Mass Effect 2’s greatness, Brotherhood managed to match Assassin’s Creed II’s and then add a little extra on the side. The game left everyone on an incredible cliff hanger that I needed to know the continuation of, and that whole year of waiting for Revelations was a bit tortuous. To keep me busy though was the added on multiplayer. To many critics, this was interesting, but only for a short while. For me, this kept me occupied for months, as I strived to make my way to max level (which if I recall I did or almost did). They tried to repeat the multiplayer in later titles, which never felt the same. The multiplayer was so unique and suspenseful that I’m surprised there aren’t more multiplayer modes like it in other games. If Ubisoft ever released an Assassin’s Creed multiplayer game, you’d bet I’d snap it up.
11. Dark Souls III
Dark Souls III, of all the Dark Souls, definitely felt the most polished of the three mainline games. Yes, like every other Souls game some of the bosses could be cheesed, but there was a lot more creativity and a larger majesty to it. It was by far the easiest one in the series (this isn't saying much considering they're all bat s**t hard), but it was certainly one of the more enjoyable iterations. What's funny about this game is that before you've had much of a chance to get your bearings, you're thrust into a boss fight almost from the outset; hey, at least the first Dark Souls let you escape and give you a chance to learn things. This one's like "we assume you know what you're doing, so here's a spoon to fight with". I wouldn't have it any other way of course.
10. Minecraft (2011)
Yes you could TECHNICALLY argue this game came out prior to 2010, however its official release wasn't until 2011, so I'm counting it. Minecraft is one of those games I'll play for a long while, get bored of for a few months, and then go back and repeat the process. Minecraft is, of course, way better with a friend. I remember all those years ago my friend and I spending hours upon hours just to get the platinum trophy for the PS4 version. We of course did it, but my god we had to cheese a lot of the trophies. It's games like this which make the best memories. After all, this game gave birth to the "Freakin' Deacon Beacon" for us... only my friend and I will get this joke.
9. Cuphead (2017)
When this game first released, I didn't understand it. Yes I had beaten the first Dark Souls game months prior and enjoyed the heck out of it, but Cuphead was one of those games I just got sick of failing at, so I gave up on it. It wasn't until a few months later I was inspired to try it again through YouTube videos of people beating certain bosses. After giving it another chance, it's like a switch just clicked on in my head, and before I knew it I became patient with the game, eagerly looking for my next challenge and eventually beating it. If it weren't for the Souls series, I probably never would have given this game a second try, but the games taught me patience, something you seriously need for a game such as this. I just wish they'd stop delaying the damn upcoming DLC.
8. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)
What's weird about Breath of the Wild is that I had bought it way before I even owned a Nintendo Switch. This was because while there were many copies of the game out in shops, the Nintendo Switch on the other hand was in very little supply, and I was forced to wait a whole week before I received my own console. Breath of the Wild was the first Zelda game I had ever completed; I had tried to play Ocarina of Time prior to its release as a build up, but it didn't grab me at the time. Something about this game though stuck with me and still does, as I'm often eager to go back and replay it. If they ever added a new game+ mode, then perhaps I would. But I'd rather not spoil what was an incredible experience for me by retreading on old ground unnecessarily.
7. Bloodborne (2015)
I remember buying Bloodborne on release day. I had no idea what the game was, but heard many people raving about it. I knew what the Souls games were prior to buying this, but had never had the best luck with them. I had heard that Bloodborne was a little faster than those games, so perhaps this was more for me... so I booted up the game, made my character and off I went. I probably got as far as the Cleric Beast before I removed the disc from my PlayStation 4 and sold it. Then two years later, I watched the GameGrumps play this for a good twenty episodes (I owe them a lot to my Souls success) and something in my mind just went "wait... if two people who barely know how to play video games can beat it, surely I could"... and you'll never guess what? I did. Before I knew it I was becoming an expert at the game and even finished the game! Bloodborne was the first FromSoftware game I ever finished and it lead me to want to try and beat all of their other Souls titles... well except Demon's Souls. I'm holding out on hoping BluePoint truly are remaking it!
6. Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011)
Most gamers have their own MMO they were there for from the start. I had played World of Warcraft prior to The Old Republic, but I joined that during the Burning Crusade. For Star Wars: The Old Republic, I had been playing since the late beta. I owe this game a lot, as it had become a staple for my YouTube channel for over five years. If it weren't for this game either, I probably wouldn't be such the huge fan of Star Wars that I am. Maybe it was just the success of my channel that made me get into the rest of the Star Wars media, who knows. What was amazing about this game was its scope: how many developers can say they made essentially eight different campaigns with choices that affected your story in their game? Sure, not ALL of those stories were amazing, but they still had heart and ambition in mind. This game deserves more credit than it ever got.
5. Portal 2 (2011)
In my teenage years I was a big fan of Portal. I didn't just beat the game once, oh no. I must have beaten the game at least five times. So I was ecstatic to hear that a sequel was in the works. So what did me, as a big fan of Portal, do when the sequel came out? I didn't just buy it on the Xbox 360, but on the PlayStation 3 as well. That way I had it on all three platforms... yes you read that right. For some weird reason Sony had a partnership with Valve in that not only could you play with your friends in Co-Op between the PlayStation 3 and PC, but by buying the PlayStation 3 version, you got a free copy of the game on Steam as well (to give to a friend, but you could redeem it yourself if you wanted). This was the only PlayStation 3 game that ever did this if I recall; perhaps it was Sony trying out cross play before it was even a proper thing, I don't know. But hey, at least I can say I own all the achievements and trophies on all three versions!
4. Alan Wake (2010)
Remedy oh Remedy... what a hold you had on me back in 2010 (who am I kidding, you still do). I didn't even know what Alan Wake was until months before its release, and then when I did I just knew I needed this game. So I bought the collectors edition which I still have to this day (maybe it's worth a lot now?) and ever since beating it and those final words were spoken in its ending, I needed more. Sure we got Alan Wake's American Nightmare two years later, but it didn't feel the same. I needed a true sequel, as did millions of others. Now that Remedy own the full rights to the franchise again and an Alan Wake television show was announced (that we've heard nothing about since), one can only hope a true revival of the franchise is coming. After all Remedy's Control teased that it's part of a larger RemedyVerse, and there's upcoming DLC that seems to hint towards returning to the Alan Wake story. I need this Remedy.
3. Apex Legends (2019)
If you've ever followed or currently follow me on Twitter, you'll know how much of a hold this battle royale game has on me. I play and think about this game every damn day and I have no idea why. Heck, even after writing this article, I'm so tempted to play some more matches and write some articles about it (maybe I should turn this into an Apex fan site...). Apex Legends is a game I can never get tired of. I might get a little burnt out on it once in a while, but I'm usually back at it within a day or two. Plus with the idea that each new season often changes up the meta and adds new content, Apex Legends gives me that sense of purpose no game has given me for such a long time.
2. Dark Souls (2011)
If you've been reading this far, you could probably tell this was going to be coming up. My first Dark Souls experience was in 2011, not long after its release. I had no idea what to expect, I didn't even know how hard it truly was. Again like previous games such as Bloodborne or Cuphead, I just didn't get it at the time. I had defeated the first boss, but I screwed up by attacking an NPC I didn't mean to, and he kept chasing me and killing me over and over. I never went back to Dark Souls until after I had beaten Bloodborne. I finally understood it. It was clunky of course, but it felt intentionally so. The game taught me nothing is fair and that if you want to achieve something you have to work at it (hence this site). If I recall I've beaten this game three whole times and am always happy to play it again. I can't thank FromSoftware enough for how much the Souls games have changed my life; not necessarily for the better, but they've given me a new genre of games to continuously look forward to the next one.
1. God of War (2018)
God. Of. War. For me the journey of this game didn't start with its release. Officially it started with God of War 2. Yes, I had beaten the first God of War years earlier, but I set myself a goal: complete every God of War game before the 2018 game released. Then over the next month, the only games I played were the God of War console games I had yet to beat, and I mean every one. God of War 2, 3, Ghost of Sparta, Chains of Olympus, and Ascension. Some of the journey felt amazing, some of it felt mediocre, especially Ascension and God of War 3 (sorry, it really isn't much of an improvement from 2). Unfortunately I didn't quite get to finish them all before the 2018 God of War release, however I said to myself I wasn't going to buy it until all the previous games were beaten.
And so, a couple of days later, I beat the final pre-2018 God of War game, and I bought the newest. What I did not expect was that I was about to play a masterpiece. No other game in the last decade ever comes close to the brilliance of God of War for me. I think had I not played all the God of War games in that short period of time, perhaps the 2018 God of War game might not have grabbed me so much. But because I did and because of how different and fresh it was, I couldn't get enough of it. I was determined to fully complete the game, and I mean obtaining that platinum. This meant beating all the Valkeries, and my god that last one beats almost every Dark Souls boss' level of difficulty. There are whispers a sequel is currently in development. When that comes out, I'll be there... unless I'm dead of course. Can't be helped.
What will the next decade hold...? Let's find out together.