Choosing just 10 games from the past decade to include on this list was a real challenge. I went through each year and wrote down the games that jumped out at me, either because of a strong emotional connection to the game or some other memory. That list had over 110 games on it. Eventually, I managed to narrow it down to my top 25…ish, and finally my top 17. From there I just ordered the games and ended up with a top 10 and some honourable mentions. These are all games I’d love to see sequels to one day. So without further ado, here’s my list of my favourite games of 2010 – 2019.
10. Tropico 5 (2014)
I discovered the Tropico franchise with Tropico 4 sometime in 2013 or 2014. I was immediately hooked by the quirky characters and tongue-in-cheek ‘lovable dictator’ theme. I’ve always enjoyed city builders with minimal combat, and Tropico delivered this in spades. Since then, I’ve collectively spent over 150 hours playing Tropico 4, 5, and 6. It was tough choosing a favourite from these three, but I settled on 5 because I really liked the way the campaign let you continue building on islands you’d already established in earlier campaign missions. El Presidente for life!
9. The Sims 4 (2014)
If you’ve followed my writing over the past few years, you may have noticed that I mainly review Sims titles, and The Sims 4 has been no exception. 5 years into the game’s life, there’s been 31 packs released, and I’ve reviewed every single one of them. In addition to that, I completed my first ever 10-generation legacy challenge in The Sims 4, and played various other families as well. I’ve been playing The Sims since the very first game, and I’ve played well over 600 hours of The Sims 4, so there was no doubt that it needed a spot on this list.
8. Surviving Mars (2018)
Another game I’ve sunk a ton of hours into is this sci-fi city builder. At release, Surviving Mars was good but not great, but over the past almost two years, the developers continued to improve the game until it was truly addictive to me. I’ve ended up spending over 200 hours in this game, working my way through all the mysteries, testing out all the sponsors, and trying to get some of the very challenging achievements. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this game.
7. Overwatch (2016)
I’ve never really been into first-person shooters. I played almost all the Serious Sam games in third person view. And I’ve never really been into multiplayer games – in case that wasn’t evident from the games on this list. But I found the characters in Overwatch irresistible, and started playing, slowly coming to really enjoy the game. I’ve sunk a lot of hours into this game, but I’m still a pretty bad shot and collecting cosmetics is one of my favourite aspects. I’m usually playing Mystery Heroes or that person choosing support heroes since no one else will, and I’m that player always getting cards for amount of time spent on the payload. Needless to say, I am REALLY looking forward to Overwatch 2!
6. Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017)
I had to make a really tough choice here between Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey. While I love Kassandra and her game to bits, Bayek was such an outstanding character for me. From his tragic backstory to his relationship with his wife, to the really cool DLC, Origins is one of my favourite games in the AC franchise – and the first one I’d played since AC II. I’m not sure how many hours I spent on this game, but I got the platinum trophy so… I’d say a lot!
5. Divinity Original Sin II (2017)
This is the only other multiplayer game that made it onto my shortlist (though I realise that some of these games do have multiplayer modes – I just never played them), hubby and I played this one together, he as the Red Prince and me as the mysterious Lohse. We actually started with Original Sin I, before there was an ‘enhanced edition’, and when the Kickstarter for the sequel came around, I backed it and got us two copies. It took us an impressive 90-odd hours to get through this one, and we loved every minute of it. I recently started a second playthrough as Fane, and am slowly working my way through the game solo this time.
4. Uncharted 4 (2016)
The gameplay of the Uncharted series was too difficult and frustrating for me – why do the bad guys always seem to have infinite goons to throw at Nathan? – so hubby and I played through the entire franchise together, with me helping him spot collectables, and him doing the heavy lifting. The cinematic feel of these games makes them feel like watching interactive movies. I enjoyed all the games immensely, but I loved 4 so much that I wrote what was essentially a love letter to Nathan Drake.
3. Final Fantasy XV (2016)
Since meeting my husband, I’ve played several games in the Final Fantasy franchise, and am looking forward to the VII remake so I can finally see what all the fuss is about there. I liked X and XII, and loved the costume-changing fun of X-2. I really enjoyed XIII and its sequels, and they are on my honourable mentions list. But none have had quite the emotional impact on me as Final Fantasy XV. The road trip vibe, the gorgeous vistas, the fun combat system, the quirky photos taken by Prompto, and the emotional journey the characters take together… it was the perfect combination for me. I rarely cry during video games but I shed a lot of tears during this one. I was so moved by this game that I wrote a whole long blog post about it, which you can find here if you’re interested.
2. The Witcher 3 (2015)
My Twitter followers may have seen me raving about this game earlier this year. It was a game so many people had recommended that I felt I had to give it a try as a fan of RPGs. Usually, I prefer RPGs where I can customise my character, and ideally, play as a female one, but Geralt of Rivia grew on me as I started spending long hours on the road with him. I got engrossed in the story and attached to the characters, and felt terrible when my actions and attempts to do good led to horrible consequences I didn’t foresee. Although I found the controls a bit clunky, I enjoyed exploring remote areas of the map and finding obscure items, and doing side quests for all manner of NPCs. It’s a game that I felt actually lived up to all the hype. I’m told I got the best ending, too. I summarised my thoughts in a long thread here.
1. Mass Effect 3 (2012)
I regard Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic as one of my favourite games, so I was naturally drawn to Mass Effect when it came out. I actually bought my first console to play it. After playing Mass Effect Andromeda, I went back and replayed the ME trilogy (again). In fact, the Mass Effect trilogy are some of the few games on my list that I’ve played multiple times. I just don’t seem to have the kind of time I used to have back when these games came out. Needless to say, I consider the trilogy to be among my favourite games of the decade, or well, any decade really. Mass Effect itself hasn’t aged well, but it holds a special place in my heart. If I’m being perfectly honest, I struggled to choose between ME 2 and 3 for this list. I love both, but 3 won it for me with the way it rounded out the franchise. I never had a problem with the original ending, and only played the extra stuff and the DLCs when I replayed the game last year.
And to answer the major questions: FemShep over BroShep any day (though I have tried both, Jennifer Hale wins hands down), Paragon over Renegade (I do love some of the really psychotic renegade responses in ME2 though!), and Thane is bae <3 (I picked him in at least two of my playthroughs).
I thought I’d end my post with brief mentions of the games that made it onto my shortlist but not into the top ten. First up is Ori and the Blind Forest, one of the most beautiful and touching games I’ve played. I tried it on my own at first, but not being a platforming expert, I accumulated over 100 deaths in 2 hours. At this point hubby and I restarted the game on console and enjoyed it together, and again when the Definitive Edition came out.
Next is the Bayonetta games (the first releasing in English at the very start of the decade!). While not my usual fare, these games feature a super easy mode that made it possible for me to play through myself. Something about the over the top action and an amazing character with magic hair for clothing just spoke to me.
I mentioned this one in my discussion of Final Fantasy XV, but Final Fantasy XIII was a game I really enjoyed back when it came out. I remember getting to grips with the combat system, and the beautiful cutscenes, and the variety of characters – Vanille and Fang were my favourites. The sequel’s ‘gotta catch em all’ monster collecting system was a lot of fun too – something I’m glad returned in a fashion in World of Final Fantasy. Things got pretty weird in Lightning Returns, but it was nice to play more of her.
I’ve always loved Marvel superheroes, but the DC ones were never among my favourites. Since marrying a Batman fan, I’ve tried to appreciate the Dark Knight, but it wasn’t until I tried the Telltale Batman games that I really started to get a better understanding of the character. I never thought I’d say I loved a Batman game (except for LEGO Batman!) but I thoroughly enjoyed Telltale’s work. I wrote a blog post about these games as well!
With over a dozen LEGO games released this decade, most of which I’ve played, I couldn’t leave them out of this post. I’ve enjoyed playing through these games as they evolved from one game to the next. I absolutely loved playing through the Portal levels of LEGO Dimensions, rolling around as BB-8, and exploring Middle Earth in LEGO, but for me, nothing could top running around as a LEGO dinosaur in Jurassic World.
I can’t leave out the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital, the excellent Two Point Hospital. I’ve sunk a good number of hours into this management sim, and I look forward to more DLC down the road.
Finally, I feel my list wouldn’t be complete without something Star Wars. This decade has not been kind to Star Wars fans. The games released this decade? Force Unleashed II, LEGO The Force Awakens, The Old Republic MMO (which I tried to like numerous times and failed) and… Kinect Star Wars. Jedi Fallen Order has been a breath of fresh air which brings back memories of the Jedi Knight games and all I can say is… it’s about time.