Thinking back over the games of the last decade, I realised I have a certain taste. I like games that gives me a memorable story, but at the same time knows how to deliver it in a great, playable package. It’s something that Sony managed to do incredibly well over the last couple of years, and it shows looking at this list. There are many excellent games that probably deserve to be on this list, especially the stuff made by Nintendo, but I am very late to that party, so I’ll reserve judgement on those.
That said, the games here reflect the sense of adventure and I like going on in my opinion deserves to be in anybody’s top 10 list.
10. Red Dead Redemption (2010)
I’m a big fan of the Spaghetti Westerns from the 1960s. The Dollars trilogy ranks as one of my all time favourite, with The Good, The Bad and the Ugly being the epitome of the series and the genre. So being able to play a game inspired by that genre was something quite special. Rockstar managed create a massive open world filled with silly fun and some serious themes and story and mixed it together to create their best game yet.
9. Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)
I’m always a little bit sceptical when it comes to games based on IPs that originated from other formats such as film or comics. But last year’s Marvel’s Spider-Man blew me completely out of the water. It managed to capture the thrill and magic of being everybody’s favourite webslinger in such a fantastic way, and tied in a good and emotional story into some incredible gameplay mechanics. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it comes close, becoming a benchmark for what an open-world city sandbox should be.
8. Dead Space 2 (2011)
When Dead Space released in 2008, we were blown away by how the game managed to make USG Ishimura one of the most frightening places known to us though their use of diegetics (go read it up) and making the ship feel alive. It was an incredible horror experience filled with amazing story and lore. Dead Space 2 however managed to hit the absolute sweet spot. The game is a bit more action orientated, with main protagonist Isaac Clarke getting an actual personality. It expands and improves on the original in every way, making it one of the best action horror games of the last decade. Too bad EA got a bit thirsty and mucked it up in the end.
7. Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)
Giant, Robot Dinosaurs… Nuff said! No? Okay then. Horizon Zero Dawn came at a time when people where tiring of the open-world genre a bit. Many games felt over saturated with pointless collectables and radio towers and it became more of a chore to complete than anything else (looking at you Ubisoft). But Horizon Zero Dawn managed to take all that and put in just the right amount in while everything exciting and relevant. On top of that it had a fantastic protagonist in Aloy, and an incredibly well written story that will have you hooked from the moment to fire the game up. Combat and traversal is top notch as well, and the overall experience is one of the best of the last ten years.
6. Nier Automata (2018)
From the service, Nier Automata looks like just your typical action game developed by Platinum Games that caters to a weird android waifu French maid fetish. In reality though, the game represents so much more, delving into some very deep and emotional themes. It is something I never expected going into it. The combat is sublime, the characters are incredible and by the time I watched the credits rolls for the final time, I was bawling my eyes out. Nier Automata made a grown ass 35-year-old man cry, and it was beautiful. Not the crying, I ugly cried.
5. Mass Effect 2 (2010)
Mass Effect 2 is just about perfect. It took what the original game did and improved on it in almost every way, streamlining the combat and RPG elements, gave us an epic, enthralling story and some of the best and most memorable characters of all time. I absolutely fell in love with the game and the universe thanks to ME2, and to this day it holds a very special place in my heart.
4. Destiny (2014)
Let’s be honest here, Destiny was a hot mess when it launched in 2014, but Bungie worked hard to make it the game it should’ve been, and with the release of The Taken King, it became the gold standard of live service looter shooters that a lot of other publishers have been trying to emulate. I only joined the party in year 2, and the game took over my life. The shooting is sublime, the content was good and the grind was fun, especially with the friends I made along the way. Destiny 2 released with a lot of fanfare, but unfortunately it just didn’t do it for me like the original. Those late night King’s Fall Raids will never be forgotten.
3. God of War (2018)
This is where things started getting really tough for me. Last year’s God of War is in my opinion one of the best games ever, with everything it did being just perfect. I even gave the game a 10 when I reviewed, something I will not easily give any game. So how is it only number 3? Well, I will get to that in a moment. For now, let me just say that as one of the biggest fanboys of the series, I absolutely loved what Santa Monica Studios did with series protagonist and anti-hero Kratos. The slower pace, the emotional story, the music and one shot camera is everything we could’ve hoped for and more and it is in my opinion one of the best games of this generation.
2. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (2015)
For me, it was a serious toss up between The Witcher III and God of War, but Geralt’s epic adventure ultimately took it simply due to it’s sheer size. There’s just so much more to this game in terms of areas to explore, characters to get to know and a fantastic story with multiple endings. Even the expansions that came with it puts other full games to shame, which tells you just how much heart and soul CD Projekt RED poured into it. It’s the type of game that almost leaves you empty when you’re done, as you feel there is nothing that can top the experience for you. It is definitely the best game of the generation, and only gets pipped by one game for the decade.
1. Dark Souls (2011)
Dark Souls is arguably the most important game that released this last decade. Whether you like it or not, the impact that it had on the industry as a whole is undeniable, with almost everyone trying to emulate the magic that From Software has managed to capture. It is known for it’s difficulty, and many won’t even try it because of that, but those who do find that they are more than capable of standing up to the adversity and challenge that gets put in front of them. It is the only video game of the last decade that spawned it’s own genre, and it is without a doubt in my mind the best and most important game released in the last decade.