Updated: Jan 13
The last 10 years have been spectacular for the video games industry. There have been some great games, and some big advances in the industry. To put it into perspective; 10 years ago, companies were producing games for the PS2, the PS2 servers have now been taken down, and people are eagerly awaiting the release of the PS5 and the XBOX Series X. In this post I'm going to break down my favourite game of each of the last 10 years, and why I thought it was the best.
2010 - Fallout: New Vegas
This game is one of my all-time favourites. I love everything Fallout. Fallout 3, and the sequel New Vegas were the big two that kickstarted my passion for the apocalyptic, cap-collecting universe I've poured countless hours into. As much as I love the previous title, this one will always take the cake in my eyes, purely down to the impeccable storytelling.
I loved every second of this game's story, straight from the get-go you're thrown into the deep, moral choices which form the backbone of what I feel makes this game great. The first town you're in is harbouring a man from a gang of 'Powder Gangers' who want him dead, where you're given the choices to turn him over, negotiate with the Gangers and convince them to leave, or you can rally the town against the Gangers and convince the citizens to fight back. This is just one example of the multi-layered questlines in the game.
My personal favourite questline in this game happens when you reach The Strip, the line of casinos where the Mojave Wasteland's richest gather to drink and gamble. One of the groups behind one of the casino's has a questionable appetite, which you can either fully endorse and support, you can give them a taste of their own medicine, or -as always- you can run in guns blazing and just mow down anything that moves. This is especially fun when you invest in the 'Bloody Mess' perk, which pulverises enemies you kill.
2011: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Another of my personal favourites. This games predecessor Oblivion is my favourite game of all time, and I was extremely hyped up for the release of this game, when it came out, I played it and I was very impressed, it definitely lived up to my expectations, and more. The graphics were the first thing that blew me away, it was quite a jump from the graphics of Oblivion and I literally stopped moving around in-game for a while just to look round and admire the world. Although the game is now 9 years old, I still think it's one of the most spectacular game worlds ever created to-date.
They completely revamped some of the features since Oblivion and added a whole bunch of new ones. Such as the levelling system which got a total rework from Oblivion's system, the added smithing system was an entertaining surprise, providing players with a simple way to do some levelling, or to produce high-level gear if they wanted to acquire it by gold rather than taking a chance on finding it in the world. Oblivion's Imperial Arena was something I sorely missed in Skyrim.
For me, the biggest attraction to the Elder Scrolls series, always has been, and always will be, the story. These games are so rich in lore and detail that someone literally had enough material to make a full book series based in that universe. The series has thousands of years’ worth of lore, filled with wars, assassinations, and magic. All the features that really make a fantasy series stand out to me. This level of storytelling, combined with a truly unique game world, and fluid, entertaining gameplay, will always keep this game in my favourites.
2012: Call of Duty Black Ops 2
Officially rated as the best Call of Duty game of the decade, and for good reason. This was the last Black Ops game before the series took its popularly hated turn to robots, armoured exo-suits, and bright, flashy coloured armour. To me, this stands as one of the greatest shooters of all time. I was in secondary school at the time this game was released, and I was yet to convert to PC, still rocking the PS3. I always looked forward to coming home from school and loading up my PlayStation to join up with my friends in-game. The roast lobbies were great fun, and the gameplay was fast-paced, high intensity fun.
The maps were fun and balanced, the guns had a good time-to-kill, killstreaks were fun. The zombies. OH LORD the zombies. TranZit was a ground-breaking zombie experience, giving players the ability to go between all of the possible zombie maps in-game, it was great. Shooting the driver and getting kicked off the bus in the middle of nowhere was always an experience that gave you a few laughs.
2013: The Last of Us
More zombies. I've played a lot of zombie games, with them being one of my favourite types of game. This game is among the best. This game told such a stunning, deeply moving story, that it skyrocketed its way to popularity, becoming a lot of people's favourite game of all time. People were demanding a sequel right away, so it clearly ticked a lot of boxes for people. The single-player was one of the greatest examples of storytelling I have ever come across, it made you truly care for the characters, when they were hurt, the player was moved, when they were succeeding, the player was happy, it got people seriously invested in the game, and still does to this day. The gameplay was fluid, it flowed well. Combat was satisfying and challenging at the right times. The clickers were one of the creepiest video game enemies I've ever come across, you'd be in pitch black, sneaking around then suddenly you hear their clicking and your heart just sinks...
The multiplayer was also incredibly fun. One of the best multiplayer modes I've ever played, the faction v faction thing was interesting, and the camp system was a nice addition to. Getting food from matches and needing that food to keep your camp going was an incentive to search around maps, truly explore it rather than just focus on killing opponents. It disappointed me to hear that TLOU 2 won't have a multiplayer mode, hopefully it allows them to make a seriously impressive singleplayer.
2014: Watch Dogs
A game I believe to be incredibly underrated, a lot of people I've spoken to about it didn't enjoy the game very much at all, which surprised me. I had a lot of fun with this game when it came out. The hacking capabilities made for some extremely fun gameplay, such as being able to hack traffic lights or manhole covers when you were driving round to give you an opportunity to escape a car chase, stop a convoy, or to even just cause some general chaos, it was entertaining. Following Aiden Pearce on his quest for revenge was a journey of action, witty humour, and a lot of fun. I personally think the vehicles in the game could have had a lot of improvement, the driving didn't feel as smooth as it could've been.
This was another game that had a unique multiplayer experience to me. Having to evade a player whilst simultaneously hacking them was challenging and enjoyable. Hiding down dark alley ways and using your hacking ability to cause boxes to explode and floor covers to explode to distract your target from your relocation was like a puzzle. I'm yet to play Watch Dogs 2, but in my mind, it has big boots to fill if it wants to impress me.
2015: Fallout 4
Another Fallout. It had to be. I couldn't miss this game off. This is the game I enjoyed more than any of the year, the time I spent in that game was time I spent exploring everything. I walked every inch of that map, I didn't want to miss a single place, or a single piece of classic Fallout humour. It was a whole new wasteland, full of new enemies, weapons, and experiences to discover. Another settlement needed my help. To a lot of people this was a mind-numbing, repetitive side quest but I always used it as a chance to explore the world, to push the limits of the game's base building features, turning every small settlement into a giant town full of vicious death robots and big, civilian vs deathclaw arenas. This was a fascinating world full of comical dialogue, hair-raising action and questionable characters.
2016: Stardew Valley
An unusual contender for the list, it's nothing like any of the others, but that's exactly why it's here. It's different, it's a break from the usual kind of games I play. When you play shooters all the time, you can start to get stressed very easily when the fun starts to stop. Therefore, I like to mix it up and play something completely different for a while, Stardew Valley is exactly that. I load up the game, and jump into my own virtual farm, and it's relaxing. Crops to plant and harvest, eggs to collect, fish to catch, a lot of ways to avoid the annoyances of my usual kind of games.
The art style is incredible; the music? Also, incredible, and I'm not the kind of person to pay attention to the music in a game, but Stardew Valley gets it right, it captures the feel of the game and amplifies it ten-fold. To say that this game was all made by one person, and not with any professional tools either, is something that really makes this game stand out as an indie masterpiece of its time.
2017: Pavlov VR
Virtual Reality. The thing I first assumed would be a small gimmick that would quickly die out, and has now become one of my favourite things about the gaming industry, and the thing I truly believe will be the future of gaming (although that's a topic for another time). Pavlov took me completely by surprise the first time I played it. The amount of laughs I've had in my time with this game was unlike anything I've ever played, it's had me on my knees, crying with laughter many times. This is a game that takes modes from other games, sticks them in VR and adds their own twist to them. It's got Search & Destroy, it's got a Prop Hunt, even a Gun Game. It's unbelievably fun and has one of the nicest gaming communities I've ever come across, which is surprisingly friendly to people of all ages. This is a game I genuinely believe will stay popular for as long as VR remains a thing and will pave the way for the future of gaming.
2018: Kingdom Come Deliverance
A real game of from rags to riches. Starting out as the simple son of a blacksmith and ending up as so much more. In the beginning, there was nothing. You don't have any sort of combat ability, or conversational ability, or any sort of ability to be honest. You don't really start to be semi-decent in a fight until 2/2 and a half hours into the game, and unlock things such as parry, and the different counter attacks. But once you do, that's when the game really takes off, because it's also when the story really gets interesting and hooked me in. It's an RPG in every sense of the word; maybe even more so because you truly must fill the role. The story is the classic tale of adventure; a young man of no importance going on a tale of adventure and revenge, becoming a great warrior along the way. It has some great features, like being able to sneak into bandit camps and kill them different ways, poison their food, set fire to their camp, or straight up slaughter. The ending of the game was slightly cheesy for my liking, but it was an all-round good game, the game of 2018 I put most time into, and had most fun with by far.
2019: Outer Worlds
This gave me my Fallout fix for the year. It was developed by Obsidian, the company who made Fallout: New Vegas, so there's no way this wasn't going to instantly impress me. It gave me such strong Fallout vibes. The world was probably a bit smaller than a Fallout game, but rather than one large world, it's split into 4 or 5 smaller planets. The story is unbelievable, I've never experienced any similar kind of story before and it truly amazed me. I couldn't stop playing the game. It had a morality system that made me feel genuinely bad when I made an evil decision, and there are a lot of possibilities. There are quests where you can use stealth to sneak yourself through, talk your way out of it; either becoming a paragon or a villain, or you can go in guns blazing and the game accompanies for that. A lot of RPGs become broken if you just kill everyone, ruining questlines, but in Outer Worlds, they allow that option, there are even questlines based around killing major characters and organisations. The path through the game that I chose, led me to what was absolutely the most impressive and awe-filled final mission that I have ever experienced in a game, it truly impressed me.
To sum it up:
The past 10 years have been amazing for games. They've produced some of the greatest games I believe ever made, and that will be hard to compete with for a very long time. Hopefully, the next 10 years in gaming will be even more impressive, and we'll get to see some large advances in the way we play and experience the art which are videogames. I know I'm looking forward to it.