Recently, I was reading the AV Club’s Top 50 movies of the 90's and that got me thinking about the top games. It also made me realize that this decade is nearly over. Instead of waiting for it to actually be over and making a complete comprehensive list I decided I’d get ahead of the curve and make my top 50 games of the decade list now. Just like the AV Club I am going to be splitting it up into three installments because wow 50 is a lot of games. I would also like to set up some basic ground rules.
- First and foremost this is my list, it’s not a favorite games list, but it is the games that I think were the best of the decade.
- If it seems like I forgot your favorite, first wait for the entire thing to come out, then if it’s still not there just ask me about it, I may have genuinely forgot about it.
- I will be attempting to avoid putting two games in the same series on the list unless they are different enough or both good enough to warrant their own place on the list
- That’s it let’s get into the list
50. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
A perfect example of a game where the first game in the series is not passed up by the sequel. I am not sure what it is about Shadow of Mordor vs Shadow of War that made me like the first game more, but that was certainly the case. It isn’t hard to figure out why I liked the game enough for it to make my top 50 though. The Nemesis System made enemies feel real and alive and I would often find myself hoping that enemies would keep coming back, especially ones that had been around a while. Combined with an enjoyable combat loop and a better than expected story and it is easy to see why this game is one of the best of the decade.
49. Tomb Raider
An example where I am packing a game with it’s sequels to avoid series crowding. Despite this, just like Middle Earth, I would say the first game in the rebooted Tomb Raider is my favorite. It may have been an Uncharted ripoff, but at that time I still hadn’t played any Uncharted and it felt new and fresh. Doubling back on earlier areas was great fun as you gained movement abilities. The combat was fun and not overly complicated and a case could be made for it having one of the most fun to use bows in gaming.
48. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Credit needs to be given where it is due, despite launching as a broken mess, Square Enix did not give up on Final Fantasy XIV. They turned around and fixed most of the problems and re-released it as A Realm Reborn, ready to claim all of their fans hearts. The idea of a Final Fantasy MMO wasn’t a new one, and it wasn’t a bad one with the series extensive history and the large fanbase, but no one could have guessed it would just be one of the best MMO’s out today. It has continued to receive updates and new DLC that expand the story in a truly epic fashion. This is exactly what a MMO should be.
47. Forza Horizon 4
The best arcade racer around at this point is easily Forza Horizon, which has just continued getting better and better with recent entries, although I don’t see how they could possibly continue to up the ante. The controls are extremely responsive, the upgrade system simple and easy, the races fun, it has everything a good arcade racer could possibly need. There really isn’t much to say about this game as if you’re a fan of this type of game you probably already play it. It is nice that I get every entry Day 1 through GamePass.
The Battle Royale that started it all is the only one that is going to be on this list (sorry if you were hoping for Fortnite to make it). Some may argue it isn’t the first game to think of the basic idea, but it is the one that mastered it and came out to the masses. A 100 person Battle Royale where only the strongest survives was the exact type of game that seemed obvious but had never happened really before. Although it was janky at launch (and for a while after) they have made a concerted effort in the past few months to fix a lot of the biggest problems and it has been working.
Superhot is another perfect example of “How did no one think of this already”. A FPS where time only moves when you move is absolutely brilliant and when Superhot was created at a Game Jam people instantly wanted it made into a full game. They obliged and eventually it was made into a full game and it was exactly what everyone thought it would be, awesome. The story was a bit shallow, but it was really fun as were a lot of the limited time modes. This is one of very few games I have 100% completion on. It is just that fun.
44. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Why can’t every sequel be a just better version of the previous game? The New order was amazing, a reinvention of classic conventions in a modern manner. The stealth was incredibly fun, the story snapping and engaging, the gunplay was flawless. The New Order was an awesome game, and it’s sequel just didn’t live up to the billing. The story is short and confusing, the gunplay is still awesome, the awesome stealth is no longer nearly as doable as it was in the first game. It still doesn’t taint the memory of the first game though, and it was a great game that laid the ground for Doom (2016).
Another game that essentially launched its own genre and an endless amount of clones just like PUBG. Unlike PUBG, Overwatch has stayed the unquestioned king of the space that it created. Hero shooters were admittedly not really a Blizzard creation, but they were a Blizzard master class. An impossibly fun game with friends (that loses a bit of it’s shine playing solo) it has fantastic balance and has been consistently but slowly updated keeping things fresh while still having the same core.
42. Pokemon X & Y
A lot of hardcore Pokemon fans would have a problem with this as these games have a pretty big set of problems. However, I think they deserve a spot on the top 50 for revitalizing Pokemon and moving it into 3D. Especially with the mistakes in the next two generations of Pokemon Games following them, I believe X and Y will be fondly remembered by fans over time. It also finally started to take steps towards making breeding and EV training more accessible to casual fans which can be a good stepping stone into the competitive scene.
41. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
I guess you could also consider this a hero shooter like Overwatch, but the tone and gameplay is about as far off as possible. A tactical shooter it is a bit more fun to play lone wolf than Overwatch, but it is still a game best played with friends. Although it can be a little annoying unlocking characters, at least it is very doable without having to spend real money and the balancing is fairly well done. I just have one request, can everyone please stop banning Caveira in competitive?
40. Fire Emblem: Awakening
I still don’t have a Switch, and no longer live with my friend who has one, so I will be unable to play Three Houses until I can manage to get money. If I had I am sure this would be Three Houses and farther up the list. As it is, Awakening is still a fantastic game with a good cast of characters and really engaging gameplay. Being able to interact and build relationships with characters and then send them out to fight to their actual death is a great mechanic and really makes the battles stressful. This game revived the series and I am very very glad that it did because it is a great game and Three Houses looks even better.
39. South Park: The Stick of Truth
I remember when I first started playing this game I was amazed how much it looks like the show and I still am. The first thing that stands out about this game is it’s humor. If you like South Park or it’s sense of humor, you’ll like this game, no doubt about it. If not, well then this game probably isn’t for you, which is a bummer as the actual gameplay of this game is pretty good too having a Paper Mario-esque turn based combat system. The game is a bit short, but with the quality of the writing and the humor it makes sense, and the game world is packed full of secrets to find and winks to long time fans of the show.
Bloodborne took the Souls formula and took it to the next level, making it a Gothic inspired nightmare full of monsters. The gameplay kept the brutally hard challenge of the Dark Souls games while giving it it’s own flavor and adding its own twists. The story was downplayed, but still had that great air of mystery about the entire affair. Overall it was a great evolution of the Souls formula even if it didn’t quite surpass it in my mind.
37. Rocket League
I have brought it up several times already, but Rocket League is NOT one of those games where it’s surprising someone hadn’t done it sooner. A soccer match with rocket propelled cars that can jump and fly is not exactly the most obvious combination. Once you try it though you will be glad they did it though. A feverish frenzy that is easy to play, but difficult to master Rocket League is one of the most pure fun games to come out maybe ever. Even if I will never be truly good at it I always enjoy going back to it.
36. Hitman 2
Hitman 2 did not sell as well as it was expected to and you can count me among the people disappointed in that. The Hitman formula established in the reboot is near perfect, being let loose in a veritable playground of death and destruction. The ability to go through the level in countless ways is refreshing and fun every time. It also is a lot of fun to try your best to be a true Hitman and make it through each level flawlessly. The Elusive target missions keep you coming back for more and seeing parts of levels that you never saw before. Please Microsoft just buy them and pay them to make Hitman levels forever and release them on GamePass.
35. Resident Evil VII
Speaking of series experiencing a rebirth, look no further than Resident Evil VII compared to the prior entry. Six was reviled by everyone and had gone about as far away from the series roots as possible. Resident Evil VII was a breath of fresh air that showed what a Triple AAA horror game could be this generation. It was terrifying throughout and the first person camera kept everything feeling claustrophobic. It dragged a little bit at the end, but here is to hoping that Capcom can follow it up with an equally terrifying sequel.
34. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
It is the best Mario Kart game to date, not much else really to say. It has a huge cast of characters to choose from, an actually decent battle mode unlike the Wii U version, a great track selection, working multiplayer (kind of). If you haven’t played a Mario Kart game, well I don’t know what you’re doing go do it right now. If you have, well then you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and it is always a blast to play especially with friends.
One of the first games in what could be deemed the start of the indie revolution. This game launched on Xbox to a large amount of fanfare and praise which it earns. Thanks to it’s simplistic black and white artstyle, no matter how great graphics get Limbo will still look great. The way it is able to instill such a sense of dread with no dialogue and limited graphics is a testament to good game design. The story may be simple and the characters nonexistent, but this is one of the most evocative games in recent memory.
32. Marvel’s Spider-Man
Spider-Man has long been one of the video game’s ancient stars. The Spider-Man 2 video game was very good for some reason following the movie. Since then there have been countless Spider-Man games, none of which came close to living up to the potential shown in Spider-Man 2. Enter Insomniac Games, the masters of fun who were able to make a Spider-Man game that is so fun to play it is crazy. The web slinging and combat feels great and there is enough variety to always keep it fresh even if you will most likely find a combo that works for you and stick with it. Though the content is a bit shallow and repetitive it is fun just feeling like being Spider-Man.
31. Batman: Arkham City
The game that laid the ground work for what would eventually become the Spider Man game. The melee combat that has been copied to an endless degree though is very difficult to get right quite like Arkham City. The first game that really nailed the feel of being a Superhero saving the city. There is a lot more depth than Spider-Man although some of it still feels repetitive. It captures the feel of the badass combatant warrior side of Batman along with the World’s Greatest Detective side. It is hard to imagine a Batman game being done much if any better than this.
Thanks to everyone who made it through to the end. As this is part one it was only covering numbers 31-50 and the rest will be covered in future entries. Part 2 will cover 11-30 and will come out probably after the weekend is over. In the meantime feel free to share your games you think should have gone here and I will be happy to have a conversation about it. Hope you enjoyed, thanks.