The 100 Best Video Games of the Decade
The 2010s were an incredible year for video games. We've seen some incredible achievements made by mobile, triple-a and indie developers around the world. Here, we take a look at the 100 best video games of the decade - according to you! We have scoured Metacritic's user ratings of the Best Video Games of All Time to provide you with a detailed overview of the greatest games that we've all had the pleasure of playing over the course of the past 10 years.
To read a bit about each of the games, see below
Final Fantasy The Four Heroes of Light
Released in 2009, Square Enix created a superb old school RPG in Final Fantasy The Four Heroes of Light. With a 71 out of 100 rating on Metacritic, this RPG blends old school looks with modern gaming mechanics. A huge and seemingly endless world plus four novice adventurers, with buckets of charm and some totally hardcore challenges makes for one of the most interesting and quirky games in the Final Fantasy series.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Winner of 9 awards including one for Most Addictive Game, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is another entry in the MGS universe. Rated 9.5/10 by IGN, this instalment follows the story of Naked Snake after Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Hailed by players as one of the very best games in the MGS series, the combination of immersive atmosphere, superb graphics and intense missions makes this a truly addictive play and a modern classic.
God of War III
Winner of a BAFTA for Artistic Achievement, God of War III is a truly stunning game for the PlayStation. Released in 2010 and then remastered in 2018, this action adventure is nothing short of awesome and concludes the God of War trilogy in fine style. Highly rated by players and winner of multiple gaming awards, God of War III brings together incredible graphics and complex characterisations with some impressive combat which combine to create a true epic.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a highly inventive and hilarious ghost hunt that introduces a host of new characters to the Nintendo universe. Released in 2019 for Nintendo’s handheld consoles including the Switch, this fabulous game uses a hunt and chase gameplay mechanism as Luigi tries to trap ghosts over the 15 floors of a haunted mansion. Funny, satisfying and all-round superb, gamers are loving this latest instalment in the Mario Brothers franchise that stands comparison with the best.
Fire Emblem: 3 Houses
Rated a solid 5/5 on Games Radar and nominated for a host of awards, this 2019 release is a strategy and tactics masterclass played out over an immense world that repays frequent revisits. Cleverly bridging the old and new iterations of the Fire Emblem universe, Fire Emblem: 3 Houses is by turns charming, tense and harrowing. An incredibly captivating game with endless options, you’ll find yourself coming back to battle time and again.
A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a horror stealth game in the action-adventure genre. Released in 2019, this is a creepy and unsettling game that casts a strange spell as you delve deeper into its 12th-century world. Players gave it an overwhelmingly positive welcome on release, with a Steam rating of 10/10. Beguiling graphics and a heartbreaking storyline can’t quite disguise the sometimes creaky stealth mechanics but following Amicia and her little brother Hugo’s journey into an apocalyptic world is never less than compelling.
Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5 is another instalment in the Devil May Cry series of hack and slash adventures and was lauded as a return to form by critics and fans alike. Incredible combat mechanics and an intriguing storyline drive this 2019 release which immediately started winning awards for its visual excellence. With plenty of replayability and upgrades galore, DMC5’s high ratings reflect its overall excellence.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
With 74 fighters and 104 stages, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the only game where you can see Mario and Zelda fighting the villains from Final Fantasy and Street Fighter on a Metal Gear Solid battlefield. This huge fighting mashup offers pure chaos, plenty of fun and some very tense action plus a lengthy and standalone one person adventure game on the side. Released in 2018 to massive acclaim from players, this game truly deserves the Ultimate tag and offers massive replayability.
Pokemon Sun and Moon
It’s difficult to think that the Pokemon franchise has been around for over two decades when Nintendo releases a game like Pokemon Sun and Moon. Released back in 2016 with consoles to match, these titles definitely stand as two of the very best in the Pokemon universe, only surpassed by the Ultra versions in 2017. Players loved the lively and colourful world, the level of creativity and innovation on display and the entertaining storyline. Outselling Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on its release, this game continues to charm players and deliver solid battle gameplay.
Dragon Quest XI
Dragon Quest XI takes turn-based battle to another level in this Square Enix game. First released in 2017, players love its beautiful game world, exceptional gaming mechanics and superb animations. Villains, treasure, monsters and some engrossing characters make this game a real visual treat. Even if the story doesn’t quite match up, this winner of Game of the Year and RPG of the Year is another quality entry in this long-running series.
Detroit: Become Human
Winner of 18 awards including Best Video Game of 2018 and Best Narrative, Detroit: Become Human is a stunning adventure game that explores the morality of AI. Gamers have been captivated by its dramatic storyline and great performances but the real appeal of this game lies in your ability to directly influence the character outcomes by the choices that you make. Unlike many linear adventures, the very real impact of those choices gives this game the kind of replayability that many adventures lack and the immersive storyline repays repeated views.
Steamworld Dig 2
What’s not to love in Steamworld Dig 2? This 2017 release revisits the world of the steam-driven robots and delivers some perfectly charming and ultra playable platforming action. No wonder this game garnered multiple award nominations with its uber cute cartoon graphics and brilliant realisation of its steampunk world. Players applauded the mix of exploration, puzzle-solving and combat although some were disappointed at this game's more linear approach.
Gamers agree: this is the best Sonic adventure out there. Released worldwide in 2017, it was heralded as a return to form for the character thanks to the way it goes back to basics and combines great level design and playability with a banging soundtrack. With new twists on classic challenges, plenty of different abilities and competition and co-op modes, Sonicmania was the muti-nominated game the Sonic fans were waiting for.
Hailed as the best entry in the series on its release in 2017, Persona 5 creates a ravishing gameworld with well over 100 hours of gameplay. Nominated for multiple awards and winner of Game of the Year, this JRPG has bags of style and plenty of achievements and rewards to unlock. Google users rate this game at 95% while critics claimed it set the gold standard for all other JRPGs thanks to its replayability and stunning world.
Set in the world of Japanese gangsters, Yakuza 5 is an action-adventure and the fifth instalment in the award-winning Yakuza series. With its multiple storylines and incredible levels of detail, the gameworld is totally immersive, playing out across 5 major Japanese cities. With a worldwide release in 2020 of the entire remastered chronicles, this game has won praise from gamers for its depiction of serious issues and its breathtaking ambition which make it the best in the series so far.
Tales from the Borderlands
Funny and engaging storytelling meets traditional point and click adventure gaming in Tales from the Borderlands. Players were quick to forgive its creaking game engine and the fact that it recycled some of the original Borderland series, thanks to its blend of comedy, pathos and blowing stuff up. Gamers also loved the interplay between the main characters and the fact that this entry in the Borderland universe could be played as a standalone adventure. Garnering 11 awards on its release in 2015 including Best Adventure Game, Best Voice Acting and Game of the Year, this is still a rewarding and entertaining game that deserves a play.
Splatoon, Nintendo’s ink-based shooter, was released in 2015 to positive reviews that praised its gameplay mechanics, soundtrack and visual style. Like a cross between paintball and Call of Duty, this bright and colourful game was a cartoon delight, although some players found the lack of multiplayer maps and modes on-launch made it feel samey and frustrating, criticisms that were addressed in the superior Splatoon 2. But for attempting to breathe new life into the shooter genre, the original Splatoon is worth a play.
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and its sister game Omega Ruby are enhanced remakes of the 2002 game Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. Released in 2014 to generally good reviews, the visual makeover and the 3D graphics plus the sheer playability of these games made them a hit with fans. Packed with mysteries to unravel and based on solid creative foundations, this is yet another high-quality entry in the Pokemon universe and a good reminder as to why the games are so popular.
Kirby Triple Deluxe
Kirby is the virtually unstoppable pink blob and the hero of a string of popular platformers. Kirby Triple Deluxe was released back in 2014 and remains an absolute blast to play with some really clever uses of 3D and some silly but satisfying side games. Add in some fun boss battles and innovative level design and you have an enduringly charming game for all players.
Divinity Original Sin
Packed with originality and complex decision making, Divinity Original Sin is one of the most interesting and enduring RPGs of recent years. Skilfully blending old and new in the genre with its thoughtful design and modding tool for creating personalised content, gamers also praised its playing environment, challenging battles and beautifully integrated fantasy elements. Funded by Kickstarter, it was named game of the year in 2014.
Dishonoured: The Brigmore Witches
Released in 2013, Dishonoured: The Brigmore Witches was the conclusion of the story started in The Knife of Dunwall. Players loved the ability to shape the main character’s skill set to suit their playing style, giving this game plenty of scope for replays. A brilliantly imagined gameworld, compelling gameplay including the Bone Charm system and a blend of slaughter and stealth saw the Dishonoured series winning a string of high profile awards.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Despite being released back in 2013, the intricate story and universal themes behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons give it a long-lasting appeal. The unique gameplay allows you to control both brothers at once as you guide them through a visually stunning game world. Its innovation saw it beat Tomb Raider to be awarded the Best Xbox game in 2013 and its compelling storyline won a BAFTA. Gamers heralded Brothers for its unique and compelling storytelling and it retains an enduring appeal.
It’s difficult to compare the Pikmin games as they’re not quite like anything else you’ll play. Pikmin III is definitely the pick of the bunch, with its surprisingly relatable little alien hero exploring his world and discovering treasures. This 2013 game with its strategic missions and sense of discovery is completely charming and left gamers with the feeling of having been transported to a strange but oddly familiar world. It remains a compelling way to pass a few hours solving its intriguing puzzles.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
There’s nothing quite like the Animal Crossing universe. Part Sims-style simulator and part Civilisation-style world builder, the Animal Crossing games are a complete delight. New Leaf was released in 2013 and immediately won the hearts of players everywhere with its immersive ecosystem filled with bugs, fish, animals and birds and a series of mini-games and missions. Completely free form, there’s no beginning and end and this game remains a breath of fresh air, just as it was on its release.
Euro Truck Simulator 2
Released in 2013, Euro Truck Simulator 2 fixed a number of issues that players had with the first game in the series. The result was an immersive and exciting game that featured impressive graphics. The game was lauded for its ability to create a distinct atmosphere as players traversed Europe via truck, and there were some neat features like streaming European internet radio.
The Cat Lady
The Cat Lady is a highly atmospheric psychological horror game. Using the point and click graphic adventure genre, the game explores themes of mental illness and depression through jarring black and white graphics and the story of Susan, the suicidal cat lady of the title. Winner of Best Story at the 2012 Aggie Awards, this Indie game remains an eerie yet surprisingly poignant examination of the central themes, making it well worth a play.
Kid Icarus: Uprising
When Kid Icarus: Uprising landed in 2012, it had been 20 years since Nintendo last visited this cheeky character. Loosely based on Greek mythology, Kid Icarus features aerial and ground-based missions in this third-person shooter. Gamers hailed the combination of music, action and art design and found that overall it overcame its flaws including awkward controls and repetitive levels. Fast-paced, bags of fun and with properly scalable difficulty, Kid Icarus: Uprising remains one of the best 3DS games.
Batman: Arkham City
Despite being released in 2011, Batman: Arkham City maintains a near-perfect rating with players who love the combination of action and adventure in this third-person perspective game. Winner of multiple awards for everything from Character of the Year for the Joker to Best Action-Adventure Game, this is dark Batman at his most brooding. Totally immersive, it tells the tale of the enmity between Batman and Joker through incredible graphics, challenging missions and a devastating ending. Not just one of the very best Batman games but one of the best action-adventure games out there.
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas is set in the post-apocalyptic Fallout universe and sees players couriering a mystery package across the Mojave desert from New Vegas. While not quite as good as Fallout 3, it still offers players a wild ride and they loved the diverse and interesting missions and excellent combat in this tale of factions at odds over the limited resources available in this post-nuclear Vegas. Definitely worth a trip to the Strip for this 2012 RPG.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Zelda is one of the truly legendary Nintendo characters and this 2017 game doesn’t disappoint. Hailed on release as the best Zelda action-adventure yet, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the first release on the Nintendo Switch and features a truly open world to explore. With its sense of freedom and adventure, players are free to explore and do as they please, making this an absolute masterclass in open world adventuring as you try to defeat Calamity Ganon and save the kingdom of Hyrule. An absolute classic of the genre, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild offers endless replayability.
Marvel's Spiderman is a total icon of that universe, but does this spectacular 2018 game do him justice? The answer is a resounding yes as Peter Parker a.k.a. Spiderman battles superhuman crime boss Mister Negative while dealing with his own personal problems. Hailed on release for its characterisation, graphics and gameplay, this is one of the best superhero action-adventures out there. If you’ve ever wanted to swing overhead across the Manhattan skyline, this game fulfils your superhero fantasies.
If you’re into puzzle platformers then 2016’s Inside remains a highly playable example of the genre. Thanks to its strong storyline and highly personalised aesthetic you’ll be plunged into the world of the boy who must overcome obstacles, solve environmental-based puzzles and deactivate light orbs to save the world. With an incredible ending that will leave you speechless and have you going straight back to the beginning to search for clues, this is a masterpiece of design and storytelling and unlike any game you’ll have played before.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
There have been plenty of great action-RPGs but Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is arguably one of the best. Even though it was released back in 2015, it remains just as compelling and immersive today. You’ll play as the Hunter who can upgrade his weapons, armour and gear as he becomes ever more proficient at slaying a huge range of monstrous foes. With so many locations and fighting moves to explore, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will have you hooked.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Originally released on the ill-fated Wii U back in 2014, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a spin-off from the behemoth that is the Super Mario universe. Navigate Toad and Toadette through each level to claim the gold star but don’t get kidnapped by Wingo! It’s a simple and timeless action puzzler that was updated with the release of the Switch to include a co-op mode. With plenty of side quests and its charming lead characters, this super sweet game won Puzzle Game of the Year at the IGN Awards.
Pokemon X and Y
The 2013 release Pokemon X and Y might not have had the huge impact of Pokemon Go but it’s rich social features and the fact that it was the first full 3D game makes it one of the best entries in the Pokemon universe. This game introduced the Mega Evolution feature into Pokemon along with 72 new species. This action RPG with its turn-based combat mechanism was truly transformative for the series and won high praise for its innovation, although seasoned players felt the new game world Kallos didn’t offer enough opportunities for exploration. Worth playing as one of the touchstones in the evolution of the Pokemon universe.
South Park: Stick of Truth
Funny and totally true to its origins, South Park: Stick of Truth is a 2014 RPG based on the hugely successful cartoon series. Featuring magical fart attacks and Nazi zombies, the game is like playing an extended episode of South Park featuring the New Kid who’s caught up in an epic fantasy war to gain control of the Stick of Truth. A complete one-off, this may be a one and done experience but what a ride for all fans of Parker and Trey’s potty-mouthed creations.
Winner of 85 awards, Bioshock: Infinite is a first-person shooter par excellence. Despite its 2013 release date, it continues to enjoy a 94% rating on Metacritic. At the time of release, it was praised for innovating the genre with its gameplay and narrative complexity. Part of the Bioshock universe, players control Booker Dewitt who is sent to an airborne city, Columbia, to rescue Elizabeth. With exceptional graphics, storytelling and dynamic combat this game was a deserved best-in-show and remains a classic of the genre.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 combines a wide open and quite stunning game world with some dark and adult themes in this 2012 first person shooter. Like its predecessor, this game was lauded for its thoughtful approach to the way shooters are designed and how we play them. Playable in various modes including Deathmatch, Domination and a 4 player co-op, gamers run missions to disrupt the local pirates and attempt to get lead character Jason off the island. Troubling and totally immersive, Far Cry 3 is an absolute classic.
A mission-based top-down shooter, Hotline Miami is a 2012 game that makes a virtue of its low res, retro look to deliver a game that still stands up today. That’s partially due to its dystopian storyline and on-point homage to 80s Miami as reimagined in a David Lynch movie. A sequel was released in 2015 but the original continues to attract players who enjoy its blend of mega violence with a thought provoking narrative.
A sequel to 2009’s Infamous, Infamous 2 follows the story of its hero Cole MacGrath in his quest to defeat his nemesis the Beast. Players loved the atmospheric urban graphics and the character-driven narrative. They weren’t so keen on the Karma gameplay system where Cole can use his superpowers for good or evil. But the superbly put together game world and well thought through side quests hugely outweigh the negatives, which is why this 2011 action adventure sandbox still enjoys a Metacritic score of 83/100 and remains a must-play.
Although the original 2011 game underwent a major overhaul in 2019, the original Terraria plays like Minecraft - if that game added some humongous weaponry and epic boss battles. Belying its charmingly retro pixelated looks, this action-adventure sandbox game puts the emphasis firmly on adventure, with a healthy side order of combat and takes the sandbox gameplay to new heights. Despite its modest 2D presentation, this is one of the 20 best selling games of all time and all those players can’t be wrong.
Dead Space 2
It took 3 years to bring out a sequel to Dead Space, but when Dead Space 2 dropped in 2011, it didn’t disappoint. Following on from the events of the first game, Dead Space 2 sees Isaac continue his fight against the Necromorphs while battling for his sanity. Genuinely suspenseful, this fast-paced survival horror game is packed with jump scares and is genuinely creepy. Infinitely replayable, you might want to play this with the lights on - but you will definitely play.
Little Big Planet 2
If Little Big Planet was great, Little Big Planet 2 is truly awesome. Released back in 2011, this platform puzzler has stood the test of time, remaining a massive favourite with players. You’re on a quest to save Craftworld as Sackboy runs, flies and shoots his way through 30 superb levels. There’s also a Create mode that lets you delve deeper into the world. Lovely to look at, utterly charming and fun to play, players keep adding to the gameplay of this timeless classic.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
If you love side-scrolling platform games, you’ll already love Donkey Kong Country Returns. Released in 2010, the story focuses on the evil Tiki Tak Tribe who hypnotise the animals of Donkey Kong Island and steal the bananas. Cue relentless action and some tough challenges in this old school scroller, awarded Most Challenging and Best Retro Design on its release. Donkey Kong Country Returns is definitely no picnic, but its blend of hardcore challenge and super design make it one for the ages.
Red Dead Redemption 2
First there was Red Dead Redemption, a cowboy-themed action-adventure game. And then there was Red Dead Redemption 2. Landing in 2018, it was anticipated as ‘GTA V with horses’ but the massive open world, stunning graphics and pitch-perfect outlaw storyline makes this game utterly unique. Lauded by gamers as one of the greatest games ever, it won multiple awards for its storyline, music, performances and design. Even when you finish the complex and immersive storyline, you’ll want to go back simply to explore this meticulously created world. An absolute classic.
Sid Meyer's Civ V
Sid Meyer’s Civilisation games are an outstanding achievement in modern gaming. Sid Meyer's Civ V completely overhauled the game world to deliver one of the very best turn-based strategy games. But Civ V is so much more than that. You’ll take your civilisation from Prehistory to the future using exploration, diplomacy, research, expansion and conquest. Players praised its graphic design, superb turn-based gameplay and the options to play alone or in multiplayer mode. If you’ve never played a Civilisation game, this is the one to play.
Grand Theft Auto V
Alongside Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto V is one of the greatest achievements in modern gaming. From its sprawling and highly playable game world to its pin-sharp critique of modern America, this 2013 action-adventure with its heist-themed narrative is superbly realised and hugely ambitious. Not without controversy, this game rewards constant replays as you discover more about San Andreas. Whether you follow the narrative or simply immerse yourself in the game world and hang out with other players, this game is a colossus.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action RPG that landed in 2011. Not only do the design and visuals continue to stand up, but there has rarely been an RPG with this level of immersion and engagement. The central storyline revolves around the quest to kill the dragon Alduin the World-Eater, but players are free to simply explore this open world and never engage with that quest. Gamers lauded the sense of freedom and superb gameplay in this richly garlanded game that continues to delight and frustrate in equal measure.
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
The follow up to the 1998 game Starcraft, Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is an engrossing science fiction strategy game that plays out in real-time. Following on from the gameplay of the original with its human and alien tribes mining for Vespene Gas, this game was met with huge critical acclaim earning a 93% rating on Metacritic. Players were quick to praise the fully realised game world and the polished gameplay. Great graphics, absorbing missions and the option to play in multiplayer mode make this a highly enjoyable experience.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Tactics, stealth and espionage combine in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Hailed on its release in 2015 as the greatest stealth game ever made, this ninth instalment in the MGS universe did not disappoint. Continuing the adventures of Punished ‘Venom’ Snake, players were divided by the lack of a central focus, but others embraced the opportunity to create their own stories with the highly detailed sandbox gameplay. If you enjoy finesse and intelligence while planning and executing campaigns Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain deserves to be on your must-play list.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released in 2015, and continues to hold up as one of the best video games of the decade. It has won 70 awards, and has been lauded by players for its immersive world, beautiful graphics and complex narrative.
The Last of Us
Released in 2013 by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us follows Ellie and Joel across a post-apocalyptic United States. Lauded for its touching and emotional storyline, the game was called a “beacon of hope” for the genre of survival horror games.
The first game in the Xenoblade Chronicles was released in 2010, and received critical acclaim for its innovative story, open world and user-friendly battle system. Critics stated that the game could usher in a new era of JRPGs.
Released in 2010, Vanquish is about brewing war between Russia and the United States over energy resources, and the player takes on the role of Sam, a government agent in a powerful battlesuit that leads the American armed forces on a mission to reclaim the country’s solar-powered space station. Sound over-the-top? It is, and that’s what most player’s loved about it – along with its impressive graphics and fast-paced gameplay.
As a role-playing hack and slash video game, Nier: Automata was ground-breaking for blurring the lines between genres. The game is set in the middle of a war between aliens and the remnants of humanity, fought by machines – and, it was met with universal acclaim for its narrative, music, combat system and characterization.
God of War
This is the eight installation in the God of War series, released in 2018. It marked the first time in the series that there were two protagonists, Kratos and his son Atreus, and it introduced a new weapon for the main character: a magical battle axe instead of the two chains that he used throughout the previous games in the series. These changes were well-received by players, who praised the game’s combat system, graphics, world design, art direction and narrative.
The Evil Within 2
The Evil Within 2 is a survival horror game that follows that Sebastian Castellanos as he navigates the terrifying town of Union to rescue his daughter. The game was released in 2017, and was lauded for its unique crafting and customisation systems along with its atmosphere, visuals and gameplay.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
As the second game in the Xenoblade Chronicles, this 2015 title was called as “masterpiece” by Dengeki, praised for its gameplay, world design, story and music. With five continents to explore, it is a huge open-world game that immerses players immediately.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Receiving widespread critical acclaim, Fire Emblem: Awakening is considered one of the best games for the 3DS. The game has been praised for its impressive production value and complex story. Fans of both JRPGs and action-RPGs flocked to the game, causing it to be nominated for and win numerous awards in 2012, including Best RPG at the Spike Video Game Awards.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Released in 2010, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a platformer unlike any other platformer. Mario continues is journey through the stars to rescue Princess Peach, and traverses various planets with absolutely stunning designs and incredible music. The game uses unique mechanics and physics that really makes players feel like they’re exploring different environments across the universe. It is one of a few games to receive a 10/10 rating from GameSpot, and is widely regarded as one of the best video games ever.
Rimworld is a construction and management simulation video game that was launched as a crowdfunding project in 2013. It’s your job to expand a colony of humans on a new planet, where the plot is randomly generated by an AI storyteller. The game represents a brand-new frontier in the world of simulation videogames and continues to be one of the most popular titles on Steam.
In this 2D action platformer, players control as insect-like knight who uses a nail as a weapon and can learn to cast spells. He travels across the fictional kingdom of Hallownest, exploring maze-like caves, battling creepy creatures and meeting friends along the way. For a platform, the world is impressively large. While the game has been lauded to its combat system, atmosphere and music, some critics have stated that it can be unnecessarily difficult.
Inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft and Bram Stoker, Bloodborne is an action-RPG that is set in Yharnam, a city that is plagued by an endemic illness that has turned its residents into terrifying beast-like creatures. The player must make their way through the city to get to the source of the plague. Critics praised the game’s storyline, combat system and exciting boss battles.
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
A Link Between World is the 17th game in the Legend of Zelda series but a direct sequel to the 1991 SNES game A Link to the Past. The game was in development for nearly four years, and uses a unique mechanic that allows link to merge into walls as paintings as a main gameplay feature – while introducing the item rental service. Critics and players praised the 3DS game for its dungeon design and music.
Assassin’s Creed 3
Assassin’s Creed 3 takes place in Colonial America, and spans two eras of the main character’s life. Players can explore both Boston and New York, as well as various settlements across the American Frontier. The game is considered one of the best in the Assassin’s Creed series, and is known for its beautiful visuals, interesting combat mechanics and innovative Homestead system that allows players to trade and form relationships with residents of their village.
This unique platformer game requires players to place portals in order to solve puzzles, and is set after the events of Half Life 2 and the first Portal game. Portal 2 is a classic videogame, that is on the must-play list of most gamers. With a star-studded voice acting cast that includes Stephen Merchant and J.K. Simmons, the game has been lauded for its dark sense of humour – as well as it’s complex narrative and, of course, innovative gameplay.
Red Dead Redemption
Developed over five years, Red Dead Redemption is one of the most expensive videogames ever made. The game is based in 1911, as former outlaw John Marston must kill or apprehend his former criminal associates to keep his family safe from harm. It has received widespread critical acclaim for its narrative, voice acting, music, gameplay and graphics.
Pokemon SoulSilver / HeartGold
While these games are essentially remakes of 1999’s Pokemon Gold and Silver, they do have a place on this list as they were designed to feel like new games to players who were introduced to series more recently. While some critics and players felt that the games didn’t really introduce anything new, a large portion of the gaming community believes that they are the best games in the Pokemon series even among newer games like Sun/Moon and Sword/Shield.
This Nintendo Switch title sees players assume the role of a detective from Neuron – a police task force that investigates crimes in the world of “The Ark”, a futuristic megacity where the last remnants of humanity live. Players must question characters, examine evidence and solve logic puzzles as part of the investigation process. While the game has been criticised for being an exclusive Nintendo Switch game, those who have played the game praise Astral Chain for its world-building and characterization.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4 takes Nathan Drake on a new adventure, coaxing him out of retirement in order to find the long-lost treasure of Henry Avery. The game has received universal acclaim, with some critics calling the game “painfully beautiful” and “a work of art”. The plot is considered nuanced and complex, and the integration of combat intertwined with the story has been compared to The Last of Us.
Super Mario Odyssey
In this game, Mario takes off on an adventure with his anthropomorphic hat Cappy across different worlds to rescue Princess Peach. The gameplay is more open-world and exploration based, similar to Super Mario Sunshine, and has been called a spiritual successor to Super Mario 64. Praised for its world-building and gameplay mechanics, Super Mario Odyssey won numerous awards in 2017.
In Cities: Skylines, players are charged with the task of building a city with effective transport. Players become urban planners that control road placement, public transportation, public services and taxation while maintaining important aspects of the city like health, employment and pollution levels. While the game has drawn plenty of comparisons to SimCity, Cities: Skylines is very much its own game with a unique take on the city-building genre.
Super Smash Bros Ultimate
As the fifth instalment in the Super Smash Bros series, Ultimate features a huge selection of characters not only from the Super Mario universe but also Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Animal Crossing, Metroid and Street Fighter characters. It is considered the best game in the series, lauded for combining the best elements of its predecessors and providing players with an impressive selection of characters, levels and game modes.
Mario Kart 8
There really isn’t much that we can say about Mario Kart 8 - you race against other Super Mario characters in crazy environments across the Mushroom Kingdom. The game introduces new anti-gravity racing, where players can drive along walls and ceilings. Critics and players enjoyed the game’s impressive attention to detail, stunning graphics and engaging gameplay.
In this sequel, Bayonetta must travel to the Gates of Hell to rescue her friend Jeanne. The game uses the same hack and slash combat system of the first game with the series’ characteristic gunplay. Critics have stated that the game is a “masterclass in combat design”, while players were thrilled with the customisation options.
Super Mario 3D World
This 3D platformer game was released in 2013, and offers players a fun multi-player experience throughout the Mushroom Kingdom. The game’s “youthful energy” was praised by critics, along with its level design. The game was nominated and won numerous awards that year for “Best Wii U Game”, “Best Overall Game” and “Best Platformer”.
Bastion is an action role-playing game that was released in 2011, following a character called “the kid” as he collects special shards to power The Bastion to save the world from the apocalypse. The game sold half a million copies that year, and was lauded for its wonderfully crafted gameplay and story.
The Wolf Among Us
The Wolf Among Us is just one of two Telltale games on the list, and this episodic series is based on the Fable comic book. The fame has garnered a significant cult following since its release in 2013 and is still widely played. Overall, the game was praised for its storytelling, action sequences, visuals and faithfulness to the source material.
Black Mesa is a sort of fan creation, developed by Crowbar Collective as a free mod for Half Life 2. The game eventually received its own release on Steam in 2015. In the game, the player controls Gordon Freeman as he makes his way throughout the Black Mesa research facility after an experiment has gone wrong. It has a longer run-time than Half Life 2, new skins and additional story elements. It was so popular that it even started receiving comparisons to official Valve releases.
To the Moon
To the Moon is an adventure game developed by Freebird Games in 2011, and was made using RPG Maker XP. The game is about a unique technology that allows people to fulfil their lifelong dreams on their deathbeds, and the main character Johnny Wyles’ wish is to go to the moon – but things don’t go as planned. The game’s gorgeous design and ground-breaking story have made it a classic play among gamers.
Mass Effect 2
Hailed by many to be the best in the Mass Effect Series, Mass Effect 2 is an action-RPG in which players take on the role of Commander Shepherd must assemble a team to defeat the Collectors which threaten life across the universe. While the initial release suffered from some technical issues, the game has received as hugely positive critical response and received many nominations for Game of the Year in 2010.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a 2011 release from Square Enix. The game takes place in the year 2027 as Adam Jensen, an half-machine super-soldier takes down cyber terrorists in a complex plot. Deux Ex was met with critical acclaim for its inventive story, game mechanics and world-building.
Stardew Valley is an RPG and role-playing game not unlike the classic Harvest Moon. There are many more advanced features, though, as players must manage their time to harvest crops, raise livestock, mine for ore and develop relationships with the local townsfolk. The game has sold 3.5 million copies across all platforms, and has won numerous awards.
Metroid: Samus Returns
Samus returns is a 2017 reimagining of 1991’s Metroid II game, with enhanced graphics, controls and gameplay. After numerous Metroid sequels, the game was considered a “return to form” and is a favourite among fans of retro gaming.
Divinity: Original Sin II
Divinity Original Sin II is an action-RPG that sold over one million copies in two months. The game is set in a huge open world as players can assume the roles of a wide variety of characters with their own backstories. It has received plenty of praise from critics, often being called a “masterpiece”.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is a platform game that was released in 2015 by Moon Studios. Players control a guardian spirit named Ori and Sein – who each have different abilities. The game has been lauded for its impressive level design, controls, storytelling and plot twists to make for an engaging gaming experience.
Dark Souls III
Dark Souls III is an action-RPG which was released in 2016, and was the fastest selling Bandai Namco game ever. It is considered one of the best games ever by critics, with stunning graphics, an engaging story and exciting combat gameplay.
Super Mario Maker
Not only in Super Mario Maker as side-scrolling platformer; it’s also a game creation system. In eight months, the game had over seven million courses that had been played 600 million times by players around the world.
Steins;Gate was release from October 2009 to on Xbox360 and ported to Windows in August 2010. This visual novel has a complex plot about time travel and alternate realities and was so popular that it was eventually made into its own television series. While it qualifies as a videogame, the gameplay actually requires very little interaction from the player – but there are situations where you’re required to make important decisions that will affect future events.
Life is Strange
This episodic graphic adventure game follows a photography student named Max Caufield as she discovers that she has the ability to rewind time. You have to use this ability to solve puzzles throughout the game, as Max attempts to get to the bottom of all the strange events happening in her town. The game has sold over 3 million copies, and has been praised for its unique story and innovative gameplat mechanics.
Lisa: The Painful RPG
Lisa is a 2D RPG that has platforming elements to tell the story of Brad Armstrong as he searches for his adoptive daughter in the wasteland of Olathe. Players love this game for its use of dark comedy, its atmospheric soundtrack and sophisticated writing.
Bayonetta is a hack and slash adventure game that was released in North American in 2010. The game is about a shapeshifting witch who is talented with gunplay, and uses gameplay features that are reminiscent of the Devil May Cry series. It has received universal acclaim for its incredibly combat system and intense boss battles.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival horror game that was released in 2016 and follows a man named Daniel as he makes his way through the horrifying halls of Prennenburg Castle with little recollection of his life. The game has been praised for its successful use of horror elements and ominous atmosphere.
Subnautica is an adventure survival game in which players explore an open underwater world. The player can collect resources, create tools, build bases and interact with the wildlife who live in the ocean. It has been called an “underwater Minecraft”, as there is nearly limitless gameplay available. In 2018, the game won and was nominated for a number of awards including PC Game of the Year, Breakthrough Award and Fan Favourite Indie Game.
Rayman Legends is a platformer that was released in 2011, which carries on the gameplay from Rayman Origins where up to four players can navigate through various levels. Immediately upon its release, the game was praised by critics for its level design, graphics, controls and soundtrack.
In Hitman 2, players pick up where the left off in the original game, as the Agent 47 (portrayed by Sean Bean) continues his assassination work for the CIA. At the 2019 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards, it won awards for its control design was named Franchise Adventure Game of the Year.
Released in 2011, Dark Souls is considered one of the best video games ever created. The game has been praised for its depth of combat and immersive level design. It won numerous awards for Game of the Year in 2011 and, even nearly a decade later, is considered a top game.
Transistor is an action-RPG game in which the player controls a character named Red – a singer who must save her city from an attack by a robotic force called The Process. She has found herself in possession of the legendary sword-like weapon called Transistor which is coveted by The Process and she must battle her way through the Cloudbank to protect herself. The game has been lauded for its beautiful graphics and unique soundtrack.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Inspired heavily by Batman: Arkham Asyum, the game features a very sophisticated battle and exploration system that players use as they control Cal Kestis who is being chased by the Empire. He travels through both new and known worlds from the Star Wars series, making this a popular game among fans. The game served as redemption for EA after the game developer came under fire for the use of microtransctions in its previous release Star Wars Battlefront II.
Papers, Please is a simulation game that was launched in 2013 by Lucas Pope. This “dystopian document thriller”, the player takes on the role of an immigration officer in Arstotzka who must review each immigrant amidst increasingly stringent rules. After its release, the game won nearly ten awards from SXSW, the British Academy Game Awards, Games for Change Awards and the Independent Games Festival.
Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game from based on the Alien film series. In this game, players must make their way around a space station while using various tools to evade the alien hunting them. The game has been praised for its unique gameplay and eerie atmosphere.