As 2019 has finally wrapped up, what better way to reflect upon the decade than looking at some of its best games! From 2010 to 2019, there have been thousands of games made, some amazing and some horrific. However, let’s not worry about those lackluster games. When considering my personal list of best games of the decade I considered graphics, game play, story, and cultural significance as factors to be considered. I only included games that I played, so games such as Borderlands 3, Jedi Fallen Order, Spiderman, and Red Dead Redemption 2 were not considered but should not be over-looked. Now let’s get started! (*Potential Spoilers Ahead*)
With the ever-changing battlefield and constant updates, Fortnite is a must for any best games of the decade list. While I am not a personal fan of the game, nor very good, I will be the first to say that the game is well made and has unique graphics. The major reason that Fortnite deserves to be on this list is the MASSIVE cultural impact that it has created. Fortnite continues to be one of the biggest games of the decade and doesn’t look to slowing down anytime soon. The ability of Epic to consistently update the game and draw in new players in baffling. Fortnite has not only streamlined the battle royal genre but has also created one of the largest esports league in the world. The concept of finding new guns and collecting resources creates a play style that is unique to Fortnite. The ability to build structures that can change the battlefield is an experience unique to Fortnite and makes every battle different. Fortnite provides an experience that no other battle royal can give with the ability to build, fight, and collect different weapons as battlefield begins to shrink.
9. Grand Theft Auto 5
From its long story to the ever-supported online function, Rockstar has created a game that will be forever immortalized in the history of gaming. Rockstar has created a game that took the industry by storm and is a high-quality game. The story mode has a good plot and enjoyable mechanics. I have talked to those who have rolled credits on the game and they loved every moment of it. For those who are looking to get a bang for your buck in offline play, this game will do exactly that. Plus, who doesn’t love buying guns and battling some thugs to just get blown-up? However, story mode isn’t why this game deserves to be on a top 10 list, the GTA online game mode is what separates it from other games during this decade. GTA online gets frequent updates and keeps making Rockstar plenty of money. The ability to play through a second story with your friends and complete strangers is an exciting experience. While I am not a GTA fan, GTA 5 gives plenty of fun and exciting moments for just about everyone.
This game was actually a last-minute decision to add this game to the list. For Christmas 2019 a friend gifted this game to a few friends and me. After being able to play this game for a few hours I am happy to say that it deserves to be on a top ten list of greatest games of the decade. The online game play is fantastic, teaming up with five other people and being able to go into combat in different game modes is a blast. I have yet to play through all the characters, but the ones I have used as are enjoyable to play as. With so many characters to choose from, there is a character for anyone’s playstyle. While I am not entirely great at this game yet, I look forward to getting to play this game more over the next few weeks and months, learning new ways to play and learning new characters. The animation style is more cartoony than that of other games on this list but is phenomenal. Once again, Overwatch is another game that took the gaming world by storm when it was released, and still has momentum going into the new decade. Being able to experience the game now is enjoyable and I look forward to the release of Overwatch 2.
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops
The Call of Duty franchise consistently puts out one of the top selling games of the year with every new release. While I do not buy and play every Call of Duty game, I felt that Call of Duty: Black Ops was able to capture a wide variety of an audience and lead to the creation of the longest running Call of Duty sub-franchise. The story mode was brief but was a fun time despite lacking a depth that you may look for in a single player story. The competitive online multiplayer was fantastic and how could anyone forget fighting for their life at Firing Range! With enough time, anyone could become competent at online multiplayer in Black Ops. With Black Ops we also saw the return of the zombie game mode. The zombie maps and Easter eggs within each map made for countless fun Saturday nights with friends. Without the creation of Blacks Ops who knows where the Call of Duty franchise would be, maybe we would be playing Call of Duty Ghost 4.
6. Divinity Original Sin 2
I have a natural draw to and love for turn based RPGs. Growing up I can remember playing 8-bit final fantasy games with my cousins on the DS, so Divinity: Original Sin 2 (DOS2) brings back the nostalgia and such sweet memories. With that being said, DOS2 is visually pleasing, with the isometric and combat views you are able to assess the battlefield and the surroundings. With each new armor piece, you are able to change how your character looks and can make them look like true gods of the battlefield. The combat is deep and engaging, and the flow of battle can change in a heartbeat. I have strictly played this game in a multiplayer format and being able to strategize with my friends adds to the excitement of every big battle. The story of the game can be muddled at times, as there are a multitude of ways to continue in the story that may or may not affect outcomes later in the game. There are countless side quests that provides new skills, items, and abilities to help with your adventures. You’ll also probably hear plenty of cheesy lines and exaggerated voice acting that will make you laugh or cringe at times. Overall, DOS2 deserves a spot on the top games of the decade for the gameplay and countless hours of soul eating.
Warframe is a game that is beyond unique, with the ability to craft new “warframes,” weapons, and other key items you are constantly hunting for. Warframe is a free to play “game as service” game that can be played solo or with friends. The ability to travel the solar system, via the star chart, allows you to experience what the universe looks like in a Syfy future. The mechanics are stimulating as you are jumping and flying through the air while shooting enemies relentlessly. Each warframe has its own unique abilities that change how you play, such as support, tanks, and damage dealing warframes. While each warframe has its own abilities, you can drastically change the duration and effectiveness of said abilities with the use of mods. The depth of the gameplay of Warframe is beyond my expertise, and more than what can go into a short exert about the game. The one area that Warframe lacks is the story, the beginning of the story is confusing, and I did not quite understand what the objective or lore was. Once you have completed approximately 50% of the star chart the story picks up exponentially. The grind in this game is real and I highly recommend it for those who enjoy free games or just want a fun game to play with friends.
4. Witcher 3
When looking back at highly anticipated games of the decade, the Witcher 3 was high up on the list. With deep lore and a heart racing story line, anyone and everyone can appreciate the Witcher 3. Not only do story mission take you deeper and deeper into this world of monsters, both human and nonhuman, but create a story line that is worth every hour. The developers at CD Projekt Red also manage to make almost every side mission just as entertaining. With the depth of the main story and side missions, you can spend hundreds of hours playing the Witcher 3. When it comes to game mechanics, the Witcher 3 has a soulsborn feel where dodging, blocking, and parrying is a MUST! However, if you crank the difficulty down to easy you are able to kill most enemies that are at or below your level with ease. The RPG mechanics are set to be picked and applied as you level up within four categories: combat skills, signs, alchemy skills, and general skills. These skills can be enhanced through the use of mutagens, which goes along with the lore of witchers being enhanced. With the never-ending selection of weapons and armor, you can adjust to your play style as needed.
3. Borderlands 2
Borderlands has grown into a series that numerous people look forward to. With “87 Bazillion Guns” Borderlands 2 drastically improves upon the foundation of what the first Borderlands was going for. The game play is drastically improved from its predecessor; the guns feel the same, and the skill trees allow for players to create a more specific build within the game. When initially getting to play as one of the original four characters or one of the two DLC characters, you can tell that the creators at 2k have worked to improve each class and give them all a unique spin. The story of Borderlands 2 is also superior than that of the first Borderlands. With having the characters of the first game be CPUs in the second created for an exciting and nostalgic experience as each new character was introduced during the game. Each quest felt meaningful, with minimal feelings of performing meaningless tasks. The villain in Borderlands 2 was relatable and at points you could see why he was acting the way he was (and hint hint, it helps lay the groundwork for the pre-sequel). Borderlands 2 also does a great job at making the open world feel a little less lonely as there are new allies everywhere you go. Borderlands 2 increased the popularity of looter-shooters and developed many key systems that we see in todays “games as service” style games.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Legend of Zelda has been a long running franchise that has been loved by many over the years. It should be no surprise that the latest addition to the franchise would be amongst the greatest games of the decade. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BOTW) re-invents what many know to be a Zelda game. BOTW created many expectations for open world games. One of the greatest additions to the game is the ability to climb anything. As long as you have enough stamina you can go anywhere that you wish. Then, once you decided to climb that huge mountain in the distance, you can jump off the edge and use your glider to get your next objective! The combat is reminiscent of many 3-D Zelda games, you can lock on dodge and attack just like days of old. However, with the introduction of RPG like elements, weapons are picked up around the world or from dead enemies and can break just as easily as they are found. The addition of weapons breaking is extremely frustrating early on in the game, but as you explore more of the world you find places where top tier weapons will respawn every blood moon. The graphics of BOTW are limited simply by the Nintendo Switch. If you’re an individual, such as myself, who enjoys playing handheld, you will see lower resolution but a constant frame rate. The story of BOTW is well done overall, but exploring the massive open world is arguably just as fun. The Legend of Zelda: BOTW is a game for the ages and a top tier game of this past decade.
1. God of War (2018)
When trying to decide on my personal favorite game of the decade I wanted to make sure that the top game was outstanding in many ways. When you first begin your journey with the angry Kratos, you quickly realize that this is not going to be a game where you are out to kill all the gods of a new mythology. The story of growth and development between a father and his son is beautiful. What I was concerned was going to be a lonely world and story quickly turned into a small ensemble cast that you grew to love. The world within Midgard has breathtaking views and I found myself repeatedly rotating the camera to take in all of the environment. The lore of Norse mythology is woven deeply within the game and I enjoyed hearing many of the stories as I roamed the world. The combat was flawless and as smooth as butter. Being able to use the Leviathan axe for close and ranged combat was excellent, switching between the two could be executed easily. I will say that learning to use Atreus was difficult at first but once you got the hang of it and learned how to utilize him, it could make the hardest battles drastically easier. God of War had it all in my opinion, a great story, game play, graphics and deep lore. While the cultural significance may not have been as extreme, God of War is absolutely a console and decade defining game, and an example of what video games can and should be.