Sports & Gaming

Mike’s Absolutely Objective (and Not Wrong) Top Games of the Decade

This last decade has been one hell of a ride for the gaming industry. There’s been a lot to celebrate, and a lot of really good games were released in the last 10 years. While not everything that came from the gaming industry this decade was on the up and up, GamerGate and the recent Blitzchung controversy come to mind along with countless studio closures, the games that did manage to come out have been some of the best video game experiences I’ve had in my 28 years on this earth. So, before we leave this decade and usher in a probably similarly hellish new decade, here are my favorite games of the last 10 years, in no particular order (except for number 1).

10. The Outer Worlds

Courtesy of Obsidian Entertainment

I talked at length about this game in my formal review (pls read it) so I won’t completely rehash everything I said there, but I will say that this is still my favorite game of 2019, and the way it takes a style of game that had become extremely stale to me and makes it feel extremely fresh is something that I can truly appreciate. It’s an incredible game, and if you haven’t played it yet you are doing yourself a major disservice. The writing rocks, the graphics rock, the combat is still a little whatever even on a second playthrough, but that doesn’t matter because everything else is phenomenal.

9. Destiny 2

Image courtesy of Bungie

LONG LIVE THE GRIND, BABY! Destiny scratches an itch for me that few games have scratched since I first started playing World of Warcraft a million and a half years ago. While I fell off of playing WoW Classic, I continued to play Destiny. The routine of firing up the game, picking up a few dozen bounties, putting on a podcast or something on Netflix, was not only fun as hell, but also a bit therapeutic for me. The shooting in Destiny 2 is good. Guns feel great to use, and since there are so many of them being thrown at you there are always options to change up your loadout. I’ve already brought up a Blizzard game here so I might as well bring up another one. I love Diablo and I love games where you can find a ton of loot, so by association I love Destiny and I love watching my light level go up ever so slowly. While I haven’t had as much time or energy to play Destiny in recent weeks, I’m excited to use my free time during the holidays to sell myself back to the endless grind.

8. Demon’s Souls

Image courtesy of FromSoftware

This is it. The progenitor of the “souls-like” genre. The father of all challenging and deliberate games that spawned in its wake. While the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne take what Demon’s Souls did and improved upon the formula immensely over the years, this is the OG. It may not hold up well at all nowadays, but it laid the foundation for FromSoftware to build some of my favorite games of all time. As much as I wanted to put Bloodborne here in its place, that game wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Demon’s Souls

7. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Image courtesy of CD Projekt RED

Few games have stuck with me as long as The Witcher has. Its an absolutely MASSIVE game. There is no shortage of people to encounter, quests to undertake, or monsters to kill. The two expansions add even more content to the base game on top of that, with Blood and Wine being one of the finest additions to the base game that anyone could have asked for. Plot wise, the game rules, with a story just as grand as the game it takes place in. Combat is a ton of fun, if a bit clunky, and to this day the visuals blow me away. The Witcher has slowly become one of my annual playthrough games, and hopefully it stays that way for awhile as the game engages me every opportunity it gets.

6. Doom (2016)

Image courtesy of id Software

Oh man. What can I say about 2016’s Doom other than a very much pun intended HELL YEAH! This is the kind of thing I look for in a game like this. I can check my brain at the door, pick up some massive and ridiculous gun, and plow through the forces of hell like a one man killing machine. I honestly wish every shooter could be as balls to the wall insane as Doom because almost no other game has made me play it while having an enormous grin on my face.

5. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Image courtesy of MachineGames

This is what I meant when I said ALMOST no other game. The New Colossus is probably one of the most over the top games I have ever played. I like it for a lot of the same reasons I like Doom: the shooting feels good, it makes you feel like a one man army, and its straight up batshit. I could fill up a top 10 list just based off of my favorite moments from The New Colossus, but I’m trying to avoid spoiling anything in this list. If you haven’t played this game, you have to. Its stupid in the best way possible

4. The Last of Us

Image courtesy of Naughty Dog

This was honestly a contender for my top game of the decade. Naughty Dog really outdid themselves with this one. While the gameplay is pretty similar to their Uncharted series, where TLOU stands tall is in its story. Rarely do I get so invested in a pair of characters like I did with Ellie and Joel. Right from the beginning this game destroys you emotionally, and the rest of the game makes you feel like you’re all alone in a completely hostile world. It did the thing that Breaking Bad did for me where I wasn’t sure whether to still like or root for certain characters by the end, and any game that makes me question myself in that way and make me actually feel something deserves a spot on here

3. Undertale

Image courtesy of Toby Fox

In a decade that saw indie games really come to the forefront of the industry, Undertale stood at the front of the indie army like a general leading its troops. This game is fun, funny, smart, and probably as close as we will ever get to that Mother sequel that never happened. It’s a game that has spawned memes, a rabid fanbase, and its reach is so wide it got its own representation in the newest Smash Bros. It also has the distinction of having one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time. Undertale rules and is worthy of all the praise it gets. Also, it was made by ONE GUY

2. Divinity: Original Sin II

Image courtesy of Larian Studios

I just checked my steam profile before I started writing this and it said I put 134 hours into this game, and I believe it. Straight up one of the best RPG experiences I had all decade. It takes the things I love about games like Baldur’s Gate and Pillars of Eternity and amplifies them by 1000%. The freedom that Divinity gives you in progressing through the game is unmatched, and just writing about it makes me want to start a fresh playthrough. Few games had this much of an impact on me over the decade, apart from out final entry on this list, and I can’t wait to see how much work Larian Studios puts into Baldur’s Gate 3.

And now…

1. Persona 5

Image courtesy of Atlus

YOU’LL NEVA SEE IT COMIIIIIIIIIN’!!!! To anyone that knows me personally, this should come as no surprise. I talk about this game any and every opportunity I get. The mechanics are solid, the plot is the kind of dumb anime stuff I love, and similar to Undertale, the soundtrack for this game is absolutely insane. I actually played this game 3 times all the way through, with each playthrough ending around the 100 hour mark. I honestly believe this game is a masterpiece, to the point where I’m going to buy it for a second time and likely play it all the way through another 3 times when its rerelease comes out in 2020. I honestly can’t say enough about this game. Its absolutely not for everyone, in fact I know a lot of people who actively disliked this game (they’re wrong) but its not only my game of the decade but my 3rd favorite game of all time coming behind Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Trigger. I’m very much looking forward to another 300 hours of taking hearts.

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