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Games of the Decade

So many great games, but only one winner

By Duncan AinsworthPublished 4 years ago 16 min read

Now we have reached the end of the 2010's I thought it would be a nice lighthearted distraction from all the dismal politics to try to decided what I would consider to be the best game of the decade, with best games from each year within that decade.

Starting with 2010 the contenders are: Mass Effect 2, Bad Company 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Red Dead Redemption, Halo Reach, Assassins Creed: Brotherhood and Bioshock 2

Mass Effect 2 will forever be my personal favourite Mass Effect game, it blends a good balance of action, gameplay and roleplaying. It's story was also more action orientated, which made it more ineresting to play than it's predecessor. Bad company 2 was a great First person shooter last with some witty humour in the single player campaign and the level of destructibility the battlefield games have become known for. Dragon Age: Origins was another great, expansive RPG from Bioware that drew on fantasy elements to create a solid experience. Red Dead Redemption absolutely blew me away when I first played it, everything from the world you inhabit and the stories told in the game to the protagonists story is just excellent.

Game of the Year for 2010 has to be Red Dead Redemption, this game has so many brilliant moments and fantastic characters, it's a world that draws you in and urges you to stay for as long as possible, and who can forget the first time you cross in to Mexico!

My nominations for 2011 are: Bulletstorm, Gears of War 3, Portal 2, Skyrim, Assassins Creed Revelations.

Portal 2 is considered one of the best puzzle platform games of all time, it helps that it has a great sense of humour to go with it as well. Skyrim is another game considered to be the best of it's genre, this time an RPG. This game has one of the most intersting worlds to explore and varied ways to experience, I've put hundreds of hors in to this game and still go back to play more now over eight years later.

Game of the year for 2011, for me, has to be Skyrim, the fact that I can go back to it and play through it in different ways and have a different experience each time, in a world that is beautiful and immersive and still enjoy it makes it an easy choice for 2011's game of the year

My picks for potential game of the year 2012 are: Mass Effect 3, Assassins Creed 3, Journey, Dishonored, Borderlands 2

Mass Effect 3 certainly had an air of ending from the beginning, everything is focused towards the final battle with the reapers. Despite what many people think of the endings, I thought it was a reasonably ok action RPG. When I first played Journey I was blown away by how beautiful it was, not just to look at but to listen to it as well. This game is so well scored that it add extra weight to a beautiful game.

Game of the year for 2012 is by far Journey, this short but beautiful game, helps prove the idea that games are art and was a pleasure to experience.

The games I think deserve a look at from 2013 are: Assassins Creed: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, The Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand theft Auto 5 broke all sorts of sales records when it was initially released and wowed both fans and critics who still love it to this day. hopping between the 3 protagonists was a first for me, but it still felt very much like previous iterations of the game with it's interesting world, satirising real world cities, and sense of humour. Black Flag, in my opinion, is the second best Assassins Creed (after 2 obviously), it opened up the world and explorable regions a bit more and improtved on the naval combat introduced in Assassins Creed 3. Edward Kenway was also a much more interesting character than Connor from Assassins Creed 3. The Last of Us was an absolutely brilliant game, being cinematic in scope but character driven and intimate at times. The Last of Us is one of those games that stays with you for a while after you play it, you get so attached to characters and the relationships they form, you feel fear for them in tense situations, you will them on in tough times and everything seems almost personal.

For me Game of the Year 2013 The Last of Us, this was a close one for me as I loved Black Flag, but the intimacy of the story of The Last of Us and how it made me feel, means that it has to be Game of the Year.

The following are the games I considered from 2014 are: Titanfall, Alien Isolation, Assassins Creed Rogue, Assassins Creed Unity

I feel like Assassins Creed Rogue flew under a lot of peoples radar, primarily I feel because it released on the same day as Unity, but for the previous generations of consoles and only for those consoles, luckily a remaster was later released. Speaking of Assassins Creed Unity, despites the horrificly buggy state it was released in there was a fairly ok game to be found in the aftermath, if you came to it later on after it's initial release like I did. Alien Isolation is a license saving game, after the major wobble that was Alien Colonial Marine a lot of people thought that there wasn't going to be another game based on the Alien movies ever again so a lot of people approached this game with trepidation, unsure of what it was going to be like, but luckily those nerves were quickly settled, well sort of.

The Game of the Year 2014 has to be Alien Isolation. this game got atmosphere absolutely spot on. It got what it's like to be hunted spot on, with the intesity of being chased by a predator, you really do fear for your characters welfare as you try find any hiding space that you can squeeze in to. The aliens AI in this game is also one of the best and is still considered to be great.

For 2015 the contenders are: The Witcher 3, Assassins Creed Syndicate, Until Dawn

The Witcher 3 is an RPG of epic proportions, the world and the characters are all fascinating to explore and to interact with. The Witcher series as a whole is excellent at taking moral "greyness" head on, not everything is as black and white as it seems and it's more pronounced in the third and final game. Until Dawn makes a decent crack at a game based on The Butterfly Effect, the idea that even the smallest actions can have big consequences. The ending can vary depending on certain actions and decision the player performed and made. I believe that Until Dawn tackles this really well and playng through it in order to try and get certain endings add some replay value to a fairly enjoyable game.

The game of the year 2015 goes to The Witcher 3, this game is just absolutely brilliant, everything just adds up to make an absolutely stellar game. From the world and the lore to it's characters and stories, The Witcher 3 is truly and excellent game.

Games from 2016 that I'm considering for Game of the Year are: Heavy Rain, The Division, Gears of War 4, Titanfall 2, The Last Guardian

Titanfall 2 was actually a solid game, with a fairly standard, but enjoyable, single player campaign and a multiplayer suite that expands on the one in the first game. It's a shame it was released between a Call of Duty and a Battlefield game, so not many people played it initially and I genuinely believe a lot of people missed out. An awful lot of people waited a long time for The Last Guardian and boy were they rewarded. This game is genuinely incredible, from its gameplay to how it looks, it is one of those games that stands out as an absolute must play. Originally destined for the Playstation 3 the nine year development meant that it came out on the next generation the Playstation 4, given what a marvel this game is, I'm certainly glad they took their time with it.

Game of the year 2016 in my opinion is The Last Guardian the relationship between the boy and trico, as well the journey the go on throughout the game, make The Last Guardian essentially playing, whether your new to video games or a seasoned gamer

The year 2017 has some strong contenders for Game of The Year, they are, Resident Evil 7, Horizon Zero Dawn, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Assassins Creed Origins, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Resident Evil 7 is tense, atmospheric and a refreshing change on the formula of the previous games. The Baker famil are great characters as they help maintain an air of creepiness about the game. Playing this game with a VR headset on for the playstation adds another layer of terror as well, and makes for a genuinely scary experience. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild feels like a Zelda game that I've been unwitingly waiting for years, having only dipped in and out of the series since The Ocarina of Time and Majoras Mask. Breath of the Wild is an absolutely fantastic game, a world so open and awe inspiring, it felt like I spent more time exploring it than playing the main quest. That to me is the mark of a stellar game, one that you don't want to leave by finishing it off and spending as many hours as possible with it. It of course is also a beautiful game to look at as well, it's art style is so unique and suits a Zelda game entirely. Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a world where technology is pretty much autonomous from humans and humans have forgoten how to use it. Aloy, the protagonist you play in this game is an interesting one, some might say she is just another "chosen one" video game character, but there's more to her than that. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a heavy game, as it deals with mental illness, particularly Psychosis. The main character is psychosis sufferer and throughout you as the player experience what she is experiences as she goes on her quest to retrieve the soul of her lost love from the norse underworld. Throughout the development of this gamers the team at ninja theory worked with doctors and psychiatrists, as well as patients, to best understand and represent the condition in the game.

My choice of Game of the year 2017 is Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, the amount of work that went in to the development and production of this game, from a small team of developers as well, was incredible. The way that mental illness is portrayed in the game as well is outstanding. Often people with mental illnesses are so wildy inaccurately portrayed across various types of media, so the fact that the team at Ninja Theory worked so hard to get it right earns extra kudos from me. Of course the game is also beautiful and a decent challenge to play. The technique they used to produce the sounds in different directions is also realy cool and well worth playing this game with a decent headset on.

Another strong year for gaming in 2018, I will be considering the following games for game of the year: Sea of Thieves, God of War, Detroit: Become Human, Spiderman, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Red Dead Redemption 2, Gris, Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

When I initially played Sea of thieves I thought it was a bit bare and repetitive, you effectively were doing the same three quests over and over again until you reached the final boss, but regular content updates have improved it vastly and added some extra fun, which is what I was initially expecting from this game. I will give the game it's due and say it certainly is a good looking game and now it has some meat on it bones it actually a good experience to play it. God of War was an absolute masterclass in storytelling and getting a player to empathise with a protagonist and their story. This next phase of the God of War series shows Kratos' softer side as a father and you get to see a different side to the character. Gris is a game that caught me off gueard completely, I knew nothing about it when I saw on sale in the switch store and something about the way the way it looked made me think I should give it a go. This game is beautiful and I know I've banded that word a lot in this article, but I genuinely mean it for this game. It's watercolour art style and sondtrack blew me away and then to discover that the meaning behind the game being each colour is supposed represent a stage of grief added weight and substance to Gris that I wasn't expecting. Red Dead Redemption 2 was the game of 2018 that I was most excited about, when they first announced it, I knew I had to play it. The idea that it was a prequel as well intigued me going back and seeing some of the backstory of John Marston, the protagonist of the first game. bein back in the world of the first game, plus more, felt good to be back and with a much bigger world there was more to explore and discover and it was a joy to do it as Arthur Morgan this time round. The story and the characters were genuinely brilliant and like the first game it was easy to feel connected to Arthur Morgan despite him being rough around the edges, as he tries to legitimise the gangs continued existense, now that the west is a little less wild.

My personal choice for Game of the year 2018 is Red Dead Redemption 2. There is so much that is absolutely fantastic about this game that is was almost impossible not to choose this game, it's story, characters and its world expand on what made the first game so brilliant and with more things to and more ways to interact with the world there is so much to love about this game. You can spend hours with this game and only scratch the surface of what's available for the players, everything down to little easter eggs that can be discovered is just excellent and worth the time you spend in this game.

My picks for Game of the Year from 2019 are Resident Evil 2, Apex Legends, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Gears 5, Pokemon Sword/Shield, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.

Apex Legends surprised me, much in the same way I think it surprised everyone else in that it just about interesting enough to be worth a try and good fun to play. when I first saw it, I thought "oh here we go, another Battle Royale game, last man standing, how original". When I heard it was set in the same universe as the Titanfall games, that got my attention, as I'm a fan of those games particularly the second one, as I've mentioned earlier in this article. Apex Legends turns out is a fairly solid experience and once you get used to its mechanics a fairly enjoyable one too. Resident Evil 2 was a game I was far too young to play when it forst came out and never got a chance to go back to, so was quite excited to get a chance to finally play through. I'm so glad I finally got the chance to do so, the game is an exceelnt combination of puzzles, action and horror. the upgraded graphics and voice acting all add to the atmosphere and experience that is addictively terrifying. Pokémon Shield is the first Pokemon game I have bought in years and my inner child was excited about this one. An open world pokémon game definitely lives up to that childish excitement, being able to explore the world and even camp in it, really did add a little to my enjoyment in a way, it added to a feeling of the world being real and fleshed out.

The game I have chosen for Game of the Year 2019 is Resident Evil 2, with only old videos as a reference point to compare the remake to the original, it may seem odd that I might choose Resident Evil 2 as game of the year, but as far I can tell it is largely true to the original game with a few minor tweaks to the gameplay and it's mechanics and the main change being the graphical overhaul. Playing through this game and going back to the remake of the first game, I can understand why they are considered classics, particularly of the survival horror genre and I can see where more modern games draw inspiration from them. The remake I feel was an excellent opportunity to introduce a new set of fans, like me, to the older games. It a genuinely tense experience, with different enemies needing different tactics to dispatch them and a limited inventory meanng you had to think twice and hard about how you use your resources.

So this is it, we come to the end, I have the joy of playing plenty of great games over the last ten years and I hope I have the pleasure of playing many more in the decade to come. For me Game of the Decade is Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. For me this game is a genuinely incredible experience and the work the put in to the game, to make sure the game is sensitive to how sufferers of mental illness live. The level of detail of what it's like to live with psychosis in this games is incredible and makes for an intense experience that stays with you long after you sit and play through any part of this game. The sound design and visuals also add to the experience to make it diorientating and uncomfortable at times, with very little respite, it certainly gives you the player, some form of understanding of how intense life get for sufferers of psychosis. As someone who has suffered from mental illnes there were definitely parts of the game that hit hard and otheres that resonated with how I sometimes feel. It's also a beautiful game to look at as well and that adds to the often visceral feel of the game as well as the emotional intensity, particularly with some of the visual "hallucinations" that the character Senua is experiencing.

There we have it, those are my games of the decade and my overall favourite, let me know what you think, what were some of your favourites? it would be interesting to know what featured on your list and why?


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Duncan Ainsworth

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