Hello dear readers! Well here it is. The end of the month, the end of the year, the end of the decade. To celebrate the last ten years of gaming I’ve put together a list of my top 15 games released in the 2010s. So before we get round to the bells (at least in my part of the world) lets take a look at my favourite games of the decade!
If you read my Anime list of the decade (if not, why not? Go see it now!) then you will already know the format. I’ve chosen my favourite 15 games of the decade and put them in reverse order. This is a very personal list and therefore misses out some games which may be considered major releases, but the games included are all very important to me.
It occurred to me when making this list that there are still a number of titles released in the 2010s that I haven’t played. Therefore this list should be considered a snapshot in time rather than a definitive list, but hopefully that doesn’t detract from its goodness.
With the explanation out of the way, I present to you now my favourite 15 games of the 2010s!
15. Thimbleweed Park (2017)
What is it? An adventure game harking back to adventure games of old which relishes in exploiting and parodying its own genre.
Why do I Love it? The puzzles, the characters and most tellingly the humour of this game are just brilliant. It deliberately references classics like Monkey Island and Grim Fandango and has no qualms in using these games to its own advantage. Add in an entirely ridiculous and wonderful twist and you are left with a modern day adventure classic the likes of which I never imagined could be made in 2017.
14. Bloodborne (2015)
What is it? Fast paced action game with ridiculous difficulty set in awe-inspiring surroundings.
Why do I Love it? Both the action itself and the way it looks are breathtaking. It is of course absurdly hard but watching boss battles unfurl is captivating and there is something indescribably atmospheric about the setting and strange characters you meet along the way. The game’s ability to punish you for your actions in disturbing and chilling ways adds yet a further layer, combining with the games’ other elements to create something truly special.
13. Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011)
What is it? Sequel to 2009’s Final Fantasy XIII, this time based around the time-hopping exploits of Serah, Noel and a bunch of friendly monsters.
Why do I Love it? The shift to focus on just two playable characters adds real depth to the game whilst the battle system was surprising in its elegance. It has a powerful story and in Caius one of my favourite ever JRPG villains. The main characters, particularly Serah are very likable and sympathetic, and that ending… well lets just say it took a while to recover from it.
12. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (2014)
What is it? A platformer based around the exploits of Captain Toad from the Mario series and his friend Toadette.
Why do I Love it? Its simple level design and forgiving difficulty make it a gem for someone who is rubbish at platformers and the charm and humour of Toad and Toadette is just adorable. As well as its inherent ability to create sheer joy, it is bright and colourful, has wonderful music and is creative in its puzzles. I’m proud to have it as my platformer of the decade.
11. Untitled Goose Game (2019)
What is it? It is a lovely day in the village and you are a horrible goose. Press ‘Y’ to honk.
Why do I Love it? Geese are one of my favourite creatures and the idea of controlling one which could steal sandwiches from innocent gardeners to drop in a pond was just too good. The beauty of this game is the humour and love that has clearly gone into creating it. It is simple in its controls and has an excellent difficulty curve which makes it quite accessible, whilst the sheer absurdity of the things on the Gooses’ to-do list make the game laugh out loud funny.
10. Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water (2014)
What is it? Survival horror in a distinctly Japanese setting where your only weapon is a camera.
Why do I Love it? My introduction to the Project Zero (aka Fatal Frame) series, it is terrifying and beautiful in equal measures. The use of the camera as a weapon is a powerful tool in making you feel vulnerable and the gameplay itself offers one of the very best uses of the Wii U Gamepad’s functionality. It has many elements which create a real, chilling terror, but the games’ shrine of dolls and the face of the white-haired girl Shiragiku will haunt my memory for years to come.
9. Xenoblade Chronicles X (2015)
What is it? Sci-fi spin off of the Xenoblade Chronicles series featuring open world exploration and SKELLS!
Why do I Love it? The games’ setting – the planet Mira – is my favourite location in any video game. Every corner of the world is filled with rich history that is never fully explained, creating a beautiful canvass for its new inhabitants to explore. It features one of my favourite soundtracks of all time and is one of the most striking science fiction stories I’ve ever experienced.
8. Bayonetta 2 (2014)
What is it? Fast, slick action carried out by an ass-kicking witch with attitude.
Why do I Love it? It is stunning to look at as well as being hilarious and charming. Bayonetta herself is so full of personality you just have to love her and her various friends and sidekicks are equally well-realised. The character design is absolutely faultless and the locations, which evoke a particular style of European architecture, create a fantastic atmosphere, whilst the gameplay is some of the sharpest I’ve ever witnessed.
7. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (2012)
What is it? A fighting game featuring a wacky cast of characters with added tag-based goodness.
Why do I Love it? It re-invigorated my love of the series and makes for the perfect multiplayer game. The gameplay is superb and accessible despite its depth, and the tag mechanic gives you the opportunity to try characters with very different fighting styles side by side. The main story and character endings are as enjoyable and ridiculous as ever and whether played socially or alone it is one of the most addictive games out there.
6. Breath of the Wild (2017)
What is it? Oh come on – its Zelda in an absurdly large world.
Why do I Love it? The world is as beautiful as it is expansive and exploring it using a variety of equipment is a joy. It is full of lovely little side quests (I particularly enjoyed the one where you buy a house) and the cast of characters are diverse and interesting (apart from that narky blonde boy). The story told through the Champions and a series of memories is powerful and the sheer scale of the game and the wonders within it make you want to just keep on playing, even if only to check that it is definitely just a korok on top of that massive hill.
5. Project X Zone 2 (2015)
What is it? A gaming crossover involving characters from many well known series travelling through space and time to stop the bad guys.
Why do I Love it? This game is like nothing else on earth. It brings together multiple gaming universes in the silliest gaming experience I’ve ever had. The story is inexplicable at best but it is in the dialogue between the characters that this game excels. Just think about it – what do you think would happen if Tekken’s Heihachi met Ace Attorney’s Naruhodo. Yep, he’d ask him to be his lawyer! That is the level of silliness we are talking about for each and every character involved, and it all adds up to an experience which makes me laugh out loud every time I pick it up.
4. Persona 5 (2016)
What is it? High-schoolers take on the world in an attempt to correct the evil done by adults. Plus there’s a talking cat.
Why do I Love it? The story is dark and intense and the characters are now written into my heart. It has moments of absolute hilarity and moments so dark that I felt genuine terror. It has so many ways to play and interesting choices to make that it always keeps you on your toes and the many personal relationships you form throughout the game take you on a roller-coaster of emotions. Playing Persona 5 really does change your heart.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017)
What is it? An unlikely group of people with complicated backstories fight to prove that the world is worth saving.
Why do I Love it? The characters, the world and the story are all among the strongest found in any video game. Alrest, the games’ setting, is truly beautiful and is brought to life not only by its design but also by an incredible soundtrack. The characters are charming and entertaining and the story compelling, with a revelation at the end which blew my mind. The DLC story – Torna: The Golden Country – is possibly even better than the main game and deserves credit for daring to avoid an artificially happy ending, which still brings a tear to my eye.
2. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (2015)
What is it? A group of idols in Tokyo team up with Fire Emblem characters to stop evil mirages stealing people’s Performa.
Why do I Love it? Its combination of JRPG tropes and modern day pop culture is as fun as it is unique and its cast of characters now feel like old friends. It has an excellent battle system which grows with the game and its side quests are a joy to behold, ranging from absurdity (I’ll let you look up Tsubasa’s cat based quest for yourself…) to ones with real emotional power. The soundtrack is not only amazing but also integral to the game, and I still listen to the Fortuna All-Stars album frequently. It somehow gets everything just right and I absolutely can’t wait to play the Switch remake in January. Oh yeah… it also contains my favourite ship. ItsukixYashiro forever ♥
1. Xenoblade Chronicles (2010)
What is it? A group of friends fight with different motivations against a self-appointed god figure in a world ripped apart by war.
Why do I Love it? Its core party, villains and the rest of the cast combine their stories to create the most powerful gaming experience I think I’ve ever had. It covers a range of huge themes, from religion to racial tension and explores real human experiences like revenge, loss, friendship and love in a powerful way. It is possibly the only game where I have a genuine interest and respect for all the main characters, as well as many of the npcs, and like I said for Tokyo Mirage Sessions above, I simply can’t wait to dive back in with the remake, if only to meet up with those characters again. Xenoblade has a place in my heart which other games don’t touch, so don’t be surprised if the remake becomes my game of the 2020s.
So, there it is! My 15 favourite games of the decade. What do you make of the list? Did you guess the winner (I’m thinking some of you did…)? Why not chat to me about my picks and let me know your favourite game of the decade below in comments!
That is it for 2019! Thanks to you all for dropping by to check out Shoot the Rookie this year – I hope you know just how much I appreciate it! Have a fabulous New Year and I’ll see you soon for more video game and anime frolics.
Thanks for reading,