It’s no secret that 2018 has seen some of the biggest game releases of this generation. With games such as God of War, Spider-Man and the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, gamers have been quite spoiled for choice this year. It feels like a great time to be a gamer. However, we tend to easily forget the games that have come before, the greats of yesteryear. I’ve recently reflected back on some of the great games that came before, to be more specific, the 10 best games from the past 10 years.
Naturally, there was a whole bunch of really great games over the past 10 years and having to decide felt a bit like choosing your favourite child or which doughnut in the box to devour first. In other words, it was a really difficult task. I mean I’ve slain dragons, saved the world numerous times and even fought off an alien threat with a ragtag team of soldiers. How difficult could this really be?
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 2017
When Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild first released, it felt more like a breath of fresh air. In a genre that tends to be dominated by dark and gritty games, it was refreshing to explore a world bathed in bright colours and filled with interesting and also mostly cute characters. Make no mistake, while the game might look like a walk in a sunny park, there were some truly devious sections to complete.
Breath of the Wild not only impressed because it was one of the first games to release on Nintendo’s little Switch console but also because we got to explore the world of Hyrule like never before. Many gamers, including myself, found themselves sinking a large number of hours into the game without even realising it. While it was great to play a Zelda game again, it was even better to realise that Nintendo was back on top again. Nowhere was this more obvious than the world of Breath of the Wild.
Uncharted 4 – 2016
When the final chapter in the adventures of Nathan Drake was announced, fans were both excited and heartbroken. Not only would we be getting a new Uncharted game but we would see the story of one of the PlayStation’s most recognised protagonist finally come to an end. After many delays, we finally got to see how Nathan Drake hung up his holster and gave up a life of treasure hunting.
While it could have easily felt like just another quick cash grab, touting Uncharted 4 as Nathan’s last outing as an adventurer, the ending of the game actually felt poignant. It was easy to understand why Nathan made the choice, with each previous game in the series leading up to this point. Of course, let’s not forget the absolutely stunning visuals and on-point gameplay. I still remember inserting the game and only stopping once the credits had rolled.
Uncharted 4 was a worthy end to a fantastic story.
The Witcher III – 2015
Much like an icing covered doughnut, The Witcher III is the game that keeps on giving and only gets better with age. Each time I return to the game I realise just what CD Projekt Red had managed to create; a game world that truly feels alive and where every decision matters. Much like Skyrim, The Witcher III is a game that has kept many gamers returning time and time again. Where Breath of the Wild might have shown us that not all open-world games need to be dark and gritty, The Witcher III showed us just how dark and gritty these games can get.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – 2014
Every now and then a game is released that catches the gaming community off-guard. Middle Earth: Shadow of War is such a game. Monolith created their own story, one that stayed true to the lore of Middle Earth but would allow gamers to meet all kinds of new characters. Of course, combat was just as great as there are few things that can beat slicing up a few unruly orcs or facing off against a pack of Caragors. Plus, the game introduced us to the Nemesis system, which saw enemies remembering encounters with the protagonist and then moving up in the ranks whenever they defeated them. This made each encounter with the various Orcs that roamed the world feel unique and made not dying an even more tense affair.
GTA V – 2013
Probably one of the biggest titles to release in the past 10 years has to be Rockstar’s much loved and revered Grand Theft Auto V. Billed as one of the most popular games out there, even today, the hype surrounding GTA V was overwhelming, making it one of the most sold games in history. Did it live up to this hype? Hell yeah! Rockstar was able to create a world that felt alive and filled with non-playable characters who seemed to just be living their lives in-between all the chaos being created by the player.
The game was also the first entry in the series to introduce the ability to switch between three protagonists, which gave us the opportunity to cause utter destruction on three different fronts. As with many games on this list, GTA V is also known for its absolutely stunning visuals. Speeding down the highway, firing indiscriminately at the police chasing you, then flipping your vehicle and barely escaping with your life is what the series has always been mostly about. While the narrative might have faltered here and there, it’s a game that was and is more known for the stories players create by just being in the world Rockstar had created. It’s this unprecedented freedom that made GTA V a favourite.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – 2012
Honestly, I never really liked the original XCOM games. They were too difficult for me. I had friends who absolutely loved to punish themselves by playing the original games but that just wasn’t my jam. Well, at least not initially.
When XCOM: Enemy Unknown was announced I was intrigued by the game’s mixture of turn-based and tactical combat, also the shiny graphics helped. When the game released, I decided to give it a go and I was immediately sucked in. I found myself falling in love with the game. From it’s cinematic turn-based combat to the tough decisions I was forced to make, each of these elements helped make XCOM: Enemy Unknown one of the tensest and exhilarating gaming experiences.
Nothing beats naming your soldiers after friends and family and then having to struggle to keep them alive during increasingly difficult combat situations. All I can say is that Uncle John served his country well and that I was saddened when a Muton finally took his digital life. There are few games out there that can get the fine balance between difficulty and accessibility right and XCOM: Enemy Unknown walked that fine line almost perfectly.
Skyrim – 2011
The possibility of exploring the snow-covered mountains of Skyrim was enough to get any Elder Scrolls fan’s heart beating uncontrollably from excitement. When the game finally released, we were greeted by a beautiful world filled to the brim with quests to partake and glitches to chuckle at. Not only where there loads and loads of side quests for prospective heroes to complete but each felt unique enough not to become over repetitive. This was thanks to some interesting characters that filled the game’s world.
Who could ever forget their first time being smacked into orbit by one of the giants that roamed the wilds? Since the game’s original release, Skyrim has proved so popular that it has been re-released on almost every device. And rightfully so. This is a game that has seen numerous hours being put into it by gamers from all walks of life.
Red Dead Redemption – 2009
What is better than roaming the great open spaces of the wild west along with your trusted horse and dolling out six-shooter justice wherever it is deemed necessary? Not much I would think.
When Rockstar first announced Red Dead Redemption, many fans were curiously wondering how the developer would bring their experience to the old west. What we got was one of the most memorable Rockstar games released and one with a truly unique setting and feel.
Rockstar gave us the opportunity to live out the dream of being a cowboy. I had a ball exploring the wonderful world and seeing what lay around each corner.
Batman: Arkham Asylum – 2008
Before Batman: Arkham Asylum superhero games had mostly received a bad wrap, and most times deservedly so. However, this is the game that changed all that.
Few gaming experiences actually allowed you to truly feel like Batman. Sneaking around, dolling out justice from the shadows and using all manner of bat-themed gadgets have never felt so good. Exploring the eerie environments of the Asylum while dispatching various baddies along the way kept many gamers busy for hours on end.
We got the chance to face off against some of the most memorable villains in his rogue’s gallery, including the Clown Prince of Crime himself. With excellent voice work from both Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, Arkham Asylum left a lasting impression on many gamers and comic fans. It helped shape the direction of superhero games forever.
Fallout 3 – 2008
Giving players a huge world to explore, quirky weapons to dispatch their mutated enemies with and choices that mattered, Fallout 3 was a game that took pride in not holding your hand and giving you a whole irradiated wasteland to explore to your heart’s content. Over the years, the traditional isometric view and turn-based combat have been mostly forgotten by fans who have embraced the new direction wholeheartedly. Bethesda has to be commended for mixing up the game’s formula yet still remaining true to the essence of the original games and focusing on what made them so popular in the first place.
If you’ve missed the chance to play these and other great games, it’s never too late to find them and give them a go. We recommend Gumtree as a perfect solution to finding awesome and hard-to-find second-hand games.