Top 10 Games of the Decade – Vidjagame Apocalypse 352

It’s finally time to reveal our picks for the greatest games of the past 10 years! And because we chose the list purely based on our personal preferences, dismissing silly ideas like “importance” or “cultural impact,” we invited USGamer Editor in Chief Kat Bailey to lend some authenticity (and skepticism) to the proceedings before taking a look at your favorite games of the past 10 years.

Question of the Week: What’s a game from the past 10 years that isn’t likely to appear on any best lists, but was one of your personal Games of the Decade?

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20 thoughts on “Top 10 Games of the Decade – Vidjagame Apocalypse 352

  1. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice gets overlooked in the discussion. I sing it’s praises so often, I’m sure some friends are getting tired of it, but goddamn this game just did something to me.

    The first time performance by Melina Juergens fucking wrecks me. Senua feels like the most broken human being ever, literally travelling through hell, just barely able to stand up to not only the monsters in her path, but her own mental disorders that cause reality to fall apart in terrifying ways.

    If you slept on this, please check it out. Fingers crossed that sequel isn’t exclusive to Xbox after they bought Ninja Theory.

  2. They didn’t even put it on the top 10 of 2017. Hellblade is a masterpiece.

    Shocker that Kat poopoo’d on everything that’s not weeby FE or Persona.

  3. My personal game of the decade is Dragonball FighterZ. I loved DBZ since the fansub tape-trading days in mid to late 90’s, and Fighting games were my favorite genre growing up. I imported several dbz games and asked “why are the fastest fighters in the universe featured in the SLOWEST games ever!?”. First time seeing Marvel vs Capcom 1 and 2, I use to always say “this is exactly what DBZ Needs to be! Just Fun, fast, and chaotic”. Who knew someone would finally hear my cry in 2017/2018.

    I would also like to mention my most disappointing game of the decade: Flashback HD Remake. Because fuck EVERYTHING about that game.

  4. QotW:

    Alpha Protocol, the best worst game I’ve ever played. I was so excited for it, only to find out its animations, gameplay, and visuals were all pretty much abominable. I thought none of it could be redeemed, but then I bit the bullet and played it. It’s fucking phenomenal. The dialogue system, the extent to which you can role play (including factoring in whether you’ve been answering genuinely or deceitfully, and benefiting you whether you’re on a person’s good or bad side), and the performances of individual characters are some of the best in the games industry, and I’m shocked that Obsidian never implemented this dialogue system in any of their other games. If it had been present in The Outer Worlds, I’d have loved the game all the more.

    Seriously though, it’s a disaster to actually play it. If you’re gonna try, do so on easy, and spec into combat so you can sleep through action segments and get to the conversations between Michael Thorton and his allies/nemeses. Even still, it’s my favorite game of the decade (that’s not likely to be on any “game of the decade” lists). My actual favorite GOTD is Fallout: New Vegas, but given that game’s still raved about by CRPG fans a decade later, there’s a good chance folks would want it on their GOTD lists.

  5. Doom (2016) was perfection. It took what made the originals great and polished it to a blinding sheen. Other games have clear points of reference for their worlds: trees, lakes, mountains, horses… BORING. There’s so much imagination and creativity behind the beautiful areas and demons in Doom. The action is fast-paced and fine-tuned. The Glory Kills are quite gratifying, astounding music that gets your blood pumping, and even the story is pretty descent. All of this creates such an unique and breathtaking atmosphere that hasn’t been matched since.

    Most overrated games of the decade: (Hot takes, but I enjoyed them and played them all to completion.)
    Breath of the Wild: Dungeons replaced with simple, generic shrine puzzles? Fishing used to be prominent, now you catch fish like a grizzly bear? Item degradation IS ridiculous, especially when most Zelda games get crap for you having to map your items to buttons! Now you’ve got even more garbage items to manage, all of them feel more worthless than the last, you don’t want to use any and deplete them, but then you’ll find way better stuff in 5 minutes anyway. Stuff breaking constantly totally dampens the flow of combat too.
    Super Mario Odyssey: So few stages, yet many moons to collect. Why? Because it’s easier and cheaper to do. Most moons are just handed to you without any challenge whatsoever. They’re placating to the mobile-mindset of lots of rewards for not much effort means fun and happiness. Zelda:BotW shrines employ this too, but it really gets ridiculous here with it’s almost Rare-like collecting.
    Undertale: It deserves praise, but not nearly as much as it gets. There’s what can barely pass for being called “puzzles”, (which all feel out of place), but they’re more like someone screwing around with testing logic in their game and decided “Hey, I’ll keep this in here”. The writing was humorous, but at times felt worthless and random, and at others preachy and condescending. Without the support and hype from the Earthbound community, nobody would’ve heard of this game.
    Monster Hunter World: I wanted to like this game SO badly, but I simply don’t get it and don’t know anyone that does. Chasing a monster around a map is annoying. Then you finally fight it and sometimes it’ll run off again. (Like Pokemon with less variety and more legwork.) Then you finally kill it, reap the rewards, upgrade your gear, all to… Rinse and repeat? What am I missing?

  6. My personal game of the decade that will not be on anyone else’s list is an easy one! Microsoft Flight released in 2012 by Xbox Game Studios. This arcade style flight simulator had DLC for Alaska, but started you out in Hawaii. I kinda got the feeling playing this game for over like 274 hours, that feeling when Homer Simpson had when he was in the commercial for the car he designed for his brother Herb. Que the sunset and soft music: “All my life, I’ve been looking for an approachable yet challenging fixed wing aircraft game that would test my precision for bushflying with STOL aircraft in Alaska, (Short Takeoff and Land) while also offering 1000 gamerscore as a Games for Windows Live title.” And woohoo!!! Did I find that and more! Today, in the year 2020, I find myself even more overjoyed for the next Microsoft Flight Simulator coming first to PC then later to Xbox Series X! Now I have my motivation to buy one.

  7. QOTW:
    My “game of the decade that nobody else is going to pick” is definitely Kerbal Space Program. KSP is a game about coming up with a problem (ex: I want to land on the mun, I want to build a space station, etc) and then designing a solution to that problem. It’s about finding the fun in messing up. Nobody’s first rocket makes it to orbit, nobody’s first plane flies well, nobody’s first moon mission returns safely home. KSP’s choice to have little green men instead of real people is a brilliant move because killing them off in your badly designed rocket is kinda funny. It brings rocket science down to earth (I’m sorry) and is is in that rare and special group of educational games that are actually fun.

    The hardest thing I’ve ever done in a game isn’t ranking up in Overwatch or beating Bloodborne or anything like that, it’s docking a rocket to another rocket in orbit in Kerbal Space Program. It’s the kind of game where you watch old NASA footage to get learn about re-entry, or read wikipedia to learn when to do your orbital maneuvers. It’s a love letter to engineering and design as a process rather than simply celebrating a finished product. It’s the best game of the last decade hands down.

    (Also, shout out to my runner up, Distance for being the best racing game that nobody played.)

  8. 100 percent my game of the decade is Rocksmith remastered (2014). I know this will get over looked on everyone’s lists, hell it is not even on Ubisoft’s website, but I have spend hundreds hours playing this. Take guitar hero, get rid of the plastic toy and replace with a real guitar, that is it. There is a die hard community and the creators still support it with weekly dlc songs. I have played bass for about 20 years and I would recommend this anyone wanting to pick up a guitar/bass

  9. QOTW: I’d put The Witness as my favorite game of the decade. The communication between the game designer and the player is the core of the game, and stands out as the kind of experience only games as a medium can give. The game never explains its rules, instead you have to learn how the puzzles work from the puzzles themselves. There’s no B-movie cutscenes or repetitive mechanics to waste your time, it’s pure puzzle gameplay from start to finish. It’s a masterpiece of game design. On top of that, the game’s art style is absolutely beautiful, and there’s a ton of tiny details crammed in as you explore the island.

  10. QOTW: Mount & Blade: Warband. This game is ugly as sin and janky as hell but once you get into it it’s hard to stop playing. It kind of feels like a medieval version of Sid Meier’s Pirates with a separate over world and battle world when you encounter enemies. You build an army with unique followers and units and can become a vassal under one of the existing kingdoms or eventually start your own kingdom. It’s a crazy amount of fun and goes on sale pretty frequently so it’s worth picking up. Plus the long awaited sequel Bannerlord is supposedly coming out this year which I’m sure will destroy my free time all over again.

  11. QOTW:

    I’m not sure if I got my response in too late last time, or if it was just too long and self-indulgent to read on air, but I really love this game, so I am going to cheat and just repost my answer to last week’s question, even though I have seen this game on best of the decade lists.

    Everybody toss a coin to your plumber, because my favorite game of the decade is Super Mario Odyssey! Now I love Sunshine, both Galaxy games, and 3D World, but Odyssey is the first game that seems like a true successor to Super Mario 64. And I loved every minute of it! Let me break it down for you.
    Gameplay: Mario is back with all of his moves from 64 along with the addition of Cappy. Cappy is the game’s new power up that essentially becomes 52 new power ups given all of the things he can capture. And yes, Nintendo made it clear that he is “capturing” things, not “possessing” them. The last thing we need is a Satanic Panic centered around Mario. It was bad enough this decade finding out that Toad looks like Trump’s dick. Anyway, aside from all the awesome things you can capture, Cappy also adds extra layers to combat and platforming. Most games these days only require the player to tilt the analogue stick forward and watch their character “auto-parkour” all over the map, so seeing the return of precision platforming is a welcome addition that makes moving through the world fun and interesting again.
    Levels: While the bite sized worlds of Galaxy and 3D World gave those games a nice forward momentum, I really do enjoy being able to just take my time and explore the vast kingdoms present in Odyssey. Searching for power moons is a joy and I love the variety. While some moons are rewarded after challenging tasks or boss fights, getting others is as simple as sitting down next to a lonely guy on a bench. As far as Kingdoms go, New Donk City is the standout, but I love all of them. The Wooded Kingdom, with its swinging 60’s soundtrack, is a fun homage to the 1972 sci-fi movie Silent Running. Seriously, look it up. Bowser’s Kingdom get’s an awesome samurai makeover that makes it look more ominous than ever before. And call me a sucker for nostalgia, but The Mushroom Kingdom level is brilliant and I love the nice touch of changing the moons into Mario 64 power stars along with the accompanying classic jingle.
    Music: Speaking of jingles, this soundtrack is amazing. The orchestral tracks in each level are great, but the most memorable songs are the ones with vocals, like “Jump Up, Super Star!” and that anime as fuck song that plays at the end of the final level.
    Extras: This game is filled with content. There are a ton of great costumes, including the classic costume where Mario wears red overalls AS GOD INTENDED. Also, I love finding the secret paintings that teleport Mario through what looks like the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey to other worlds. But my favorite part has to be that little dog that follows you around the world. HE IS A VERY GOOD BOY! He will sniff out moons for you, play catch with Mario’s hat, AND… if you put down the controller and wait for Mario to fall asleep, the little guy will curl up and sleep next to you! Somebody call Wilford Brimley, because this game is so sweet it’s giving me the ‘beetus!
    p.s. Mario fights a fucking dragon. Not a fun, cartoony Mario dragon. A scary Dark Souls-ass dragon.

  12. QOTW: My game of the decade would have to be XCOM2. XCOM: EU in 2012 introduced me and I’m sure many others to a genre that I didn’t even realize that I would love. XCOM2 took that formula and improved upon it in every conceivable way. The blend of strategic and tactical game play as well as the massive amounts of customization one can dabble in makes Civs “One more turn” addiction look pale in comparison. I’ve dumped nearly 500 hours into XCOM2 since it launched which is impressive for me since I don’t have nearly as much gaming time as I used to. If only Firaxis released a switch port, then I’d be a very happy man.

  13. QOTW: I’ll keep this short so the episode is not 3+ hours. FTL is the game I kept coming back to and kept playing throughout the decade. Simple UI, but challenging gameplay and plenty of achievements to keep your interest.

  14. QOTW: I’d like to throw a game into the ring as my nomination of personal game of the decade, that no one else will agree with: Rise of The Tomb Raider. And really the whole reboot series. I only played these last year, but here is my reasoning:

    This decade I really reached a level of open world fatigue. I picked up but quickly put down the newer Assassin’s Creed games and even Breath of the Wild. They all seemed just too overwhelming. I have even shied away from Red Dead 2 for the same reasons.

    This might well have been a reflection how I was feeling in life in general. I was going through some difficult times, and it felt like there was too much going on already without adding to that pile in a game world – it just didn’t feel like fun.

    The Tomb Raider series was a perfect antidote to that – a focused single player campaign, with a story to follow and just enough exploring without getting boring. The first two were the first games I’d 100%’d in many years, and without resorting to guides! Sometimes you want to be take along for a ride without aimless wandering. It certainly helped me at the time.

    So that’s my personal nomination, one that I’m not sure will be popular one. And yes… I will get back to BotW at some point, when I’m ready for it.

    Many thanks for the shows.

  15. QotW:
    Dont starve! Or better yet dont starve together. Nothing like surviving through seasons with different giants terrorizing your base, i mean cmon you punch butterflys to get butter! The game has a great sanity mechanic, the longer you stay wet, near monsters or just in the darkness your meter goes down, you start to see nightmares and if the meter falls down enough they start to attack you. You spend the game planning ahead from season to season each having a new set of challenges. Its a fun Stressfull time with friends

  16. My game of the decade (and of all time) is Spec Ops: The Line

    It was exactly what I needed to experience and has staid with me to this day. While it´s most famous for its *ahem* Ludo-narrative dissonance, ripping on big shooter franchises and hero worship, what I have actually come to appreciate the most is its directing. The scenes are put together well with plenty of symbolism, it has good pacing, the music is great, and though the graphics weren´t top of the line even at the time, the visuals are often breathtaking. Nolan North also brings his career best voice performance. I can´t think of another AAA game with such clear and distinctive vision. It definitely has its flaws, but I would much rather have flawed but risky games than predictably enjoyable ones.

    I haven´t actually played it myself though, just watched about six different people going through it, so this might not count.

  17. QOTW: My darkhrose candidate for a top 10 of the decade is 2016’s Oxenfree. Night School Studio’s first release is a four hour long game that does for having conversations what mouselook did for first person shooting. The ability to have naturally flowing dialogue while moving around an environment makes it hard to go back to AAA games where everything’s shot-reverse-shot of two people shifting back and forth like robots. Going back to dialogue menus is like going back to using page up and page down to aim a gun. Not to spoil anything but the ending and new game plus is an excellent Twilight Zone time travel twist you can play that can’t be done in any other medium. Finally as somebody who grew up in an era of rumors about being able to bring characters back to life or secret endings Night School issuing a secretive update that puts in more content including a secret ending in the NG+ is just another brilliant use of the medium. If you haven’t had the chance go play it. Twice.

  18. I liked GTAV until the end. The game just … ends. Your “adversaries” arent developed at all. I’m supposed to think people who haven’t appeared in game since the first act are my most formidable antagonists? I was real pissed off at that.

    1. And you wanna talk gameplay story segregation. Micheal and Franklin talk about not wanting to do the things you make them do.

      And San Andreas seems smaller in 5 than it did in GTA San Andreas. I thought the satire was much more shallow too.

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