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20 Best Video Games Of The Decade

Let's do this.

god of war kratos
Sony

How to even begin summing up the last 10 years?

A decade of multiple console generations, new-age technology like VR headsets and hybridised console/on-the-go systems such as the Nintendo Switch - the overall takeaway is that gaming is bigger, more expensive and more lucrative than ever.

Every year we've had multiple projects that strain the capabilities of processing hardware and human beings alike. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a monolithic testament to the hard work of hundreds of individuals working for years on end, where Untitled Goose Game was one good idea given the appropriate talent and budget to dominate pop culture for a good few months.

To comprise 3650 days in one article is a mammoth task, but hopefully through the lens of its games, everything the industry has accomplished will come into view.

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-- Honourable Mentions --

Until Dawn

until dawn
Sony

An immaculate horror from one of Sony's most overlooked developers, Until Dawn walks almost entirely fresh ground for video games: That of the teen slasher.

With scores of twists, turns and choices to make along the way, it's a low-key gem for a group of people to play at once, and comes with tons of branching pathways for who makes it out alive in the end.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

super mario galaxy 2
Nintendo

Mario Odyssey might have the quirky "hat capture" tech letting you play as scores of the Mushroom Kingdom's various NPCs and bosses, but Galaxy has it beat through sheer world design and variety.

The cream of the 3D platforming crop, it's a crime there's still not an HD Galaxy bundle on Switch.

Hotline Miami

Hotline miami
Devolver Digital

Synthwave music was one of the best inventions of the 2010s, and Hotline Miami made the best use of it.

A pulse-pounding, furiously engaging blur of gunfire and brutality, clearing rooms with one life each time is utterly thrilling and endlessly replayable.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops

Call Of Duty Black Ops
Treyarch

The punchiest COD of the decade also has the best story - one of LOST-style number-chasing and a killer final twist that inverts everything you thought you knew.

It also continued the then-world famous multiplayer, introducing fantastic new modes like One in the Chamber, Gun Game and Sticks & Stones. Black Ops helped fly the flag for why backwards compatibility on Xbox One mattered, and it remains an essential instalment to this day.

SUPERHOT

superhot game
Superhot Team

The most original FPS of the decade and the generation, SUPERHOT is like a Matrix fight scene where you are simultaneously choreographer and lead actor.

With "time only moving when you do", everything from slicing bullets in half to nailing headshots in mid-air can be done second by second - letting you feel like a complete badass in the process.

Fallout: New Vegas

fallout new vegas
Obsidian

The original take on the Fallout formula that showed Obsidian could beat Bethesda at their own game, New Vegas has a flair to its dialogue, faction system, increased customisability and the world itself, that makes it one of the finest western RPGs of the last generation.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

Pubg playerunknown's battlegrounds
Bluehole

One of the only new genres dropping this decade, PUBG's mix of survival tactics and direct engagement is a formula Fortnite would copy to greater success, but is still exemplary here.

Knowing you can win a match by using camouflage to sniping foes across the map brings about a "How would I survive?" mentality, and it's one that keeps PUBG on the most played lists of the world to this day.

Red Dead Redemption

Red dead redemption
Rockstar San Diego

Only an honourable mention as its sequel is in the full list, Red Dead had great gameplay and a phenomenal world, and was also Rockstar maturing their scriptwriting techniques.

By the end you'll have seen John Marston break himself to be free of his demons, then be motivated to follow through on a notable revenge arc. The way the game then allows this went down in history, and is one of the only things it nails better than the sequel.

No Man's Sky

No mans sky
Hello Games

It might have stalled and fell out the sky at launch, but even then, No Man's Sky was a promising space survival sim.

Today it's bolstered by years of free updates, overhauling systems large and small to create a procedurally-generated universe with thousands of things to see and do.

The ultimate sci-fi extravaganza, No Man's Sky is one hell of an achievement from a developer who almost lost it all.

Bioshock: Infinite

Bioshock infinite ending
2K

Ken Levine's only game this decade, Bioshock: Infinite started out as something far grander, but turned into a phenomenal fly-through of multiple universes, a powerful captive seeking their freedom, and main character Booker DeWitt bending time and space to make it so.

Combat is suitably weighty and the closing hours are absolutely bananas, but for a creator signing off his IP and moving onto something else, Bioshock: Infinite does so with style and confidence.

Devil May Cry 5

Devil May Cry 5
Capcom

The sequel fans never thought they'd get, but DMC 5 ended up being the best character action game in history.

Visually stunning and with newcomer V pushing the genre forward even more, Dante has a multifaceted movelist you could spend hours trying to master and still never see all of.

Gone Home

Gone Home
Fullbright Games

The game that locked in the "walking sim" as one of the only new genres this generation, Gone Home is a genius utilisation of 'haunted house' gaming tropes, twinned with a touching story of love and family relationships.

Ori & The Blind Forest

Ori & and the Blind Forest
MOON Studios

Created by a handful of teams all around the world, their various cultural influences give Ori an almost supernatural sense of colour and charm.

Things like trading ability energy for a custom checkpoint are unique ideas, and the Metroidvania underpinnings ensure every last nook and cranny is rewarding.

The Walking Dead: Season 1

The Walking Dead amputation
Telltale Games

Telltale may be gone but they'll never be forgotten - especially when it comes to medium-advancing storytelling like The Walking Dead.

Comprised mostly of cutscenes but with regular interactions and branching narrative paths, the sense of immersion and consequence on display was - and still is - an essential entertainment experience.

Rainbow Six: Siege

Rainbow Six Siege
Ubisoft

Something initially looked down on until it turned every aspect of gameplay around, R6: Siege is a deep tactical shooter with staggering variety in weapons, operators and infiltration methods. It's remained on the top 10 "Most Played" games on Steam for the better part of the decade, and each newcomer always has a new way to play.

Destroying a target by blowing the ground out from under them will never get old.

Bloodborne

Bloodborne First Level
FromSoftware

FromSoftware's "middle child" franchise, Bloodborne's mix of Lovecraftian horror with 1800s character aesthetics was immediately iconic.

The game's transforming weapons were damn fun to bust out, and taken alongside health regeneration given from pressing the offence, it changed up the Soulsian formula in all the right ways.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2
Naughty Dog

The game that cemented everything Naughty Dog were going for in the original, now Nathan Drake had a game engine as chaotic as the adventures you knew he'd been on.

We collapsed in buildings, ran from helicopter gunships, rode loose train carriages through the desert and fought ancient demons in underground ruins. It's a toss-up whether Uncharted 2, 4 or Lost Legacy is the best, but I'm taking Among Thieves, as the one that really put the franchise on the map.

Fortnite

fortnite 2
Epic

It might be hated by anyone over 12 for being everywhere, but as a game, Fortnite is a damn slick and lavishly produced battle royale. Its matches are tight, gunplay is punchy enough, and presentation-wise it's gorgeous.

Of course, being free on PS4, Xbox One and Switch has helped it dominate pop culture for over two years now, but the fundamentals are solid.

Control

control game
Remedy

The fourth console IP from Remedy Entertainment, Control is a masterclass in environmental storytelling.

A Men in Black-infused mystery of government conspiracies and the supernatural, you play Jesse Faden turning up at the "Federal Bureau of Control", only to find no one around, but a transforming gun at your fingertips.

What follows is a gorgeously rendered power-trip of telekinetic powers that see you flinging bodies and office equipment in all directions - all while unravelling just what the hell the bureau were up to, and where you fit in.

Its ending may be held back to extrapolate on in some 2020 DLC, but what's here is already outstanding.

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And now, on with the ranked list...

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Gaming Editor
Gaming Editor

Gaming Editor at WhatCulture. Wields shovels, rests at bonfires, fights evil clones, brews decoctions. Will have your lunch on Rocket League.