As the decade draws to a close, now feels like a great time to look back on the years gone by. We can reminisce about modern classics, remember experiencing them for the first time, and feel very, very old when we realise Mass Effect 2 came out over nine years ago.
One of the unique positives gaming has over most other types of media is the immediate intensity of it. Rather than watching events play out like you are in film or TV, you're actively influencing them, experiencing them for yourselves. This means the battles, close shaves and emotional wrecking balls are so much more raw in a game than they are elsewhere.
Intensity here typically refers to epic, visceral events which keep you on the edge of your seat, but emotional intensity does feature as well. Plenty of multiplayer games provide intensity (being the last two in battle royales, for example), but here it's specific narrative events under the microscope.
Ten years is a long time, however fast it might seem to have gone by, but several series have managed to produce a few entries to their series' in the past decade. To keep things fresh, it's one entry per series only.
20. Layers Of Fear - Realising The Changes
Layers Of Fear won’t be remembered as one of the best games of the last ten years, but it’s certainly one of the most intense. A first person psychological horror, you play as a painter trudging through your own house, but nothing is quite as it seems.
There’s no real enemy in the game, although you always feel like there’s something lurking behind you, just out of sight. That doesn’t stop the game from being absolutely terrifying though.
If you go in blind, there’s a particularly intense moment which will give you chills right off the bat. As you figure out exactly what it wants you to do, you venture through a door. There’s nothing of interest in this room, so you go back into the corridor you’ve just been in... and it’s completely different.
With your protagonist unhinged, you’re never quite sure of reality. The house changes around you, so it’s impossible to know where you are or ever retrace your steps.
Other house walk simulators like Gone Home rely on red herrings, misunderstandings or creepy scenarios for a scare, but Layers Of Fear just tricks your brain into eating itself.