With 2015 nearing it’s end, it’s about time we started thinking about the best games of the decade so far.
Obviously, there are some possible contenders still to release in these last few months of the year, so I may reevaluate this once we hit January 2016.
A little disclaimer, before we get started: Apologies if your favourite game of the last five years isn’t on this list, but I am only one man. I only have so much time and money, and I wouldn’t feel right putting a game into this list that I haven’t actually played and basing it’s ranking on a Metacritic score.
So, let’s begin.
25. Limbo (2010)
Death is necessary if you want to progress through the dark and damp world of Limbo. Filled with traps and tricks that you won’t see coming until it’s too late, Limbo is the story of a young boy looking for his sister, and it’s a creepy jaunt through spooky forests and broken factories. It features some challenging platforming and brain picking puzzles, and is available on pretty much every platform on the market.
24. Trials: Evolution (2012)
I’ve never tried heroin, but I imagine it’s nowhere near as addictive as Trials: Evolution. Taking the tried and tested formula of the critically acclaimed Trials HD and expanding on it tenfold, Trials: Evolution is more of the same and it does everything it’s predecessor did well, but just a little bit better. The leaderboards will keep you coming back again and again, and there is no feeling more satisfying than completely destroying a friend’s high score.
23. Gravity Rush (2012)
In Gravity Rush, you play as a superhero named Kat, in the beautiful town of Hekesville. Parts of the town have disappeared, monsters keep appearing and attacking innocent people and it’s up to Kat to use her gravity altering powers to get to the bottom of it and restore Hekesville. It features a fun cast of characters, and Kat is one of the most likable protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of controlling, but how the game plays is where the true greatness of Gravity Rush shines through. Gravity Rush is truly unique, and it needs to be played to be believed.
22. Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)
Mortal Kombat with superheroes. With Injustice: Gods Among Us, NeatherRealm Studios have made a fun and accessible fighting game that hardcore and casual fans of the genre can enjoy. With an interesting single player story, fun online modes like King of the Hill and having the ability to pit your favourite DC superheroes and super-villains against one another, Injustice: Gods Among Us will keep you coming back time and time again.
21. Helldivers (2015)
Helldivers is a fast paced, gruelingly difficult and surprisingly deep online co-operative twin stick shooter. You take control of one in a team of four intergalactic soldiers fighting off wave after wave of alien enemies while trying to complete objectives in the name of Super Earth. Helldivers is one of the most fun and intense co-operative multiplayer experiences I’ve ever had, and one of the funniest, too. Friendly fire is always on, and supply drops and reinforcements can shoot down from orbit and squash you like a bug, leading to some frustratingly hilarious moments.
20. Tearaway (2013)
No game has made me smile more than Tearaway. Using all of the PS Vita’s tools, Tearaway will surprise you up until the very end. Using the Vita’s front facing camera to show your face on the screen, or watching your finger burst into the game world using the back touch pad are just a couple of the great ideas Media Molecule had with Tearaway. Tearaway is also available on the PlayStation 4 in the form of Tearaway: Unfolded, but the Vita version is the definitive version. If you’re going to play any, stick with the original.
19. Fez (2011)
Fez is a love letter to old school video games, to a time where a pen and paper were your greatest ally. With it’s unique perspective shifting mechanic, Fez had me scribbling symbols and maps onto scraps of paper like a crazy person, trying to figure out an alien language, pulling my hair out over seemingly impossible puzzles and even leaving my game on when I went to work and leaving my girlfriend on guard duty for the infamous clock puzzle. Fez is a treat for the eyes and ears, with stunning pixel art visuals, and a fantastic soundtrack. You won’t find enemies or bosses, but you will find a satisfying adventure that will reward you for your exploration. Do yourself a favour and play this game.
18. Guacamelee! (2013)
You play as undead luchadore Juan, and smash through enemies and puzzles in an effort to save El Presidente’s daughter from the evil Calaca. Guacamelee! is a fast paced, tightly controlled Metroidvania, with some stellar combat and a quirky visual style. It ranks up there with the best Metroidvania games of all time, and is an absolute blast to play. What are you waiting for?
17. Heavy Rain (2010)
From the minute the game boots up, Heavy Rain get it’s hooks in you. Heavy Rain is an interactive movie by developer Quantic Dream, and it’s one of the most gripping stories I’ve ever experience in a video game. Part crime drama, part thriller, Heavy Rain will keep you on the edge of your seat with all of it’s unpredictable twists and turns from beginning to end.
16. Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Batman: Arkham Asylum is a superhero game done right. Batman: Arkham City took what made the original great and gave you bigger, better, more. Arkham City features a much larger environment than it’s predecessor, and one of the best Batman stories available in any medium. It also has one of my favourite boss battles in recent memory. If you’re a fan of Batman or action-adventure video games in general, Batman: Arkham City is the game for you.
15. Rayman Legends (2013)
Rayman Origins was released in 2011 to critical acclaim and was an amazing return to form for the Rayman series. 2013’s Rayman Legends took what was great about it’s predecessor and made it better. With clever 2D platforming, heart stopping time attacks and amazingly done music based levels, Rayman Legends is sure to be a blast for anyone that plays it.
14. Resogun (2013)
Save the last humans! Resogun is now the measuring stick for shoot ’em ups. A launch title for the PlayStation 4, Resogun is pure fun. Smooth 60fps gameplay, a sharp difficulty curve and a techno soundtrack makes Resogun a blast, and it’s score based, multiplier focused gameplay is sure to get your blood pumping.
13. Hotline Miami (2012)
Indie top-down shooter Hotline Miami is a punishing exercise in discipline. Kill everyone to succeed. One mistake and it’s all over. The grueling difficulty and quick retries are what make Hotline Miami great. You’ll find yourself saying “Okay, this time” after every single failure. It’s fantastic soundtrack compliments the intense action, and it’s music is sure to stick with you long after you’ve finished the game.
12. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is beautiful. It has an interesting story, and well written characters, but the real star of the show is the wonderful world you inhabit during it’s near 50 hour main story. It’s a joy to explore, and there is no shortage of things to do. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will eat up your time, whether you want it to or not.
11. Dead Space 2 (2011)
Alien zombies. Is there anything more terrifying? In Dead Space 2 you play as engineer Isaac Clarke, who is suffering mentally after the events of the first game. You wake up in an asylum with amnesia on a space station called The Sprawl, which has been overrun by a swarm of Necromorphs. It’s your job to get Isaac to safety, but things just keep going wrong. While not as scary as it’s predecessor, Dead Space 2 ramps up the action while staying true to itself, and any fan of the survival horror genre owes it to themselves to play it.
10. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS (2014)
There is no greater couch multiplayer game than Super Smash Bros. Fun, competitive and chaotic battles between you and your friends is what Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS does best. Featuring beloved (and not so beloved) characters from Nintendo’s history, and from elsewhere, Super Smash Bros. lets you answer the question you were asking yourself throughout your childhood. Who would win in a fight between Mario, Sonic and Mega Man?
09. Super Meat Boy (2010)
Super Meat Boy is simultaneously the best and worst 2D platformer I’ve ever played. Never before has a game made me shout, swear and sigh as much. With some of the tightest controls in video games, Super Meat Boy takes pleasure in watching you fail over and over and over again. The true greatness of Super Meat Boy is the satisfaction of beating that level you’ve been stuck on for the last 45 minutes, and it will keep you coming back with it’s time based leaderboards, hidden secrets and collectible bandages scattered throughout it’s 150+ levels.
08. Portal 2 (2011)
Stephen. Fucking. Merchant.
07. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (2014)
Randomly generated dungeons, power ups and abilities are the bread and butter of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. You start off with nothing, and as you progress through room after room of enemies, you pick up items that may make you stronger, smaller or faster. The random generation keeps the gameplay fresh and unpredictable, with one run making you feel like an unstoppable God-like being, and the next reducing you to a scared, crying baby. Isaac is a massive game that never gets boring and keeps you on your toes.
06. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Skyrim is one of the most immersive, deep and vast Western RPGs money can buy. You can sink hours and hours into it and still find new things to do, new dungeons to explore and new beasts to slay long after you’ve finished it’s main story. A well thought out world, well written dialogue and epic, epic battles against dragons and giants and bears (oh my!) make Skyrim a pleasure to lose yourself in.
05. Rocket League (2015)
The vastly successful Rocket League is the biggest surprise of 2015. It came out of nowhere and sucked up all of our free time, and we loved it. On paper, Rocket League sounds stupid, but there’s this competitive magic to it that keeps you glued to your TV match after match. Nice shot!
04. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain falls short in a number of ways, but compensate for all of those shortcomings with the best gameplay of any game of the current generation so far. The Phantom Pain is a joy to play, whether you’re sneaking into a fortified base, or in an all out firefight against a number of enemy soldiers, you won’t want to put the controller down anytime soon. The game succeeds in making you feel like a legendary soldier behind enemy lines, and it’ll keep you coming back for more.
03. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
Grand Theft Auto V is a blast. Whether you want to enjoy it’s story, sights, or go on a full on rampage, this game has something for everyone. Los Santos is a horrible, superficial place filed with bad people who care more about their appearance and their bank accounts than they do about their families, and it is wonderful.
02. Mass Effect 2 (2010)
The pinnacle of the Mass Effect series. Embark on an adventure through the galaxy, searching for clues on how to defeat the colony abdutcing Collectors. Boasting deep customisation, tight gunplay, interesting characters and an incredible planet-hopping story where the decisions you make may make or break your final mission, Mass Effect 2 is every sci-fi fan’s dream game.
01. The Last of Us (2013)
The Last of Us has it all. Great gameplay, incredible motion captured acting, a gritty, realistic setting and one of, if not the best, stories told in video games. The Last of Us will beat you around the head, kick you in the teeth and leave you emotionally exhausted but you won’t be able to stop. The award-winning story is the focus here, and it’s sure to stick in your mind for a long, long time.