Top 50 Games of the Decade - Part 4 - ArticleTaneli Palola , posted on 30 January 2020 / 1,860 Views
As we get closer to the top of this countdown the margins between the different games are becoming increasingly slim and many of the following ten titles were indeed ranked at or very near the top of at least three people's lists. As such, there is certainly an argument that can be made for any of the following titles being the best of the previous decade.
If we were ranking these games purely on their influence in the 2010s, Dark Souls would probably take one of the top spots on this list, but as it stands it'll have to settle for a slightly lower position. Dark Souls is the game that popularized Hidetaka Miyazaki's design style and philosophy, influencing countless other games in its wake. Even with so many others trying to copy its gameplay style and concepts, very few have actually managed to surpass or even equal it in the years since its release. Naturally, much has been made of its difficulty and challenge level, but that is just one part of what makes Dark Souls great. From the ingenious world design to the dense and rewarding lore that takes time and effort to uncover, this is an exceptionally deep and complex game that may not be for everyone, but for those who get it there's almost nothing else like it.
The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Open world games can often devolve into hours of pointless busywork where you're just running from one map icon to another checking things off a list. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is the antithesis of that kind of open world design, and it shows in the quality of the game. Every aspect looks and feels like it's been meticulously handcrafted to the tiniest detail, even when that's not necessarily the case, and the amount of care that's been put into it is almost beyond belief. Simply put, The Witcher III is a wonderfully realized bookend to the story of Geralt of Rivia, and a gaming experience the likes of which don't come around very often.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
The Fire Emblem series is turning 30 later this year, but it wasn't really until this last decade that the franchise took off outside of Japan. Some of the earlier games had been released in the west as well, but until the release of Fire Emblem: Awakening none of them had really found any great success outside of their very specific niche audience. This is the game that changed that, and for a very good reason. It made some great little accessibility improvements to the franchise that allowed people other than the hardcore Fire Emblem fans to enjoy the game, and the series as a whole is now healthier for it.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Sometimes the true measure of a game's quality is not the new things it brings to the table, but what it does with the pieces we're already familiar with. That's exactly the case with Horizon Zero Dawn, an open world game that doesn't really do anything that's unique within its genre, but uses the elements it has in such a way that the end result feels fresh and exciting regardless. Among the highlights are the gorgeously realized and varied world full of interesting locations and creatures to see, a well-written story and characters, and a fun combat system that caters to numerous different playstyles. It is in my opinion Guerrilla Games' finest work to date and proves the studio is capable of more than just making FPSs.
Dark Souls III
There's a wonderful sense of finality to Dark Souls III. From the moment you step into the game's world you can see a once-great kingdom fallen into decay that's seemingly just waiting for something to come and end it for good. In many ways that's very fitting for the game, it being the supposed final chapter in the series and serving as the conclusion to a story that has been quietly running beneath the surface across the entire trilogy. If this truly is the swansong for the series as FromSoftware moves on to other projects, then at the very least the franchise went out on a high note.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda's recent missteps notwithstanding, there was a time when every new game the company released was an event unto itself, and no other title exemplifies that better than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Rarely, if ever before had a massive video game world been realized to such an impressive degree as it was in Skyrim. The game created an impressive illusion of a living and breathing world with people that seemingly all had lives of their own, independent of whatever the player was doing at the time. Even after so many years and countless open world games there's still something special about Skyrim that helps it stand out among the competition.
God of War
There was much doubt surrounding the new God of War after its unveiling at E3 several years ago, with quite a few people expressing their disappointment at how different the new game was to its predecessors. However, upon release most of these worries very definitively laid to rest, as the resulting game was nothing short of incredible. With all of its triumphs, however, the game's biggest achievement is still perhaps managing to turn Kratos from a hate-filled, violent, and unlikeable brute into a genuinely complex character with depth and relationships beyond just pulverizing every living thing he comes across. The beautiful visuals and mechanically inventive combat system just add another layer of excellence on top of it, in the process creating one of the best gaming experiences of the decade.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The latest installment in the Super Smash Bros. series has proven to be one of the most popular entries in the delightfully chaotic fighting game series, becoming the best-selling fighting game of all time last year. Naturally, the game is filled with a ridiculous amount of nostalgia-laden fan-service, has more characters than any other entry before it, is visually gorgeous, and features a wide variety of game modes and stages to choose from. However, at the end of the day it's the near-flawless core gameplay that carries the whole game and makes it so enjoyable to play for both new and veteran players alike.
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
Remaking a beloved classic from the ground up is always a risky endeavour, as fans of the original often set themselves up for disappointment with completely unrealistic and unreachable expectations for the final product. Fortunately Resident Evil 2 is not just a great game that modernized the original title wonderfully, but it did it in a way that kept the spirit of the original intact and lived up to the hype better than probably anyone expected. The tension and atmosphere it creates through music, sound design, and visuals is impeccable.
Mario Kart 8
Keeping an old video game series fresh and relevant with every new iteration is not an easy task to accomplish, as shown by the fact that very few have actually been able to do so on a consistent basis. One of the franchises that could make a strong argument that it has is Mario Kart, and out of all the games in the series Mario Kart 8 might just be the best one. It doesn't reinvent the series' core, but adds clever little tweaks to the familiar formula, such as the anti-gravity sections in races, and successfully refreshes the franchise once again.
Next time we'll unveil the top ten best games of the 2010s as voted for by the VGChartz staff, so join us then for the final part of our countdown.