The 2010s are almost behind us, so we decided to wrap ‘em up with a list of the best games the last 10 years brought us. A compendium like this is always prone to be subjective and controversial because everyone has an opinion on what should be included, but we did our best to focus on those titles that made the most impact. Let’s start counting.
10. Pokemon Go
It was not the first augmented reality mobile game out there, but it certainly took the concept into the mainstream overnight. Upon its release in July 2016, the game immediately became the top downloaded app on Apple’s App Store and Google Play, beating Clash Royale’s record as the fastest game to top both stores. Its widespread use and distracting nature even prompted medical research into what is known as Pedestrian Inattention Blindness while playing Pokémon Go. So, if you are downloading it again after reading this article, don’t forget to “be alert at all times” and “stay aware of your surroundings”. It certainly deserves a place in our "Best games of the 2010s" list.
9. Red Dead Redemption
Both the original game and the more recent second installment have been universally praised for being the best Western-themed games ever made. The games’ believable sound, voiceovers and immersive music, paired with an open-world design, has brought new life to Wild West-inspired stories in gaming. The second game’s record-breaking opening weekend sales of $725 million also show that the Western genre, when done well, is still relevant. For that, it has a reserved place in our best games ranking.
8. Dark Souls
Another hugely influential game on our list, Dark Souls was not just groundbreaking action RPG but it started a subgenre in its own right. The game inspired developers big and small to create “Soulslike” games and Steam even has a category for these. Another testament to its popularity is that almost every game in any other genre that’s remotely challenging you can now call “The Dark Souls of...”. Is it one of the best games of the decade? You tell us.
7. The Witcher 3
An almost unanimous entry in our "Best games" list for the decade. What is so good about this one? It’s all about the story. The game is unanimously praised by players and critics alike for its pristine and detailed world-building and incredibly well-written and vivid characters. Few are the RPG games that feel so rich and believable. And if you haven’t read the books that first brought this world to life, then what are you waiting for?
One of the most recent new game franchises from Blizzard most definitely has a place on our list. The game managed to lure players who don’t usually like or play first-person shooters, thanks to its slightly slower-paced gameplay which makes it easier for newcomers to the genre. The fact that the game recycled content from Blizzard’s canceled massively multiplayer online game Titan, made it the shooter with the richest backstories and character development.
5. Mass Effect 2
Much like Witcher 3, Mass Effect 2 is on this list because of its amazing universe building, the breadth of its story, and the depth of its character development. Since its initial release at the very beginning of this decade, the game has garnered universal critical acclaim for both its storytelling, stunning visuals and soundtrack.
4. Grand Theft Auto V
The fifth major installment in the GTA series is six years old now but its huge player base shows no signs of erosion. The game is the third best-selling title of all time with more than 115 million copies sold and one of the most financially successful ones, grossing a whopping $6 billion in revenue to date. Besides, what is a best games list without at least one about fast cars and pretty women?
With more than 180 million copies sold across all platforms and more than 112 million active players per month, this is the single best-selling game of all time. This is another title which technically had its early access release before this decade was ushered in, but the countless hours spent by millions of players in this sandbox game, dubbed “the new LEGO”, make it a defining title of the last 10 years.
2. Fortnite Battle Royale
A cultural phenomenon since the release of its Battle Royale mode, Fortnite had a rather humbler beginning in the summer of 2017 with its Save the World single-player mode. It was not the first Battle Royale game and it’s certainly not the best one, but it’s casual style, arcadey feel and bright visuals took the world by storm. With the help of celebrities like Drake and Travis Scott, Fortnite established itself as a game for everyone and an inseparable part of mainstream popular culture.
1. League of Legends
Well, we all know it came out towards the end of 2009, just a few months before the start of the decade we are wrapping up here, but no list of the best games and most influential titles of the last 10 years would be complete without this one. And no list would be accurate if it’s not near or at the top.
Since its launch, the game has grown to become an industry in its own right, turning Riot into the entertainment empire we know today. It helped catapult the MOBA genre into the stars, shaped the massive scale of esports as we know it today and, unlike some short-lived massive crazes that come and go, at its 10th anniversary remains one of the most-watched and most played games in the world. A game that truly defined this decade.
What about you? Have you played all the titles on this list? Which ones are your favorites?