Somehow, we all survived the last ten years let alone the last one but luckily the 2010s brought us some pretty darn decent games. It wasn’t particularly hard for me to pick my top ten, though there are some games I wish I had room to include (like the Spyro and Crash Remakes and the Metro series) ultimately these are the games I’ve spent the most time playing/enjoyed the most. The following are presented in no particular order except for the first five which are dictated by my total playtime on Steam (which quite frankly is just embarrassing.)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
It would be remiss of me to make a top ten of 2010s list without putting in Skyrim. I’ve logged almost 800 hours in this game and that’s just on Steam. You can easily add at least another 200 on top of that from when I was playing it on Xbox. While I really wish they would just give us TES VI already instead of re-releasing Skyrim on every computer-based piece of tech under the sun, that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the game. I’ve posted before about why I spend so much time modding it and have my running journal series about my current character. Those are all reason enough for Skyrim to be on this list.
Crusader Kings II
I’ve had some crazy things happen to me in CK2. I’ve also built an entire empire and then somehow ended up with territory halfway across the map because I made poor marriage choices. CK2 is, surprisingly, a pretty low stress game for me. I play it to relax. I also play it to create a line of genius empresses with armies 20K strong. I may have a slight power trip problem.
Mount & Blade: Warband
I think Mount & Blade is a pretty underrated game. This one barely made this list because it was released very early in 2010 and technically is a re-release of the game with a lot of fixes and better content and is really just overall a better game. At least until M&B 2 comes out. I spend more time messing around in this game than I do actually accomplishing anything. I did take over the entire continent once, though. It was good to be the queen.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Witcher 3 is a long game, even without the two DLC packs included. I’ve beat it three times. That should say something about why it’s on this list (in addition to the almost 300 hours on Steam). I’ve modded it. I’ve played it on hard. I’ve cheated my way through it. I’ve turned myself into Ciri. I’ve had sex with EVERY romanceable woman in the game (but Yen is my soulmate). I retired on a farm in Toussaint. I got my head bit off by several monsters (and also Yen). Witcher 3 really is a genre defining game and I can’t wait for both Cyberpunk and for whatever a new Witcher game may bring.
This is my true de-stress game. I’ve played it through enough times that I don’t feel the panic at the beginning to try and get everything done (having mods and cheat codes helps). I do what I want. I design my farm carefully and make it real pretty. I spam Leah with flowers and stir fry because I love her and she is my wife and she makes me art. It also recently got a HUGE free content update which I’ve yet to explore because I’m waiting for all my mods to update. When I’m stressed I play SDV. When I’m upset I play SDV. When I’m depressed I play SDV. This honestly is probably close to if not my top game of the last ten years.
Red Dead Redemption 2
RDR2 is a fairly recent get for me even though it’s been out for a while, but in my defence I was poor and I had my PS4 stolen. Although part of me wishes I’d waited like a week and just gotten it on PC it is the ONLY game I’ve been playing for the past two weeks. And I’ve been playing it nonstop. And when I say nonstop I mean from when I wake up around 8AM until 10 or 11 at night. Parts of the story made me incredibly sad. I almost cried at the end. I also got mad, for reasons I shall not spoil. I think Arthur is an incredibly well written a likeable protagonist even if you’re playing him like a dick. I’ve found loads of secrets including an incredibly creepy devil cabin in the swamps that I knew existed but didn’t actively seek out and just ended up stumbling upon and I regret everything. Go look it up on Youtube. You’ll see what I mean. It’s probably the creepiest thing in the entire game. Legit horror vibes.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order
Without a doubt the best SW game to be released since the days of KotOR and Jedi Academy. I blew through this game and it kicked my ass even when I lowered the difficulty because I just wanted to finish the game and not torture myself. It’s the first game that’s made me feel like that one vine where the guys screams “I’M A JEDI AGAIN MOM” and then breaks a vase. I felt like a Jedi. I felt like a badass. I also enjoyed Force pushing everyone I possibly could off of those open ledges the Empire loves so much.
Horizon Zero Dawn
This would be higher on the list if I hadn’t unintentionally ordered it by playtime on Steam. It’s the entire reason I wanted a PS4 (keep in mind I have two computers that can play pretty much everything). It’s one of three games, the other ones being ACII and AC4 (if you don’t include online trophies), that I’ve gotten every achievement for. It’s gorgeous. The story is compelling. The lore is amazing. The combat is terrifying. I do not ever want to be attacked by a giant robot bear ever again. But honestly if Stardew Valley isn’t my top game of the decade this game definitely is. And that’s saying something considering AC4 came out this decade too and I love pirates.
Listen. I’ve been excited for this game more than any other game that came out this year since it was teased in the summer. Before RD2 took over my life this is the only game I was playing. I built a gigantic and frankly poorly organized zoo that had every single existing animal in the game in it. I’m only a few achievements away from having all of them. I have almost 100k conservation credits. I’ve spent more time designing exhibits and tweaking the game map than I have actually running my zoo. This game is what the last Microsoft Zoo Tycoon SHOULD have been and when my RD2 craze finally dies down I know I’ll be back at it.
Assassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag
I know AC4 is at the end of this list but it’s in my top five personal fave games and it’s higher up on this list than its current position implies. After the flop that was AC3 (god help me for having decided to play through every AC game again in order, including it) AC4 was a breath of fresh air. It’s gorgeous. It flows well. The story is great. Edward is an asshole but he’s supposed to be he’s a frikken pirate and you know what happens when you’re a pirate? You do what you want cos a pirate is free, you are a pirate.
Happy Frikken New Year, folks.