A decade is a long time. Twinfinite wasn’t even a twinkle in our founder Yami’s eyes back in 2010. Most of our editors wouldn’t be allowed to drink in 2010, and some couldn’t even have a driver’s license yet!
But while most of us except for ol’ man Giuseppe (sorry G) were even old enough to seriously start writing about games at the start of this decade, all of us were gamers and as a collective the Twinfinite editor team has played a lot of video games.
So today, as the decade comes to a close in a matter of days, and as we sort out our formal Game of the Decade selection which will be out sometime next week, the editorial team wanted to put a piece together that allows them to just rant about their personal favorite games over the last ten years.
Whether it’s games that released this year, last year, or nine years ago, our editors had plenty to say. So without further adieu…
Senior Editor Alex Gibson
Favorite Games of the Decade: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Inside, Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, The Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Dragon Age Inquisition, Company of Heroes 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Deus Ex: Human Revolution
It turns out that narrowing down my best games of the decade to a handful isn’t that much easier than the dreaded process of attempting to pick just one. There are just so many memorable experiences I could wax lyrical about, and so many games that deserve their share of the spotlight for the ways they’ve impacted the medium in some positive way over the past 10 years.
I’ll start with a game whose spot was never in doubt: I’d actually been traveling for a year without any access to video games before I finally had a chance to play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. What a game to return to! Although, I don’t think I actually appreciated just how good it was at the time.
I remember being totally absorbed by its authentic fantasy world, captivated especially by its superb graphics and music, and just in awe of the sheer volume of rich storytelling. Yet, it wasn’t until subsequent playthroughs and the years that passed I realized just how high it set the bar. Very little has come close to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt since 2015.
Perhaps the only game that has is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was my first Zelda game (shocking, I know), and I’ve since discovered it’s about the only one I like. Open-world Hyrule is easily the best sandbox experience I’ve ever had, and I think it demonstrates a “less is more” design philosophy that many developers could learn from.
There’s just nothing else that rewards exploration like Breath of the Wild — that beckons you to see what’s around the corner and then totally surprises you with the answer. A sequel has me beyond excited.
And then there are those games that completely blindside you — the ones you randomly boot up and have you gripped from start to finish, no pre-launch hype necessary. Inside was one such experience: the harrowing tale of one boy desperately trying to escape the clutches of a tyrannical power.
The foreboding ambiance of that grim dystopia had me completely dialed in, and I charged forward to unlock its mystery in a single sitting. By the time the credits rolled, I felt as though I’d had an out of body experience. Inside’s genius, however, is more than just its setting and premise; I consider it to have unrivaled puzzle-platform gameplay and it’s the benchmark that I judge every other game in the genre.
Thinking about the palpable tension I felt playing Inside brings back memories of another deeply atmospheric gaming experience from the 2010s: Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Its bleak cyberpunk aesthetic, that infectious music and the thrill of sneaking around mega-corp buildings hacking computer terminals and knocking out unsuspecting guards invoked a unique feeling I’ve experienced few other times.
It still irks me that other games haven’t copied that awesome third-person/first-person hybrid design. Human Revolution was such a superb reboot and I’m sad to have seen its sequel fail to spark the sort interest that franchise deserves.
I’ll finish this spiel with a game that simply must be included on every list of notable 2010 game. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is playable on pretty much every platform ever for a reason: it’s still beloved by millions nearly a decade after its initial release, and it’s become a cultural phenomenon in that time that has transcended the video gaming medium.
Skyrim’s influence on open-world design is still felt today and while a laundry list of bugs, stiff animations, and fetch quests have become the butt of many a gaming insider joke, there’s still plenty it does better than many modern open-world games.
Perhaps not Bethesda’s best game, and perhaps not even the best Elder Scrolls game for some, but for its impact on the medium Skyrim has to be celebrated as one of the games of the decade. It’s also just a bloody good game that I adore with all my being.