The biggest and best games of the decade (2010-2019)

Posted January 10, 2020

In the year of 2020 we don’t only have a new console generation to look forward to, but we also have the opportunity to look back at the last 10 years and examine a decade of amazing video games. Whilst many publications will create a list of their own personal games of the decade, it’s also valuable to take a more objective look at the releases of the last 10 years to see which games made the biggest splashes both critically and commercially. Here are the biggest and best games of the decade (2010-2019)!

You can also listen to us chat about our Game’s of the Decade in audio form below!

 

The 10 most critically acclaimed games of the decade

Based on their scores out of 100 as seen on Metacritic

  • Super Mario Odyssey (97)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (97)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (97)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (97)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (97)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (96)
  • Mass Effect 2 (96)
  • Portal 2 (95)
  • Red Dead Redemption (95)
  • The Last of Us (95)

Yooka-Laylee proved that it’s hard to get 3D platforming right, and Super Mario Odyssey proved that it’s best left to the professionals. There was just a certain kind of magic when it came to that game, something that’s hard to put our finger on. Maybe it’s the bright vibrant visuals. Maybe it’s the polished level design and tight mechanics. Maybe it’s the fact Mario now throws his hat. Maybe it was pure nostalgia. It doesn’t really matter, because this game was probably the most fun you could have in 2017. Each kingdom felt unique and would push you to your limit as you tried to collect all 880 moons throughout the game. That’s an insane amount. you’d think after cramming so much content into the main game, they’d be done. But no, after the main story is over there’s a whole host of post-game content ready for you to play that’s meant to push your platforming skills even further. Nintendo really knows how to cram as much fun into a game as possible, and Odyssey is proof of that. – Hailey

If there was ever a better reworking of a franchise than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I’ve yet to see it. Not only did Breath of the Wild capture the spirit of the first Legend of Zelda title, it completely changed what it meant to be a Zelda game. By introducing a completely open world, a revamped combat and weapons system, cooking, crafting, and a variety of other additions, it flipped the Zelda formula on its head and offered fans something new. Before BOTW, a Zelda game was a fairly static thing. You were a hero, you would need to clear eight dungeons, defeat eight bosses, and gain eight new items before you faced the final boss and saved the princess. But BOTW gave you everything you would need for your adventure right off the bat. Nintendo dumped players in the middle of a sandbox and said “have fun”, and we did! Breath of the Wild was a breath of fresh air. Fans loved it. Critics loved it. Hell, we’re even getting a direct sequel, and I for one can’t wait. -Hailey

With a nine-year break for the Red Dead series, Red Dead Redemption 2 was a hotly anticipated sequel. With it, Rockstar had a tall order of following up the original and expanding it in a big way. Thankfully, the company was successful in this: Red Dead Redemption 2 was a technological marvel in both realism and graphics. It comes with a charming new protagonist by the name of Arthur Morgan and an engaging campaign in the setting of fictional Western America just before the turn of the 20th Century. It provided the players with a gigantic world to explore, with scenery that looks like it could make for some pretty stellar postcards. Perhaps the most exciting part of the game, barring the story of the Van der Linde gang, is how much world there is to get lost in and discover. It’s safe to say Red Dead Redemption 2 was deserving of the acclaim. – Charlie

There has been no shortage of amazing Mario games that allow the player to control the iconic red plumber. However Super Mario Galaxy has been recognised as one of the very best ever. It cemented the 3D Mario formula, perfecting the gameplay elements introduced way back in Mario 64. It really was the best of the bunch. It felt so reminiscent yet so advanced. It took parts from a bunch of Mario’s back catalogue and formed them into something modern and special for the Nintendo Wii. The game was platforming perfection and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who played the game and wasn’t immediately enamoured by the charm and polish of this hugely important title. – Elliot

The 10 most commercially successful games of the decade

Based on the best estimation of copies sold

  • Minecraft (180 million) – 2011
  • Grand Theft Auto V (115 million) – 2013
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (50 million) – 2017
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (30 million) – 2011
  • Diablo III (30 million) – 2012
  • Mario Kart 8 / Deluxe (27.5 million) – 2014
  • Terraria (27 million) – 2011
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (26.5 million) – 2018
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II (24 million) – 2010
  • FIFA 18 (24 million) – 2017

What to say about the best selling game of all time? When released out of beta in November 2011, Minecraft blew up. So fresh was this idea of having a world just thrown at you that you can shape yourself, literally. The simple crafting combined with survival elements and colourful art style made this game approachable for anyone. It didn’t matter your age or skill level when it comes to gaming, a lot of people were keen on picking up this game, and still are. I recently got back into it myself alongside some friends that are a bit less hardened gamers, and it’s a charming balance for the three of us. With deep embedding in pop culture, a Telltale series spin off, mobile game, upcoming movie and a seemingly endless amounts of ports, it’s no doubt Minecraft made a splash in the 2010’s. – Charlie

You don’t need to like Grand Theft Auto V to understand the massive impact it’s had on the industry. The relentless violence, male power fantasies, and “political satire” might not rub everyone the right way. But impressively, it’s managed to build on the online component of the original Red Dead Redemption to create Grand Theft Auto Online. Turns out, GTAV’s single-player gameplay translates very well over the internet, allowing like-minded players to wreak havoc against each other like they always wanted. GTAO has been receiving consistent updates since release, making the game still feel fresh, and unbelievably popular, more than six years later. – Pedro

More than anything, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will be remembered for defining and popularising an entirely new genre. 100 players dropped onto the same ever-shrinking map, scavenging for weapons and resources, until one remains standing. Whether you’re playing, watching a stream, or explaining a cool play to your friends, no match is ever boring. The tension is baked in to the gameplay, making it addictive to play, and matches cap out at 30 minutes, so it’s not a massive time sink. Sure, PUBG may not have ended the decade on top, but the fact that it’s on this list means its contribution to the industry isn’t about to be usurped anytime soon. – Pedro

You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a game that (to date) has been released seven times including its initial release on November 11, 2011. This game was a massive leap forward in the development of open world RPGs with a world that wasn’t only expansive, but also alive. With lovable characters, factions to join and a multitude of abilities to learn with one of the most intuitive level up systems to this day, the game was leagues ahead of its competition at the time. Also it lets you scream at people so hard that sometimes they die, what’s not to love? – Bree



About the Author

Elliot Attard

PC gamer, TV show binge-watcher, music lover and elite member of high society (but not really) - Elliot possesses all of the qualities needed to project his word thoughts straight into your eye holes.