Below is Part Two of my picks of the best Video games of the 2010s. Yesterday we put up my Part One
5. Bloodborne (2015)
I’m not really a Dark Souls guy. The fact that I didn’t bounce off of Bloodborne is a miracle. This was one of the most awe-inspiring games I’ve ever played in my life. The world was created with such creativity that I couldn’t help getting sucked in. The slow progression into Cthulhu style horror was something that really got into my head and had me spending hours reading into the lore even years later. I personally hate “Waiting” as a combat mechanic and I feel like it’s a cheap way of creating artificial difficulty; it’s therefore no surprise that Bloodborne’s fast and fluid combat felt so natural. Unfortunately, it ruined many other games. I just didn’t enjoy swinging a sword in many other games because if lacked a fluidity I’d gotten so accustomed to in Bloodborne. I don’t think I’ll ever play a Souls Borne game that impacted me the way Bloodborne did.
4. Anno 2070 (2011)
I love city building games but it’s a shame so few come out with high production values. Anno 2070 felt like a modern city building game in a time when the AAA industry was switching to bland shooters that could be monetized in new ways. I’ll never forget the hours I spent slowly building up cities, carefully creating production lines and managing my resources with the discipline one might grow a bonsai tree with. Most people might find that boring but it satisfies me in a way I can’t explain. The fantastic future setting helped draw me in even further and the underwater gameplay was one of the most amazing aspects of any simulation game I’d ever played. While some people prefer the historical setting for their Anno games, I love the creativity Blue Byte showed when trying to imagine a futuristic world.
3. Tropical Freeze (2014)
I often call this the most underrated game in the history of video games. Why this game didn’t get the attention it deserved still baffles me. In my mind this is the greatest platforming game ever created. The controls are perfect and much tighter than other Nintendo platformers. Every level is unique with mechanics that almost never get reused. There is also very little in the way of random floating blocks, everything in a level is designed to give context and exists in a way that’s congruous to the world around it. No shortcuts were taken with any aspect of Tropical Freezes level design. This game also has one of the greatest soundtracks of all time and it is one that I regularly listen to at work.
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)
This game got be back into gaming in 2011. Coming out of 2010 I thought video games were on the decline for me; releases to my favorite franchises were doing nothing but disappointing me. As someone who never played the original Deus Ex this game blew my mind. I loved the immersive sim environment exploration and the stealth gameplay that rewards experimentation. Above all else I think the thing that drew me into Human Revolution the most was the tone of the game. The visuals, the soundtrack the story they all created a wonderful cyberpunk mood that so many games seem to get wrong. Like many other games on this list I play this one at least once a year and even after a dozen playthroughs I still usually find something I haven’t seen before.
1. Skyrim (2011)
I had never been as excited for a game as I was for Skyrim. I liked Oblivion but had too much trouble wrestling with some of its really poorly designed mechanics. Fallout 3 was fantastic but I prefer fantasy RPGs. As someone who loves snow and ice and games themed around it, Skyrim felt like it was made specifically for me. When the game finally came out it lived up to the expectations I thought were impossible to meet. More than anything, the game felt like a fantasy exploration simulator. I loved the ability to set my character off in a random direction and see how the games systems unfolded. Unlike most games that tried too hard to handcraft experiences and wind up feeling too rigid, I was constantly immersed in the world that seemed to unfold organically wherever I went. Not all the gameplay elements were implemented flawlessly but I didn’t care because Skyrim gave me something no other game was able to. It’s hard to explain how rare these types of experience were in 2011. No other game has given me the immersion or satisfying exploration that Skyrim gave me which is why its flaws don’t stand out in my mind, because it was excelling at the exact things I wanted it to excel at. To me Skyrim is like the Statue of Liberty, look too closely and you’ll find scratches and chipped paint and other flaws; but if you take a step back and look at it as the sum of its parts you can’t help but be impressed by its grandeur.