Somewhat recently, I made a list of my favorite horror games of the last decade. As much as I love horror, though, it’s still only a fraction of the games I play.
That’s why I decided to make a list of my favorite overall games of the last decade this time around. I’ll be talking about my ten favorite games from the years 2010-2020 and why I personally liked them.
I’m not a huge influencer or anything. This isn’t a list anyone asked for. But it’s one I know I’ll enjoy writing, so here it is.
So, how did the games on this list make it here? What were the criteria I designated for them?
Well, since I already did a list of my favorite horror games, I didn’t put any horror games on this list. This is kind of a catch-all bucket for games of any genre from the last decade.
My boundaries for eligible years start in 2010 and end in 2020. There are a couple games on here that definitely just barely squeak by, but I still had to mention them. Additionally, there isn’t necessarily a game from every year ranging from 2010-2020 here. You may see multiple games from the same year.
I don’t consider myself a professional critic by any means, even though I do write reviews occasionally. The games on this list aren’t guaranteed to be critically acclaimed. They are just games that I’ve gotten the most joy out of playing.
My Favorite Overall games of the Last Decade
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps was released in March 2020, so like I said above, it just barely squeaks by for my chosen decade. I’m glad it is eligible, though, because this game really is a treat.
From the moment I opened the start menu and was greeted by a gorgeous, soothing melody, along with a sun-drenched forest, I knew it was going to be a good game. It’s not much of a surprise, but I was right.
Ori is a metroidvania-style game. These are side-scrolling action games that are similar in nature to the games Castlevania and Metroid, hence the nickname “metroidvania.”
I didn’t think this is a type of game I would enjoy. But the combat was fluid, the puzzles were fun, and the settings were absolutely stunning. The biggest complaint I have is that the story is perhaps a little shallow, but I didn’t find this a deterrent, even though story is usually the biggest factor for me.
I strongly recommend this game for just about everyone, but especially people who care most about combat systems. Ori’s combat is sure to feel good to you.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
A lot of people hold Dragon Age: Origins as the golden standard for all Dragon Age games. Unfortunately, it came out well before the 2010’s, so I couldn’t include it on this list. I have instead chosen to include Dragon Age: Inquisition.
There are, to be sure, a lot of flaws with Inquisition. Many people will cite pandering to players as one example, especially after the debacle that was Mass Effect 3’s ending.
I, however, enjoyed Inquisition. I won’t say it’s flawless – it isn’t – but I will say the roleplay aspects are fun, the characters are likeable, and the world is so much more beautiful and vibrant than the dreary Ferelden of Origins.
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 2 came out in 2010, and like many other fans of the series, I consider it to be the best Mass Effect game to-date. Its combat is far less clunky than its predecessor’s, it has a cast of likeable characters, and the roleplay elements are on point.
Plus, depending on which version of the game you get, you may have access to the Citadel DLC which is an absolute blast to play through. It technically is part of Mass Effect 3, but if you get the recently released Legendary Edition, you’ll have access to all the games, anyway. I sometimes even pretend that’s the real end to the series, as opposed to what happens at the end of the third installment.
That being said, I do think of the Mass Effect experience as being a sort of package deal. I don’t recommend playing only Mass Effect 2 if you’ve never played the others – I would suggest playing them all in a row since your decisions carry over from game to game. With the release of the Legendary Edition, you can get all the games at once and do exactly that.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
This probably won’t surprise anyone, but I have to throw Skyrim on this list. I didn’t get to play this game when it first came out back at the end of 2011, but I did play it a few years later.
In fact, Skyrim is the whole reason I got into PC gaming in the first place. I wanted to be able to experiment with mods to change the tone of the game, which you weren’t really able to do on consoles at the time. I’ve never looked back.
To this day, I go through bouts where I become incredibly obsessed with Skyrim. I’ll load it with weird mods to give it a new feel and dive into the world all over again. I suppose there’s something to be said about the way the modding community keeps this game alive, but even without mods, it’s still a fantastic and versatile experience.
Read Next: Best Horror Mods for Skyrim
I know this is a weird one to include on here but hear me out. House Flipper is insanely addictive. A lot of people will agree that it’s nothing life-changing in terms of gameplay, but there’s something that keeps me coming back to it time and time again.
Maybe I have a secret love of interior design that I didn’t know I had. At any rate, getting to fix up houses and then sell them to eager buyers without having to invest real money into them is so satisfying. I get to play with all kinds of décor styles and themes that I would never be able to do in real life.
Plus, it’s relaxing. Slowly painting a wall or meticulously replacing all the floors is a surprisingly peaceful endeavor that helps me unwind after a long day.
I will say, however, that House Flipper also kind of creeps me out, which I don’t mind. There’s something about the empty streets outside of every house and never seeing another person anywhere – despite receiving emails from them – that kind of weirds me out. I could almost imagine turning around and seeing a looming figure in the distance that gradually gets closer and closer to you the longer you play.
Life is Strange
Want a game that will absolutely rip your heart out? Then what you’re looking for is something like Life is Strange.
Full disclosure here: this game is way more like a visual novel than it is a traditional game. It’s less about things like combat and character customization and more about choices. I would say it’s a lot like a choose-your-own-adventure novel.
But the story is deep, the characters are incredibly fleshed-out, and the choices you make feel impactful. I do think the end of Life is Strange is kind of forced – especially since they address the possibility of it happening earlier on, discard it, and act like it’s not going to happen.
That being said, I loved the story in this one. It wrecked me emotionally, and I don’t say this lightly.
As you might have inferred from all the other Stardew Valley guides I’ve written on the site, Stardew Valley has been one of my favorite games historically. I like relaxing games that let me build my own things at my own pace here and there.
Stardew Valley lets you basically build a farm from scratch. You can work at it until you develop a farm that operates with an almost robotic efficiency, or you can simply chill out and tinker around with various aspects to your liking.
It blows my mind that this was all developed by a single person. If you’re the kind of person who likes to support smaller developers, you really can’t get much smaller scale than what went into Stardew Valley.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2
In my social circle, we’re always looking for more games to play that can support anywhere from four to seven players without necessarily having to play online with random people. This is a surprisingly tall order these days, especially when you factor in all of our different preferences and tastes in games.
Vermintide 2 wasn’t something I was interested in initially. I asked myself, “how is it different from any other kind of co-op shooter game?” I was pleasantly surprised.
This isn’t a game that will shove all kinds of deep lore and story elements in your face. (However, the Warhammer fantasy universe does have an extensive lore you can get into if you feel inclined to do so.) Regardless, it still feels like a surprisingly full fantasy world that will be fun to explore with anywhere from one to three other people.
My biggest gripe with Vermintide 2 is that it quickly starts to feel repetitive. Play more than a few runs in one sitting, and you’ll start to get a little bored of hacking, slashing, and shooting at rats. With that in mind, I think it’s still an absolute blast for the first couple hours of play each session.
Like some of the others on this list, Tabletop Simulator isn’t a game in the traditional sense of the word. Or maybe it is, since it literally makes all kinds of card and board games possible to share with your friends from a distance.
Anyway, the title is self-explanatory. This is a game that imitates a table, and you can load board and card games into it. That way, you can play a variety of games from a distance that you would otherwise need to be in person to play.
During the pandemic, Tabletop Simulator was a lifesaver for me. I was still able to play many of my favorite games with friends, such as Magic: the Gathering. Plus, with community-made mods, you can play many board games you might not otherwise be willing to buy just yet in a test run.
So, while this isn’t a video game like all the others here, I do feel it is still influential enough to include on my list.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I may be primarily a PC gamer, but that doesn’t mean I’m totally out of touch with console games. Case in point: one of my favorite games from the past decade was the smash-hit Breath of the Wild. If we were talking about the decade previous, my list would be quite different, including Windwaker or maybe even Twilight Princess.
But unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess?), those games aren’t eligible, so here’s another Zelda game instead. Breath of the Wild was an interesting experience. Perhaps I’d even go so far as to call it a breath of fresh air as far as Zelda games go.
Zelda games are traditionally extremely linear. You get to explore the world, sure, but it’s like being on a roller coaster. You’re stuck to a predetermined track. Breath of the Wild does away with this linear design, allowing you the freedom to fully explore the world however you want.
But Breath of the Wild also doesn’t pander to you. Sure, you can immediately go and fight the final boss if you want, but there are tons of monsters that are more than strong enough to kick your butt along the way. Not to mention, of course, Ganon himself.
I loved exploring in this game because the world is nothing short of breathtaking. I even loved the cooking mechanic and collecting new recipes. Discovering new types of monsters and capturing horses was fun, too. Truthfully, I haven’t even beaten this game yet because I spent so much time getting side-tracked by all the places I could go.
The 2010’s were a good time for games in general, I think. We saw a huge improvement in the ability of indie developers to get their titles out where people could buy them. I think, as big-name developers kind of go down the tubes, we’ll be increasingly grateful for the smaller creators as time goes on.
I think the 2000’s would be a fun time to talk about next, so I may do a list of my favorite games from the 2000’s at some point. Keep in mind that, although I personally do the vast bulk of the writing here, there are a couple other people who occasionally work on the site. You may see similar lists to this one, but from their perspectives down the line. If you’re confused about any repeats, check the author name to be sure.