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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Favourite video game of the decade

The Witcher 3 – toss a coin to your witcher (pic: CD Projekt)
GameCentral readers try to decide on the best video games of the 2010s, from Red Dead Redemption to Rayman Legends.
We offered up our top 10 list over Christmas but what is your favourite from the years 2010 to 2019? What do you think were the most notable traits of gaming during the 2010s and how well does your pick exemplify them?
We had lots of very carefully thought out answers but although Super Mario Galaxy 2, Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, and Red Dead Redemption were mentioned a lot there was no clear winner, just lots of suddenly very nostalgic readers.
What it’s all about
For me the best game of the decade has to be The Witcher 3. I was a little worried as I made my deliberations that I was being influenced by the surprisingly good Netflix series but while it did inspire me to go back to the game that only cemented my feeling that it is the best game of the decade and generation.
People point out problems with the combat and some of the other mechanics and they’re right but the reason that’s not important is because The Witcher 3 is really all about… not so much the story but the interaction. Talking to and influencing people feels like you’re deal with real people and there’s no simple good and bad options.
Combine that with the superb mission design, which has sub quests better than the main story missions on most rivals and you have got an essentially perfect role-playing game. It’s certainly the best I’ve ever played and if Cyberpunk 2077 is better than that will really be something.
An active decade
Looking back at the releases over the past 10 years to pick three of my favourite games was quite an interesting trip down memory lane for me. I was an avid gamer as a kid, starting with the NES then SNES, N64, PlayStation 1 and 2, but then as I became an adult gaming slipped off the radar for a few years in place of pubs and wild nights out.
But around 2009/10 I started to get back into gaming, spurred on by the release of GTA 4, which I’d played at a friend’s house. As a result I’d probably say that the last 10 years have been my most active years of gaming, where I was old enough to be able to afford to buy new games and up until the birth of my first child four years ago was able to find plenty of time to play them too (I still find time, but it is in much shorter supply these days), anyway onto my list:
1. Red Dead Redemption (2010)
In my opinion the original Red Dead is probably the best of all Rockstar’s games and the one that I played the most. Red Dead Redemption 2, while technically brilliant and a game that I also thoroughly enjoyed just wasn’t a patch on the original.
2. Batman: Akrham City (2011)
Although not the best in the trilogy (for me that is still Asylum), this is the best entry in the last decade. I did also really enjoy Arkham Knight, including the much-maligned tank sections, but I just rate Arkham City a bit more, both as a gamer and as a Batman fan.
3. Astro Bot (2018)
The first game that I ever played in VR, which ultimately heralded a new era and gave an example of the future of gaming. I love this game for all that it is, even the minor details like seaweed dangling in your eyes as you come up from an underwater section, sheer joy from start to finish.
Interestingly, the list changed as I wrote it so special mentions also have to go to GTA 5 and the Resident Evil 2 remake which were originally on my list!
Rickandrolla (PSN ID)
Almost too good
I completely agree with your top two selections of best games of the decade. I would also say both could be considered the best games ever made. I didn’t have high hopes for either game, as I thought Super Mario Galaxy 2 was going to be a cheap cash-in but it was anything but. I would rate it above Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, as I thought that there were elements of Breath Of The Wild that could be improved upon. In Galaxy 2 the level that flips the world like the scene in the Inception movie was jaw dropping for me at the time and no other gaming moment has come close.
A special mention for me would be Mario Kart 8. The game I thought deserved to be in the top 10 ahead of Ultra Street Fighter 4. As, yes, Street Fighter 4 did reinvigorate the genre but I don’t think it had much of an impact in the wider perception of games as Mario Kart 8 did. Mario Kart 8 has a universal appeal that I don’t think any other multiplayer game has; not even FIFA, Call Of Duty, or Fortnite has that.
The game has a simple premise and simple controls that appeal to casuals and hardcore gamers. Mario Kart 8 is great to play, levels are well designed – with the anti-gravity they added something new. Nintendo have perfected the multiplayer game that I don’t know where they can go with the franchise.
Alek Kazam
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
Three times as good
My favourite game of the decade has to be the sublime Rayman Legends. I am late to the Rayman party as I never played the earlier games until they were released again last gen.
Playing Rayman Origins I instantly became a fan and wanted more of the experience. I went into my local electronics emporium to purchase a new TV. While I was waiting for the sales staff to go to the back and bring out my TV; I had a play on the Wii U they had set up on display.
That Wii U was running a Rayman Legends demo, which at the time was said to be a Wii U exclusive (it wasn’t out yet). I had to have it! When the salesperson came out with my TV I asked them to get me a Wii U as well.
When the game did eventually launch I regretted nothing. It played so well on the Wii U and I enjoyed it immensely. I enjoyed it so much I purchased it on the PC, and again when I went to a store and saw a brand-new copy sitting in a clearance bin for the Xbox 360. An unfitting end for what is in my opinion one of the most finely crafted platformers ever.
So my game of the decade is the one I own three copies of. It’s Rayman Legends.
Commodore Fan
Oh brother
My game of the decade is Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons.
A wonderful little game with a great mechanic (you control the two sons with the two thumbsticks), nice puzzles, beautiful graphics, and a massive emotional moment at the end if the story. I loved this game and recommend it to friends who are casual gamers who have no idea it exists.
I should also say I’m not the only one. it got a lot of praise in the GC Inbox when it was released.
If you’ve not played it, it’s often reduced to about £4 now in the Xbox sales.
Honourable mentions also to Call Of Duty: Black Ops 1 and 2, and Portal 2.
Manic miner 100 (gamertag)
Rated fresh
Choosing the series my game of the decade comes from is surprisingly easy, the only difficulty is whether it should be Splatoon 1 or 2. Splatoon 2 is clearly the better game with Salmon Run, a greatly expanded single-player, and way more content but Splatoon 1 has Squid Jump!
The Splatoon duo are by far the most imaginative, stylish, and fun games of the decade. I’ve gladly been one of the biggest cheerleaders for them in the inbox, even writing a Reader’s Feature for the first one and would implore anyone who hasn’t played them to discover what they’re missing!
Ryan O’D
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
A lot of maxing
I’ve been eagerly awaiting this topic. Already knew my number one, but I can’t wait to see everyone else’s.
The game I’ve played the most between 2010 and 2019 was easy enough: Borderlands 2. I must have sunk 1,000 hours into it easily, I had it on Xbox 360 first and maxed all four characters, then on PlayStation 3 the same, then got the Handsome Collection on PlayStation 4 and maxed out six, as it had all the DLC. I still play it now when I gave up on Borderlands 3 after a month or so. But it’s not my best of the decade, despite adoring it and playing it continuously since release.
Around 2012/3 I’d really fallen out of love with gaming, I was still buying games, as is my habit and always will be, but never really getting into any. I’d play for a few hours a week, if that sometimes.
I was even close to selling my Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 for a while and sticking with my retro consoles.
Then I started playing a preowned game I’d picked up cheap: Dark Souls.
I didn’t know what on earth I was doing, I couldn’t get my head round why the skeletons at the beginning were so damn hard. Surely they’re the easiest, being so close to the start of the game was my thinking. I died over and over and over and over. I gave up on the game a few times, coming back a few days or weeks later for a go. Until it all clicked into place.
I found other areas, and it started getting a bit simpler. Bit by bit I got better, day by day getting used to the gameplay and every new enemy and every death being a learning process. By the time I finally finished the game I’d put hundreds of hours in, and gotten to level 200 or something – later playing all the way to 452 over time as seen in the pic below – and I’d re-found my love for gaming.
I’ve no doubt that with the passage of time it’ll usurp Final Fantasy 7 as my favourite game ever, but nostalgia and red-tinted specs is keeping Cloud and his mates in the number one spot for a bit longer at least. Or maybe just maybe he’ll take the spot from himself in a few months in his shiny new high-def form.
Dark Souls ended up being a bit of a poisoned chalice though. Nothing after gripped me in the same way, nothing has since really. I never finished Dark Souls 2 as it seemed such a let-down compared to the first, and I barely touched the third one and it’s still sat in my to-do pile about three years after I bought it.
I think I burnt myself out with Dark Souls games like I’ve done before with other franchises. Or in the case of Sony I’ve grown bored of AAA strut driven, action heavy, third person open world games (Horizon Zero Dawn, God Of War, Uncharted, Days Gone, etc.) although I did love Bloodborne until my data corrupted and I never had the will to start again.
I’ve enjoyed many games greatly but I haven’t become totally infatuated like I did with Dark Souls for a few months. Not only my game of the decade, but one of the best I’ve ever played in 35 years of gaming.
Honourable mention to Astro Bot which has been the closest thing to Dark Souls in terms of wowing me this decade, such a wonderfully joyous and fun game, such a shame so many people will never play it unless Sony have a last minute fire sale of VR headsets.
Also-rans are Celeste, Portal 2, Resident Evil 2 remake, Human Fall Flat, NieR (not Automata), Undertale, Uncharted 2, Stardew Valley, Portal 2, Moss, The Forest, The Last Guardian, Bloodborne, Call Of Duty: Black Ops 1 (purely for the hundreds of hours put into the remastered World At War Zombies maps late at night with mates), Spec Ops: The Line, Tales Of Vesperia, Dying Light, Little Nightmares, and Yakuza 0.
The ones I debated upon despite knowing my number one anyway deep down. I’ve likely forgotten loads, just mentioning the ones that always pop into my head that I particularly enjoyed, even if some aren’t all that highly rated.
PS: I’m gutted about the Final Fantasy 7 remake delay, I have a few days booked off for it that now needs rearranging. Let’s hope it’s worth the wait.
That’s a lot of souls (pic: Lost-Sock-)
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