USG's Top 100 Games of the Decade: #100-51

USG's Top 100 Games of the Decade: #100-51

The 100 best games of the 2010s, as determined by us.

You can find #50-26, the second part of our Top 100 Games of the Decade list, here. If you'd rather skip to #25-1, you can do that too.

Nobody could really know the turbulence that was in store for them in the 2010s. It was a decade in which social media exploded, bringing with it demagogues, white supremacists, and Instagram models. It was the decade of streamers and indie developers; Netflix and smartphones. It was the decade of Keanu... again.

The games industry is almost unrecognizable compared to how it was at the beginning of the decade. In early 2010, we were still playing games with plastic instruments; free-to-play had yet to become truly popular, and it was still theoretically possible to cover every single game that came out in a given year. It was in 2010 that FarmVille reached its peak, sending publishers scrambling to make browser games of their own.

As a new decade begins, we can look forward to the continued rise of VR, AR, streaming, and machine learning, as well as to the growing dominance of subscription gaming. In 2030 we may very well look back and say to ourselves, "Wow, remember when people still had consoles?"

In the meantime though, it's worth looking back on the best of the previous decade, which gave us so many incredible games. But first, a word on how we compiled this list. The games you see below were chosen over the course of several months worth of nominations, voting, and bitter arguments. We broadly tried to ensure the games we picked fit at least two items from the following list of criteria:

  • Did it appear on one of our Top 20 lists, or as a Game of the Year?
  • Is it fondly remembered or still talked about today?
  • Was it influential (i.e. did it impact other games' design/storytelling, or the "Dark Souls Metric")?
  • Does it have something special about it (i.e. really amazing storytelling like in The Witcher 3, or a truly original game mechanic, or did it pioneer something)?
  • Is someone on the team willing to go to the mat to defend its inclusion (i.e. the "Dragon Quest Builders 2 metric," which was the game that inspired perhaps the most debate during the creation of this list)?

All right, with the prelude out of the way, these are the 100 Best Games of the 2010s as chosen by USgamer.

Jackbox Party Packs have become a go-to in most households this decade. | Jackbox Games

100. Jackbox Party Pack

Release Date: November 26, 2014
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, Apple TV

It didn't seem likely in 2010 that the long running You Don't Know Jack series would continue to exist as much more than an example of how a solid line-up of party games failed to fully translate to modern digital media. The Jackbox Party Pack and its sequels, though, proved that seemingly the only barrier to success was a few tweaks to the formula and a handful of new games. Some of these, like the lie-spotting Fibbage or later volumes' Quiplash and Tee K.O. saw the potential of incorporating time-tested party game formats—drawing goofy stuff, making up bad jokes—into a clutter-free, phone-based control set-up that made the Party Packs convenient replacements for board and card game hangouts. —Reid McCarter

Killer Queen is a staple of modern arcades. | BumbleBear Games

99. Killer Queen

Release Date: August 2, 2013
Platforms: Arcade

Among the resurgence of local competitive games, Killer Queen has enjoyed an almost legendary status. It's not just for its reputation as an exceptionally well-designed entry to the genre, but also because playing it requires actually finding one of its arcade cabinets and having enough people around to join in on a session. At the beginning of the decade, it would've seemed unthinkable that an honest-to-god new arcade game would command such attention and give a languishing, seemingly anachronistic aspect of the industry a shot in the arm, but that's exactly what Killer Queen did. With the home release of Killer Queen Black in 2019, it's since become easier to see what all the fuss has been about. —Reid McCarter

98: Quadrilateral Cowboy

Release Date: July 25, 2016
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Where plenty of games simulate computer hacking through abstract puzzles, Quadrilateral Cowboy builds its systems out into something just complex enough to feel like actual programming. Set within the context of a series of heists carried out in a retrofuturist sci-fi world, Blendo Games' uses the frenetic pace of its previous excellent games (Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights of Loving) and a novel take on internet-enabled espionage to create one of the best entries to the cyberpunk subgenre games have seen to date. —Reid McCarter

Bad Company 2 is the rare military shooter with actual character. | DICE/EA

97. Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Release Date: March 2, 2010
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, Kindle Fire

Battlefield: Bad Company 2, beyond including one of the best iterations of the series' sprawling online multiplayer, also features one of the few Battlefield single-player campaigns worth playing. While Call of Duty was in the midst of creating its self-serious Modern Warfare trilogy, Bad Company 2 didn't try to capture the tone of its competitors' "realistic" war games. Instead, it took an altogether different approach of offering a (still extravagantly violent) slapstick comedy about shithead soldiers just trying to strike it rich. —Reid McCarter

We'll never get over Getting Over It. | Bennett Foddy

96. Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Release Date: December 6, 2017
Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android

Part-achingly difficult climbing game, part-meditation on why we, as people, are so drawn to conquering challenges, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is, depending on the player's preference, a trial to clear or koan to ponder. Whether you get to the top of the mountain or not, simply swinging the hammer and flinging upward is accomplishment enough. —Reid McCarter

Frog Fractions is a game that has to be played to be believed. | Twinbeard Studios

95. Frog Fractions

Release Date: October 25, 2012
Platforms: Adobe Flash

One of the greatest bait-and-switches in video game history, Frog Fractions turns what initially looks to be an edutainment throwback about amphibian-led math lessons into a delirious journey through space. Released for free and spread initially by word of mouth, it was a digital joke that anybody with a computer, an hour to spare, and a willingness to look beyond the lily pad could enjoy. —Reid McCarter

Tekken 7 got its start in arcades, and was later released on consoles in 2017. | Bandai Namco

94. Tekken 7

Release Date: March 18, 2015
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Arcade

Though it likely would have fared just fine without any significant reinvention, Tekken 7 benefitted from a willingness to experiment with its combat systems. Beyond the introduction of new characters—including guests like Final Fantasy 15's Noctis, Street Fighter's Akuma, and that baseball bat guy from The Walking Dead—and ability-based wrinkles to the overall fighting, the game's decision to include music and cutscenes from the entire Tekken series celebrates the history of one of games' longest-running, most ludicrous stories. —Reid McCarter

Man's best friend. | Kojima Productions/Konami

93. Metal Gear Solid 5

Release Date: September 1, 2015
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

While the end of the Metal Gear Solid series slumped to its conclusion with more of a whimper than a bang in plenty of important ways, its free-form stealth design is one of the best marriages of guns-blazing action, ghostly assassination, and open-world chaos ever created. The uncharacteristically non-talkative Snake who stars in Metal Gear Solid 5 deserved better narrative context for his missions, but where the game is a low point for the series' storytelling, it's a high point for Metal Gear's moment-to-moment play. —Reid McCarter

Fortnite's been the home of events for Star Wars, Avengers, and more. | Epic Games

92. Fortnite Battle Royale

Release Date: September 26, 2017
Platforms: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

Future generations, hoping to understand the final years of the 2010s, will look to Fortnite in order to extract some hint of our most important cultural values. Whether the main takeaway from the game's incredible popularity has to do with this era's economic or social values (or just a bewildered fascination with mash-up culture's current corporatized apogee manifesting as Thanos from the Avengers movies running around fighting buff men in tomato masks and pink teddy bears), there's no disputing that something in Fortnite struck a chord in a way that no other battle royale has managed. —Reid McCarter

Universal Paperclips subverts the clicker genre. | Frank Lantz

91. Universal Paperclips

Release Date: October 9, 2017
Platforms: Browser, iOS, Android

The "clicker" genre to which Universal Paperclips belongs is compulsive video game design laid bare. Without elaborate plot or aesthetic trappings, the player works to make numbers bigger, for no apparent reason other than to watch them increase. Universal Paperclips does just this, exemplifying the genre while also guiding the player toward a reflection of what their goals and the systems behind clicker games mean on a grander scale. —Reid McCarter

Dragon's Dogma got a definitive edition in Dark Arisen, released in 2013, and later spreading to modern platforms. | Capcom

90. Dragon's Dogma

Release Date: May 22, 2012
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch

The action game answer to massively popular '10s RPGs like Skyrim and Mass Effect, Dragon's Dogma is an interpretation of supposedly entrenched Tolkien-inspired fantasy tropes through the lens of a studio that feels no obligation to respect genre convention. Its increasingly unhinged storyline and use of Capcom's talent at creating combat systems (both trademarks of Director Hideaki Itsuno's work on series like Devil May Cry) breathed new life into a style of game that, as the decade continued, clearly showed need of it. —Reid McCarter

XCOM 2's War of the Chosen expansion made the game even harder. | Firaxis Games/2K Games

89. XCOM 2

Release Date: February 5, 2016
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, despite its origin as a reimagining of a classic game, felt like something entirely new when it was released in 2012. By recasting its predecessors' "first contact" plotline into a years-later global resistance to extraterrestrial occupation, XCOM 2 found a suitable narrative conceit to motivate a sequel that expands upon and refines the base-management and tactical combat systems that already made Enemy Unknown work so well. —Reid McCarter

Alpha Protocol is a cult favorite of many. | Obsidian Entertainment/Sega

88. Alpha Protocol

Release Date: June 1, 2010
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Hammy, energetic, and endlessly enamored with the various styles of spy stories it draws on, Alpha Protocol is the rare role-playing game that looks outside the tired realms of high fantasy and science fiction for its setting. It's become a cult classic in the decade since its release for good reason: not only is its espionage-focused premise novel, but its attitude-based dialogue system (which allows players to tailor their approach to conversation by selecting from a range of personality types) and variety of interlocking character relationships were an interesting experiment in more organically breaking the limits of familiar RPG character- and plot-building conventions. —Reid McCarter

Amplitude Studios' Endless Legend is a standout 4X game of the decade. | Amplitude Studios/Sega

87. Endless Legend

Release Date: September 18, 2014
Platforms: PC, Mac

Strategy games were rare enough throughout the 2010s that many have been, and will continue to be, eager to pronounce the once-popular genre dead. Endless Legend showed the error of thinking that any style of design, no matter how far out of fashion it's fallen, ever really vanishes. A well-executed take on a dormant genre like Endless Legend can attract the attention not just of die-hards, but newcomers too. —Reid McCarter

Dying Light takes a page from Mirror's Edge with its excellent parkour action. | Techland/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

86. Dying Light

Release Date: January 25, 2015
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

When Dying Light released in 2015, a zombie-filled post-apocalypse was among the least novel settings imaginable. Even though its plot and premise were exactly as rote as other entries to the oversaturated horror subgenre, Dying Light still managed to justify itself through a style of play that neatly combined item-collecting exploration and skull-exploding combat with parkour features. It made outrunning (and outclimbing) the familiar shambling threat finally kinetic and thrilling. —Reid McCarter

Overwatch's roster has grown and grown over the years. The PvE-focused Overwatch 2 was even announced at BlizzCon 2019. | Blizzard

85. Overwatch

Release Date: May 24, 2016
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Blizzard's Overwatch doesn't reinvent any specific genre. Instead, it pulls from trends across all of video games in order to create a towering, tightly designed Frankenshooter. The iconography of fighting game characters, here repurposed into a Street Fighter-inspired set of stand-ins from various nations, is mashed together with interlocking, MOBA-style character abilities and filtered into a take on team-based multiplayer competitions pulled from years of online shooter design. Refining more than it invents, Overwatch's appeal can only be ascribed to the fact that its whole adds up to something far greater than the sum of its familiar parts. —Reid McCarter

84. Bastion

Release Date: July 20, 2011
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS

Bastion was one of the standout independent games of an era defined by them. But, even beyond its importance to the history of the medium, it also announced the arrival of Supergiant Games, one of the most consistently inventive studios in modern video games. In Bastion, every element of the team's strengths is made clear. The journey of the Kid, as it transitions from a fight for survival to an exploration of how to readdress historical wrongs, showcases Supergiant's talent for character-led storytelling while Art Director Jen Zee's energetic illustrative style complements a genre-agnostic design philosophy that makes styles of play as entrenched as the "hack and slash" feel new again. —Reid McCarter

The best Nidhogg matches are the ones that last upward of 20 minutes. | Messhof

83. Nidhogg

Release Date: January 13, 2014
Platforms: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

The sword duel is one of the simplest, but most dramatic conflicts media can depict. Nidhogg understands that the best way to translate the physical and mental battle of wills that make these sorts of one-on-one fights tick is to strip away anything that would get in the way of two real people controlling two characters in a life-or-death struggle. Nidhogg doesn't introduce anything that unnecessarily complicates the showdown between its crudely detailed, color-coded silhouettes. The game simply consists of a pair of combatants and their desire to endlessly roll and jump, slash and thrust, punch at and run from one another in a mortal tug-of-war toward the victory or defeat waiting at each side of the screen. —Reid McCarter

The studio behind Firewatch was acquired by Valve in 2018. | Campo Santo/Panic

82. Firewatch

Release Date: February 9, 2016
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Over the course of a few hours, Firewatch spins through a constantly surprising series of genre tropes and unexpected revelations in its tale of a man attempting to flee his regular life by working as a national park lookout. In the hands of less capable creators, its storytelling moves between comedy and drama, thriller and science fiction, might have come off as cheap attempts to keep players invested in what's ultimately a far more mundane (and relatable) story of emotional turmoil.

Campo Santo's control over the game's narrative pacing and the strength of its performances and audiovisual style make sure this doesn't happen. Instead, the whirlwind tonal shifts that make up Firewatch's runtime all end up feeling like the most natural way to serve it's ultimate goal of communicating a story of grief, self-sabotage, and the perils of obsessive love. —Reid McCarter

Overcooked is the best friendship-destroying game since Mario Party. | Ghost Town Games/Team17

81. Overcooked

Release Date: August 2, 2016
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Whereas series like Cooking Mama translated the basic elements of making food into frantic mini games, Overcooked goes a step further by turning the harried work of short-order cooking into an exercise in stressful cooperation. As little cartoon chefs with a whole lot that needs to get done on a tight timetable, teammates must try to turn their individual goals into one aspect of a multifaceted restaurant machine. Though it doesn't present itself as realism, Overcooked captures the hectic pace—and glorious victories—of collaborative kitchen work far better than a straightforward simulation would have. —Reid McCarter

Rainbow Six Siege is maybe the best example of Ubisoft's "stick with it until it gets really good" strategy for its live-service games. | Ubisoft

80. Rainbow Six Siege

Release Date: December 1, 2015
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The original Rainbow Six was a deadly tactical alternative to the more immediate thrills of the deathmatch-focused shooters of its day. It's fitting, then, that perhaps the series' greatest success has come in the form of the multiplayer Siege, which stresses careful planning and a need for intensive teamwork over the lower-stakes chaos of Call of Duty or Battlefield's endless online bloodbaths. Released before PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds turned the "battle royale" genre's tension-soaked arenas into the latest multiplayer shooter sensation, Siege was already making clear that an audience existed for a less arcade-y, more ruthless variety of internet gunfights. —Reid McCarter

Dragon Quest Builders 2 quite literally "builds" on the Minecraft concept, and molds it into a very Dragon Quest-like experience in the process. | Omega Force/Square Enix

79. Dragon Quest Builders 2

Release Date: July 12, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Dragon Quest Builders 2, like the first game in the series, is an unlikely mash-up of a storied RPG series and the digital Lego-style construction that made Minecraft such a success. More charming than any game of its type, Builders 2 expands upon its predecessor with cooperative play and a handful of features designed to make navigating its world easier. Luckily, even with all the changes the first Builders' charming storytelling and audiovisual style remain intact. —Reid McCarter

In 2019, Bungie terminated its publishing deal with Activision. It now self-publishes Destiny and Destiny 2. | Bungie

78. Destiny

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Picking up where Borderlands left off, Destiny merged the routine-building repeatable missions and social hooks of massively multiplayer online RPGs with developer Bungie's talent for filling evocative sci-fi settings with dramatic vistas and plenty of monsters to shoot. Say what you will about the mind-numbing repetition of its mission design and the questionable value of chasing ever-shinier armor bits and guns on an endless treadmill, but there's no denying just how good it feels to zip around Destiny's planets popping alien noggins and robot domes with its arsenal of space guns. —Reid McCarter

Darkest Dungeon is one of the best, and bleakest, roguelikes of the decade. | Red Hook Studios

77. Darkest Dungeon

Release Date: January 19, 2016
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS

A furiously stylish RPG that channels the Hellboy comics' heavily-shaded cartoon style, the pulp theatrics of Hammer horror, Brotherhood of the Wolf's medieval grit, and Lovecraft's mind-rending monsters, Darkest Dungeon is an aesthetic delight. This all remains true even when its increasingly brutal tactical battles and character management systems inevitably see a promising run through its twisting labyrinths end in death and despair. Of the many "roguelikes" that dominated the decade's independent space, Darkest Dungeon is one of the finest in style and substance alike. —Reid McCarter

Zero Escape is Saw, if Saw had a zanier plot. | Chunsoft/Aksys Games

76. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

Release Date: October 23, 2012
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS

The first entry to the Zero Escape trilogy, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, was forced to spend a good amount of its time establishing the series recurring premise: a mysterious homicidal mastermind locks a bunch of people into a life-threatening puzzle box in order to test their ingenuity and social dynamics. Freed of having to either justify its set-up (or make good on ending a trio of stories), its sequel Virtue's Last Reward was more able to get directly to the good stuff. It's a landmark visual novel intent on outdoing its predecessor and successor both in character-building and expectation-subverting plot construction. —Reid McCarter

Side note: Please put Invisible, Inc. on Switch. | Klei Entertainment

75. Invisible, Inc.

Release Date: May 12, 2015
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, iOS

One part X-COM, with the zest of Majora's Mask and a Metal Gear chaser, Invisible, Inc. is one of the past 10 years' best espionage cocktails. Procedurally-generated levels make for an indefinitely repeatable adventure, and the stress of a game-ending time limit will raise the blood pressure of all but the best spies. Invisible, Inc. is a virtuosic work of genre-blending strategy. —John Learned

Watching trials unfold, and figuring out each murder mystery at its center, is always a thrill in Danganronpa. | Spike Chunsoft/NIS America

74. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Release Date: February 11, 2014
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

Visual novels started the decade off with a bang with the first Danganronpa. Part-detective procedural, part-slice of life anime, the grim prospect of killing your classmates is easy to bear with a page-turning plot. Zippy writing and a sprawling cast of nutty characters resonates with players even now, mostly because its creator, Kazutaka Kodaka, meticulously writes each one of them as if the whole story revolves around them. In a decade heavy with great interactive narratives, Danganronpa proved that visual novels could rise above their decidedly niche true believers. —John Learned

Resident Evil 2 is one of the best remakes ever made. | Capcom

73. Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Release Date: January 25, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Like Hitchcock remaking his own films, 2019's Resident Evil 2 is easily the high-water mark for video game do-overs. Completely rebuilding the 90s classic from the ground up, the 2019 version does away with fixed camera angles and plodding movement, making it more akin to the franchise's great over-the-shoulder shift in Resident Evil 4. A much more immersive, creepy experience, RE2 Remake's better exploration, stronger gunplay, and phenomenal sound design is a sign forward for triple-A developers trying to reimagine past work. —John Learned

72. Untitled Goose Game

Release Date: September 20, 2019
Platforms: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Sometimes there's beauty in simplicity. "It's a lovely morning in the village, and you are a horrible goose," goes the tagline for Untitled Goose Game, a puzzle-stealth sandbox that strips out the unnecessary chaff and takes us back to basic fundamentals. No stats to build, no secret endings, no karma meter or resources to manage. There's a village and a goose, and gameplay arises where the two collide, so go get 'em, tiger.

It's a game all about mischief, impish and gleeful and petty, as you steal hats, untie shoelaces, push over buckets and shatter expensive vases. Then you just throw back your wings and honk triumphantly whenever some tired, miserable human suffers some fresh torment, because… well, because you're a horrible goose. It turns out, we're all horrible geese, deep down. And by uncovering that strange truth about us, Untitled Goose Game earns a spot on this list. —Joel Franey

Dishonored 2 lets you play as Emily or Corvo, with unique experiences for both. | Arkane Studios/Bethesda

71. Dishonored 2

Release Date: November 11, 2016
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

If there were ever a case for developers trusting players, it would be Dishonored 2. The middle point of an excellent decade from Arkane Studios, this first-person stealth RPG gives the player a task and then lets them figure out the best way to accomplish it. Sometimes that's a stealth takedown. Sometimes it's a magic spell or two; often it's a combination of dozens of different options. Far less binary in its options as the last few sentences imply, Dishonored 2 makes good on what a sandbox action game can be in every way. —John Learned

Dead Cells excels in overall game-feel. | Motion Twin

70. Dead Cells

Release Date: August 7, 2018
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

Perhaps the king of the past decade's eruption of side scrolling 2D roguelikes, 2018's Dead Cells became a dominant force in its genre for cracking a simple code: precise and fluid combat. Runs through its procedurally generated world could go from 5 minutes to 50 depending on the whims of enemy and upgrade spawns, but great Dead Cells players can master its swordplay to make for tremendously fun, high speed prison breaks. Controlling sentient sludge never felt so right. —John Learned

Thankfully, Cities: Skylines filled the SimCity void in our hearts. | Colossal Order/Paradox

69. Cities: Skylines

Release Date: March 10, 2015
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

You would think dethroning a king would be a challenging task, but not for Cities: Skylines. Seeing a hole in city simulation gamers' hearts after 2013's SimCity reboot misfire, developer Colossal Order built a game ostensibly focused on clearing traffic congestion. And then it kept building. And building. Combine the "never stop giving" ethos that the devs maintain with an active modding community, and City: Skylines is an urban landscape planner's dream playground. —John Learned

The stories within the Finch home is filled with many devastating stories. | Giant Sparrow/Annapurna Interactive

68. What Remains of Edith Finch

Release Date: April 25, 2017
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

What Remains of Edith Finch is a masterpiece of storytelling through experience. Exploring the intricate, often strange home of the Finch family artfully transitions the game from a mystery-like investigation to an almost voyeuristic view of sadness and rebirth. As walking simulators go, few are as powerful and touching. —John Learned

Amnesia made us all afraid of the dark, and jumpstarted a Let's Play revolution. | Frictional Games

67. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Release Date: September 8, 2010
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Balancing the tactile act of opening and closing doors with a mouse and the ephemeral dread of being lost in the dark, 2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent is an indie nightmare for the ages. Few games in the horror genre—even now—force players to confront their own sanity; a mechanic that Amnesia hoists upon the player to keep protagonist Daniel from being run down by monsters with a subtle brilliance. One of the decade's go-to places for all of your NOPE I'M NOT GOING IN THERE moments. —John Learned

Monster Hunter: World finally got Western audiences hunting. | Capcom

66. Monster Hunter: World

Release Date: January 26, 2018
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Sometimes, the wait is worth it. Monster Hunter, a franchise forever seen as a Big Thing in Japan by in-the-know gamers, tried and failed several times to make a splash in the West. From a console curiosity, to a handheld heyday, and finally back to huge televisions again, Capcom's mega-budget Monster Hunter: World finally succeeded in ways that previous entries didn't. Piles of quality-of-life improvements, constant updates and special events, and gorgeous semi-open-world locations made it easier than ever for the rest of us to get in on one of gaming's best secrets. —John Learned

Fez also has an iconic score by composer Disasterpeace, who has gone on to score films like It Follows. | Polytron/Trapdoor

65. Fez

Release Date: April 13, 2012
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, iOS

Take a charming 2D visual style, bend it with a cube-like 3D exploration mechanic, and sprinkle in an outspoken and now-infamous lead designer, and you have Fez, an early indie darling of the Xbox 360 era. A game as fascinating as the story of its protracted development, Fez is a solid metroidvania with plenty of freedom for exploration in its rotatable environments. Its life under a microscope from announcement to release, though, is just as discussed for its creative, legal, and design struggles. Fez is a great game on its own. Fez as an artifact, however, is something of a time capsule for a very specific period of independent game development. —John Learned

Her Story proved that FMV games didn't have to all be corny. | Sam Barlow

64. Her Story

Release Date: June 24, 2015
Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, Android

If you had told us that one of the biggest indie triumphs of 2015 we would be a minimalist FMV game, we would have let you write this list because you're much smarter than we are. Directed by ex-Silent Hill designer Sam Barlow, Her Story's police procedural format let players comb over video interviews with Hannah, whose husband has gone missing and is later found murdered. Uncovering the truth using small movie clips, Her Story dives into haunting and bizarre territory, forcing the player to deduce what's really going on with subtle cues from its lead actress (Viva Seifert). Her Story gave the FMV genre a new lease on life after being a punchline for so many years. —John Learned

Detention is a distinctly Taiwanese game. | Red Candle Games

63. Detention

Release Date: January 13, 2017
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Certainly not a period where horror games laid dormant, the indie space gave the genre a place to absolutely thrive. A case in point is Detention, a psychological terror set in a high school during 1960s martial law in Taiwan. A tortured story of regret and guilt, Detention's stark 2D visuals and politically charged narrative make for a harrowing, if forlorn experience that's difficult to forget. —John Learned

God of War took Kratos in a new direction, and the series is better for it. | Sony Santa Monica

62. God of War (2018)

Release Date: April 20, 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Perhaps the apex of last decade's dadcore design trend, 2018's God of War is part-sequel, part-reboot, and all boating (kidding... maybe). Previous franchise director Cory Barlog's return to the series effectively rebirthed one of gaming's most dour psychopaths into a stern, mournful new man; the weight of age and paternity heavy on his shoulders. Slowing the gameplay for more thoughtful combat, and opening its world of Norse myth just enough for meaningful exploration and backtracking, this God of War proved that single-player games with triple-A budgets could still be satisfying, meaningful experiences. Boy, did was it ever. —John Learned

Whoever thought a cat could be so relatable? | Infinite Fall/Finji

61. Night in the Woods

Release Date: April 20, 2018
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android

Given the past decade's abundance of narrative-focused indie hits with cute 2D visuals, it might be easy to pass them off as a dime a dozen on the bloated online storefronts of our PCs and consoles. This does Night in the Woods a massive disservice. A heartfelt story of anthropomorphic animals coming home from college (for real), the characters' anxiety and struggle for maturity in uncertain times makes for one of the most emotionally rich stories of not only the last decade, but for many more to come. —John Learned

Claude, Dimitri, and Edelgard are the leaders of each house in Three Houses. | Intelligent Systems/Nintendo

60. Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Some franchises play the long game. Languishing in relative obscurity, developer Intelligent Systems' seminal tactics series tried time and again to break the Western market, only to finally resonate with the masses with the success of Awakening in 2012 (and maybe a little help from a certain fighting game). Three Houses, the first console entry in over a decade, marries the strategic battles and relationship building of previous successes with the time management commonly found in other genres like visual novels. Not only is it the most robust entry in the franchise from a content standpoint, the added depth of narrative offered by its split story, plus more accessible combat, make it the definitive strategy RPG of the decade. —John Learned

Dead Space 2 is the series at its pinnacle.

59. Dead Space 2

Release Date: January 25, 2011
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Some games just do everything right. They may not be groundbreaking, but the pieces of the game development puzzle fit in so well that they add up to inarguable greatness. Dead Space 2 is the definition of "everything right." More action-based than its predecessor, but certainly more horrific than its sequel, Dead Space 2 is the decade's high point in sci-fi terror. Its space colony setting made for the perfect playground for insidious alien enemies, and was expansive enough for players to find new and more grotesque images the more they explored. —John Learned

Shovel Knight has lots of excellent bonus expansions, like Specter of Torment, too.

58. Shovel Knight

Release Date: June 26, 2014
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Wii U

In a decade flooded with retro tribute games, few have transcended quite like Shovel Knight. A masterclass in 2D platforming design, Yacht Club Games cherry picks core mechanics from the best corners of the 8-bit age, marries them with modern gameplay philosophies, and tunes it all like a concert violin. Then it does it again in various updates and adjusted gameplay modes. At a glance, it may look functionally like an NES throwback, but that is far less than the sum of Shovel Knights' parts. —John Learned

Tetris Effect is entrancing, both in and out of VR. | Resonair/Enhance Games

57. Tetris Effect

Release Date: November 9, 2018
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4

Tetris Effect (the game, not the syndrome) is as close to a perfect storm as a video game can have. Co-developed by rhythm and puzzle game mastermind Tetsuya Mizuguchi for virtual reality headsets, Tetris Effect is a game that demands to be experienced firsthand as it blends classic block dropping with constant beat dropping. There are people in the world that think ancestral Tetris cannot ever be improved upon. These people have never experienced Tetris Effect. —John Learned

56. Wolfenstein: The New Order

Release Date: May 20, 2014
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

By the time The New Order rebooted the Wolfenstein series (yet again), shooters felt like they had lost something. The FPS genre had mutated into a nesting ground of competitive multiplayer killing sprees, their solo campaigns nothing more than elaborate tutorials. New Order, though, brought the genre back to its early days as a single-player adventure; a dystopian narrative set in the aftermath of an alternate World War IIis the backdrop for skulking around levels for hidden weapons and storytelling devices. Proud to tell a story of pushing against fascism, The New Order (and its 2017 sequel, The New Colossus) reminds us that it's not just cathartic to punch Nazis in the face, it's essential.

55. Celeste

Release Date: January 25, 2018
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

The platformer of both your dreams and nightmares, Celeste's mountain journey dares players to learn from their mistakes to complete some of the most insidious platforming obstacles this side of Super Meat Boy. Developing a toxic, almost battered relationship with strawberries comes as a side bonus. Challenging and rewarding along with an absolutely transcendent soundtrack, the struggle to Celeste's summit pushes players through their limits with phenomenal payoff.

It doesn't get more stylish than Persona 5. | Atlus

54. Persona 5

Release Date: April 4, 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

People often deride style as being substandard to substance. Persona 5, Atlus' long-in-waiting entry into the high school dating sim/demon slaying RPG, however, argues "why not tons of both?" Somewhat episodic in nature, Persona 5 has you navigate friends and school activities in addition to level grinding and dungeon exploration. Persona 5 is a deep, meaty RPG that has become eerily prescient in our current politically turbulent times. It also has super foxy menus. This is not a joke. —John Learned

Gone Home has a creepy atmosphere, but a grounded story. | The Fullbright Company

53. Gone Home

Release Date: August 15, 2013
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS

One of the definitive examples of the "walking simulator," Gone Home's piecemeal narrative and spooky atmosphere give way to a genuinely emotional payoff. Set in a gothic Oregon mansion, its pronounced lack of combat and exploration-based storytelling are only part of what makes it moving. Less a thrill ride and more of a path of constant discovery, Gone Home is a game that means an awful lot to an awful lot of people. —John Learned

52. Inside

Release Date: June 29, 2016
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS

Just as much about puzzle platforming as quiet, subtle horror, Danish developer Playdead makes good on themes and visuals from their previous unsettling creepfest, Limbo. An achievement in art direction, Inside uses sparse visuals and auditory cues to great effect, and multiple ambiguous endings have given players and critics plenty to discuss in the years since. —John Learned

51. Doom (2016)

Release Date: June 29, 2016
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS

As if someone woke up and decided that futuristic space marines are at home on speed metal album covers, one of the first-person shooting genre's founding fathers ditched methodical pace in favor of breakneck speed and way, way over-the-top gore. More than just a return to form, 2016's Doom reboot is the kinetic bloodbath we never knew we wanted.

For the rest of our Top 100 list, you can find our #50-26 here, and #25-1 here.

Correction, 01/30/2020: We have amended Danganronpa's release date to its North American debut, correcting from listing Danganronpa V3's release date. We regret the error.

Header graphic by Caty McCarthy. Texture image via Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Related articles

Rogue Legacy 2 Is Generating New Heirs for the Slaughter This Summer

This summer, we settle all family business.

The Last of Us Part 2 and Iron Man VR Have Been Delayed Indefinitely

"Logistically, the global crisis is preventing us from providing the launch experience our players deserve."

Persona 5 Royal: How to Get the True Ending

Here's how to unlock the true ending in Persona 5 Royal.

Persona 5 Royal: How to Unlock the New Third Semester

Here's how you can unlock the new third semester in Persona 5 Royal.

Need help?

GTA 5 Cheats

Discover all the GTA 5 cheats with this handy GTA V cheats PS4, GTA 5 cheats Xbox One, and PC guide for free GTA money and more. Plus get all the Grand Theft Auto 5 cheats for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Best Mods That You Should Download Now

RDR2 just released for PC players and that means more and more mods are coming in every day. Here are the best mods available right now for Red Dead Redemption 2.

10 GTA 5 Secrets That You Won't Believe

GTA 5 is a massive game, filled with brilliant secrets and Easter eggs. We've rounded up the 10 most amazing GTA 5 secrets.