As 2019 draws to a close, it seems like a good time to look back at a decade of gaming achievement. And with so many great games to choose from, it’s been incredibly tough to whittle the options down to just one per year – so tough, in fact, that we decided to look to the experts instead.
The British Academy of Film and Television have been rewarding excellence in game design and art since 2004, and that means that they’ve handed out 10 game of the year awards in the past decade.
Taken together, the list shows not only 10 amazing games, but also a brief history of how the hobby has changed and developed in the last decade. How many of these have you played?
2010 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
Live out your dreams of being Batman with a whole island that’s yours to explore, a cast of delightfully scary villains to battle, and a Joker who’s in his element as one of the most amazing villains we’ve ever faced in a video game.
2011 – Mass Effect 2
Commander Shepard is tasked with recruiting a squad for a desperate suicide mission to stop the Collectors, an insectoid alien race hellbent on exterminating humanity. Everything from the way you talk to your squad members to the way you upgrade your spaceship can drastically change the outcome of the mission.
2012 – Portal 2
The return of Chell, more mind-bending puzzles, a lot more GLaDOS, a new AI called Wheatley, and a healthy number of potatoes makes Portal 2 a recipe for joy. Why can’t Portal guns be a real thing?
2013 – Dishonored
In the shadowy, plague-ridden city of Dunwall, you transform from bodyguard to assassin with magical abilities and embark on an epic quest for revenge. Your choices matter here, so plan ahead if you’re going to eschew stealth in favour of brute strength.
2014 – The Last of Us
This one’s a tear-jerker from start to finish. The opening scene will have you sobbing in no time, and by the time you get to the end – once grumpy bereaved Joel and orphaned teen Ellie have had time to grow attached during the zombie apocalypse – you’ll be an emotional wreck. Totally worth it.
2015 – Destiny
As its name suggests, The Last City is Earth’s last safe haven, one final bastion against invading alien forces. You’ll have to learn new tactics to survive against each race of aliens as you take up the role of Guardian and fight to protect humanity.
2016 – Fallout 4
You live an idyllic life until nuclear armageddon arrives, you get cryogenically frozen, your partner gets murdered, and your child gets stolen – but you’re not going to give up until you’ve found some answers. Anyway, you get an adorable dog to help you, so things are looking up already.
2017 – Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
It’s hard to imagine Nathan Drake being retired, and sure enough, A Thief’s End sees him diving straight back into treasure hunting with the reappearance of his brother Sam, previously presumed dead. It’s a whistlestop tour round the world, and every second looks stunning.
2018 – What Remains of Edith Finch
If you aren’t reduced to a sobbing wreck by the bit in the fish factory, you’re not human. What Remains of Edith Finch follows the ups and downs (mostly downs) of the cursed Finch family through an exploration of their beautiful and bizarre family home.
2019 – God of War
Kratos has come a long way since his very first appearance back in 2005. The newest game in the series shows a surprisingly soft side to the grumpy old god of war, as Kratos learns how to be a father to his young son Atreus.
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