I, admittedly, haven’t played too many games that came out in the past decade.
Life has a way of keeping me busy so a lot of titles slip by. But, there are still a lot of titles that come to mind that describes the cream of the crop, for me, from the past decade. I did my best to go through the list of games I played and picked from a variety of genres… That being said, here are my top 11 games from the 2010s.
11. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
I’m picking Spyro’s Adventure based on the overall concept of Toys to Life idea. I love the idea of having a physical representation of the characters that I’m playing in-game.The idea is a bit ingenious but also a bit insidious as well. The concept of Toys to Life is ingenious because a) the figures look amazing and b) they are incorporated into the game in a fun way.
The figures can be played cross-platform so you can use your favorite character on various systems that the game was released on (assuming you have the game and portal). You can also use your favorite character in most (if not all, I haven’t played them all yet) of the games. The character’s levels and stats are also stored in the figure, so you can use your maxed out Skylander on later installments. In fact, some later games allow you to level up your characters further.
That being said, the Toys to Life concept is a bit insidious because you have to purchase each character separately. The main game comes with 3 characters so the rest of the characters are akin to DLC. At $10-$15 a figure, that can get pretty expensive. There were also additional levels you could purchase, in the form of figures, as well. All-in-all, I think the Toys to Life idea is a really cool concept (even though it has been done to death at this point with Disney Infinity and Amiibos).
To quote Marge Simpson, I just think they’re neat! That being said though, Spyro’s Adventure was really unique for its time and very fun as well. The game is mission-based and has a ton of extra stuff to do. It’s a good game and Skylanders itself is a fun series. I definitely recommend it.
10. Asura’s Wrath
Every time I think of this game I go back to another Simpson’s quote. This time, it’s Nelson with his grapes of Wrath diorama.
Anyway, this game is hard to categorize. Is it a 3D beat ‘em up? Is it a fighting game? Is it a space shoot ‘em up? Who knows? But I will say, this game is able to blend all of these features into one action packed game.
The story is where this game shines. The world is being overwhelmed by a demonic force known as the Gohma. Advanced god-like cyborgs, also known as the Eight Guardian Generals, seek to destroy this evil and purify Gaea (basically this game’s Earth). It’s nonsensical and mostly over the top but I really enjoyed it.
My only issue with this game was that it was shipped unfinished. You have to purchase DLC to get the full ending. Otherwise the game ends on a cliffhanger. The ending is definitely worth it so get it if you can (Sony has begun to delist PS3-related things so it is possible that it has already been removed since writing this, so grab it if you see it).
9. Hotline Miami
This game is a top-down shooter game reminiscent of original GTA titles with double the violence and gore. There are several chapters/levels in this game and they all increase in difficulty very quickly. You die in 1 hit but the game allows you to start over right away in the beginning of the section. Normally this would annoy me since I died often while playing this, but the fact that you start over right away makes it somewhat more tolerable. You just have to plan your attack carefully and take your time.
This game also includes a lot of collectibles to search for and also has 2 endings (although they’re a bit samey). There are also different masks you can unlock, either by completing levels or finding them hidden throughout the game, that grant you special abilities during your mission.
Overall, the graphics are bright & colorful and the action is gruesome. The story is a little confusing at times, but snippets of what’s happening can be picked up during the “intermission” scenes where the main character is walking around his apartment and also before and after the levels. The music also is badass. I highly recommend this one.
8. Batman: Arkham City
Arkham Asylum is an amazing game and worthy of all of the praise it received when it first came out. In fact, it would be on this list had it come out a few years later.
Fast forward 2 years later and Rocksteady not only brings back the greatness of Asylum, but also improves upon it! For instance, freeflow combat was great in Asylum, but it is a thing of beauty in this game. The gameplay has been improved and your arsenal is expanded as well. Fighting bad guys has never been more fun.
Also, instead of being confined to the Asylum/Arkham Island, you’re now within the walls of Arkham City, a super-prison that encloses the urban slums of Gotham City. More of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery is present in this game and it. Is. Amazing! Villains that were missing from the last game are present in this game and they look great (with the exception of a few, but I’m willing to give it a pass).
The developers even mixed it up and gave the player a choice to play as Catwoman as well. It isn’t my favorite thing to do in the game, mostly because I don’t like Catwoman’s gadgets, but it’s a nice addition to the game.
The developers also took a lot of liberties with the characters from the comic universe. For instance, and SPOILERS by the way, they were ballsy enough to kill off a main character. One complaint I have about the game is that it’s too short. The sidequests help to pad out the gameplay, but the main story can be completed within roughly 10 hours. That being said, this is probably my favorite entry in the “Arkham” series and you should definitely give it a go.
7. Dragonball Xenoverse 2
For those that visit Ghettogamer regularly, you might have seen my review of Dragon Ball Xenoverse. If not, shame on you, here’s a link: https://ghettogamer.net/2019/09/17/review-dragon-ball-xenoverse/
I love DB Xenoverse because it created a new, unique, experience based off of the Dragon Ball universe. I had my issues with it, but I still contend that it is a great game. DB Xenoverse 2 takes all of the issues that I had with the first game and completely fixes them. Having trouble unlocking moves/outfits due to the RNG? DB Xenoverse 2 fixes that. Having trouble getting a mentor to spawn? DB Xenoverse 2 fixes that. Wish races other than Saiyan could transform? Now they can. The gameplay has also been upgraded and it feels like a more refined experience than the first game.
This game not only provides more characters to unlock, but also brings movie characters into the fold. I have my reservations about playing DBZ games nowadays because every game is almost always the same: i.e. play through the Saiyan saga to the Buu saga. Xenoverse 1 changes it up a bit by adding new scenarios and villains. Xenoverse 2 has you play through the main series (including the Battle of Gods and Revenge of F movies) but it adds movie villains to the main story. It’s a change of pace and really works. If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball and the games, and you haven’t tried this game, I suggest you give it a go.
Catherine is, at heart, a puzzle game that also features social simulation elements during the non-puzzle parts. It also features a morality system that leads to one of the games several endings. There are 8 endings in all but, in reality, there are only 3 true endings. The game also features amazing music including: classical remixes for the gameplay segments, jazz for the quiet bar scenes, and symphonic music for any animated cutscenes.
The story revolves around Vincent Brooks, a 32-year-old man who does his best to avoid being an adult. His girlfriend, Katherine, wants to get married, but Vincent is unsure/unwilling. Vincent and Katherine have been dating for 5 years and she is getting tired of Vincent’s indecisiveness. Vincent spends most of his nights at the local bar, The Stray Sheep.
He meets a younger woman named Catherine and ends up spending the night with her. Catherine continues to romance Vincent and now the player is left to make choices for Vincent. Does he remain faithful to Katherine, or does he decide to go for Catherine? All the while, Vincent is plagued by nightmares where he must navigate a tower by pushing and climbing on blocks.
The block towers are a very interesting puzzle mechanic and I really enjoyed it. There are even challenge stages to attempt after you complete the main game as well as challenge stages you can play in The Stray Sheep arcade cabinet. All-in-all, the story is pretty unique and the puzzles are pretty challenging. I highly recommend it.
5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
I love me some Smash Bros. I always get excited when a new game in the series comes out because I love the trailers that Nintendo puts together for the new fighters. I always hate it when we lost characters from one edition to the next though. I guess I wasn’t the only one that felt this way because Smash Bros. Ultimate was announce/released with all of the characters from the previous games as well as completely new characters!
All of your favorite characters are back and they’re better than ever. Speaking of, characters are still being added via DLC. While I normally hate DLC, I like seeing the characters from other series being brought in, such as the Dragon Quest Heroes and Banjo and Kazooie.
The story mode makes a comeback as well and I’m very happy to see it return. I really liked Subspace Emissary and was very disappointed when the Wii-U version didn’t have something similar. The story mode in this game provides a lot of content and is a very welcomed addition. Gameplay has been refined and everything controls great. The music is also very exceptional as well.
The developers removed trophies from this game; however, they added spirits. Same thing, collectable-wise, but you can level these spirits up and use them for added bonuses during the story or during missions. The developers also added a feature to play most levels as a “Final Destination” type stage, with no platforms, and also a similar stage with platforms. It adds a lot of variety for those that like to play certain ways. Anyone who is a fan of the previous installments will definitely appreciate this game.
4. The Binding of Isaac
While I’m not the best at Rogue-like type games, I do enjoy them. Azure Dreams is one of my favorites from the genre, but The Binding of Isaac came along and easily dethroned it. The story is simple, you venture into your mom’s basement after she receives a message from God stating that she should kill her son Isaac. A story as old as time…
Anyway, like most Rogue-like games, The Binding of Isaac is a unique experience every time you play it as the dungeon maps change every playthrough. While some of the rooms are repeated, the order in which you experience them is altered. Every time you meet certain goals or beat the game, you unlock new items, dungeon areas, and bosses.
This game provides an enormous amount of replayability given there are a variety of power-up items, enemies, playable characters, and bosses. It will definitely keep you busy as you explore the depths of Mom’s basement.
The late 2000s and early 2010s saw the influx of sandbox-type games that heavily feature crafting. My favorite amongst all of the titles out there is Terraria. Like The Binding of Isaac, there are tons of items to collect, numerous monsters, characters, items to unlock/craft and various things to find.
You can customize you character in almost any way you want and create countless procedurally generated worlds to explore. Given the amount of customization, this game has a ton of replayability as well. The devs are continuously adding more to the game and the PC version finally has an enemy that serves as the final boss. I highly recommend giving this game a try if you haven’t already.
I am a huge fan of the JRPG genre. It has been my favorite from the time of the 16-bit generation. While most JRPGs have strayed from the games of the past, with most becoming action RPG oriented, Undertale comes in, brings back turn-based combat, but is still able to redefine the genre. While Undertale brings back turn-based combat, it adds new features to keep it fresh and new (with the addition of a Shoot ‘em up style mini-game during fight scenes).
The gameplay is a huge win in my book, but what sets it apart from other modern RPGs is the cast of characters. Each character has their own personality and you get to know them better as the story progresses… Assuming you show them mercy. In this game, you are able to fight monsters like any typical JRPG, or you can show mercy. Fighting gives you experience and money, while showing mercy just gives you gold and allows the enemies to live. What’s the difference in gameplay styles? I’ll let you play and figure that out for yourself.
1. Super Mario Odyssey
I didn’t have much knowledge on Super Mario Odyssey before I purchased it. I just wanted a new 3D Mario game I could play with my kids since they enjoyed watching me play Mario 64. This game takes everything great from previous 3D Mario titles and improves upon them dramatically. This has got to be the best 3D Mario game that I’ve ever played.
The controls are fantastic, the story is fun, the music is great, there are a ton of collectables, and the addition of Cappy enhances the gameplay experience. Cappy introduces several gameplay mechanics that allows Mario to possess various enemies, grab coins that are far away, and extends Mario’s jump so he can reach platforms. The controls are easy to pick up, but hard to master. Once you do though, you’re in for an amazing experience.
The game follows typical 3D Super Mario games where you are running around collecting things. You are collecting moons this time around, but the stars from Mario 64 do make an appearance. In fact, that’s one thing I love about this game, the callbacks to Mario 64. There are so many moons to collect, over 800 in fact, but it doesn’t feel like a hassle to collect them all. Super Mario Odyssey provides a good challenge, especially during the later stages, and it cements itself in the number 1 spot on my top 11 game list from the 2010’s.