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Feature: Best Games of the Decade – Justin’s Picks

It only occurred to me that the end of 2019 denotes the end of yet another decade. Maths has never been my strong point. Nonetheless, here’s a list of 20 (count ’em) of my top picks for the past ten years. No bias from me, but I have shared a bed with the Nintendo Switch this past couple of years, but it’s still mostly the PlayStation. You knows I loves ya.

Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3

There’s a hell of a lot of titles to cover in the last ten years, and one of my favourites was the Dark Souls series. I remember even taking a couple of days off work for Dark Souls 2 and proper binging it. Whether or not Dark Souls 3 is my favourite, I’m not too sure, but I suppose I had the most satisfaction as it was one of the very few games that I played online with actual friends and it was a blast. Without their help, I would never have beaten some of the bosses.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Unchartered 4 - A Thief's End

I bought Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End off a mate who didn’t like it. For me, I was blown away throughout. This was one of the rare games that I played all the way through with headphones, and it was an experience. The setpieces are superb, as are the locations but the best part for me was the characters. I bought into every one of them, and Nathan and Sam’s exchanges were some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. Sort of.

Red Ded Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

A bit of controversy, no, I’m not going to say that cats are sh*t (dogs are better), but I didn’t care much for Red Dead Redemption the first time around. I know that most say it’s one of the best games ever, but I couldn’t get into it. I could argue with myself and say it’s because I don’t like westerns, but I loved Red Dead Redemption 2. I’m a massive narrative whore, and Arthur just won me over completely. Despite the characters arcs and all, it didn’t feel remotely cliche. As for the online experience, it felt like the Wild West, and I must admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan.

Assassins Creed Black Flag/ Assassins Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed - Black Flag

Being a cheeky funster here and listing two for the price of one. I can’t decide. While the combat and variety are improved in Assassins Creed Odyssey, the pirate theme and associated themes are an absolute winner. Assassins Creed Black Flag took me a bit more time to finish, but with Assassins Creed Odyssey, it is my fondest memory of Christmas 2018 as I finished everything in less than a week. I was tempted to get the DLC, but I just couldn’t commit all that time. Sorry, Kassandra. Wait for me.

GTA V

Grand Theft Auto V

The GTA series is one of few titles that will regularly make mainstream news with the latest scoops on the gaming industry for Daily Mail readers, disconnected parents and people who live under a rock. Rockstar got it right once more and made another winner with three main characters, each with their quirks. Trevor was the best, methinks. However, once finishing the story, it was surprising just how much fun the online mode was. Sure, it got out of hand, but re-read that title. Rules are meant for breaking. Sometimes.

The Last of Us

The Last of Us

As a die-hard Pure PlayStation reader, you’ll know this already got the top score in a review I did not so long ago. Naughty Dog are pioneers when it comes to storytelling in games, and the fantastic gameplay and controls certainly help it. There aren’t many games that can match the calibre of The Last of Us and very times where I’ve cared about the fate of the characters. Here’s counting the days for The Last Of Us Part II…

Katana Zero

Katana Zero

I stumbled across this one on the Nintendo Switch by chance. It had a katana in the title, and it had an 80s theme and a fantastic soundtrack. What more could a girl want? I wouldn’t know, but from my perspective as a handsome man in his prime, I couldn’t want for anything else. A great game and I’ll be even happier when the DLC arrives.

Yakuza 0

Yakuza 0

Kiryu has taken the crown away from Shenmue, and this series is borderline untouchable as far as I’m concerned. I thought that Yakuza 4 was my top pick, but I’ve played Yakuza 0 to death and still haven’t tired of it. I still prefer the combat over Yakuza 6, and it’s one of the few games I’ve played where I can look at a location and say “Hold on… I’ve been there before…” Another great title coming up in 2020 with Yakuza 7. 楽しみ! (Google it).

Oxenfree

Oxenfree

Another Switch title I found, but also available on the PS4, Oxenfree is an absolute gem and is one of those games that has you thinking about it after playing it. The main story is quite shortlived, and the dialogue is questionable at times, but it’s like something out of the Twilight Zone with an awesome soundtrack (that I decided to play again while writing this list).

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy

When looking for ideas and inspiration for this decade list, I really did think hard about it and looked through my physical collection and also my digital library. I almost skipped past Super Meat Boy, and it didn’t occur to me when this was released. This is, by far, one of my go-to games. Whenever an update takes an age to load, or I’m installing a game that’s 90GB of data, I jump on Super Meat Boy.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Metal Gear Solid V - The Phantom Pain

With Death Stranding currently on my playlist, I couldn’t help but make comparisons to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Looking back at it, it was another title I played to death as it was so much fun. Dilute the pretentious, self-indulgent tat that Hideo Kojima likes to pump out, and this is a modern masterpiece, but depends on the person! Heaps of replay value, just as long as you don’t do what I did and get rid of Quiet 🙁

Persona 5

Persona 5

By now you’ll know my affiliation with Japanese stuff, but I have to say I’m not the biggest aficionado/fanboy and JRPG aren’t my go-to genre. That said, I got Persona 5 on launch and easily clocked up over 100 hours in a short space of time. It’s without a doubt one of the best-presented games I’ve ever played, with enjoyable gameplay to boot.

Firewatch

Firewatch

I bought this on the off chance as it looked pretty. That genuinely was the reason I got it – way before the reviews. Imagine my delight when this was character-driven heaven where you’re isolated, save for the walkie talkie to speak to a co-worker you’ve never met. The dialogue and their respective responses are wonderful, and a national park has never looked so vibrant on the silver screen? Big screen? Telly. It looks good on the telly.

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2

The Borderlands series takes the crown as my favourite FPS title and one that I can play with both my dad and my daughter. I know, right? Being able to choose a class, level up and have an unlimited choice of loot in an arcade-like fashion is great. Sure, the visuals are awesome, but this series has great level design, characters and humour throughout. I just hope that Santa brings me Borderlands 3 for Chrimbo otherwise he’d better watch his back.

Inside

 

I’m sure there are others out there who identify with me when they are unsure if they have a game or not. I have so many piles of unopened/unplayed games, it’s ridiculous. Amongst those I think is Limbo, but something I definitely have is Inside, the sort of sequel. It’s very short, but the atmosphere and ambiguity of the title have me showcasing it to anyone patient enough to sit through the short running time. It’s so good; I rebought it on the Switch.

Death Stranding

Death Stranding

Still not finished Death Stranding, but I haven’t finished life just yet, and I’m enjoying that. Give me a break; I couldn’t think of anything wittier. I’ve waited for this game for some years, and while I wasn’t sitting by the front door like a dog waiting for its master, it was worth the wait. I’ve already rinsed areas of resources just to build structures, and I doubt I’m even halfway through, but I don’t care – I’m loving every bit of it. Except for the wobbles.

OTTTD

OTTTD

I do like a good tower defence, so when I tried this on the Switch, I was hooked. Set in the future, this strategy game has so many options to play the way you like. It’s one of those rare games where I stuck out all the extra modes as well. It wasn’t easy, but it sure was satisfying. OTTTD is still an incredibly cheap title, so if you like games like Pixel Junk Monsters, have a look into this one – it’s ace.

Nioh

Nioh

When Nioh first came out, it ticked all the boxes of what I like in an action game, and the setting was perfect. However, something didn’t sit with me, and it wasn’t until earlier this year I finally bought it. Once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. It’s by far one of the hardest third-person souls-like games I’ve played. Not as hard as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice due to the reliance on online players helping out, but still… it really tested my patience all the way up to the finale.

Catherine

Catherine

If you haven’t read my GOTY for 2019, spoiler alert, Catherine Full Body makes the grade. Again, this is one of my all-time favourite games, full stop. From the anime cutscenes to the adult themes of commitment and infidelity, everything is packaged to complement the immensely enjoyable puzzle game sandwiched between the story. I do like to play certain games like my music (loud), and with the superb soundtrack, effects and voice acting, this one goes up to 11.

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy VII was my first introduction to the series, and probably is my favourite of the series, though the remastered edition didn’t help me relive the nostalgia. Here’s looking to 2020 once more. Anyhoo, I got Final Fantasy XV around Christmas time and with the time off, indulged in this road trip of a game, literally, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sure, the story is corny and the hairstyles and fashion sense absurd, but this was an epic with great setpieces as expected and surprisingly playable in comparison to the turn-based counterparts.

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