List by Alan M.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re at the end of a decade this month, and it should go without saying that a lot has happened in video games over that last ten years. Just think: at the start of the decade people were playing Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PSP and Nintendo DS. There’s been two new generations of consoles in that time, and one new Sony and Microsoft device. In addition, in that time VR made a comeback, and streaming games has just started to get steam. DDNet started as a humble little blog right at the end of 2010, and it’s been fascinating to watch the site evolve and change as the industry.
To celebrate this huge transition, from one decade to the next, we’ve decided to get the team to share their most noteworthy games of the decade – the games that they found most memorable, or had the biggest impact on them. We’ll publish these at a rate of one per day, and today it’s Alan’s turn! Alan is the DDNet podcast editor and as anyone who listens to the podcast knows, Alan has a very different idea of games to the rest of us. That’s what makes his list so interesting!
For those who are unaware, Fallout: New Vegas remains as one of the only RPG’s in recent memory that builds a world so cohesive that you can tell someone’s political alliances based on the way that they say “Caesar”. Obsidian led this particular entry into the franchise, and it had the unintended effect of making me immediately disappointed with every single one of Bethesda’s open world efforts. Sure, you could argue that the gameplay isn’t super engaging, but I would then retort by saying that I managed to jury-rig a falling apart automaton into becoming a sex robot which was going to be used to attract a specific kind of customer at a dirty bar that offered to pay me handsomely. If that isn’t something worth experiencing, I don’t know what is. Also, big props to Obsidian almost eclipsing this effort with their latest game, The Outer Worlds, which has also managed to scratch that itch.
Red Dead Redemption 2
A truly epic game, and one that I still think about on an almost daily basis, Red Dead Redemption 2 managed to enthrall me over the course of the 120 or so hours I put into it before hitting the credits. The entire Van Der Linde gang is built up as a family, and watching it all hit the fan is, to me at least, comparable to watching the final seasons of Breaking Bad. Heartbreaking, emotional, and a damn fine video game, which has managed to not only improve the story of the original Red Dead Redemption, but also craft what I believe to be some of the best moments in video game history. It’s not for everyone, but for me, it was more than just another open world; it was art. It also made me cry like a baby 6 times, which was honestly just pretty rude. Has a banging soundtrack too!
I cried in this game a lot. Valiant Hearts tells the story of a bunch of people caught up in something that they’d really rather not, which if you understand anything about World War 1, was basically the experience of everyone who wasn’t a general. A 2D puzzle platformer, with incredible art powered using the same engine as Ubisofts’ Rayman games, it’s not only a powerfully told human story, but the starting point to pursue further learning about the Great War. I don’t want to say much more, but it’s entirely worthwhile taking time out of your week to take a look at one of the most engaging educational games I’ve ever played.
Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
The game that made me want to look at games more in-depth was a little indie action adventure title called The Binding of Isaac. It ran like garbage, crashed semi-regularly, and wouldn’t always play nice with every computer. I loved it despite that. Imagine my pleasure, then, when Ed McMillen announced a full on remake of the game in a new engine, with new items, and rebalances to make the game more in-line with the original intention. Not to mention all the secrets, additional floors, interesting item combinations and characters added to the game, Rebirth has had me consistently coming back every so often to do a new run. Somehow, I’m still discovering things about the game, and with the upcoming release of yet another expansion, I feel that this sense of wonder will continue on into the near future.
Do not play Pathologic 1. I mean, if you want to, you should probably play it, but you’ll hate me for recommending it. Instead, play Pathologic 2, a game so soul crushing, oppressive, and painful to play that it made me never want to touch it again. It’s great, and fixes a lot of the little small things that are annoying and obtuse about the original. It’s important to note too, that you don’t need to play 1 to understand 2, as it acts more as a remake rather than anything else. I don’t really want to say much more about it, but definitely give it a shot. Russians make interesting things.
I like the Witcher. I could tell you that the soundtrack is something that inspires me on a daily basis, or that it led me to buy all the books, or that I started to learn a little bit of Polish so I could understand some of the stories that the game referenced. That wouldn’t really tell you how much of an impact that this game, and it’s world, has had on me. CD Projekt Red created a masterpiece with the capability to make me question everything that I was doing, whether or not I was doing the right thing by the right (or wrong) people. There are times when I look outside my window, and I hear The Slopes of Blessure and I just smile. Witchers are hired for one thing, and one thing alone; killing monsters. It’s just really about when you must question who, or what, a monster is that it gets interesting.
This was the one of the first games I purchased alongside my PS4, and it meant that I didn’t need to play any other games for a long time. Bloodborne consistently entertains with fast paced combat, incredibly storytelling, a soundtrack to die for, and a visual style that manages to make to stop to do a slow pan. Bloodborne doesn’t really need much more of an introduction than that honestly, and if you have a PS4, you owe it to yourself to pick this up.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve loved the resurgence of the character tactics game, and no game epitomises this genre better for me than the XCOM games. While XCOM 1 was a great time, and showed a lot of promise (particularly in the DLC pack), I’d argue that XCOM 2 and the DLC pack War of the Chosen is some of the best tactics gameplay ever offered up. Every single choice in XCOM has a tangible consequence, whether it’s resource losses, civilian deaths, or your best squad member taking one too many close shaves leading to a military funeral. It’s intense, stressful, and a damn fine time.
I wanted to write more about Civilization 6 but I starting thinking about how much I want to be playing it right now, so this is a short one. It’s good. If you like things that will consume you and make you into a gremlin, this is the game for you. Hooray!
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
No other game makes me so angry, yet so satisfied. Counter Strike has been going on for years and years at this point, and it’s still something that I can come back to on a regular basis. The reason it’s on here though, is I needed a Valve shooter and I was told that TF2 didn’t count because it came out before the end of the 00’s. Counter Strike: It’s bloody good.
– Alan M.