The 100 best games of the decade

(Image credit: Future)

It's been an incredible decade for video games. That's part of what makes putting a list like this, the definitive 100 games of the decade, so difficult to put together. Tens of thousands of games have been released since 2010, if not more – and it's only but a small minority that are ever destined to be remembered. 

GamesRadar+ has sifted through 10 years worth of releases to pick out and celebrate the best games of the decade. It's easy to forget, but the industry has changed such a great deal in that time. We've seen everything from the launch of a new generation of consoles in the PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One, to a shift in focus for the industry towards live-service and co-operative experiences. Big studios have come and gone, legacy franchises have drifted away from prominence, and new experiences have pumped fresh life into each and every genre. 

In putting together this list, we've been able to see the highs and lows of gaming in record speed – and now you get to see all of the highlights in a convenient list format. Below you'll find our pick of the 100 best games released between 1 January, 2010 and 31 December, 2019. 

And don't forget to check out our picks for the decade's best TV and movies too:

100. Halo: Reach

(Image credit: Bungie)

Year: 2010 | Developer: Bungie

Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things to do in life. And yet, as Bungie worked to wrap up a decade worth of work on the franchise that changed the fundamentals of the first-person shooter, it delivered arguably its finest game to date. Halo: Reach is a progressive first-person shooter that pushed Halo's classic action in a bold new direction; it's a breathless act of closure that cast a big shadow over the future of the series. Josh West

(Image credit: Crystal Dynamics)

99. Tomb Raider
2013 | Developer: Crystal Dynamics

Before Tomb Raider, video game reboots were considered risky business. But Crystal Dynamics dragged Lara Croft into the 21st century with both a deep respect for the source material and a recognition of the need to heavily update it for a modern audience; two standpoints that were crucial for the game's success. And succeed it did, reminding us all why Croft is an action hero deserving of the spotlight; tenacious, aspirational, and – more importantly – human. Alex Avard

(Image credit: United Front Games)

98. Sleeping Dogs
Year: 2012 | Developer: United Front Games

Sleeping Dogs isn't the best at anything it does: its combat is faux-Arkham, its car chases are uplifted by their arcadey explosiveness, its story is more of a recitation of favourite scenes from Hong Kong crime dramas than an original homage. But still, it's lovely clobbering goons with unlockable kung fu moves, and driving through vibrant streets at night as the puddles reflect neon signs, and buying pork buns from obnoxious yet lovable street vendors. Connor Sheridan

(Image credit: EA)

97. FIFA 11
2010 | Developer: EA Canada

The start of the decade found EA Canada on relatively friendly terms with its audience – and, for a time, widely praised for reacting positively to fan feedback. FIFA 11 epitomises this relationship: solid on the park, slowly building the foundations of Ultimate Team, and home to the 'creation centre', where users could make their favourite squad of yesteryear for play in-game. Lost in the leap to PS4 and Xbox One, it remains one of the series' most-requested archive features. Ben Wilson

(Image credit: Valve)

96. DOTA 2
2013 | Developer: Valve

One of the most popular esports games worldwide, DotA 2 is a MOBA that directly competes with the more popular League of Legends. Two teams of five heroes compete on a map consisting of three lanes with one goal; destroy their opponents' Ancient. Team cohesion and communication is vital to victory, especially in a competitive setting. DotA 2 features tournaments with some of the biggest prize pools of all time, with the latest instalment of the annual The International event providing over $34m. Ford James

95. Battlefield Bad Company 2

(Image credit: Visceral Games)

Year: 2010 | Developer: DICE

Before DICE was able to work out how to bring Battlefield's all-out-action to console without compromise, there was Bad Company 2. It put destruction front and centre of its multiplayer, letting players – quite literally – carve their own route to victory through an awesome variety of maps and objective types. Battlefield Bad Company 2 is one of the best multiplayer experiences of the previous generation, a game that celebrated player ingenuity and supported explosive creativity without restriction. Josh West

(Image credit: Galactic Cafe)

94. The Stanley Parable
2013 | Developer: Galactic Cafe

This indie marvel took the "but can games be funny" debate and smothered it to death with a whoopee cushion filled with wit. At first glance it's a parody of a walking simulator, setting you the task of exploring an abandoned office, but soon the narration that's been accompanying you becomes more and opinionated, even demanding until the fourth wall lies in ruins and you're left giggling and questioning every choice you've ever made in a game. Rachel Weber

(Image credit: Capcom)

93. Dragon's Dogma
2012 | Developer: Capcom

Dragon's Dogma is what western open-world RPGs like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim look like in another dimension, and it may be a better dimension than the one we live in. Its world is mysterious and full of dangers, and you'll truly feel like an adventurer every time you narrowly survive an ambush with the help of your companions. Plus, it's endless fun to customise your helper NPC "Pawns" and send them off to assist with friends. Connor Sheridan

(Image credit: EA)

92. Dragon Age: Inquisition
2014 | Developer: BioWare

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a fantastic example of how good the role-playing aspect of an RPG can be. In its expansive open-world, you can lead your very own adventure and shape the very fate of the Thedas with your own two hands. From character customisation to dialogue options, and multiple quest outcomes, you have a say in every aspect of your journey. What really makes it so memorable, though, are the superbly written companions that truly make Thedas feel alive. Heather Wald

(Image credit: Remedy)

91. Control
2019 | Developer: Remedy Entertainment

Control succeeds because you are robbed of it. You feel this as you are stalking through the shifting corridors of The Oldest House, as you are hunted by ever-present apparitions from another dimension, and as you begin to pull at the fraying threads of your own reality in search of clarity. In Control, Remedy Entertainment was able to deliver a stunning action game that constantly works to twist expectation and bend genre convention, delivering something truly special in the process. Josh West

90. Towerfall: Ascension

(Image credit: Matt Matt Games)

Year: 2014 | Developer: Matt Makes Games

This multiplayer gem can be summed up as Bomberman with bows, as four players battle it out on detailed pixel art maps. Like developer Matt Thorson's follow-up, the wonderful Celeste, Towerfall is so moreish because the movement of characters feels perfect, never too twitchy and with just the right amount of weight on your jumps. Moreover, this helped facilitate truly frantic fights (you haven't lived until your final arrow has landed in a mate's bum) that made it an instant couch multiplayer classic. Ben Tyrer

(Image credit: Game Freak)

89. Pokemon X & Y
2013 | Developer: Game Freak

Marking a visual revolution for the franchise, Pokemon X & Y introduced true 3D graphics for the first time. Not only did it add a new sense of scope and scale to the series, but it also heightened the graphical finesse. New features like the Fairy Type Pokemon, Mega Evolutions, and Pokemon-Aime would also become series' staples going forward, making this one of the most pivotal entries to the long-running series. Pokemon X & Y was the gateway to the quality of Pokemon games to come. Sam Loveridge

(Image credit: Visual Concepts)

88. NBA 2K17
2016 | Developer: Visual Concepts 

NHL 99 on PS1. PES 6 on PS2. MLB 11 The Show on PS3. While each previous generation has thrown up at least one sporting classic, PS4 and Xbox One had a tougher time unearthing its own icon – the downside of annual development cycles where graphics and micro-transaction appeal often trump gameplay advancements. 2K17's on-court excellence, franchise mode depth and formidable MyCareer offering render it the best of an unmemorable bunch. Ben Wilson

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

87. Diablo 3
2012 | Developer: Blizzard

Sure, there's amazing, multi-layered lore. And yeah, there's perfectly macabre levels. But Diablo is really all about the satisfaction of collecting a hoard of loot so large you need to open an interdimensional portal just to store it all. This instalment of the classic series completely delivered on that front, along with classes and abilities that were a joy to experiment with and enemies that were super satisfying to try your new toys out on as you hammer them to hellish smithereens. Rachel Weber

(Image credit: Monolith)

86. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
2014 | Developer: Monolith Productions

It's a small wonder that no subsequent games have lifted Shadow of Mordor's Nemesis system for their own gain, but perhaps that speaks to its originality as an idea, so quintessential to the identity of Monolith's adventure series that none have dared to replicate it. That technology, which allows players to develop advanced AI rivals and manipulate entire armies for their own gain, represents one of the few gaming advances that felt genuinely cutting edge this decade. Alex Avard

85. PUBG

(Image credit: PUBG Corp)

Year: 2017 | Developer: PUBG Corp

The first battle royale title to make serious waves, PUBG swiftly became a favourite for PC gamers and streamers. Set on a fictional Russian island called Erangel (with more maps that followed), 100 players dove down off an enormous plane in a bid to be the last one standing. Numerous weapons, gear, and vehicles can be found throughout the map, with every step you make and gunshot you fire crucial to your chances of survival. Ford James

(Image credit: Harmonix)

84. Rock Band 3
2010 | Developer: Harmonix

Rock Band 3 is the best rhythm game of the decade. It took the quintessential party game and ironed out the creases, ensuring that an entire generation of would-be rockstars could live out their musical fantasies without fear of falling on deaf ears. In introducing 'Pro Mode' too, Harmonix took the whole concept one step further, working in a way to gamify learning in a way that was as fun as it was brilliant. Alyssa Mercante

(Image credit: Larian)

83. Divinity Original Sin 2
2017 | Developer: Larian Studios

Games that promise unrivalled player choice almost always come with strings attached, bottlenecking your story into one of several predetermined endings or limiting character customisation to a measly handful of classes. Divinity Original Sin 2 takes the scissors to those strings, and lets you run wild. Larian Studio's cult classic is an RPG in every sense of the word, giving players everything they need to chart their own path in this fantasy adventure, and never once punishing the curious. Alex Avard

(Image credit: Gearbox)

82. Borderlands 2
2012 | Developer: Gearbox Software

They say that a story is only as good as its central villain, but Handsome Jack is far from the only asset which elevated Borderlands 2 above its contemporaries. An expansive campaign marked by a metatextual sense of humour, silky smooth gunplay that looked and ran like a dream, and an arsenal so large it made it into that year's Guinness Book of World Records, Borderlands 2 understood what's expected from a sequel, and blew those preconceptions out of the water. Alex Avard

(Image credit: Night School)

81. Oxenfree
2016 | Developer: Night School Studio

Spooky science fiction with a hella amount of heart, Oxenfree mixes smart dialogue and strange radio signals to build a story around just how crappy being a teenager can be. Set on an isolated island, Alex and her gang of friends and frenemies accidentally cause a dimensional rift and then have to deal with the consequences. Don't let the witty chat between characters fool you, the game packs a serious punch. Oxenfree is a truly special indie game, one that rewards those that take the time to be curious. Rachel Weber

80. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Year: 2017 | Developer: Nintendo

As spin-off series go, Mario Kart is undeniably one of the most successful of all time, and this massive sequel continued to improve on strong foundations. Anti-grav track sections are the star addition, bringing visual flair and much-needed variety to Mario Kart's traditionally flawless on-track action. In fact, Mario Kart 8 was so good that it only needed a few minor updates, such as tweaking the battle mode, when Nintendo realised it wanted Mario Kart on hand to help shift the Switch. Ben Tyrer

(Image credit: Sony San Diego)

79. MLB 11 The Show
2011 | Developer: Sony San Diego

Franchise modes are no longer what they were in the pre-Ultimate Team days, where studios' main focus was lifelike seasonal play with a single club, rather than fantasy line-ups and overpowered digi-cards. As a result, no solo mode offering on PS4 or Xbox One has topped Sony's last-gen baseball sim, which plugs faultless fundamentals into a career offering that's exhaustive in both scope and detail. It's the most emphatic home run of an illustrious major league career. Ben Wilson

(Image credit: Quantic Dream)

78. Heavy Rain
2010 | Developer: Quantic Dream

When Heavy Rain arrived, it sparked a new wave of choice-based narrative games. Heavy Rain focuses on four characters connected by the hunt for a kidnapped little boy, with his father, Ethan, bearing the brunt of the terror as he's pushed through a series of Saw-esque challenges to get him back. Through its bold, striking weirdness, and interlocking stories, it's still a spectacle now, and a game that deserves a place on the list for the memes it's spawned alone. Press X to Jason! Sam Loveridge

(Image credit: Capcom)

77. Resident Evil 2: Remake
2019 | Developer: Capcom

No matter how influential the original was, there's no escaping that it's a pig to play now by modern standards. The controls and restrictive, checkpoint-free saving hasn't aged well. But, that said, the idea of rebuilding Resident Evil 2 from scratch sounds like sacrilege on paper. Capcom nailed it though, reshaping its well-trodden boards into a contemporary remake that honours the original's essence while providing strong competition for everything else released in 2019. Leon Hurley

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

76. Bastion
2011 | Developer: Supergiant Games

Bastion is an adventure worth taking. Supergiant Games' debut inspired a wave of creativity and innovation throughout the burgeoning independent scene for a good reason. To play Bastion is to tumble into the pages of some forgotten children's storybook. It's an adventure that is able to easily impress, thanks to its beautiful art direction, soulful sounds, and sharp storytelling – all of it driven by a dynamic narrator that makes Bastion feel as if it has been intimately designed for you, and you alone. Josh West

75. Marvel's Spider-Man

(Image credit: Insomniac)

Year: 2018 | Developer: Insomniac Games

Insomniac's 'thing' is movement, with legendary tales of Spyro's development involving months of just making running around fun. So a chance to bring Spider-Man's city crossing world to life was a safe bet on that alone. But where this really stands out is how it breathes new life into Peter Parker's familiar story with warm charm, inventive interpretation, and devastating relationships twists. It says a lot of its success that it's now official Marvel canon, stretching out into both comics and the recent Into the Spider-Verse. Leon Hurley

(Image credit: EA Tiburon)

74. NCAA Football 11
2010 | Developer: EA Tiburon

If Madden is the experienced pro everyone loves to write off, NCAA is its equally talented kid bro whose career was curtailed by injury. Well, lawsuits. EA's college heavyweight was axed in 2013 over a legal dispute re: player likenesses – to the genuine sadness of gridiron fans. With truly creative playbooks, more than 100 teams, an unendingly moreish franchise mode (you'd spend more time recruiting than playing matches), this was an EA series that everyone loved – and NCAA 11 represents its pinnacle. Ben Wilson

(Image credit: Nintendo)

73. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
2019 | Developer: Intelligent Systems

Fire Emblem: Three Houses brought a new dimension to the world of Intelligent Systems' turn-based tactical RPG by putting you in the shoes of a teacher. The Hogwarts-esque feel of the adventure gave the long-running series an interesting refresh for the first Fire Emblem game on a home console in over a decade. With a frankly gargantuan cast of memorable characters and so much replayability, Three Houses succeeds at offering something new and still staying true to its tactical RPG roots. Heather Wald

(Image credit: Techland)

72. Dying Light
2015 | Developer: Techland

Zombies and parkour were hardly fresh ingredients for video games in 2015, but Techland's splicing of Mirror's Edge infused mobility against an apocalyptic Middle Eastern backdrop brought new life to the walking dead nonetheless. Throw in an inspired day-night cycle that turns open-world romping into breakneck survival horror whenever the sun goes down, along with a fairly intuitive crafting system to help give combat a bloody edge, and it's easy to see why Dying Light became the unexpected smash hit that it did. Alex Avard

71. Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag

(Image credit: Ubisoft Montreal)

Year: 2013 | Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Who knew that vast amounts of water was all that was needed to bring some much-needed revitalisation to Assassin's Creed? In truth, Black Flag soared where previous entries floundered by forcing Ubisoft to reconsider the importance of the series' relationship with historical tourism. Edward Kenway's high seas adventure thus demonstrated what could be achieved when setting become the lynchpin of Assassin's Creed identity, influencing all future AC games to come, and catalysing the franchise's sustained success in the process. Alex Avard

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