Best PC game of the decade
April 13, 2020 11:30 AM   Subscribe

So, like many people. I got a bit of unexpected free time and already watched all the Netflix I can stomach, so I want to get back into gaming.

My interest in gaming waned steadily over the years and the last time I was really into a game was FTL. Generally I really like RPGs, Roguelikes and Strategy and will try Baldurs Gate 3 when it releases on Stadia.
But what can I play in the meantime? There have to be a ton of great games I misssed. So, what are yout absolute favorite games of the decade, 2010 - now. It doesn't have to come from the above categories, although I dislike FPS and Online RPGs.
posted by SweetLiesOfBokonon to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Disco Elysium is not only my favorite video game of the decade, but it may also be my favorite game of all time. It's an RPG where everything is about your choices and skill checks with no combat whatsoever. It's also amazingly well-written.
posted by zeusianfog at 11:51 AM on April 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Into the Breach: a tactical, turn-based game where you control giant robots to fight giant bugs to save the Earth. Roguelite-ish, from the makers of FTL.

Disco Elysium: an extremely well-written RPG. Mostly just (very interesting) talking. A very interesting skill system where your Perception skill isn't just a number you roll, it's a voice in your head. Has the best character of the '10s, your partner Lt. Kim Kitsuragi.
posted by Maecenas at 11:53 AM on April 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Well, Dragon Age: Origins was released late 2009, so it just misses your window, but I think is the best game ever!

The Witcher 3 was also an amazing (and beautiful, the landscapes in that games are just top notch) rpg.

I'm playing "divinity II original sin" now and while the fights are extremely hard and you actually have to use some tactics, and I had trouble learning the more d&d-like levelling and spell system, now I have gotten it and have been enjoying it immensely.

You didn't mention if you are only on the PC, but if you have any consoles I've heard great things about the FF7 re-release, and Breath of the Wild is pretty good!
posted by euphoria066 at 12:17 PM on April 13, 2020

If you like Baldur's Gate and want to see a modern approach with similar pacing, I would definitely check out Divinity Original Sin 2 (or 1, but 2 is a bit easier to get into). If you want more nostalgia, Pillars of Eternity should be good for that (or 2, I haven't played it). There have been a LOT of good old-style RPGs released on the last 5 years actually

I just spent a lot of time playing Shortest Trip to Earth, which is basically a more complex FTL but it can be harder to play.
posted by JZig at 12:19 PM on April 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Portal 2 came out in 2011, so that's my vote. Definitely play it both singleplayer and with a friend, in that order.
posted by meowzilla at 12:47 PM on April 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

The Mass Effect Series
DragonAge Origins
The Witcher 3
Stardew Valley
L.A. Noire
Papers, Please
posted by Stoof at 1:01 PM on April 13, 2020

I've been binging on Victoria 2

It is difficult to get into, so easy to crash your economy or mis-manage wars, but it really opens up. It's kinda a complex economic/political/warfare model and not really a game at times, so your mileage may vary, but that's the part that helped bring me back into gaming. Maybe watch a few YouTube playthroughs to see first.
posted by fruit sandwich at 1:24 PM on April 13, 2020

Things I have played over 300 hours of:
Skyrim (on PC, with and without mods)
Terraria (on PC, I've never used mods, but I hear they exist)
Stardew Valley (on PC, strictly co-op. Other people like single player, but I only really get into it with another person.)

Things I have played over 200 hours of:
Fallout 4 (on PC, with and without mods)
Disgaea 2 (Jesus, really? I had no idea.)

Things I have played over 100 hours of:
Monster Hunter World (on PC. I might go back to this.)
Fantasy Life (on 3DS. Legit, some of the best game design I've ever seen. Story is... perfunctory, but serviceable. Open world RPG on a handheld.)
Saint's Row 4 (It's shorter than that, but I've played through in co-op multiple times with various people.)

Additional reccomendations:
Fallout: New Vegas
Saint's Row the Third (goes on sale, including DLC, for like $5 sometimes. I recommend playing for like... 10 hours without the DLC, then turn it all on. Same recommendation for SR4, actually.)
Dishonored (LOVE IT)
Dishonored 2 (Really quite like it.)
Mad Max (Better than it had any right being. Not super deep, but fun.)
Shadowrun Returns / Dragonfall / Hong Kong (The general consensus is that Returns is good, and Hong Kong and Dragonfall are great. Mixed opinions about which is the best [HK or DF]. I enjoyed all three.)
TimeSpinner (Weird little time travel Metroidvania. You use telekinetic orbs as weapons, and they're awesome. In one of the optional endings you overthrow god.)
Chroma Squad (Tactics RPG, each fight is an episode of the Sentai show you're producing. So good.)

I could probably recommend some other things, but that's already quite the list. Good luck, have fun!
posted by Zudz at 1:26 PM on April 13, 2020

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
posted by phoenixy at 1:57 PM on April 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

There are a lot of great and culturally significant games listed above, but the one that stood out to me in the past decade, as someone who used to be really into PC games and particularly retro PC games, but then had a lot less time for them, would have to be Kentucky Route Zero, which is kind of the classic adventure game version of what Adam Cadre's Photopia was to text adventures--it uses a very old-fashioned game framework, but the way it implements it is fun, artistic, and timely. The music in particular is amazing if you're into folk music at all. It was released in several acts over the course of the last seven years (the final one came out this past January), and I've been saving up the end so I can't vouch for that, but I can confidently state it's a trip and will stick with you.

Also, speaking of classic adventure games, it's kind of cheating to mention it, but the remastered version of Grim Fandango came out in 2015 and was imo definitely worth buying the game again. The music is amazing, fully orchestrated throughout, and thank god they built in a workaround for the tedious Petrified Forest section.
posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 2:06 PM on April 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

After I don't know how many years I'm still amusing myself with Spelunky.
posted by farlukar at 2:14 PM on April 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

There have been some fantastic rogue-likes/-lites/-likealikes/-whatever in the past ten years. If you're not too pedantic about the meaning of "roguelike" then I would heartily recommend:

-Spelunky, arguably the one that started the resurgence. Probably my favorite of all of them - there's no hidden knowledge*, you have all possible abilities right from the beginning, and the game is exceedingly fair. It's incredibly well tuned.
-Rogue Legacy for a more relaxed game. Not as hard as some of the other options, and I thought the "offspring" mechanic was an interesting take on things. Didn't really keep me after I hit credits, but I had fun with it while I was progressing.
-Enter the Gungeon if you like bullet hell. Dear lord this game is brutal. I know a lot of people got tired of the gun schtick after a while, but I love the extensive variety of weapons and abilities. I have never beaten this game.
-Binding of Isaac if you like twin-stick shooters. Not as hard as Gungeon in my opinion, and (without giving too much away) you can "beat" it again and again to yield different end states. Gungeon and Isaac both dip more heavily into the Rogue mechanics of introducing new items and forcing the player to figure out what they do and how they synergize with your build.

*There are secrets in the game (that are all basically out in the open now), but none of them rely on unfair knowledge or mechanics.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:17 PM on April 13, 2020

As far as bigger releases go, my absolute favorite PC game of the last decade has got to be Prey (the 2017 one, not the 2006 one). First-person but not really a shooter. You wake up on a space station that's been invaded by hostile interdimensional aliens and have to unravel the mystery while using your wits to survive. It's very much like the System Shock games except with modern graphics. Magnificent. More than a little horror-ish though if you hate that stuff.

(also yeah Spelunky is really good)
posted by neckro23 at 3:01 PM on April 13, 2020

dragon age 1-3, witcher 3, i think hzd just came out on pc?

the 2 most recent assassin's creeds are amazing and very much unlike the rest of the series, if the rest of the series has put you off in the past.

dishonored is good, but dishonored 2 is exceptional.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:06 PM on April 13, 2020

Generally I really like RPGs, Roguelikes and

Have you checked out Caves of Qud?
posted by rodlymight at 4:08 PM on April 13, 2020

Oh absolutely need to get FinalFantasy 15. The story makes little sense but it hardly matters. You and your 3 boyfriends/other boy-band members are in like D&D fantasyland but it’s also like cross-country America and the fights are part real-time, part tactical. And the music and animation are amazing (omg the mind flayers), plus you can ride around on big fluffy chickens and if you find the hidden pears you can dye the chickens all different colors. You can prob pick up the super deluxe edition with all the add-ons for $20 or less now.
Diablo 3 is another you will probably like...definitely get the edition that includes the necromancer, once you get him leveled up, he commands a horde of just so so many skeletons and zombies..and ghosts..and ghost witches. It’s very fun in a shoot and loot kind of way, but the endgame (after you finish the story) gets more and more tactical. Much of it is procedurally generated, but there is just so much content that it rarely feels repetitive.
Also check out Horizon:zero dawn. It’s more of an action RPG wit a lot of robot beast battles...which are awesome. Mostly you fight with a spear and a bow and arrow, but you get all kinds of fancy arrows that do tricks, and you have cybertactical upgrades thanks to a device that you picked up from the metal world of the before times. So...the story might be a little heavy for...right now...but it’s the best writing I’ve ever seen in a video game. Ever.
Oh and for hardware I’d pick up a used ps4 and save $ for games. Ps4 just has the most games and you won’t be wasting time setting up hardware requirements and etc...also nintendo switches are just not available right now.
posted by sexyrobot at 4:52 PM on April 13, 2020

I basically only like baldur's gate for gaming, and did not like the first divinity at all. However! I found Pathfinder: Kingmaker captured the original spirit of Baldur's gate in a very satisfying way. Apparently it was very buggy when originally released but I had no problems with it.
posted by smoke at 5:11 PM on April 13, 2020

Horizon Zero Dawn has become my favorite game of all time. Super fun gameplay, deep story and worldbuilding, interesting characters including an amazing protagonist, gorgeous environments, and great voice acting and music. It is postapocalyptic, so it's "heavy" (as sexyrobot said above) in that sense, but it's also optimistic and humanistic and thoughtful and hopeful (it's not grimdark or cynical like Witcher or Fallout). Here's another recent thread where I was gushing about it. I love a lot of the games folks have mentioned above, but Horizon Zero Dawn is my favorite and the one I would call the best of the decade.
posted by Syllepsis at 8:57 PM on April 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have played over 2000 (two thousand, not a typo) hours of Oxygen Not Included. It is a base building sim with a cellular automata physics engine that counts things like Kerbal Space Program and Dwarf Fortress in its lineage. It's got puzzle and strategy elements, with a lot of room for creatively solving problems. It has charming Invader Zim looking hand drawn graphics. The way that it gestures towards real world thermodynamics without letting it ruin the fun is a fine line skillfully walked. I once described it to a friend as an HVAC simulator with logic gates and rockets.

The YouTube streamer Brothgar's channel has many videos that will give you the flavor of the game and his enthusiasm is enjoyable to watch.

For what it's worth, I was also super into FTL, so our tastes must converge on some axis.
posted by Horkus at 8:38 PM on April 14, 2020

Divinity: Original Sin or its sequel

Tyranny or Pillars of Eternity

I'd add Elder Scrolls Morrowind. It's much older, but it's one of the most interesting and immersive game worlds I've played in.
posted by Ahniya at 12:30 AM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

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