Top Games Each Year Over the Last 10 Years
Celebrating 10 Years of Gaming
We're celebrating 10 years of Fanatical with our Birthday Bash, and it got us thinking, "How have the last 10 years of gaming been?" This last decade has been phenomenal, but which titles have been the best each year? Let's find out!
Starting off strong, 2012 was an incredible year for games. The most highly-rated title on Metacritic was none other than Persona 4, but that wasn't the only highlight of the year. 2012 was part of the dark years before The Game Awards, but Video Game Awards, and many other sites, dictated The Walking Dead Season One to be Game of the Year at that time. This was no small feat when keeping in mind other phenomenal releases, such as Dishonored, Far Cry 3, and even Borderlands 2!
Everyone and their mother knows the highest-rated title on Metacritic for this year, as Grand Theft Auto V won this category and several others (more on that later). Alongside the monumentous release of the latest Grand Theft Autotitle, we got The Last of Us (coming soon to PC, and we could not be more excited), which had us bawling (and a perfect follow-up to last year's The Walking Dead). That said, Bioshocktook to the skies with Bioshock Infinite, and we got the first Tomb Raider title in the Tomb Raider franchise’s latest reboot series. Not to forget what's often regarded as one of the best Assassin's Creed titles, with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag making its debut!
Grand Theft Auto V manages to steal the highest Metacritic score for 2014 once again with its PlayStation 4 release. Once again, no small feat when compared with some of the biggest releases of the year, such as one of my personal favourites, Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor! The biggest reward, however, goes to Dragon Age: Inquisition and its victory over the newly-established The Game Awards as Game of the Year! This year, Far Cry 4 was released alongside the first release of Watch_Dogs, spawning numerous other Watch_Dogs and creating a brand-new franchise, and the controversial entry to the DARK SOULS franchise, DARK SOULS II: Scholar of the First Sin.
2015 was yet another phenomenal year for gaming, and another one that Grand Theft Auto V won as the highest-scored game on Metacritic, this time for its Windows release. Meanwhile, The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt snags Game of the Year in The Game Awards, but other fantastic titles released as well, such as the second entry in the Tomb Raider remake series, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the newest Fallout entry with Fallout 4, and even the crying-inducing and goosebump-causing Ori and the Blind Forest with its fantastic soundtrack and platforming gameplay. Finally, the much-beloved Dying Light makes its debut and astonishes fans of the Zombie genre with its parkouring elements. Good Night; Good Luck.
Finally, Grand Theft Auto V's three-year-running spree for the highest-rated Metacritic game comes to a close due to a lack of release that year — this time, UNCHARTED 4: A Thief's End snags it. Meanwhile, the now-closed Overwatch takes the Game of the Year award. Despite that, however, 2016 also is the year of release for the fan-favourite Stardew Valley, pioneering the simulation genre; the closing entry for the DARK SOULS series, DARK SOULS III; the charming 2D platformer INSIDE; the back-from-hell (or, in this case, back-from-the-’90s) DOOM gets a remaster; and Final Fantasy XV marks the world with its open-world setting and action-based gameplay! This year, we also see the release of the Dishonored sequel: Dishonored 2! Plenty of fantastic titles to be fanatical about.
2017 was a very Nintendo-centric year, though that doesn't mean we didn't get to see a lot of other great titles released! With Nintendo's Super Mario Odyssey being nominated for Game of the Year and ultimately The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild snagging the reward (alongside the title for highest-rated Metacritic title of the year), it was a fierce competition, with Horizon Zero Dawn being a close competitor for the award. This year also marked the beginning of the Winters storyline in Resident Evil with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, alongside the phenomenal release of cartoony (and surprisingly challenging) Cuphead! Finally, Assassin's Creed Origins takes the franchise in a brand-new direction that redirects it into a new, open-world base and becomes one of the fan-favourite titles.
2018 sees the rise of two titles fiercely competing for Game of the Year title, as fans are nearly equally split between Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War. Ultimately, the return of our favourite god of war, Kratos, takes the Game of the Year title but loses to Red Dead Redemption 2 in Metacritic score. Both titles continue to be some of the most excellent releases, often regarded as some of the best games to be released in the decade. Meanwhile, Game of the Year nominee Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered goes criminally unawarded but manages to snag several nominations (and become the best Spider-Man and Marvel game to date), and Monster Hunter: World releases to a booming success. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releases to become a new fan-favourite for the franchise, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey manages to be nominated for Game of the Year and awe fans with a fresh Greek setting to explore and a new female playable character that we all promptly fell in love with — Kassandra.
2019 spearheads a brand-new controversy that sparks outrage with Game of the Year Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, as companies and gamers alike argue and demand an easy difficulty for all titles released. The competition was fierce, however, with Control and DEATH STRANDING: Director’s Cut both being nominated for Game of the Year; meanwhile, The Outer Worlds goes criminally unnoticed as the brand-new title by the brilliant minds behind Fallout New Vegas. Though perhaps most notably, the remake for Resident Evil 2 was released to widespread success and spearheads a line of Resident Evilremakes we are still seeing to this day.
2020 was a challenging year for many reasons, and the videogame industry struggled heavily due to this as well. This year, we see very few titles were released on PC, with most nominees (and even the Game of the Year title) going to PlayStation- or Nintendo Switch-exclusive titles. The Last of Us II releases and receives controversy, whilst Animal Crossing: New Horizons sweeps the world with calm, and Ghost of Tsushima astonishes players (and leaves us PC gamers wanting for its PC port...). Meanwhile, Persona 5 Royal takes the highest-rated Metacritic title, something we're glad for, as it's one of the few games actually released on PC on the 20th of October; at least there's one silver lining for PC games from this year!
2021 sees the Game of the Year award go to a co-op-exclusive title for the second time ever (following 2016's Overwatch), though with no small amounts of competition. Resident Evil Village follows closely behind with the iconic 9-foot-tall vampire Lady Dimitrescu and the continuation of the Winters storyline (finished on the Winters' Expansion DLC released on the 27th of October). It wasn't all horror and cooperative experiences, however, as DEATHLOOP arrived and stunned audiences with enjoyable gameplay and invasion PvP that everybody loved. Not every great game made it to be a Game of the Year nominee, however, with Disco Elysium: The Final Cut snagging the highest-rated Metacritic title and other gems, such as the next entry into the Monster Hunter franchise, Monster Hunter Rise, making their release as well!
So, that leaves us with 2022 — the current year. We've had numerous excellent titles released thus far already, with ELDEN RING being the uncontested winner for the highest-rated Metacritic title. Other fantastic entries have made their appearance this year, too, however, such as the newest entry to the Batman franchise with Gotham Knights. Indie titles perform phenomenally as well, as we all actively become cultists of Cult of the Lamb, which shook the world unexpectedly, and we see the release of Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered on PC and the reboot of the Saints Row series. Finally, Total War: WARHAMMER III makes an impact on the world with the release of Immortal Empires, fusing all of the latest releases of the Total War franchise into one spectacular gamemode. Many titles have been delayed, meaning that 2023 is looking to shake up as a phenomenal year for gaming!
Many more phenomenal titles are making their way here, and we hope that 2022 will end with a bang, though the battle between ELDEN RING and the upcoming God of War: Ragnarok for Game of the Year will be fierce. Next year, however, we have other great entries we cannot wait to play, either!