Games of the Decade - 2000's

So after making a Game of the Decade List for the 2010's, I got the fever to do more. Especially since I wanted to test an assertion I made in the previous list that the 2010's were slightly better than the 2000's for me. Turns out, it's really hard to tell even moreso than I initially thought, 2007-2009 were not quite as weak as I remember them being, though. They were very top heavy years upon analysis (at least for me) so my memory wasn't totally off.

So the 2000's might actually have the edge over the 2010's especially once you get down to comparing around 35-55 ranks. Or it could be that I just haven't played as many AAA 2010 titles to really make this an equal comparison

So let's go back a decade further shall we?

Some notable themes in the 2000's was the normalization and dominance of the 3d/Polygonal gameplay that was just nascent in the 90's. Genres such as FPS and Open world games went from novel and niche to dominant. As well as online multiplayer becoming a larger and larger factor as the decade progressed. It also served as the twilight of the JRPGs. While the genre is still with us today, it's not ever present force it once was. Perhaps as a result of that I found myself playing more and more western developed games than I ever had.

DISCLAIMERZ: Like with any of these lists, there's always gonna be stuff you missed, forgot or just didn't get to play. While I haven't finished everything in this list (nearly all of them tho and nothing less than 75%), these are all games I feel I've spent enough time with to at least feel they deserve placement on the list.

I also already notice major omissions in this list and will likely need to adjust it when I feel less tired.

Inspired by @liquiddragon's best of the 2010's list

https://www.giantbomb.com/profile/liquiddragon/lists/a-top-100-games-of-the-decade-list/366880/

Other lists from me in this series

1980's-Games of the Decade - 1980's (and earlier) (giantbomb.com)
1990's-Games of the Decade - 1990's (giantbomb.com)
2010's-Games of the Decade - 2010's (giantbomb.com)

List items

  • I already loved Warcraft a lot by this point and just inhaled the campaign, but then this was the Warcraft my friends started playing a ton to stay in touch.

    it only elevated another level when we discovered the DotA AllStars mod

  • I'm honestly surprised how much I love this game, now that I've gotten play through on controller.

    Turns out, More/better Ocarina of time is something I definitely want to play. It was just having to do the motion control stuff that impacted my enjoyment of it

  • I don't know what the perfect realization of the JRPG template Dragon Quest(Warrior) created back in the day would be, but this probably came as close as any game ever did.

    It may not be the most surprising thing ever, but it's gorgeous and it just executes the whole way through.

    Consistency and high quality thy name is Dragon Quest

  • I wasn't big on shooters, metroidvanis or Metroid itself (obviously) till I played this one. But then boy oh boy did I get it.

  • Arguably the last elite Final Fantasy from the golden era of IV-X

    I was totally in this franchise's thrall when this came out. I expected to be blown away and I was.

  • Vandal Hearts had already sold me on this genre a gen earlier, so when I got to play SRPG with great style that took advantage of Gen 6 graphics I was 100% down to try it out.

    Been a Fire Emblem fan ever since.

  • While I preferred the Ocarina of Time aesthetic, I wasn't one of those people who got pissed off by cartoon Zelda. I thought the cel-shading looked awesome, and I absolutely adored the sailing.

    I do wish this had 8 dungeons not basically 4 tho

  • What's a 90's game doing here? Well I'm going by US release dates because I don't play fan translations etc and we didn't get this properly until the ArtePiazza SNES DQ DS remakes.

    But boy oh boy does this game still have one of the very best stories ever told in games. Really shows you how risk averse, rote and poorly crafted many game stories are even today in comparison.

  • Damn shame this series died. The Judgement ring was such an excellent JRPG combat mechanic. And the story had a gravitas to it that most JRPGs don't dare to tread these days.

  • Sometimes you just see something really new and different and you just know it's going to be amazing.

    That's definitely what Katamari is!

  • Witcher 1 certainly has quirks and problems, but man the Moral greys Geralt's world deals in makes for some fascinating situations to be in

  • Man I miss Ivalice, I miss the gambit system too. Why no one has implemented something like it since is strange frankly.

  • people rightly talk about the Metal Gear story and how intricately bonkers it is

    but what I actually really really liked was the topdown tactical gameplay.

    I liked the story too (the ending is topshelf), probably helped that I played this before MGS1, so I wasn't upset by the character switcher-roo

  • There's so much choice in this amazing game it's paralyzing for me, but I also really like because of that.

  • I don't like Horror games, but I sure liked how novel this one was. Those gimmicks wouldn't work on me a second time, but it sure did this time.

  • The rewind mechanic was cool, the platforming was easy but helped sell the sense of grand adventure, but what really won me over was the banter between the Prince and Farah. It was the first time I encountered such organic feeling encounters between an AI companion and player character in games.

  • I thought Spider-man the Movie nailed what a super hero game adaptation could be and then Arkham Asylum came in and smashed those expectations with much better story, gameplay and faithfulness to the spirit of the source material. Having a novel combat system didn't hurt either, although I think it's just ok to actually execute.

  • I'm a bit of a Roman History buff, so I geeked out on getting to get gameplay experience of Roman life. One thing that separates SoR from about every Roman game before or after is that it has so much more to offer than just Colosseum Gladiatorial bouts.

  • When I played it, it felt like the next big leap forward for what I thought would become standard through SRPG combat systems. And yet here we are in 2020 and VC is still the only one doing it

  • Probably the best one of the Advance Wars games. What AW does exceedingly well is cutting the fat our of tactics games and just gets you down to the action. As a result the games feel much faster in a very welcome way than say SRPGs, especially when handling large unit counts

  • along with Metroid Prime, definitely open my eyes to what First Person perspective game could be beyond deathmatches.

  • I miss when sports games were arcade, stuff like Tricky was a lot more fun than the predominantly Sim style things we have largely today

  • I say the above and yet I really had a 2-3 year love affair with Madden when it felt novel in the early days of PS2. Didn't take too long for ever new entry to feel super same-ish.

  • I know it's not well liked these days, but I sure liked it. I think I really enjoyed all the close saves F.L.U.U.D. allowed me to execute

  • I thought Adventure games were dead and buried when this came out. Boy did it blow mind to see what they could be without the point and click structure and I sure liked it.

  • This one just happens to be the best one, I liked SC and SC:PT a lot too. I appreciated how grounded and small scale the stakes in the game were. Definitely helped sell the suspense of disbelief that 1 dude could sneak past like 80000 guards

  • Persona 4's combat system and dungeons are better, but I like the gravitas and characters of 3 better.

  • Bullet Time is super fun it turns out, and the story was great for the first half before it started sliding into a bunch of Nordic mythology nonsense

  • This was back when I still really liked sports games before they became too iterative for my liking. Baseball being my favorite sport, I ofc liked the games too

    Game was too easy (ken Griffey Jr hit 150+ HRs in my season) but it was more accessible imo than the Show..

  • This was my first tastes of the Suikoden series and I really liked it Loved the narrative structure, the style, the recruitment aspect and the pretty neat army combat mode (though sparingly used)

  • I know what Dynasty Warriors now is, but when DW2 came out it was the ultimate tech piece launch title for the PS2. To see armies move like that in real time was so cool.

  • I like the Dogfighting in the more arcade Rogue Squadron games a little better, but I like the grit and incredibly complex lore of the AC games more.

  • Another entry where I buck consensus. I thought BoFV had some really clever and challenging ideas when it came to the combat system. Totally get why the stress of a game over from using the dragon too much would upset people, but I felt like I pretty much never was at risk of that being an issue.

  • Probably came to this one a little late as it looked pretty dated when I played it, but I really dug all the exploration and freedom of choice even if the combat was wonky.

  • I was definitely open minded enough to accept that what I wanted out of ChronoTrigger sequel wasn't what I was going to get and still be able to enjoy it. The super awesome music helped.

    I still wish it was a bit less obtuse tho story wise.

  • Definitely not as impressed with as much as many people were, but man it did have some killer iconic lines and scenes.

  • This was so much better than it had any right to be.

    I'd be totally on board for another one of these if they could get the cast back. Her fill-in did fine but having SMG would have helped make this even better.

  • I loved the soundtrack and the racing, but most of all I loved the incredible sense of speed that F-Zero provided

  • Purists have every right to nitpick the living bejesus out of the remake, but coming to it late (after MGS2) I sure had a ball with it. I wanted more of MGS2 gameplay and it gave me that. I wanted more Kojima story telling and got that too.

  • Thought it sounded overhyped in the magazines and such, but no they were right. Rarely are games as thematically cohesive, well written and thought out as Pyschonauts is.

  • The First time FF let me down a little. I still really really liked the game, but this was the first time I noticed FF being rear-ward looking and fan-servicey in a mainline game. I appreciated the call-backs but I'd have preferred 9 to have blazed new ground entirely since that was my expectation from the 5 previous games released in the US.

  • GTA is deservedly more influential, but I'm a Saints Row because it gives me more of what I want gameplay wise. If I'm gonna be in urban destructive sandbox, let me do that

  • Leave it to Nintendo to find a super fun way to make a "horror" game appropriate for kids. Which is probably why I liked it too haha

  • Also counts for Oracle of Seasons. Not the most novel Zeldas ever, but I did like how you could link them together into the ultimate boss and whatnot. Just really really solid 2d Zeldas, which is always a good thing

  • Came to this late, think it's really great.

    I doubt I have the patience to beat Metroid 1 cleanly and it bugged for years. Zero Mission gave me a way to feel like I had without cheating.

  • If you are on GB and you don't know why this is on here, I don't know what to say.

  • Boy Soul Calibur is best in class when it comes to 3D fighters. So fast and fluid and fun.

    And then you throw on there the RPG mode (which was novel at the time) and it's just not fair to the other competitors

  • I recognize this should be way higher, but I wouldn't be true to myself if I placed much higher. First Mario game I didn't finish and it really bummed me out. Still does

    When it comes down to it, I just really find the Wiimote uncomfortable to use for any meaningful length of time and it really dampened my enjoyment of what is obviously a transcendently designed game

  • Lucas Arts + Roman theme+ FF tactics style gameplay? Ohhhhh heck yes

  • I've always been in the M&L camp over Paper Mario. I just think the writing is a touch funnier and a touch sharper. Game play in both is both pretty good.

  • I've heard it has things about LiMBS systems!

    LiMBS systems you got that right! There's tons of LiMBs systems in Tales Games!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG_8XHk5JDk&feature

  • Played the remaster on PS4, torn about what decaded to consider it part of. I'm just amazed a 2d action game of this caliber came out during Gen6

  • I was willing to meet this franchise half way for a game and seeing all the Disney fanservice in 3d was novel and cool. Gameplay was alright. And then I kinda had my fill especially as the FF and Disney stuff receded from focus.

  • I wish RDR went well enough for Capcom because I would have liked to see their RDR 2. Honestly the game play in Revolver was probably more fun than what came later

  • Not quite as good as the second game, but I loved this one too. Again this story was unafraid to be dark in a way most JRPGs don't have the guts to.

  • You know, livin the life of a Pirate actually is pretty fun. What a neat mesh of fun systems you might not think would be fun together. This series should really come back.

  • I wasn't really into CRPGs before this, but I played this one when trying to teach myself how to do level design. I didn't bother ended up learning any of that but I did get enthralled with just how much choice there was in this thing. Even if the plot was a bit dull

  • Not nearly as enamored with it as the hardcore fans are, but you know this was a funtime. Kinda bummed BG&E2 seems to be ditching the photojournalist angle of it. We could use some games about heroic journalists and tbh it was a fun mechanic.

  • I can handle difficulty, but I maybe should have played this earlier in life when I had more tolerance for unfriendly cameras. It does play pretty dang well when you can see Ryu and is super demanding. Perhaps too much so with consumables etc.

  • Dogfightin is fun. Having a good geopolitical story to go with it is even better.

  • I really enjoyed the high cinema aspects of this series and the mashy overhead gameplay which felt like a throwback. I really enjoyed seeing the classic ancient Greek bestiary in 3d glory.

    However I could handle exactly one game being around Kratos the character and wish the series kept going with a different protagonist

  • Never would have expected this property of all things to be good, but it sure was. I'd argue it captured the first person immersive cinematic feel better than Bioshock did, the problem being ofc the King Kong story itself just isn't that good.

  • This game is beloved for a reason and that reason is that it's very very good.

  • Probably should be this high, but dang it if I didn't have a great time with this game. Made me realize just how much I preferred the stories and characters of the MK1-2 era over 5-8.

    Felt like a rare treat when 2d games were few and far between.

  • Jak sure got better with each entry. Smoother gameplay, drastically better production values and You could the glimpses of Naughty Dog's later cinematic aspirations show here.

    I wasn't crazy about the setting or the loss of the some of the key characters from 2, but this was a good time.

  • Street Fighter III never landed with me, I get why it's so awesome now, but at the time it felt stubborn staying 2d when Mk etc were going 3. Turns out Capcom was right to keep it there and Iv is where I went "ohhhhhh"

    Iiiiiindestructibllle

  • I'm a sucker for fantasy action-adventure games, especially ones with Greco--Roman trappings. Having a kickass weird weapon like the Disc-Armor only makes it that much cooler.

  • I miss cheekily self confident Lara. This was a fun game it really was. Honestly prefer it over the newer stuff because the puzzles were a larger focus still

  • Gotta be the best licensed music soundtrack ever and I don't even like Metal. The whole thing is just wild, the Pixar-esque look. A huge ornate open world, storyline where some things actually go wrong and RTS battles haha.

  • I do like quality escapism in games and the Getaway does a good of jo recreating a real place as about any game ever has

  • Yet another great Arcadey Sports game back in the last era that had a large number of good ones. Rocket League is about the only thing like these today

  • Played this after Dreamfall, turns out P&C adventures still work if the writing is strong enough. Or maybe just this one, since it's really really well done.

  • Not the most amazing thing in the world, but it felt novel in that there weren't many games with female leads back then, and there were even fewer that let a person be as complex and violent Jen tate can be.

  • If nothing it really nailed the feel of web-swinging (ignoring the fact your webs shoot into the sky) and the story was decent enough, that was enough to entertain me even if the level design was just ok.

  • I'm not 100% sure why I like this so much, but I know I really dug it. I can honestly say I had bounced off Castlevania as a franchise entirely until this one finally got me. And oddly it's pretty much like none of the rest of them. So I'm not sure why I like the franchise itself now either haha

  • Not quite as good as RS1, but still really good and really awesome Star Wars fan service. When it comes to games I'd argue stuff focusing on regular rebels generally works better than the stuff with Jedis.

  • Maybe a bit too off-kilter for me (I had to replay and read up to understand some plot events) and I wasn't crazy about the rail based movement. Dang this game had a lot of style though. It definitely made me think if nothing else

  • Serene and stressful at the same time. Definitely made me realize that underwater levels aren't unfun, it's just how most game designers make them is unfun. Or maybe it's because being a human underwater isn't that fun. It's really fun as Ecco though :)

  • I think the Precursor Legacy played a little better

  • I can't say I expected a parable about Race or a slammin soundtrack when I went into this game, but I got that and a decent strategic combat system too. A sneaky good game. As of rn, the last PS2 game I've played.

  • Not as profound for me as it seemed to be for other people, but definitely falls in the "hey that was pretty neat" category."

    I always appreciate a good game that doesn't have combat as the core mechanic

  • Boy oh Boy, experiencing the shores of Normandy for the first time in this fashion in a video game definitely gave me a deeper appreciation for what US troops did in the Eastern Theater of WWII

    The rest of the game was solid, but that first mission truly was special

  • GTA and me don't mix. Just don't like its' tone/vibe what have you. Except for this one. I think the 80's Miami veneer just entertained me enough on its own to keep me invested. I probably ought to give San Andreas a shot at some point too as that is the other one that might do the same for me.

  • I probably like and play this game for the wrong reasons (the story). The click combat and loot systems are a wash with me, but seeing all the Diablo 1 heroes so corrupted in a high stakes battle with Hell I found oddly capitivating

  • The combat is definitely much improved in this one, even if the Prince's edgy attitude is hyper dumb. But what it truly makes it lesser despite every aspect being the same or better than SoT, is the loss of Farah. Overall still really good.

  • Little aimless and bloated for my tastes, but a really good JRPG in an era where they were common. I dug it. I also never want to hunt for a gazillion bugs again.

  • I enjoyed the production value improvements over 4 a lot, but the style switching combat system got too complex for me.

  • Y'know 3rd person action adventure games are pretty fun. SFA didn't reinvent the wheel here but it was a pretty darn good time on Dinosaur Planet.

  • Fire Emblem is super fun to play in 2d as well, maybe a touch better in some ways as it's faster. I liked the story, systems and production values better in Path of Radiance tho

  • Hard as balls just like Ghosts N Goblins seems to always want to be. I actually beat this one somehow though and that will always make me like it since it made me feel good about myself. I also really dug the aesthetic

  • Did I ever mention that I really like 2d Zeldas?

    Never thought Link's hat needed an origin story, but after this makes me wonder about where his other iconic pieces of wardrobe come from.

  • I think there's probably a parallel universe where Lucasarts is still chugging along and the Indiana Jones games preclude the Uncharted series from ever happening.

  • This was a really strange game about a really strange character. I'm not sure it played that well and I 100% only played because of the FF tie-in

  • I know I'm a sucker for Transformers games, but honestly this game is ok. Which was novel for a TF game because everything that came before this one was awful. The Tidal Wave fight in particular was nuts, was the biggest enemy NPC I had ever seen in a Videogame at that point.

    I'd make a crack about it being a shame that this is based on TF:Armada sub-line but I no longer care since we've had better G1 based games released after.

  • 1st parkour is pretty dang fun and more games should do it. I wish DICE had the self confidence to leave combat out of this game entirely, because Faith is fun to play when she's in motion. When she has to stop to fight, melee or if you decide to go Rambo, is when the game slogs.

  • Playing a LucasArts Adventure game on controller felt weird, but also kinda nice. Felt like a worthy end to the Guybrush Threepwood saga even if it was the weakest entry imo that is up until Tales of Monkey Island. But polite company doesn't talk about that one.

  • I already knew I liked Diablo, and I definitely knew I liked greek mythology so I figured I'd like this game. And I did. Just not as much as I liked Diablo II

  • I'd probably feel differently if I had paid more than 10 bucks for this game. But I didn't so the short run time didn't bug me in the slightest

  • For some reason my brain can't decide how to handle the Civilization series with theses kinds of lists. They clearly belong on here somewhere but where is hard to ascertain.

    I did decide to pick III because that is the version I've played the most as I've played a lot of the mp with friends.

  • This game is too weird to not have on here. The combat is incredibly mashy in a way that made my hands really hurt however it's coupled the incredibly cool ability to pretty much ride a dragon and roast armies whenever you want. Better still is the element of this droning insanity happening around you thematically, in the plot and auditorily. Didn't shock me at all this game had a million endings and all of them bizarre.