It’s quite incredible to think about the amount of video games that are released each year. Now that Steam has opened the floodgates, allowing many games on their service without much in the way of moderation at all – it’s easy to see just how many games are added to the service each day. In the last two years, Steam has gathered more titles than in the entire progression of years leading up to that.
Gaming and nostalgia go hand-in-hand. However, we’re also about to enter a new decade, hand in hand. For that and more, let us consider what great games, released in the last ten-ish years, are absolutely worth your time. It’s quite amazing to see just how far things have come, and yet how many excellent design ideals have stood the test of time. On top of that, games we might have once considered rudimentary, such as PayPal Casino options, are now replete with fun and enticing experiences.
Have you played any games in the following list? If not, let’s explore them together, and help you discover them anew:
Pillars Of Eternity
Pillars of Eternity is a classic-styled cRPG developed and written by Obsidian Entertainment. You might know the studio from Fallout: New Vegas, and the upcoming ‘The Outer Worlds.’ The game is heavily inspired by classic pen-and-paper influenced computer role playing games such as Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment. Those who are familiar with that system will immediately know what they’re getting into – but let us explain this to those who might not. cRPG’s, or Isometric RPGs as they are otherwise known – are top-down, party-based, heavily narrative-led experiences. They’re often set in fantasy worlds, and Pillars is no different. Often, these games are celebrated by their massive amounts of dialogue, and your ability to choose your responses throughout the story leading to many different events, shaping the story as you go. This kind of personalized experience was celebrated deeply when games such as Mass Effect were released, but many new gamers do not know that variance in narrative was first explored by BioWare in Baldur’s Gate.
Pillars of Eternity started life as a successful kickstarter project, and became one of the first and most exciting stories of success the crowdfunding website had achieved. But what sets Pillars apart from others in this vein? Well, the level of craftsmanship and polish is incredible. It has a cohesive and exhaustive internal lore, something that’s worth digging deep into. It also has a careful and measured approach to its gameplay, teaching you the basics carefully, as these games can look quite overwhelming to newcomers. On top of that, the story is incredible. If you’re not a fan of the stock hero’s journey fantasy – we would also recommend Tyranny by the same studio – in this game you play the advisor to an arch villain sweeping a land. Pillars of Eternity has an incredible value for money, and with the sequel (Deadfire) celebrated and still getting updates, now is a great time for those who want to sit back, and experience a classic formula revolutionized for modern gaming. It’s also very important to note that thanks to the limited demand of a graphical nature – Pillars can be run on most machines, even your laptop without a video card. To us, that’s a great advantage for a game to have.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
We’re all aware of Deus Ex, and how much of a cultural revolution that game spawned. Video games that offer you various paths around an objective, the ability to spec your character how you like, perfection in finding secret area paths and uncovering a deep conspiracy – all of this is worthwhile to experience to this day. While games such as System Shock and others might have started this new perception in regards to video games – Deus Ex certainly perfected it.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution, then, is a new title in the series, one that both takes the timeless excellence of retro game design and brings it to a modern audience. Playing as Adam Jensen, a security chief for Sarif Industries – a biotech augmentation firm, players delve into a complex web of conspiracy and misdirection that the series is known for. Choosing stealth, combat, and dialogue routes all have their advantages – and the more you explore a location, the better you see how interconnected and smart the level design is.
This is one of those great games that can influence you to check out the older games of the past, namely the original Deus Ex, the System Shock series, or perhaps new titles such as Prey and Dishonored – who all owe their roots to this franchise.
The Witcher Series
The Witcher was and is originally a series of short stories and novels, written by author Andrez Sapkowski. Thanks to the video games that have come since, it’s become something of a worldwide phenomenon, with Henry Cavill playing the lead Geralt in the Netflix series to be released soon.
The Witcher is a series dedicated to a high-fantasy setting based in Polish folklore. Geralt, the protagonist and the titular Witcher, is somewhat of a mutant, who is paid for slaying the vile monsters of the land. The stories chiefly deal with betrayal, intellectual discourse, violence, hatred, humor, and folklore. The Polish flair, now translated by David French, gives it all the more vibrance. However, while the books are fantastic to read to give you more context for the games, jumping into the video games to begin with isn’t a bad idea. The Witcher series, developed by CD Projekt Red, is known for its variance in gameplay, its realistic worlds and atmosphere. If you’re looking for an excellent RPG, this is the series for you.
The first game might not look as impressive, but for those of us who needn’t the most modern graphics to enjoy a title, it works fine and is incredibly engaging. The second title was an incredible step up for the series, and boasted much in the way of incredible writing. The Wild Hunt, the third title and DLC, has received over 200 awards for innovation in game design. To see more about that, watching Danny O’Dwyer’s NoClip documentary goes into the development history of the studio and the intense labor of running a development studio. It’s fascinating to watch for those who like to see behind the scenes.
Metroidvania games, that excellent genre that sprung out through certain design elements known to Castlevania and Metroid, are coming back in strong fashion. Chief among all of these, perhaps with the most impressive stature, is Hollow Knight. Found on any modern console or computer storefront, the price for value here is incredible. Not only have the development team offered expansion after expansion, time and time again, but the game on its own sports around 40 hours of playtime, and that’s before the added content.
But what is Hollow Knight? Well, it’s a highly stylized, incredibly impressive restoration of old metroidvania titles, but with its own incredible soundtrack, highly distinctive visuals, and incredible gameplay loops. So much detail has gone into the world it’s quite impressive to consider. From intelligent writing, to extremely well paced level design, to true surprises around every corner – this is one of those ‘must-play games for any fan of the genre. Again, this is one of those titles that will require little processing power, allowing remote laptop play to become a distinct and worthwhile possibility. To us, that’s incredibly impressive.
Celeste blew the minds of most players in 2018. A game so innovative, interesting and deeply emotional in its writing that it launched to the top of many GOTY lists. But why is it so worthwhile? Each puzzle is precise, requiring great agility and timing to pull off. However, because the penalty of death is so minimal, and accessibility has been refined to a sharp point, that anyone can pick up and find some value in it’s screen-cleaning, strawberry hunting goodness.
On top of that, the game itself sports an incredible story relating to mental health and the courage we need to sustain it. This is a gem worthwhile of being in anyone’s digital catalog, and a quick listen to the soundtrack can prove that too.
The Red Strings Club
The Red Stings Club is another game influenced by the art styles of the past, but has its own story to tell. Mixing drinks for clients that come in according to how you wish the conversation to flow, you can come to many new insights and sets of intrigue regarding your outreach. Anyone interested in a great story, one set in a dystopian cyberpunk future (who doesn’t love that?) would be well catered to here. Thankfully, the game is also short, leading to a comforting and relaxing means of pick-up-and-play.
We hope that in this list, you find something worthwhile to play. After all, great games should be celebrated by anyone interested, not just those who spend time exploring niche titles.