Join us as we continue our countdown to the generation’s best game. Next up are games 18 to 13; things are getting serious. You can catch up with the rundown from 30 to 25 here and 24 to 19 here. Read on for some of the generations best games that just missed the Top 10…
18. Civilization V (PC)
2010 was a great year for games. Firaxis, a good shout for developer of the generation, was on particularly good form with the release of Civilization V. Without a doubt, the main game is up there with the very best Civ games (reflected with its Metacritic score of 90) but its value is stretched further with its quality expansion packs “Gods and Kings” and “Brave New World“. A sublime package, accessible and challenging to either new comers or old-hands, Civilization V is more than worthy of the time its fans have poured into it.
17. Dragon’s Age Origins (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Created as the spiritual successor to BioWare’s own Baldur’s Gate series, Dragon Age Origins initially took gamers by surprise with how old-school it was, especially after the trail-blazing Mass Effect. Make no mistake, Dragon Age is all high-fantasy and BioWare were brave enough to push forward with it before fantasy was cool again in a pre-Game Of Thrones landscape. Dragon Age’s strengths are in its world-building and narrative; the world of Thedas is fully realised, dangerous and full of intrigue; the narrative mature and bold. Memorable characters and an excellent slice of DLC (Awakening) made Origins a must play for fantasy fans. Dragon Age II was an enjoyable misstep, but the original is one of the finest RPGs of the generation.
16. The Witcher 2 (PC, Xbox 360)
Since 2005, fans of mature fantasy RPGs have spoiled for choice. The Witcher 2 is one of the genres very best. While some don’t like it (even people here at Low Fat Gaming), many more couldn’t resist the temptation to dive into Geralt’s tale of betrayal, loss, vengeance and intrigue. With a narrative as complex and twisting as HBO’s Game of Thrones, intriguing characters, stellar voice acting and solid RPG mechanics, developers CD Projeckt built upon everything good in the original, PC-only offering. It’s rock-hard too; almost as challenging as the likes of Dark Souls and Dragon’s Dogma, The Witcher 2 isn’t for the faint of heart. However, anyone willing to put time into this epic are thoroughly rewarded.
15. Alan Wake (PC, Xbox 360)
Alan Wake is a little bit special. Though to be vapourware after years in development hell, Wake finally emerged from the shadows in 2010 (it was finally released on Steam in 2012) to enthusiastic reviews and soon garnered a cult following. In fact, Time Magazine voted it best game of 2010. Unfortunately, it didn’t have quite the same impact commercially – a crying shame. Taking huge inspiration from the stories of Stephen King and the atmosphere of fan-favourite TV shows Twin Peaks and The X Files, developers Remedy crafted an experience like no other – and leaving fans gasping for more. Alan Wake’s tale continued in DLC expansions “The Signal“, “The Writer” and the spin-off “American Nightmare” but we’re hankering for a true sequel. Wake’s lasting popularity was highlighted at the initial disappointment of Remedy’s latest game, Quantum Break. Its crime? It wasn’t Alan Wake 2.
14. Portal 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Wittiest game of the generation? Quite possibly. Taking the original hours long Portal and stretching it into a six-hour, narrative heavy experience was a risk – but it was a challenge Valve conquered. While the games does sag slightly in the final third, all that came before is perfectly paced, written and inventive as ever. As with a number of games in our top 30, the world-building in Portal 2 is of a class apart; Aperture Laboratories feels like a living, breathing (though sadly abandoned) place – every room tells a story, every nook and cranny has a secret and there are plenty of nods to the larger world of Half-Life. A simple, yet challenging, puzzle game at heart; Portal 2’s narrative and strong design allow it to achieve much, much more and is arguably Valve’s finest moment yet.
13. BioShock (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
We’ve written about BioShock before (right here if you’re of a mind to look) but excuse us while we write a little more. Even though it just missed out on our top 12, Ken Levine’s masterpiece could well be the most important game of the generation. You can probably think of at least 10 major releases post-BioShock that were influenced in some way by it and it brought the “thinking-man’s” FPS to the mass market in a way which other games of its ilk never did. BioShock’s narrative twist is now the stuff of legends, but Rapture is the real star of the show. A perfect utopia turned nightmarish dystopia, Rapture beckons you in despite the feeling of dread – and you’ll never forget the place. There were games before BioShock and games after BioShock. That’s how important it is.
– Dave Green. Tweet him @davidpgreen83