With Cyberpunk 2077 just around the corner, I thought I'd take a look back at the best games I've played in the last decade before I jump into the world of Cyberpunk.
I've actually been gaming since Pong in the early 70s!
I used to frequent the arcades playing my share of Space Invaders, Centipede, Galaxians, Tempest, Dragon's Lair, Missile Command, Defender and others.
In the 80s, I played simple games on a ZX80 and ZX81, skipped the Spectrum and went to an Amstrad CPC464, and later a CPC6128 where I played games like Red Moon, Chimera, Sweevo's World, Don't Panic, Robin of Sherwood and many others.
I first transitioned to PC gaming in the early to mid 90s with games like Wing Commander: Privateer and Frontier: Elite II and then took about 10 years away from gaming, coming back to play the Baldur's Gate series and World of Warcraft.
I built my first gaming PC in 2013 and that's what I've used ever since, with various hardware upgrades over the years.
So it's PC games I'll be looking back on in this post...so let's get started...
After I built my gaming PC, I bought Skyrim again in 2014, applied a load of mods and an ENB (Enhanced Natural Beauty) mod to make the game much richer both visually and content-wise.
I easily put over 600 hours into playing Skyrim.
I thought that was a huge amount of time, but it was dwarfed by a friend, who shall remain nameless, who put in over twice that amount of time!
Skyrim is the game that keeps on giving.
Two great DLCs were released for the game and modders went to town on creating companions, quests and content for the game.
And they still do so to this day.
I didn't buy the Legendary edition when it was released nor did I buy Skyrim: The Special Edition.
By that time, I'd moved on to other games.
And while I loved Skyrim when I was playing it, the thought of putting another couple of hundred hours into the game is too daunting!
No Man's Sky
While No Man's Sky was released back in 2016, I didn't buy it until earlier in 2020.
It was a game that promised much but didn't deliver on those promises at launch and it's taken a few years for it to match the original hype for the game.
The developers have solidly slogged away at improving the game with patches and upgrades (they're not really DLCs in the traditional sense), and now it is a game worthy of your time.
After I'd played a number of fantasy and historically set games, it was a nice change to go back into space.
You could probably spend the rest of your life exploring this procedurally generated game and that was not something I wanted to do!
I was finding a sameyness about playing and I wasn't so much grinding as just getting into a pattern of play that I was repeating.
It's a game I fully intend to go back to at some stage but, unless I end up hating Cyberpunk 2077, it won't be till some time next year.
I put well over 100 hours into this game before being distracted by Horizon Zero Dawn.
Horizon Zero Dawn
I actually got a free copy of this game as a bonus when I bought my AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU back in June.
I really enjoyed this game and its post-apocalyptic setting.
It's world is populated with machines that look like a variety of animals and part of the main quest involves finding out what happened to the old world (our world) some 1,000 years earlier.
It's a game I actually finished and while I really enjoyed playing it, I can't see myself ever going back to replay it.
There's not enough variation in main story as there is with more open-world games like Fallout 4, Skyrim or Assassin's Creed.
It is a game I'd recommend playing though.
And you can pick it up for sale prices now.
The Fallout Franchise
My first introduction to the Fallout franchise was Fallout: New Vegas on the Xbox.
To be honest, it didn't grab me in the way that Skyrim did.
But, having played most of the game (I never finished it), it wasn't a game I was all that fussed on playing again.
I did buy it and all its DLCs for the PC in a sale though and played through most of the DLCs.
Then I played Fallout 3 which I enjoyed more (again, it's a game I never finished).
One thing I do like in games is the great outdoors and places to explore there.
It might sound strange but one of the reasons I preferred Fallout 3 to New Vegas was that there were blue skies and no murky fog/lighting which I found oppressive in New Vegas.
I was looking forward to Fallout 4 and snapped it up when it was released.
But I found the main storyline uninspiring.
The settlement building in the game seemed somewhat crippled and building became a chore.
I did enjoy a lot of the open world, exploring and firefights I would get into but to get the most out of the game, you need to have a good understanding of the perks you need to use early in the game and how to use them to build your character.
And you only get that by playing the game and then doing a second playthrough with your newly acquired knowledge.
Because I didn't give a hoot about what became of Sean, I didn't feel compelled to finish the main story line, nor the game.
I felt it just kinda ran out of steam and looking back now, it seems like it was a bit of a missed opportunity.
Again, I put over 100 hours into the game and I enjoyed playing it...until I didn't...and then I stopped.
Fallout 76 seemed like it would be a breath of fresh air with its setting.
I'm not a fan of multi-player gaming having had my fill of people jumping around incessantly, trying to get you to duel with them, 20 people trying to solve the same puzzle at once, other players stealing your loot and so on in games like World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online.
But you could play Fallout 76 solo if you wanted.
It still had the inevitable twats wearing stupid heads, jumping up and down but there was mercifully fewer of them in game.
Taking over power plants became pointless as they'd be reset when you logged out.
Some junk you collected couldn't be sold, so they ended up clogging your inventory in one way or another.
I wasn't that interested in getting the keys for the nukes so I could launch them which seemed to be the ultimate goal of the game.
And then what, once you've done that?
There were many other problems with the game that have been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere.
The same thing happened for me with this game...I enjoyed it while I played it...until I didn't.
It became repetitive and boring.
I know it's been improved a lot since I played it, but I don't want to have to pay a monthly fee for a game I paid €60 for, to get a private server so I can avoid all the other players I don't want to play with.
The Tomb Raider Franchise
I bought the original Tomb Raider game when it came out in 1996 but just couldn't get used to the gameplay so gave up on it pretty quickly.
While not really an open-world game, they're ones I thoroughly enjoyed playing.
Both had an engaging story showing how Lara Croft became the Tomb Raider, great environments and seemed to be very well balanced games.
The only problem I had with them is that they're those types of games where every player ends up playing exactly the same character in the end.
These too, are games I finished.
Shadow of The Tomb Raider was the third and final game in this series and, while I also completed this game, to me it was a disappointment.
I didn't like the jungle environments in the game and it just felt a bit dead, like the developers had worn themselves out creating Rise of the Tomb Raider.
I also didn't like the perk/character development implementation in the game.
The Witcher Franchise
I can't remember when I first bought the Witcher game but it was one I just couldn't get into.
I sucked at combat and all doors seemed to be closed to me.
So I gave up on the game and didn't bother with Witcher 2.
When Witcher 3 was getting rave reviews after its release in 2015, I dipped back into that world.
Wow! The Witcher Wild Hunt (Witcher 3) game and its DLCs set a standard for gaming that no other company has met - at least in the games I've played.
There are many games I haven't played, so maybe some of these meet that standard of game, especially in the years since Witcher 3 set its high gaming bar.
The world of the Witcher is so rich.
There are few, if any, grindy quests and all of the side quests have their own deep stories and NPC character motivations.
This is an aspect that Fallout 4 fell down on.
A lot of the games I'd played before Witcher 3 had been first-person games so playing third-person was a bit of a challenge initially.
But now I almost prefer third-person to first-person , which often has too restricted a view of what's going on.
I probably put a couple of hundred hours into playing the game and its DLCs and loved every minute of it.
Right up until the last frame of the game.
I was sorry when it was over.
Incidentally, during the game, Ciri - who's been hopping between worlds - talks about a technological world she visited in her travels.
I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be Night City in Cyberpunk 2077 and she'll make an appearance in that game, since both games were developed by CD Projekt Red!
The Metro Franchise
Metro 2033 was my first introduction to mission-style gaming where, if you fail a mission, you have to restart it from scratch...and you're not allowed to save your progress during the mission.
I've learned in the meantime that a lot of games take this approach.
And it's one I find incredibly frustrating.
I can't tell you how many times I've made it to the end of a mission only to be killed by a stray bullet or grenade and...it's back to square one.
I don't get a sense of achievement when I finally do complete a mission successfully.
Instead I have a feeling of "Thank God that fucking mission is out of the way. Now I can continue exploring."
For me, missions just kill gameplay. They're necessary unenjoyable hurdles to cross that impede my enjoyment of the game.
Same with boss fights.
I don't enjoy them. They take too much time. And they stop me from progressing further.
And if they annoy me enough, I'll just stop playing the game.
The Metro games are also quite linear so there's little to explore in them.
You're confined to the section of the map you're currently in until you either solve the puzzle there or beat the boss.
I gave up on Metro 2033 for this reason and ignored the sequel, Metro: Last Light.
I did buy Metro Exodus in a sale and enjoyed it a lot more.
In fact, I completed the game and the end came as a surprise because I beat the final boss so quickly, not realizing it was the final boss fight.
GreedFall is set in a fictionalised 17th Century on an island that has a past.
You have to form alliances with companions and tribes on the island while also negotiating the politics of your people who have invaded from the mainland and discover what has transpired on the island.
Another game I really enjoyed.
There's a bit of magic in it so it is something of a Swords and Sorcery game but set in a more recent historical past.
One of the great features of this game was that the developers purposefully did not include grind quests that are part and parcel of lesser games.
I never got around to finishing this one though it's still on my hard drive waiting for me to return to it, which I will.
The Far Cry Franchise
The first Far Cry game I got was Far Cry 3.
This series of games also uses the mission-style gameplay.
And having had my fill of missions that took too many repeat attempts before success, I dumped this game.
I returned for Far Cry 5.
By this stage I was more used to mission-style gaming and was better prepared for it.
As a result, I really enjoyed playing FC5.
It had a good protagonist and engaging quests.
Driving was fun and combat a hoot.
It's the only Far Cry game I completed.
I did get Far Cry New Dawn which was set on the same map as Far Cry 5, but about 15 year in that game's future.
It was a step down from Far Cry 5 with so-so protagonists and a story that ran out of steam.
The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds was another space-based game I had fun playing.
However, while the price tag on this was for a AAA game, Outer Worlds wasn't a Triple-A game.
It was overpriced for what it was and was a short game compared to the others I talk about on this page.
It had a Fallout: New Vegas vibe about it, not all that surprising since it was created by the same development company.
Even though I completed the game, I just felt a bit underwhelmed because of the price.
Well worth picking up in a sale though.
The Assassin's Creed Franchise
The first Assassin's Creed game I played on PC was Assassin's Creed Origins.
I've always had a fascination with ancient Egypt so the setting and environment really appealed to me.
I went on holidays to Egypt myself, way back in 1988, and got to see a lot of the archaeological sites, when Pharoh's Revenge and heat stroke didn't lay me low.
Or possible death by straying into a minefield in the Sinai didn't kill me.
It was great to be immersed in old Egypt, at least as it was imagined in Origins.
I do find the Assassin's Creed games to be very long and I've never actually fully completed any of them.
I always get distracted by newer games before I can finish them.
I guess it's a case of maybe having become somewhat bored with the repetitive nature of some of the gameplay, not something I ever found when playing Witcher 3.
Anyway, after a couple of years had passed and Assassin's Creed: Odyssey was on sale, I bought it and started playing it this year.
A lot of the gameplay is the same in these games so, in many ways, I was in familiar territory, except this game was set in ancient Greece.
There's a lot to do in this game and I got about two-thirds of the way through it before Horizon Zero Dawn dropped and I haven't had the chance to go back to it.
The Mass Effect Franchise
I am a big fan of the Mass Effect games, the first trilogy anyway that are based around John Shepard and his team.
I didn't play Mass Effect 1 since it had a 4:3 aspect ratio and so started out on Mass Effect 2 instead.
Great fun to play although these games are less open-world than I like.
Mass Effect 3 was equally as enjoyable and these were both games I fully completed.
I like the combat mechanics in these games and the mixture of gun-based, melee-based and biotic-based combat.
Being able to select who on your team accompanies you on missions is a great feature as you can select characters whose abilities best suit the mission at hand.
I wasn't that fussed on the sections of the game where the Nomad ground vehicle was needed as what you could do felt very constricted.
When Mass Effect: Andromeda was announced,I was looking forward to it.
But, it was plagued by problems and received bad reviews, so I didn't buy it.
At least not until I was tempted by an under €5 price tag.
I installed a few recommended mods for it that fix a load of bugs, improve the facial animations and provide better balanced combat and, you know what?...
...It's a really enjoyable game.
It was much better than I expected to be and I certainly got more than €5 worth of entertainment from it.
It's another game I actually finished and while the story in it wasn't as strong as those in the original trilogy, it's definitely worth giving a shot, especially for such a low price.
There are rumours that a new Mass Effect game is in the works.
Whether that comes to fruition or not remains to be seen.
But, if it does, it's most likely to be a sequel to Mass Effect: Andromeda rather than being set back in the Milky Way, given the events that have transpired there.
That's not all the games I've played in the last 10 years, just the highlights for me.
So here's my selection of top ranked games going from the ones I loved the most to those enjoyed a little less...
- The Witcher Wild Hunt (Witcher 3)
- Horizon Zero Dawn
- Far Cry 5
- No Man's Sky
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
- Tomb Raider
- Mass Effect 3
- Mass Effect 2
- Rise of The Tomb Raider
- Assassin's Creed: Origins
- Mass Effect: Andromeda
- The Outer Worlds
- Fallout 4
- Far Cry: New Dawn
- Metro Exodus
- Shadow of The Tomb Raider
- The Witcher 2
- Fallout 76
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Shadow of The Tomb Raider
- Metro 2033
No doubt if you've played any of these games, you'd rate them differently.
If that's the case, let me know why in the comment below as well as what your favourite games are...