The last decade and a half has been a very interesting one indeed. Gaming has developed at an astonishing rate, and it’s primarily down to the fact that technology, as well as pure creativity, is constantly evolving. Within the last 15 years, some games have had such a significant impact that they’ve helped inspire other game designers, while also adding an abundance of innovation to many of gaming’s greatest genres. We’re here to celebrate and salute those games that stood out as the most important and inspirational within the last 15 years.
Grand Theft Auto 3
Grand Theft Auto 3 wasn’t the first open-world game, but it definitely wrote the book. The third iteration in the Grand Theft Auto series brought a new breathing, living city that gamers had never seen before, and immersed the player within a world and story of crime that put some movies to shame. The freedom and exhilaration one felt when first putting on GTA3 was like no other, and that’s why it deserves a spot in our list.
Halo: Combat Evolved
FPS’s were always a bit of a hit or miss on consoles, but Bungie smashed it out of the park with the original Halo. Not only did Halo bring fantastic visuals, large open battle areas, a compelling story and one of gaming’s most recognizable icons, but it also defined online console gaming. Halo’s multiplayer skyrocketed into awesomeness and showed the world what consoles, more specifically the Xbox, could really do in the online arena.
World of Warcraft
To find a word that describes the popularity of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is impossible. This gargantuan (we tried) MMO captured the hearts and minds of PC gamers around the world with its deep character progression, quests and unanimous world. With millions players lootin’ it up every day, World of Warcraft cannot be stopped.
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy is not only the best Wii game, but it is one of the best games ever. Let’s just say many of gaming’s favourite icons from the past have had ‘difficulties’ making the jump to 3D. But our favourite mustachioed Italian plumber blew gamers away with his trip into outer space. Unique level designs, constantly changing gameplay mechanics, gorgeous visuals and enough gameplay time to justify any purchase made SMG an instant classic. Super Mario Galaxy is one of those mythological animals – you don’t expect it to appear when it did, but we’re glad that it did.
Resident Evil 4
The Resident Evil series is known to produce games of extremely high-caliber, but no one expected the monumental impact that Leon Kennedy’s trip to Europe would have. RE4 took a more action-oriented direction, but it paid off, as the game delivers one of the most frightening and action-packed experiences to date. RE4 was also the title to implement the over-the-shoulder perspective which can be seen in just about every third-person shooter today. Talk about inspiration? We say ‘revolution.’
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
While there were previous extreme sports games around, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater really kick-started the genre and inspired countless games to come. The second title in the series took what the first did and made it better in every single way. The signature control scheme was still there, but with a wealth of new tricks, moves, levels and a create-a-skater feature, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 pushed the boundaries and raised the expectations of what sports games should deliver.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
The original Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation was the first of its kind. Spanning over two discs, it brought new stealth gameplay, along with action sequences that could rival Hollywood blockbusters. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty then debuted on the PS2 and astounded gamers with beautiful visuals and some new tricks up its sleeve. MGS2 upped-the-ante in every way, with a compelling story, two protagonists, and even bigger Metal Gears, which all culminated into one of the most explosive titles of the 2000s.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Uncharted 2 will go down in history as one of the greatest games of the past decade. Visually, it’s a masterpiece, while the action keeps up with the good looks to produce an edge-of-your-seat adventure. While the third instalment was great too, the second just stood head and shoulders above – the narrative itself is a work of art and has inspired a new generation of story-driven campaigns that will only improve gaming in the future.
The original Half-Life helped pioneer FPS’s, while the sequel solidified them. HL2 unveiled a new setting, a great story and new enemies; not to mention the physics engine which produced some of the most realistic collisions and gameplay elements to date. Two words for you: Gravity Gun.
Which game do you think deserves a spot in the list and to be considered one of the games of the decade?