RELEASED 2016 | LAST POSITION 11
Wes: More games should start with a mission statement. In Doom, that statement is “Shut up and let me kill things.” It follows through on this by making the killing very, very good, but critically, it captures the same feeling of exploring tightly packed, intricate spaces that helped made 1993’s Doom a PC gaming phenomenon. The shotgun also helps.
Phil: Glory kills were a masterstroke. A lot of shooters incentivise you to get close up to the action—to overcommit past the point of safety—through small tricks of level design, or subtle tweaks to a bullet’s damage fall-off. Doom does it by letting you brutally tear up a demon until they explode in a shower of health. It’s absurd, loud, fun.
9. Hitman 2
RELEASED 2018 | LAST POSITION New entry
Phil: Hitman 2 is the best stealth murder sim. Its six levels are huge, varied and full of surprising ways to kill the deserving targets. With the Legacy Pack DLC adding in all of the previous game’s episodes too, this becomes a massive platform for IO Interactive’s assassination puzzles.
Samuel: Downloading all the Hitman levels into Hitman 2 then playing them sequentially was the best 100 hours of my 2018. So many great murder boxes, in a fantastic, modern format with perfect controls, offering loads of scope for player-made stories.
James: Pure catharsis for these trying times. Imagine the worst people in the world. You get to take them out however you want. Don’t feel bad.
8. Return of the Obra Dinn
RELEASED 2018 | LAST POSITION New entry
Jody: The crew of the Obra Dinn are dead. Your stopwatch lets you see the final moments of their lives as a frozen tableau. It’s a nautical tale of despair and unparalleled suffering, and a crossword where the clues are corpses.
Chris: It took me from “I don’t know what happened here and I’m sure I never will” to “I just figured this out and I’m a genius.” Along the way it accomplished what very few games have ever truly done: it made me feel like a bonafide detective.
Wes: A vote for Obra Dinn is basically a vote for creator Lucas Pope’s brain, which somehow generated every damn bit of this brilliant game, right down to the phenomenal music.
7. Hollow Knight
RELEASED 2017 | LAST POSITION 12
James: Hollow Knight is the best Metroid game. An action adventure with a heavy emphasis on exploration and—stick with me—bug lore, Hollow Knight treats every enemy, location, and character with more attention to detail than the vast majority of videogames. I’m on my third playthrough now, the first with every free DLC add-on. I’ve fought six new bosses and know I have far more than that to meet. There’s a brand new endgame after the bonkers secret ending that reinterprets the story from the base game in a whole new light. This is a huge game wrapped around a mystifying world.
6. Into the Breach
RELEASED 2018 | LAST POSITION 4
Wes: It was almost rude of Subset Games to make a game better than FTL, a mainstay of our Top 100 for many years. Where so many strategy games are built around risk and randomness, Into the Breach puts all the information in front of you and hands you a toolbox of three mechs. It’s up to you to build your way out of near-impossible situations. As you realize every tool can be used three or four or five different ways, the hours start to fly by.
Phil: Into the Breach is a game about puzzling your way out of trouble. You’re challenged to take your time; to end each turn without loss. Successfully doing so feels amazing, and balances out the pain of all the times you have to (knowingly) accept your defeat.
5. Dishonored 2
RELEASED 2016 | LAST POSITION 2
Samuel: Nothing is more PC to me than a first-person stealth game that rewards freedom of approach. Dishonored 2 has the best sandbox-y levels this genre has ever seen, from high-concept environments like the Clockwork Mansion, where the level changes on the fly, to intricately detailed locations like the Royal Conservatory. It feels like the future of this genre is under threat, but to me, this is the kind of game everyone should be playing.
Phil: Dishonored 2 does a lot of things well, but its greatest success is how much fun it is to experiment with. As Emily, I loved comboing Mesmerize and Domino to slip through rooms full of hypnotised guards. Plenty of games offer the choice between stealth and action, but here you have cool abilities and options for every playstyle.