10. Titanfall 2
Released 2016 | Last position New entry
Robin: The most creative shooter campaign in years, plus a wonderfully dramatic multiplayer offering. Now that it’s finally on Steam, you’ve really got no excuse not to pick it up. If any game deserves a second life, it’s this one.
Harry: I'll take Robin's word for it on the multiplayer, but the campaign is undoubtedly the best ever in a shooter, with more imagination in single levels than entire videogames: The timeline-tearing Effect and Cause level is rightly eulogised, but the way the game is willing to just bin excellent ideas like this, then follow it up with something better, is extraordinary. Like many, I only played it through word-of-mouth, so here's a recommendation: play it, you won't regret it.
9. Outer Wilds
Released 2019 | Last position 20
Steven: Outer Wilds made me feel a kind of childlike wonder at the cosmos that I haven't felt in a long time. Each planet is a wonderful scientific enigma that slowly reveals a tragic and poignant story about our place in the universe. It's charming, endlessly inventive, and, despite a frustrating final puzzle, one of the most consistently incredible indie games I've ever played. While games like Elite Dangerous try to recreate the joy of discovery by emulating an entire galaxy, The Outer Wilds packs it all into a single solar system trapped in a 20-minute time loop. Play this game.
Robin: So glad we pushed this higher this year. An absolutely exquisite game.
8. Hollow Knight
Released 2017 | Last position 7
Rachel: Team Cherry's gorgeously gloomy subterranean world is like no other. The depth that has gone into building its bug civilization is incredibly detailed, but also completely sealed away within the dreams and memories of the characters. Tales of fallen heroes, deranged kings, and wrathful gods are hidden in every corner. Hollow Knight is a tough action adventure, but wanting to know more about this incredible, ruined kingdom kept pushing me forward.
James: Hollow Knight is still the best Metroid game. Nintendo, cancel the rest of your 2D Metroid plans, mainline that Prime stuff, because Team Cherry has it handled. We're good. No other 2D adventure has quite so much tucked away, a constant unfurling of scope, character, and history. Bring on Silksong.
7. Dishonored 2
Released 2016 | Last position 5
Fraser: No game has levels like Dishonored 2. Most of them would be the high point anywhere else. When you reach the Clockwork Mansion, you think it's probably peaked, with its elaborate transforming rooms and terrifying mechanical constructs, but then a few missions later you hit A Crack in the Slab, letting you explore a mansion in both the past and present, creatively altering the timeline to complete your mission. Picking apart their quirks and trying to figure out how to break the patterns of the guards requires a lot of lateral thinking, but thankfully you've usually got a lot of nifty tricks up your sleeve, turning you into more of a trickster god than an assassin.
Tom: I worried that the move to Karnaca would hurt the game, as Dunwall was so evocative in game one. I needn't have. Though the game takes place in the sunshine of a coastal southern town, it's rife with corruption and swarming with horrible plague flies. I love everything I look at in this game, whether it's a cool desk lamp, or a shutte suspended on rails above the city. Emily is a great addition as well. Abilities like Domino—which pairs enemies together so if you kick one they all get kicked—are genius.
6. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Released 2019 | Last position 3
Harry: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice isn't just one of the finest, tightest, sharpest action games, it's also one of the best rhythm games you can play on PC right now. Imagining each flourish of an enemy sword as a node on an approaching fretboard is a useful way of parrying and dodging your way through the immaculately dark world of Sengoku-era Japan. As is customary from FromSoftware by now, the combat is note-perfect, too, making the punishingly rewarding learning curve feel as firm, and fair, as ever.
Tom: FromSoftware can do no wrong at the moment. Sekiro features the best combat system the developer has made yet. The block-and-parry system produces fights that look as though they have been choreographed, and there are some outstanding bosses.
Wes: I've only become obsessed with Sekiro in mid-2020, but damn, what a game. It retains just enough of the Souls flavor and intricate level design while being a much more focused action game. It's the proper Ninja Gaiden sequel I've wanted for more than a decade.