The decade that began with the Xbox, GameCube, Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 and ended with the Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3 is considered one of the best eras when we talk about video games because of the innovations in both gameplay and storytelling and, obviously, the technical advances in graphics and mechanics. It is also a period where a lot of critically acclaimed video games were released that influenced a big part of the video games we play today.
With that in mind, today we are going to select the top 10 best video games of the decade so let’s begin!
10. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
The Zelda franchise is one of the most beloved video game franchises ever for more than one reason. But let me tell you this, while everybody chooses Ocarina of Time as the best Zelda, I personally choose Majora’s Mask as the best TLOZ video game ever created.
The game is sad, weird, and the darkest Zelda release until now, and that is something a lot of people appreciate: the change of tone from “lighthearted” to “dark and gloomy” … well, it is not like Ocarina of Time is lighthearted, but you know what I mean.
9. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Some people can argue that Battlefield is a better military shooter franchise, because yes, Battlefield gives you an overall better experience. But Call of Duty 4 changed the landscape of the FPS that would come after 2007, it is arguably the most critically acclaimed Call of Duty game until now, and no other COD managed to be so groundbreaking as this one.
The campaign is excellent and gives you the same feeling of a 1990’s thriller movie. This game spawned two sequels that completed the critically acclaimed Modern Warfare trilogy and also spawned a reboot in 2019.
8. Silent Hill 2
The first Silent Hill was good, it was a great first game, but the sequel released on 2001 was so amazing that is widely considered the best “true” survival horror video game ever made.
Silent Hill 2 follows our protagonist James Sunderland arriving at the eponymous town looking for his dead wife but what he finds there is worse than he thought. The game is praised for its designs, haunting atmosphere, soundtrack, graphics, and plot twists; and while the game scares you for real, it is still considered a video game viewed as artistic.
7. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of the Liberty
While the first Metal Gear Solid was a solid hit on the original PlayStation, the mind-blowing sequel was the one who make us think that Hideo Kojima is a different kind of genius. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of the Liberty is a game that messed up with the players with its political and philosophical themes, and also for the sudden change of protagonist; where you start as Solid Snake and then you control Raiden from out of nowhere.
MGS2 is also considered a video game way ahead of its time for dealing with themes that became relevant in the next decade.
6. Shadow of the Colossus
Imagine being Fumito Ueda and being able to create a video game that Guillermo del Toro himself claims to be a total masterpiece, that is Shadow of the Colossus for you.
Considered the spiritual successor to another masterpiece called Ico, Shadow of the Colossus is widely considered not only one of the best video games of the 00s but one of the best video games ever created and received universal acclaim thanks to its visuals, story, immersive gameplay, and minimalist landscapes.
It is also regarded as an important example of video games as a form of art.
5. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 was the responsible for three things: for revitalizing the Resident Evil franchise, for introducing the franchise to new fans, and for popularizing the “over the shoulder” perspective that was later used in games like Dead Space, The Last of Us, and Gears of War.
This Resident Evil game released in 2005 is widely considered by many as the best Resident Evil video game in the series because both the gameplay and the story, and because of that the game won multiple Game of the Year awards in the same year.
4. Super Mario Galaxy
GameCube’s Super Mario Sunshine was a good game despite its high difficulty, but Super Mario Galaxy was something else.
Taking Mario into space was something really groundbreaking because it gave Nintendo the opportunity to play with gravity and also give Mario fans a whole new level of fun. The new gameplay mechanics were enjoyable and reinvigorated the Mario franchise despite being somewhat harder than in previous games.
Everything about this game was acclaimed, from the soundtrack to the level designs; Super Mario Galaxy is considered the best Mario game since the groundbreaking Super Mario 64.
3. Halo: Combat Evolved
The first one. The best one.
Halo was the responsible of bringing the first great first-person shooter to consoles because, before Halo, everything was for PC. This franchise set the tone for this new genre that would become the most played and dominant genre of the 2000s.
Playing Halo for the first time was a life-changing experience because no other game was like this at the beginning of the decade, and also the possibility to use the LAN cables to enable 16-multiplayer with your friends was so unique that is something that the 90’s kids, like me, will never forget.
2. Half-Life 2
Few games can enter the discussion for the title of “the greatest video game of all time” and Half-Life is without a doubt one of those video games.
Whether we talk about the graphics, the mechanics, the story, or the atmosphere, Half-Life 2 is perfect in any possible aspect. Despite being released in 2004, the game still holds up to this day, even better than a lot of more recent games because it was built to stand the test of time and also because it was released at the perfect time to change the gaming landscape.
1. Grand Theft Auto 3
It was between this one or San Andreas, but to be fair, without GTA 3 there is no San Andreas.
Grand Theft Auto 3 is the most important video game of all time; because it changed everything, because brought the sandbox gameplay which revolutionized the way the video games are made, because is the most acclaimed video game of the sixth generations of video games.
It was also the game that introduced us to the GTA world and because it was the first game to give us a illusion of playing in a real world.