Video games have evolved ferociously over the last few decades. From linear single-player adventures to massive open worlds to constantly evolving live-service games, video games continue to adapt and evolve with time.
With so many incredible video games out there, it's hard to compile a list of the 10 greatest games of all time. As such, you should consider this a more subjective list than an objective one. With that said, here are what we believe are (in no particular order) the top 10 video games of all time.
Halo: Combat Evolved
The FPS genre wouldn't be the same without Halo: Combat Evolved. While the same could be said about 1993's Doom, Halo: Combat Evolved feels like an overall better package.
Halo: Combat Evolved on consoles was a game-changer for all the right reasons. From its distinct invigorating art style that made Bungie so popular in the first place to Martin O'Donnell's ancient, epic, and powerful orchestral score that breathed life into its sci-fi universe; from its tight and precise console control mapping to its ridiculously smart AI enemies that have stood the test of time, Halo: Combat Evolved was a game that was way ahead of its time.
Halo's LAN based multiplayer was just the first step of what would become an iconic moment in video game pop culture that reached its peak with the release of 2007's Halo 3. It's no surprise that most AAA FPS games are still built on Halo: Combat Evolved's DNA, and it wouldn't be surprising if that continues to be the case for an unforeseeable amount of time in the future.
Grand Theft Auto 5
In 2001, Grand Theft Auto 3 completely changed the open world landscape for the better. In 2008, Grand Theft Auto 4 became one of the most visually detailed and narratively immersive open world games.
It's no doubt that these are two of the best video games ever made, and while they deserve to be on this list, it's 2013's and 2014's and 2015's and 2022's Grand Theft Auto 5 that excels not in just one or two aspects like the other GTA games but in almost every aspect which makes it the definitive Grand Theft Auto experience.
In 2013, Grand Theft Auto 5 became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history, and in 2022, it still continues to sell incredibly well. At this point in time, Grand Theft Auto 5 could very well be referred to as the "face of modern video games," and rightly so.
The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
Skyrim isn't the most innovative Elder Scrolls game, as that credit arguably goes to 2002's Morrowind. However, it's the most ambitious and accessible Elder Scrolls game ever made.
Skyrim not just borrows some of the best elements of the past Elder Scrolls games and fine-tunes them to make them more accessible to newcomers, rather, it implements these elements in a very flexible framework that gives players the freedom to play the game they want to play.
Player freedom is at the heart of Skyrim, and it is what drives so many people to explore its chilly provinces. Skyrim strives by invoking the spirit of adventuring in a grand and gorgeous world that only a few open world games have ever managed to.
In 2022, Skyrim's open world may not be the biggest in terms of size and content, but its very nature to invigorate the feeling of adventure and its flexible gameplay elements continue to make it one of the best open world experiences to date.
Metal Gear Solid
It's hard to write down a top 10 video game list without mentioning one of Hideo Kojima's artsy, intensely creative, genre-defining blockbuster video games that references iconic movies, music, and overall popular pieces of fiction in all the right ways.
While almost all of Kojima's games fit the aforementioned description, one that arguably deserves the most appreciation and recognition is 1998's Metal Gear Solid. This imaginative neo-thriller put a 3D spin on 1987's Metal Gear and introduced gameplay elements that formed the core pillars of the stealth genre.
Stealth is a viable option in most AAA open world games nowadays, and it's hard to imagine that being the case without Kojima's contribution to the genre.
While plenty of modern AAA games struggles to sync their various gameplay elements with the narrative and story themes and ultimately suffer from something called Ludonarrative Dissonance, Kojima's games, even to this date, continue to be an exception and strike an inexplicable harmony between the story and gameplay beats.
Life is Strange
As an interactive medium, video games are capable of invoking unprecedented emotions within players. Whether you experience such moments by overcoming an overwhelmingly difficult encounter, winning a PvP match, or by passively experiencing a character's journey through hell and back, all these experiences, although different, generate these inexplicable feelings inside us, which is one of the reasons why we prefer video games over other medium of expressions.
When it comes to point and click adventure games with branching storylines,Telltale's The Walking Dead series may come first in mind , however, in many ways, Square Enix's Life is Strange does what The Walking Dead does, but in a more inclusive manner.
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Life is Strange is a powerful narratively driven video game that depicts some extremely complex shades of our regular lives. It's also an incredibly shy, introverted, introspective, and nerdy experience, brimming with calm and heartful moments that allow us, the players, to just relax and soak in the everyday life of a young teenager.
Life is Strange takes representation very seriously, and it has become a staple for this franchise and its developers to authentically depict complex themes and LGBT characters, around which it has primarily formed its audience.
Life is Strange is a game that's easy to recommend to non-gamers as well, which is also one of the reasons why it has built such a passionate and ever-growing community. In short, Life is Strange and games similar to Life is Strange are just one of many examples that prove that video games are not just meant to be played but experienced.
While the initial reviews weren't overwhelmingly positive, Fortnite has garnered quite a cult following over the last five years. In many ways, Fortnite comes close to being an ideal live-service game. It features an ever-evolving dynamic game world, giving players new things to experience and new ways to play on a regular basis. It's something that many live-service games strive to be, yet very few have managed to achieve and arguably come close to.
The multitude of collaborations with the biggest names in pop culture has shaped Fortnite into what could be termed the "epitome of pop culture," which, if you stop to think about it, seems like an absolute diligent move from the team at Epic Games, and was undoubtedly shaped by an ingenious and insightful vision.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Open world games really started to flourish during the eighth generation of consoles as the new technologies allowed developers to make bigger and more dynamic worlds. While every open world game offered something new and ultimately catered to a specific set of audiences, most of them followed a similar design philosophy, thus resulting in a number of open worlds that felt structurally similar.
2017's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild broke out of that redundant open world design and offered a world that put player's agency at its forefront. In many ways, Breath of the Wild's design philosophy revitalized the open world genre and showed both game developers and players the countless possibilities a modern open world game can have within itself.
Resident Evil 4
It's hard to imagine what the AAA survival horror space would look like today if not for the success of Resident Evil 4. In 2005, Game director Shinji Mikami and his team at Capcom crafted their magnum opus that smartly weaved the horror and action genre, thus creating a video game that satisfied survival horror fans by almost always keeping them on edge while catering to the action genre fans with sufficient over the top bombastic cinematic and gameplay moments.
Resident Evil 4 continues to play a pivotal role in influencing modern AAA horror-action games. In fact, Capcom's very own Resident Evil Village was built on its DNA and benefitted greatly from it. RE Village also became the fastest-selling Resident Evil game in history.
Aside from influencing the future Resident Evil games, Resident Evil 4 has also inspired some of the other iconic survival horror franchises like EA's Dead Space, and Mikami's very own The Evil Within, both of which irrevocably made horror great again.
The Last of Us
The fall of humanity in light of an apocalypse and its struggle to rise and survive makes up for an intriguing backdrop in video games, which is why we get so many post-apocalyptic video games every new console generation.
The Last of Us takes place in a similarly pessimistic post-apocalyptic world but instead of focusing on the redemption of the society, it focuses on the redemption journey of two misfits of characters who are entangled together by sheer coincidence of fate.
From jaw-dropping visuals to stellar performances from its cast, from Gustavo Santaolalla's heart-wrenching music to intense combat encounters, in The Last of Us, everything comes together organically to create one of the most beautiful, brutal, and heart-wrenching video game experiences that deserve recognition outside of games medium.
With Elden Ring's soaring success both critically and commercially, it's safe to say that FromSoftware games are no longer a niche. Elden Ring is clearly the most ambitious and expansive FromSoftware game to date, and it rightly deserves all the praise that it's getting though it lacks the enigmatic charm of Bloodborne.
Bloodborne isn't perfect, especially when it comes to some of the game's UI design and gameplay aspects. Bloodborne carries over a lot of past FromSoftware games issues such as inconsistent frame rates and long load times. However, where Bloodborne excels, it excels so incredibly well that it's easy to overlook its many flaws.
Bloodborne is FromSoftware's most stylish, confident and intimidating offspring that easily overshadows its siblings. Whether it's the distinct gothic art style, hauntingly beautiful score, aggressive and agile combat, the disturbing lore or horrifying enemy designs, Bloodborne is FromSoftware's flawed masterpiece that will remain vivid in the minds of those who experience it for a long time.
That concludes our list of the top 10 best video games of all time. What are your favourite video games of all time? Tell us in the comments down below. Also, make sure to check our dedicated video game section for more news, guides, and features.
Featured image courtesy of FromSoftware.