Leaving aside the advancement in technology, gaming really has changed entirely in the space of just 10 years.

More and more, the line between platforms has blurred to a point where crossplay is now a reality and the very idea of different platforms could soon be a thing of the past. As well as this, the explosion of multiplayer, procedural-generated environments and worlds, not to mention indie studios pushing the boundaries has brought gaming forward to a new level.

So, what were the highlights of the decade? Here's our picks for the best games of the past ten years...

10. 'No Man's Sky' | 2016

The story arc of 'No Man's Sky' - the game itself, not the story within the game - is one that's fit for a movie. Released with an unimaginable weight of expectation, then scorned and vilified by the gaming community, only for it to be ultimately vindicated by the end. It's hard to know precisely where and when 'No Man's Sky' turned the corner, but the commitment of developers Hello Games is one that inspires people coming back to it.

Yes, it's by no means a game that everyone would enjoy, but you have to really respect just how deep and endless it is. You can lose days, weeks, months in the game and the core aspect of it - exploration endlessly through the universe - has never once faded and only been sharpened by the updates.

9. 'Titanfall 2' | 2016

In a world where 'Call of Duty' games comes and go in annual intervals, something like 'Titanfall 2' maintaining a multiplayer presence this long after its release says a lot. Beyond that, the single-player campaign for 'Titanfall 2' is one of the finest made for the genre and reminds us that they so often are neglected in it.

The character design and the writing for it was especially good, not to mention that of BT-7274. Indeed, the relationship that develops between the player and BT-7274 is one of the most affecting partnerships in gaming. You actually care about him, not to mention how truly worried you feel for him when he's damaged.

8. 'Spec Ops: The Line' | 2012

As much as something like 'Titanfall 2' might follow the general premise of most first-person, military-style shooters, something like 'Spec Ops: The Line' comes along, well, only once. No game, certainly no shooter anyway, has ever attempted to provoke and confront players with their actions and choices like this.

Yes, the mechanics of the game are as rote as you'd like, but it's the story and the themes that it explores - violence and consequences, the horror of militarism, character agency - that is utterly fascinating. Would 'Call of Duty' dare to judge a player like 'Spec Ops: The Line' does? Absolutely not.


7. 'Journey' | 2012

When we think about multiplayer gaming, we so often associate it with the worst aspects of it - spamming, angry comments, the toxicity of it all, not to mention the skill gap between players. 'Journey', meanwhile, takes it on with an entirely different dynamic that is not only refreshing, but reminds us that the best games so often bring us together than set us against one another.

The gameplay may be slight, but it's the mark of skillful design that anyone can pick it up and play it within a matter of minutes and fully understand it. Indie games so often tend to be about making a unique proposition, yet in 'Journey', it's solely focused on making itself into a platforming adventure with an air of familiarity.

It's beautifully realised, with an elegance all of its own making.

6. 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' | 2015

That Hideo Kojima parted ways with Konami and thus ended his stewardship of the 'Metal Gear' franchise, he went out with his finest achievement with it in 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain'. It's as balanced as a game as Kojima has ever made, nestling right between stealth and story, concept and execution, and a willingness to push player's patience and resolve.

In a lot of ways, 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' felt like the creative endpoint of what Kojima could have done with the franchise. A full-blown sandbox setting worked beautifully with the idea of players creating their own path and strategy, and the lack of distracting technology meant for something purer.

5. 'Red Dead Redemption 2' | 2018

Going through the single-player campaign of 'Red Dead Redemption 2', you really do get the sense of how expansive storytelling can be when it's done right. The nature of the story itself - a gang of outlaws being chased to the end, the end of the frontier, and the hollow romanticism of it all - is unlike any game you've ever played.

Unlike other sandbox games or RPGs, even though it's split into different endings, you do get the sense that a story is playing out and not simply a series of missions or sequences. The use of music, the smart dialogue, all of it - it all coalesces in the game beautifully for a rich, detailed and immersive experience.

4. 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim' | 2011

If you think back to when 'Skyrim' was first released on the Xbox 360 and PC, how truly breathtaking the scale of it was, how sweeping it all was, that's the game we all want to remember. That the game is eight years old and still being re-released, still being talked about, and still being played, is testament to how much of an impact it's had.

Yes, one could argue that 'Oblivion' and 'Morrowind' were better, but the fact is that 'Skyrim' pushed the boundaries of what RPGs could do. More than that, the game responded to whatever type of playthrough you wanted. If you wanted to play as a axe-swinging maniac and charge through dungeons, you could.

If you prefered to slip and sneak your way through castles, knifing and silently striking from shadows, the game allowed for that as well. The story as well responded to your choices in more ways than simply a faction path. It moulded itself around every path you took, creating a world you get lost in for months, or even years.

3.  'Portal 2' | 2011

There are such precious few games like 'Portal 2' that when they come along, they simply set themselves apart from others in a way that can't be readily quantified until years after the fact. Yes, 'Portal 2' is essentially a puzzle platformer. Yes, you're using portals to do that.

Again, it's that thing of elegant simplicity and how it's so often overlooked in gaming. Some might think it's about creating more detail, more story and plot, more explosions, more of everything that gives a game that level of immersion.

Instead, 'Portal 2' opts for engaging your brain and letting you puzzle your way out of it to pull you in. Not only that, the funny - not just gaming funny, but really funny - dialogue from the likes of Stephen Merchant and JK Simmons meant it was more satisfying than rote, C-list actors spouting off lines and cashing a cheque while they're doing it.

It had a personality to it, something that games are so often in short supply of.

2. 'Mass Effect 2' |  2010

If we look at the trajectory of where 'Mass Effect' began, where it peaked, and where it ended up, there is a tragedy to it. 'Mass Effect' began with so many ideas, some of them fully realised, some half-baked, some not quite there, but the emphasis was on it being the first of many. 'Mass Effect 2' crystallised what worked, struck away what didn't, and formed it together with better graphics, better gameplay, and a richer story.

The result was the finest sci-fi RPG of the decade and the best third-person shooters of the decade. You cared, really cared what happened to the characters you fought alongside. It wasn't just that the dialogue was so good, or that it didn't pander to obvious story tropes, but you bonded with them because you had to work with them, despite the fact that it was often enough to work alone.

The use of loyalty missions gave each character a richer sense of purpose, and that each of them were so distinct from one another that it never felt like the same thing twice. Likewise, the depth of plotting in the game was such that you could take it all in, or simply gather up enough to make your own way through the game.

Either way, you made the choices and the game responded. Good RPGs make you feel like you're in a story. 'Mass Effect 2' made you felt like you were in a movie.

1. 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild' | 2018

If 'Mass Effect 2' had that going for it, what then of 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild' then? The lack of photo-real graphics, the stripped-back storyline, you could feel that deliberate choices were made by the designers that it wasn't just that less is more, but that each and every exclusion or inclusion fit with the pattern and was considered thoughtfully.

That it can be played by people of all ages, of all tastes, of all skill levels, and work and respond to them all speaks to how well-designed 'Breath of the Wild' was. For a lot of people, it was the sole reason why they bought a Nintendo Switch. It certainly was for us, anyway and a year on, it's still why we haven't traded it in for something else.

You can argue that it's repetitive, or that it doesn't do anything that other chapters of the franchise hasn't done already, but that's not true. 'Breath of the Wild' offers familiarity as the way in, but slowly expands it to a point where it becomes something new, something original. The world expands just a little bit every time you play it, and that's what the best of the best in role-playing games can do.

They expand their world around us, and put us in the middle of them. 'Breath of the Wild' was a world you wanted to be in.