20 best years in video game history, ranked
Notable game releases: GTA 5, The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite, Final Fantasy XIV: A Kingdom Reborn, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Assassin’s Creed IV
We’re in the last five years on this list, and this is the point where the ranking goes from “difficult” to nearly impossible. There is a strong argument to be made that each of these five years deserves to take the top spot.
The year 2013 was undoubtedly marked by the releases of Auto grand theft 5 and The last of us. The former would go on to become the second best-selling video game of all time, while the latter is one of those rare titles that almost everyone agrees is a masterpiece. narrative work. 2013 Bioshock Infinite may have been anything but universally acclaimed, but this somewhat controversial title remains a compelling lightning rod. It was also the year that lives Final Fantasy XIV become Final Fantasy XIV: A Kingdom Reborn. The importance of this transformation has become increasingly evident with each passing year.
Beyond that, you had an incredible grave robber reboot that few saw coming, smaller titles like Stanley’s parable, Gone homeand papers please up for GOTY awards, and continually underrated games like The Legacy of Thieves, DmCand metro last light. All that, and I barely have time to talk about it DOTA 2, a link between worlds, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Saints Row IV, dragon’s blood, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeand Assassin’s Creed IV. Imagine trying to play all those games that year.
Honestly, one of the best things you can say about 2013 is that we’re still playing some of the best games from that year to this day.
Notable game releases: Halo: Combat Evolved, Grand Theft Auto III, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy X
If you ever hear older players lamenting that the start of new generations of players isn’t as exciting as it used to be, try to forgive them. After all, some of us were lucky enough to be kids during the incredible year of play that was 2001.
Few doubted Microsoft’s ability to impact the console market, but fewer still suspected that Halo would go on to become one of the most impactful launch games of all time. Mind you, those who bought a GameCube instead were too busy playing Super Smash Bros. Melee, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Monkey Balland Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader in mind.
In its first full year, the PS2 produced one of the best lineups of one-year software ever. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to believe that Solid Metal Gear 2, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, Gran Turismo III, Grand Theft Auto III, Silent Hill 2, the devil may cry, Tricky SSX, Final Fantasy X, ICO, red factionand Jak and Daxter: The Legacy of the Forerunners all came out the same year.
Even the N64 had fun with the release of paper mario and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Add Max Payne, Golden Sun, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Dead or Alive 3and Aliens vs. Predator 2 to the mix and… well, the only way I can justify not putting this year at the top of the list is to move on to the remaining three years.
Notable game releases: Portal, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Halo 3, World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade, Rock Band, Super Mario Galaxy
Throughout this year, Den of Geek celebrated its 15th anniversary. While I hope you celebrate with us, I know many of you entered 2022 ready to celebrate the 15th anniversary of what many consider to be the absolute best year in video game history.
2007 was the kind of year that gave us Team Fortress 2, Half-Life 2: Episode 2and Gate in the same collection. It was a year when Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare arguably offered the pinnacle of one of the greatest gaming franchises of all time, while Halo 3 delivered what was essentially the end of an era for another FPS series (although Bungie would still deliver ODST and Reach). If this is the first time you realize that all these games were released in the same year, it’s probably because the noise they generated was drowned out by your Rock band sessions. That, or you were too lost in wowit is burning crusade expansion to notice something else.
More than anything, however, I will remember 2007 as a golden time for bold new ideas that became franchises. It was the year that gave us the very first BioShock, Assassin’s Creed, Unexplored, Crysisand Mass Effect Games. Same super mario galaxy was good enough to become the brief future of the Super Mario franchise.
There’s something bittersweet about looking back to 2007. It’s easy to blind yourself with rose-colored glasses, but there really was something beautiful about that time when the future of gaming looked so bright because that the present was so great.
Notable game releases: Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Fallout 2, Resident Evil 2, Starcraft
I entered this list expecting 1998 to take the top spot. It wasn’t just a great year in the game; it was one of the only years in the game that I would say was undeniably great. I certainly can’t blame anyone who considers it the best year ever.
Above all, 1998 will forever be remembered as the year that gave us half-life, The legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Timeand Solid metal gear. More than just three great games, they were three very different games that represented the best of the three biggest platforms available at the time.
If you need more proof of 1998’s greatness, you’ll find it in Starcraft, Fallout 2, Resident Evil 2, Seat of the Stars: Tribes, tekken 3, sinister fandango, Banjo-Kazooie, Thief: The Dark Projector even the NA beginnings of Pokemon. Many of these games (and more from 1998) are rightly considered the best in their respective genres to date.
That’s what The Best Games of 1998 is all about. Like the best movies of the beloved summer of 1982, The Best Games of 1998 have remained in our collective consciousness for so long that it’s sometimes hard to forget that they didn’t go out yesterday. Many of them could probably still win GOTY this year if they had.
Notable game releases: Halo 2, Half-Life 2, Metroid Prime 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, World of Warcraft, GTA: San Andreas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2
If I told you that Counter-Strike: Source, Killzone, Ratchet & Clank: upgrade your arsenal, Everquest II, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Halo 2, Half Life 2, James 3, Need for Speed: Underground 2, Metroid Prime 2, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Spiderman 2, Solid Metal Gear 3and World of Warcraft were all released in the same year, you’d probably agree that was one of the best years in video game history, right?
Well, what if I told you that all of these games actually came out in the same month: November 2004?
That’s the funny thing about 2004. In a year when the conversation should have been dominated by arguably the best month in video game history, we still have The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, GTA San Andreas, Ninja Gaiden, Rome: Total War, Burnout 3: Takedown, Katamari Damacy, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, ESPN NFL 2K5, The Sims 2, Far Cry, and more spread over the rest of the year. Mind you, these were just the games that were generally considered hits at the time. There are plenty of other titles from 2004 that have only grown in popularity since then. It was even the year that gave us the Nintendo DS (although its launch lineup only offered a glimpse of how good this handheld was).
If you’re one of the many who consider the PS2/Xbox/GameCube console generation to be the greatest console generation of all time, chances are you’ll also consider 2004 to be the pinnacle of that particular era. We may never see that kind of year again, and I’m strangely almost grateful for that. It’s the kind of year for gaming that demands long vacations with friends, lazy summer nights, and plenty of other childhood highlights that we often get really nostalgic about when talking about the best games of years past.