The Caltrops Top 50 Games of 2010-2019: #20-11

We’re counting down the 50 best games of the decade.

Previous entries:

Honorable Mentions: Part One
Entries #50 – 40
Entries #39 – 30
Entries #29 – 21

And now … 20 through 11!

#20 – YAKUZA 0 by Sega (2015)
Steam Link

Worm says, “Yakuza is essentially a game in the spirit of Shenmue but ends up being a lot like River City Ransom as well. The series has always been great and Yakuza 2 might be the best but it’s really hard to say. Essentially it’s a action RPG where you get into random street fights and also you do whatever fucking random shit the developers decided would be fine this includes but isn’t limited to darts, watching porno, karaoke, looking for sparkling shit on the ground, or fighting people. The game is just incredibly dense and really fun and that’s all there is to it. There’s also a pretty good crime drama baked into the space you make to play the main story between playing UFO catchers and fishing. The real tragedy of this series is that it’s a game that everyone should like but Sega has been convinced that it’s for Japanese people and does next to nothing to advertise or hype up the games, beside the first game which was billed as “Japan’s Grand Theft Auto” which is ridiculous since it’s a much better game. Yakuza is a fantastic game that does the kind of shit that every other RPG hybrid tries at and fucking fails and for some reason Sega has just decided that as few people as possible should play it. I don’t think there is a single action RPG that has come out in years that is better than them.”

I am looking forward to future Yakuza titles with more features, like being able to actually quit the game.

#19 – PERSONA 5 by Atlus (2016)
Link to Playstation 4 Store

Worm says, “I liked Persona 3 and Persona 4 but in the end I feel like this is the first game where the framing of the powers actually fits the slice of life style of the game, rather than saving the city or rescuing your friend from a murder plot you’re making the CEO of McDonalds confess to unfair labor practices so you trend more on twitter, and it just works really well.”

(Thanks to Ultra High Def Digest for the screenshot.)

#18 – SUPERHOT by Superhot Team (2016)
Steam Link

Okay, there’s two things people didn’t like about Superhot. It was very short if you just played the single player game through compared to the cost – 2 hours for $25 minutes. Which in computer games is low, but realistically, it was so much fun I had no problem with it. The last thing is that when you do complete the game, the developers ask all the player to meme up some insipid line, word for word, about how great it is. It was so desperate and awkward and off-putting.

None of that matters when you are playing the game. Time (mostly) stops when you are not moving in Superhot. This gives the game tactics not found in any other shooter. It takes full advantage of this premise and explores so many fun situations with it. In fact, the biggest thing I took away from Superhot after finishing it is that reality is disappointing because we can’t throw stuff at people in the real world and get what they are holding. (And shoot them with it.) (No don’t put that part in.)

#17 – DARK SOULS by FROM Software (2011)
Steam Link

They made three of them in the decade, so that skews the numbers a bit, but I think this was the most-referenced franchise. Certainly a good comparison for jokes when people fail at common tasks, like that one guy that couldn’t get past the Cuphead tutorial. But yeah, all the Dark Souls games were mentioned everywhere this decade in our forum and our readers and posters played it a lot. I think it suffers a bit from not getting glowing praise because from what I understand it makes people furious the first few minutes you encounter any new boss.

#16 – CRUSADER KINGS II by Paradox Interactive (2012)
Steam Link

Rey Mysterio Jr. says, “The fun part from CK2 comes from Dwarf Fortress-esque unintended consequences. Think of it like a game with infinite lives for people who can’t keep it in their pants. Every girl you fuck and knock up is another chance at glory.

In one game in southern France I was doing pretty well until my main guy croaked unexpectedly but was lousy in the sack and left me with an 8 year old princess to my name. A real spoiled shit. Well, she went hunting 5 years later and the woodsman shot her through the heart with an arrow so that my asshole brother who had inherited 1/3rd of his father’s kingdom could take over. I immediately switched to another relative and invaded him.”

#15 – RIMWORLD by Ludeon Studios
Steam Link

pinback says, “The biggest knock on Rimworld is that Ludeon Studios bills it, with a straight face, as a “story generator”. First of all, EVERY game is a story generator, and I have the time I saved the last human family for 63 goddamn waves to prove it. Second of all, shut up. Also, don’t call the various difficulty levels “storytellers”. People who play Rimworld on Twitch even say “okay, we’re beginning a new story” as they fire up a new game. Jesus, just writing this I want to pull it from this list. But you can’t. If it’s a story generator, the story is very much like: Firefly crashes on an alien planet, except all of the characters are completely insane. A virtually perfect survival/colony sim, it gets the future-Western vibe just right, and even if the alien planet seems just the tiniest bit too familiar, you’ll never tire of exploring the world and making it your home.

On one of my first playthroughs, my three insane people were busy setting up shop, when a visitor came to us, asking to join us. She was an extremely unpleasant, irritating lady, but we needed the help. Oh, also, she insisted on being nude at all times. The picture of my three original colonists continually bitching to each other about the obnoxious naked lady working in the next room is possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a video game. What a hilarious story– ah shit.”

Steam Link

It’s the only Steam game I have that sometimes doesn’t work. The rest of them do. I recently played a “team” game with my nephew. He operated the Steam gamepad. I was at the keyboard controls and trackball in case I needed to show him something. He ejected last and by the time we got to the ground were were top 75. Many, many idiots – 25%, I guess – play PUBG. I don’t mean that they are bad at games, they are just idiots. Anyway, way out on the ass end of the map we were able to get some loot, but nothing with a scope, which is what has been used to kill me every time except for the time I got run over.

It was his bedtime before the game finished. I took over, got into a car, found a guy and was going to turn the tables and run this dude over. Only he shot me through the car. There is definitely an element of, “no matter what tactic you try you suck, no matter what tactic I try, I rock” to it. Surviving for me is at odds of getting valuable combat experience. And what truly matters is that I build shit all day long – software, good relationships, emotional barriers. I don’t need to build shit like we have to do in Fortnite, which makes PUBG superior in the eyes of Caltrops.

#13 – CUPHEAD by Studio MDHR Entertainment Inc. (2018)
Steam Link

Rafiki says, “I got through the first area (bosses + run and guns) in about an hour, game said I died 19 times, but it didn’t feel like it. The airplane level and the flower boss were the most difficult. The second area is kicking my ass. IT’S SO GOOD THOUGH. The genie level! The background! Little genie lamp shoes! I don’t know why that landed with me the way it did, but I loved it. And I love that they change up the bosses a little when you die so it doesn’t get stale and repetitive. I was a little disappointed when I realized a few months ago the game was mostly just boss fights instead of shooter levels with bosses at the end, but fuck it. Shadow of the Colossus was nothing but boss fights and it was great (side note: I am PUMPED for the HD remake). This game is great. Everything is great. I hope this game makes 100 million dollars.”

#12 – DOOM 2016 by id Software (2016)
Steam Link

pinback says, “If people were as nice to each other in real life as the demons are to you in DOOM 2016, the world would be a continuous, joyous celebration of life, and DOOM games in that world would feature bossfights with Aaron Hernandez and hungover Bojangles customers. DOOM 2016 features the “glory kill” mechanism, in which if you punch the demon’s brains straight out of his head, he gives you health! I was originally put off by what I felt was a “gimmick”, but once it becomes part of the flow of the game, you can’t live without it, and every time you do it you want to say “thanks!” Most games don’t care if you play them, they just want you to know how clever they are. DOOM 2016 desperately wants you to play it. Listen: Killing demons the normal way (shooting, exploding, etc.) does not give you anything, UNLESS you are low on something! Gettin’ a little low on health and bullets? BOOP! There ya go, buddy, have a few on the house! They only ever do that when you are low on stuff. They really, really want you to keep killing them.

Motherfuckers are rooting you on.

That’s why the Cacodemons always look like they’re smiling. They’re just happy to see you doing well, and having fun doing it.

#11 – THARSIS by Choice Provisions (2016)
Steam Link

Tharsis is a brilliant board game that offers a chilling look into what a large number of absolute dipshit morons that don’t understand anything can do to a game. PC Gamer had a horrible review where the author was too dumb to understand the game. Steam has zillions of brain dead idiots that literally just saw dice in the game (dice are depicted in the game) and shouted “YAHTZEE DURRRR RRR!” in their negative reviews and said it was all random numbers.

It isn’t all random numbers. And you know that because you are an intelligent person that comes to Caltrops.

Tharsis is a wonderful implementation of something that could be a crisis-management board game, but it optimized for computers. There are plenty of decisions that can be made at each turn and plenty of disasters that keep each subsequent game fresh.

pinback says, “If you can handle games that actually test you instead of patting you on the back every five minutes, you can’t go wrong.”

Worm says, “Really fun game actually. Reminiscent of Omega Virus to me. You basically play a board game version of stranded space ship where you’re constantly patching the hull to make it to your destination. It’s really great – being overwhelmed feels overwhelming and just hanging on feels like you’re just hanging on.”