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Arnox's PC GOTY List (1994-2018)


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Arnox's PC GOTY List (1994-2018)

It came to me today while looking at my massive trove of Steam games that it would be really cool to pick what my PC game of the year would be for all years since 1994 and beyond. The biggest issue actually was trying to find a way to sort my Steam games by year. That would be where the bulk of the work was done. www.mysteamgauge.com used to do this, but apparently they shut down a while ago, so I had to dig for another solution. Luckily I found it in the way of Steam Depressurizer. Although the program wasn't perfect, and I also had to make sure that some remastered games I have were actually listed by the OG game's release date, it still saved me a fuckton of time. So thank goodness for that.

Anyway. For some years, there may be some "gaps" where I don't feel I have played enough of the better games from that year to have a good opinion, but for the most part, that shouldn't be an issue. So, let's move on to...

2018 - Actually, it was tougher competition than I thought for this year, what with Insurgency 2, Overload, and finally, CrossCode. But I have to give this to CrossCode. I just gotta. It's an absolute feat of a game, even if it may not necessarily be anyone's cup of tea. By the way, I STILL haven't finished it, though having said that, even if the rest of the game just completely tanks, I'd still put it in the top spot.

2017 - Divinity: Original Sin 2. No contest here. Well, OK. There's some nice competition from Day of Infamy and MAYBE Serious Sam Fusion 2017, but besides that, 2017 was a pretty shit year.

2016 - OneShot and Tyranny go head to head this year with Grim Dawn making a surprise splash as well, but I didn't enjoy Tyranny's gameplay very much due to forced party management and leveled item loot adding to the bullshit. Having said that, Tyranny's incredibly thorough analysis of villains and corruption is second to none. If you haven't played it, I'd HIGHLY recommend watching Noah Caldwell-Gervais' video on the game. It sums it all up as much as it can be while still hitting the important points. Coming to Grim Dawn, I'm not gonna lie, it really appeals to the goth in me, and its build choices are incredible along with well-done lore. But if I'm gonna be honest, at the end of the day, I can safely say that OneShot had far more of an impact on me than those other two games, and I haven't seen its like since. Tyranny was a very intellectually stimulating game, and Grim Dawn was complex gothic fun, but OneShot actually made me feel emotions for literally weeks after I'd finished it.

2015 - Finally, we get some selection again with Grand Theft Auto 5, The Beginner's Guide, Undertale, and Universe Sandbox 2. This was pretty hard to decide as each game adds something amazing with little compromises... Well, except maybe GTA5 with its absolutely atrocious official online multiplayer. And then there was the OpenIV fiasco, and you know what, yeah, I'm just gonna take GTA5 out of the running JUST for that shit. That's pretty inexcuseable. After that, I'll have to remove Undertale as well, because the combat was annoying. Sometimes really annoying. Universe Sandbox 2... Ugh, I hate to do this, but US2 will have to be removed as well due simply to it not being very much of what I'd call a game so much as an amazingly built science sandbox/toolset. So, Beginner's Guide wins this one.

2014 - The Talos Principle wins 2014. Also has one of the absolute best soundtracks I've ever heard for a game. Insurgency was really great though and I heard great things about Distant Worlds: Universe.

2013 - Not really a great year for gaming again. We got Shadow Warrior, The Stanley Parable, DmC: Devil May Cry, and maybe ARMA 3. Shadow Warrior was interesting, but it started getting really boring towards the latter half. Stanley Parable was incredibly funny but ultimately very short and forgettable. DmC was pretty decent (I don't care what anybody says.) but, you know... Ninja Gaiden did it better. Looks like ARMA 3 wins this one I guess.

2012 - Now this one's interesting. For our contenders, we have Far Cry 3, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Dishonored, and CoD: Black Ops 2. Dishonored I'll have to disqualify as I still haven't played it yet. Far Cry 3, I wonder if I should just disqualify as well as it's merely OK without Ziggy's Mod. With Ziggy's Mod though, I'd almost say it's better than Far Cry 2. I guess I'll put that one aside. As to Black Ops 2, it was pretty meh for everything except multiplayer. But really good multiplayer though. Dust is an amazing experience and amazingly ported from the consoles, though it suffers from not having much if any replay value. Ughh... They're all equal in their own ways, but if I HAVE to choose, then Dust wins this one.

(EDIT: Guild Wars 2 released in 2012, so I'm gonna cheat and also add GW2 to the 2012 GOTY with Dust since I consider MMOs to be in a class of their own.

2011 - For this one, we got Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat 9, Serious Sam 3: BFE, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I'll probably have to give this one to Skyrim, as much as I enjoyed modding the hell out of SS3. SS3 unfortunately had some large problems. Mortal Kombat 9 is one of the best fighters, but it's hard to play for any really extended period of time, and the maps, though VERY cool looking, are just boring planes of space, gameplay wise. Crysis 2 is pretty fun in its own way, but it's been consolized to hell as well. Sucks too, because it could easily have been the next Crysis.

2010 - For 2010, we got Assassin's Creed II, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Just Cause 2. Now don't go autistic on me because I didn't include Fallout: New Vegas. I just really am not a fan of the Oblivion engine and the desert theme on top of that really didn't grab me, though I will totally admit that, regardless, it was a great game. Anyway, for this one, I gotta give Activision at least one bone here and say Black Ops. It was the first, and what looks to be the last CoD I truly enjoyed in all its aspects. It's 50's/60's era style just really pulled me in, and even the multiplayer, though unbalanced, is still fun to play and oozes personality along with the rest of the game. Finally, it's got the best campaign and the best zombies of the entire CoD series. AC2, however, was snapping at Black Op's heels and is, to this day, the only AC I ever finished. JC2 was good, but Mercenaries had many features that I feel JC2 is in dire need of. Hopefully someday, they'll work it out.

2009 - Some more good games here. ARMA II, Borderlands, and Red Faction: Guerilla. Haven't played ARMA II yet, so that'll have to be disqualified. Red Faction: Guerilla is fun and technologically astounding but... Damn, I hate to say this, but even the devs say it's not that great to play due to it being kind of a one-trick pony, but it still does that trick very well. Borderlands, if you've been following me for a while, should have no right being on this list, but I'd say it's the only looter-shooter that I truly enjoyed. Well, besides maybe Borderlands 2. Make sure to play BL with a friend or friends though! So yeah, Borderlands wins this one.

2008 - And here, we have Burnout: Paradise, Far Cry 2, and Saint's Row 2. Normally, I might say SR2 would win this one, but the PC port of SR2 is AWFUL. Like, really fucking bad. So, sadly, I'll have to disqualify that one. Burnout: Paradise is one of the best arcade racers you can play, but Burnout 3: Takedown was better so... Far Cry 2 wins this one definitely. And guess what? I LIKE the respawning checkpoints. I need meatbags to shoot, and FC2 faithfully provides a steady supply of them.

2007 - This year's contenders are BioShock, Crysis, and Portal. Portal was short and sweet. Maybe too short. I will say though that it didn't really offer much outside of the SP campaign. As to BioShock, there are parts of it that I absolutely adore and I haven't seen in a game since, even among BioShock's sequels. But a large problem with BioShock is that it kinda peters out after the Would You Kindly scene. Then the story gets bland and the enemies start getting bullet-spongey. But Crysis... That game was a technological achievement, and it had a great campaign... For the first half anyway. After that, in typical CryTek fashion, the game becomes kinda unfun to play. I think I'll still have to choose Crysis as the winner though because out of the three, it absolutely offered the most bang for your buck with outstanding modding capabilities and underrated multiplayer.

2006 - Another drought year. Only Hitman: Blood Money and Garry's Mod were worthy enough to be considered. Blood Money, while really good, just couldn't quite grab me for some reason though, so I'll give this one to Garry's Mod.

2005 - F.E.A.R., Fable: The Lost Chapters, and Star Wars Battlefront 2 are the contenders here. SWBF2 has to be disqualified as I haven't played it enough. F.E.A.R. is great slo-mo shooting action, but like Red Faction: Guerilla, it's kind of a one-trick pony, so I'll give this one to Fable.

(EDIT: Guild Wars (again) for MMO GOTY.)

2004 - Ooooo, this year would have been really tough to decide had it not been for one game. Doom 3, Far Cry, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Half-Life 2, Painkiller, Sid Meier's Pirates!, and finally Unreal Tournament 2004. I think you all know what I'm going to pick here. UT2004 DOES have some large problems though. For one, the guns feel kinda weak all around, the soundtrack isn't nearly as good, the maps aren't quite as memorable (though still good), and the voice taunts are the worst. Nevertheless, despite all that, it manages to be better in every single other way. So what does that make the game? It means that UT2004 is probably one of the absolute best modding platforms to date. Putting all that aside, it's also clear that 2004 was an absolute landmark year for next-gen FPS engines. I'd say more about the other games, but we need to move along. We still have a lot of ground to cover.

2003 - For this year, we have Freelancer, Max Payne 2, and Star Wars Jedi Knight 3: Jedi Academy. Just due to the uniqueness alone, I think I need to give this to Freelancer. Jedi Academy is absolutely the best version of Jedi Knight multiplayer, but if I'm being fair, it doesn't actually improve on that much, Jedi Knight 2 got there first, and Freelancer offers a better balanced package anyway.

2002 - Holy hell. Save me. Neverwinter Nights, Serious Sam TFE/TSE, Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast, and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Fuckkkkkkk... Well... I guess in a fight with Unreal Tournament, the Serious Sam games would lose, so I'll drop that. With Neverwinter Nights and Morrowind, I have to say, I think Morrowind had more of an impact. So that leaves Jedi Outcast and Morrowind. Ugh. Morrowind wins this one I guess. That was brutal to decide though...

2001 - For this one, we have Aliens vs. Predator 2, Final Fantasy X, Grand Theft Auto III, Max Payne, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Haven't played FFX yet so I'll cross that one off. GTAIII was a landmark title, but time has NOT been kind to the game, and it can be insanely frustrating in some areas. Max Payne vs AvP2. AvP2 wins due to just having more and of equal quality. And finally AvP2 vs RtCW. This is hard to say, but I did enjoy AvP2's campaign(s) more, so the winner is AvP2.

2000 - This year was hard but for different reasons than usual. Namely, I haven't played any of these games enough. So, I'd like to disqualify this year, but if I have to choose contenders, they'd be Counter Strike 1.6, Deus Ex, Rune, Solider of Fortune, and Thief 2. I'll just measure these in terms of wide-spread impact for now, so I'll give this one to Counter Strike 1.6 with Deus Ex coming in close.

1999 - OK guys. We all know who's gonna win this one. That's right. Unreal Tournament '99. And for this year, I don't even know if it was a fair fight as UT99 just runs right over fucking everything. Even a ton of modern games. Even its many sequels. So I'll pick a second winner besides UT. For the contenders here, we have Aliens vs. Predator returning with MechWarrior 3, and Quake 3. I'm gonna have to give this one to MechWarrior 3. The amazing mech game that everyone (including me) forgot. It definitely needs more love.

1998 - For this year, we have Blood, Half-Life, Jazz Jackrabbit 2, Thief, and Unreal. Another tough one. In terms of of universal impact, Half-Life would win this one for sure, and honestly, in this case, it's hard to argue. Unreal might be a serious contender to it, but that game hasn't really aged well in my eyes. Thief was incredibly innovative, Blood was a satisfying, if tough, thrill, and Jazz Jackrabbit 2 might be one of the best 2D shooters, but HL just... It's just better and revolutionized things ever since its release. So yeah, HL wins.

1997 - Another year of stiff competition, but lesser amount of contestants this time. Quake II, Riven, and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. In terms of shooters, DFII feels far better to play than Q2. I once did a weapon rebalance for Q2's campaign, and even after a somewhat large buff to the weapons, they STILL didn't feel powerful enough in terms of effect. Quite pathetic, Quake. I expected better of you. Anyway. So it's DFII and Riven... Hm. I'd have to say Riven. Riven was one of the absolute best adventure games ever made with one of the best game soundtracks, and even Cyan has never really topped this game since, sadly. DFII was a very important step in the Jedi Knight series and the gunplay in that one is actually very fun. Even moreso than JK2 or JK3. But Riven was more unique and had a bigger impact, so Riven wins this one.

1996 - Slim picking for this year. Only Quake and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. Oof... I'd say Quake. ESII was better in almost every single way from Arena, but it was pretty much more of the same, even if it was better.

1995 - Perhaps the slimmest year of all. Hexen wins this one by default due simply to no competition.

1994 - And now for the last year. And fittingly, my final judgement is a tough one. We have Doom/Doom II, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, and The Elder Scrolls I: Arena. Crap... Raptor is one of, if not the best side-scrolling shooter you can get your hands on. The Elder Scrolls I: Arena changed the RPG landscape, and Doom... Doom doesn't even need a damn introduction. I think Doom will have to win this one, but with Arena snapping at Doom's heels.


And finally, I'm finished. This took about a day to prepare and write, but it was worth it. I did kind of give strategy games the shaft, and I wanna apologize for that. That's a genre I've never really been well-acquainted with. Just know that these are my personal GOTYs and that I'm sure I'm still missing many games deserving of recognition.


Libertarian Contrarian
Jeeze, that must have taken hours to write

I never really itemize by year, but I do acknowledge when there's been an especially good year. I just have a running top-10 games that isn't necessarily only ten games, but are so incredible that I consider them the gold standard to compare any other game to.

Top 3 are Morrowind, Okami, and Chrono Trigger. Probably should add Supreme Commander and Borderlands 2 to cover the RTS and FPS genres.


Full-time Magical Girl
Clan member
diablo 2 would be my contender for 2000's game.

I've never really looked at games from a by-year basis, but i know most of my pre-2010 would likely be ps2/gba since that's what i grew up with.
I really should do a top 10 someday


Clan member
Awesome job. I'm going to do my list here as well. Might be more terse than your verbose version though.

Screw it. Couldn't find any site that listed PC games released by year alone.
Only freaking upcoming games and "hot" "best" "trending" games..Not a full released list.
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Awesome job. I'm going to do my list here as well. Might be more terse than your verbose version though.

Screw it. Couldn't find any site that listed PC games released by year alone.
Only freaking upcoming games and "hot" "best" "trending" games..Not a full released list.

The years are listed up top