With 2020 just around the corner everyone's compiling a Best Games of the 2010s list. And they're all wrong. John Woo's Stranglehold (which came out in 2007) is clearly the greatest game of the 2010s.
After years of absence on the PC, Stranglehold has appeared on GOG. Now I'm going to prove how it's better than every possible Best Game of the 2010s contender.
Dark Souls is a masterclass in level design. Its core concepts and mechanics have rippled outward to influence every genre. Stranglehold is better because it lets you slide around on a catering cart shooting generic bad guys in slow motion.
Fallout: New Vegas is the pinnacle of the cRPG. Every part is carefully considered to support its tone and themes. There are multiple solutions to nearly every quest. It is as dense and complex as it is human and comedic. Stranglehold is better because your character's name is Inspector Tequila Yuen.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild turned the series on its head. It threw nearly every convention out the window yet was unmistakably Zelda through and through. Simply moving Link around the screen was a delight for the nearly 200 hours I spent with the game. Stranglehold is better because you get a combo meter and when it fills up you can do a sniper-shot directly into a dude's dick.
Rocket League is the most pure competitive video game of the last decade. Matches are fast. Your improvements as a player are tangible and immensely satisfying. Your car can wear a construction hat and a Something Awful flag. Stranglehold is better because you can completely destroy a T-Rex skeleton.
Gone Home proved that observation, empathy, and using your head to contextualize details are player skills every bit as important as strafing and doing headshots. Stranglehold is better because you can do headshots with pistols akimbo.
Slay the Spire is as criminally underrated as it is compulsively replayable. It's a deck-building game... no. It's the deck-building game. There's no reason to make more, because this one got it so right. Stranglehold is better because it's got Max Payne bullet-time but they called it Tequila Time.
Civilization V supplanted Civ IV as my favorite entry in the series. No game is more hexagonal or majestic. Every time I sit down to play for half an hour I wind up soaking in Civilization V's atmosphere for 3-6 hours. Stranglehold is better because you can unlock a John Woo character skin.
Mass Effect 2 was nowhere near as interesting or atmospheric as Mass Effect, but it felt novel and forward thinking and solidified the series' standing as a modern classic. This was before most people realized BioWare's obsession with streamlined combat and paring away of depth was leading them straight down the toilet. Stranglehold is better because seriously, those catering carts are ALL OVER THE PLACE and you can ride on them to your heart's content.
Into the Breach is the only strategy game I have completed on every difficulty, unlocking all medals and achievements. Knowing exactly what will happen on the enemy's turn is remarkably novel and satisfying. Stranglehold is better because there are lots of bad guys in sunglasses to shoot.
Dishonored 2 elevates the formula established in Dishonored, with even more intricate levels and an expanded toolkit of player options. Stranglehold is better because you can jump over a counter and knock over assorted fruit.
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is everything I wanted in 2012's XCOM. It's a spider web of meaningful decisions weaving into one another, every campaign taking a different shape as it comes perilously close to unraveling. Stranglehold is better because sometimes you'll be riding on one catering cart shooting dudes in their dicks and suddenly you'll see another catering cart so you'll dive off your current catering cart and land on the new catering cart, haphazardly shooting your dual pistols the entire time.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 was made for me. You can be a skeleton. Combat is turn-based. Just about every item in the game can be picked up and physics-ed. There are tons of sidequests with multiple solutions. It's pretty dang funny. Stranglehold is better because how does a world with this many catering carts make sense? Does this take place in a world where a catering cart surplus has thrown the world into disarray, leading hordes of men to lives of crime (crime being "wear sunglasses and shoot at Inspector Tequila Yuen")?
Anyway, I never got past the third location in Stranglehold. I look forward to revisiting it.
You heard it here first, undisputed Best Game of the 2010s. 8/10
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Sekiro: Stormtroopers T-Pose Twice. 9/10
Battletech: Heavy Metal
Finally, we get a sequel to F.A.K.K.2! 8/10
Pokemon Sword + Shield
Sometimes the first installment of a yearly sports franchise on a new console is barebones and underwhelming, and that seems to be the inspiration for Sword + Shield. 6/10
Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaire's Conspiracy
Can you IMAGINE how many matchsticks a million dollars could buy? 8/10
Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Wario is doing floor gymnastics, and suddenly nothing else matters. 7/10
Funny how a Hideo Kojima game went in an odd direction, alienated a bunch of people, and turned out to be a big dumb mess that I thoroughly love. 9/10
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