Read quite a few articles, seen quite a few lists and threads on this topic, and it made me wonder... what is my favorite game of the decade. Over the past decade I played dozen upon dozen of truly phenomenal games, each a serious contender for this title in its own right, naturally it wasn't an easy choice. I actually put quite a bit of thought into this, Civilization V, Dark Souls, Mass Effect 2, Portal 2... all crossed my mind, and yet one stood above them all, one made a far bigger impact on me than any game of the last decade, perhaps even ever.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

It's kinda hard for me to explain just how much I'm invested into the world of The Witcher. After all, I was there from the very start, as far as games go at least. The first game was bit rough around the edges, but still good, worth playing for that phenomenal twist if nothing else. It only got infinitely better from that point on. Fast forward to The Witcher 3, a game that in my opinion raised the bar so high no other game since then was able to reach.

The first time you step onto the balcony of Kaer Morhen, at the very start, Jesus, what a view. The world is so drop dead gorgeous, so vibrant, so alive, there's so much detail, it lures you in immediately and makes you want to explore every corner of it. Climbing a hill of Ard Skellige, looking around while "Fields of Ard Skellige" is playing in the background is a reward on its own. Music is a huge part of The Witcher 3, and it's nothing short of amazing. Kaer Morhen theme, Fields of Ard Skellige, Steel for Humans, Beauclair Medley... all gave me goosebumps, still do. Dialogue options, story choices, something WRPG's often like to boast about, most pale in comparison to what The Witcher 3 has to offer. Take Mass Effect series for instance, choices are mere illusions with little to no consequences, everything is black and white, good and evil, there's so much more nuance to it in the Witcher 3. No matter what you choose, no matter how hard you try, you might end up not liking the outcome. There's such a thing as a no win scenario, a grey area, often you'll be torn as what to do. Sometimes you believe what you're doing is right, is good... it's not, and the consequences are dire.

All that being said I think many will agree the story and characters are by far its strongest points. Without any exaggeration some of the lesser quest have more depth and nuance than anything Bethesda ever wrote. The entire Bloody Baron quest is so fucked up it will leave you dumbfounded for days. A generic quest where you need to kill some wolves turned out of be well written because your elven companion actually has thought provoking pieces for you. Those are merely side quests, now imagine how much thought went into the main story and characters. Well written, gut wrenching, gritty, political, with so many twists and dilemmas. Triss, Yennefer, Dandelion, Zoltan... characters you've been invested in from the very start, and not just games, books as well. They're fictional, yet so real, so personal. Some of them can be what you want them to be, Dijkstra for instance can be your ally or your foe to anything in between.

The Witcher 3 doesn't stop at that, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine shame every modern DLC ever. Blood and Wine alone is in scope bigger and better than most full fledged RPG's out there. Both DLC offer so much content, and perhaps an even better narrative than the main game. The main villains in both DLC's are some of the best as far as video games in general go. No game is without a flaw, The Witcher 3 is no exception either and I have no illusion about it. While not bad, the battle system and boss battles leave a lot to be desired.

There's so much more I want to write about this game, I'll leave with this though. At the end of Blood and Wine, when Geralt surprisingly looks at you, the player, and subtly smiles, his simple response, it was so bittersweet. It shattered me. Even after 200 hours I didn't want it to end, but it did. I never felt so empty, I actually cried and I'm not ashamed to admit that. I don't remember the last time a game, film, a book managed to do that. The Witcher 3 ruined other games for me for quite a while, attempted to replay Skyrim not long after that and I couldn't do it, Skyrim never felt so big and yet so empty and dull to me. And don't get me even started on FF XV.

Curious to read what yours game of the decade is.