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VOICE OVER: Ricky Tucci WRITTEN BY: Saim Cheeda
We're ranking the best of the best! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're looking at the Game of the Year award-winners to see which ones stand above all. Our list includes “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (2011), “BioShock” (2007), “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (2015), “God of War” (2018), “Baldur's Gate 3” (2023) and more!

#10: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (2011)

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When it was released, few games provided as much content as “Skyrim” did. The fantasy RPG broke new ground in the industry. Gamers marveled at the number of missions and explorations at their disposal, with the world of Skyrim being too good to resist. While there is a primary goal to achieve, players can choose to traverse the open world instead. “Skyrim’s” non-linear nature among a plethora of side quests means that there’s virtually no end to the game. Although open-ended titles are common now, “Skyrim” helped bring this evolution to the forefront. Thanks to a large roster of human and fantasy characters to choose from, fans can have a brand new experience with each playthrough.

#9: “BioShock” (2007)

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Set in an alternate history, “BioShack” blends steampunk elements with a dystopian environment. The FPS also features RPG choices that heavily impact the ending. More than anything, though, “BioShock” tugs at fans’ heartstrings like few games ever have. Players can harvest the “Little Sisters” to gain heightened abilities or protect them to add complexity to the plot. Gameplay complements the morality-based campaign, as “BioShock” can be completed with a touch of sensitivity or absolute ruthlessness. With such a massive responsibility on our hands, the narrative hits hard. The game is credited with normalizing compelling storylines, giving them as much importance as gameplay. “BioShock” as a series has an enduring legacy, but the original remains a cut above the rest.

#8: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” (2015)

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The third entry doesn’t tweak the franchise’s formula by much, yet perfects its template instead. Fans can enjoy a bigger, more beautiful Continent while searching for Geralt of Rivia’s adoptive daughter. Of course, the presence of a massive open world means you can do whatever you want. Guiding Geralt around the expansive environment is a treat in itself, as the game brims with a variety of quests. The series’ rich lore is easy to get lost in, as multi-dimensional characters show up to progress the story. Fans invested in Geralt’s journey are kept engaged with frequent twists and turns across the sprawling runtime. Previous “Witcher” entries might have been well-received, but “Wild Hunt” represents the series’ peak.

#7: “God of War” (2018)

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Despite a list of acclaimed titles, the “God of War” series never won a Game of the Year Award. It took a reinvention of gameplay and storytelling, but the 2018 entry finally snagged the big one. With an over-the-shoulder perspective, the first Nordic installment places us right into Kratos and Atreus’ shoes. And thanks to a perpetually moving camera as a framing device, “God of War” feels like a storybook brought to life. Each realm has its own design and identity, setting them up as the backdrop for Kratos and Atreus’ constantly evolving relationship. From Midgard to Jötunheim, it’s a journey that’s equal parts emotional and exhilarating.

#6: “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves” (2009)

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A game that never stops from the word go, “Uncharted 2” is fun personified. It’s like taking charge of a blockbuster action movie that has it all. Whether evading attack helicopters in Nepal or exploring icy caves in Tibet, Nathan Drake’s search for Shambhala never lets up. Drake and the supporting cast also bring much-needed humor to an otherwise explosive affair, as “Among Thieves” carries a light atmosphere all the way through. Frequent combat and engaging puzzle sequences prevent the game from feeling repetitive, while the action continues to shift from one place to the next. There were many similar games at the time of its release. However, “Uncharted 2” combines the genre’s best elements for an entry that’s perfect in almost every way.

#5: “Baldur’s Gate 3” (2023)

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No “Dungeons & Dragons” video game quite captures its atmosphere as accurately as this one. Along with an in-depth playthrough of its primary plot, “Baldur’s Gate 3” lets fans do just about anything they want. The interface, camera style, and options between single and online are also up to individual preference. The story is curated according to the player, as different decisions lead to consequences unique to each choice made. This includes a deep set of characters who go far beyond their traits and attributes. “Baldur’s Gate 3” truly shows what a role-playing game entails, as players get the full experience from start to finish. Open-world games might be the norm in today’s landscape, but “Baldur’s Gate 3” exemplifies what it means to have complete freedom.

#4: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (2017)

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“The Legend of Zelda” series ups the ante with each entry, and “Breath of the Wild” is no exception. A visually stunning adventure awaits fans, who control protagonist Link in the Kingdom of Hyrule. It isn’t the most combat-heavy game. But quality platforming, thought-provoking puzzle sequences, and seamless free-roam gameplay makes up for it. There’s a particular focus on immersion, as the vast landscape can be explored in many ways. With few limitations in store, players can spend hours figuring out the intricacies behind Hyrule.. “Breath of the Wild” has the required balance between story-based and hard-hitting gameplay, delivering on all fronts and then some.

#3: “Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

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Those who thought that they’d seen it all with “GTA IV” were in for a pleasant surprise with its follow-up. “GTA V” builds on its acclaimed predecessor to be an absolute masterpiece. Michael, Trevor, and Franklin share top billing, but controlling the three protagonists is entirely unique. Los Santos lives and breathes with content, which has since become seemingly endless thanks to “GTA Online.” Even as a single-player, “GTA V” bursts with quality. Players can go on heists, battle crime syndicates, or just wreak havoc. Side missions add an extra flavor, popping up at every turn to keep fans busy. Its layered style of play was a global hit, becoming the second-highest-selling game of all time along with bagging the Game of the Year Award.

#2: “Resident Evil 4” (2005)

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The impact that “Resident Evil 4” made is still felt long after its release, as franchises like “Uncharted, “God of War”, “Gears of War,” and more, owe their success to this game. It laid the platform for the over-the-shoulder view that most third-person games employ today. Ingenious combat mechanics and inventory storage systems provide multifaceted gameplay, allowing players to do so much at once. The dynamic camera was another element that “Resident Evil 4” revolutionized, making it far easier for players to control the action. The franchise has had its ups and downs, and “Resident Evil 4” remains the highest it’s ever climbed.

#1: “Elden Ring” (2022)

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Who would have guessed combining the Dark Souls formula with an open world setting would be such a triumph? Yes, it's as punishing as can be, and yet, it’s a pleasure to get lost in its magical backdrop, as the Lands Between are as rewarding as they are demanding. The gorgeous environment brings it with numerous quests that can be completed at any pace. With a huge backstory hidden in its environment and characters, the game’s narrative absorbs fans into the journey to become the Elden Lord. The customisation, variety of weaponry, intricacies of the boss fights, all of it is beyond the pale of epic. Never doubt FromSoftware. Which Game of the Year did you think was the pick of the bunch? Let us know in the comments.