Tears, fears and Doggos: Best PlayStation games of the past decade (2010 - 2019)

Best lead character

1. Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn)

Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn

Source: Guerilla Games (Image credit: Source: Guerilla Games)

Aloy is a no-nonsense badass who isn't afraid to do what she thinks is right no matter the social or political repercussions. Despite repeatedly being told what she can or can't do, she always thinks things through, casts aside biases and superstitions, and comes to her own logical conclusions. In addition to that, she doesn't mind telling people when they're being stupid, which you often want to do when playing a video game. This makes her incredibly intelligent and relatable. She just seems like a person you could actually be friends with. When it comes to combat, she takes on massive mechanical monstrosities with just a bow and arrow and she utilizes every resource she comes across. Another thing I love about Aloy is that she doesn't need to prove herself as a female lead by being overly sexy or by proving that she isn't the "average" woman. She feels like a real human being who happens to be female. -Rebecca Spear

2. Geralt (Witcher 3)

In an RPG, being stuck with a pre-set character is both a blessing and a curse. In the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CD Projekt Red managed to make it entirely a blessing. Geralt is always compelling, from Doug Cockle's wry delivery of different lines ("Oh all god, help a poor wretch in need. Pretty please") to his dead serious, I-pretend-not-to-have-emotion-so-I-don't-get-hurt attitude. Geralt is funny, charming, a ladies' man without being misogynistic, a capable warrior, a near philosopher, and a good friend. Is it any wonder players took to liking him so much? -Samuel Tolbert

3. Kratos (God of War)

Reinventing an icon is dangerous, to say the least. It doesn't usually work out and it's almost always asking for trouble. Yet with God of War (2018), Sony Santa Monica did just that to both critical and commercial success. Kratos is every bit the cunning mind and brutal warrior he used to be, the same one that slaughtered the Greek pantheon, except he's tired and can't quite take hits like he used to. His age is showing and he has a son to look out for. Under Cory Barlog's incredible direction, the team breathed life into an irredeemable character — one who is forced to confront his mistakes — and gave him a new life. Much like the players moving from one console to the next, Kratos grew up and is hopefully just a bit wiser. -Samuel Tolbert

4. Joel and Ellie (The Last of Us)

Joel and Ellie

Source: Sony (Image credit: Source: Sony)

The Last of Us has two main characters: Joel and Ellie. While Joel is mostly the point of view character, as the game goes on, Ellie becomes a stronger presence of her own. The two spectacularly work off each other. Joel is protective to a fault, with problems of his own that he can't overcome by the game's end while Ellie starts off the game unaware but grows into a self-sufficient adult (that's still unaware of a lot going on). The two need each other to survive but are each other's worst enemies. What makes The Last of Us so fascinating is partially the creepy atmosphere and unending sense of dread, but mostly it's this dynamic. We want them to survive, but at what cost? -Carli Velocci

5. Nathan Drake (Uncharted 4)

Nathan Drake has become an adventuring icon like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. He's a rebel with a heart of gold. He's charming, he's funny, he's handsome, and he's easy to love. Best of all, he makes mistakes; he's not perfect. That's exactly what Naughty Dog intended to make him more relatable. We get to live out our dreams of treasure hunting vicariously through Nathan Drake throughout four games, all of which saw him undergo significant challenges and character development. -Jennifer Locke

6. Senua (Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice)

Senua in Hellblade

Source: Ninja Theory (Image credit: Source: Ninja Theory)

Senua's struggle in Hellblade is deeply intimate and immediately felt by a lot of players due to Melina Juergens' impeccable performance. For someone who had never done voice-over or motion capture before starring as Senua, she had no right to be as good as she was. How Senua handles her psychosis shines a new light on mental health awareness, and it does so without casting Senua as a villain. She's the hero. Senua is someone you want to see overcome every one of her obstacles and come out stronger for it, and she does. -Jennifer Locke

7. Ezio Auditore

Ezio Auditore in Assassin's Creed

Source: Ubisoft (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft took Ezio's immediate popularity and ran with it, making him the star of three games in the expansive Assassin's Creed franchise. From a brash, charismatic young playboy to a wiser, weary adult, Ezio underwent a lot of character development. We, quite literally, got to see his story unfold from birth until death. No other assassin in the series managed to capture our attention and love like Ezio did. His willingness to sacrifice for the greater good of an unknown future will always be admirable. When you think of the face of this franchise, it's Ezio's that you see. Requiescat in pace, Ezio. -Jennifer Locke

8. The Goose (Untitled Goose Game)

Untitled Goose Game

Source: House House (Image credit: Source: House House)

The Goose is a late entry that makes its case by simply being what it is: a goose. Geese are assholes. I know it, you know it, and God knows it. It's just how they're designed — they're Satan's pets. They'd be roaming the campus back at my old college and everyone knew to stay away from them. The people in Untitled Goose Game should probably take the same advice. This is all a way of saying how awesome the goose in Untitled Goose Game is and I'm in love with every single meme that has come out because of it. Long live the goose. -Jennifer Locke

9. Quill (Moss)

Quill in Moss

Source: Polyarc (Image credit: Source: Polyarc)

A lot of the time VR games have less-than-memorable lead characters, but not so with Moss. Quill, our little mouse partner in the game, is as fully realized as any AAA game title could wish. Not only is Quill a badass mouse with armor and a sword, but she is also much more clever than you, the player. Using sign language Quill can communicate to you how to solve the puzzle you are working on if you're taking too long to complete it. It's real ASL too, so if you know how to sign you can read what she is saying. Watching her as she tries to explain to you — the dense spirit that is helping her — how to accomplish the very simple task she wants from you is a joy. -James Bricknell

10. BJ Blazkowicz (Wolfenstein: The New Order/The New Colossus)

BJ has been with us for decades already, but starting with Wolfenstein: The New Order in 2014, he's been an entirely different BJ — and for the better. He's an ass-kicking, Nazi-killing Terminator in an alternate future where the Nazis win World War II, which is the kind of pulp we expect from the Wolfenstein series. However, with the reboot by MachineGames, BJ becomes a sensitive soul. He's bogged down by the weight of the world, but can't let up for the sake of those he loves. He's heavy with the weight of his Jewish past, which allows The New Colossus to have one of the best depictions of modern Judaism I've seen from games. He's the hero we desire, but he's more complicated than that. If anything he's tragic, which makes the Nazi killing even more satisfying. -Carli Velocci

AC Staff