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The 10 best Bethesda games of all time

Explore greatness, with or without the mods.

Bethesda has a long and storied history that stretches well beyond what many know them for today — rereleasing Skyrim. From shredding the demons of Hell to exploring the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Bethesda has been entertaining gamers for well over three decades. However, if you’re looking for the cream of its crop, here are the ten best Bethesda games.

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10. Doom

Doom Eternal
Image via Bethesda Softworks
  • Released May 13, 2016
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

From Doom 3 to Doom, we went from an atmospheric horror-bound shooter to the reembracing of the Doomguy being the terror. The shift was monumental in both critical and gamer acclaims, with visceral combat married to a pulse-pounding soundtrack that promised few moments to breathe. The 2016 Doom reinvigorated the franchise with gusto, brought a level editors, a slew of achievements, and a poorly-hidden means of playing the original title.

9. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Image via Bethesda
  • Released October 27, 2017
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

A simple, default equation for the vast majority of humanity is that Nazis are evil. So when Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus brought back BJ Blaskowicz to shred the Nazi empire in this alternative history FPS, it’s admittedly difficult to say no. Not only are the gameplay mechanics, such as shooting Nazis in the face, fine-tuned to a razors edge of dopamine, but the cutscenes and characters are all rather well fleshed out. The weak ending notwithstanding, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus raised the bar to a level the franchise hasn’t reached since.

8. Doom Eternal

Image via Steam
  • Released March 19, 2020
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation, Xbox

In what would become known as one of the best FPS games ever made, Doom Eternal turned the ripping and tearing up to eleven, emboldened by the runaway success of the 2016 Doom reimagining. Sure, some might miss the survival horror of the old Doom, but there’s simply no time to reminisce about that while you’re ripping apart whatever demon is unlucky enough to cross your path. Tight shooting, impeccable movement, and a roaring soundtrack take a backseat to the simplest facet of video games: it’s absurdly fun to play.

7. Dishonored 2

Image via Bethesda
  • Released November 10, 2016
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Dishonored 2 straddles a strange line of genre — the combat is fun and fast-paced, explosively packed with frenetic action where reflexes and planning reign supreme. However, the game opts to penalize this route instead of encouraging a classic stealth-based approach. It may frustrate some, but it gives time for Dishonored 2 to shine where many games lack: an astoundingly deep level of world-building. From the lore found in various buildings to the dialogue between NPCs, this mature action game brings wild abilities and emergent gameplay to the forefront.

Related: The Best Stealth Games On PC, And Why You Should Play Them

6. Fallout 4

Screenshot by Gamepur
  • Released November 10, 2015
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The myriad of blemishes on Fallout 4, primarily due to its lack of roleplay or player agency in a franchise that once celebrated it, isn’t enough to keep it down from this list. While some were frustrated by the more rote quests and options offered in Fallout 4, it’s still a wonderfully realized post-apocalyptic romp in a world of mutants, survivors, and scum that takes well to modding. It also doesn’t hurt that Bethesda continues offering content updates more than seven years after its release.

5. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Image via Razorel on YouTube
  • Released May 1, 2002
  • Platform: PC, Xbox 360

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was, unbeknownst to the players at that time, the end of an era of RPGs. It didn’t hold your hand, you had to pay attention to dialogue to find quests, and the number of bizarre exploits available to max your magic spells in the game’s first hour was astounding. There’s something to be said for sneaking into the Bank of Vivec and stealing everything that wasn’t tied down. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was open-ended, and players could do almost anything they wanted if they could manage it. It’s also home to one of the most annoying video game enemies, but we’re opting not to remember that.

4. Dishonored

Image via Bethesda
  • Released October 8, 2012
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Dishonored was a mind-blowing romp through a fantasy-laden land that hedged far too closely on reality for comfort. Dishonored reinvigorated the action-stealth genre in a way that the coming reimagining of Thief could only dream of. With tight controls that allowed Corvo to remove enemies when situations went sideways to a gamut of side areas that fleshed out a world riddled by plague and distrust, Dishonored continued to excel from the first swing until the final cut. The excitement that the studio is now working on another fantasy game is palpable.

3. Fallout 3

Image via Bethesda Softworks
  • Released October 28, 2008
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

There’s no denying that Fallout 3 didn’t necessarily write the book on inviting vistas, with a drab desert taking the majority of gameplay exploration, but considering its time, it breathed new life into the RPG shooter. This took the top-down RPG of Fallout 1 and 2, bringing a fully realized 3D world into scope while maintaining its charm. It’s also notable for being one of Bethesda’s most roleplay-friendly titles ever produced, second only to Morrowind, thanks to its open-ended skill tree system.

2. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Image via Bethesda Softworks
  • Released May 20, 2006
  • Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion streamlined the gameplay mechanics from Morrowind a fair bit. Quest markers became the norm, but they also did away with the combat system that would result in you missing your swings far too often. Of course, for many gamers, Oblivion goes down as the game that introduced and mainstreamed microtransactions with the infamous horse armor DLC, but this title goes well beyond that. It’s an enormous world that the vast majority could never hope to explore; it’s finding an unseen cavern filled with priceless artifacts — The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion offered the raw opportunity to take an entire world of its loot, and it will never be forgotten because of that. And the horse armor.

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Image via Bethesda
  • Released November 10, 2011
  • Platform: All

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim upped the ante from Oblivion even higher, with emergent quests, a litany of important characters and their own contained arcs, and a wild plot line that lets the player shout to launch NPCs into the stratosphere. At release, it redefined open-world RPGs and set an astronomically high bar. Now, well over a decade from its original release, new mods are still consistently being released for it that invite players to re-experience the brilliant lands of Skyrim once again. If there’s any singular reason that could be pointed at for Bethesda being gun-shy about The Elder Scrolls VI, it’s that Skyrim is, by far, the best game that Bethesda has released.

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Chris Davenport
Chris Davenport is a freelance writer for Gamepur. He's been writing video game guides for the past five years and has been featured on GameRant.