It’s that time of the year again when we get to sit back, relax and reflect on the great games we got to play in 2016.
I had the honor of putting together a list of games I thought were some of the best of 2016. As I was busy compiling the list one thing became quite clear; 2016 was a great year for gaming and one we won’t soon forget. We got to chase after pirate’s treasure, drive really fast cars, go on a road trip with our pals and even got to shoot some bad ass demons.
As was the case last year, there are a few things to take note of. Although we rated the games from one to ten, these placements are mostly due to personal taste and preference. We did not consider re-makes or remasters of older titles. I’ve also decided, for the first time since I’ve been doing the list, to include some honorable mentions – seeing as this was such a great year for gaming.
Now that that’s out of the way lets get down to business. Here are the 10 games we feel were the best in 2016:
10) The Last Guardian
A game that had been delayed time and time again, a game we almost didn’t’ get to play, and yet The Last Guardian turned out to be a wonderful experience of friendship and trust. Players take on the role of a young boy who, after waking up in a temple and not knowing how he got there, meets a strange bird-like creature he names Trico. Together the two set out on a journey to escape their current predicament. The Last Guardian does have quite a few flaws, but its strengths far outweigh these. It’s a game that gets you to care for Trico, with each step you take and each new area you enter. The game uses both the abilities of Trico and the young boy in order to solve quite clever environmental puzzles.
When you finally reach the end you’ll probably find yourself shedding a tear, as The Last Guardian tugs at your heart strings throughout the experience.
9) XCOM 2
The sequel to the 2012 re-imagining of the classic XCOM franchise, XCOM 2 once again pits players against the alien threat. This time, however, the aliens have won and the XCOM initiative has been disbanded. It’s up to the player to rebuild Xcom and take back earth from the invaders. With its new guerilla warfare mechanic that encourages a more aggressive approach to missions, XCOM 2 ensures that each mission feels important and tense. Losing a team member can be devastating, as you take on ever insurmountable odds. This is a game that lets you relish in your victories, and lets you dread your mistakes.
XCOM 2 is one of the best turn-based strategy games out there, not just because of its great mechanics, but because it gets you to care about your team.
8) Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 returns to the gloomy, dark and hostile universe of its predecessor. With intense combat, anxiety- inducing boss fights and great atmospheric environments Dark Souls 3 does not disappoint.
The kingdom of Lothric is filled with difficult (really difficult), yet rewarding challenges to overcome and loads of monsters to defeat.Not only does the game offer hordes of beasts that need slaying, but there are some really interesting environments that encourage exploration.FromSoft’s unique brand of online integration allows your fellow players to be as helpful or deceitful as they want helping or hindering you on your journey.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more difficult yet rewarding game/experience out there. Dark Souls 3 shines in its ability to reward true dedication. So if you don’t mind being beaten down, time and time again until you finally slay your adversary then this is the game for you. Never has a game made me feel so invincible only to beat me back down, and I loved every moment of it.
7) Dishonored 2
I never found myself being blown away by the first Dishonored but decided to give it’s follow up Dishonored 2 a go, and boy I’m I glad I did. Easily one of the best stealth games of 2016, Dishonored 2 revels in the fact that it gives you an objective and then asks you to complete it in any way you wish. Do you want to be all ninja-like, or do you want to go in shooting everything that moves? What you decide is up to you.
With a multi-layered approach to level design, Dishonored 2’s environments beg to be explored. Every inch of each map is exquisitely designed and offers multiple paths to your objective. I never felt forced to play a certain way, and even when sneaking didn’t turn out so good and guards swarmed me from every direction I was still able to complete my objective (although I spilled a little more blood than I planned). Both Emily and Corvo’s abilities feel different enough that it warrants a second play through. Whoever you choose to play as and however you decide to play one te thing is for certain, you will be having a blast.
6) Final Fantasy XV
After patiently waiting for 10 years I finally got my hands on Final Fantasy XV, and it was definitely worth the wait.
Final Fantasy XV has its faults, yet I couldn’t help becoming invested in a story about young prince Noctis and his friends going on a road trip to try and save Eos. The world of Eos is stunningly beautiful and offers some huge environment filled with all kinds of creatures and quests, each area begging to be explored. The new fast-paced real-time combat emphasizes teamwork and is a welcome departure from the slower turn-based combat fans are used to.
After hours upon hours of play, I found myself forming a connection with each member of Noctis’ group. In the end no matter how many monsters I slain, quests I completed or evil I vanquish the focus never shifted from the bond that had formed between the four friends during their journey. Final Fantasy XV is as much about exploring breathtakingly gorgeous environments and completing quests as it is about friendship and loyalty.
On the surface, Doom might seem like a mindless romp through demon-infested environments, but I found it to be so much more than that. Doom takes all the elements that make a great faced-paced first person shooter and deconstructs and reworks them into something that is both an intricate and intelligent evolution of the genre. Don’t get me wrong Doom still has you shooting and killing demons in ever gorier ways (hell, yeah!), but it does this in a thoughtful and clever manner.
The moment to moment gameplay is frantic, fast paced and only slowed down when I found myself standing atop the bodies of my enemies.Doom’s single player campaign immediately demands your attention with its expert pacing and thoughtful level design. In a market flooded with mindless first person shooters, I found it refreshing that Doom embraced what made it so special in the first place and evolved it into something memorable.
If fast paced shooting is your thing, and you love a bit (ok, loads) of gore then you need to play Doom.
4) Forza Horizon 3
Forza Horizon 3 is a game for those that love fast cars and open spaces. From the moment I booted up the game, I knew that I would be spending quite some time racing through the beautifully re-created version of Australia. Racing through lush jungles, across sandy dunes and tight city streets are loads of fun as the games offer enough variety to keep players coming back for more. Graphically Forza Horizon 3 might be one of the best-looking games this year as each Australian landscape is captured in astonishing detail. There is just so much to see and do in the game, from riding in convoys with your friends, to going off-road in challenges to classic lap based circuit races, there is something for every racing fan. It’s actually astounding how much content there is in the game.
If you like racing you owe it to yourself to play Forza Horizon 3 and experience it’s greatness yourself.
As someone who has never really been interested in online multiplayer games especially first person shooters, I figured that Overwatch wouldn’t be a game for me. Well, after hours upon hours of time spent playing the game I think it’s safe to say that I have been converted. With its cast of colorful and memorable characters, Overwatch is amazingly fun to play and easy to get into. Despite launching with only a handful of maps the game’s focus on teamwork kept it from becoming stale. It’s colorful visuals and tongue in cheek style hides a surprisingly deep multiplayer experience. In the end, I found Overwatch to be just as addictive and fun as it is deep and challenging.
The team that developed the critically acclaimed Limbo has done it once again. Inside is an amazing achievement in gaming and storytelling. The game is able to do and achieve more in a few hours than most AAA titles can achieve in a much longer time. The story of a young boy on a journey to uncover the secrets behind some really strange experiments and an eerie factory is one that I found myself becoming more and more invested in each second I played. It is quite amazing that a game is able to tell so much by saying so little. Few games are able to create mood and atmosphere so successfully, as each environment becomes a part of the narrative.
Inside is a game that keeps you invested from the moment you pick up the controller until the end credits roll. It’s a very special game that not only achieves so much in such a short time but will stay with you months after completing it. Inside is a game that everyone should play.
1) Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
This year has been a bittersweet one for Uncharted fans as we finally got to go on one last adventure with Drake, Sully, and Elena. A Thief’s End sees Drake once again setting out to uncover the secrets behind an ancient treasure, this time joined by his long lost brother Sam.
Although Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End seems like another cut-and -paste Uncharted game, it’s the relationships between the characters that make this game so special. There were quite a few moments where I found myself tearing up (and I’m not ashamed to admit it).The game also has one of my all-time favorite endings in a game ever, one that befits the last game in such a revered series.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End does offer all the elements one wants in a big-budget adventure game, breathtakingly beautiful locations, thrilling set-pieces, and of course huge explosions.But with all this visual bombardment the game offers something very few games nowadays, depth. Naughty Dog has once again proven why they are one of the best developers in the industry.
So If you are hankering for an adventure (aren’t we all), then you need to play Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
After a tragedy befalls the protagonist of Firewatch, he finds himself looking for solace in the isolation of the great outdoors as he decides to take on a new job as a fire lookout. His only companion out in the wild is the voice of his female supervisor over the walkie-talkie. It might sound like a simple set-up, but Firewatch weaves such an intruding narrative with the use of clever and interesting dialogue that I quickly became embroiled in the tale it weaved. Not only does the game shine in the narrative department it also has some stunning visuals. From the sun setting over the mountains to its beautiful vistas, the game made me long for the outdoors (and that’s saying a lot).
Firewatch is one of those games that impresses with its ability to weave an interesting tale, that kept me intrigued up until the end.
Taking everything they learned from the first Titanfall and building upon it, Respawn entertainment set out to develop Titanfall 2. Not only did the sequel include the great fast-paced multiplayer (and big robots) that made the first so popular, it also included a single player campaign. Surprisingly the single player not only had a deep, engaging and emotional story but some really great level design and mission set-ups as well. Multiplayer, as can be expected, is still a blast as nothing beats calling down your huge-ass Titan to destroy your enemies.
Titanfall 2 for me was one of the surprise hits of 2016, and a game that I have returned to many times after completing it.
A lot of gamers (me, included) thought that the Hitman franchise was dead (or at least dying) and when it was revealed that the new Hitman game would be released episodically it seemed like the last nail in the coffin. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong, IO-Interactive was able to successfully pull it off and revive the Hitman franchise. Not only does the game have some of the most intricate level design found in a game, it also offers players an absurd amount of re-playability.>
The new open world sandbox environments offer players the freedom to truly feel like a Hitman stalking their targets. Exploration is encouraged, especially if you are looking to dispose of your target in an interesting manner. Each of the large sandbox environments offers enough variety to keep players coming back for more.
Hitman is a game that proved that even I can be wrong sometimes, and I’m glad I was.