GOTY 2016* (*Not all games actually released in 2016)

I have been really busy this year. Between working full time and going to graduate school I have had very little free time, and of that little bit of free time I allocate a tiny piece of it to videogames. I have officially reached the point where I have more money than I do free time and as a result my backlog has become ridiculous. After the one-two shitacular punch of Street Fighter 5 and Lego Avengers, and with Battlefront having just come out a few months earlier, I realized that I was just throwing money away on some really shit games. At that point I figured I would stop buying shit at launch and just wait for price drops, because I don't have much time to play games anyway. As a result I have been picking up a lot of games on sale at a fraction of what they cost at launch, but I don't actually have the time to play them so they just end up sitting on my hard drive or collecting dust on my shelf, mocking me. Among other games, I have Bloodborne, Until Dawn, Metro 2033 and Last Light, Dragon Ball Fusions, Enter the Gungeon, Firewatch, The Last of Us Left Behind, and Borderlands Pre-Sequel all purchased but never booted up.

If I had more time, this game probably would have made my list. This and the first game are totally worth checking out.
If I had more time, this game probably would have made my list. This and the first game are totally worth checking out.

Now normally I make a list of the top 10 or so games I played that released in a given year. That said, I just have not played enough good 2016 releases to be able to make that kind of list. Street Fighter 5 was a disappointing barebones mess of Battlefront proportions at launch and the disgusting DLC push ensures that I will never recommend it to anyone as is. Lego Avengers was more Lego goodness but the game was a fucking glitchy mess, more so than previous iterations. It would crash every two hours or so and I just don't have the time or desire to put with that kind of bullshit. I got finished with the semester early in December so I thought I would push through Pac-Man CE 2, Doom, Pokemon Sun and Rocketbirds 2 to be able to put together some kind of 2016 list, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Pac-Man CE 2 is kinda shit and just makes me want to play more CE DX. Doom is a mediocre game that I slogged through for about 4 hours waiting for the fun to start but it never did. Pokemon Sun takes fucking forever to get started and the Pokemon Bank not being available yet just made me decide to put the whole game off until it is available. Rocketbirds 2 is a legitimately fantastic work of art that you all should play but I just don't want to force myself to burn through it in order to make it appear on some arbitrary list. Hell, given my mentality I shouldn't even be making one of these lists this year. That said, even though I am no longer anywhere near as active on these forums as I once was, I have still been making GOTY lists and posting them on this site for half a decade now so I might as well keep going. Previous years can be found below.

So anyway, I did still very munch enjoy the time I spent with these five games this year.

5. Resident Evil 6

As a way of trying to celebrate 20 years of Resident Evil, Capcom decided to rerelease the three best Resident Evil games again this year (4, 5, and 6). And of course I bought them all. Oddly enough Capcom decided to release RE6 first though and so I was reminded of why I loved this game so much. The gameplay is fun as hell. It plays like a slightly slower version of Vanquish with multiplayer and zombies/monsters. It is still as easy as ever to lose hours playing Mercenaries, the arcade score attack mode. The story is goofy and over the top but it takes itself seriously enough that you still care about the characters. It is that same balance that Saints Row 2, Fast Five and Furious 6 all have. A very delicate balance that when tipped to far gives you complete eye rolling stupidity like Saints Row 3 and Furious 7. I also of course played some of RE5 and RE4 and can say with confidence that RE6 is the best game in the franchise. 4 years later and this game still remains one of the best action games around. It is a damn shame what they have done to RE7.

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4. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

I bought this game on sale after having been slightly interested for a while now. Holy shit is this game fantastic. It is everything I wanted from an Uncharted game. It reminds me of Golden Abyss, which remains my favorite game in the franchise. The focus on treasure hunting and solving puzzles is great and the combat feels just as good if not better than the Uncharted games. The set pieces aren't as good as what Naughty Dog puts out but those scripted events might as well be quick time events or cutscenes for all the player agency you have during them. The open map is what really makes this game shine. It allows you to explore each area and feel like you are discovering stuff at your own pace, even if the game funnels you along and gives you little reason to ever return to an area once you leave it. I really hope the newest Tomb Raider builds on the fantastic foundation they have laid here and doesn't attempt to make itself closer to Uncharted. They have already created the better game, they just need to double down on their strengths.

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3. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

This is a game that needs no introduction on this site, and is actually one that I had already beaten before on PS3. It was on sale though and I had never played the DLC so it seemed like the perfect excuse to play through this masterpiece again. This game is still so damn good. When the hell do we ever get an open world game that has customization, a great story and great gameplay? The hand to hand combat is the best version of the Arkham/Assassins Creed style and the gun play and driving are all a notch or two above what GTA V offers. While I thought the halloween DLC was stupid, the cop DLC was a lot more entertaining. Not sure what the hell Square was thinking not fast tracking an actual sequel to this game. It is a damn shame that developer United Front Games ended up getting shut down this year. At least we will always have this one awesome game.

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2. Broforce

I remember when I first heard about this game it seemed like the most obnoxious thing ever. A stupid pixel game with a stupid gimmick. If I hadn't gotten it for free with PS+ I wouldn't have given it a second glance. It is just so much damn fun. The most fun I had playing coop this year. The "America, Fuck Yeah!" ultra patriotic dude-bro stupidity of the aesthetic is great because it completely leans into it. The characters all being action heroes is a fantastic bonus. Where else can you have the Terminator and Machete team up? Or Agent J from Men in Black and Conan the Barbarian? Or Ash from the Evil Dead and The Boondocks Saints? The aesthetic alone really elevates this already solid game into a higher tier. I am always a sucker for a good licensed game. The other thing that makes this fantastic is the quick levels and quick respawns. It is like Super Meat Boy or Hotline Miami in side scroller shooter form, with you dying constantly as you learn the level until you eventually speed through the level in a minute or two. Biggest surprise of the year for me by far.

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1. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

The first game just came out a year ago and yet this quickly turned out sequel has managed to offer enough to easily take the number one spot on my list. It takes everything from the first game and just adds more. More mentors, more transformations, more clothes, more attacks, a bigger overworld and more missions. The first game laid an amazing foundation but it was undeniably flawed. Every major complaint was addressed with this sequel and this game has really become what the first game should have been originally. The game allows you to import your save from the first game and I have to admit that seeing the human I made in Xenoverse 1 interact with my new Namekian in the story mode gave me way more joy than it should have. There is also a ton of race specific dialogue throughout the game that really helps personalize the story. All that said, what makes this game really have more lasting power than the first game is that the combat has been completely revamped and the game itself is actually fun to play now. The first game heavily favored people who would hang back and spam energy blasts. This new entry has really balanced out all play styles and gives you a lot more options for how to approach situations. My backlog is fucking ridiculous at this point, and yet every time I have tried to get into another game this past month I can't help feeling that I am wasting time with some other miserable shit game when I could be playing Xenoverse 2. If that doesn't say GOTY then I don't know what does.

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