GOTY 2016 (work in progress)

A few honorable mentions to get out of the way: I burned out on The Witness, but I still hope to return to the island and relearn its language one day. Blood & Wine wasn’t as memorable to me as the main quest in Hearts of Stone, but it still gave me another excuse to revisit my favorite RPG of all time. Quantum Break was a largely forgettable Remedy romp that made me crave an Alan Wake 2 in the same sexy engine. Killer Instinct reached its third (and final?) season and successfully made me feel like a badass even though I know next to nothing about fighting games. Rainbow Six Siege is one of the most unique tactical shooters I’ve ever played and, even though it technically came out last year, continued dev support ensured that the game had healthy legs in 2016. I have no means of playing Rez Infinite, but I assume it's as godly as ever.

Games I want to play before the end of the year (but will probably run out of time): Obduction, Kentucky Route Zero Act IV, Superhot, Oxenfree, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Stardew Valley.

List items

  • A brutally intense shooter with a large skill gap and deep metagame. Minor tweaks and improvements that don’t upset the original formula prove that this series is safely in the hands of a worthy developer. Gears may have finally surpassed Halo as the king of shooters.

  • A short, surreal crash course in non-verbal storytelling and filmic editing that left me both puzzled and enamored.

  • Listening to tasty music while cruising around an open world playground is therapeutic. Simply the best driving game around.

  • Fast, fluid controls and smart mechanics from an underdog studio. As someone who despises Call of Duty, I’m surprised how much I enjoy Respawn’s take on the subgenre of shooter they invented.

  • I’m a sucker for immersive sims and cyberpunk. Mankind Divided is a worthy successor to the previous game and the city hub of Prague beautifully demonstrates the tenets of good Deus Ex design.

  • Excellent first-person animation, voice acting, writing, and art direction. Henry and Delilah are unforgettable characters in the pantheon of video games.

  • A short experience in the vein of Limbo that oozes competence.

  • A pleasant throwback to old school game design that deserved more time in the oven. Tight platforming controls and plenty of exploration.

  • The sublime parkour traversal of the original classic receives some refinement, while the mission structure gets an open-world makeover. Solar Fields delivers yet again in the audio department. Thanks for the sequel, EA businessman in suit.