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2016 top 10 video games

This year flew past me in a blur. After my shift last year back into working towards game development I decided, pretty early on, to make a big change in my life and move across the country to the French Canadian hills of Montreal, and did so in May. It was not easy and still can have some stress, but I am way happier with it. I've met some great new people, worked on some fun new projects, and could not imagine my life going any other way. During all of this, my time was rather limited as I portioned my time between desperate job hunts and building out a portfolio. That said, I was able to put some time and money into playing games; it wasn't a whole lot, but enough to Build The List.

List items

  • I went in expecting a cool shooter that was surprising everyone, but didn't really know how. I had done minimal reading as to how the actual core of the game was and more time digging into that sweet sweet soundtrack. What I got out of it is a thinking-man's tactics game that also happens to curb stomp demons and circle strafe a bunch. It's 2 of my 3 favorite game tropes put together in what feels like a very deliberate and confident game.

  • I cried reading what is, essentially, a 3-4 paragraph short story with little Video Game in it, and that was the first 10 minutes.

  • This game is a lesson in Game Design 101 oozing out of every orifice it can find. You can answer the question as to "Why is this here" almost immediately if you have a game design brain, which speaks volumes to Blizzard and their craft.

  • This is the Pokemon that is different, and I hope helps move that series out of the repetitions it has kept up for decades. Challenges are much more memorable than gyms, the shift away from HMs, the lively nature of the environment; it all plays into an evolution in the series while still keeping the addictive battles and collection that has kept it going.

  • This has become a weird cult favorite in the household. Between my roommate and I we go back and forth finding new things about the Tower of Barbs. While its gameplay is sound, the whole of it does feel like that old B-game feel we used to get and has been fading out. What makes up for this is the price tag of free, and a design perspective where, within these first 15 hours I've put in, I feel no real requirement to put in any money. Its a welcome change to the micro-transaction heavy world we live in, and has kept me interested to keep hanging out with Uncle Death.

  • I still need to spend more time playing Hitman myself, but the content it has created here on Giant Bomb has brought it into this list. It's a great mix of open-level weirdness, modernized Hitman-y stealth, and taking a game concept and massaging it into the modern culture in a way that really makes sense.

  • While this should be a honorable mention since it's a 2015 game, I really wasn't able to play it until fairly late into the year.

    Its an elegant puzzle game that breaks its concepts into as basic a means it can for the player, making it one of the more fun puzzle games to pick up and play on my phone since Puzzle Quest.

  • I've loved the Harvest Moon games of yore, and this is the best once since '64.

  • There's a soft spot in me for the Dragon Quest games, there's just something about the classic combat mixed with the presentation that always makes me come back. This remake has been fantastic from the ground up; making so many little things from the original Playstation release worlds easier while really coming through with bringing the art and characters to life in 3D space. While it isn't DQ3 or 8, I still stick 7 up there amongst my favorites in the series.

  • While I fell off after ongoing server issues and when they dropped the old finder system and left the players to wander aimlessly, I did have a blast with this game when I was on board. It added a lot to my walks and was a great way to engage with people who were out catching their own monsters.