By eggshellskull 0 Comments
Wow, what a year huh? We saw the release of some huge games, some giant letdowns, and some sneak hits that honestly took everyone by surprise. It was an especially weird year for me, my wife and I had our first baby in February so most of my gaming was spent with her slung across my chest while she slept. Yep, lots of long nights. But that really let me sink my teeth into strategy games, and I'll say this was a tremendous year to play the grand conqueror. But it was also a good year for games in general, and I found myself jumping from genre to genre without any hesitation, everything I touched was just awesome. Without further ado, here's my 2016 list of games that I just couldn't put down.
(Note, all of the games on this list had some sort of substantive paid content released this year, which I feel is a requirement to be in consideration for my list.)
Honestly I can't say I'm super surprised with the quality of Legion, but after the quick burn that was WoW: Warlords of Draenor, I was ready to write-off WoW and finally stop logging in. And then legion launched, and wow did they really deliver on one of the best MMO gaming experiences I've ever had. From head to toe this expansion shines with systems, story, and compelling content that really makes me appreciate the hard work that team has put in. Blizzard stepped up to the plate delivered a gaming experience that revived a 12-year-old game, brought back players (like me) who thought they were done for good, and made the 'grind' of the MMO feel better than it's ever been.
Job well done Blizzard.
Ok no joke, this game really caught me by surprise. I mean, a Friday launch with little-to-no advertising to drive people towards the game, it really felt like Ubisoft was just trying to sneak this one out without too many people looking. But as a fan of everything mountain and snow, I knew I had to at least give it a shot, and I'm really glad I did. It's relaxing, fun, and super engaging to try to accomplish all of the challenges scattered across this fairly large game. With that said, the game has some super rough edges that I am not confident will get ironed out any time soon (the controls just feel kinda off at times), and that paragliding mode is basically the least fun thing I can imagine myself doing. But even after the negatives I still continued to log in and try to 100% all of the challenges in the game, and I'm well on my way to doing just that.
Without spoiling the rest of my list, I'll just say that this has been a huge year for Paradox Interactive. They delivered on three games which made my personal top 10, but Stellaris honestly shocked me with just how good it was from the get go. Yes there were the usual balance issues that happen with games of this scale, and yes the game was not perfect at launch, but man is Stellaris already in a good place. When looking at big 4x games like this, I tend to think of them more as engines and less as static experiences, and Stellaris promises to be a game that will keep delivering for many years to come. But don't think you need to wait to get in on the action, this game is good right now, and is definitely worthy of your time.
It's good, I mean really good. Do you like guns? Do you like not guns? Do you like
anime totally not anime? Go play Overwatch.
The Blood and Wine expansion to the Witcher 3 is not just good, it's incredible. Great story, great characters, and an epic adventure of epicness. Don't worry about not exploring every nook and cranny (though why wouldn't you?), just go download and play this game.
Ok this game is like super old now, but the Paradox Interactive team just keeps working on it, and I can't help but buy every bit of DLC they release. This year saw the introduction of Council mechanics to manage within your realm, and also epic plagues. Yea I lost almost an entire generation of my family line due to the black death, and that honestly stressed me out for hours while I tried to salvage even one decent, non-insane ruler to keep my realm from going to crap. This game is still pretty hard to get into, but once you do it's just so satisfying I can't put it down.
Here is one of those times when I have to admit than Dan Ryckert is correct about something, luckily that something is that Stardew Valley is amazing. Playable in bite-sized chunks of one day at a time, this game takes the best pars of Harvest Moon and adds in a cute little storyline, actual progression, and numerous game systems that fit together in a very great little package. Also, it was made by one dude, ConcernedApe. Seriously. I wish I was as good at anything as that guy is at making kick ass games.
This year saw the final release of expansions for Pillars of Eternity, my third and final game from Paradox Interactive. Seriously guys, make something not good huh? This game takes me right back to being a late 90's PC gamer, staring at loading screens while I slugged my way through Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate. Expect this game includes far less loading and more awesome adventure content than I honestly feel I deserve. Seriously some amazing RPG stuff right here.
When holding baby, it is best to use at least one hand. This makes it so you can use the other hand for something else, like clicking the 'End Turn' button again and again and again in Civ 6. Seriously, this game has only been out for two months and I'm already near 150 hours played. It's just that good. By no means perfect, this Civ entry is everything I expect out of 4x games. Also, thermonuclear weapons are basically the best thing ever.
I'm just as shocked as everyone else by how well Hitman turned up to party in 2016. When I first heard the news that the developer, IO Interactive, was switching it from a single release to an episodic format, I was pretty skeptical that the final product would even be worth playing. But when this thing dropped, it was absolutely magic. IO truly delivered on the sandbox nature of the assassination game I wanted to play, with the AI being just smart enough to make it difficult, but also being dumb enough to not pick out the bald dude with the bar-code tattoo if he just kills your friends and plays dress up. This game kept me playing long into the night while I rocked our newborn to sleep, and I can't wait to see what season 2 looks like.
Good job IO!