Best of 2016
Overall, twenty sixteen was a bonafide shit show. Luckily, there were some good games to distract us from some of the real world nonsense that we had to endure this year. I played over thirty games this year, and strangely had a hard time picking out ten worth putting on my list. Normally, the tough part is figuring out the last couple spots. But, this year, I felt like the whole back half of my list could've been any five of fifteen-some-odd games I played. So, here's what I went with and hopefully 2017 is better in all respects.
- Fire Emblem Fates (3DS) - My first ever FE game. I enjoyed it and finished it (Birthright), though I never could shake the feeling that I was playing it wrongly.
- Catlateral Damage (PS4) - A game about being a cat and wrecking shit. I got the platinum trophy.
- Bravely Second: End Layer (3DS) - The first one had such a terrible "end game" that it ruined what was a very enjoyable game. I had every intention of giving this another shot, but it came out right before PAX East. I StreetPassed the shit out of the minigame in, but then never got back to finishing the actual game.
- Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Fortune (PS4) - Yeah. I played it. Maybe a lot. Stop looking at me like that.
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE (WiiU)- This game is goofy, fun, and has a combat system that builds upon the already great Persona system. The whole thing is delightful.
- Forza Horizon 3 (XONE) - Better than 2, but I didn't get involved online like I did with 2, so it didn't stick with me.
- Headmaster (PS4) - I liked it at PSX '15 without even knowing about the insane framing around the game. And the updates post launch have made it a lot more fun.
10. Thumper (PS4)
Thumper is amazing. I am terrible at Thumper. After playing it for two years at various PAXs and PSX, I was glad to finally dive into it. Strangely, it is much easier to play in VR. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll never beat it, but I wanted it on my list anyway.
9. The Witness (PS4)
I still remember fumbling through Myst on my 25mhz 486. Look...I'm old. The Witness was the first game in 20 years that gave me that crazy sensation of being utterly lost and then almost immediately feeling like the smartest person on Earth...then an idiot again. Discovering some of the crazy, hidden (or not-so-hidden) things about the island and discussing said oddities with friends was easily one of the most memorable things this year.
8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4)
Human Revolution was my surprise game of 2012. I'd never played a Deus Ex game before, but quickly fell in love with the game's world. Mankind Divided is definitely more of that, but doesn't really take any giant leaps forward after five years, which is somewhat disappointing. I still enjoyed playing through it and successfully got the pacifist trophy for not killing anyone. Hopefully it won't be another five whole years before we continue/complete the adventures of Mrs. Jensen's baby boy.
7. I Am Setsuna (PS4)
Square created a studio dedicated to creating classic RPGs and that's exactly what they did. Nothing about I Am Setsuna is exceptionally groundbreaking, but that's not what it was going for anyway. I started it in the Summer, but went back to finish it late in the year, and I'm super glad I did. If you yearn for the days of mid-90s, Chrono Trigger-esque RPGs, give it a shot. While I enjoyed it quite a bit, I do hope their next project is a little more ambitious.
6. Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives (PS4)
I finally got to play this once I got my PlayStation VR and it is the perfect game to throw guests into when trying VR for the first time. Whether they play games or not, Job Simulator is the perfect balance of familiar themes, insane scenarios, and the freedom to mess with everything in the environment. It quickly became my 10th platinum trophy. Who doesn't love some soup can soup?
5. Picross 3D: Round 2 (3DS)
I love me some Picross. Admittedly, I like the purity of 2D picross more, but Picross 3D is an incredible improvement over the original. The multiple colors (rounded pieces) changes the game completely for a whole new challenge even for Picross vets. I can't marathon these 3D puzzles like a I do the 2D ones, so I'll be playing this one for months to come. There's like 360 puzzles. That's...[almost] too many puzzles! It's also the first game that made me actively think about buying more amiibo.
4. Ratchet & Clank (PS4)
Ratchet & Clank is my last minute entry to my list and obviously it jumped up pretty high. I played R&C back in the day, but I didn't have a ton of reverence for it. I was more of a Jak & Daxter guy at the time. But, I picked this up during Black Friday and holy shit this game is fun. The first night I started playing, I was up until 2 AM. On top of the excellent gameplay and fun weapons, the game is simply gorgeous.
3. Final Fantasy XV (PS4)
I was there at E3 2006 when this game was announced. It was somewhat surreal to finally be playing it so many years later. The game has problems (maybe a lot of problems), but I found myself having fun with it almost all the way through (yo, fuck Chapter 13). The pacing is all over the place; going from a good open-world game to a linear sprint in the back third and almost survival horror game at the end. And, yeah, they do a terrible job conveying the story in the game itself. But, despite all of this, I enjoyed the combat, the exploration, and most of the side stuff. I think Ian a.k.a @ltsquigs said it best when he said it was a good open world game and a not-so-good Final Fantasy game. It became my eleventh platinum trophy.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)
Was a 4th Uncharted necessary? Probably not. But, I'm incredibly happy they did it. From start to finish, Uncharted 4 is everything I could've asked for in a conclusion to Nathan Drake's story. The action parts are fun, but it's the quiet, character moments where the game truly shines. That scene with Nate and Elena at home is easily one of the most memorable in the game, and not just because of the Crash Bandicoot cameo. My favorite character interaction, though, is late in the game when Elena is back and after discovering Nate was lying to her. It's super awkward between them, and, for a moment, they defer talking about it until the job is done. But, then, they stop and are like "no, we gotta deal with this now!" For ten years now I've loved these characters. I'm sad to see them go, but it was time, and Naughty Dog gave them a proper send off as only they could.
1. Titanfall 2 (PS4)
I am not a competitive multiplayer shooter guy. I play some Battlefield every couple years. The last Call of Duty I played was Modern Warfare 2. But, ever since the demo I played at PAX Prime 2013, I fell in love with Titanfall. And the sequel improves on the original in every conceivable way. The campaign is incredibly fun and every level has you doing something different. Whether you're on foot, rollin' in BT, doing crazy platforming, or...that time travel level? That time travel level! It's all great. And then the multiplayer got me hooked hard. I love that in most of the modes, you can play defense and still come out as MVP a lot of the time. It's just sad the game was sent out to die.
0. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (N3DS)
The best console game of all time is arguably the best game of every year. I've lost count on how many times I've played through A Link to the Past. And it came out on the N3DS eShop this year, so it qualifies...sort of. Regardless, in such a shitty year, returning to LTTP is comforting.