My Favorite Ten Games of 2016

This might the first year in a long time that I had to include games from last year on technicalities that I feel justified about. 2016 was kind of a bummer year for pop culture and politics but it was still the best time to be playing video games.

List items

  • For as long as I've been playing games I've been pining for a game to make getting in and out of a mech feel cool as hell, like from one of my Japanese animes. No mecha centric game I've played captures the seamless transition between man and machine(power extreme) quite like the Titanfall games. With the ground work set by the first game, Titanfall 2 is a more fully featured game with a surprisingly great campaign and a multiplayer that I don't want to stop playing. The reason I find it so good is a combination of the fast and fluid movement, a good sized arsenal of weapons and abilities to mess with, and a score streak that always culminates into dropping a giant robot onto the battlefield to make me feel even more badass. I can recognize that this game may not be for everyone, but it's definitely for me and anyone else who likes cool multiplayer shooters.

  • I had been meaning to get around to this game but not until it came out on consoles this year did I finally get to experience it's brilliance. I've been on a bit of a kick of playing games that are Rogue-esque-ish-lite-likes this year and this is probably my favorite one. Looking over the rest of my list... I spent a lot of time killing enemies this year. Making a style of this game where getting information is more valuable than actually killing enemies is an impressive feat in and of itself. I've put an absurd amount of time into unfurling the optimal ways with which to finish a level, and I still feel like I can get better and good enough to tackle a higher difficulty. The sheer depth to this experience makes it a must have for my favorite games of the year, and dare I say of all time.

  • I've played quite a few team based multiplayer shooters over the years but I can't think of any that knock it out of the park on their debut the same way Overwatch has. By having the class variety of a team-based shooter and character variety of a fighting game, Overwatch strikes a terrific balance of game design and aesthetic that a surprising number of diverse gamers can pick up and enjoy. Blizzard still has this insane knack for striking gold with both old and new game franchises.

  • Of everything I've played this year this is probably the game who's styyyyyle I liked the most. It leans on some silly designs and referential material for levity but it feels cohesive for the kind of gun fantasy that this game is shooting for. Changing the pasts of this cast of characters will go down as one of my favorite gaming moments this year. I only have one trophy left to get and it involves making it to the end without getting hit by a boss, and I don't think I can get it unless I get lucky with high tier loot. Guess I won't know until the next time I, ENTER THE GUNGEON.

  • I feel somewhat privileged to have played DOOM back in 1993. The audacity of this developer to dare try and rekindle the feeling of that game in 2016 seems like lunacy. I did not expect to play a game that felt modern and yet gave me the specific nostalgia of killing demons, pushing buttons, and holy fuck it's metal as fuck! I don't remember the specifics of the story so well and hunting down secrets put a damper in the breakneck pace of the action, but other than that I can't say a bad thing about that campaign having played it once and only once. Hands down one of the biggest surprises this year.

  • What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good pirate treasure hunting story and this game hits on all the things I love about these kinds of adventurous romps. This is a cast of characters that I can't help but love even when they're being complete morons or cold blooded killers. There continues to be an oddly jaunty tone despite going on murder sprees but that's video games baby. It's probably the best looking game I've played on PS4 this year and maybe last year as well. Despite enjoying the game a lot, playing on hard difficulty the first time through was not the most pleasant experience. However the moments and set pieces are genuinely spectacular enough to make it one of my favorite game experiences this year.

  • While this game technically saw an official release in December of 2015, it needs to be stated that it was released in an unfinished state at the time and did not receive a single patch on console until 9 months after launch and Vita has still not received a patch after a full year. I want to be clear that I think this is easily one of the best video games I've ever played. Punchy controls, cool sense of style, and some fun secrets to be found and exploited. I just wish it had been in the hands of a developer or publisher who was better about quality control than Vlambeer.

  • I included this for Blood and Wine specifically but I played Heart of Stone for the first time this year as well. The Witcher 3 is the adventure game that keeps on giving and given the quality of storytelling I can't not include it in my favorite games for the second year in a row. I'm not a big fan of some of the actual game mechanics but this style of dark fantasy black humor is in a league of it's own.

  • I was ready to write this game off as yet another trial and error stealth game. That being said Hitman manages to make the trial and error part of the fun where there are a ton of goofy possibilities on how to pull off your hits. I had the benefit of getting the entire season all at once but I missed out on the early episode elusive targets. This is a winning formula for an established yet all new game series going forward. I had never been into these games in the past but I'm certainly intrigued about what the future will bring for this one going forward.

  • Something always rings false to me about the typical heroic dungeon adventure fantasy you often see portrayed in any modern medium. There really should be no glamor or glory in venturing into these filthy locales full of disgusting monsters. For this reason I was drawn in by this game's premise of a long time fantasy trope gone horribly awry. It does become a bit of a grind after a while but I have completed the entire checklist of tasks except for the final dungeon. I've tried it once, made it to the boss, lost two dudes, ran away, and fled the darkest dungeon losing a third guy as a penalty. The horror and difficulty clicked with me in a way that probably isn't good for my mental health and I don't know that I can keep playing it.