Prediction: 15 Favorite Games of 2016

As I muster what little of remains of December to get more time with Fallout 4 and Xenoblade Chronicles X, my sight wanders to the upcoming new year and the extensive list of games planned to hit 2016. It's a great selection, and this doesn't count the numerous unannounced games that will be revealed throughout the year. Who knows how everything will shake out.

I thought that it might be interesting to make predictions that I can look back at twelve months from now. Did I enjoy this game as much as I thought? Did I expect too little from this game? How does this list compare to the eventual 2016 Game of the Year list?

Naturally, not every game on this list in guaranteed to be released in North America on 2016, but they're on the schedule as of mid December.

List items

  • With over 300 hours with Awakening, I've become quite the Fire Emblem fan. Giving us three unique versions of Fire Emblem Fates should do an good job at keeping me entertained for another 300 hours. With the stories penned by writer Shin Kibayashi, hopefully we'll have something more memorable than Awakening's weird time-travel (except not, kind of) plot.

    Persona 5 might be strong competition, but with the amount of content in Fates along with my love for this franchise, I fully expect that this will become my Game of the Year for 2016.

  • Persona 4 Golden is the first JRPG I have finished in years, so I have high hopes for Persona 5. It's questionable if we'll see a 2016 release in North America, and if so, it'll probably be towards the latter end, but it should be worth the long wait. ...Or so I hope, since we haven't seen a lot yet. At this point, I have faith in Atlus.

  • We know little about Firewatch besides a bit of backstory, a few events that occur, and a lot of beautiful Wyoming wilderness. It's being billed as a first-person exploratory game, but we don't know how much of the environment we will be able to explore, if there is any combat, or what the gameplay mechanics are. It's visually striking and has potential for something interesting.

  • During a typically over-rehearsed and uninteresting Electronic Arts presser before E3 2015, Martin Sahlin spoke about Unravel with a nervous energy that contrasted with everyone else who took that stage. Unravel showed colorful, vibrant environments and the charming Yarny bouncing and flinging through. We'll see if the physics-based platforming is any fun, but it looks like it.

  • I'm not sure what this game is. Despite the title, it's less a crossover between Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem and more an original property that takes cues from the two long-running franchises, and I'm okay with that. Regardless, what IS this game? You play as an idol in modern-day Japan, but with dungeons and demons(?) patterned after characters from Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. Just weird, but I'm so in.

  • I haven't been too excited for Uncharted 4 based on footage. It's likely the most visually impressive game on this list, but it's more Uncharted. You know what to expect, and nothing we've seen betrays that. Of course, I expect the finished game to throw me into a fun story with solid shooting, as per previous games, but will it toss anything that genuinely exceeds expectations?

  • Today's LEGO games are simple, safe adventures through familiar franchises, and I expect nothing different from LEGO Marvel's Avengers. Unlike the last LEGO Marvel game, this has players trek through six Marvel films using the actual voice dialogue. The cutscenes will undoubtedly be silly, as expected from recent LEGO games, too.

  • I love Paper Mario, but each game has been progressively worse. Barring a few exceptions, Mario & Luigi remained a quality franchise through the years, so combining the two Mario RPG franchises gives me hope. If nothing else, having M&L Bowser arguing with Paper Bowser should be amusing.

  • Despite the talent behind it (PlatinumGames), Star Fox Zero hasn't wowed thanks to less-than-impressive visuals and forced use of the Wii U's gamepad. What we'll end up with probably won't become the next big game for Nintendo, but I expect it'll be a solid adventure and an improvement over the Star Fox games that came after the excellent Star Fox 64.

  • When it came to mindlessly attacking brainless enemies, I didn't fancy being stuck to my television. Mindlessly attacking while watching a movie? That sounds like a better idea. The 3DS version adds a handful of new characters -- including Linkle, the female Link -- but I'm interested in just playing the game that got so many people to discard their supposed disinterest in Dynasty Warriors.

  • I can still play Pokemon Red on Retron 5, but I lost Yellow version a long time ago. It won't play much differently -- the original "generation" of Pokemon is exceedingly primitive by today's standards -- but it should bring back good memories. It's not the first game I purchased thanks to nostalgia.

  • Project X Zone, the first one, barely made my Favorite Games of 2013 list. The story predictably made little sense, while it required little strategy for a strategy game. I can't say if the latter has improved, but I do know that the three heroes from Valkyria Chronicles 3 are sadly gone. Meanwhile, Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening are joining. Does any of that make this a better game? Absolutely not.