2016 Game of the Year

It's the end of the year, so it's time to collect my ten favorite games and put them into an ordered list. This year features two games that were released in 2015, but had so much great content released in 2016 that I feel they're justified to be placed here.

List items

  • One of my earliest PC gaming memories was loading up DOS and playing Doom. It holds a very special place in my heart, which is what made Doom 3 so disappointing when it played like a modern horror first-person shooter. When Doom 4 was announced, I just couldn't get myself to be excited, since it had been so long since Doom II, the last great one of these. But then the first trailer came out, and the action looked fast and fun. The more I saw of it after that, the clearer it became that the people making this game understood why the first two games were great and refused to be restrained by modern shooter mechanics. Fuck reloading. Fuck regenerating health. Fuck having just 2 weapons at a time. Fuck just running down endless corridors. This game is frantic, wild, stylish, and an absolute blast. My favorite part is the return of having a map and items hidden throughout it, with you having to backtrack and explore to find every secret. It hit all the right notes with me, and this game had to be at the top of my list.

  • I got my first taste of Picross with Pokemon Picross, and I was instantly hooked. Then when the latest Picross 3D game came out, I knew I had to check it out. The two-color format used to fill straight and curved edges of the hidden shapes added a whole new dimension to the game, as well as the whole 3D aspect of having to rotate and hightlight slices of the show shape to calculate my next move. As I played through, I refused to complete a puzzle without a single mistake and it added an extra level of challenge I loved. I sunk so many hours into my 3DS playing this and ended up eventually 100%ing the game with 0 mistakes. If you have a 3DS and like puzzles, this is an absolute must. It was very nearly my top game.

  • Thumper is violent, intense, and loud. It attacks all your senses and demands perfection. And I'm totally okay giving myself over to it. I love rhythm games, and this is one of the most stylish one of those games I've ever played. This is also a game I refuse to play outside of VR, because being in that world while racing down the highway is a huge part of the experience. It also helps having zero delay and 3D making it easier to see upcoming obstacles.

  • I'm going to admit something: I had never played the Ratchet & Clank games before this. I'm a huge 3D platformer fan, but for whatever reason I was never drawn to the series. With them doing a soft reboot with gorgeous graphics, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to jump in and I'm glad I did. I went through and got the platinum trophy for this one, and loved the gameplay and all the different wacky weapons. I think I'm now in for any future games in the series.

  • I don't have a PC powerful enough to do virtual reality, and also the Rift and Vive are crazy expensive. So PSVR is my headset of choice. If you've read my lists before, my love for Batman is well-known. So one of my first full VR experience allowing me to become Batman inside a world with the Arkham series graphics and doing Batman things is pretty much the best. It's not higher on the list because of how short it is, but I had an amazing time playing it.

  • I love Trials. I love FarCry 3: Blood Dragon. So when Ubisoft combined them I was instantly on board. Some people were not a fan of the non-bike parts of the game, but I really enjoyed how loose and crazy the on-foot stuff felt. Also there's a bunch of grappling hook sections that all feel like a crapshoot and could fail for no reason. But it just added to the challenge of me trying to speedrun everything and top the leaderboards. Plus I found the story hilarious. Make Blood Dragon for everything.

  • This is actually for Rock Band Rivals.

    When Rock Band 4 came out last year, it was a huge disappointment for me. It felt barebones and the way to get my thousands of DLC songs back was a nightmare. But slowly over the year they've adding more things to the game, but it had already lost its hooks in me. But then Rock Band Rivals came out. It's a mode where you and nine friends form a crew and compete against other crews online for scores and XP to try to move up the ranks to be the best in the world. My crew has spreadsheets built each week to track our progress and since it launched I've been playing at least 200 songs a week. This was exactly the new twist the instrument games needed and I rekindled my love for the franchise.

  • My 2015 Game of the Year has made it back on the list! That's because they've been putting out more content for it throughout the year, including the launch of Year 2 and the introduction of Story Packs. Story Packs are essentially mini LEGO games that tell the whole story of recent movies, such as the new Ghostbusters and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This year they also brought Sonic the Hedgehog to the game, and his level has some incredible references that I absolutely loved. LEGO Dimensions is still an amazingly fun and funny game, and you should play it.

  • Yeah, I know a lot of people will give me shit for placing Overwatch so low on my list, but it didn't dig its claws into me a deeply as other people. The time I have spent with the game with friends has been a lot of fun, even if I'm not great at it. I could definitely see myself going back to this with a group, but I'm not sure public matches with strangers would appeal to me.

  • The Witness is a game that both made me feel like a moron and a genius, sometimes at the same time. I was wary going into this one, since I had heard it was very vague and cryptic like Fez, which I admit I needed to look up some solutions for. For this game, I've yet to look up any of the solutions or clues and I have yet to finish it. But I am okay with that, because the feeling when you finally got the solution after banging your head against it for hours is so worth it.