Best of 2016

2016 was a real piece of garbage, so it's pretty awesome how it's been one of the best years for video games in a while. There were so many good games that if I had to keep this down to a straight "top 10" it would be impossible, so here are my top 10ish games of 2016.

List items

  • The DOOM series is pretty important to me. I remember the sequel being the second game I ever played at the age of 2-3ish after Super Mario Bros. when my dad had just gotten a new PC for his auto shop office, or at least I think it was DOOM 2? It might have been some demo or shareware, I hear tell that was what people did with DOOM. Needless to say that quick little game where I couldn't find my way out of the first 3 rooms and chainsawed 20 guys instilled in me my lifelong love of FPS games, so when I heard a new DOOM was coming out 12 years after the totally different DOOM 3 I was cautiously optimistic. At this point the people that made DOOM didn't even exist, so chances were this game wasn't gonna be great, but I'm willing to give a DOOM game the benefit of the doubt. Boy did that work out well.

    DOOM has a pretty simple premise: DOOM Guy wants to kill every demon on Mars, go make it happen. It's commitment to making that premise as fun as possible with enough varied combat that made me want to actually use every weapon in a way I didn't even in the original DOOM. The combat puzzle around using the glory kills and chainsaw for health and ammo and combat just feel as tight as they can be, which is a really important thing to me. The action is so fast paced and intense, but I never felt like I wasn't in control of every firefight. The way the game encourages you to get closer instead of farther away like most games, and form the FPS equivalent of a skateboard trick line makes the whole thing work perfectly. Everything about the gameplay is satisfying and I never had a single moment where I wasn't having a ton of fun. This is way longer than anything on the list, but I have to gush about DOOM as much as I am because it's easily become one of the best shooter campaigns I've probably played EVER. It's perfect.

    They also made me care about the character of DOOM Guy in 2016, which is pretty nuts considering he's a dude that never speaks a single line in the entire game who's main character trait is "I hate demons" There's a self-awareness that conveys exactly what DOOM was always about: Bitchin' rock guitars, fist bumps, and murdering the shit out of some demons.

  • Total War has been on a pretty unimpressive spin the last few releases, so I wasn't expecting a lot from this game outside my love of the Warhammer name. Around 100 hours later this became both my "I've got an hour before bed" and "I just played for 8 hours without realizing it" game for a while.

    There's a huge dedication to the goofiness of the Warhammer Fantasy line, and every faction had their own set of quirks, rules, and units that give them all a distinct flavor. The way the developers managed to inject the dumb goofiness and character of Warhammer into Total War makes it feel fresh again. Throw in a lot of unit diversity and a fun campaign map to romp around in and that's what got me hooked.

  • Superhot's a game I've been wanting to go back to that I really should. It's not long, and I probably finished in in about an hour and a half, but it was a hell of an hour and a half. The look, feel, and mechanics around how Super Hot plays all work together in a way I don't get from much else.

    The mechanic of time not moving when you stand still gives you time to figure out the combat puzzle of the game, but also lets you play out every badass action movie scene you've ever wanted. Right around the time I got to the level where you're stuck in an elevator with 3 guys pointing guns at your head equipped with only your fists, I knew this game was gonna be at least pretty alright. The weird retro computer aesthetic involving VR headsets and strange stuff built around your progressing commitment to the Superhot software is neat and unsettling in a way I love as well.

    SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT. SUPER HOT.

  • It took a really long time for The Last Guardian to come out. When I play it I can see where the 10 years of development went.

    The entire game is based around the relationship between you and your loveable cat-bird-dog and the bond that forms throughout the adventure. Everything about this is 100% what I'm into, especially as someone who's owned lots of animals over my life. The way Trico moves and behaves like a real pet, and the way you deal with him like a real pet is an absolute pleasure and heartwarming in a way I've never gotten from another game. My entire enjoyment of this game was predicated on that, and it's exactly what the game set out to do.

  • I really enjoyed the last Titanfall, and hey weird, I really like the sequel that keeps most of the solid, movement based gameplay and giant mech combat from the original.

    I figured the Campaign would be just a fun shooting gallery style action movie, but it does a pretty good job of putting some variety in the levels. There's a good mix of levels where you're quietly platforming a cool area, going ham in a rad mech, a mix of both, or phase shifting through time using the tight mobility this game's known for at this point. The story and characters surprisingly good too!

    I haven't played a ton of the multiplayer, but what I got the same enjoyment out of it that I did the single player. The movement and shooting in this game is still one of the top in games for me.

  • I've played pretty much every Pokemon that's come out, but I usually get bored at some point and never finish them outside of the first 2 games. Usually there's no story and I get bored just fighting Pokemon.

    Sun and Moon change that up and put more focus on the story, and even though it's not deep, it was enough to keep me interested and playing. More than just the story, a lot of the structure and gameplay has been revamped to make things way more enjoyable and easier in a way that doesn't feel like it's taking anything away from what I love about Pokemon.

    The end of 2016 was pretty rough for me, so the game's "Hey we're hangin' in fake Hawaii everyone chill and have a rad time" vibe came at the perfect moment. Everything about this game makes me feel good about just relaxing and killing some time with it when I'm bored.

    Also Team Skull are a treasure to us as a people.

  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix is pretty much a greatest hits collection with the addition of a bunch of new rhythm based games this series nails better than probably anyone else. It's one of the reasons I'm glad I own a 3DS.

  • I didn't like Dark Souls 2 all that much, so hearing this game was more like the first was exciting for me. There's not much to say about why I like Dark Souls 3 other than it brings back most of what made the first game so great. The combat is the same timing and tell based stuff that makes you commit to your choices, and the linear yet open and connected world full of interesting characters and hidden lore are all back in a way that's concluded the series nicely for me.

  • Most of why I like this game is style. One look at the plague doctor and you've checked off basically 100% of my aesthetic. This games (somewhat comedic?) take on eldritch horrors is the kind of stuff I eat up like a sucker. It's just a really pretty game with gameplay that's masochistic, random, and usually pretty unfair. Honestly I feel bad most of the time because I'm subjecting the poor members of my party to some truly awful scenarios in the sake of earning some treasure, but hey, there's a nice trip to the tavern to drown out their misery afterwards.

  • Overwatch is probably the most conflicting game for me on this list. I love it, but there's some small stuff that irk probably only me that make me not want to keep going back to it consistently.

    At it's core I love everything about this game a ton. The shooting and gameplay are tight, fun, and deliver. The team dynamic of the game is super awesome, and the synergy of how all the characters work together is top notch. The characters are also awesome in both their design and personality. There's a polish to this game that really appeals to me that only Blizzard and a few others could pull off.

    I loved playing this game the first month, and even though I don't go back to it consistently like I'd want to, I do love everything going on with it.

  • My 2015 Game of 2016

    I played this when it came out, but everyone I played with just sort of fell out of it very quickly. We recently picked it back up and I remembered why I liked it so much at the time. The shooting is awesome, there's a large number of neat weapons and abilities to use, and the level and item progression works out nicely. The cherry on top is the goofy attitude and team-killing flair of the developers behind Magica.

  • The 2016 Game I Wish I Would Have Played More of

    Hyper Light Drifter probably would have made my list if I played more than about 3 hours of it. The look of this game is super appealing to me and the combat felt really good in a way where I only felt like I was dying if it was through fault of my own.

  • The 2016 Game I Won't Know How Much I Like Until 2017

    I've played a lot of this game and so far I really like the way the combat has changed into a more action focus about chaining that works really well. The story is pretty dumb and throwaway, but I love hanging out with the 4 anime best friends of the main character on what feels like a road trip adventure. I'm waiting for a patch that will fix the end of the game, which I hear is super messed up, along with some other additions, so I'm probably not gonna get this one done any time soon.