Games Played (2016)

Despite the totally lackluster year that 2016 was, it was an extremely good year for video games. There were a multitude of surprises either due to the past histories of the franchise(DOOM/HITMAN) or the out of the blue appearance of some games(stardew valley). It was a year were almost every genre and platform had games that were phenomenal.

[Spoilers ahead]

[All the items past the first ten are in a more or less order but aren't as solidly ranked as the first 10.]

List items

  • What can be said of DOOM that hasn't been said already? It's one of the best fps campaigns ever crafted and in spite of its totally lackluster multiplayer mode, it has a long lasting impact.

    The action is extremely thrilling. Glory kills allow for a flow to the combat that makes it feel almost like a character action game. The story is minimal enough to stay out of the way but at times adds a good amount of levity with it's/the doomslayers "I don't give a fuck attitude".

    And the soundtrack!!!!

    (See my review for a more robust discussion on the merits of DOOM)

  • Throwing fire extinguishers has never been so thrilling. Dressing up as drummer to push your target off the roof has never been so easy.

    The odds were stacked against Hitman before its' release. Changing the distribution model after already starting preorders, the reception of absolution, its' always online nature. Despite these things Hitman delivers on one of the best sandbox experiences that the series is known for. The humor always rubbed me the wrong way in previous iterations of the series, but they definitely hit the mark here. The right amount of absurdity and satire are scattered throughout to give you a reason to explore beyond devising your hit.

    Elusive targets are a great addition and provide something interesting to the game. The use of challenges and opportunities allow for a more guided experience if that's what you want.

    Among the games released in 2016 I've returned to hitman the most; both because of its release model and the brevity of content it contains.

  • The Witness is really something special. From the design of the island to the design of the puzzles everything is intricately crafted to generate an extremely gratifying puzzle game.

    Completing the challenges is one of my hilights from 2016 as was my discovery of the environmental puzzles (Mine was the excavator thing in the orchard).

    The witness is also the only game this year in which I willingly watched an hour long video in game only to realise at the last moment that it could be used to complete a puzzle. I immediately watched it again.

    I also feel like this game was released in 2015 every time I think about it.

  • Trico is the best character of the year. They made me care about a thing in a game that didn't talk, had no exposition surrounding it, would sometimes not listen to me, that I had to feed, and that I had to sometimes babysit through the area. And it was all fun.

    The Last Guardian has a similar feel to both of the previous team ico games in regards to its gameplay and the way it looks. Occasional camera issues can disrupt the games progression and at times the game can feel a bit slow.

    That said the game is more or less excellently paced. The puzzles are fairly light and mostly revolve around figuring out what you need Trico to do. The story is minimal but is more overt that the Ico or SotC. The strongest component is the relationship that develops between you and Trico and the story revolves around this.

    The Last Guardian feels like a coop game with a giant bird-cat-dog that you get to ride and pet.

  • The original Dark Souls is one of my favorite games of all time. I had played demon's souls when it came out but had largely forgotten about it when Dark Souls came around. It's combination of mystery and steadfast resistance to your progression wrapped me in.... until Quelaag. I dropped the game, disliking it at that point, for a while and came back about 4 months later when I had more time.

    Something about it at that time hit me the right way. It all worked for me. The level design. The Enemies design. The weapon animation. The lore. It felt intangible, like a game that was found rather than made. It's imperfections made it more interesting. It's definitely my 2011 game of the year.

    Dark Souls III is more of that except it lacks that sense of mystery somewhat. The imperfections have been polished away to leave a silky smooth AAA game rather than a tarnished relic that simply appeared. It does however replace that sense of mystery for me with a strange sense of nostalgia despite the fact that Dark Souls is only 5 years old now. Maybe this is due to the fact that Dark Souls II was so different and this feels like a reemergence or because Dark Souls hit me so hard at the time.

    This entry uses the previous games in the right way. From the tactful use of Anor Londo looming over you as you exit the pontiff's boss arena to the final boss fight with the Soul of Cinder. The final boss to me is what really solidifies this game as great. The first form is a representation of all the players who linked the flame in Dark Souls and when you hit that second form there is an elation that hits. The Gwyn fight is made right this time and it feels like sparing an old friend instead of fighting an enemy.

  • SUPER HOT.... SUPER HOT.....

    It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years!!!

    Superhot has you doing what you imagine you're doing in most first person shooters. It's a sort of puzzle shooter where you pull of badass shots/throws/punches/mario-stomps on red dudes. The story is short but the right length (I finished it in 80 minutes). The endless mode is great. The trappings around it are very well done.

  • Inside is what it needs to be. The puzzles are fairly simple. Most of the time you move left to right. The environments are impeccable. That final moment is amazing. Play Inside.

  • Firewatch is a 5v5 character based shooter. It's not quite hobby grade but it's definitely a better fighting game than nitro plus blasters infinite duel.

    I played a twine game in the intro and I actually liked it. The interactions between Delilah and Henry are great. The mystery is well established and drops the ball in a few small ways. I liked the ending as well; I felt I knew what I needed to. Not all stories in life end with a bang.

    Firewatch doesn't weave a grand tale. It's mundane and it's all the better for it.

  • It's more picross 3D and you already know about that, so how about an example of how good this game is?

    This game came around at the wrong time. I didn't study for my Graduate Kinetics final because of it(I luckily passed unscathed). This means I put my job and education on the line just to play Picross 3D: Round 2. If that's not an endorsement I don't know what is.

  • When this was announced and people were excited all I could think was: "I feel like this is unnecessary." I was wrong. I rarely cared about the story in the past uncharted games but it hits really hard here (most likely because of Neil Druckmanns writing). It's also got those Uncharted moments and is a technical powerhouse. But it's also more Uncharted.

  • Great car models and you can go stupid fast.

  • text interpreter that you can befriend or foe.

  • 2D dark souls

  • Ratchet and clank is a great game, but its just another ratchet and clank.

  • Great Strategy game from paradox who hits it out of the park every time. Doesn't quite surpass CK2 for my favorite but this is a very different beast.

  • Stardew is a time sink.

  • Good first impression with little lasting impact, the same way I feel about every tycoon game but I still come back to them for some reason.

  • Ehh.

  • As someone who has no fondness of MYST and hasn't played MYST, I liked Obduction quite a bit. From the lore to the puzzles, it was an entrancing game with beautiful environments.

  • Its an HD twilight princess. the frame rate is unforgivable in portions.

  • Dishonored 2 bring back the game-play from dishonored that I loved so much. But the PC port is very poorly done and at times makes the game near unplayable for me.

    [2017 update]

    With some patching and the like dishonored 2 is redeemed, its pretty good. 10 top material now, but for the time it was released: nah.

  • Street Figher V has 99 problems but the fighting isn't one.

  • I put this here because I played it. It's the only game I've ever refunded. It's bad.