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GAF Games of the Year 2016 - Voting Thread [Voting closed]

Caipirinha

Member
Feb 24, 2014
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0
1. Uncharted 4 ; Some might criticise western devs as heading in the direction of "playable cinematics" but if gaming is to ever reach the status of cinema, music etc. then it will need to combine both deep and enjoyable gameplay (Japan) and mature, well acted, well presented stories in well crafted worlds - Uncharted 4 reaches the standard that cinema sets and pushes gaming as an art form forward, it is a generational leap in storytelling in gaming and for that reason it is not only the game of the year but will be remembered as a milestone in the history of gaming forever.

2. The Last Guardian ; There is still nothing else like a Ueda game and the industry needs more like it. TLG is as good as Ueda games come and it is so important that this game is not only successful, but that it teaches other devs how else gaming can be used as a medium now that Ueda is retiring.

3. Hitman ; I'm all about AA gaming and whilst I know this game has a large budget, it's not a AAA marquee title, it's a niche genre (stealth) and yet it not only exists but it meets and beats all the expectations we had. It found a way to exist using a new business model and hopefully will pave the way for more high quality niche games in the future.

4. Battlefield 1 ; Just a perfectly crafted Battlefield game that does actually pay some reverence to the serious subject matter upon which it is based.

5. Rocket League (Xbox One) ; Never actually played it on Xbox One but as it was released not he platform in 2016 it's another chance for me to pay respects to what will be a top 3 game of the generation. It is perfection, simple as that.

6. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; A Deus Ex game should be a high 90's, ground breaking title, but it hasn't been since the first and this one isn't as bad as the second game. The gameplay elements are all there, it just completely lacks an interesting or thought provoking story and most of the supporting characters are dull as hell - but the fact that it's gameplay is worthy of being a Deus Ex sequel means that it's 50% of a god tier game and I enjoyed playing it, so 6th place it is.

7. Firewatch ; I probably should, by rights, be rating this higher as until the ending this game is absolutely brilliant and everything I ever wanted in modern adventure games, and it pioneers a lot of storytelling techniques that other devs would do well to learn from - but the ending is just so painfully terrible that I can't bare to score it higher. If this game had the ending it deserved, and better performance, it would probably be my no. 2 of the year. I haven't felt as tense or invested in a game in a long time, but the pay off HAS to eb worth it in adventure titles.

8. Ratchet & Clank ; I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would, it's really more of a shooter than a platform and whilst I should have known that going in, I always find myself expecting the former. That said, it does what it does perfectly, it's full of heart and soul and it looks absolutely phenomenal.

9. The Walking Dead: Michonne ; Love TWD, love Michonne, so love this game.

10. The Witness ; I still haven't beat it as any of puzzles absolutely infuriate me but I can acknowledge that it is a great game and I will get round to finishing it eventually.
 

Kaffeemann

Member
Apr 27, 2015
882
0
280
Germany
1. Overwatch ; I will be playing this for years. Great art and masterful sound design. Diverse characters, fast and satisfying gameplay, good support from Blizzard and Hanzo mains make it my GOTY 2016.

2. XCOM 2 ; My first playthrough was one of the best gaming experiences I ever had. A big improvement over XCOM:EU but still really tough and rewarding. Mods make it even better.

3. Stardew Valley ; There's always something to do in Stardew Valley! Farming, fishing, fighting or socializing. Regardless of what you do, it's always fun and the game keeps surprising you with new stuff so it never gets boring.

4. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ; A challenging stealth game where a small group of assassins takes on dozens of enemies from the shadows. A single mistake can mean death! Prepare to quick save and load frequently.

5. Darkest Dungeon ; Fantastic art and sound design. The first 15 hours are amazing but unfortunately it gets repetitive after that.
 

Minishdriveby

Member
Jan 12, 2013
3,921
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450
1. Uncharted 4 ; Some might criticise western devs as heading in the direction of "playable cinematics" but if gaming is to ever reach the status of cinema, music etc. then it will need to combine both deep and enjoyable gameplay (Japan) and mature, well acted, well presented stories in well crafted worlds - Uncharted 4 reaches the standard that cinema sets and pushes gaming as an art form forward, it is a generational leap in storytelling in gaming and for that reason it is not only the game of the year but will be remembered as a milestone in the history of gaming forever.
Don't mistake this comment as criticizing Uncharted or questioning your choice of it being at the top, but I disagree that gaming needs an empathetic story element to push it into the status of fine art. There are plenty of games that I would consider art based purely on the mechanics of the game themselves, e.g. Chess, Sudoku, Tetris. These games also have a much farther reach than most fine arts, and Chess has a much longer history than cinema. Again I'm all for a variety of games. An ecosystem that blends competitive play, logic puzzles, and empathetic role-playing, but I don't think any one type is greater than the other.
 

Par Score

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Dec 6, 2014
3,279
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Don't mistake this comment as criticizing Uncharted or questioning your choice of it being at the top, but I disagree that gaming needs an empathetic story element to push it into the status of fine art. There are plenty of games that I would consider art based purely on the mechanics of the game themselves, e.g. Chess, Sudoku, Tetris. These games also have a much farther reach than most fine arts, and Chess has a much longer history than cinema. Again I'm all for a variety of games. An ecosystem that blends competitive play, logic puzzles, and empathetic role-playing, but I don't think any one type is greater than the other.
Yeah, I would never argue against anyone else's list, nobody can be "wrong" when it comes to ordering their favourite games, but I'm not sure I could disagree more with the sentiment and content of that comment.
 

Bananastand

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Aug 26, 2014
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1. Overwatch ; I haven’t enjoyed an online shooter this much since Halo 3. I’ve been absolutely hooked since september and that is a pretty race thing for me. I can’t wait to see what Blizzard does with this game in 2017.
2. Hyper Light Drifter ; Simply gorgeous visuals and a stunning soundtrack. Also some of the most intense and rewarding combat I’ve played this year.
3. DOOM ; Hardcore, fast and super violent. I forgot I used to like shooters and than I played DOOM and I suddenly remembered why. More of this please!
4. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ; A fitting and mature end for this series. Loved the slower tempo of the whole thing.
5. Picross 3D Round 2 ; I only discovered the joy of Picross and Picross 3D this year so I was in the right state of mind when Round 2 was announced. I find the puzzles to be way more taxing and complicated so I usually play about five of them before I go and play something else. I still boot it up every single time when I turn on my 3DS however. It really is that good.
6. Dragon Quest Builders ; Never played Minecraft or Dragon Quest before but I adore this game. Made me really interested in checking out Dragon Quest VII in January.
7. The Last Guardian ; I never hated a game I like so much before.
8. Inside ; I replayed Limbo this year and I found it to be pretty disappointing in retrospect. Inside on the other is something else. I feel like it is a better Limbo in pretty much every way.
9. Firewatch ; I know most people feel like this game ends pretty anticlimactic but I couldn’t disagree more. What a perfect ending.
10. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD ; I had a lot of fun replaying this game again in HD and with standard controls. It is probably the last standard 3D Zelda we are going to in a long, long time.

Honorable mention ; Hitman
This game is so silly and fun. I enjoy finding the optimal way to murder a target but the AI sometimes gets in the way and makes the whole thing less fun than it probably should be.
 

Not Drake

Member
Aug 3, 2016
556
1
225
Lublin, Poland
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; A complete and fantastic end to the Nathan Drake's story. Heavily improved over it's already great predecessors when it come gameplay mechanics, level desing and gameplay variety. Very well done and constantly supported multiplayer mode is a cherry on top of a very special cake.

2. DOOM ; A perfect modern shooter for me. Filled with smart setpieces, cinematic in presentation and with a perfect action flow. Top tier gunplay and a wonderful platforming (ish) movement makes for a great piece of entertainment.

3. Overwatch ; My favorite online shooter in years. I love the characters, tons of lore behind them and a very engaging gameplay. Kudos for a competent console launch and great post-launch support.

4. Alienation ; Housemarque is one of the few studios I'm sure will deliver top-tier games and Alienation is another masterpiece from those people. Huge in terms of content, addictive and very satisfying.

5. Battlefield 1 ; It's definitely very liberal when it comes to the representation of The Great War taking it in a direction of a Hollywood movie, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. BF1 delivers a great multiplayer fun and a suprisingly competent single player campaing.

6. Thumper ; I didn't play it through VR, but it was great nevertheless. A terrifying and exhausting experience which turned out to be a very fresh take on a rhythm game.

7. Ratchet & Clank ; A perfect remake and a very good way to revive a stagnant series.

8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

9. Darkest Dungeon ; I'm seriously horrible at this game, but the chaos sucked me in. Fantastic presentation and a great use of basic mechanics makes DD a must-play.

10. Firewatch
 

FriedConsole

Banned
Jul 1, 2013
5,440
0
0
If I had to describe gaming in 2016 in one word it would be “disappointment”. This year had some excellent games but a lot of games I looked forward to were just underwhelming. VR doesn’t have the mainstream appeal that I think many people were counting on bringing masses back to gaming. The non-phone gaming market is in a decline and the future looks bleak as people look elsewhere for entertainment. The biggest gaming events of 2016 were Pokemon Go and the NES mini which aren’t really future building. Hopefully 2017 brings something that shows a bright future for gaming but I can’t help thinking it is going to get worse.

I played less Vita/3DS this year as things slowed down a lot on the those platforms. All games were played on PS4 unless noted.

1. Trackmania Turbo ; You would think just racing against ghosts would get boring but this game nails the controls, awesome crazy tracks and superb sense of speed. Multiplayer of racing against 100 ghosts is something I didn't know I needed. Surprisingly polished for a Trackmania game. Only criticisms are that the music sucks (you need to Spotify) and customizing your car into something that is not ugly is impossible. I haven't tried the track making tool but that isn't usually my thing.

2. Doom ; This is what you want a Doom game to be in 2016. At the core you are just shooting demons over and over again but it is so well done that it is a blast. Multiplayer is meh. The map creation tool is not something I want to do and playing the user created levels was lame. Otherwise worth the money for the single player experience.

3. Overwatch ; Despite a certain segment of the audience being embarrassing for picking characters based on their virtual marriage and taking a casual game way too seriously, there is no denying this game is the best multiplayer game this year. It is pure genius how Blizzard got all these different characters to mostly balance and keep them playable diverse.

4. Steamworld Heist ; (Vita) I wish all turn based strategy games could have interfaces this good. Keeps things simple in a world where turn based strategy games are getting way too complicated. Finally somebody made a Steampunk game with visuals that didn’t make me say “yuk”.

5. Not a Hero ; This game is a cross between Elevator Action and Hotline Miami. It is a lot of fun in short sessions but it is a little too repetitious. It won't be a classic like Roll 7's other game Olli Olli because it lacks the depth and the urge to master the game for a higher score. It is a little too easy to slowly cludge your way through levels by mastering a few skills and just repeating it over and over. Still a great game that is tons of fun.

6. Enter the Gungeon ; The roguelike genre is getting pretty crowded. This game rises above as one of the best ever made.

7. Mirror's Edge Catalyst ; I was a big fan of the original and this game is an improvement in every way. Catalyst no longer requires the pinpoint accuracy that made the original frustrating in spots. The campaign is super easy but challenge is still there in the side quests and racing challenges. Once you get past the first act the open world opens up and is no longer monotonous to travel and there is always fast travel. The best sections were the grid nodes which were puzzle rooms which I wish there were more. Overall I couldn't have asked for more out of a sequel for the original.

8. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Late to this game and it is more of the same as the reboot but it is still a lot fun. I had fun with the pulpy story.

9. The Division ; I loved the entire experience until the end game. I got my money’s worth. It fixed so many problems I had with Destiny.

10. Ratchet and Clank ; I played the original 10 years ago but everything seem new and fresh. Just some amazing gameplay that is so rare these days in games. Lots of collectibles that will keep you busy if you want.

x. No Man's Sky ; For the first 8 hours or so NMS was amazing and made me feel like no other video game has made me feel since I was a kid. The awe and wonder of exploring the universe made me giddy and I couldn't wait to see what was next. After about 8 hours it wears off as you feel you have seen everything and you feel you are part of a repetitious job. I still feel I got my money's worth to make me feel that amazed, albeit brief, being such an old and jaded lifelong gamer.

x. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Could have been shorter with better pacing but there are some great scenes that make the endless climbing worth it. Second favorite Uncharted after the second one.

x. Battlefield 1; Return of me to loving Battlefield. SP underrated.

Music of the year - Drive!Drive!Drive!, Slain: Back From Hell
Story of the year - Uncharted 4: A Thief's End


Underrated Gems

  • Neon Chrome
  • Assassin's Creed Chronicles (Vita)
  • Prominence Poker
  • Tricky Towers
  • Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered (Vita)
  • Square Heroes
  • Tharsis
  • Obliteracers
  • Strike Vector EX
  • Super Mutant Alien Assault
  • Rogue Stormers
  • Aqua Moto Racing Utopia
  • Dungeon Punks
  • Downwell (Vita)
  • VOLUME (Vita)
  • Lumo (Vita)
  • Air Race Speed (Vita)
  • Slain: Back From Hell (Vita)
  • Drive!Drive!Drive!
  • Pac Man Championship 2
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Single Player)

Previous Year Games I Kept Playing in 2016
  • Battlefront
  • Rocket League


Not as Bad as Everyone Says But Not Good Either
  • Homefront: The Revolution
  • Ghostbusters
  • Mighty No. 9

Overrated Games (Good games that people hype up a little too much)
  • Assault Android Cactus
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer (Vita)
  • 10 Second Ninja X (Vita)
  • Furi
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Let It Die
  • Severed (Vita)
  • Inside
  • Titanfall 2

Most Disappointing (Not terrible but I had high hopes for them)
  • Alienation
  • Headlander
  • Hardware Rivals
  • Dangerous Golf
  • VIDEOBALL
  • Mafia 3
  • Unravel
  • 100ft Robot Golf
  • Steep
  • Broforce
  • Watchdogs 2

Worst
  • Energy Hook
  • MilitAnt
  • Carmageddon: Max Damage
  • Paranautical Activity (Vita)
  • Dogchild
  • Bears Can't Drift!?
  • HAWKEN
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Multiplayer)
 

orthodoxy1095

Banned
Dec 15, 2013
25,270
0
0
twitter.com

1. The Witness ; Some day I’m going to delve into the design philosophy of The Witness, how Jonathan Blow made it all work and write a lengthy piece on it. Because what The Witness does is just absolutely brilliant in every facet of that word’s definition. I don’t think that I’ve played many other games in my life that have so adeptly managed to teach me mechanics and then meld them together practically without me even realizing it at times. One of the most starkly unique things about this didactic game design is that Blow doesn’t necessarily care if you get it. And with that in mind, I’m fully aware that The Witness will never be a mainstream GOTY, and that’s fine. Because in return for conceding mainstream appeal, Blow has designed a game that doesn’t feel play tested or watered down. There are obviously puzzles that most everyone will be able to solve. But there are also puzzles that you probably won’t solve, but your friends might. Which to me is pretty brilliant design. Simple and refreshing, surely, but brilliant nonetheless. Every puzzle isn’t playtested to death to be solvable by some least common denominator gamer. Every puzzle instead seems unique and meaningful, and perhaps one of the cooler zeitgeist moments around The Witness was talking with other people playing the game and realizing that you thought certain parts were a breeze and they thought that section was hell and vice versa. What’s neat about this is that to get the final “true” ending, you’ll need to solve all of this stuff. But if you’re just a puzzle-solving lover who kind of sucks (like me), you’ll be able to pick and choose what you can understand and finish the game that way. Maybe I have more audio affinity than you, maybe you can do more geometric reasoning than me. Whatever the case, we can find what works for us. Truth be told, even though some puzzles might be more difficult for a given person to solve, solving those very puzzles proved to be one of the most compelling and obsessive experiences I had with a game this year. I cut out pieces of graph paper, I drew in a graph paper notebook, I thought about this game constantly from the day I started to the day I finished it. And even now, nearly a year after it came out, I still find it occupying my head. I know many people have stuck to recommending this game to puzzle lovers, and I agree with that as a more safe recommendation, but if you have the time and money I hope that anyone with an inkling of interest picks the game up just to stretch their brain a little.


2. Overwatch ; I have very often poo-pooed multiplayer only titles in the past, but Overwatch seems to have shown a model that works for me. Some of Overwatch’s critics have claimed that there’s not enough content, and frankly I don’t agree. From the very first day I booted the game up in Beta, to today in Competitive Season 3 I have been entranced. Perhaps the game could do better with more maps being added, perhaps the matchmaking isn’t perfect. But more often than not the game just works. Kind of like my praise for The Witness, Overwatch has this wonderful quality where it really allows you to have fun no matter your particular skill-set. Maybe you have stellar aim and want to snipe. Maybe you’ve got dextrous fingers that allow you to play a mean flanker. Maybe you’ve got horrendous aim and just want to hold a shield or shoot an auto-spreading tesla gun. Whatever you’re good at, you should be able to find your niche. The fan community can be a bit goofy, and perhaps even a bit embarrassing at times with their shipping discussions (of which I am most definitely guilty), but I think it speaks volumes about what a stellar cast that Blizzard has created that there is such an enormous quantity of fan-art and love for this game circling the internet. And I think what might speak even more to the quality of the game is how deep it gets your hooks in you. Even when I’m feeling kind of down after some poor competitive matches, I find myself going back to my fan-art thread and prowling for neat stuff. When I’m feeling like playing some other multiplayer game, I still feel this nagging voice in my head telling me to go back. Even when I swear the game off in annoyance after some terrible matches, I find myself returning time and time again, falling in love each and every damn time.


3. Hitman ; It’s 2AM. I just stopped playing Hitman an hour ago and I’ve been trying to settle in to sleep for probably an hour after stopping a mission due to not figuring out a solution to taking out a target. I need to sleep, it’s the holiday season and I’ve got a million things to do in the morning. But wait. What if I trick the target to walk by onto a balcony and push him off while he’s distracted? Could I get that to work? I jump out of bed and hustle to the PS4 to see if I can get it to work.

This is kind of what the Hitman experience was to me. Much like the two games above it on this list, Overwatch and The Witness, it’s a game that sunk its tendrils so deeply into my brain that it consumed me for a good week or two after I bought the complete season package. Which is amazing because Hitman is a game that frankly has no right to be as good as it is. It released as an episodic, always-online game, which sounded like codewords for “disaster.” However, the game seems to have proved so many of us wrong as it has shone forth in thanks to the former and in spite of the latter aspect. Let's just quickly address the main issue with Hitman so I can praise it uninterrupted. The always-online stuff was complete garbage and there was absolutely no reason that it needed to exist in the base single-player campaign. There is no benefit to me having a game chugging just because some remote servers are having trouble. Without that stupid design choice, Hitman might have had a chance to jump up another spot on this list actually. That said, there rest of the package here is genuinely special stuff. Part of me can't help but wonder if the game is accidentally good, because it really is that expectation defying. Levels are immaculately crafted (I've said and will continue to say that I feel like Hitman is close to the game I wanted MGSV to be). Assassination methods are varied and clever. The OST plucks along with your escapades perfectly. Most surprising to me is the sincerely hilarious parts of the game, from dressing up and pretending to be a model to the addition of a Christmas DLC utilizing the Home Alone robbers. There's such a warmth of character and heart that underlies the game that it would take someone pretty dour to not be charmed by it all. And similar to what I've said about other games on this list teaching you mechanics, one of the neatest things about Hitman is how it teaches you its levels. You start by completing the base story mission. Maybe you go back a few times to complete it differently. Then perhaps you go and do a few escalations to learn some other things about the level. And then the pièce de résistance of the game, the trial that puts all you've learned to the test is the Elusive Targets. While I do feel slightly cheated out of not getting to play them due to buying the game only once all the missions were out (and I do feel like Elusive Targets are a potentially dirty kind of content that can be used to influence preorders), I can't help but be awed by the genius of them. One shot to kill a target. One small real-life window of time to get them. No redos. Little intel. Just you and the level. It's a distillation of the entire lessons of the game, and a scintillating application of a realistic concept (a hitman) into gamification. If you were somehow a hired hitman or assassin, this is what you imagine it would be like. You wait around for months for your next mission, and when it comes you only get one shot at it and you only have a small window to take out your target. And that's exactly what Elusive Targets will have you doing, the difference being that instead of loading a real-life gun, you'll be loading up your copy of the game. I can hardly express how neat I think that concept is. I'm not sure what a Season Two will hold for Hitman, but you can bet that I'll be there from day one this time around.


4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine ; The Witcher 3 is one of my favorite RPGs of recent years, so much so that even though I played it for over 120+ hours last year I decided to replay the entire game this year, moving through the main story of TW3 to Hearts of Stone before finally ending on Blood and Wine. And while I noticed some fresh complaints I have towards the base story, I think Blood and Wine is an absolute masterpiece of an experience. It’s frankly incredible that CDPR has sold as DLC what could easily have been a standalone title, and in fact their piece of DLC is far better than many full games I played this year. Sure, I can hear the cries that I’m making an unfair comparison because B&W already had a treasure trove to base itself on with the base TW3 game. And yet we got mastercrafted armor, mutagen mechanics and a new Gwent deck. That alone might be enough to make this title feel fresh, but that’s experienced alongside a whole new landmass, a new cast of characters, a new host of enemies to fight, a new set of stupendous quests and frankly everything I wanted is here. The landscapes are lush and colorful, the story is much more “Witcher-ish” than the world-spanning romp of TW3 and there’s a genuinely fresh sense of wonder to be had when you arrive in Toussaint. Hell, I got to play house in Blood and Wine, and boy was that a perfect addition. I’m honestly not sure if they could have come up with a better, more respectful and sweet sendoff to Geralt. Hats off to CDPR, they did it again and proved that they really do have a special pedigree.


5. Dishonored 2 ; Let’s just briefly cover the negatives here: the story and characters of Dishonored 2 are pretty much tosh in my eyes. The story is functional, but it seems like too much of a retread of both the first game and the first game’s DLC. In terms of characters, Emily in particular seems poorly conceived as her “eye-opening” in Serkonos has this laughable sense of “white girl on a mission trip to Africa” that comes across as completely eyeroll worthy and totally unsympathetic. Whatever, the story in the first game was pretty “okay” and I loved it too. So what does Dishonored 2 do right? Most everything I believe. The amount of lore that they’ve stuffed into every nook and cranny of the world is just fantastic. More importantly, that stuff comes across as so well designed and so well written that I found myself taking inordinate amounts of time (especially early on) exploring each level to find out more about this world that I was in. And coming from someone who often skips picking up lore notes and such, that’s a pretty hefty compliment for me. World-building is great, but really the king of Dishonored 2 is the level design. I absolutely adore how this game isn’t open world yet manages to make each mission feel incredibly massive and open to player input, giving a sense of freedom that was topped this year by only Hitman. Only on the very rarest of occasions did I find the game pushing back against my attempts to do things differently, and generally the design seems to welcome you finding ways around, under and above obstacles. I understand that a lot has been written about the game being a frustrating experience, especially if you’re going for a ghost, clean hands playthrough. And I do agree to an extent, that extent being Mission 3 which is the precise mission that I think a ghostly playthrough stopped feeling like a pain in the ass. As soon as I got to Mission 4, I had enough powers and enough experience with the mechanics of the game that the openness of the world became crystal clear. And perhaps most impressive about this game is that there was a noticeable feel of going through an actual learning curve throughout the game, which is something that I think too many games allow to plateau about halfway through. I could rave for hours about the genius of the Clockwork Mansion and the Crack in the Slab mission, but frankly those are spoiler-filled discussion that are better off being tabled in favor of you playing the game yourself.


6. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ; I went into this game thinking it’d be one of the best games of the year, no questions asked. And sitting here at the end of 2016, I still think it’s one of the best games of the year, but certainly not “no questions asked.” There’s a lot to consider here. Gameplay. Narrative. Consequences. Uncharted 4 exists in this really odd place where I feel like Naughty Dog nailed so much of it, yet also failed to really decide what they envisioned for the game. The game gets a lot of flak for being a “walking simulator,” and while I think that’s ultimately an unfair way to talk about the game, I think there’s a worthwhile point underlying the name-calling. Uncharted 4 never feels like a game that can commit. The combat is actually incredibly satisfying this time around (particularly evident in the extremely fun multiplayer), but there’s not that much of it. The ambient conversations that go on while exploring ruins and figuring out puzzles is incredibly well done, but there’s not much of those puzzles either. There are openish sections which give a pretty hefty feeling of scale to the game, but they’re blown by too quickly. Which is to say that in the end you do get a rather disjointed game that can indeed feel annoyingly like a “traversal simulator” as you just maneuver stoically from event to event. In terms of committing to an aspect of game design, I wish the game would have just been more of one particular thing. You could go in on your fun combat system and just own that stuff, create some great encounter design and have fun with those mechanics. Or you could go in on the puzzling and ambient conversations and actually make those puzzles more meaningful and interesting, and thereby really kind of “own” the adventure game stylings that it shows at time. Those critiques aside, I think that Uncharted 4 for better or worse is carried along the shoulders of its narrative. And before you say “oh it should have just been a movie then!” no I don’t think that’s an acceptable response. I think the narrative at least how it’s currently structured works best in the game-y format it’s in. And while some people had complaints about wanting to see more consequences, I found the ending of the story satisfying. Outside of maybe SG0, I don’t think many stories actually moved me this year, and I think in fact that UC4 moved me the most. Chapter 17 “For Better or Worse” and the OST track that shares that name probably stands out as one of my favorite moments and pieces of music in a game this year. There’s something so incredibly real and meaningful to me about the things that Elena and Drake say (or perhaps don’t say) during that chapter that I still think about the scenes from time to time. And maybe they should have or could have done more with what they start in that chapter. But it was enough for me.


7. Overcooked ; Overcooked might be one of the genuinely best party games that I’ve had the pleasure of playing in a good long while. I would actually stick it higher on my list if it weren’t for two major caveats that I have towards it. First, it’s pretty much terrible as a single-player experience and some of the later levels in fact seem to require a full complement of players to successfully complete levels. That’s a slightly daunting level of entry for a game, although I do appreciate the controller scheme that allow for controller sharing to cut down on a literal cost of entry to the game. The second caveat that I have regards the level of approachability because I’m still not sure how broadly appealing the game is outside of a kind of “gamer” audience. That’s not to say the game is super difficult, but it’s certainly something that can get pretty chaotic and hard to parse if you’re not used to the kind of sensory overload that video games can put out. What made me think of this was when I compared it to games like Sportsball or Push Me Pull You or even the Jackbox Party Packs. All three of those titles can be pretty “chaotic” experiences, but they’re also often A) derivative which renders them familiar (Sportsball being akin to arcade stuff like Joust and Jackbox having similarities to non-video game party experiences like Apples to Apples) and B) pretty easy to control. Overcooked can actually be a deceptively complicated experience that can require some real teamwork to play properly, and I need to playtest it more with some of my non-gaming friends and family to see how it sits with them. With that said, I just love everything about Overcooked. I don’t know if there’s really anything that was quite as openly hilarious this year as yelling at my friends while we tried to finish making an order of fish and chips on an ice-block or finish an order of soup while fighting off rats. From the genius character design of putting a raccoon in a wheelchair next to a bearded white dude to the moving level designs to the adorable framing device of the story, the package here is just brilliant and it’s amazing how well it all comes together. I can’t recommend it enough for everyone’s next party.


8. Stardew Valley ; Calling this game a mere Harvest Moon game does such a disservice to it. I understand that it’s a convenient way to explain the premise of what it’s doing to someone who hasn’t played it, but it’s so much more than that. Seeing such a labor of love put in by one dude is absolutely awe-inspiring. And that’s not to say that I’m rating this game higher because it was made by one dude, but I think that’s an aspect worth considering. For those nostalgic for Harvest Moon, I’m sure you’ll dip your nostalgia tendrils in here and suck up the game. But as someone who’s not nostalgic for Harvest Moon (having only played one old game on my Vita), I still found this game hugely compelling. Harvest Moon of course is the most obvious comparison, but I think Animal Crossing has to be mentioned too (Rune Factory is probably an even more apt talking point). There’s treasure hunting, there’s mining, basic combat, farming, fishing, interacting with townspeople, marriage, higher-level crafting/resource growth and town growth. I think the Animal Crossing comparison is actually the more interesting one because Animal Crossing is a game that’s built to be played in snippets. You generally turn the game on for a half-hour, take care of some stuff and put it down before you get worn out. Comparatively, and I think to its benefit, Stardew Valley does not care about real-world clocks. It lets you progress through as many in-game days, weeks and seasons as you like. And the reason I think this is to its benefit is that I think Animal Crossing actually has a greater stress inducement for me (odd to say about such a relaxing game, I know). Say if I miss an event or season in Animal Crossing, outside of messing with the system clock, you’re supposed to wait for that event to roll back around. Whereas in Stardew, I don’t feel stressed about much of anything. So I missed doing something at a festival this “season,” who cares? It can roll back around as soon as I want to. I missed some seasonal item? Whatever. I didn’t talk to my neighbor today, well big deal, I don’t need to wait 24 hours to do that again! And to be clear, I understand and appreciate that the two games I’m comparing are trying to accomplish different things, but I think it’s worth articulating what I found special about Stardew. You could say that there’s a grind to Stardew, but it’s not a slow grind. It’s what you want to be. Each day being so open, and time being so constant makes each day feel like you can do something genuinely new and exciting.


9. Pocket Card Jockey ; I feel very passionately about solitaire. That’s probably a silly sounding statement to most people, but outside of maybe Tetris, virtual solitaire is probably the kind of game that I’ve played the most of in my life. It’s simple, it’s something that I can do pretty much anywhere as it doesn’t require too much from me and it just passes time well. Pocket Card Jockey takes that game that I love so much and it up the momentum a few notches. At first glance it sounds like such a stupid concept, horse-racing and solitaire? Who even comes up with this nonsense? I tried the demo after hearing some people here on GAF raving about it and I was hooked within a few seconds of starting the game. What’s perhaps the most impressive is that the game isn’t just a passive solitaire experience. The developers actually bothered to include some neat mechanics for solitaire itself, as well as neat stuff on the horse-racing side, including of course the horse-breeding itself. Although with that said, I do think the actual horse-breeding was one of my least favorite parts of the experience and not something I really cared about in terms of dealing with maturing horses and all that strategy. I think it’s great that stuff is there for people who want to play around with it, but honestly I just wanted to enter races and play solitaire to see if I could win. Frankly this seems like the kind of game that could be a hit on mobile and I don’t know who’s call that might be (Nintendo or Game Freak), but I desperately hope they stick it there soon.


10. SteinsGate 0 ; There are so many singularly unique and special games this year like Titanfall 2 or DOOM or Picross that I really struggled to find a spot for SG0 on this list. But when push came to shove when filling this final slot, I couldn’t help but indulge myself on this final spot. SG0’s obvious weakness will be that without playing the first game (or watching the anime), it’s not a game that can even remotely be recommended. And I fully understand that’s a fairly high bar of entry to ask for people to cross before they can enjoy a game. Perhaps an even harder aspect of SG0 to come to terms with is that it’s telling a story where you already know the outcome. Personally, as a great preacher of “journey over the destination” and someone who laughs in the face of spoilers, I didn’t find that to be a significant issue. But I could see people really questioning “why” when it comes to this game. Given the interconnectedness to the first game, and with the fact that it’s a VN (and therefore all story), it’s really hard to talk about this game in too much depth without spoiling things. Even though I had a notion of what the end of the game held, it managed to hold my attention throughout. Some of the new characters fall a bit flat, and there’s still some pretty eyeball worthy “anime” interactions. But there’s also moments like a particular scene referencing Orihime and Hikoboshi that just melted me to my core, and so even with all of that obvious anime influence, the story manages to be dark and riveting and perhaps even one of the more genuinely moving stories I played this year.
 

orthodoxy1095

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Dec 15, 2013
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Apparently I wrote so much that I actually ran out of room in my last space. It might not count if my Honorable Mentions are down here, but I don't care. I don't want all these musings to go to waste. Apologies to all for hogging so much space!

Honorable Mentions:
x. MLB the Show 16 ; Hur-dur it’s a sports game. I understand that. It’s a great one though. I’ve played a lot of FIFA in my day, but never got into FUT, and playing The Show, I found myself just getting sucked into Diamond Dynasty. It’s an excellent game that’s really doing a lot to capture what I love about baseball, and while the multiplayer has a lot of kinks to it, there’s something hilarious and special about trying to juke out other players with ridiculous strategies.
x. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright ; Awakening has frequently been a recipient of my ire, which is a feeling that I really, really stand by. Birthright isn’t the best FE game ever, and I know that Conquest was the better campaign so maybe I shouldn’t have let my heart lead me to the aesthetic of Birthright (I adore the more traditional Japanese character design on some of the characters). The game really improves a lot of what I complained about in FE: A and while I’m still a bit worried about the future of the franchise, I’m more excited than I was before the release of Fates.
x. Titanfall 2 ; Titanfall 2 really is that good. Yes, as good as people are preaching. I promise. On a whim I rented the game from Redbox and ended up finishing the campaign in an evening. I can see it being a temptation to criticize Titanfall 2 for the campaign actually being so short that I was able to finish it in an evening, but I was quite pleased to be left wanting more rather than having a shooter being padded out and staying around to kill its own momentum. And momentum is indeed the name of the game here. Even with a few sections of walk-and-talk dragging a teeny bit, the game hurtles along at a brilliant pace, introducing new locales and mechanics in practically every mission. I honestly haven't played a shooter campaign that felt this fresh and invigorating in years and I only wish that EA had released the game at another time of the year so I wouldn't have to skimp on playing the multiplayer. I played two matches (to get the trophies heh) and what I played seemed pretty excellent, a few netcode niggles aside. There’s a well crafted game under here with lots of old-school design sensibility that I appreciate, and I think given a less stacked year, or having been released in a less busy period, I might be putting this up higher on my list.
x. The Banner Saga 2 ; After getting through the second part of this saga, the biggest issue that remains is that it’s evident that having two games be separated is kind of detrimental to the experience. These are integrally related installments that tie into each other, perhaps most evident in how unsatisfying and open their endings are. Unsatisfying end aside however, I can’t wait for the final installment so I can see where this ends up. The gameplay is excellent, the OST (Wintory!) is great, the aesthetic is stunning and overall, this is a strategy game worth playing, perhaps even more so when the final installment come out.
x. DOOM ; Within seconds of this game booting up, you’re moving and shooting. That was such a refreshing moment in my gaming experience this year that it’d be hard to really describe that moment. With that said, I don’t think DOOM is a game that has stuck with me outside of maybe that singular revelatory moment. Once I finished it (after renting it), I never got the urge to buy it, to replay it or really even think about it. It was a game that I enjoyed and that’s it. That’s fine, and I’m very happy it exists, but I really wish the multiplayer was better so it could have stayed around in my head a little longer.
x. Picross 3D Round 2 ; Following up a pretty beloved puzzle game can be a daunting task. How do you make puzzles fresh enough that people enjoy another couple hundred of them? That’s a pretty serious design question to answer, and for the most part, I think Picross succeeded at coming up with a competent answer. The color system is a good addition and the help/clear buttons are great QoL additions. For the most part, the puzzles have a good mix of new objects to uncover, although there were a few puzzles like #110 that were total copouts. As in, it's not even a puzzle. The biggest problem with the game though is that as you add mechanics to the puzzles and try to make them larger, the limitations of the 3DS begin to get in the way. I said that Picross answered the challenge of making fresh puzzles, and I stand by that. And yet, the game feels as though at times it’s smashing its head against the 3DS. First, the D-pad has way too many functions on it, making it very easy to make a mistake. Second, the screen on the 3DS is garbage, so it makes it very hard to see what you're doing on the bigger puzzles (bigger puzzles are very much zoomed out making them way harder than they should be). The addition of a two color system is neat, but on certain puzzles orange is very hard to tell when it's faded or active. The squares and circles can similarly be difficult to see on the big puzzles. The game is also missing the editor that the DS version had, limiting its longevity (although it does have plenty of base puzzles!). The final complaint is minor, but it annoyed me. In the first game, when you completed a puzzle, the object would be animated (e.g., a fish would move or a little girl might ride her bike across the screen). Here, they're static. Lame. This sounds like a lot of complaints, I know, but I really did genuinely enjoy it from start to finish. The problem is that you can book the issues down to it being a game that unfortunately feels like it works in spite of its hardware. And like Pocket Card Jockey, I feel like Picross is a franchise that could and perhaps should go elsewhere. Obviously, put it on the Switch so I can have a bigger screen. But even better, put it on mobile so I can play puzzles on the go. Let's just move on from this hardware ASAP.
x. SteamWorld Heist ; Image & Form is doing great things with their SteamWorld franchise. In Heist there's such a steady flow of new character types and abilities, new weapons, new enemy types and different map layouts (yay procedural generation), that everything feels fresh all the way through. The world of the game itself has tons of charm and character to it, with the music being a particular standout in my mind. My only complaint was that the final few missions were pretty annoying on the hardest and average difficulty, and made me feel like I needed to go back and grind out some earlier levels to get better abilities, stats and weapons to finish them. But I was super lazy, so I just bumped the difficulty to nothing so I could finish it. That issue aside, I cannot wait to see what Image & Form does next.
x. Oxenfree ; One of many games down here in the honorable mentions that I haven’t really put enough time in to either actually finish or get a real handle on it (in the case of games without concrete endings). But I absolutely adore the atmosphere of the game, and I feel like the game really nails the “teen” aspect without feeling juvenile, patronizing or unrealistic.
x. Civilization 6 ; Performance issues aside, this game is obviously in a better spot than vanilla Civ 5 was in. The largest issue with Civ 6 is an issue I’ve had in the past, which is that the way diplomacy and AI intertwine seem pretty busted. There's a great game under the surface here, and there's mechanics in place to support the greatness, but when the AI seems to want to denounce me for doing it the mere injustice of existing, there's stuff to be cleaned up ASAP.
x. Battlefield 1 ; The campaign took strides in the right direction, and Operations was an excellent addition to the franchise, but after a week or two of playing the game I felt like I absolutely had my fill and there wasn’t much else to be done in terms of growing like something Overwatch offered me.
x. Assault Android Cactus ; A great arcadey shooter with some nice bullet-hell elements to it. I think what it does, it does very well, but without anything particularly unique or excellent, it doesn’t quite rise above the pack for me.
x. Lumines - Puzzle & Music ; It’s Lumines on your phone for the cost of a cup of coffee, you should already know if this interests you.
x. Stellaris ; My “one more turn” game of the year for sure. But even though it took me down that rabbit hole, I don’t know how much I loved the game. It felt like the game took a very long time to do very little without too many interesting payoffs and without particularly great writing (considering how much of it there is). I loved the customizable factions immensely though, for whatever that’s worth and I’ll certainly continue playing it over the next year or two to see where I land on it eventually.
x. Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- ; Xrd was already a game I really enjoyed playing in a few brief moments of 2015, and Revelator seems like more of that well-crafted excellence to me. I’m not comfortable putting it in a Top Ten list purely because my own skill-set in fighting games is far too low to actually evaluate it and coherently talk about it.
x. Alienation ; I love twin-stick shooters with arcadey gameplay, and Alienation helped scratch my itch fairly well. It’s a nice game, but I think something like Helldivers last year was a far more fun experience.
x. Dirt Rally ; The original DIRT trilogy contains some of my absolutely favorite racing in video games, but Rally is just too hard for me right now. On an intellectual level, I understand what I need to do to play this game properly, but I’ve lacked the motivation to actually put in the effort to really learn it. It’s a game that I want to play, and I hope I can find the time soon.
 

NAPK1NS

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Jun 8, 2010
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1. The Last Guardian - Frankly, I'm a little surprised I'm so apt to include this as my number one submission. The game rattled me with frustration fairly often. It's a testament to the power of the game at large. Here it is: a beautiful game where you don't fight against "otherness," rather you struggle toward closeness. A game where R1 calls out to a friend rather than shoots an opponent.

2. Overwatch - What else is there to be said? Overwatch is a seminal release, and another link in Bizzard's streak of high-quality games that demand your attention. Style, substance and fun.

3. Inside - 'Play' is not the P-word that comes to mind when describing my interaction with Playdead's Inside. Perhaps 'plunge' is a more appropriate word. This game takes mere seconds to command one's attention and doesn't detach until after the screen goes dark. Still, I find myself waiting for an adventure-platformer that eschews levers, buttons and pressure-plates. Maybe next time, guys.

4. Uncharted 4 - Uneven pacing keeps an otherwise flawless game from the top. Even off the shores of PC gaming, Uncharted 4 had myself and others gawking at the set-pieces and mo-cap animations. Naughty Dog is unshakable.

5. Dark Souls III - The acknowledgment of the formula's growing triteness was married with the fear and joy only these games provide. This was not the full-body capture that Bloodborne was. It did not haunt my thoughts after playing. I had been, while playing, inarguably glued to the screen. Now, lets see what else can be delivered.

Unfortunately, I only have these five games to report on. It's been a really busy year with work.
 

molnizzle

Member
Jul 14, 2013
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1. Doom ; Went in with 0 expectations, left blown away.
2. Street Fighter V ; Simply the best fighting game I’ve ever played.
3. Overwatch ; Made competitive shooters fun even for people who suck.
4. Titanfall 2 ; What a campaign! Such a pleasant surprise after the first game.
5. Stardew Valley ; I never played a Harvest Moon, but this was dope.
6. Rise of the Tomb Raider ; Loved the first one. This is more of that.
7. The Witness ; I bought a paper journal and took notes through this game.
8. Dark Souls III ; More Dark Souls, but the formula is starting to feel... formulaic.
9. Destiny: Rise of Iron ; The new raid was solid, but I’m ready for the sequel.
10. The Division ; The opposite of Destiny. Great journey, lackluster destination.
 

nowhoney

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Jul 6, 2015
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1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; This was such a perfect send-off for Nate. A very emotional, entertaining story that was a true joy to play. The best Uncharted game, in my opinion.

2. Overcooked ; I wasn't expecting to love Overcooked as much as I do, but it's so, so good. The best couch co-op experience I've had in recent memory.

3. The Witness ; Being my first Johnathon Blow game, I wasn't sure what to expect. I found The Witness to be beautiful, challenging, and incredibly rewarding.

4. Inside ; A true masterpiece in atmosphere, animation, and design. A great puzzle-platformer that was stunning to watch unfold.

5. Firewatch ; Whilst a controversial pick, and despite the ending being relatively disappointing (in my opinion), the journey of Firewatch was pretty great and the tension / suspense it builds is pretty incredible.

6. The Last Guardian ; Ueda's latest game would be higher on my list if it wasn't for its controls. The bond you build with Trico throughout my 10~ hour experience was great. Those last 30 minutes too.

7. The Division ; Whilst I didn't stick around for long after beating the "campaign", I thoroughly enjoyed the loot grind in my 25 + hours playing The Division. Great atmosphere, too.

8. Battlefield 1 ; This would probably be much higher in my list if I'd had played more of it. As of now I've played around 10 hours of multiplayer and it's super great. Very atmospheric and conveys a great feeling of actual war in my opinion.

9. Watch Dogs 2 ; Strangely, the most fun I had in Watch Dogs 2 was actually just running around, hacking strangers and dressing Marcus up to look dope. The seamless hacking mode was also really, really good - super fun with all the new hacks.

10. Batman: The Telltale Series ; Again, this would probably be higher if it wasn't for some awful performance issues. With that in mind, they did something pretty unique with the traditional Batman story and it had an exceptionally good cast.
 

PensivePen

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Jun 7, 2013
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Picked up Titanfall 2 today after all the positive impressions in here, I was already interested in it, but seeing all the praise for the singleplayer convinced me to jump on it while it was on sale.
 

Primethius

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Jan 20, 2008
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Orthodoxy, that Overcooked blurb makes me wish I had picked it up on sale recently. But I spent all my PSN credit on Witness/Inside. Great write up on the Witness as well.

I'm not even the biggest "purely puzzle" fan, but the Witness is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous on my Pro and has been a blast to play so far. I'm not that far in but it's already moving up my GOTY list. I think despite being a puzzle game, the Witness so far elicits a fairly calm and relaxed mindset out me, which is surprising given my expectations going in. Usually, puzzles that stump me tend to frustrate, especially after being stuck on them for some time. But I've been stumped on certain puzzles in this game but it never so far has come close to being frustrating in anyway. I haven't progressed sufficiently to be able to know if that will apply to the entire game but I feel so far, largely due to the combination of the visuals, the world and how you're sort of tasked with solving the puzzles (aka, not at all, the lack of a push subdues frustration greatly), it's been an absolutely wonderful experience.

Solving a puzzle and realizing you used the wrong method to solve all but the last one...

mindblown.gif
 

JudgmentJay

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Apr 22, 2014
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1. Dark Souls III ; Souls refined. It has some of the best bosses in the series as well as the best combat. While the game as a whole is more linear than the other Souls games, the individual areas are very well made. High Wall of Lothric and Undead Settlement are my favorite opening areas of any Souls game.
2. Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir ; Absolute god-tier art style and soundtrack combined with super fun combat and an engaging story. People tend to criticize the repetitiveness, but I felt the characters all played differently enough that each story arc felt fresh.
3. The Witness ; One of the best puzzle games I've ever played. Maybe the best. Discovering the environmental puzzles was one of my favorite gaming moments from 2016.
4. The Last Guardian ; Shadow of the Colossus is a masterpiece, but Ico was merely "good" so I wasn't sure what to expect from this game. What I got was an emotional and epic story about a boy and his dogcatbird. I was especially impressed with Trico's animation, facial expressions, and AI. The action sequeneces were very well done. I'm not sure I've ever cared for a character more than I cared for Trico. It's worth noting that I had none of the frustration that others seem to be having. Trico immediately listened to my commands the first time I gave them almost every time. The one thing that kicks it down a notch is the controls and camera. They're nowhere near as good as they could be.
5. DOOM ; The best FPS game to come out in a long time. Fun combat, fun weapons, great soundtrack and visuals.
6. Salt and Sanctuary ; Pretty much the perfect transition of Souls to 2D. They got all the important parts right while still managing to make the game feel like its own thing.
7. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Colorful Sound and Future Tone ; Pure Vocaloid rhythm goodness. An insane amount of songs with no nonsense to get in the way.
8. Inside ; A well-paced atmospheric game with interesting puzzles and a great twist.
9. World of Warcraft: Legion ; It's hard to attach a numerical value to WoW due to its vastness and the social aspects of the game. I'm pretty surprised that I've been so completely sucked back in, but it's testament to how good Legion is. The dungeons and raids are great and the artifact weapons, class halls, world quests, and Suramar questline are all fun goals to work towards. I feel like there's something for everyone in Legion.
10. Hyper Light Drifter ; A really fun 2d hack and slash/exploration game with a ton of secrets and a great soundtrack.

Honorable Mentions
x. Persona 5 ; I played 30 hours of the Japanese version, but decided to stop as my progress was too slow and I felt the game was too good to treat as half study material half entertainment. If I were to put it on my list it would be between Dark Souls III and Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir.
x. Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition ; I didn't want to put a re-release on my list, but this game was just as amazing as it was when I played it last year. If I were to put it on my list it would be between The Witness and The Last Guardian.
x. Dragon's Dogma ; 5/10 main game and 10/10 end-game makes for a pretty uneven experience, but man that end-game.
x. Uncharted 4 ; About as good as all the other Uncharted games for me. A fun Summer blockbuster, but ultimately forgettable.

I regret missing out on FFXV and XCOM 2 this year as I feel they'd both be on my list. I blame WoW for taking all my time.
 

mekes

Member
Jun 30, 2013
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1. Street Fighter 5 ; Easy to hate on after that awful launch but I'm a big Street Fighter guy and I'm enjoying the game much more than SF4. They did a lot right with the actual game play mechanics and its a great fighter to learn and enjoy.

2. Uncharted 4 ; Short lived but I really enjoyed my play through of this game. I will probably revisit at some point, something I hardly do anymore.

3. Darkest Dungeon ; I waited for the PS4 release! Very enjoyable game.

4. Firewatch ; GAF hype sometimes lifts me up only to drop me like a lead balloon. Not with this game, I lost myself in the characters in this game and found the package as whole to be enjoyable and more interesting than your average.

5. Dark Souls 3 ; Probably my least favorite Souls game but I still played it through to the finish. I don't finish hardly any of the games I buy anymore, I did enjoy it but perhaps it dropped a little too soon after Bloodborne which I had put hundreds of hours in to. Jaded is all, but these games are so good that I can moan talking about them but they are still among my faves.

6. Dirt Rally ; Another one I have to thank GAF for. I wouldn't have bought it without reading the impressions from this site. There are not many racing games like this one being made anymore, its very worth it if you want to try something a little bit different.

7. Pac Man Championship Edition 2 ; Good arcade game play. Reviews were a little worrying IIRC but I had such fun with the original that I took the chance. I think its great.

That's all I've got. Who knows what my list would have looked like if I had bothered to play Hitman, FFXV, Titanfall 2, The Last Guardian, ROTTR, Xcom2 etc. I didn't get around to trying all of the games I bought earlier in this year.
 
1. The Witness ; The Witness is not only about something, but it expresses its themes entirely through mechanics. Observation, experimentation, and epistemology are not commonly addressed in games, and you cannot play The Witness without confronting them. The interaction of your own reasoning with the mechanics creates a series of epiphanies, each surprising and delightful.

2. HITMAN ; One of the most rewarding experiences in games is being given a task, a set of tools, and let loose. HITMAN is recent years' best version of this.

3. Dishonored 2 ; Better than its predecessor, which I consider an all-time great. A narrow and directed version of the murder-sandbox, Dishonored succeeds on one part player freedom and one part joy of movement.

4. Firewatch ; Firewatch tackles the anxiety of adult responsibility in a medium that is the escapist's choice. I give it credit simply for being a game about adult fears and adult mistakes.As gravy, its plot, characters, and moment-to-moment interactions are so suffused with those ideas that a four hour game can be reflected on for weeks. As much a contender for the label of *literature* as anything in gaming.

5. Overwatch ; It is the game I played most with friends and loved ones. That may not seem like a quality of the game, but it is - its conscious and designed appeal means that everyone with whom I play games has played Overwatch with me.

6. Monster Hunter Generations ; Monster Hunter is a superb series of variety and mastery.

7. Pokemon Moon ; The best incarnation of the adventure. I am too emotionally attached to older incarnations.

8. The Last Guardian ; Frustrating to play. Beautiful. Well-executed emotional impact but thematically low-hanging fruit.

9. Miitomo ; The fun and sincerity of *never have I ever* without the embarrassment.

10. Dark Souls III ; Too much of a good thing. Masturbatory. But the boss fights are excellent.
 

Maiden Voyage

Member
Sep 5, 2014
4,246
618
580
USA
1. Stardew Valley ; This game wrapped both my wife and I up so hard this year. I spent the same number of hours in this little indie gem as I did with Hitman. One dude made this and it consumed me.
2. Hitman ; I love this game so much. It contains two of my favorite gameplay types: stealth and puzzle. Hitman is a fantastic puzzle game.
3. Thumper ; I had zero interest in this game. I wound up picking it up and playing through the entire thing in VR. The soundtrack is amazing. The atmosphere is perfect. Truly, the only strike against it is the final boss battle.
The entire game is building on the tempo and the final boss throws all that rhythm you've been working with out the window in favor of a random speed variable. What a waste of an opportunity.
Very much worth playing in VR to help build the atmosphere.
4. Superhot VR ; Easily the best FPS out on VR. It's a fun game with the only downside being that there is not enough there. Please get some dlc out for this masterpiece!
5. Audioshield ; I saw videos of this and thought it looked so dumb. I bought it during the Steam sale to check it and I am glad I did. It's absoultely fantastic! If you like Audiosurf and have VR, give this a go.
6. BoxBoxBoy! ; This game kept me entertained on my business trips this year. The first was a spectacular puzzle game and the second followed suit!
7. King's Quest: The Complete Collection ; I loved these games as a kid and this brand new game is such a great match. Sierra coming back is such a cool thing for me as an old dude.
8. Picross 3D: Round 2 ; Awesome take on Picross. I did not play the original so this is a new type of Picross for me.
9. Jackbox Party Pack 3 ; Great for parties.
10. Miitomo ; It's not quite what I want it to be but I would be lying if I denied having lost some time to this strange subtake on Tomodachi Life.
 

bender

Member
Apr 12, 2010
3,242
81
755
1. Hitman ; I picked this up late in the year and I'm not even close to finishing. I've replayed the tutorial level a gazillion times. It's as much fun to watch someone play as it is to play. I can't wait to spend more time wth it.
2. Overwatch ; 300+ levels later and I'm still enjoying this game. Keep those costumes coming Blizzard.
3. Forza Horizon 3 ; I'm never liked a Forza game and I'm not a huge fan of open world racers but I've sunk a hundred or so hours into this game and have started playing Horizon 2. Maybe it's the void in arcade racing titles available but I've loved exploring these worlds.
4 Rhythm Heaven Megamix ; I love this series and feel bad for having a greatest hits collection so high on my.
5. Witness ; Beautiful world to explore and Blow probably took the concept of one style of puzzle further than anyone could have imagined.
6. Dark Souls 3 ; This felt like a greatest hits of the Souls series and I'm starting to fatigue on the formula but I still invested a tremendous amount of time squeezing ever last drop of content.
7. Monster Hunter Generations ; Just wish I had more time to spend with this game.
8. Rez Infinte ; A remaster of one of my favorite titles ever and with a new level. I hope I can try it in VR one day.
9. Abzu ; Journey meets Aquanauts Holiday.
10. Street Fighter V ; A laundry list of issues and some are still present. The core fighting is great and they've finally added enough content that I'd feel confident giving a recommendation.
 

OneEyedKing

Member
Sep 6, 2013
842
0
0
1. The Last Guardian ; A uniquely emotional experience that proves no one makes games like Ueda even though many may try to, it was well worth the wait.
2. Overwatch ; It doesn't reinvent the genre or anything but with its great characters and support from Blizzard it's incredibly fun to play and never gets boring, which is surprising considering I'm not a huge multiplayer person to begin with
3. Inside ; Incredible art direction and storytelling
4. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Maintains the fun-factor and technical wonder of its predecessors while introducing more heart to make it an even more engrossing adventure and fitting conclusion
5. Dark Souls III ; A great blend and refinement of all the mechanics of the previous SoulsBourne games makes it a worthy sequel
6. Final Fantasy XV ; It may feel incomplete and unfinished in some ways, but it still offered a fun experience worth checking out
7. Ratchet & Clank ; A stunningly beautiful and fun re-imagining for the series
 

Minishdriveby

Member
Jan 12, 2013
3,921
0
450
The Witness really is a special game...

Glad you enjoyed my blurbs. Thanks for reading!
It was a good write up although I think I have a very different viewpoint from most about The Witness. I'm planning on elaborating in my list, but I need to finish up some potential candidates.
 

Wiggy

Member
Jul 10, 2014
1,159
0
305
Manchester, UK
1. Uncharted 4 ; Great characters, beautiful graphics, insane production value and incredible set pieces puts this game head and shoulders above the competition
2. The Last Guardian ; an emotional roller coaster, Ueda does it again with another masterpiece
3. DOOM ; pure exhilaration game play,
4. Inside ; the best animation and camera in the business, oh and brilliant ending
5. The Witness ; somehow made line puzzling one of the most enjoyable past time of the year
6. Dark Souls 3 ; more souls but thats great, its no bloodborne but a great trilogy closer
7. Ratchet and Clank ; there are better ratchet games, but he's never looked this good and controlled this well
8. Far Cry Primal ; fun extension to the far cry formula, i like how ubisoft experiments with this franchise (dino game next please)
9. Dragon Quest Builders ; A minecraft with missions and story is something I've wanted for years and this delivers
10. Watch Dogs 2 ; fun sequel, wasnt as hot on it as others but very enjoyable.
 

orthodoxy1095

Banned
Dec 15, 2013
25,270
0
0
twitter.com
Orthodoxy, that Overcooked blurb makes me wish I had picked it up on sale recently. But I spent all my PSN credit on Witness/Inside. Great write up on the Witness as well.

I'm not even the biggest "purely puzzle" fan, but the Witness is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous on my Pro and has been a blast to play so far. I'm not that far in but it's already moving up my GOTY list. I think despite being a puzzle game, the Witness so far elicits a fairly calm and relaxed mindset out me, which is surprising given my expectations going in. Usually, puzzles that stump me tend to frustrate, especially after being stuck on them for some time. But I've been stumped on certain puzzles in this game but it never so far has come close to being frustrating in anyway. I haven't progressed sufficiently to be able to know if that will apply to the entire game but I feel so far, largely due to the combination of the visuals, the world and how you're sort of tasked with solving the puzzles (aka, not at all, the lack of a push subdues frustration greatly), it's been an absolutely wonderful experience.

Solving a puzzle and realizing you used the wrong method to solve all but the last one...

mindblown.gif
Overcooked really is a stupendous game. I hope you pick it up next time it's on sale!

Always glad to hear about people enjoying The Witness as well!
It was a good write up although I think I have a very different viewpoint from most about The Witness. I'm planning on elaborating in my list, but I need to finish up some potential candidates.
I'm interested in hearing what that is!
 
Feb 9, 2007
3,514
0
995
1. VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action ; The most "comfy" game of the year. Great characters and amazing soundtrack.
2. Final Fantasy XV ; Addictive gameplay and best soundtrack of the year
3. World of Final Fantasy ; The second most "comfy" game of the year. Also one of the best soundtracks.
4. Fire Emblem Fates ;
5. PlayRoom VR ; One of the best showcases for VR right now. The platform mini-game was a Mario 64 type of moment for me.
 
Feb 4, 2014
277
0
0
Chile
1. Overwatch ; The gold standard for hero shooters and a sparkle that has reignited my long lost passion for First person games. Easily the most polished multiplayer experience I have ever played. Whichever angle I try to view it from, there is always something to love, from the excellent visual and sound design to the varied and lovable cast of characters
(with a lot of waifus, of course)
, each and a every one of them with hundreds of hours worth of knowledge to absorb, to the carefully handcrafted maps and gamemodes.

Overwatch is like an entertainment behemoth created by mad scientists whose only purpose is to give you fun and epic moments through the miracle of teamwork. No matter what role you assume, just do it with well and the satisfaction is guaranteed, and if that is not enough you can get even more satisfaction when you are rewarded for your efforts with an awesome skin or item for your favorite character in a loot box.
And the best part, it will only continue to improve from here, my most played game in 2016 will be the number one game I will continue to play in 2017.

2. The Last Guardian ; Being able to put a game out after a grueling development cycle is one thing, but also put out an adventure that pushes the whole forward in terms of art direction, storytelling, animation, and AI is nothing short of amazing.
This is a wonderful journey full of those famous “Ueda moments”, simple yet so magical and impactful. Something truly unique within its class.

3. Uncharted 4: A Thief´s End ; The greatest technical showcase so far in the PS4 and probably in gaming up to date. Naughty Dog not happy with that alone also manages to improve upon the original trilogy in nearly every conceivable way, while keeping tons of references to the history of the series that redefined cinematic gaming.
Quite possibly the most complete package of 2016 too. Single player, multiplayer and even the new Survival coop are all great on their own and deserving of the attention from every videogame lover.

4. Dark Souls III ; To link the fire one more time, and to end one the most iconic series of the modern era in gaming at it´s highest. Comparisons with the previous entries are inevitable, but if there is one thing that DS3 certainly does right is that leaves the best bosses/areas/loot for last.
Featuring a plethora of fan favorite aspects from the past games, also manages to retain a strong identity of its own. Clearly one of the cornerstones for action based RPGs.

5. Inside ; One of the darkest and eeriest atmospheres I have ever felt in a game, and it sets the perfect mood for an incredibly well paced trip in which not a single moment goes to waste. At every turn you´ll encounter new dangers and challenges for you overcome with your wits and a little of creativity.

6. Furi ; The best collection of bosses to date in an Indie game, period. The high octane action is only matched by the excellent soundtrack. My reflexes and my skills were tested to their absolute limits at times, but that only made it even better when besting each step of the way.

7. Hyper Light Drifter ; An enjoyable compilation from the very best of the action/adventure genre, rendered in beautiful pixel art. A mix that is both charming and feels great to play.

8. Oxenfree ; A unique take on teenage drama/horror stories, featuring genuinely interesting characters and what is quite possibly the most advanced dialog system I have seen in a game yet.

9. Final Fantasy XV ; My first FF game ever, I could talk about for hours about the many gripes I have with the game, but since it provided me with several great moments I can definitely give it a pass, more than that really, it is quite the enjoyable trip.

10. Gravity Rush Remastered ; The absolute best remaster currently in the market. So good it made me fell in love once again with this little gem of a game, and if it hadn´t originally come out a few years ago I would certainly give a much higher spot, because this game is pure art.


That´s it, second year participating in this and loving it, the volume of text may not be much but I put a lot of thought in what is there. May the best one win and happy new to everyone
 

Makoto Yuki

Banned
Dec 26, 2013
3,991
0
0
1. Final Fantasy XV ; It's been a long time coming, and to be fair, what we got isn't anything we thought it would have been. As with all Final Fantasy games it will be received controversially. Though FFXV will forever be followed with the baggage of it's prolonged and tumultuous development.

All that aside, the game that shipped on disk is all I have to judge it on. While the story is an incoherent mess born by the previously mentioned history, It's the best single player FF game I have played since FFX. It reminded me of the PS1 era FF games with it's huge world and various quests. Watching the bros banter and fight alongside each other really sold the game's theme of brotherhood. The linear later 1/3 managed to capture my attention in a way that most linear JRPGs havn't. Let's be honest though, it's nowhere near a perfect game, it's incredibly flawed. Regardless of all that, it's been a long time since I've thoroughly enjoyed a console JRPG since Persona 3/4 on the PS2.

2. Titanfall 2 ; I haven't really played an FPS with such enthusiasm since Syndicate. Titanfall 2 manages to have an incredibly fun single player experience while still providing an excellent multiplayer mode that made the original a hit in the first place.

3. Overwatch ; Blizzard does it again, take a popular genre - Team-based-multiplayer FPS, and refine it to their high standards.

4. Fire Emblem Fates ; An excellent entry that manages to give something to classical purists with Conquest, and something for new fans who love Awakening with Birthright. While it's strange that they are trying to cater the hardcore fans and the new fan base established with Awakening, Fire Emblem Fates is still move of that RNG tactical goodness (and at times frustration) the series has been known for.
 

Azzanadra

Member
Aug 5, 2015
2,414
0
300
1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; Micro-transaction foolery and abrupt ending aside, this was a worthy follow-up to Human Revolution even it was lacking in some respects- notably in the story department, but the excellent side-quests did soften the blow. This game sadly did not get the critical reception and sales it deserved, and even as an underwhelming sequel to one of my favorite games of last generation, the staple formula of this franchise was still superior to anything else I had played all year.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; This was honestly almost my number 1, but regardless it redefined what "DLC" can be and for $20 I got a game that honestly could have been full price. The expansion itself was a wonderful goodbye to the world of the Witcher, featuring beloved characters, an enthralling storyline and one of the most beautiful locations in gaming. I hope other developers take note. Goodbye Geralt, its been quite a ride!

3. Overwatch ; I don't care much for multiplayer videogames, even less so when its a team v. team shooter. Overwatch is the first online shooter I have played seriously since Black Ops, its formula and design is perfect for casual like myself and it is a game I can imagine myself playing for years to come.

4. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Naughty Dog gave a worthy conclusion to our favorite treasure hunter, its sad to say goodbye to these characters but the lasting impact of Drake, Sully and Elena will be felt for years to come.

5. Dark Souls III ; This game is honestly very 50/50 for me. The first Dark Souls would be there in my top 5 games of all time, but this installment contains both the highest highs and lowest lows. At its worst, some of the levels/bosses reek of Dark Souls 2 level dreck, on the other hand we get levels like Cathedral of the Deep which continue to blow my mind. It still has the winning Souls formula, but I am beginning to quetsion if I am just fatigued by the series, or if From Software should spend more time on development.

6. Dishonored 2 ; Even though this is the final game on my list, I still very much enjoyed it - the issues on PC however detracted quite a bit from the experience, a butter smooth frame rate is really needed to enjoy this game and even though I finished it, I feel like I could have enjoyed the game a lot more if the performance issues were ironed out. My only other issue is the uninspired story that juxtaposes a clearly inspired world, if there is a game that deserves better writing, it is this one.
 

Icolin

Of course. Dr. Pavel refused our offer in favor of yours, we had to find out what he told you about us.
Nov 21, 2016
3,807
2
360
Vancouver
1. Uncharted 4 ; great ending to Nathan Drake's story, and a cool blending of what Naughty Dog achieved in TLOU and the previous Uncharted games. My favourite game of this generation so far.

2. The Last Guardian ; another haunting, intimate, and beautiful game courtesy of Ueda and co. It was all I really could've asked for.

3. Inside ; a successful followup to one of the best games of last generation (Limbo), that surpassed my already high expectations. Eager to see what Playdead does next.

4. Ratchet and Clank ; a gorgeous, charming and exhilarating remake of the original Ratchet and Clank that fixes the few problems the original game had. Probably the most fun I had this year.

5. Gravity Rush Remastered ; a colourful and mechanically fluid game that I adored; if you haven't played it yet, give it a shot.

6. Abzu ; the most soothing and calm game I've played since Journey, and an absolute joy from start to finish.
 

amlabella

Member
Jul 28, 2014
16
0
0
Sacramento, CA
1. The Witness ; I don't often obsess over specific video games, but I spent 12 straight hours solving puzzles with my brother the day The Witness came out. I still have an entire photo album worth of screenshots on my iPhone and a notebook filled with frantic sketches. I even got the platinum trophy (I'll never listen to "In the Hall of the Mountain King" the same way again). There's a brilliance to the way The Witness presents players with a series of epiphanies on both a micro and macro level, and that triumph of game design separates it from all other releases I played in 2016.

2. Hyper Light Drifter ; Hyper Light Drifter is one of the best-looking games of 2016, and it features my favorite soundtrack of the year by a wide margin. But the audiovisual elements don't tell the whole story. In fact, they partially obscure the strengths of its mechanics, which rely on combat and exploration in equal measure. Sure, the game looks and sounds pretty, but the reason I've finished Hyper Light Drifter multiple times is because of the enjoyment I get from exploring its cryptic world and discarding enemies with lethal sword/gun combos. In fact, maybe it's time for another NG+ playthrough...

3. DOOM ; First-person shooters place low on my list of favorite genres. I didn't grow up with Doom, Quake, or Wolfenstein, so I don't have any reverence for the classics. There are exceptions here and there though, and DOOM may be the biggest one yet. It's hard for me to describe why I like DOOM so much, at least in great detail. Remember, I don't have any connection to the beloved series. I suppose it boils down to the fact that I love DOOM's attitude and think it feels amazing. I don't know that I'll ever tire of popping demons in the head with a shotgun. Or a plasma rifle. Or a gauss cannon. I guess what I'm saying is the guns in DOOM are pretty good.

4. XCOM 2 ; XCOM 2 takes a step back on the geoscape, but the actual combat is as good as ever. I enjoyed my first playthrough, but my second one on Ironman is when everything clicked. The emotional roller-coaster of a single save file creates so many memorable moments - I mean, sometimes it looks like all hope is lost and then you finish a 56-turn mission with no casualties... on live internet. Good times. Also, I have to give a big shout out to the fantastic mod community for XCOM 2. My second playthrough included quite a few standout mods and made the experience so much better.

5. Furi ; A challenging action game comprised entirely of boss fights? Sign me up! I love games that encourage and promote player growth, and I could see myself improving the more and more I played Furi. Let's just take a look at the sequence of events:

I beat the game on the normal (Furi) difficulty
I beat the game on the harder (Furier) difficulty
I beat the game on Furi with an S rank
I beat the game on Furier with an S rank
I completed a speedrun of the game in 68 minutes
I got the platinum trophy

I'd like to point out that beating the game for the first time on Furi difficulty felt like a miracle. Now I'm part of the 0.1% with the Furi platinum trophy. I think that's pretty damn cool.

6. Dark Souls III ; If Dark Souls III is the series swan song, then it's a hell of a way to go out. Part of me feels like the constant references to the first Dark Souls go too far, but at the same time I recognize Dark Souls III as an impressive combination of the strengths of each game in the Soulsborne franchise. It's got the atmosphere of Demon's Souls, the intricate world design of Dark Souls 1 and 2, and the quickness of Bloodborne. It doesn't set the world on fire in terms of originality, but a great Souls game in 2016 still ends up being one of the best games of the year.

7. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE ; The Persona 5 delays disappointed many, myself included, but I still got my Atlus JRPG fix this year with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. The crossover of the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem franchises is a strange one, especially since it focuses on the idol industry, but that doesn't distract from the surprisingly deep combat system and charming cast. I never thought I'd be rooting for characters to become breakout pop stars or actors/actresses in a video game, but here we are.

8. Dishonored 2 ; I played Dishonored 2 on PC and some of the technical issues were a real bummer, especially since the game itself is a fantastic sequel. It builds on the foundation of the first game in numerous ways, particularly with its wide selection of abilities across two playable characters. Those abilities compliment the intricate level design wonderfully and make for some crazy gameplay possibilities. I loved creating a doppelganger of Emily, attaching a stun mine to it, and letting it run into a group of enemies. Also, the "Crack in the Slab" mission is one of the best video game moments of 2016. I won't spoil anything, but trust me, it's awesome.

9. Overwatch ; The past two years have reinvigorated my interest in competitive multiplayer games. Both Rocket League and Splatoon were on my GOTY list last year, and now Overwatch occupies a spot this year. I still have yet to touch the competitive mode and I haven't played the game for hundreds of hours like others. In fact, I think my playtime is around 30 hours. But that's 30 more hours than I'd spend with most competitive shooters. I love the diverse cast of characters - in terms of both visual design and mechanics - and the game is simply a blast to play with friends. I'm not particularly good at the game, but that's doesn't matter. I know when I load up Overwatch, I'm going to have a great time.

10. Oxenfree ; Oxenfree is a fun take on a supernatural story, but the characters and voice acting truly carry the experience. There's something remarkably human and natural about the dialogue in the game, and it creates a player/character connection immediately. I cared about Alex and her teenage friends as they explored the creepy Edwards Island, and that journey allows the personal stories of each character to slowly unravel. By the end of the game I felt like I understood the characters on a much deeper level, even the ones I didn't initially like. That's the mark of a great narrative.
 

Rhanitan

Member
Apr 22, 2015
217
0
0
1. The Last Guardian ; Despite some technical I've never been as emotionally attacked to a fictional character as i was with Trico.
2. Dark Souls III ; Dark souls feels like the most refined game in the series and still manages to surprise and excite me while i am playing it.
3. Paper Mario: Color Splash ; The game is packed with creativity and excellent writing and I love how each level feels more like a place with it's won unique purpose on the island.
4. Dragon Quest Builders ; I find this game super chill and a fun game to play with my SO passing the controller back and forth.
5. Pokémon Sun/Moon ; All the changes greatly improve the already amazing pokemon formula.
6. Gravity Rush Remastered ; Flying around is just so damn fun and i love theworld and characters.
7. Hyper Light Drifter ; Fun and challenging with a great art style.
8. The Witness ; One of the best puzzle games i've ever played and does a great job teaching you its mechanics without a single word.
9. Monster Hunter Generations ; I can never get enough monster hunter.
10. Star Fox Zero ; I had a lot of fun unlocking all the routes,getting all the gold medals and the challenge of learning how to use the game pad to fly and shoot in separate directions made the gameplay more exciting for me.
 

Pep Guardiola

Member
Apr 8, 2016
76
0
220
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Most fun experience this gen so far for me.

2. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 ; An improvement over an already great game. Very happy with this sequel and can't wait for the next.

3. The Last Guardian ; Enthralling and beautiful, as someone who didn't love ICO, I enjoyed this much more than I expected.

4. Inside ; What a surprise this turned out to be, a shame so many other good games released this year, otherwise it deserves top 3.

5. The Witness ; I love my puzzles.

6. FIFA 17 ; Year after year, improvement after improvement, this is the best football game to date(After PES 3, 4, 5, 6, FIFA 2010 and FIFA World Cup 2010)

7. Titanfall 2 ; A shame to hear about the sales considering just how good of an FPS game this is.

8. Sid Meier's Civilization VI ; Always enjoy the Civ games, this one is no different.

9. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice ; Another brilliant PW game.

10. Owlboy ; Lovely game, lovely graphics, lovely.
 

Kaswa101

Member
Nov 8, 2013
1,023
1
0
South Africa
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; perfect way to cap off Nathan Drake's story and with beautiful graphics to boot. Gameplay was solid and the lessons learnt from TLOU definitely benefited the game imo. Fantastic acting, writing, graphics, gameplay and soundtrack - all combined into one stellar package that once again proves why ND is at the top of the industry. :)

2. Dishonored 2 ; amazing game design right here. It was hard to pick between this and U4 for my top spot, and I don't say that lightly. Dishonored 2 is a refreshing, gorgeous and wonderfully designed piece of gaming medium with some seriously impressive level design and Godtier levels of repayability and room for experimentation. Did four playthroughs and got all of the trophies. Adored it.

3. Tales from the Borderlands ; same as the following entry, only got the physical copy this year. Loved every second of this series. It was funny, charming, and had a lot of heart that most games would kill for. Humour done right, imo, and had surprising emotional depth and some really good twists and turns. Easily one of the best I've played this year, especially as a fan of the mainline Borderlands games.

4. Life is Strange ; picked up the physical copy that released this year but I'm not sure if this entry will count. Either way, awesome artstyle combined with a really emotionally-captivating story created some of the most memorable gaming moments for me in a game, and I loved this for that

5. Ratchet and Clank ; beautiful and perfectly animated. Been a fan of R&C since the PS2 titles and this was a perfect revival of the series for me. Tons of fun and humour is packed into it and it's a refreshing change of pace.

6. Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection ; lots of fun to revisit this series with some of its best games. It was a joy playing through some of the sequences again and the graphical overhaul was significant enough for me, even if 60fps would've been preferred.

7. Digimon: Cyber Sleuth ; great RPG and a fun revisit to the Digimon world. Nostalgia galore for me. :)

8. Batman: Return to Arkham ; fun to revisit, particularly Arkham Asylum. Framerate wasn't great but the graphical upgrades were noticeable to me.

9. Bioshock: The Collection ; great games. Personally I was more won over by Infinite but I do recognise its shortcomings. As my first time experiencing BS1 and BS2, I wasn't too impressed by them but I can see why they were revered back in the day. BS2, for me, was actually much better than the original, and its DLC was really well done and truly captivating. Fun trilogy; glad I gave the full series a shot.

10. Batman: The Telltale Series ; not as great as some of Telltale's works, and it annoyed me that one of my choices were seemingly changed/completely ignored in a later episode, but it was fun. Ending was... annoying, though. :p
 

kpaadet

Member
Jun 22, 2013
2,087
0
0
1. Hitman ; A game I could always come back to throughout the year, very excited for season 2.
2. The Last Guardian ; Another Ueda materpiece, would probably have been #1 were it not for the technical troubles.
3. Uncharted 4 ; A great sendoff to Nate, now I'm curios to see what the DLC spin off will be.
4. Inside ; Like Limbo it's somber and depressing but equally interesting and manages to tell a story without having any dialog.
5. XCOM 2 ; Improve on everything from Xcom 1.
6. Tyranny ; A RPG the tackles a conflict from a very different side.
7. Rachet and Clank ; Just pure beautiful fun.
8. Deus Ex: MD ; While I don't think it quite lives up for HR and much less the original, it still had it's moments and I enjoying it very much overall.
9. Titanfall 2 ; Great Single player campaign, MP didn't grab me. But it just might be me that is getting less and less interest in FPS MP.
10. Overwatch ; Started out strong, the characters and weapons are fun. The amount of content is light and the maps are kinda so-so, but I think it's a game I will come back to over time.
 

KraytarJ

Member
Jun 30, 2014
1,867
0
0
1. The Witness ; The Witness is one of the most flawless games I've ever played. I can't think of another game that is able to get its points across without any dialogue, to express complex mechanics without ever actually telling the player what to do. This is a game built around solving line puzzles around a variety of constraints and the game never outright says what any of those constraints are and yet they are conveyed brilliantly. The reason the game is able to so effortlessly convey exactly what its trying to say is because everything it does it does with purpose, every shadow, every object, even every sound has a purpose and in many cases the game uses what many other games throw in for fluff as a key to solve one of its puzzles and perhaps that''s how to sum up The Witness the best: this is a game that requires you to think not only on a level that most other puzzle games do but on a deeper level, to also consider everything you take for granted in every other game you play. You always have to be alert in The Witness and that is what makes it so damn special.

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; I'll be honest, I was a little afraid of how this game would turn out because coming up to its release I wasn't sure how I felt about Naughty Dog's games anymore. I felt I had gotten over the cover-shooters with lovable characters that they put out. Turns out those fears were unfounded because not only does Uncharted 4 offer up the best shooting mechanics in the series, it also offers a more grounded and serious tale than its predecessors and it does by introducing Nate's brother and building the game around how far Nate (and the player by proxy) has come since the beginning of these games, the series starts with Nate enlisting a camera crew to try and help him uncover a treasure he believed his ancestor held the key to and it ends with him walking away from the largest potential score he's ever come across and it was one hell of a ride in between.

3. VA-11 HALL-A ; perhaps the game of 2016 that feels the most targeted at me, easily the best bartending game I've ever played with the second best soundtrack of the year and the best cast of characters of any game this year.

4. Pokemon Sun and Moon ; I came into this game with the hope that this would be the time to finally shake up the formula and the idea I wanted the most to make it into the game was, and I'm not kidding here, to remove gyms. Lo and behold what happens? Gyms are gone! Replaced by trials culminating in totem battles (I have a few issues with this solution but damn if those totem fights don't get tough). On top of that we finally got another Pokemon game with a story and actual characters to boot.

5. Overwatch ; Winky Face.

6. INSIDE ; the biggest surprise of 2016, I didn't exactly care for Limbo when I played it, the years of constant hype from all directions certainly didn't help, but Inside is something special. A somber aesthetic wrapped around a haunting world, Inside was the tightest game I played all year its short but oh boy is it ever special.

7. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice ; the best Ace Attorney game since the original trilogy with the final case is definitely the best single case in the last three games. The game was a great send off for Apollo, which is not something I thought would be worthwhile after his own game but damn if that character didn't grow over the last two games in the series. Plus playing as Apollo and lining up against Phoenix is perhaps the best premise for a case in the history of the series.

8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; the best level design of any game I played this year and while the story was subpar, running around Prague and all the mission environments was great and those side missions were great.

9. Oxenfree ; a great teen drama/sci-fi thriller with incredible writing. It says something about the game that almost a full calendar year later I still look back on it as a great game deserving of a spot on this list (Even if its a little too short).

10. Firewatch ; a beautiful artstyle with a perfect soundtrack were great backdrops for one of the most personal and affecting games of 2016.

x. Gravity Rush Remastered ; only not on the list because its a remaster, a neat little game built around a wonderfully satisfying mechanic and a lovable MC in Kat. All hail the Gravity Queen, long may she reign.

x. Batman: The Telltale Series ; a great and interesting take on the Batman lore from a casual fan's perspective. Just outside of the top 10 but it still deserves recognition for what Telltale did there.
 

Parsnip

Member
Feb 5, 2010
9,228
0
0
Finland
Momodora and Xanadu are not on the spreadsheet but I don't see why they wouldn't be good for the list. Xanadu Next came out for PC in Japan back in 2005, this is the first world wide release of the PC version afaik. Considering the N-Gage game was practically a different game just with the same name, I don't think that should disqualify it or anything like that. Anyways, my votes.


1. Hitman ; A complete return to form.
2. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; Really nice sprite work.
3. Xanadu Next ; An absolute joy to play, addicting even.
4. Dark Souls III ; Not the best Souls game, but still better than Bloodborne.
5. The Witness ; I'm seeing them everywhere.
6. Firewatch ; Best character work of any game ever.
7. Headlander ; Best styyyyyyyyle.
 

Fattony12000

Member
Jan 17, 2012
2,228
0
560
UK
www.twitch.tv
1. Doom ; Even better than the first Doom. 2016's effort combines core Doom gameplay concepts from 1993 and updates it for today's tastes, utterly polished and totally fun.
2. Hitman ; For a game that looked like it was going to be one of the year's biggest trash fires, a turnaround of this magnitude was both surprising and very much welcome. Strikes a great balance of sandbox play shot through with fantastic guided experiences.
3. Superhot ; The coolest video game of the year. Pure style, pure focused gameply.
4. Stellaris ; Despite some UI/UX fumbles, this game really sells it's grand scale of galactic conquest via technology, trade, political dealings and good ole military domination. Deep and interconnected systems provide a breadth of different experiences.
5. Sid Meier's Civilization VI ; A fresh coat of paint and a tune up on the tried-and-true formula of Modern Civ.
6. Stardew Valley ; This game just feels warm, it's lighthearted (but with deep ethic of hard work paying off) but full of deep mechanics and rich, rewarding gameplay.
7. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; Some of the most fantastic and layered level design of any game this year, story was largely a let down but puzzling out the maps overshadowed most faults.

And in fancy image form, because I put in the time and effort to capture these images and design the little banners! Yay!

 

Haeleos

Member
Oct 31, 2007
2,627
29
1,065
Ontario, Canada
1. Inside ; a masterpiece of dystopian horror and an achievement in nearly every aspect of the medium, featuring novel innovations in sound design, animation, and visual storytelling. The often unsettling solutions to the game's varied puzzles and encounters builds a compelling yet culpable sense of dread beginning seconds into the game but staying with you long after the credits roll.
2. Darkest Dungeon
3. DOOM ; the multiplayer, the cutscenes and the dialog felt really foreign, but id Software thankfully stuck their landing with the gameplay, campaign and soundtrack while adding welcome new layers of functionality in the finishers, double jumping, relics and weapon upgrades.
4. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
5. Devil Daggers
6. Overwatch
7. Thumper
8. Dirt Rally
9. Tom Clancy's The Division
10. Hyper Light Drifter
x. Street Fighter V ; I hate the damage scaling, the menus, the stage design, the cost of DLC, the female costumes (Mika's buttslap was the least offensive thing they could've censored), most of the soundtrack and critical art animation, Ken's hair, model clipping, the story mode and the design of every new character (Devour-our-our?!), but I still really enjoy playing it for some reason.
 

gundamkyoukai

Member
Aug 30, 2009
16,882
0
780
1. Uncharted 4 ; The perfect way to end Drake last game even if the pacing was not great but everything else was so good.
2. KOF XIV ; great gameplay even if the gfx or not the best .
3. Ratchet and Clank ; enjoy it more than i thought i would since i not really into these games.
4. Alienation ; Not good as other Housemarque games but still loads of Fun .
5. FFXV ; flaw but still not a bad game.
 

HeelPower

Member
Mar 12, 2013
11,343
1
0
1. Hitman ; A towering achievement when it comes to world building.Stunningly consistent quality all through out the maps. Exploring each map was a joy as one figures out how to take out the next target while being fully immersed in truly active,living,breathing often funny & charming worlds.They built something even Rockstar's finest would be envious of.

2. Dark Souls 3 ; Finely polished,satisfying entry in the storied Dark Souls series.While it Didn't quite break new grounds like Bloodborne did ,it still manages to be of incredibly high quality & improves upon its predecessor.

3. Uncharted 4 ; A strong ending to Drake's story.Stunning art direction, charming dialogue,& beautiful cinematography all combine to deliver a memorable narrative. The gameplay is improved across the board here,markedly so in the surprisingly robust & polished multiplayer. A worthy contender for GOTY & a strong statement of quality.
 

terandle

Member
Aug 20, 2009
108
0
0
1. The Witness ; The most impactful game I've played all year that is worth a vote and writeup. Unique, timeless, one of masterful game design and I hope to see more titles by developers inspired by it.
 

Hjod

Banned
Aug 11, 2014
2,583
1
0
1. Doom ; Slick, polished with a great soundtrack, this game gripped me from the first cock of the shotgun and didn't let go until weeks later. It brought back the fun in shooters I've missed so much, the fast gameplay, the tight controls. I was really skeptical when this was announced seeing how ID fumbled with Doom 3. But this hits all the nostalgic notes and brings me back to when I was twelve years old playing Doom at my mothers work computer. One of the best first person shooters I've ever played.

2. Hitman ; Loved this game from the beginning to the end, put a lot of hours into ever episode, finished every challenge and had ton of fun doing it. Best Hitman game to date. It end up in second place because the game needs to be online all the time.

3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; Even though it's an expansion/dlc CDPR hits it out of the park, a lovingly crafted game rich with story and memorable characters.

4. Titanfall 2 ; Respawn learned their lesson last year and made on of the best single player campaigns of the year, the multiplayer is really addicting and well made as well, the speed and maneuverability makes this game stick out from other multiplayer shooters launched this year.

5. The Witness ; An engaging world that makes you want to explore it more, fun puzzles that can be really hard, a deeper story that makes you want to explore, even though The Witness made me feel stupid a lot of the time I couldn't put it down. And it looks amazing in HDR, that's always a plus.

6. Dishonored 2 ; A well crafted world that pulls you in, a lot of the story being told through the world, I wanted to look everywhere, read every book. The art style is consistent, the stealth system leaves a lot to be desired. But the game still did enough to be one of my favorite games of the year.

7. Day of the Tentacle: Remastered Edition ; Not much to say, one of my favorite games of all time, lovingly remastered.

8. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; A technical masterpiece, best looking game I've seen, the motion capture and voice acting is really great. Had a lot of fun playing through the end to this great series. But the game play brings this game down, the shooting, stealth and climbing is not that fun anymore. But overall a great game.

9. Battlefield 1 ; This time round Dice seems to focus a bit more on making a good single player experience as well as a great multiplayer one. The campaign is good, not great, it makes the horrifying realities of WW1 sink in for about one second before it returns to the usual destroy everything BF-experience. The multiplayer is really great, hectic, gritty and visually stunning. But for me there was no longevity to the multiplayer.

10. Firewatch ; A beautiful game to play, the art style is gorgeous, the voice acting superb, I played this game in one sitting, the story is great for the first part of the game, the mystery, the relationship that's being built, sadly the story takes a dive in the last part of the game. But the game left a lasting impression on me so it takes the last spot.
 

Ladekabel

Member
Aug 5, 2014
7,573
0
0
twitter.com
1. Hitman ; I haven't played much of it yet but what I played so far was amazing. It made me from being interested in the series but being appalled by the gameplay to actually wanting to play Hitman. It makes dor insane moments and it knows it.

2. Doom ; It is better than it has any right to be. It is one of the greatest shooter campaigns we had in years!

3. Stardew Valley ; The level this game surprised me this year is only surpassed by Hitman.

4. Final Fantasy XV ; I couldn't put it down for weeks and went for the platinum trophy.

5. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE ; I love its style and the overall tone of it. Even if I like Final Fantasy XV a little bit more Tokyo Mirage Sessions is the best JRPG I played this year.

6. Overwatch ; It took me by storm but I fell off from it like a rock. I always want to go back and play a few rounds but at the same time the urge to play other games is stronger.

7. Pokemon Sun ; Pokemon finally embraces being a RPG more. I hope they follow this route even more in the next games that are to come.

8. Hyper Light Drifter ; Fun and stylish.

9. Dark Souls 3 ; In the end it was more Souls. That isn't a bad thing but doesn't blow me away either.

10. Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney ; Spirits of Justice: I still love the series because it is still great.

Honorable Mentions:

Rez Infinite ; Area X makes want to have a PSVR. At least for half an hour to play it twice. Other than that it was the first time playing Rez for me and I love it.

Uncharted 4 ; Same as it is with Dark Souls 3 for me, Uncharted 4 is more of the same which is, again, not a bad thing. but it doesn't cut it for me anymore. The pacing is the opposite of Uncharted 3. But some of my favorite moments were in the slower moments. The biggest issue for me though is that the shooting mechanics are still not where they should be in the fourth entry.

Mafia 3 ; I liked that it handled the topic racism without involving elves. The rest of the game is rather generic sadly.
 

sprinkles

Member
Aug 31, 2012
1,414
0
0
DE
1. Trails of Cold Steel ; Falcom can do no wrong
2. Doom ; Best shooter campaign since HL Opposing Force
3. VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action ; We need more of these amazing characters
4. Hyper Light Drifter ; Style the Game
5. Xcom 2 ; Performance aside, it is actually a better game than the first already amazing one
 

BY2K

Membero Americo
Sep 12, 2010
37,302
0
0
30
Canada
This list doesn't actually have a particular order, honestly. It's mostly the list of the 10 games I actually played this year.

1. DOOM ; Probably the biggest surprise of the year. When it was revealed advanced review copies wouldn't be sent, I feared the worst, like everyone. But what I got was the most fast-paced, exhilarating, metal experience this year.

2. Titanfall 2 ; My biggest mistake this year was buying COD instead of this game, which I corrected this week. 20+ hours later with all achievements done, this is probably the most satisfying game I played this year. The level design completely takes you by surprise if you simply expect a by the number campaign for a first-person shooter. And of course the blazing fast paced gameplay of the multiplayer keeps making you ask for more.

3. Overwatch ; Easily the game I've spent the most time on since my 1300+ hours in Team Fortress 2 and the most time I've spent on a game this year by a landslide. Every character brings something to the game (post Symmetra changes) and it is beautifully balanced, with support for the game planned for years to come. The super-hero like design of the game is very appealing.

4. Dark Souls III ; I started my Soulsborne journey with From Software by playing Dark Souls 2, then I played Bloodborne and then Dark Souls 3. Dark Souls 3 is my favorite and is a clear culmination of everything From Software has done so far. With beautiful environment and some of the most intense boss fights I have ever done in a video game.

5. Pokémon Sun and Moon ; 10 years ago I wasn't that big on Pokémon. I had played the 1st Gen then skipped everything up to Black and White, which were good. X/Y, Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby didn't grab me. But Sun and Moon completely hypnotized for a few weeks. By far the best Pokémon games yet, which lots of welcome changes (RIP HMs, we won't miss you). Great music, great characters, a somewhat engaging story (a first for me in a Pokémon game). Now about that Switch version...

6. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth ; Talk about a game that was nowhere near my radar before the game it actually came out. But after hearing all the good things I decided to dive in and I was not disappoint. At the time I thought it was what a Pokémon game would be if it took it's players seriously. Then Sun and Moon happened. Dare I say Cyber Sleuth has even better music than Pokémon Sun/Moon and better characters.

7. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition ; Aside from having the single best name for a Remaster ever, Darksiders has always been my favorite new IP of the previous gen, so I had a blast replaying what I consider to be the best Zelda-like game of all time. Hell I think I'd put it above some Legend of Zelda games if I had to make a list. Great atmosphere, great setting, awesome art design, simple but effective combat. Now give me Darksiders 3 already.

8. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD ; Everybody knows, I'm a whore for all things Legend of Zelda. Twilight Princess is probably in my Top 5 and has some of the best dungeons in the series. And even with today's standard of orchestral music, it aged pretty well. It's also one of the most difficult Zelda games outside of Zelda II if you play Hero Mode with the Ganondorf amiibo, which quadruples the damage you take with enemies not dropping any health. And yes, I DO like the first hour of the game, unlike a lot of people.

9. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; I feel a bit like I'm cheating with this one since I've worked on it as a QA Tester (though I've barely touched the Story itself, I mostly tested the optional Breach Mode), but I'm still putting it on this list because I think it deserves it, outside of the rushed ending. Great cyberpunk atmosphere, amazing visual design, stellar soundtrack, incredible side-quests that are so much more than your usual grab this/kill that SQs, with some of them actually having an effect on the Main Quest.

10. Final Fantasy XV ; My playthrough of this game is still in-progress, but I'm liking what I've seen so far. And honestly, the miracle it took to actually get this game out and actually be decent alone probably warrants this game's place in some GOTY lists. It sounds cheap to say it like that, but with how cruel the gaming industry can be, the fact that this game came out and that people are enjoying it is nothing short of amazing in its own right.
 

shigsy

Banned
Dec 31, 2008
96
0
650
UK
1. The Last Guardian ; Having followed the development of this game since the start, I was sceptical it could live up to mine and everyone elses hype. It massivley surpassed it in every possible way. I still can't quite believe I finally played The Last Guardian in 2016, nor can I believe just how amazing it was. What an outstanding achievment.
2. The Witness ; I played this 100% blind and have pages of sketches to proudly remind myself of this fact in years to come. Often seemingly impossible, but never to the point of quitting or looking up a solution - a testiment to its absolutely genius design. I cannot fathom how another human designed the puzzles in this game. I dont even normally like puzzle games!
3. Doom ; Playing Doom is like getting a blowy off Hayley Williams with a lit roman candle up your arse. Whilst skydiving. I've never played a cooler, more adrenaline filled fucking badass FPS, and I dont think I ever will again.
4. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Visually stunning and excellent to play through from beginning to end. As is tradition.
5. Inside ; Suprisingly dark in tone but a real joy to play through, espeically in one sitting. Clever in its subtelty and incredibly engaging despite minimal gameplay mechanics. I actually preferred this over Limbo which I also loved.
6. Unravel ; At the end of February I was off work for 2 weeks recovering from surgery. Unravel is therefore artifically higher up this list as my memories of playing it are associated with waking up, making a coffee and booting the PS4. On a weekday. In the daylight. Superb game nonetheless.
7. Firewatch ; Beautiful game with probably the best and most natural NPC banter I've ever experienced.
8. World of Warcraft: Legion ; I played nothing else from August 30th onwards for about 3 months straight. A year with a WoW expansion is always going to be a year with it breaking into my top 10 list. A return to form after the (relative) disaster that was Warlords of Draenor.
9. Ratchet & Clank ; As good as everyone says, enjoyed it loads. On more than one occasion during a session one of my kids asked 'which film is this Dad?' which says it all.
10. Black Desert Online ; When this first released I was convinced it was the best MMO ever. 3 weeks later that sentiment passed as the cracks started to appear. However those 3 weeks spent in such a beautiful virtual world were incredible.
 

RustyNails

Member
Aug 31, 2009
47,617
0
1,005

1. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine ; Incredible experience from start to finish. Amazing new world. Fully fleshed out, memorable characters. Your choices have such a huge impact on the story, you want to play the game again. New gameplay mechanics enhance the existing ones. Owning your own place is a really great feature too. OST is the best of the year.

2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Not as groundbreaking as Uncharted 2. The story is not as captivating either. But it makes the Definitive Uncharted experience. New mechanics are clever. Gunplay is terrific. Multiplayer is fun as always

3. Let It Die ; This is a pleasant surprise that came out of nowhere. It has some clunky mechanics, but dammit it's one of the most addicting games I've ever played. The F2P mechanics are not as brazen compared to others. You can very well complete the game without spending anything.

4. DOOM ; I need to play more before I can write, but I need to give this game it's due. One of the most fun FPS ever. All you Dudebro tactical spec ops military shootbang clones, take note. King has returned.

5 Final Fantasy XV ; It's a miracle that the game not only survived the development hell, but turned out to be a pretty good one as well. The graphics are something to behold at times. The story so far isn't as exciting as others, but its much more interesting than FF13. Solid characters, voice acting, decent gameplay mechanics and a well done OST.
 

desbang

Neo Member
Jun 9, 2013
20
0
0
1. Hitman ; I don't usually like games in which I have to make my own challenge by achieving the objective in style. Fortunately Hitman has the escalation missions, which make the game for me. If only the exotic locations weren't overrun by American accents.

2. Inside ; The atmosphere and setting are top notch. Each little section has its own gameplay wrinkle - none of them are particularly original, but the presentation is such that everything feels fresh. There is not an ounce of fat on this game - every moment is perfectly tuned.

3. Darkest Dungeon ; I shouldn't like this - the grindiest of grinds. And yet it's by far my most played game of the year. I still play at least a few minutes every day, and have done since it released on the Vita. It also has the best video game narrator ever. (Vita)

4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; I'm only about halfway through, but abysmal voice acting aside I'm having a lot of fun running a no-kills playthrough.

5. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 ; The two big football sims still haven't captured the fun of the old Sensi games, but PES is by far the closer of the two. Unlike Fifa, it actually has some semblance broken play.

6. Titanfall 2 ; Best FPS campaign this year, and MP was fun too.

7. Steamworld Heist ; 2D Xcom-lite on a handheld = bliss. (Vita)