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


1. The Last Guardian ; Given how stressful, nerve-wracking and downright emotionally-draining it was to follow the development cycle of The Last Guardian, it seems all too appropriate that the finished product itself would end up being equally as stressful, nerve-wracking and emotionally-draining. Was it worth enduring years of radio silence, mod trolling and false reports of cancellation to eventually hunker down and play Fumito Ueda's third directorial project from beginning to end? My personal answer is a resounding "yes."

It's as simple as this: The Last Guardian is the most invested and attached I've ever been in regards to the plight of a video game protagonist and his overall goal. This slow-burning story of love and companionship, helmed with a typically deft and understated hand by its auteur director, registered on a deeply meaningful level for me, due in no small part to the game's centrepiece Trico. A creature of almost intoxicating cuteness and charm, Trico feels like a real comrade thanks to a combination of fluid and expressive animation and A.I.. An ironclad bond is established early on precisely because Trico is such a believable presence, and because of this, everything else falls into place. It's a beautiful, frequently picturesque visual package to bask in, showing few signs of its beginnings on PS3 hardware. The soundtrack by Takeshi Furukawa, while not being as showy as the music that accompanied the magnificent battles in Shadow of the Colossus, is sparingly used but memorably nostalgic, and knows exactly when to tug at the heartstrings. The puzzles, unlike Inside, are naturally integrated into the game without disrupting the consistency of the world and the storytelling. And the set-pieces, while not as elaborate as something one would expect from the likes of Uncharted, are no less breath-taking because of the emotional dynamic between the central duo. Running across a crumbling bridge is nothing new in a video game, but when the ground gives out beneath the boy, and Trico appears into frame at the last second to save him from falling to his death, it's a genuinely cathartic, air-punching moment.

It's already a common sentiment among those who have completed The Last Guardian that it's an unforgettable journey. As the words ”The End" appeared on the screen, it was only too easy for me to see why. It's a game that has lingered on in my mind every day since I completed it. I get that occasional lump in the throat during recollections of my playthrough that serve as a comforting reminder that, despite all the uncertainty and the years of waiting for something that may never come to fruition, what materialised in the aftermath of all that drama was a work of art that I'm glad I never gave up hope on being released.



2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Kudos to Naughty Dog for having the courage to bid farewell to both a critical darling and sales behemoth of a franchise that's still in the midst of its heyday. In an industry where it's all too common to see any successful IP milked for all its worth, the last adventure starring Nathan Drake features the kind of closure that's all too rare in this medium. And for my money, it's the perfect closing chapter. While the pacing is a little too deliberate at times, and I could've gone for a couple of more of those trademark set-pieces the series is known for, Uncharted 4 is otherwise the apex of the cinematic action genre. An overhauled combat system supported by full-fledged stealth mechanics, smarter enemy A.I. and tighter gunplay sees a significant boost where it's needed most. Throw in some jaw-dropping visuals and animation, easy but nonetheless imaginative puzzles that are a joy to solve and a less linear, more open-ended design to environments that are ripe for exploration, and you have a bonafide generation-defining experience. Bye Nate, it's been fun.



3. Overwatch ; Considering how far my gaming tendencies lean towards story-orientated, single-player fare, it's very rare for me to be gripped by anything that's remotely multiplayer or co-op heavy, but here was an online-only, team-based shooter that sunk its claws into me from the moment I picked it up and still refuses to let go. Overwatch is a revelation, and I've never played anything like it before. I love the fact that every character controls differently, almost to the point that they feel like they've been plucked from their own separate game and inserted into this one. There's truly a play style to cater to everyone. If you're bad at aiming, you can ignore McCree and settle with Symmetra. If you're not in the mood for going on the offensive, you can drop that Reinhardt and chill out in the back row as Mercy. It's an undeniable joy to experiment with all these characters who are so different from each other, find someone you click with, and then invest enough time into that character to the point that you've mastered him or her and feel the urge to move on to somebody else. An addictive cycle to be sure, and it's encouraged through a scoring system that recognizes the player for every little way they contribute to the match, not just from killing an opponent but from healing allies or keeping the payload moving along or blocking damage. I just hope, given how fascinating and likeable the cast is (apart from Tracer obviously *barfs*), that the inevitable sequel gets a full-fledged single-player campaign. Animated shorts and voice-lines can only get you so far.



4. Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir ; I'm not all that familiar with the PS2 version of this side-scrolling JRPG that came out nearly ten years ago, so I'm not privy to comment on the various adjustments and enhancements the remake has made over the original. What I will say is that Leifthrasir is the Vanillaware formula honed to (almost) perfection, a dark fairy tale slathered in theatrical storytelling and complimented by that familiar-but-pristine painterly art style, a heavenly soundtrack and a generous dose of chaotic, combo-based brawling that never grows old.

Seriously though, best main menu ever?



5. Hyper Light Drifter ; This Kickstarter success story deserves every bit of the support and goodwill it garnered during the crowdfunding stage of its development. The pixel art, combined with a vivid colour scheme and a wealth of exotic locations brimming with detail, is impossible not to gawp at. The frantic nature of its slash-and-dash combat offers plenty of tense encounters that rely on quick reflexes, ability management and a little bit of luck (the boss battles in particular are breathless). And the music. My god the music. As a big fan of Vangelis, let me just say that Disasterpeace's atmospheric, scene-setting electronic score is highly reminiscent of the Greek virtuoso's seminal Blade Runner soundtrack, in the best way possible. It's a score so stupefyingly effective at times that it threatens to overshadow the rest of the game, and when the game looks and plays as good as this, that's quite an achievement.



6. Final Fantasy XV ; We're still a long way from the golden age of Final Fantasy, but miraculously, despite years of troubled development, what's finally emerged from the ashes of Versus XIII is something genuinely enjoyable. I can honestly say that Final Fantasy XV is the first mainline entry in the series that I can give a hearty thumbs up to ever since X came out what feels like an eon ago. Yeah it's a patchwork of ideas, systems and features that never truly coalesce into a cohesive whole, and the story is not so much fragmented as it is butchered. But flaws be damned, roaming about in the beautiful wilderness of Lucis with four leads who share a tangible sense of camaraderie and slaughtering the poor local wildlife via a surprisingly functional real-time combat system just works dammit. The game may take a few too many cues from what's popular in western gaming design right now, but if Final Fantasy XV likens itself as a Japanese Dragon Age: Inquisition, at least it's without the marionette-esque animation, Play-Doh beards and crippling sense of boredom.



7. Ratchet & Clank ; After a host of gimmicky spin-offs and budget titles revolving around co-op and RTS elements, this return to a more traditional style R&C game is a welcome one, and sees the intergalactic duo back on form, if not exactly troubling high-water mark of the series A Crack in Time for the top spot. The focus is back on third-person shooting, and using a wide array of outlandish weapons to fend off numerous baddies in amusingly inventive ways is a constant form of entertainment. Throw in some dazzling graphics for good measure and I look forward to a sequel that next time around doesn't have its story tethered to an awful movie tie-in.



8. Furi ; Although I can't ignore that PlayStation Plus's free games service has been getting steadily worse over the past couple of years, there was this diamond in the rough to ease the pain of paying a subscription for something that's become a shadow of its former self. Furi is bastard hard, but in the best way possible, and though I did get my ass handed to me on a frequent basis, there's an immense satisfaction in learning from your previous encounter and getting that little bit better with each attempt, until you're adept enough to bask in the glory of another fallen enemy. The game has little else to offer other than some lengthy, epic-scale boss battles, but the fast-paced and unrelenting mixture of melee-combat and bullet-hell provides such a thrill that it matters little.



9. DOOM ; As someone who is hardly beholden to the glory days of the old-school first-person shooter, I admittedly gave DOOM a shot only because it was receiving such strong word of mouth amongst the gaming community. I don't know if I would say the game has much to contribute beyond the satisfaction of running rampant in a space station and obliterating an onslaught of hell demons in some ridiculously violent ways, but you've got to give credit where it's due, it gets that part very right. The controls are tight, the combat is fast and adrenaline-fueled, and there's zero pretense involved. Repetition does set in towards the end, but for the most part DOOM is some classic running and gunning fine-tuned to a high degree of precision. Insta-killing a Mancubus with a chainsaw like a hot knife through butter shouldn't feel this good.



10. Watch_Dogs 2 ; Approached from the mentality of someone who actually enjoyed his time with Watch Dogs 1, this follow-up really dropped the ball big time in areas that the first game excelled at. Scoping out an enemy location with your hacks, infiltrating with stealth and then resorting to guns when shit hits the fan felt so good. I've said it time and time again, but Watch Dogs has the best gunplay and stealth I've ever encountered in a GTA-esque game. In Watch Dogs 2, everything feels like it controls worse. The same dynamic of infiltrating a hideout and gradually wiping it out just isn't there. In Watch Dogs 2, if I'm caught by somebody, I'm essentially doomed. Reinforcements are called, I get surrounded because suddenly everyone knows where I am and that's it... game over.

And that's not even mentioning the severe dissonance there is between your ragtag crew of kooky hactivists who want to make the world a better place and the way you can play Marcus as your typical GTA protagonist. He's a lot more likeable than Aiden for sure, but say what you will about the guy, at least when Aiden went on the rampage and started killing people in waves, it actually felt tonally consistent with the rest of the game. All I do with Marcus is rely on his stun gun and drones. Anything else feels wildly out of character, which doesn't make combat sections much fun at all. Even seeing him hold a gun just looks wrong.

Watch Dogs 2 is fun, but for very different reasons to the first. I like that the tone is more chilled and light-hearted and humorous (even if it isn't actually funny), a lot of the side-missions are of a surprisingly high calibre and there's been some clear effort put in to make this rendition of San Francisco feel alive and populated. But I would happily sacrifice all of those differences for the tone of the first game if it meant I could get back those same gameplay mechanics.


x. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; Purely from a gameplay standpoint, Mankind Divided makes the necessary strides from Human Revolution in terms of building upon its established stealth mechanics and presenting more options to the player in how to tackle objectives. I like that, and this is a great game to play. It terms of its story however, it's disarmingly small in scale. I miss the grandeur of Human Revolution's narrative. That game felt like it took you on an odyssey through a dark, dystopian world. Mankind Divided by comparison feels like an ambitious DLC expansion.

x. Inside ; Really impressive on a visual and audio front, and the puzzles are constructed in such a way that they provide a nice bit of challenge without someone as impatient and dumb as me resorting to the internet the moment he's stumped. However, I found the story aspect so unfulfilling. It feels like a game built around several ideas and scenarios that have no relation to each other, but exist solely because the designers think they're ‘cool' from a gameplay standpoint, not because they fit into the game's overarching plot. It's that randomness that really dulls the moments of shock and dramatic effect. One minute you're
running from would-be child abductors
, next you're
pulling parasites out of a pig's arse
, and then you're
evading some Sadako-haired sea demon in a mini-sub
, and then it all culminates in your
character being absorbed into a Tetsuo-esque fleshy ball of body parts wreaking havoc on the environment
. Uh huh, okay. There just didn't feel like there was a common thread linking these sequences, and by the time the game stumbles to its end credits, I was shrugging too much to theorize about what just happened. After this and Limbo, Playdead are one of the most overrated indie developers in my eyes.

x. Mirror's Edge: Catalyst ; Hampered by the design choice to go open world. Not a patch on the classic original game, but the core first-person platforming is still fun.

x. ABZÛ ; Indescribably gorgeous to look at and listen to, but far too content in treading the same ground and trying to mimic the same success as Journey to really make a significant impact.

x. Firewatch ; 10/10 introductory segment. I was so engrossed in what was ultimately a Choose Your Own Adventure aesthetic that I really wished the rest of the game followed suit. It's progressively downhill after that though, leading to a damp squib of an ending with zero payoff that screams ”WE RAN OUT OF TIME AND MONEY!"

x. Street Fighter V ; Feels like it was designed to cater too much to the fighting game community and otherwise hardcore players. I found it wholly inaccessible. I wasn't very good at it to begin with, and when I tried to get good through training mode, I felt like I became even worse. It's also hurt by a widely-publicised lack of single player content to keep a casual like me on board and playing.

x. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth ; It was alright. Colourful. A bit rubbish compared to Persona 4 though.

x. Gravity Rush: Remastered ; An absolutely impeccable remaster of one of my favourite games on the Vita. It doesn't just improve the game on a cosmetic front; it's a re-release that ultimately improves the way the game feels to play due to the seamless transition from handheld to controller. The only reason it doesn't find itself in the higher-end of my top ten is because I already voted the original game of the year back in 2012.


My list is going to be poor because there are a lot of games I haven't played or properly played to form an opinion including Deus Ex, Hitman, Doom and others.

1. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse ; SMTIV was already one of the best RPGs, but Apocalypse improves on it. Great story, thrilling gameplay and nice atmosphere. One of my favorite MegaTen games.

2. Overwatch ; Initially I was turned off by the designs, but I'm glad I gave it a chance. One of the most fun and addicting games I've played this year.

3. Final Fantasy XV ; Aside from some serious story issues and the infamous Chapter 13, I really loved the game. I was completely addicted and immersed, and the game does have some undeniable charm. Great gameplay, solid music, fun characters and the exploration is great. I would have loved to put this as my number 1, but I can't ignore the story problems.

4. Ratchet & Clank ; Just as fun and hilarious as the rest in the series. Great variety of weapons, solid characters and just all around fun. Have a hard time deciding between Quark or Mr. Zurkon as my favorite character.

5. Batman: The Telltale Series ; I think this had the best action sequences Telltale has made. Solid writing, and they portrayed the characters especially Bruce very well.

6. Bravely Second: End Layer ; Huge fan of the first one, and it's great to see that the sequel was just as great. Fun battle system and a good story to boot.

7. The Walking Dead: Michonne ; Again, a great portrayal of the character. Way better than what the TV show has shown us.

8. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; I'll admit the game felt like a disappointment to me in regards of the pacing, and the fact that there's too much climbing without any variety. However, the good stuff is pretty good, and it does serve as a nice conclusion to the series. It was a nice experience for sure.

9. Pokémon Go ; It was an experience. This was the only game in recent years where you could just walk to the park and interact with a group of strangers or any of your friends who aren't necessarily gamers. Nice bonding time, but too bad the game didn't have much of a lasting appeal.

10. Valkyria Chronicles Remastered ; The original game was one of my favorite from last gen. Just fantastic.
I haven't played too many games over the last year, but I figure these are worth mentioning:

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; This is quite simply the best DLC I've ever played. The quality is top-notch, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
2. Quantum Break ;
3. DOOM ;

Didn't get a chance to play much else, but I will have time to get back to playing games soon!


1. XCOM 2 ; I had so much fun playing this with my spouse! We made characters together and took turns playing through maps. One of our favorites was Leslie "Ghostbuster" Jones, the grenadier. The clearer rules and the larger variety of enemy types made this game better than the first.

2. World of Warcraft: Legion ; Here is another game I played exclusively with my spouse. We slowly went through the story over the course of a month, but stopped playing at the end game when we couldn't get more powerful from world quests or random dungeons. Even though I grew tired of Legion, I enjoyed the different quest variety and scenarios throughout the game.

3. Pokemon Moon ; The story was much better than in previous Pokemon games; I think it was probably the best. It was the first time I was interested in what was going on with the characters. The difficulty bump from Pokemon X/Y was also appreciated. I liked the new Pokemon they introduced in this one, too.

4. Pokemon Go ; I loved this game when it first came out when I could search for Pokemon that were nearby. It got a lot less interesting when they took tracking out of the game, but I have been enjoying the recent holiday events. I check every update to see if tracking is back in and plan to keep playing through this year.

5. Rhythm Heaven Megamix ; This series is charming and there was a lot more to do in this entry than I thought. It was nice to have a best of collection all in one game. It worked extremely well on the 3DS because there was no chance of a lag between the video and audio.

6. Super Mario Run ; While my interest in Super Mario Run faded fast, it held my attention for a good two weeks. The main levels were interesting, but Toad Rally is what made this game so fun.


I haven't played too many games over the last year, but I figure these are worth mentioning:

1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; This is quite simply the best DLC I've ever played. The quality is top-notch, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
2. Quantum Break ;
3. DOOM ;

Didn't get a chance to play much else, but I will have time to get back to playing games soon!

Don't forget to leave comments for your other games so that your post is counted.

Lunar FC

1. Pokemon GO
2. The Division
3. No Man's Sky
4. Doom
5. Overwatch
6. Watch Dogs 2
7. Forza Horizon 3
8. Pokemon Moon
9. Inside
10. Firewatch
X. FIFA 17
X. Hitman

Will add thoughta later.


1. Doom ; The most surprising game of the year, and there was quite a lot of surprising games this year. When I first saw the E3 demo, I had absolutely no interest in it. It plays way better than it looks. Just blows my mind that this game ended up being as good as it is.

2. Inside ; There was a point when I was making this list that this was my GOTY. I really enjoyed Limbo, but I felt it really didn't go the extra distance when it came to it's story. Although this game doesn't really spell much out for you, it at least gives you a lot to think about and mull over.

3. The Last Guardian ; Fumito Ueda must have some magic touch when designing games. His games just always tug on my heart strings. Trico and his animations are just pure wizardry. He is a living breathing creature.

4. Dark Souls III ; When I first played and beat this game I thought for sure nothing would beat it for GOTY. It's been a hell of a year for games that this game is number 4 on my list. This was a very strong entry to the Soulsborne catalog, which has some of the best games ever made.

5. Overwatch ; Probably shouldn't get into hyperbole territory here, especially this early in its lifespan; but this is the best multiplayer shooter I have ever played. I didn't really catch on with it at first, but once I tried Lucio and understood how he plays, it just clicked and I have been hooked since.

6. Titanfall 2 ; I loved the first Titanfall game, but I understood the complaints about not having a campaign. I was quite shocked at how great T2 campaign is. I figured it would be a distraction to the multiplayer but it ended up being the best part of T2.

7. Dragon Quest Builders ; I love anything Dragon Quest. I don't like Minecraft at all. But my love for DQ didn't stop me from getting this. It ended up being a big surprise and a crazy time sink. Such a relaxing and fun game.

8. Stardew Valley ; I loved Harvest Moon 64, but there hasn't been a HM or farming simulator that has lived up to that game. Stardew Valley does and even more. Its easily the best HM/farming simulator ever made.

9. Final Fantasy XV ; This is the first FF game I have ever beaten (Afraid to admit that). I plan on getting into the series now and playing them this year. I really enjoyed the combat in XV a lot and its what kept me going through this game.

10. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End ; Never been much of a fan of the Uncharted series. U1 was pretty boring. U2 was pretty good, but I always felt it was over hyped. U3 was pretty much the same as U2 but worse shooting mechanics (Plus my game had a ton of glitches and bugs).
Uncharted 4, for some odd reason, really clicked for me. I think a lot of it had to do with less shooting parts and more platforming. I can understand others not liking that, but I have never cared for the shooting gameplay at all in this series. The stronger focus on the character development was really well done.

These honorable mentions are games I haven't finished yet:
x. Oxenfree ;
x. Dragon Quest VII ;
x. Planet Coaster ; I know this isn't really a game you finish, but I haven't put enough time into it to warrant a spot on my list. But from the little time that I have played, it seems like a really great game.

These are games that I haven't gotten to yet but I can't wait to try them out eventually:

Devil Daggers
The Witness
1. Dark Souls III ;
2. Inside ;
3. Stardew Valley ;
4. Forza Horizon 3 ;
5. Doom ;
6. Titanfall 2 ;
7. Overwatch ;
8. The Witness ;
9. Gears of War 4 ;
10. Salt and Sanctuary ;


1. Dark Souls III ; I never replay games these days. For good reason, Souls games break that rule. A great end to my favorite series.

2. Overwatch ; No other shooter in the past decade can touch this game. Its pure perfection will be around for years to come.

3. Street Fighter V ; For all it's bad press, the gameplay is still unmatched. I can't wait to see what new characters will join over time.

4. The Last Guardian ; Definitely a game that pulls on your heart strings. I'm glad it finally saw the light of day, along with being an awesome game.

5. Granblue Fantasy ; I haven't stopped playing this mobile game consistently since it was released in English early 2016. The crazy amount of events and new characters keep things fresh even after all of this time.

6. Fire Emblem Fates ; Another awesome FE entry. The different storylines really bring this together.

7. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE ; I love Persona turn based combat, so I knew I'd be into this. It ended up being a much better game than I initially thought it would.

8. Inside ; The stellar sound design and attention to detail is what drives this game. I wish it had been longer.

9. Grand Kingdom ; After losing out on Grand Knights History for PSP, I jumped into this Day 1. While convoluted starting out, it has great strategic combat and art direction. My main gripe being that fighting against people who outlevel you greatly, seems to be a norm.

10. Battlefield 1 ; I definitely enjoyed the direction DICE took with this game. Best BF since 2. It ultimately got overshadowed by Overwatch for me though.

x. Let It Die ; The loss of what Lily Bergamo could have been still stings, but this game is doing a great job of making up for the loss. What initially seemed like a steaming pile, ended up being an awesome FTP action game.

x. Pokken Tournament ; A much better fighting game than it gets credit for. I can only hope Pokken Tournament 2 is in the works which expands on the core ideas.

x. Total War: Warhammer ; This is the Total War game everyone wanted. The presentation and combat are on point. Too bad it's marred by terrible head-up-ass DLC practices.
1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Not only the best Uncharted game, but quite simply one of the best games I've ever played. A very easy game of the year!

2. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma ;
3. The Last Guardian ;
4. Doom ;
5. Rise of the Tomb Raider ;
6. Overwatch ;
7. Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir ;
8. Ratchet & Clank ;
9. Abzû ;
10. Inside ;
1. N++ ; expression through movement, obsessive attention to detail, over delivering on value and respecting the player. N++ puts most games to shame.
2. Firewatch ;
3. Samorost 3 ;
x. Overwatch ;


1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Satisfying conclusion to the Nathan Drake's story that began in 2007. Had pretty good multiplayer packed in too.
2. Trails of Cold Steel 2 ; While not as good as Zero/Ao, it was still a solid JRPG that left me thirsting for Cold Steel 3.
3. The Last Guardian ;
4. Ratchet & Clank ;
5. Final Fantasy XV ;
6. Dark Souls 3 ;
7. Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir ;


Will edit in my thoughts on 6-10 later if I have time.


1. The House in Fata Morgana ; I picked this up on a whim, and it completely blew me away. It does away with many of the things I dislike about most visual novels, and presents an engrossing story and characters backed up by gorgeous art and an incredible soundtrack. The characters each have their own emotions and motivations, and despite the overarching supernatural plot threads of a haunted mansion and an omnipresent maid, each story feels all too genuine and believable as you see the worst side of each character plunge them into tragedy. Where many other games would fumble on several sensitive themes, Fata Morgana addresses them maturely and with respect. The artwork is a breath of fresh air compared to the generic anime style of many other visual novels, and the soundtrack with its many haunting vocal tracks complements the sombre mood of the setting and story incredibly well.

2. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE ; Like a lot of you, the reveal that Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensei would be a J-pop extravaganza with a teenage cast took me by surprise. But the game itself surprised me in a good way. The characters are fun even if they're not particularly deep (the messages they send you in the in-game messaging app are often amusing), the graphics are nice and clean with a very clear art direction, the battle system is one of the most fun turn-based systems I've played, and the soundtrack is always energetic and catchy. It feels a lot like a Persona game (as expected from the setting and developer), with J-pop and acting replacing the high school setting, and with solid dungeon design. I haven't finished the game yet, but everything I've read about the game suggests it's just as good all the way through.

3. Pokémon Sun/Moon ; I'm a big fan of the Pokémon series, and the newest entry did not disappoint. Sun/Moon bring a lot of fresh ideas to the table, which are very welcome in a series that hasn't diverged much from its roots up until now. Trials and totem battles are more fun and often more challenging than gyms of old, Ride Pokémon replacing HM moves allow for more freedom in team-building, and the return to a more story-heavy campaign like Black/White is a great sign. Sun/Moon do have their flaws (notably, the early game is very hand-holdy and linear, the post-game lacks a way to level up quickly, and the multiplayer interface is a step back from the simplicity of X/Y's PSS), but the new ideas presented give me a lot of hope for the future of the series.

4. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma ; No, it's not as good as Virtue's Last Reward. The ending fizzles out a bit, and leaves many questions remaining from 999 and VLR unanswered. It also delves much deeper into sci-fi, which might be disappointing if you liked the relative grounded-ness of those games. However, at its core Zero Time Dilemma is still a solid entry in the Zero Escape series and is worth your time (though play the first two games first!). Just like its predecessors, Zero Time Dilemma's high points are when it's setting up mysteries in the first half, then blowing your mind with the solutions that were right in front of you the whole time. There's a great Reddit post with a list of over 50 hints/references to the big twist before it happens! The setting and events give the game a uniquely bleak and hopeless atmosphere; the music and puzzle room settings reinforce this. Although not all the philosophical concepts it brings up are plot relevant, they're still interesting and the ones that are hit hard.

5. SteinsGate 0 ; Steins;Gate is at the top of my list of games I didn't think needed a sequel, but am happy they got one. The original game had a great cast, and getting to see them again was a treat. Steins;Gate 0 significantly reduced or got rid of the things I didn't like in the original (Okabe being cringy, that one creepy shower scene, and Luka jokes), and gave attention to a couple of characters that were neglected in the first game (Daru being the main one). The new characters were a mixed bag, ranging from Maho on the "great addition" end to Kaede on "who's that again?" end. The plot was engaging most of the way through, with some really good scenes that stand alongside the best scenes in the first game. The music didn't disappoint, with some fun callbacks to the original's soundtrack. I felt the game's main weakness was that the ending didn't really feel satisfying - as a sort of mid-quel (time travel shaningans woo), we know what happens afterwards, but that leaves 0 with a rather weak ending by itself.

6. Root Double -Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition ;

7. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon ;

8. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth ;

9. Oxenfree ;

10. Higurashi When They Cry - Ch.3 Tatarigoroshi ;


1. The Witness ; The Witness isn’t just my Game of the Year, it’s easily in my top five games of all time. The player is placed onto an island and expected to start learning a new visual language, strictly through reason and logic. Hands are never held. It can be frustrating at times, and some of its puzzles can be hard to find, let alone solve. When you do manage to solve an especially tough puzzle, however – sometimes after needing to sleep on it for a day or two – the satisfaction derived is unmatched by anything in modern gaming. Jonathan Blow has said in interviews that the game isn’t designed to be completed to 100% by every person who plays it, and that sort of approach makes every victory sweeter. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful games to come out in 2016, and has some of the most fascinating hidden content I have ever encountered in a game.
When I entered a room, completed a puzzle and a clip from Tarkovsky's Nostalghia started playing, I was dumbstruck.
Completing The Witness (and especially its notorious final challenge) might be the most satisfying accomplishment I have had in my 35+ years playing video games. It’s a game everyone should try.

2. Hitman ; Hitman is the most surprising game of the year for me. Between the disappointment of Absolution, the dodgy-sounding episodic structure, and the always online requirement, it seemed completely implausible that Hitman would turn out to be worthwhile. It’s not only worthwhile, it’s the best entry in the franchise, topping even the classic Blood Money. It’s the only game I played all year that came even remotely close to knocking The Witness from the top spot. Hitman’s greatest strength is that it manages to make failure just as much fun as success. Planning and pulling off the perfect silent assassination is exciting and rewarding, sure, but there is also so much joy to be found in watching a perfect plan come apart at the seams. Failure is often temporary as well, and disasters can be recovered from, sometimes in hilarious and surprising ways. It’s also worth mentioning that Hitman has some of the best incidental NPC dialog since No One Lives Forever. If only practically all of them didn’t have American accents.

3. Dark Souls III ; A fitting end to one of my favorite game series of all time (I’m not counting Bloodborne, I know we’ll get more of that). DS3 didn’t enrapture me the way DS1 did, but it did manage to atone for the sins of its predecessor, and deliver a solid Dark Souls experience. It was a return to form with the amazing level design, great art direction and fun, challenging boss fights I want out of a Souls game. The series will be missed.

4. Overwatch ; It’s rare that I find myself obsessing over a competitive shooter these days, but I got deep into two of them this year. Overwatch was far and away the best. The wide variety of heroes really helped to keep me hooked for far longer than I expected to be.

5. Doom ; I don’t have anything to say about Doom that hasn’t been said 666 times at this point. Doom managed to take the fast, aggressive gameplay that I associate with shooters of the past, and somehow make it feel new and fresh for 2016. Glory kills were cooler and more fun than I thought they would be, the level design felt authentically Doom-like and the soundtrack was pitch-perfect.

6. Ratchet & Clank ; I'd never played a Ratchet & Clank game before, they always seemed lame. I'm glad to have been proven wrong. This reboot is colorful, bright and funny, but also has incredibly solid shooting and great upgrade hooks. I could do without the Clank sections though.

7. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 ; An excellent follow up to the first game, PvZ2 claimed a lot of my free time in early 2016. The semi-open world setup proved a lot more interesting that it seemed when it was announced.

8. Hyper Light Drifter ; The atmosphere in this game is remarkable. It feels like a future where the world of Fez went violently to shit decades ago. The combat feels great, and the mysterious nature of everything really appeals to me. Unfortunately, I got to this one late in the year, and as of writing this I haven't finished it (only one boss in). I absolute love it, and suspect it truly belongs a lot higher on my list. I'm looking forward to wrapping it up in the coming weeks.

9. Overcooked ; Sometimes it can be frustrating, but it's also very rewarding to come up with a plan with your partner and execute on it. This is the only game my wife and I played together all year, and that's always worth something to me as well.

10. Zero Escape: Time Dilemma ; I'm glad we got a conclusion to 999 and VLR, but I'd be lying if I said I was fully satisfied by it. Still, I really enjoy the world, characters and especially the premise of the Zero Escape series, and I was glad to be able to see this one through to the end.

Honorable Mention and Clash Royale

x. Titanfall 2 ; Truly an amazing single player campaign, but the multiplayer didn't hook me. I just don't think I was in the mood for it, and may go back to it later if the community is still there.
x. Clash Royale ; This game is great. This game is fucking garbage.
Okay, I guess I've got to call it. I still haven't touched The Last Guardian, and I had a bit of fun messing around with mods in Skyrim Remastered last night, but I can't add it to the list based on that. I want Dishonored 2 to be high on this list, but I just haven't played enough to justify adding it. That said:

1. Overwatch ; Overwatch was basically my Rocket League of 2016 with Rocket League really still being my Rocket League of 2016 (and real GOTY 2016). It was my podcast game, my "get in a quick round while dinner is cooking" game, my general de-stresser and never frustrating, mildly social, dopamine release. I don't know that the highs ever hit the highs of a DOOM or an Uncharted, but it's just pure comfort food and I love it.

2. Hitman ; Hitman is a rare game that is almost as fun to just watch as it is to play, but it is still incredibly fun to play. I didn't end up buying this until the Xmas sale, so I missed the whole epsiodic thing. The whole game was already there, but I've had so much fun digging into and replaying all the levels and marvelling at all the player choices the game allows. I pretty much never replay any single player games, but Hitman makes it an absolute pleasure.

3. Uncharted 4 ; I'm starting to think that a lot of my picks have to do with tempered expectations, but I really wasn't excited for UC4. Uncharted 3 was underwhelming and nothing I saw of UC4 in the preview footage seemed like they were breaking the mould. In many ways it didn't, In some ways it's still "just" Sony's best looking game franchise with the best production and voice acting in the business and incredible set piece moments, but the way it brought that story home with these relationship moments, that I won't spoil, is what makes it one of my favorites this year.

4. DOOM ; Great campaign. Perfect movement and gunplay and explorable environments. Every enemy encounter brings a new set of challenges and ways to play. The design and acting, while over the top, is great, but I don't feel the story was well told. I was completely lost within the first couple hours what was supposed to be happening and I never really did figure it out. That's pretty much the only reason it's not higher on my list.

5. Dark Souls 3 ; There was nothing revolutionary about Dark Souls 3, but the boss designs, combat, and tie-ins to the previous Dark Souls games got me real good. I really feel like it is the best "feeling" Souls game to date and, while the formula is getting a little old, I hope they continue making games with that kind of combat "feel".

6. Rise of the Tomb Raider - 20 Year Celebration Edition ; I think it was a vast improvement on Tomb Raider 2013 in almost every way. I also feel like the huge open environments with so much to do really detracted from the story in a worse way than TR2013. I loved all the stuff they gave you to do, but, I'm not sure what the solution is really, it just kind of hurt the story pacing in a really jarring way. Either way, really fun to play.

7. INSIDE ; I loved the variety in gameplay and how intuitive all the puzzles were. I was never stumped from a gameplay perspective, only a story perspective. This game was just brilliantly designed top to bottom. Probably the best game I've ever played from a team the size of Playdead.

8. Overcooked ; 3 starred every level with my GF. Wanted more content. They delivered. Best co-op multiplayer of the year.

9. Ratchet & Clank ; Great callback to a great franchise. Beautiful environments, crazy weapons, and a fun bite-size story.

10. Titanfall 2 ; Really fun campaign. Kind of a messed up HUD. This game could be higher if I had a few more weeks to check out the multiplayer, but based on the single player alone it has to be on my list.

x. The Witness ; Brilliant, but way too hard for my brain. I activated like 5 of those lasers then there was that kind of beach/desert type area and I had no clue. I still don't.

x. Dishonored 2 ; I really need to get back to this game. I went away on vacation for a week and it's a hard game to jump back into. I remember some amazing level design and skill tree upgrades though.

1. Rhythm Heaven Megamix ; For the first time since... what, 2009? My game of the year #1. entrant is a game where story isn't the focal point (beforehand it was 999, Ghost Trick, Virtue's Last Reward, Dual Destinies, Danganronpa 2, and Undertale). Megamix has one big problem - it has no endless mini-games to enjoy like previous titles did (seriously, some of the best parts of the original games were their mini-games! :( ), but ultimately, it mostly collects the best stages that the series has ever had, and introduces a lot of fun and creative levels at that.

2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice ; Despite having serious narrative issues with respect to it trying to make me care about Apollo Justice's third arc (seriously, they're making this shit up as they go along and it's frustrating me to heck), Spirit of Justice is still an Ace Attorney game, and for me, that means it's still a ton of fun.

3. Sid Meier's Civilization VI ; I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to strategy games - at least more complex ones - I'm not the best at them. Nevertheless, my times failing at Civilization VI have been lots of fun, and I'm working my darndest to one day get good at this game!

4. Kirby Planet Robobot ; It has been a long time since a Kirby game stood as a competitor for Super Star's throne. While Planet Robobot ultimately fell short when it came at the queen, it was a really great attempt overall. The level designs are really what help it. Both aesthetically and mechanically, I feel as though this is perhaps the best level designs HAL Labs has created.

5. Ittle Dew 2 ; This game needs to be played by everyone, and why isn't it!? It's perhaps my favorite Zelda clone ever, with deviously clever puzzles, great style and humor, and solid design that encourages replaying and challenging yourself with limitations (every dungeon can be beaten with any combination of two inventory items).

6. Pokemon Sun and Moon ; God damn was I ever impressed by how much the developers actually tried to push Pokemon forward as a series. I have not finished it, and have heard that the later stuff falls somewhat flat, but the designers deserve praise for finally doing things like getting rid of HMs and trying new narrative ideas.

7. Forza Horizon 3 ; I have not really played many realistic (visually) racing games, so I am really glad that I enjoyed this game as much as I did. I still have plenty to explore and discover in the game, and I am looking forward to doing so.

8. Stardew Valley ; I'm a sucker for solo projects, and this one deserves a lot of praise. The more Harvest Moon clones, the better.

9. Severed ; I had a lot of fun with this game. There were some problems with it, but ultimately, the setting, characters (especially the protagonist and the two-headed bird), enemies, and tone really won me over.

10. The Witness ; This game was surprisingly good. I did not think I would dislike it, but I did not expect to like it as much as I did. I wonder if I will ever end up beating it...


Neo Member
1. Uncharted 4 ; This game hits me on so many levels. Creating one of the best endings i have ever experienced. The gameplay was so engaging, weaving in an out of cover, picking out people, using the rope to chain along some of the most exhilarating action sequences. Hands down the best game of the year.

2. Battlefield 1 ; My favorite game in the series till now was bad company 2. That game provided destruction on a whole other level and the level design was so much fun. This game captures the essence of bad company 2, which was lost in the last few games. Furthermore, the singe player was so good. And to top it off, the best soundtrack in the last few years.

3. Ratchet and Clank ; I replayed through this game three times in a row and got the platinum. And not once did i feel bored. This game is the definition of FUN.

4. The Last Guardian ; The more i played this game, the more i fell in love with it. The game is the embodiment of building a relationship. The more time you spend with Trico, the further you get attached to it.

5. Overwatch ; Love the world and each character. Hilarious multiplayer fun. (Hope for a single player campaign with gobs of story)

6. Doom ; Intense action from start to finish. Great shooter.

7. Final Fantasy XV ; I enjoyed this game way more than I ever imagined. The combat is easy to get into, but has sufficient depth to make it interesting through out. Felt it ended abruptly, but I just wanted to explore more of the lore, world and characters.

8. Destiny Rise of Iron ; With well over a 1000 hours since the launch of Destiny, you could say this series is one of my all time favorites. This years expansion was not as significant, but I still ended up putting the most time into it than anything on this list.

9. Call of Duty Infinite Warfare ; The single player campaign for this game is the best i have played in the series since modern warfare 2. The level design in this game is nothing but amazing. Going through asteroids, flying the jackal and fighting in zero G. The characters are so well written. Everyone needs to use this game as an example on diversity, in that write great characters and not make big deal that you have a diverse cast, normalize it.

10. Stories The Path of Destines ; i had a smile on my face for the entirety of my playtime. The charm of this game is that it does not take itself seriously. It knows its silly and leans in on it perfectly. I liked the way you track different endings on the board, although you only need 5 out of 20 odd endings to get the best ending. I hope more games attempt what was done here. (If anyone knows any existing examples please let me know).

Honorable Mentions

x. Titanfall 2 ; Fun campaign. Over the top set pieces.
1. Furi; nails the trinity of story, music and gameplay. I wouldn't change a thing.

2.Thumper; one of the most immersive games I've ever experienced thanks to VR

3. RIGS MCL; playing and winning my first MP match is one of my all time fav gaming moments

4. Watch_Dogs 2; GOD tier OST, fun story and satisfying stealth/hacking gameplay.

5. Uncharted 4; disappointing campaign mitigated by the phenomenal MP.


Throughout this tumultuous year I've been trying to expand horizons by diving into other mediums outside of video games, gaining new perspectives. In the video game world, 2016 was packed with game releases and while I've played quite a few that released this year, as well as a number of classics, there are a lot of notable exceptions which I wish I had time to play. These range from remakes and remasters such as Day of the Tentacle, Dragon Quest VII, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, Ratchet and Clank, Rez Infinite, and The Silver Case to indie gems such Glittermitten Grove, No Man's Sky, Obduction, Owlboy, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Sethian, Stellaris to games released by major publishers such as Civilization VI, Final Fantasy XV, Dishonored 2, Hitman, Mafia III, Pokemon GO, Pokemon Sun & Moon, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and Watch_Dogs 2. As shown by the more than 15 games just listed that could possibly qualify in a top 10 list, video games are a medium that requires such a time commitment that it's improbable anyone could play every notable game releasing each year, especially when games are releasing at an exponential rate. Hopefully I'll play some of these throughout the new year, and a few may disqualify something within my following list—as happened this year when I finished Life is Strange, but the list that I've come up with at this moment, I think, does a very good job at showing the diversity and advancements in the industry. As we approach 2017, a new year that is looming with uncertainty and dread in many eyes, I can only hope that artistic mediums, such as games, continue to strive to unite groups, and push ideas of empathy and understanding towards others.
As a footnote, if you would like to see what I've played from 2016 to see which titles were potential candidates, then you can do so by looking through my main post from the 2016 and 2017 52 games challenge thread; I think it's important to make this discussion based off a large pool of candidates, and while there are some holes in my knowledge as I've said above, I've tried to get through as many potential contenders as possible.


1. The Last Guardian ; The goal oriented structure of video games typically leaves a void of empathy in me for characters and narrative. My heart did not break at the death of a colossus in Ueda's last game, Shadow of the Colossus. They were a dangerous obstacle, and a rush of accomplishment was felt upon overcoming a task. Trico is a companion, not an obstacle. The animation and sound design allows the beast to cross the uncanny valley multiple times throughout the journey and become a living breathing animal that causes a spectrum of emotions, not just the sense of accomplishment that so many games achieve. A sense of pride swells when he comes to the boy's rescue or defends the boy. Despair sets in when I see Trico injured, or upset after a fight or over the injury of the boy. Joy bubbles and audible affection rises from me when Trico wanders off to play, scratches a door, nuzzles the boy for pets, or perks his ear when he hears his name. Yes, it's still a computer simulation, and yes, there are times where the player must wrestle with the movement of the boy and the A.I. of Trico, but these minor slips in the illusion are overshadowed every time all systems are synchronized. The finale to a visually and thematically cohesive directorial trilogy that has mesmerized audiences for over a decade will not soon be forgotten.


2. Uncharted 4; The globetrotting adventurer, reluctant to have his legacy end, returns for one final adventure with grand set pieces; however, unlike past entries, these grand sets do not feel built before the play was written. The adventure veers from the supernatural of past entries, and tells a historical fantasy tale that parallels Drake's own struggles. It's a conclusion that builds slowly up to its action through quiet moments that set the tone of Drake's recklessness and his attempt to curb his adventurous spirit and settle down with Wife Elena, yet I did not find these quieter moments to be grating like past forced walking sections, mainly because these moments are often more varied then simply walking in a straight line. They're also enhanced by the advancements in motion capture that bridge a threshold of realism; faces and eyes are now able to convey a message and these alone can carry scenes. While many entries on my list, including Uncharted 4, show the effectiveness of audio-visual design in a medium where most fans want to establish game play as the sole factor of quality, the open vistas and verticality offered in Uncharted 4 creates a larger variety of ways to approach combat scenarios, and the grappling hook, which allows the player to quickly traverse environments, leads to many improvised moments of both stealth and action. Uncharted 4 shows what can be accomplished when all aspects of game design are taken into account.


3. INSIDE ; The disquieting stillness and muteness of the countryside sweeps the main character of INSIDE through forests, farms, and factories rife with symbolism of control and conformity. Whether it be through the Gestapo-esque figures rounding up people by the truckloads, the mind controlling parasites that infect men, children, and animals alike, the mimicking of actions to go undetected in a surveillance line, or the environmental puzzles, the message is vivid and clear even if the events and motivations that string the main character along are opaque and phantasmagoric.


4. ABZÛ ; While it may not offer the same expansiveness as some scuba simulators, the journey taken in ABZÛ is so densely packed with beautiful environmental details and various schools of fish that exploration is never wanting. The diver, at the player's leisure, moves to various areas through graceful displays of movement: turning, swirling, and flipping under the seas and into the open air with finesse. Each area represents a new underwater habitat, and each displays a new color hue, ranging from coral pink, to algal green, to sunset gold, to the blacks of the abyss, a rainbow in a flooded world. ABZÛ's heavy environmental message is only more emphasized through the life like animations on the wildlife, bringing with it the desire to protect these relaxing scenes of beauty.


5. DOOM ; DOOM appears to be the antithesis of many modern day games. It rejects many--not all-- modern gameplay tropes like regenerating health, cover points, and quick time events, and it tries to reject a modern gameplay narrative, yet through the physical display of narrative rejection a vivid characterization of the action hero, Doom Slayer, as well as his motivations are exemplified. Much like 2015's revival of Mad Max, Doom takes a minimalist approach for dialogue and places all emphasis on environment, atmosphere, and forward momentum in action sequences, requiring the player to always be on the offensive and rewarding the offensive play with health and ammo drops. DOOM's reveal last year was met with warranted skepticism, but the id software has created a sardonic reboot that surpasses the original.


6. Firewatch ; A burning National Forest in Wyoming is the backdrop to a narrative about the fleeting nature of love, the need for escape, and the need for companionship even in isolation. These themes ring through the witticisms of radio conversations between the two main characters, both brought to life between the instant chemistry of the voice actors, and the mystery that surrounds the forest station, creating wonderful dialogue while hiking in the lush Wyoming wilderness.


7. Samorost 3 ; Amnita Design, the Czech development team responsible for Machinarium and Botanicula, bring the third entry of the Samorost series to the table. A much longer experience than the two previous flash games, Samorost 3 blends photography and digital animation together to give hyper-realistic displays on each screen of this point-and-click adventure game that mesmerizes and charms. It's a game for all ages with fantastical alien creatures and environments that are a wonder to explore. Puzzles are never a frustration of illogical solutions. And like all Amnita Design games, the audio-visual design makes it a joy to click on every object in the world to see what happens and listen to the jazzy cacophony of noise that follows, whether its salamanders beat boxing or a choir of termites.


8. The Witness ; The world and puzzles exemplify scientific observation, discovery, and the use of deductive and inductive logic to come to conclusions about the surrounding world and systems, yet unlike scientific discovery and advancement, The Witness is about isolationism, not just in its island setting but in the way it asks the players to learn and in the way it conveys its philosophical ideas through audio logs, questioning the worth of men who do not participate in the attempt of understanding or learning from an intellectualist's ivory tower—at least from the audio logs I've managed to find scoured throughout the island. Willful ignorance can be dangerous, but I do not think the solution is scorn and isolation. The Witness continually questions the player's ability to learn, but never seems to focus an inward glance on the other half of the equation, the game's ability to teach. While many puzzles are excellent logic affairs, there are quite a few that are forced perspective puzzles, and these are less rewarding as it's not a logical system but a viewpoint that needs to be teased out. Even more frustrating are the puzzles that try to remain fresh by adding an extra twist, e.g. the final pagoda puzzle or the seizure inducing strobe light of the mountain's take on the flower color puzzles. These puzzles are not hard, the solution and logic/viewpoint has been repeated many times before, but the environment obfuscates the puzzles to a painful masochism. While this isolationist viewpoint does leave ambivalent feelings towards the overall message of the game, this watchmaker world, so intricately designed to tease the player at every turn with pareidolic (is is pareidolic if purposeful?) figures, to teach the player systematically each new puzzle class, and urge the player to understand the inner workings of the environment is so satisfying to piece together that it has entered the pantheon of classic puzzle adventures, paying homage to Myst while being something completely unique.


9. Dark Souls III ; The series that has been defined by cycles--birth, death, and rebirth--in both gameplay and lore, returns to the beginning for the finale, revisiting Lordran now remembered as Lothric. It's a game that highlights the paradoxical juxtaposition of changing constants. Time, space, and civilizations alter the geography, architecture, lexicon, and history, leaving the player in a familiar world of unknowns. While the world is no longer as intertwined as the original nor offers an evolution of the series gameplay as seen in last year's Bloodborne, the circuit still fires up the reward center in the brain as the player journeys through hellish enemy swarms and austere landscapes.


10. Overwatch ; I'm very reluctant to approach competitive multiplayer, and I still am quite reluctant. My first real foray into any type of competitive multiplayer was Rocket League last year. What brought me to a free weekend of Overwatch this year was the absolutely delightful and colorful diverse cast of characters that I kept seeing crop up around internet fandoms. The game itself is extremely refined, offering only a handful of modes but a large variety of characters, each with their own nuances with which to experiment. And neither Experimentation nor inexperience is penalized, the game only chooses to highlight contributions to the team, creating a positive feedback loop that kept me thrilled with my progress. I should reiterate I've only played a few hours during a free weekend, but the charm and refinement in this team-based competitive shooter deserves merit, and therefore, a spot on my list.


Neo Member
1. Rachet and Clank ; Like playing a good Pixar movie. Great Platinum trophy.
2. Uncharted 4 ; The best storytelling in a game to date.
3. Severed ; A great adventure with creative controls and the perfect length.
4. Doom ; Metal as all fuck, about as fun as an FPS campaign can be.
5. Firewatch ; Love the authentic feeling Wyoming landscape.
6. Sid Meier's Civilzation VI ; A well-made Civ game that certainly improves on vanilla Civ V
7. Hitman ; Amazing replay-ability.
8. Inside ; Very cool look and feel, so-so puzzles.
9. No Man's Sky ; a flawed game with some great ideas. Had a great time for the first 10 hours.
10. Virginia ; Fantastic music, interesting feel. Ultimately feels like a demo of something larger.
1. Doom ; I had no interest in this game whatsoever until I casually came across a twitch stream of someone playing the intro. After that shotgun pump, I knew I had to have it. And boy it did not disappoint!
2. The Last Guardian ;
3. Dark Souls III ;
4. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ;
5. No Man's Sky ;
6. Monster Hunter Generations ;
7. Salt & Sanctuary ;
8. Tom Clancy's The Division ;
9. Let It Die ;
10. Fifa 17 ;

Honorable Mentions:
x. Dragon Quest VII
x. Final Fantasy XV


Unconfirmed Member
1. The House in Fata Morgana ; This visual novel is something special that I don't really want to spoil by mentioning too much about it. The House in Fata Morgana begins by presenting a series of Gothic tragedies in an attempt to uncover a person's past, and goes from there. The story features complex, flawed characters and successfully explores mature themes that you wouldn't expect it to cover. It's also worth mentioning that the character art avoids the modern anime art style that you'll encounter in the majority of visual novels. The soundtrack is just as special as the story and characters, enriching the experience in all the right ways. A lot of those songs are going to stick in my mind for a long time and still carry the emotional weight that they do now. I went in not expecting much, having heard very little about the game, and it turned out to be one of my favorite stories in the gaming medium as a whole.
2. VA-11 HALL-A ; This is a visual novel hybrid which relies on a colorful cast of characters to tell several overarching narratives against a cyberpunk slice of life background. Most of the cast is great and memorable. The main protagonist, Jill, is especially great, despite largely existing in the background while the main focus falls on other members of the cast. Also worth noting is the fantastic soundtrack, which is worth listening to even if you never touch the game.
3. Stardew Valley ; Stardew is a love letter to Harvest Moon games that spent years in development, and it didn't disappoint despite the long wait. It's one of the most charming farming simulators I've ever played. The post-launch support has been fantastic, especially since ConcernedApe listens to the game's fanbase and adds in tons of new content over time. This game is probably going to get even better in the future because of that.
4. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse ; The gameplay is more polished than ever before, and it doesn't have the same problems with its difficulty curve that IV had. While the soundtrack wasn't as good as IV's (which is still in the game), the new music is still great. I understand why people, especially some longtime series fans, don't particularly care for this entry in the series, though. The reliance on anime tropes did get grating at times, but I didn't hate it like some people did. The story has some great ideas that I hope the series revisits in the future, like the inclusion of a more sadistic "neutral path" compared to other neutral paths in the series and the inclusion of antagonists beyond the usual law and chaos factions.
5. XCOM 2 ; XCOM 2 improves upon Enemy Within in almost every possible way. While EW started to feel a little stale after 25 hours in, 2 still feels robust well after that. The reliance on timed missions gives a much needed tension to the game, which is something that I wasn't expecting to appreciate it as much as I do. It's my favorite XCOM game since the original/UFO Defense.
6. Pokémon Sun/Moon ; Sun and Moon are quite possibly my favorite non-remake "base" games in the series. Although the over-reliance on gen 1 nostalgia and low encounter rates for newer pokes hurt the experience a bit, the games somehow managed to still feel fresh due to the new spins on the classic formula. A third version of the game could be something really amazing, so hopefully game freak won't leave gen 7 high and dry like they did with gen 6.
7. Hyper Light Drifter ; While I like the game's atmosphere and soundtrack, my favorite parts about Hyper Light Drifter are the combat and exploration. Wandering around the world in search of modules was frustrating at times, but also felt rewarding at the same time. The dash-based combat system was similarly frustrating to get right at first but incredibly rewarding once I got the hang of it.
8. Kirby: Planet Robobot ; I honestly wasn't expecting this to become one of my favorite Kirby games, but it somehow completely exceeded my expectations. It manages to have a good mix between nostalgic callbacks and fresh mechanics, preventing it from feeling like a retread while still evoking healthy amounts of nostalgia. The robobot mech allows for a nice level variety in ways that other standard Kirby games, like Triple Deluxe, failed to pull off. The return of a Meta Knight mode was the icing on the top.
9. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight ; RUtM is a huge improvement over the previous Momodora games. If you've ever wanted a mixture of the 2D Castlevania games and the Souls games, you should check this out. The art and animations are top tier, combat feels great, and the difficulty curve manages to stay challenging without being too frustrating.
10. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ; I played the demo and was hooked right away. It's so satisfying pulling off the perfect sequence of events after setting it up for multiple minutes. It's a great game that could be heavily improved upon in sequels.
x. The Silver Case ; A classic Suda game released in English for the first time. The UI and controls might be clunky, some plot elements are left seemingly unresolved, all of your colleagues are huge assholes, and some of the conversations can be annoying to read through, but it's more than the sum of its parts. The story goes off the rails beginning in chapter 3, which is the point where the game starts to shine.
x. Inside ; Inside didn't hook me as much as it did plenty of other people, but I still had a great time with it. The final section is one of the few times that I've ever felt "shocked" playing a video game, it's by far my favorite section of the game.
x. Yomawari: Night Alone ; A horror adventure game that can be very unsettling despite its cutesy graphical style.
x. Anatomy ; Anatomy is another one of those games that I can't say much about without spoiling what makes it so good. If you want a short, interesting horror game, check this out.
x. Picross 3D: Round 2 ; A good followup to one of the best picross games. I just wish it had more variety to its puzzles, as there were too many humanoid puzzles to solve.
x. Enter the Gungeon ; Although I'll likely never be able to beat the final boss, the 20+ hours I sunk into this game were incredibly enjoyable. Gungeon fills the "just one more try" role nicely. The little references and puns are genuinely funny, making unlocking and discovering new weapons and items something to look forward to.
x. Oxenfree ; I enjoy narratives games that handle time and space shenanigans well, and Oxenfree delivers on that front. The dialogue system and its impacts on the ending is ultimately where the game really shines, even if it could have been handled slightly better at times (such as by allowing conversations to continue when travelling to other sections of the island, for example).
x. OneShot ; An interesting little adventure game that focuses on breaking the fourth wall as often as it can. While it's rather short and lacks depth, it's worth playing just to see how the game interacts with the player.


1. Final Fantasy XV ; the game isn't perfect. You can tell development was rushed in the latter half of the game and some characters seem tossed in and out without any significance. I won't deny that. But this was my favorite game of the year due to what a rewarding experience it was. Noctis ended up being one of the strongest protagonists in the series. The villain also ended up being one of my favorites in the series. It's a dazzling game with a lot of aesthetic beauty to it with a deep and wondrous lore. Also has a series best soundtrack by Yoko Shimomura.

2. Civilization VI ; Loved both Civilization IV and V so it was a nice treat to get this one. There is enough that is similar to previous games but enough new features to enjoy. I feel like, as a base game, it's better than V and has the potential to possibly be the best in series when all the expansions are out. Fun and a great way to pass the time.

3. ABZÜ ; Sweet and charming game that has everything that I secretly love. An underwater journey of puzzles and the opportunity to swim with different sea creatures in a very beautiful way? I knew I'd love it from the minute that I bought it.

4. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; This was a great revival after 3 ended up disappointing me. The character graphics were second to none and I liked the slow, methodical storyline. Nathan was a huge asshole to his wife (and I hated that) but I liked the addition of his brother, even though I think most didn't. Loved the two villains in this one. Probably my favorite in the series.

5. Batman: The Telltale Series ; A great return to form by Telltale after the disappointing Game of Thrones. They did interesting things with the character and I loved all the twists with some of the recurring ones. Lady Arkham was a fun villain. I really enjoyed my time with it.

6. Unravel ; I remember seeing the announcement for this game. It was an awkward man that stood on stage and spoke nervously of a little game he poured his heart and soul into. I bought it soon after release and enjoyed my time with it. It felt like a labor of love and it really clicked with me.


I've had a tough time settling the order of this list: my top four has been in constant flux. I've been pretty thrilled by the games this year.

1. Firewatch ; This game nails so many things: the tone is set right away; the atmosphere in the park; the sense of solitude and loneliness; the need to make contact with someone; the way emotions can become heightened in certain scenarios. Every part adds up and the story leaves you with something human. I had an interesting experience while playing this game free mode: while I enjoyed the ability to wander around, I felt myself needing that contact over the radio with someone. The desire to make contact with someone shifts and grows throughout the story - and that desire makes the ending more poignant for it.

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; When I first picked up the Witcher 3 I didn't take to it. I hadn't really enjoyed 2, and in a way 3 seemed too familiar. In 2016 I came back to the game and it entirely hooked me and I ran through the DLC right after the main game. For this reason, I have a hard time dissociating my experience with the DLC from that of the main game, but I will say that the DLC adds such variety and life to the game. The story in the Blood and Wine compels you through an amazing landscape where you meet nuanced characters. And the ending!

3. Stardew Valley ; I can't believe how many hours I put into this game. It is 2016s definitive "One-More-Turn" game (sorry Civ). This game has to be tried.

4. Oxenfree ; Oxenfree does many of the things Firewatch does - in some ways even better. The dialogue system creates interesting back-and-forths, and the setting is incredible. What I didn't love about this game is how much time I spent walking around at a speed I found just a little bit too slow.

5. The Banner Saga 2 ; I honestly didn't even know that this game came out when it did. I only got around to playing it in November, but once I got rolling I couldn't stop. The game oozes with style and a sense of bleakness that is captured so well through the world and its characters. The combat, while still solid, became a little stale near the end.

6. Fire Emblem Fates ; The story was nonsense, but the combat was, as always, totally satisfying.

7. Titanfall 2 ; I have only played the campaign, but it features so many cool things that it was easily on my list. Nothing overstays its welcome as each level introduces something new and exciting for you to play with.

8. Doom ; Doom is a thrill ride through hell.

9. Uncharted 4 ; Uncharted 4 is my favourite Uncharted, seemingly for reasons that some dislike it: namely, more walking and talking, less shooting. I have recently played through the Uncharted collection, and it is kind of obnoxious how many times enemies keep on crawling into the kill arenas in the first Uncharted. Uncharted 4, by contrast, moved through these areas rather quickly, highlighting instead the story. For what its worth, the story is great, and the coda is such a nice send off.

10. Inside ; I got bogged down a bit during my playthrough of Inside. Something about the dark tone made the game difficult to play at times. But the game drew me back with the promise of more puzzle set pieces and things I had never seen before.

Honourable Mentions

x. Virginia ; What a cool experience. The way that the player is quickly progressing through scenes, trying to pierce it together as the story unfolds through tokens and looks between characters. It won't be for everyone, but I am glad that it exists.

x. Hitman ; I haven't played enough of it yet and I think something is lost in buying the game when everything is already out for it. Many talk of how the episodic nature made players go back to a level and try new things again and again. In turn, players were delighted to find just how many things worked. And yet when all of the episodes are out, it is rather easy just to go to the next one and miss that entire experience.

x. Civilization VI ; I enjoy this more than I did V, but it cannot beat IV for me.
  1. World of Warcraft: Legion ; Legion has revitalized WoW in such a way that it rivals everything Vanilla is appaulded for. It has a community again.
  2. Overwatch ; From the second it was announced I turned my nose to this game. I hated TF2, I don't play shooters, and I didn't like the art style. The moment I played the first open beta I knew within the first game that OW was something special. Everything I loved about Dota 2 put into a shooter, it was the game I didn't know I wanted.
  3. Doom ; At least I didn't used to play shooters, Doom delivered on everything you could of asked for and more. While the multiplayer sucks, the campaign is the best single-player campaign I have ever played.
  4. Titanfall 2 ; Time travel that has AI reacting to what you're doing when you jump back and forth? I can't believe how cool that was.
  5. Dark Souls 3 ; By far the best souls game. I ended up bouncing off of this one due to souls fatigue.
  6. The Witness ; Enjoyed having to figure out the puzzles on your own, but some of them caused a bit to much frustration.
  7. Hearthstone: Whispers of the old Gods ; Pretty fun meta, cheapest good decks you could get, overall pretty enjoyable expansion.
  8. Darkest Dungeon ; Cool idea, but didn't quite land for me. Hopefully a follow up can make it a little more fun.
  9. Stardew Valley ; My SO loves playing it, and somehow got me hooked on having a farm. Why am I doing with my life?
  10. Tyranny ; Had fun with it, but wasn't great compared to Pillars or Divinity: Original Sin. Had fun with it but I think I'm CRPG'd out.
1. The Last Guardian ; (genDESIGN, SIE Japan Studio) Never thought it would take over a decade for creative designer Fumito Ueda's final chapter in the minimalist trilogy, comprising Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, to finally reach retailer shelves and the collective hands of passionate gamers. Many influential life events would unfold within my life and anticipation for this title would stumble across three console generations, but my appreciation for Team Ico's work hasn't ever wavered. I certainly agree with the lukewarm impressions sprawled across the board for this tale of a young boy and a griffin seeking an escape from the dilapidated ruins of a bygone fortress. On a technical level, controlling the young boy stammers with an uncanny sense of weightiness and our mythical companion, Trico, requires a tremendous amount of patience from the player when waiting for the A.I. to navigate through the linear level design at its own pace. Steering of the unforeseeable camera typically exacerbates these aforementioned faults, especially when manipulated within narrow areas, plus a handful of convenient tutorials for directing your counterpart can easily be missed. All these thorns could perhaps be summarized with the feeling that the master plan for this journey wasn't fully revamped for the new hardware while long-standing points of critique from previous adventures continue to persist. However, I was able to adjust to these issues with every passing moment. I became increasingly engrossed one more time in Ueda-san's folkloric storytelling built upon coming-of-age and the eternal bond of companionship. Like an echo chamber, the amusing mannerisms of Trico serve as a technical marvel to behold and every location presents a memorable piece of narration told through environment over exposition. Without a doubt, Fumito Ueda and his development team are the interactive equivalent to anime director Hayao Miyzaki and Studio Ghibli. Sony Entertainment acted with the patience of a saint with this tremulous production. Its release was a symbolic gesture toward the loyalty of the fanbase and their dedication to artistic works. In the end, Last Guardian arguably might not have been a game-changer nor the best of the trilogy, but it was another masterpiece under the PlayStation brand. An evocative tale worth telling about a boy and his beast - nay, a friend, that will transcend the medium to pluck our heartstrings long after the controller has been put down.

2. Dark Souls III ; (FromSoftware) Highly doubt this third installment will remain as the final entry in the acclaimed Souls franchise, but creative designer Hidetaka Miyazaki delivers a stunning conclusion to the dreary cycle of the first flame with his return to the directorial helm. A commanding amalgamation of the fast-paced action present in his previous masterpiece, Bloodborne, lends itself into another blissful romp through the gorgeous melancholic medieval fantasy and I would really recommend players to seek out the secretive ending for an empowered metrical send off.
3. SteinsGate 0 ; (5pb., Nitroplus) Like practically everyone else, I had reservations over the necessity of a follow-up to one of the greatest visual novels of all-time after its time-traveling tale was so skillfully sealed tight will little room for speculation. Was such a worry justified as the final credits begun to roll after devoting thirty-something hours? I would be lying if I didn't confess that such a thought races to the forefront of my mind whenever I think about this visual novel, especially when I consider the original release one of the greatest video games of all-time as well. It's difficult to discuss the premise of this installment without spilling the beans on major plot points in the predecessor as an "interquel." Basically, it explores a timeline in which a self-proclaimed 'mad scientist,' Okabe Rintaro, hangs up his lab coat and desire to save the love of his life after succumbing to post-traumatic stress from enduring numerous timelines in which he fought to preserve the life of a childhood friend. Failing to protect the existence of his significant other leaves Okabe broken while condemning his future to a timeline in which World War III will consume millions of lives in the pursuit of a time machine. It is his choice... And the seeming choice of SteinsGate. Ultimately, the overarching plot of this piece feels exceedingly less elegant compared to the warranted exposition from the "prequel" which is rather inexcusable when the concept has been drawn from pre-existing light novels and drama CDs. Reasons for the shifts between different worlds feel barely defined this round while jarring use of old character sprites feel lazy standing next to modern renditions of the cast. Lack of freedom to utilize the Amadeus app for the phone mechanic was a largely missed opportunity to explore character development and story deviation. One newcomer feels like they were added to merely serve as a roadblock to impede progress making the structure of these trials and tribulations more evident with the continuous wobble between slice-of-life and thriller sequences. The localization team, PQube, sadly dropped the ball when the pedigree of this entry in the SciAdv world should've been better respected. Although it was a tremendous treat to have this in our possession about a year after its debut in Japan, it feels a bit disingenuous when numerous typos and untranslated content remain throughout the final product that makes it seem like a contractual release window obligation. So why rank it so close to the top after these gripes? It should be a testament to the strong characterization, performances from the main cast and the delightful high-points that make you thankful to see these roles once again. Unlike Zero Time Dilemma, it doesn't become a train-wreck that maliciously undermines the world it has fought to establish. Most of the returning cast demonstrate growth in their arc and the new genius scientist, Maho, functions as a great compliment to another character's absence. A slight disappointment that, optimistically, will get fleshed-out with the anime adaptation.

4. Doom ; (id Software) A shocking return to form for the godfather of the modern shooter sub-genre and undeniable surprise after the lackluster press demonstrations. With tongue-in-cheek approach to weather-worn staples in the series, the development team has managed to successfully resurrect the satisfactory combat of the Doom Slayer into the current generation that finds its place, for better or worse, in the Millennial 'nostalgia' era.
5. Titanfall 2 ; (Respawn Ent.) Most appropriate application of the wall-running mechanic to date with plenty of variety, albeit gimmicky, in the landscape of the single-player campaign that recalls that combat that can cover vertical level design, too. Despite the stunningly-crafted gameplay, the mech-oriented narrative comes off tragically forgettable in the sea of available shooters with the relationship with your own robot, BT-7274, feeling restricted to two recurring in-jokes that failed to leave a lasting impression. I'll return for the Valve-esque craftsmanship, but it doesn't carry much substance outside the initial thrill of the shticks.

6. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare ; (Infinity Ward) Foolish decision to have Modern Warfare Remastered locked behind a special edition as a digital-only addition. Anyway, the development team certainly carried themselves beyond the disappointment of their Ghosts campaign and, honestly, I found myself enjoying the straightforward nature of the sci-fi aesthetic. I woefully dread the return to the exhausted trenches of World War whatever so it's unfortunate that audiences have begun to drift away from the 'king' of the mainstream shooter, but it's understandable after a whole decade at the forefront. Campaign-wise, everything felt fluid in the gameplay and I was slightly engaged with the premise more so than previous efforts from Treyarch's Black Ops offerings. One of your AI-companions, Ethan, was a lively breath of sarcasm over cliché soldier chatter and Titanfall's own mechs so I hope they'll bring some of that same energy into their next inevitable installment.
7. Attack on Titan ; (Omega Force) It might be a faint alteration to their Dynasty Warriors formula, but the development crew manages to bring the high-wire, limb-chopping spectacle of the source material into reality with an abridged version of the opening half that further spurred my interest in the material.

8. Shadow of the Beast ; (Heavy Spectrum Ent. Labs) PlayStation's little reimaging of the side-scrolling classic manages to surpass the tarnished legacy of the original arcade releases with an addicting arcade combo system and succesfully realizes the original concept artwork from illustrator Roger Dean.
9. Umineko ; (07th Expansion) Specifically Umineko: When They Cry - Question Arc > Having witnessed the first half of the grand witch mystery through the untranslated PS3 port, I still bounce back-and-forth between whether I feel it's a masterwork that pulls off a surrealist compilation of "whodunit" plot devices or a drawn-out piece of exposition that costly distracts from the thematics. It has been a quite sometime since I watched a playthrough of the original chapters so I'm in the process of re-evaluating the Golden Witch mystery. In contrast, the captivating presentation with a lush cast of voice actors makes up for the spiritless, unfinished anime adaptation coupled with a seductively jamming soundtrack and undeniably makes full use of the visual novel format aside from plot deviation. I've thought about the enthralling plot-line quite frequently so, despite being unfinished at the time of the vote, it has left a mark unlike other stuff that I have beaten for 2016. Hopefully I'll be able to retroactively place the closing half higher on a new list once they become available.

10. Firewatch ; (Campo Santo) Regardless of the critical praise, Firewatch operates as a decent addition to the 'walking' simulator-style with an acute awareness in the subtlety of color inspired from graphic artist Olly Moss with an enchanting relationship between two fire lookouts. However, the sudden shift toward a conspiracy plot felt contrived in the obvious attempt to put a strain on their interaction and, consequently, I saw the ending coming a mile away.

Honorable Mentions:
x. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; Accusations of the finale being severed off to pad out the season pass sounds like a pretty big deal for this stealth follow-up courtesy of Eidos Montreal. Their reboot with Human Revolution was one of the biggest surprises from last-generation as a cyberpunk fan and I suspect that I'll enjoy this next round as well, but I'll probably hold out for a re-release with the story-related DLC to ensure that I can experience the entirety of its augmented world.

x. Final Fantasy XV ; Not only has it been a decade since the original announcement of this Square Enix title, but I haven't beaten an installment within this respective series following the release of Final Fantasy X on the PS2! I probably would've knocked this out had it not been delayed closer to the tsunami of Japanese niche titles launching within the winter season. Hearing about the constant updates further put a damper on my willingness for an immediate playthrough, but the breath of the production value and action-adventure tooling to the mechanics make me eager to dive into its world once all the patch material has been rolled out.

x. Gravity Rush Remastered ; If casting a ballot for reissues wasn't as unbalanced when comparing to new releases, Project Siren's physics-defying adventure would've easily breached the top three picks of the entire year. From the beautiful visual presentation to the whimsical essence of the premise, it's an all-around alluring adventure that's worthy of the big screen for our protagonist Kat and her, uh, cat named Dusty as they defend their home from shadowy beings. Bluepoint goes the extra mile with their enhancements from the massive boost in frame-rate over the handheld origins to the reworked visual palette that continues to make them the 'Criterion Collection' of the gaming world.

x. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero ; A bit embarrassing to confess as the thread compiler to leave this project unfinished for the voting process. I intend to marathon through the entire "high-definition" trilogy through physical copies in the coming year and I wouldn't be surprised if I found myself charmed by the hip-shaking, butt-kicking antics of WayForward Technologies' indie darling and another great success from the crowdfunding platform.

x. Yomawari: Night Alone ; Although I missed out on celebrating Halloween with this handheld venture, Nippon Ichi Software's nightmare-scape of a little girl searching for the disappearance of her loved ones becomes gripping from the get-go and feels like an appropriate spiritual successor to Kikiyama's Yume Nikki.

x. Wild Guns Reloaded ; Limited local multiplayer, locked access to the original soundtrack and notorious difficulty might be as a deterrent for contemporary gamers. However, the gun-slinging goodness of Natsume's SNES remaster comes retrofitted with new characters and strengthened pixel imagery that becomes immensely appreciated for newcomers that want to test their dead-eye precision without the $175+ price tag for an old cartridge.

1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ; I adore the Deus Ex series (go figure). Human Revolution was one of the pleasantest surprises and one of my favorite games of last gen, and I could not wait for this game. There was trepidation, there were fears (some of them justified, it turns out).

But in the end, Mankind Divided kept up me up for hours, exploring its complex world. I play Deus Ex for these kinds of tiny "wait, what did I miss?" realizations, these worlds where you can just talk your way out of the most ridiculous situations. The plot feels like the first act of a greater Deus Ex story, but the side stories are the real star here: the most intriguing and engaging side quests in the series to date, all of which directly and indirectly hint at a massive twist that the game never openly reveals.

I'm holding myself back here, because if I get going talking about Prague or the genius of the Otar/Koller sidequests, or the game's use of color and architecture in storytelling, or how organic and connected everything is, I'd be here all day. For a game that's supposedly short and unfinished, Mankind Divided sustained me for two 35-40 hour playthroughs, and I still ended up discovering new content afterward. That's what I come to these games for.


2. Overwatch ; In any other year, this game would have been my winner. I put ~650 hours into Team Fortress 2, a game I considered my game of last generation. When Blizzard revealed that Titan had been repurposed into what appeared to be a rather shameless looking clone with MOBA elements, my initial response was one of mild at best interest (maybe blame my bitter memories of Diablo III's vanilla release). Then I started paying attention, and holy shit, why had I allowed this to slip under my radar? The open beta came and I got into it, and my fate was sealed. It doesn't hurt that I had just stopped playing Splatoon, another colorful team based shooter, and Overwatch managed to prove a more than adequate replacement.

That's underselling the game. Overwatch is phenomenal, a team based shooter with such charisma and ease of entry that cannot help but charm the pants off you and dare you to try and get good at it, try to unlock as many clothes, sprays, emotes, bamfodads, and highlights for your murderous little dolls as possible.


3. Hitman ; This game came in like a deadly bald hurricane and effortlessly knocked my previous #3 out of its space. My experience with the Hitman series isn't extensive (I vaguely remember enjoying 2, and loved Blood Money), but that doesn't really matter here. Hitman is a game about the world's stupidest assassin constantly fucking up and attempting his idiotic plans to kill the world's worst people. It is a hilarious dark comedy in which you can walk around throwing fire hydrants at people's faces without provocation, and the other characters are all so hilariously awful in their mannerisms and actions that it makes you the good guy in this scenario.

When you push a vomiting man off a cliff after poisoning him with a replica of his dead mom's home cooking, or throw his corpse into a wood chipper, or blow up a golfer with an antique cannon from a Spanish fort, or drop a propane tank down a chimney, or... these are all from the same stage, by the way. Hitman is so endlessly replayable in its "what if I can do this?" challenges. It almost feels like someone from IO looked over at Eidos Montreal's work on Deus Ex and thought, "We should make 6 mini versions of that hub world," and then the crazy bastards actually pulled it off. I'm not even finished with it yet, because I keep wanting to redo past stages to complete as many challenges and opportunities as possible.


4. Doom ; I feel bad for Doom right now - it was supposed to be my number 3. But it's still an astonishing accomplishment for this game to be here at all. You know how I mentioned Human Revolution was a pleasant surprise? Doom has become easily by biggest gaming surprise ever. This game was supposed to be awful. From the troubles at id, to the uneasy vibe I constantly got that this game was going for Brutal Doom streambait style over substance (glory kills in particular seemed like a disastrously bad idea), to a bizarrely unconfident marketing approach that kept highlighting the game's bad outsourced multiplayer, to actually releasing a beta of that multiplayer that had me downright convinced this game would be a trainwreck.

And then it was good. And then it was funny! And it was actually really good! Why did they hide these levels? Why did they hide this sense of humor? The closest thing before launch to a sense of humor was your stupid multiplayer avatar having "wacky" emotes!

It's not perfect - you start to realize the enemy limit by the final act of the game and the "we're not like those other games with their talking heads and objectives" shtick falls away at around the same time. The multiplayer is bland at best with stupid loadout and consumable powerup crap and the ruinous demon transformation crap, and SnapMap is good fodder for "You won't believe what they made in SnapMap!" articles but is otherwise pretty bad for actually replicating the Doom WAD scene, where levels quickly surpassed many of the original two games, in complexity and artistry at least.

But still, Doom's own campaign is good enough to overcome those flaws with aplomb and confidence. And it has an eight foot tall robot scientist who just exists to talk about all of this fracking Hell business as it's totally normal.


5. Pokemon Sun ; This game is so pleasant and nice. There's sunshine, good feelings, Guzma, an owl who is a ghost, weird lovecraft anti-Pokemon from a bizarro dimension. All good stuff. It's the first Pokemon game I've bought and played through since Gold, so that surely counts for something. I have a panda bear bancho who punches things to death, and there are no more HMs. Those are two disconnected thoughts that both equally justify this game.


6. Stardew Valley ; I've never had any connection to the Harvest Moon series, but Stardew Valley showed me that maybe I should have. This game is just so soothing, just so "one more day." It can feel somber, cheery, playful, thoughtful. When it had its hooks in me, I couldn't put it down.


7. Sid Meier's Civilization VI ; It's Civilization V but they fixed most of the bad shit and made it good. The worst you can say about it is that it's kinda easy and the new more "personable" AI system (in which AI players have specific agendas) at times flip back and forth between hilariously manipulable and fanatically irrational to the point of self destruction.


8. Pokemon GO ; In all honesty, this game is an odd one. In terms of impact, I might actually have had to put it way higher. But also... it's not really great, and Niantic completely flubbed its post release support.

Then again... I happen to live in an area where there's always Pokemon, stops, and gyms nearby. Opening up this game and just playing it when I'm out jogging or commuting is just second nature at this point. And I cannot deny that those first few weeks of this game's life, seeing people in real life all trying to track down and catch em (all), is one of the most striking and memorable gaming experiences I've ever had. Pokemon GO earns a spot based on that alone.


9. Dishonored 2 ; If you've maybe heard me talk about Dishonored 2, you'd probably be surprised by its placement here. Or that it places at all. For as much as I love Deus Ex and immersive sims, Dishonored 1 never quite stuck to me as more than a pretty good game, and 2 feels... well, there are times when I just don't like playing it. The reasons are complex - some of them are my fault, and some of them are the game's. But the reason I keep playing it is why it's on here at all. Dishonored 2 is a beautiful game set in an intricate world, where teleporting around rooftops and balconies and dropping onto guards and robbing places blind is still just as enjoyable as it was in the first game, if not more so - because of those moments, I am trying to get through the parts I dislike, get over my own hangups, and make this game click, because I know a game I could love is in here. For that reason alone, I feel like for all of its problems, it gets its spot over other titles that should be more deserving, like XCOM 2 or Superhot. I'm giving you a chance, Dishonored 2, so don't make me regret it.


10. Mafia III ; I enjoyed the first - oh, let's say 3 or 4 - hours of Mafia III more than I enjoyed any other set of 3 or 4 hours of any other game on this list. If you haven't played Mafia III, you're probably asking why it's at the bottom of the list, below a game I feel like is fighting my attempts to enjoy it. If you have played Mafia III, then you understand completely. This is a game so oozing with jawdropping style, animation, with punch (sometimes straight to the gut) that it's almost a travesty that it's a bog standard open world game that purposefully puts its best stuff behind a slog of tasks that feel really good to play the first time, and then you realize that it's just... that, again and again. If Dishonored 2 is a very good game I need to untangle, Mafia III is the dismembered pieces of an utterly fantastic game that there's no way to just piece together correctly. But good god, what a ride when you start out. It deserves recognition on that alone. Also for the parts where you run into a segregated business, someone calls you "boy," and you punch them in the fucking face. Those parts are good too.

Dance Inferno

Unconfirmed Member
As a footnote, if you would like to see what I’ve played from 2016 to see which titles were potential candidates, then you can do so by looking through my main post from the 2016 and 2017 52 games challenge thread; I think it’s important to make this discussion based off a large pool of candidates, and while there are some holes in my knowledge as I’ve said above, I’ve tried to get through as many potential contenders as possible.

Dude, you don't owe anyone anything. You can write a top 10 list without trying to play every single game that came out last year. Just play the games you want to play, whether or not they came out in 2016. If that means they don't qualify to be on your list, so be it. As long as you're enjoying yourself that's all that matters.


Neo Member
1. Overwatch ; Blizzard delivers yet another magical IP with endearing characters and compelling gameplay. It's undeniably fun and likely to remain relevant for years to come.
2. Dark Souls III ; Feels like a bit of Bloodborne got mixed into my Dark Souls - and I couldn't be happier. This is the most refined combat of the series to date. And it feels good to be reunited with the shield when squaring up your lethal prey.
3. Hyper Light Drifter ; If the art didn't catch your eye, you might need glasses. Thankfully, Hyper Light Drifter is more than just a pretty indie game. It features a hero with a plasma blade, infinite dash, lasers, bombs, reflection, phasing. Dude can do it all. And the relentless combat asks - can you handle all that power?
4. Inside ; Inside showcases the fidelity possible in a short crafted experience. It's sure to surprise, delight, and leave you wanting more.
5. Titanfall 2 ; Top-notch campaign pacing and encounters. There's a couple levels in here that truly standout as memorable - which is impressive given the sheer volume of FPS games I've played at this point.



1. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II ; Absolutely the best game I played this year. After the events of the previous game, I was dying to get to this to see what developments would play out, not only for our very large cast of main/auxillary/supporting characters, but the continent of Zemuria too. It's classic Trails, and despite the evident growing pains in the move to 3D with Cold Steel I, Cold Steel II is a large step forward from Cold Steel I, and incorporated the awesome battle system, incredible music that's used extremely well, ongoing plot threads/character stories/things hinted at as far as the beginning of the Zemurian arc (Sky games, Crossbell games), ongoing plot threads and resolutions for the entirety of memebers of all the cities/towns/factions/Thors Academy, and arguably some of the most exciting moments i've expereienced in years with the
Divine Knight
battles. Only the Trails series could deliver those moments where everything is just effortlessly perfect, and this game does not disappoint.

I earnestly love all of the characters in this game, and love getting to know them. Honestly, if you asked me what their stories were, I could tell you everything I know about pretty much everyone (yes, that includes all of the NPCs in all fo the cities). Even in moments of downtime, a lot of it was really well-spent getting to know more about the characters and the world, something I appreciated. I loved all of them that much that I put in the time and effort to get to know them and the world they live in, because the series is more than happy to reward you for your efforts if you want to engage with it that much. If you want to just mainline the story, there's always that too! Options are good.

I also thought it had the best soundtrack of 2016 too! I wrote a ton about it! Post 1 and Post 2

I actually bought a second PS3 for this because the disc drive on my old one started to go, that's how much I love this game (and yes, I did double-dip on the Vita version!). After about 105 hours for my first playthrough, I can definitely say i'm ready to put in more time for another one or two playthroughs in 2017, and will Platinum this game as well. Totally love this game, and I hope more people give the series a shot.


2. Overwatch ; I finally broke 2k in competitive i'm so happy ;_;

From being in this since closed beta, I can say that I really loved this game right away. It got its hooks into me like nothing else i've played this year, and the ease with which I can just hope into a game with 5 of my friends and have voice chat going is really fun. I still play at least 3 nights a week with at least 2 or more friends. I love the class balance, the events, and the community communication from Blizzard (as well as detailaed patch notes and reasonings for balance changes). The characters are all really unique and distinct, and have abilities and playstyles to match that. The impeccable work into the sillouette/sound/visual design of each of the characters really goes a long way to communicate necessary information in an effective manner that few games dream of pulling off this perfectly. Definitely a game i'll be playing for years and years to come.


3. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse ; I'm just in the process of wrapping this up now, but man did I love this. It's much tighter designed that SMT:IV, with more of what you love. The alternate take on the ending route of SMT:IV is a fantastic concept that's executed very well in this game. I also quite enjoyed the Mara sidequest chain for the colorful dialog. The last dungeon really is the definition of padding (a word I LOATHE because of usual improper usage). The final boss was really cool, and I loved the execution of the whole thing. One mechanic was something so simple and not really a skill-dependant thing, but it was so awesome in the gravity of it. The multiple paths are very good too!


4. World of Warcraft: Legion ; A masterclass in exhaustive refinement of a plethora of systems, Blizzard has absolutely knocked it out of the park with Legion. The world design is the best it's ever been, the quality of life additions are extremely well-implemented and developed, and they've finally implemented arguably the best content loop that keeps you coming back day after day with the World Quests system. The storylines for each zone are a perfect length, the dungeons and their difficulties (including the awesome mythic keystone system) change things up and encourage you to keep playing (including a soon to be level buff for all items to keep ALL dungeons relevant throughout the expansion), and a level-scaling system that allows everyone to play together on an equal level no matter what level you are, which allows for true freedom in how you want to explore the Broken Isles.

They pruned and refined many of the skills for each class, and really changed up specs in a meaningful way, sometimes even with major uphevals to what we fundamentally knew a class to be. Pet battles are still addicting and a game in itself. The appearances tab is incredible, and the way they're implemented and browseable is great. The appearances, pets, mounts, and toys all having in-game locations/mobs listed for where you can find everything you're looking for (with a good filter system too) is absolutely fantastic for a game as massive as WoW, and helps keep you engaged in finding what you want, when you want it in an accessible manner. The fact that all of these are account-wide is the cherry on top.

Honestly, this is probably one of the top-tier expansions in terms of getting things right, and content delivery (so far). If this is what the future of WoW expansions and content delivery looks like, i've never been more excited to see where the game goes next.


5. World of Final Fantasy ; One of the most fun games and game localizations this year, World of Final Fantasy is a really cute game with a turn-based system that has a great spin on it in the stacking system. Coupled with the myriad of monsters and characters from all of the essential Final Fantasy games, it's a melting pot of all the things you love from the franchise. I really love just how detailed the mirage boards are, and the growth system, despite its simplicity, is deep enough to make you want to use all transformations of a monster to make it the best it can be. The legendary Masashi Hamauzu scored the music for this game, and ultimately made it one of the best of the year due to his incredible compositional prowess and ability to really capture the essence (the charm and the fun!) of this game. Easily the best game with Final Fantasy in the title this year, without a doubt.

I also wrote a ton about the awesome music from this game too!

6. Xanadu Next ; I honestly had no idea what to expect from this game other than it was from Falcom. I love their games, so I took the plunge. What I got was a really engaging third-person action game with fun dungeon crawling and an intriguing story. Coupled with the great music (as expected of Falcom Sound Team jdk), it makes for a really fun game.

7. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice ; Main game was great, the plot twists at the end were absolutely insane and something I didn't see coming at all, and the cornerstone of the last case is one of the most brutal moments in the series that really hit hard. Coupled with the DLC case, it's a phenomenal package of the Ace Attorney goodness I know and love, and I was totally satisfied with where the characters ended up by the end. ALSO THAT TEASE AT THE END AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN FOR SO LONG PLEASE DO IT IN THE NEXT GAME PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

8. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE ; Super stylish, and super fun. I really loved the characters and their interactions. The sessions were always super cool and fun to watch, and I really loved the systems a ton. While it won't happen, i'd love it if they made another one of these!

9. Monster Hunter Generations ; Still hunting like crazy. This series is so good on handhelds and I love bringing it along to just binge on some good hunting action with my friends in the same room.

10. Pokémon Sun/Moon ; I had no idea what my expectations were, but this game totally blew them out of the water. For the first time in a long time, Pokemon really felt fresh and interesting to me. Lillie is a really great companion.
1. The Witness ; The only game that has ever made me run out of bed in the middle of the night just to try something out (and it worked). One of the best designed games ever.

2. Uncharted 4 ;

3. Let It Die ; One of the big surprises of the year. I've never really tried that many F2P-games but this one is a lot of fun and I haven't paid anything yet.

4. Alienation ; You can't go wrong with an action-game from Housemarque.

5. The Last Guardian ; I've only played a few hours of this but that was enough to get it on the list.


1. The Last Guardian ; This is truly a once in a generation game. They really don't make games this anymore. I didn't have as many control/AI issues as others though so I imagine my experience was much better overall. I certainly consider this game a masterpiece though.
2. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Everything about this game felt really good to me and it was amazing that Naughty Dog did so much. It was a very satisfying experience from beginning to end.
3. Final Fantasy XV ; Say what you will about the story, but I just kept going back to the game for the open world and interactions between the characters. And the combat was pretty great too.
4. Dragon Quest Builders ; I feel like this is both one of the better introductions to Dragon Quest and the Minecraft genre. Never really liked Minecraft but the Dragon Quest charm helped a lot with this game.
5. Pokemon Sun/Moon ; Pokemon at the end of the day is still a great time. Sun/Moon brought a ton of welcome changes and is easily one of the best in a long time.
6. Rez Infinite ; This is certainly one of the show stealers of VR. Rez never really clicked for me until I played it in VR. It's truly the way the game was meant to be played.
7. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir ; This game was absolutely gorgeous. Far and away superior to the PS2 version in virtually every way. And still tons of fun. Probably the only game I even bothered to platinum this year.
8. Titanfall 2 ; The campaign was shockingly good. I enjoyed it more than the multiplayer. Even though the multiplayer is quite good though.
9. Ratchet & Clank ; One of the prettiest games today. And I feel one of Insomniacs strongest offerings of the past decade. Everything clicked fairly well for the most part.
10. Overwatch ; I can certainly see the fun in this game. The characters are all charming and the game really requires teamwork.

Honestly a lot harder than I thought to pick just 10 games. A lot of quality titles came out in 2016.



1. Dark Souls 3 ; My first entry to Dark Souls series, after playing Bloodborne. While I enjoyed BB's Lovecraftian horror more, and its trick weapons and gun-parrying, I also greatly enjoyed overcoming the (sometimes overwhelming) challenges DS3 brought to me, immersing myself in the somber atmosphere, and discovering its secrets.


2. ABZÛ ; A wonderful Journey-like experience, and only the third game which I've completed 100% despite of the lack of platinum trophy. Sometimes perhaps a bit too much like Journey, if that even can be considered a negative. Loved exploring the ocean, finding the awe-inspiring creatures that lurked in the murky depths, and the fact there were no hindrances to progress that would have diminished the atmosphere with retries of puzzles (I'm looking at you INSIDE).


3. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; After playing the two previous entries I wanted more exploration in correlation to the gunfights, which to me have been the weakest part in the series, and that's exactly what I got here. The series still shines with its characters and atmosphere. I just hope they come up with a more interesting villain, if there'll be another sequel.

Other notable games and DLCs of the year that were to my liking, but had some shortcomings (and/or aspects that affected my enjoyment negatively) which excluded them from my GOTY list: Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel, Destiny: Rise of Iron, Alienation, Thumper, INSIDE, and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to play Bound, and finish Firewatch before the voting ends. So, it remains to be seen how they rank up.


1. The Witness ; This was a really good game, and one unlike anything else. It did give me the satisfaction and atmosphere of Myst, but the puzzles are very different. And the puzzles are really good. Filled up a lot of pages of paper solving them. The environmental perspective puzzles were very clever, though finding them was really their own reward. Would have been nice if they did something meaningful in-game. Could have done without the 420-blaze-it videos and audio logs.
2. Dark Souls 3 ; Really solid game, and a huge improvement from DS2. Hard to impress as the 5th game in the series, but manages to do so anyway. Not the best Souls game, but still one of the best games of the generation.
3. Rhythm Heaven Megamix ; I'm cheating because I played this last year, but whatever. It's great, probably the best RH game, though being the 4th and having a lot of old games makes it a lot less impactful.
4. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Spirit of Justice ; I'm surprised I still enjoy playing these games as much as I do. But I do. Kinda dumb in the story/character depo, but goofy and likeable, and looks and sounds great, as always.
5. Picross 3D Round 2 ; It was good. Honestly the blue/orange stuff was not all that great compared with the more elegant mechanics of the first game, but I guess they had to do something to mix it up.

That's all for this year, I really didn't like all that much. For me it was the worst year for games in recent memory, though personally, I had a great time playing older stuff. Probably spent more time with Super Metroid this year than the rest of my life combined, which is always a good thing.

AM2R would be pretty high on the list, not sure why we're cowering before the man here, but like, whatever man.


1. Forza Horizon 3 ; My first Forza game thanks to the PC release and I absolutely love it. As a game I would consider it almost perfect, there is something here for everyone. The world is amazing, the cars are great, the handling is perfect. From the moment I started the game and saw the opening cutscene I knew I was in for a treat. I have put in about 60 hours into this game and less than half of it is driving. There is so much to do in this game, making custom events for others to enjoy, taking photos of the cars and world, buying and selling cars, anytime I play the game I feel like I end up doing something completely different to the last time I played it.

2. Fire Emblem Fates ; Really enjoyed the concept of this game and the story. The gameplay is great and This game had my favourite soundtrack of the year.

3. Monster Hunter Generations ; Monster Hunter just keeps getting better. The styles add so much to the game that I can't believe they weren't added in sooner. There is a lot of recycled content here and I had some issues with the uneven difficulty but It is still an outstanding game that keeps moving out of reach of competitors. The new music was also some of the best in the series and the new monsters some of the most fun to fight.

4. Overwatch ; I can't put this any higher on my list since my experience with this game is so frustrating. It is my most played game of the year by far yet every session ends in hating the game or hating my team. There are too many uncontrollable variables for this game to be amazing all the time but when it clicks it is a great multiplayer experience.

5. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE ; The biggest surprise on this list for me. It felt like this game came out of nowhere and turned out to be great. The battle system is the star of the show in this game, it just feels so satisfying for a turn based RPG. The dungeons were great and the game has a great flow to it where you never feel bored or have to grind. Highly recommend this to anyone that is on the fence.

6. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma ; I liked this one a lot. The story is good and very Zero Escape along with all the twists you would expect and not expect, but the puzzles felt like a big improvement compared to past games which really increased my enjoyment of this game. By the end of the game I had multiple pieces of paper covered with my thinking trying to work out the various puzzles in the game which I have never done for any other game.

7. Pokemon Sun/Moon ; Pokemon finally changes things up a little bit and almost feels like a new game. Love the setting and soundtrack, the structure of the game is also a nice change and I hope atleast some of the elements stay for future games in the series.

8. Final Fantasy XV ; Really fun game, great soundtrack but I have too many issues with it to place it any higher.

9. Dark Souls 3 ; It's Dark Souls and it's still good. Plays really well but it didn't have that special feeling like the other games in the series did for me.

10. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Not the biggest Uncharted fan but I liked this game a lot and I keep thinking about aspects of it randomly. The story felt a lot more down to earth and personal which is something that was really needed in the series for it evolve. The shooting and combat feels the best it's ever been but in some ways the game feels like it's afraid to let you play it and have fun thanks to constant sections where you just walk or do some simple platforming.


1. Inside ; A masterpiece in visual storytelling, sound design and atmosphere. It's amazing how you can take an old concept and make something original and meaningful with it.

2. The Last Guardian ; Having waiting years for this game, I was anxious playing it. But it didn't disappoint. The only game that gave me tears in the eyes this year. Such a personal and touching story. Ueda and the team once again shows themselves as masters of minimalistic storytelling. The controls could be a bit clunky - which is why it's not getting the first place.

3. Final Fantasy XV ; Another game we have waited for. The story was really not told that well, and a lot of dialogues where bad, but the feeling of freedom, the world, the battle design, the sense of friendship, and Noctis' weight of duty lifted it.

4. Watch_Dogs 2 ; Was not a fan of the first one so is surprised to even have it on the list. But Ubisoft really improved it... And I may be a bit biased as I took a roadtrip through California (including SF) before playing this game, and visiting the city again felt amazing. And that is really what Ubisoft does best: creating virtual turist simulators - and I love it!

5. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; Your thoughts on Game E.

6. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Your thoughts on Game F.

7. Tom Clancy's The Division ; Your thoughts on Game G.

8. No Man's Sky ; Your thoughts on Game H.

9. Ratchet & Clank ; Your thoughts on Game I.

10. Abzû ; Your thoughts on Game J.

x. Hyper Light Drifter ;
x. The Witness ;
x. Firewatch ;

Oh, and I havn't played Dark Souls III yet, but I imagine that that could be on the list as well.


1. The Witness ; No other game made me feel like the smartest person in the world, followed closely by the dumbest person in the world. The island was big enough to explore and never really feel like I was stuck. I loved every second spent on the island.

2. Enter the Gungeon ; Picked this up late in the year, but it's managed to hold my attention enough that it's my go to pick up and play title. A bit of a learning curve, but easy enough to get into a groove. Tons of weapons and passive abilities make each run interesting.

3. GoNNER ; Kind of like a horizontal Downwell. Unique art style.

4. INSIDE ; Pitch perfect presentation.

5. Really Bad Chess ; My mobile GOTY. Chess with luck. Might not appeal to everyone, but I thought it was a nice twist on the classic chess game.

6. Solitairica ; Another great mobile game. Another twist on a classic game, this time with roguelite elements.

7. SUPERHOT ; Puzzle FPS. Might have been higher with more content. Really looking forward to the new update. Great core concept. I usually hate FPS but this really hooked me.

8. Reigns ; Strategy game with a simple play style. Pretty great sense of humor.

9. Tharsis ; Dice rolls. I loved it, others will hate it. I had fun replaying and unlocking characters. Not as luck based as some reviews make it out to be.

10. Samorost 3 ; I'm kind of burnt out on adventure games, but I will always make time for an Amanita Design one.

Thanks to Cheesemeister, timetokill, and ASilentProtagonist for putting this together.


1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; For some reason this seems like a controversial game on here, but for me it's undoubtedly the best game in the series. It expands greatly on the combat gameplay and at the same it holds back from throwing what seemed like never-ending shooting galleries in iteration 2 and 3 at the player, so what's there combat wise in 4 has a bigger impact. Other than that it improves further upon Naughty Dog's impeccable cinematic story-telling concepts that I love, which has been on a steady improvement curve through 1, 2, 3 and The Last of Us.

2. XCOM 2 ; Brilliant strategy game only hindered by some increasingly long load times the further you progressed on console. That has since been patched, but I have not returned to the game for a highest difficulty playthrough yet. I will be back soon, Commander.

3. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; It's more of The Witcher III in a beautiful, beautiful new area.

4. Battlefield 1 ;

5. Inside ;

6. Rise of the Tomb Raider ;

7. The Witness ;

8. Ratchet & Clank ;

9. Alienation ;

10. Unravel ;


1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Just when you think you’ve seen it all from Naught Dog and gaming blockbusters, they outdo themselves. Now I can’t wait to see what’s next !
2. The Last Guardian ; A game that’s been in the making for longer than I’ve been playing videogames, and one that will keep me playing them for a long time.
3. The Witness ; Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination, and that may well be the case with this game, which is absolutely fine by me (even (though I cheated to get there).
4. Mirror's Edge Catalyst ; I loved the first Mirror's Edge so much there was every chance the sequel/reboot would disappoint me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
5. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ;
6. Firewatch ;
7. Bound ;
8. Virginia ;
9. Inside ;
10. SteamWorld Heist ;

x. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes ; The unexpected PlayStation hit in my home!
x. This War of Mine: The Little Ones ; A thought-provoking game and a sobering experience.
x. Dishonored 2 ; I’m almost done with Delilah , but I won’t kill her before the voting deadline…


1. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Uncharted is a special series and this one closed it in a very emotional way, so it hits on the various aspects that makes the Uncharted games great, gameplay and story, but the feeling of nostalgia is the thing that makes me obsessed by this game. What a ride!

2. The Last Guardian ; Expected this one for so long, after the no show in 2014 i decided to just forget this game existed (maybe existed) and after reintroduced i honestly didn't care for it. I got it for Christmas after all the good buzz and the game reminded of my love for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Ueda brings the relationship aspect to his games, the human/beast/supernatural aspect of his games are touching in a unique way. It's a special game if you have the patience to handle de mechanics, the A.I.

3. Battlefield 1 ; I needed this game so much, imo the way to change FPS games isn't getting them far into the future, this is just a lazy attempt the shake things up. Dice did all the right things with BF1 and its WW 1 setting, it took me back to the good early 2000's stages of great online play, maps and gun feel.
I'm very surprised by the lack of interest the game is getting as far as consideration for awards, it's getting overlooked even for FPS awards, i think this game deserves more attention.

4. Doom ; ID Software you beautiful people, i doubted you and you sure served some delicious crow to my plate. I criticized the looks and feel of the game ever since the first trailer, nothing looked interesting to me, i was shocked the first time i played it because the game was just a dream come true, felt like a Doom Fanboy fantasy. It's a video game and it's fun and never apologizes for being what it is.

5. Dark Souls III ; Love the Soulsborne series and DS3 didn't make anything to disappoint me, it improves on the other 2 games and takes lessons from my favourite of them all, Bloodborne. I miss it already.

6. Inside ; Playdead did it again and i'm not shocked at all, some people have recently the tendency to dismiss Limbo as a cultural overrated game, don't know where this comes from, it was a beautifully crafted game and puzzle, very stylish, unique. With Inside they improved on it with a even more insane story and ending, mixed with yet another fun and tense gameplay and puzzles.

6. Hitman ; I change my mind everyday to what was the surprise of the year to me, it's clearly between Doom and Hitman, but i choose the latter. I'm not even someone who hates Absolution like most, but i also admit it doesn't capture what the Hitman series brings to the table. after all the doubts about its episodic nature (which i personally hate) that the series is not be taken seriously anymore, IO interactive made possibly the best Hitman game of all, it captures everything Agent 47 is and makes it crazy entertaining with the contrats. If you decided to quit Hitman after Absolution, consider coming back to it, this one is fantastic.

7. The Witness ; Quite possibly the best and most enerving puzzle game i ever played, but boy was it satisfying to play through and get to the end ot it. The world created was gorgeous and the puzzles were so intelligent and engaging. For sure one of the best experiences i had this year.

8. Let it Die ; "Just Let it Die!" "Where's Lily Bergamo?" Remember when the threads about the game where all about it and no one actually cared? I do, i never cared...and now i'm obsessed about this game. I goit That Last Guardian for Xmas and i only played it after over a week because i couldn't stop playing Let it Freaking Die. The F2P system it uses feels different and everything is so damn engaging and gets me the feeling that stakes are high all the time. As a guy that feels lukewar on Suda games, this one is easily the best of the bunch to me.

9. Street Fighter V ; Should it be in my top 10? Possibly not. Is it the best Street Fighter i played since 2? Yes. Capcom fucked up badly on many aspects of this game, i even defended it for a while, but time was flying and they never fixed some of the problems, had some idiotic delays, matchmaking as i write for me is hot and cold, there are nights i can barely find one match. BUT, the game is awesome, there are no two ways about it, it feels the best it has been in so many years, it's gorgeous looking, it has great character for my taste. Don't know how a game can be so awesome and crap at the same time, but anything goes with Capcom i guess.

10. Assault Android Cactus ; It was a long wait for me for the PS4 version to arrive and did not disappoint me at all, chaotic fun twin stick shooter. Visuals are beautiful and only make the experience better.

Honorable Mentions:

x. I am Setsuna ;
x. Furi ;
x. Hype Light Drifter ;
x. Overcooked ;
x. Final Fantasy XV ;
x. Forza Horizon 3 ;
x. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir ;
x. Overwatch ;
x. Headlander ;
x. Alienation ;
x. Firewatch ;
1. Inside ; Short but monumental. Every second of this game is so perfectly directed.
2. Let it die ; Came late in the year, but was all i played all December and still playing. Its potpurri of different games mixed with addictive gameplay and cool Grasshopper artstyle. Amazing game.
3. Offworld Trading Company ; An economic RTS sounds really boring, but turned out to be the freshest and most rewarding RTS I have played in years.
4. Trackmania Turbo ; TM2 on PC still the king, but this got a lot of playtime on my PS4 thanks to great couch-multiplayer options and hilarious auto generated maps.
5. Darkest Dungeon ;
6. Battlefield 1 ;
7. The Division ;
8. Steamworld Heist ;
9. Solitairica ;
10. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ;


1. Inside ; Such a stunning experience. Short, but not a single moment overstayed its welcome, only to be mind blown with a phenomenal ending.

2. Forza Horizon 3 ; Another stunning location, refined controls and exciting racing. My favorite in the genre.

3. Ratchet & Clank ; What an awesome and beautiful platformer. A fantastic experience.

4. Titanfall 2 ; One of the best single player campaigns in a shooter.

5. Gears of War 4 ; Fantastic multiplayer. Nuff said.

6. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End ; Quality sequel to one of my favorite series. Not as action packed for my tastes, but there is still a decent amount of replayability.

7. The Last Guardian ; Meh. But seriously, it was fun, but the mechanics weren't as varied as they could be. Still a fantastic experience.

8. Doom ; Fantastic shooting, graphics and fun. What more does a shooter need?

9. Quantum Break ; Remedy back to form.

10. Watch Dogs 2 ; A fun open world to explore with some interesting gimmicks.


1. The Last Guardian ; This game felt like a well-executed and polished amalgamation of both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The level design is superb, the storytelling is understated yet comprehensible, and the relation between the two characters is well-executed and endearing. It's rare to have experiences in video games, especially with this level of polish and presentation, but games like this reminds me why I love the aesthetic experience of playing a video game.
2. Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak; A great spiritual prequel to my favorite RTS games of all time. Ruskay's compositions are just as good as 10-20 years ago, the art style is as always simply amazing, and the campaign feels very much like a journey much like the first Homeworld.
3. Bound ; To me this was an audiovisual experience that made me spend hours just using the photomode. The visual aesthetics were supreme and the animation put into the main character was wonderful to take in.
4. Abzû ; Incredibly similar to Journey in terms of pacing and climaxes (having Austin Wintory as composer probably exacerbated this impression), but it's incredibly relevant and amazing to simply have an experience that appreciate nautical nature in such a sublime manner.
5. XCOM 2 ; Here Firaxis took an already well-executed reboot and made it into an even better and more engaging and deeper tactical strategy game. I've spent too many hours in this game.
6. The Witcher III: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine ; The level of polish and scope in what is basically an expansion stand toe to toe with competing AAA games.
7. Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir ; They basically re-designed a somewhat broken unengaging game into a very fast-paced and well-designed experience that makes the audiovisual experience a joy to play through.
8. Dragon's Dogma ; I really appreciate that this gem of an adventuring game was remastered into a technically robust game. The original console release was dragged down by its technical limitations, but with this remaster, it's pretty much the essential version.
9. Grand Kingdom ; I kind of don't dig the artwork, but the tactical turn-based approach is highly entertaining.
10. Inside ; Playdead did really well with this game with some great presentation and pacing that built on Limbo's storytelling and development of puzzles.

Honorable Mentions
x. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare ; I dug the sci-fi experience, the diversity of characters, and the deep level of characterization of one's supporting characters. The final part of the game was unexpected for a blockbuster game like Call of Duty. Highly appreciated and positively surprised.
x. Mafia 3 ; Its narrative and writing are simply some of the best this year with a very well-made adherence to its time period and its racial politics. Too bad the game design was so terrible and repetitious.


not me
1. Final Fantasy XV ; A departure from previous FFs. Long, troubled development leading to astronomical expectations that could never be fulfilled. Strange premise and party dynamics. Action combat system. Open world. There's so much that could have gone wrong for this title and, to be fair, some of it does. The back-half isn't fleshed out and it's obvious the story was patchworked together from a bunch of standalone parts to try and fit a cohesive whole. The side quests aren't great. The camera sucks. And yet, despite it all, FFXV exudes a heart I can't deny. The characters are empathetic and enjoyable, something FF hasn't accomplished in a mainline title since IX. The battle system is fast and furious, with bonus points for perfectly capturing dragoon (lance) action gameplay in an FF title. The plot and themes are ambitious and memorable, sometimes for bad reasons, but often for good. The fishing minigame is fucking awesome. Food looks delicious. To summarize, FFXV is the definition of "more than the sum of its parts."

2. Overwatch ; Even as the shine wore off, Overwatch was hard to put down. Games that go hard on the importance of team dynamics will forever be impossible to properly balance, but Overwatch's moment-to-moment gameplay is enjoyable enough to overcome the constant frustration of sucky teammates.

3. Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4) ; Early in the game, I was questioning whether Rise would overtake FFXV for the top spot. As the game wore on towards its end, I gradually become a bit bored despite thinking it was a great game. The set-pieces don't feel particularly creative, returning to the "Lara falls into the middle of a new path" well a bit too often and abandoning creative placement of 1 or 2 sets of collectibles per zone with a bunch of number systems and overabundance of collectibles, to the point where one simply becomes overwhelmed and gives up. Still a great game, but as an experience I prefer TR2013.

4. Battlefield 1 ; It's Battlefield and I'll always love it for that. But damn do I miss helicopters.

5. Titanfall 2 ; I'm not as keen on this title as others, but I'll give it some points for its creative campaign. Multiplayer felt a bit too generic and one-note for me to stick with it for long.
1. Inside - Such a stunning experience. Short, but not a single moment overstayed its welcome, only to be mind blown with a phenomenal ending.

2. Forza Horizon 3 - Another stunning location, refined controls and exciting racing. My favorite in the genre.

3. Ratchet and Clank - What an awesome and beautiful platformer. A fantastic experience.

4. Titanfall 2 - One of the best single player campaigns in a shooter.

5.Unchareted 4 - Quality sequel to one of my favorite series. Not as action packed for my tastes, but there is still a decent amount of replayability.

6. Gears of War 4 - Fantastic online. Nuff said.

7. The Last Guardian - Meh. But seriously, it was fun, but the mechanics weren't as varied as they could be. Still a fantastic experience.

8. Doom - Fantastic shooting, graphics and fun. What more does a shooter need?

9. Quantum Break - Remedy back to form.

10. Watch Dogs 2 - A fun open world to explore with some interesting gimmicks.

Fix your formating and the spelling of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End if you want this to count.
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