2016 was a banner year for Video Games, there were a ton of Triple A titles that came out and a few indie darlings, overall 2016 hit my bank account hard because of it. So getting my list down to the top 8 games was pretty tough, and you might be thinking, “why 8” well because I wanted to make it 8 that’s why. So let’s dive into my list shall we.
8. Unravel: Developed by Coldwood Interactive and published by EA, Unravel was a puzzle solving platformer with gorgeous graphics and a heartwarming minimalist story about Yarnie and his family. The game, with no dialogue at all pulls at your heart strings with just pictures and through out the game. It was definitely something different from EA and was wonderful to play. I enjoyed the hell out of this game and was literally something I decided to try out because I had EA Access and it was truly a diamond in the rough.
7. Overcooked: There are very few couch co-ops games that are made anymore these days, mostly multiplayer games that are released these days are online only multiplayer so when you get a fun game that is also couch co-op it always overjoys me, especially when the game is good. Overcooked is a frantic 4-player game where players work together (and yell at each other) to prepare, cook and serve food with a time limit, and natural disasters and various other things getting in the players way. It’s a blast to play with friends (never have played it alone) and for only 15-20 dollars its well worth the money. Definitely check it out on the PS4/Xbox One/PC.
6. Gears of War 4: Not the most original game to come out this year but it gave us what we all wanted, a new Gears game on a NextGen console. It takes place 20 years later and you play as JD Phoenix, son of Marcus, and you must face a new threat. The story is pretty paint by numbers but a really great ending for Gears of War fans. However, Gears of War is more about the mulitiplayer than it is about the single player campaign and this game is true Gears of War. The PvP games (especially new ones like Dodge Ball and Arms Race are great new editions) and Horde Mode 3.0 is great with it’s class systems gives you some strategy to playing the mode.
5. Super Hot: One of the big Indie darlings of this year was Super Hot. It kind of just came out of no where and starting popping up on YouTube. The basis of the game is a first person shooter but time moves only when you do. That mechanic makes it sounds like it would be an easy game, but given that it’s a one hit kill game you need to use your time when everything is paused to strategize your moves and the game gets progressively harder. When you complete a level you see the replay of the level in real time with no pause so that’s an added bonus to the game. On top of this really cool game play mechanic the game has a really deep story that I won’t spoil for you here, but Matrix and Mr. Robot fans will dig it.
4. Pac-Man 256: That wasn’t a game that came out in 2106 that sucked me in like Pac-Man 256. It’s very similar to regular Pac-Man but the maze doesn’t end, you just keep climbing up the screen trying to get more and more points and string together pellet streaks and you get power ups which are more than just turning the ghosts blue and eating them, you can get lasers, traps, tornadoes, and much more to kill ghosts. It’s a game that I’ll say to myself “ah, I’ll just play a few minutes before bed” and then an hour later I’m still playing. I could be biased because I love Pac-Man so much, but this game is so simple and so fun and one of those games, that even though it’s one player, you and your friends can fill a whole evening with just passing the controller around trying to top each other’s high score.
3. DOOM: When DOOM originally came out it was a fun FPS that was completely devoid of any realism and was state of the art when in came out and did a cool trick to map a 2-D game look like it was 3-D, then it got a few sequels here and there and it they weren’t that great, but then Bethesda purchased ID Software and we got the DOOM game we all wanted. Like the original there is very little plot, you’re on Mars, a portal to hell was opened and demons killed everyone, and then there is you with a gun. You just go around killing demons, sometimes in brutal up close and personal executions. The game is a lot of fun and a nice throw back to the 90’s era FPS’s where they didn’t try and tell stories they just made solid games and this is a solid and fun game, a game that was hard to put down.
2. Rocket League: Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of soccer (probably why FIFA17 isn’t on this list), I’ve tried to watch it but it bores me, so how do you get me into soccer? Play it with rocket powered cars that defy physics. The game is a blast, at its basics it is anywhere from 1v1 to 4v4 in a soccer game played with cars, but Psyonix wasn’t done there, they gave us the community free DLC that consisted of Basketball and Hockey, but were they finished there? No, they gave us experimental arenas where the goals are back to back in a circular arena, then they decided what the hell, we’ll have a game mode with Mario Kart style power ups. The game is just so much fun to play, and it is so inexpensive (and might be cheaper given end of year sales) so you have no excuse go pick this game up now.
1. Overwatch: Blizzard is never first to a genre, they weren’t the first to the RTS, they weren’t first to the MOBA, they weren’t first to the MMORPG, and they certainly weren’t first to the FPS, but what they do so well is perfect these genres. The FPS was becoming stale, what was once a fun tongue and cheek genre with games like DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem, and Golden Eye, slowly became a serious military simulation. Gone were the goofy stories and characters, replaced by serious muscle men with stories that tried to be deep and sad. Well, Blizzard was like, “fuck that noise” we’re bringing the fun back to the FPS. Overwatch has a colorful and fun cast of characters. And unlike games like CoD and Gears of War, your kill to death ratio (or K/D) doesn’t matter, the game is all about capturing a point and with unlimited respawns you die, comeback, and help your team take the objective. The characters in the game all have unique personalities that come through while you’re playing and Blizzard also did some animated shorts on their YouTube channel to fill in some of the blanks. There isn’t much more I can say about this game, it was truly 2016’s best game.
Honorable Mentions: Forza Horizons 3, Bioshock the Collection, Skyrim Remastered, WWE2k17, Uncharted 4, and Resident Evil 7 demo (that was awesome).