2016, not a great year. But to quote Giant Bomb’s Vinny Caravella “there has never been a better time to be playing video games.”
And that motherfucker knows.
So it turns out I played a fuck-ton of video games this year and trying to pick just 10 was fucking hard.
And because there were so many, here are a few honourable mentions.
Overwatch – You were much better than I though you were going to be.
Offworld Trading Company – I played a lot of you.
Gear of War 4 – You are better than you have a right to be.
h a c k m u d/Quadrilateral Cowboy – You broke my brain.
10. That Dragon, Cancer
The only video game to make me cry. Ever.
That Dragon, Cancer was one of the most interesting games I’ve encountered, irrespective of year. The story of how the Green family deals with the tragic loss of their son Joel is a heart breaking one. It is less a traditional game and acts more as an interactive visual diary of the thoughts and struggles of the Greens as they process and live with devastating situation.
There is one very specific scene in the game that crushes me every time I think back to this game. I won’t spoil it, as it is very special, but the weight and tone of the game is defined in that one moment. And even though it left me a wreck of a human being, from beginning to end, i’m glad to have experienced it.
9. Let It Die
Uncle Death is rad.
With most Suda 51 helmed projects, the style of the game is the real star. The team at Grasshopper managed to bring together a bunch of systems and mechanics that are interesting in their own ways, but seal it together with all that ‘style’.
I’m still sinking time into it, but the fact that it hit so late in the year, but still managed to grab my attention should speak volumes to how good it is.
8. Dark Souls 3
For as good of a game that Dark Souls 3 is, it also brought to my attention my fatigue with the series and that style of game.
But I can not fault the improvements that make it the best, most complete Dark Souls game to date, bringing the series up to a standard that Bloodborne set. What little of the story I followed was great, and the game has atmosphere for days.
7. Hyper Light Drifter
The Dark Souls of Zelda games. Yeah I fucking said it. Because it’s true.
Hyper Light Drifter was a game that wasn’t even on my radar until I was knee deep in it. But a cool art style, interesting narrative structure and challenging game play made this game one of my favourites of 2016.
Not much else to say. It’s a banger. Check it out.
6. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
It’s well documented on this site that the Deus Ex franchise is my favourite video game series to date. The follow up to Human Revolution was always going to be a bit tricky to place, as it’s a sequel to a prequel.
Mankind Divided did nothing but reinforced my love for the Deus Ex universe.
But the strong focus on story driven world building kept me totally engaged for the 20+ hours. The side missions of this game is where it truly shines, making you engage with the plight of a city and it’s citizens on a level that I have never experienced before.
Put all of this atop of fundamentally proven game play, and you’ve got a hell of a game that did not disappoint.
Whenever I see the colours orange and white together, an uncontrollable urge to yell the words “SUPER. HOT.” comes rushing over me.
Superhot brought the First Person Shooter to a new level, taking traditional genre that we all know and dropping one hell of a new mechanic into it, turning it into almost a puzzle game.
The narrative surrounding the core game play was also so well constructed that it deserved as equal attention to that of the slow motion shooting of people in the face.
And oh boy, does that game have style.
Ruthless Efficiency. Factorio demands it of you.
The game itself is almost a survival game wrapped in a Sim City like presentation, with the basic premise being, build, research and gather resources to build a rocket to get off the planet you are stranded on.
It holds your hand just enough to get you going, but the more you play, the greater potential for scaling your entire operation presents itself.
There’s something deeply satisfying to developing a production line for an object 7 layers deep into the tech tree, that doesn’t require you to lift a single finger.
I threw a screwdriver at a douche bag musician’s head and then pushed his manager over a railing. Dressed like a chef.
The release of most games released episodically, tends to kill their momentum a little. It’s just the nature of it. But not Hitman, in fact it thrived because of it. A series that had started to wear out its welcome with the release of Absolution, made a resurgence this year in a big way that absolutely no one saw coming.
With incredibly detailed levels, fine tuned mechanics and a general sense of not taking itself too seriously, Hitman came out swinging and knocked, at least me, the fuck out.
Hey guys, how fucking great was DOOM? Great enough that for most of this year I thought it was going to take top spot. Every time I play it, I have just a dumb grin across my face.
From beginning to end, no game this year set and maintained a tone as well as DOOM. It sets the stage for you to feel like a complete bad ass. Your actions carry a weight that very few games can convey, with such aggression that almost make you feel a little sorry for the demons you are tearing apart. All of this is complimented and enhanced with incredible visual and sound design to make it a complete package.
OH AND THAT SOUNDTRACK. Fuck me. The music in this game is a force unto itself.
The only lacking portion of the game is the multiplayer, and it’s not like it’s terrible, just a little disappointing considering the series it belongs to invented deathmatch.
All I can say is, if you haven’t played it, do so. If FPS games are not your jam, watch someone else play it.
1. Titanfall 2
The original Titanfall was a game I had a torrid love affair with for about a week before I stopped playing because it became hard to find a game to play.
Titanfall 2 fixed quite literally everything that was wrong with it’s predecessor and made an already good game, perfect. Oh and they put in a MOTHERFUCKING GRAPPLING HOOK.
Even from the moment the tutorial booted up, I had a shit eating grin from ear to ear. The movement, the gun play, the massive fucking robots that had really cool swords. All of it is glee inducing.
The addition of a really cool single player campaign that just had the attitude of “Hey dudes, we’re all here to have some fun. So let’s.” was just awesome.
I’m still sticking with the multiplayer after almost 50+ hours and that in itself is a small miracle. Probably doesn’t hurt that i’m okay at it as well.
Titanfall 2 is just fucking fun.