2016 may have sucked for numerous reasons but one thing can’t be denied; 2016 was a great year for games. From great online experiences, to puzzles that had us grabbing for our notebooks, here are our best games of 2016. To start things off, here are a few honorable mentions.
Notes: Platforms are listed as to where the game is available to play, the first platform listed is the one I played them on. All puns are intended. Always.
While they may not have cracked our top 10 from the year, here are a few games we didn’t want to leave out from discussion.
Trackmania Turbo – PS4/PC/XBO
Speed. Challenge. Bite size fun. These three things are what make Trackmania Turbo so great. Each vehicle has its own handling and each environment has it’s own set of obstacles. I’ve sunk hours into trying to get the gold medal on a single stage. While the difficulty may seem brutal I can assure you it’s fair. If a mistake is made, it’s on you, and had i not talked about this game? Well that would have been a mistake on my part.
Trackmania is mostly known for its insane track builder. I encourage anyone to check them out on youtube. The one downside is that trying to build a track on consoles is not a very enjoyable experience, maybe get the PC version for that?
This game also has a VR mode I have yet to try.
Amplitude – Ps4/PS3
Amplitude is a remake of the 2003 classic from the PS2. This remake is a good reminder of why music/rhythm games are so much fun. The visuals look great, the controls are tight and the music is enjoyable for the most part. The only problem from keeping this out of the top 10 is because 2016 was kinda stacked and this particular soundtrack just wasn’t of a caliber the game deserved. While playing it I kept coming back to the thought of “I wish [Insert Song Title Here] was in this game.” Here’s to hoping we get a fully backed and licensed sequel.
A game that was on many game of the year lists and rightfully so. Inside is a beautiful game. It’s haunting visuals and oppressive atmosphere coupled with top tier animations and neat puzzle-platforming make for one captivating ride. I encourage anyone to give it a play, just be warned that this game is dark and violent and may not be for everyone. The reason why it doesn’t crack the top 10 for me is because it just didn’t connect with me like the other games below.
The Top 10
The following games are what we consider the best of the best. Some will disagree, because the internet. “Why isn’t [Game Title] listed?” It’s probably not listed because it either wasn’t good, or I most likely didn’t get a chance to play it. Spoiler alert Dark Souls III didn’t make the cut. You’ve been warned.
10. Adventures of Mana – Vita/iOS/Android
This game has a long history, I suggest you check it out. I tried reading the wikipedia page for it and it left me a tad confused. Basically this game is a remake of the 1991 Gameboy Game called Final Fantasy Adventure. It may not be the prettiest or most amazing game ever made but it makes the list because it released at the right time and scratched the right itch. It’s a Zelda-like RPG, and I binged-played it while watching SGDQ. It was a match made in heaven and resulted in my first platinum earned on my Vita. If any of this has you yearning for more, then please go play this game. It’s our winner of Best handheld game. A category that will most likely be blown to smithereens in 2017 with the Switch coming out. Despite Sony’s best efforts to kill the Vita, Nintendo may be the one to put the nail in it’s tiny sexy coffin.
9. Thumper -PSVR/PS4/PC
The developers of this game at Drool describe it as rhythm violence. I didn’t know what that meant until I played this game and I’m sure you won’t understand it until then also. Seeing the game played, and listening to the soundtrack (available on Spotify) are only half of that experience. Actually playing the game, and playing it in VR none-the-less only amplifies the intensity. And to cap things off? It only requires the use of the “X” button and an analog stick; headphones are recommended though.
8. Driveclub VR – PSVR
If this blog would have been up and running in 2014, Driveclub would have been in the top 10 games list. While Driveclub VR may not be as beautiful as it’s non-VR counterpart it still maintains it’s excellent racing and challenge gameplay, but now you get to be in the driver’s seat. VR was made for this type of experience. Thinking about my time going around tight bends and instinctively checking my mirrors and trying to glance over a hill or around a sharp corner makes me giddy. I’m a gearhead at heart and that’s why Driveclub VR comes in at #8 and is our pick for Best VR of 2016.
7. Final Fantasy XV – PS4/XBO
Final Fantasy meets Entourage. The story kinda sucks, there’s questionable design decisions, the balance/difficulty is all over the place at times, but man is this game fun. Any game that can keep me up till early in the morning and putting over 120 hours into it deserves to be on a top 10 list. The characters are pretty interesting, the world is well crafted, and the dungeons are some of the best content i’ve ever played. Go play this game, beat it, and then go find the secret dungeon, then complete said dungeon and report back to me… Before you do that though, maybe wait till they patch the story and fix chapter 13.
6. World of Final Fantasy – PS4/Vita
World of Final Fantasy was the best Final Fantasy game released in 2016. If you don’t agree with that, I have numerous screenshots like the above to convince you otherwise. The only negatives to this game is that the combat can get pretty repetitive, and that’s probably because it’s not very challenging. The story and visuals remind me of Kingdom Hearts. I need Kingdom Hearts 3 in my life… Maybe next year… Maybe… OMG look at deez cute creatures. I need plush toys of all of them. EVERYONE.gif
5. Ratchet & Clank – PS4
It’s no secret that Ratchet & Clank is my favorite video game series. Awesome weapons, beautiful art direction, humor, and fun gameplay are all key pillars of the series. Ratchet & Clank for the PS4 is a re-imagining of the original game that started it all. it’s also a game based off the movie that’s based off the game. I enjoyed the movie as a fan of the series, but the game is the main event. If you’ve played any of the PS2, PSP, PS3, Mobile, or Vita games, I would recommend purchasing a PS4 just to experience this game. I even here the PS4 Pro makes this game look even better than it already does. While it may not be the best game in the series it’s still very much a master class in animation, visuals, and rewarding gameplay. Insomniac truly knows how to make fun games and I can only hope that we get a new entry sometime soon. I’d even take just having the PS2 games on PS4, or to have the PS3 remasters ported to PS4. Just give me more Ratchet & Clank please.
4. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – PS4
I can only assume magic was involved in the creation of Uncharted 4. The visuals are breathtaking, the action is adrenaline pumping, the story is captivating, and the journey with these characters is something to be savored. This entry can be thoroughly enjoyed on its own but a lot of the emotional impact and story beats are better if you’ve played the games up to this point. Naughty Dog continues to amaze me. If you have a PS4 and enjoy Indiana Jones and light hearted action movies you need to play this game. Like now.
3. DOOM – PS4/PC/XBO
Turns out first-person shooter campaigns can be a hell of a good time. DOOM is a breath of fresh air after what has felt like eons of bland thoughtless and sometimes tacked on single player experiences. Keep it simple, feel like a badass, and rock on. Every single bit of DOOM feels great. From the sound of cocking your shotgun, to punching a demon’s jaw off, DOOM is brutal and unapologetic and why are you still reading this? Go buy this f**king game already!
Oh and BTW, the soundtrack is on Spotify and it f**king rocks. Best Soundtrack of 2016. F**k yeah! DOOOOOM!
2. The Witness – PS4/PC/XBO
What’s the polar opposite of DOOM? Most likely The Witness. A calm, soothing yet challenging, and intellectual puzzle game. I’ve got a notebook full of sketches that, taken out of context, may make me seem like a crazy person, but I can assure you they were needed to workshop solutions to the many puzzles in the game. In 2016 a video game taught me a language and challenged me on how well I could speak it. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this in a video game before and it’s moments and memories that this game has created for me that I’m thankful for and why it’s so deserving of this spot on the list. Thank you Johnathan Blow and your team on creating this game. By far the best Indie Game of 2016.
Game of the Year
I’m in the process of designing a trophy to truly honor games that get this top honor. I can assure you it looks amazing in my head. I’ll update this post with an image of it when it’s done. So maybe hopefully this year sometime.
Overwatch – PS4/PC/XBO
I played 46 games in 2016 that equated to 832 trophies earned, and 1,298 hours played. 146 of those hours were spent playing Overwatch. For comparison Rocket League, which was my favorite game of 2015, came in at #3 this year for hours played at 139. For those curios, Destiny came in at #1 with 186. Anyways my point is that if a game that is basically 6v6 and always online can get me to spend nearly 150 hours with it must be doing something right. This isn’t a knock on the game and it’s amount of content. You’ve got 23 heroes with very unique play styles and tool kits, 3 objective based game modes, and theres been tremendous post-launch support. The devs are constantly communicating with the community and updating the game. Like right now we’ve got an arcade where they can test out new game modes and different modifiers, and win additional loot boxes per week. There’s also a Lunar New Year event going on right now with special themed loot boxes. All in all it’s a great time, but the real reason why this game makes the top of our list is because of moments like this:
Let me set the stage for you. I’m doing competitive with two of my buddies. We won our first match pretty easily on Dorado. We started on defense, the opposing team couldn’t even get the payload to the first choke point. I’m on Zarya and I’ve got a 20 elimination streak. We’re basically spawn killing these people. So we win that match and now I notice that me and another person in my group are only 1 win away from reaching Platinum. As is the joke among the Overwatch community, I know that this next match will remove all hope I have of ever reaching Platinum. Karma and what not. So now we’re off to Nepal. I love control maps in Overwatch the most because I feel like the better team always wins. If you are not playing well or if your team isn’t syncing you’re going to lose. So the match starts and I pick Lucio and we just get steam rolled on the first point, nothing is working, feels bad man. Point 2 isn’t much better, and that’s where I’ll stop and let the clip below speak for itself. I would love to do a commentary or record actual chat audio but that’s something for future self to sort out.
Basically I switch off Lucio to Pharah, a much more offensive hero, to try and get some more eliminations for our team. Can’t really heal a dead team. One of my buddies switches to Roadhog initially but then ends up picking Mei. Now my friend is very good with Mei and makes great use out of a couple ice walls on the third point that helps keep us alive and the point under our control. My other friend stays on Mercy and gets a clutch rez at the end to pretty much seal the deal. Also the guy playing Winston switches to Lucio and all of it now seems to click for us. shoutout to the Bastion player on my team who I thought was just trolling us after the awful first point.
Now upon multiple viewings of this clip it appears to me that the enemy got cocky and over extended and spread out. They’re fighting us past the control point which they don’t control. I personally don’t think my Pharah play was great either. I’ve got a few dozen highlight clips of me being a frag master with her. All of this demonstrates the beauty of Overwatch and how you can switch heroes if things aren’t working. Now on point 4 I switch to Zarya, I was on fire with her on Dorado so why not pick her this time? Seems that worked better. I was able to protect my teammates, keep myself alive, and do a bunch of damage and secure eliminations. Closest thing I can describe it to is it’s like juggling school children while trying to diffuse a bomb. Really exhilarating stuff. Thats the thing about Overwatch. It’s full of these kinds of moments. Sure theres a lot of not great moments sometimes where it seems the matchmaker wants you to lose, or you get teamed up with a Hanzo main. But the good moments out weigh the bad and with such a lively and interesting cast of characters in this amazing world that Blizzard has created; I just want to come back to it. Whether it’s late at night and I just drop in for a quick play match or if I’m scheduling time to team up with friends for the arcade or competitive, I want to be playing this game.
The sound design and art direction are exemplary and should be viewed as nothing less. The lore is delivered in fascinating out of game ways via comics and short films. It’s a game about feeling like a hero and celebrating inclusion and diversity in fun ways. The game is very easy to get into for casuals new to FPSs or online competitive games. Kids can enjoy it and the fan art, my god is the fan art great and numerous. The game has pretty much been the talk of the town in the video game world and it’s not surprising why. Overwatch owned 2016, and it’s got it’s sights set on 2017 to deliver more great moments and I can not wait. And that is why Overwatch is DLC’s Best Game of 2016.
Congrats to Blizzard on winning this great achievement. Thank you to everyone that worked on it and continue to work on it. You helped give some of us an escape during 2016.
But like could we please get some actual action figures? I need them in my life, like now.
Note: At the time of this writing I am currently level 121, 2694SR (season/career high is the same), My go to characters for each category are: Pharah, Mei, Zarya, & Lucio. I’ve also been known to play Soldier, Genji, McCree, Widow, Junkrat, Roadhog, D.Va, Symmetra, and Zenyatta.