- The Witness
Let me preface this with I suck at puzzle games. Boy do I suck at them. With the amount of delays this game had been given and the early year release, people were slightly worried when this game was about to come out. Introduce the factor of being a Jonathan Blow game, it would be better going into this game blind and I was ready to give up within three hours. What I found instead was an absolute addiction to line puzzles. This game has a great art style and a wonderful island world to explore. The trials start hard and they only get much, much harder, but once you figure out each little gimmick you can start to explore all the nooks and crannys of this world. The reason this is only 8th is because I suck so much at these line puzzle type games that even taking screenshots of the puzzles to work to try and solve in my off hours, I still had to cheat to get to a good stopping point. The Witness has a world that is littered with puzzles, but if you are willing to devote the time it demands, it will share with you wonderful experiences and secrets that I have not seen in any other game this year.
- Watch Dogs 2
Remember when I was talking about Mafia 3 and how I had little time to devote to it? Blame this game. I also blame myself for obtaining 2 open world games near the same time but I am glad in the long run. Whatever Watch Dogs 1 did bad, the developers for Watch Dogs 2 totally listened and aimed to fix them. While some things are still present such as jumping from camera to camera to scope out an area, they totally changed the whole hacking mechanics. Using the RV and the Drone copter they supply with you makes things a whole lot funner. There are way more pathing options to upgrade your hacking capabilities, there are more enemies to deal with as well as gangs that you can put false hits on. There have been multiple instances where I have just called fake hits on people to clear out an area so I did not have to do any work at all.
What the WD2 developers did best is a complete U turn on the serious good guy who is killing everyone story plot of WD1 and put a hokey doofy 1337 anon hacker in charge of being lead. This whole story style hits me exactly in the sarcastic funny tone that I was looking for, and while in some dark instances it really does not work well, overall in this San Francisco they created, it plays. I think why I like this game so much is because it brought me back to the absolute dumb fun that I had in Saints Row 3 when that first hit (not to mention the soundtrack for the rock station is just superb, pulling Good Riddance and Pup will always give you bonus points from me).
- Rise of the tomb raider
While this was released last year on the Xbone, I waited for the PC version, and boy am I glad I had waited. This game looks absolutely superb. Furthermore it fixes a whole bunch of issues that the previous game was lacking, quick time events are reduced, there’s more crafting, there’s more hunting, there’s a whole bunch more tombs and side puzzles. There’s a whole heap of things to collect. You can dress Laura up in clothing, even the story is pretty decent. This is the moment where I state I also did not finish this game in 2016 but I fully intend to return to it as it is easily the best Tomb Raider game that I have played.
- Need For Speed
Oh this game. What was a hotly anticipated game for a long time for me this just about delivered on everything I wanted it to. Sure the actual driving style can be real finnicky and at times near the end it had it’s usual seemingly unfair difficulties in the races, the rest of the package more than made up for this. The reason I was so excited for this game is because it is essentially an homage to the NFS Underground days of doofy night time street racing culture, customising your car to sick levels and driving through one of the nicest video game worlds to look at. This game only gets 7th because the car list is pretty short, they are very pricey and there is not enough configurability with the cars (how can you miss out on customising the speaker stacks in my trunk?)
- Forza Horizon 3
This was a tough one to figure out. Overwatch would have taken this position, however I am a massive Forza Horizon fan, and to have it on PC was an absolute dream come true.
I will acknowledge that some people have had issues with Windows 10, the Windows store, actually being able to run this game, to it’s graphical inconsistencies. None of that happened to me the entirety of my game playing and what resulted was one of the funnest driving experiences that I have had within a game. Forza Horizon 2 wanted to try and showcase it’s ability to drive off road, but there were very obvious limitations to this in some instances, whereas in 3 it seems like they designed the world to truly allow you to drive directly in a straight line from one point to the next (barring an actual mountain or two). They expanded the graphical quality, the amount of cars, the interface for meeting friends and driving around in the world as well as re-introducing a very vague plotline to the game. Forza Horizon 3 is an absolute superb package and considering it was the breakout first game to be transferred from the Xbox One to the PC via it’s cross play/cross buy system, it is a beautiful gem. There were a few months where I would daily come home from work and happily spend two or more hours in this world driving around, futzing with a new anime skinned car or taking it online and driving around with friends just to mess around and explore the game further.
- Mlb 16: the show
Yes, I know, a heavy hitter following on from Senran Kagura. MLB: The Show 16 is exactly what it says on the tin. It is the 2016 edition of the super polished and super clean looking baseball simulation game. I had a lot of fun with this game this year, rising from my AAA team the Tulsa Drillers with my guy Jesus Diaz all the way to the MLB league (alright, Houston may suck but I am there!). A couple of my major issues with this game is just my inability to learn these finnicky control systems in sports games, it happened with NBA 2kXX and it’s happening in this one too, I really really suck at hitting the ball. Regardless of me being bad, I really enjoyed this game and I am glad I finally delved into one of these types of games.
I will admit, I was not a fan of this game until the open beta before it’s release. This game wasn introduced to me around the time when 5 or more Moba Brawlers were announced and I just tossed it to the side as “just one of those”. I am glad I was wrong about my initial thoughts on this game. It has proven to be one of the most enjoyable multiplayer games I have dealt with all year.
I always wanted to get super deep into TF2 but never had the time so this was a perfect game for me. While not having too many characters to figure out, there was enough there for a ton of variety to play and match up with other players. What kept me involved with this game is the ability to hang out, shoot the breeze with friends and have a fun time futzing around with characters with some really fun abilities to play around with. Sure while this game does not really have a story unless you actually look online and read the web comics for it and the fan base can be a little overbearing with it’s silly matchups and memes, it still plays as one of the best games of this year. I will easily continue to be playing this game through 2017 too.
- Senran Kagura Estival Versus
Yes this is a dumb boobie game and yes I will kick off my list with this silly game. What this game somewhat lacks up in depth with it’s gameplay it brings in full err… force with it’s charm. The characters are all from previous Senran Kagura games and some new ones are introduced in this silly but fun story which is different to the others in that it is one long story. Shinovi versus was multiple stories that you could complete based on the characters and the schools. Sadly my task to stream all of this game and me platinuming it fell off quite early within the year, but with Peach Beach Splash on the horizon for 2017, I will eventually obtain this silly fun games platinum achievement.
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE
I had to find my Wii U again for this game, and it was worth it. While this game does the cardinal sin of not letting you play it on the gamepad, it allows for one of the best experiences I have had in an Atlus dungeon crawler type game. With a very fun setting and theme of Tokyo it incorporates a lot of similar mechanics you would find in a SMT/Persona game and makes it even more efficient by utilising the gamepad superbly. This will also be one of the games I sadly did not finish in 2016, but make no mistake, if you have a Wii U, you should definitely obtain this game.
- Mafia 3
A game I bought late in the year where I started to rush through as many games as I could, Mafia 3 is a really really good open world game. I absolutely adore it’s setting, scenery, location and story plot. It did a better job than Mafia 2 in conveying a whole 60s/old time feel to the open world while still allowing you to be a general badass in the world. I wish I spent more time in this game cruising around to the old crooners or trashing places up listening to The Rolling Stones, but sadly the gameplay in between those amazing story cutscenes started to get slightly stale for me and other open world games took up more of my time.