Top 5 Games: 2016
This has been a bit of a weird year for me with videogames. A lot of highly acclaimed games came out this year and I just didn’t care for the vast majority of them; they never appealed to my taste. The Last Guardian, Dark Souls III and Final Fantasy XV just passed my by. While games like Gears Of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, which I did want to play were on consoles I am yet to own, so this year felt a bit barren for me overall. This means my list will be vastly different from many others, and I suppose that’s a good thing, hopefully I can shed some light on games that have slipped others by. Special mention goes here for Pokemon Sun and Moon which would more than likely feature pretty highly on the list, but I am yet to finish it, or come close to finishing it. Therefore it has been omitted.
5. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Sometimes you just need a collect-a-thon. Traveller’s Tales have been pumping these games out for over a decade now and there always seems to be a level of quality they hit. All Lego games follow a basic formula, take a popular IP add humor and collect-a-thon gameplay, rinse and repeat. What this game marks if the years of refinement into a fantastic product. Great open world environments to explore, good level design and ridiculously clever wit all make this great. Adding in the voice talent from the movie also helped. I 100% this (as I do with most Lego games) and I would say I never wasted a second, it’s probably cheap now so pick this up in the January sales.
4. Darkest Dungeon
The best rogue-like I’ve played since Isaac: Rebirth. A fantastic R.P.G drawing on Lovercraft’s Cthulhu mythos and using the source material to it’s fullest potential, there is no game quite like Darkest Dungeon. It can be truly unsettling at times as the music and aesthetic combine to create a truly eeries atmosphere. Madness of course plays a huge part in the mechanics of the game, and trying to stop party members from going insane and ruining your run through a dungeon is a truly stressful experience. I haven’t sunk as much time into this game as I want to, but no doubt the cosmic gods will draw me back in.
3. Ratchet And Clank
A supreme remake/reboot of the best franchise to come from the PS2 era. A great action-platformer with more charm than you can shake a spinning Rowlet at! It’s just plain fun and a lot of games try so hard to be serious that they forget that adventures can also be fun. Great writing and truly special visuals (seriously Ratchet’s fur is the best looking thing I've seen in a videogame) just add to the gameplay, the sense of exploration is just fantastic. Though it’s short play time may deter some people, what is there is all killer, and we need more games like this. Action-platformers (just platformers in general really) appear to be dying off, so it’s great to see one executed so well.
The greatest feeling in gaming is when something you have been waiting for so long lives up to all your expectations. I’ve been waiting for this game for seven years, and boy did it deliver. DOOM dismembers all modern shooter conventions and leaves a bloody puddle on the floor. Fast paced reflex gameplay, tight yet exploratory level design and the white knuckle difficulty more than live up to the hallowed franchise it’s a part of. Superb enemy design and brutal weapons just create a beautiful blend of violence and death. It’s great. And fun. Also the soundtrack is the heaviest thing I’ve heard all year and will go down as one of the greatest soundtracks to a game ever. Well done ID. With all that said, I did want this to be my game of the year, and it was, for a long time. In the end however, I couldn’t justify it to myself over this.
Everything DOOM stands for; fast, skill based gameplay; eschewing modern conventions in favor of the old school tried and true style; iconic map design; not taking itself too seriously. Overwatch stands for the exact same old-school style of DOOM, it just does it better. I am so glad this game is as successful as it is because it likely means other developers and publishers will make more old-school shooters again. I’m fed up of knee high walls and military shooters; regenerating health and assault rifles. Campaigns highlighting the true cost of war. Games are meant to be fun. This is. Great gameplay, fantastic maps, fun heroes to play as, great character and aesthetic to an overall game, and it even has some damn good lore to get into. And a fair model for sustaining future production for the game. For Blizzard’s first foray into anything remotely resembling a shooter, they sure as hell knocked it out the park.
Those are my games of the year, bit of a weird one but all these games are great and you should check them out if you haven’t already to see if you like them. 2017 looks like it already has a slew of great games coming, (Resident Evil 7 is out in just over a month!) and I can’t wait to keep playing. Let me know what games were your favorites. I’m off to play more Overwatch.