When I look at 2016, I see an amazing year for games. Not only have we seen some of the biggest franchises in gaming release new and amazing sequels, but we have seen an amazing amount of brand new games shine in unforgettable ways. While I have not had the chance to play every amazing game in 2016, I wanted to take the time to praise the fun I had with the games I did play. Here are my 5 favorite games in 2016.
(IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
Inside was a game I went in with little to no expectations for. What I ended up playing was one of the most immaculate and best-designed games I have ever played. Ever. While not a long game, Inside was able to use its short length to tell a narrative unlike any other puzzle platformer I have seen. Puzzles are clever, deliberate and never do you find yourself fighting the controls. Inside is one of, if not the best-designed game of the year, and I highly encourage everyone to play it. Go in blind, and I promise you an amazing experience.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
There aren’t many game franchises that hold the visual polish and character development the Uncharted franchise has instilled over the past decade, and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End delivers not only on the polish but in the emotional resonance the series is known for. Easily the best looking game of the current generation, Uncharted 4 delivers on stunning set pieces, smart puzzles, and pulpy storytelling to create an amazing experience. While Uncharted 4 sticks to the formula that was introduced in previous games of the franchise, it is hard to argue that this is a bad thing. What works for Uncharted works for Uncharted, and having a new entry in the series always makes me smile.
Final Fantasy XV
Final Fantasy XV was a game that, going into 2016, I did not think I would enjoy, but after dozens of hours and one Platinum Trophy later, it is easily one of the best experiences I’ve had all year. The combat is deep and challenging, while still being fun and engaging. The beautiful open world provides many hours of gameplay and challenges to sink your teeth into, while the characters and their amazing personalities make exploring the world feel like going on a trip with friends. While the linearity of the second half of the story can be a turn-off for most, the overall package Final Fantasy XV provides is a fun, and often relaxing game to play. Read my full review here.
Pokémon Sun and Moon
It’s no surprise that I adore Pokémon Sun and Moon. As a lifelong Pokémon fan, I was begging for a new entry in the series after a 2-year drought. Pokémon Sun and Moon not only gave me another entry in the Pokémon franchise, it learned from the flaws of previous games and created new and clever ways to improve what was stale about the series. Redesigned menus, made to make the gameplay experience simpler and cleaner really helped this feel like a step forward for the franchise. New mechanics when it comes to progressing through the world and story make the overall experience feel fresher than it ever has, and that’s a lot coming from someone who has played every game in this series. I love it, and it shows a step in the right direction for the series’ future. Read my full review here.
Overwatch is something special. It’s a game that was able to take a genre that I was not particularly interested in (competitive first-person shooters) and make it accessible for players of all skill levels. The game doesn’t require you to be the best shooter, but to be the best team member you can be. With different classes, weapons, and roles, Overwatch provides anyone with any playstyle a place on a team. Maybe you like setting traps to defend your allies from your opponents; there’s a character for that. Maybe you like running and gunning to take out as many people as you can with your amazing shooting skills; there’s a character for that. Maybe you just want to make sure everyone on your team stays alive by healing them; there are characters for that as well. With an amazing cast of colorful characters with a variety of playstyles, Overwatch manages to create a world I care about, which I have never experienced in a multiplayer shooter. It is easily the game I played the most in 2016, and I still look forward to playing it for quite some time.
Those are my 5 favorite games of 2016! Let me know what you think in the comments below! I look forward to another great year for gaming in 2017.