2017 is already off to an amazing start. With the likes of Breath of the Wild, Horizon: Zero Dawn and Persona 5 having graced our consoles. However let us not forget about 2016, an equally great year, for all things video games. We got our hands on some marvelous exclusives, including Gears of War 4 and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End played some truly innovative Indies and saw the release of two games over ten years in the making, The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy 15. So let’s look back on 2016, and see if you missed out on any of the great experiences the year had to offer.
Just making the cut for this list is Xcom 2. Xcom 2 is a marvelously stress inducing title, targeted at a niche market. This Sci-Fi strategy game isn’t for the faint of heart, and will tirelessly push you. The many variations of enemy types, in-game choices and leveling options helped this sequel improve on the original immensely, and make the opportunity for multiple playthroughs far more enticing. Let’s all be thankful that this gem managed to find its way to consoles later in the year.
At number 9 on our list is Oxenfree. An ingenious combination of a coming of age teen drama and a spine-chilling supernatural thriller, this indie darling is equally moving and thrilling. Much in the same vein as Telltale’s Walking Dead series, form bonds and rivalries with your friends through meaningful choice related dialogue.
Another indie gem that slipped under the radar was Furi. Furi is a masterclass in twitch reactions and boss design. From their vibrant, trance-like worlds, to their colorful anime like enemies, the art style is unique, to say the least. Not to mention that this game focuses entirely on bullet hell boss battles. Each duel, impeccably designed, challenging and different from the last.
Who says Telltale are they only developer who can release episodic games? Developer IO Interactive released the phenomenal stealth reboot, Hitman, over the course of last year. Each episode focusing on a different country and a different target. With massive, open environments and dozens of intricate ways to neutralize your target, this is a game fans of the series must play.
2016 was a jam-packed year when it came to first person shooters. But one that didn’t get the attention it deserved, was Titanfall 2. Titanfall 2 is fast paced, dynamic and a blast to play. Shooting feels precise and satisfying, while movement constantly keeps you on the go. The most surprising aspect of Titanfall 2 is that this once solely multiplayer franchise has some of the most well designed single-player levels of the year.
Cracking the top 5 is a game many people may find surprising. The Division tried to steal away some of Destiny’s fan base, with its own take on the MMO/ open-world, action game hybrid model. And in my opinion, they managed to surpass Bungie’s epic. The Division is a solid cover-based shooter, with a far superior loot system to Destiny. A loot system that had me coming back again and again to get slightly more powerful gear.
Many were skeptical of Far Cry Primal. I mean if you take one of the most refined first-person shooters of the last generation and replace sniper rifles and machine guns with clubs and spears, will it have the same draw? Yet Primal smashed expectations, with one of the most lived in worlds of the year, and Far Cry’s perfectly executed mechanics implemented into the cave man era. You’ll find fewer games more satisfying to play than this one.
If Furi is a masterclass in game design, then Firewatch is a masterpiece in storytelling. This thrilling, yet humble exploration game has you take on the role of a park ranger. After an emotionally driven introduction, you’ll develop a powerful relationship with fellow ranger Delilah, while the pair of you try and uncover a chilling mystery that surrounds the woods.
A personal runner up for the game of the year, Battlefield 1 takes the term ‘polished’ to the next level. Easily the best shooter of the year, DICE somehow manage to meld breath-taking environments, gut-wrenching gameplay, and believable world-building. The multiplayer has its flaws, but the vignette style approach to the single player campaign adds a diversity and freshness to each mission, fleshed out by riveting stories.
And finally, my personal game of the year, and a game you can’t miss from 2016, Uncharted 4. Uncharted 4 is the climactic and all-encompassing conclusion to the series gamers deserve. Not only is this the most beautiful game on consoles, or have some of the most riveting gameplay that I’ve played in years, but it also moves the industry forward in its quality of storytelling. This will be looked back on as one of the best games of the generation. So even though 2017 is in full swing, you’ve got to go back and play this one, if you haven’t already.
What do you guys think? Have you played every game on this list? Or are there some you might have to go back to. Whatever the case, we can all agree, 2016 was a great year for video games, and hopefully, 2017 will be just as good.
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