The Best 10 Games Of The Year

The best games of 2016 feel like a series of bold statements. Whether it's something we've waited years to finally experience, a sequel that perfectly refines its predecessors' successes, or a bold new concept that glimmers with originality, these games all demonstrate a confidence in their core identity that makes them fun and unforgettable.

Some are heartfelt farewells to beloved worlds and characters that have been with us for a console generation; others are friendly hellos from new protagonists who we already adore in the short time we've known them. Our definitive picks for Game of the Year 2016 are all smiling at you, beckoning you to come enjoy yourself in their company. All you need to do is go play.

Here is a list of Top 10 Games of 2016!

1. Titanfall 2

Who knew? Our actual Game of the Year is a big, dumb shooter about a space-dude and his space-dude robot. Well, actually, that's a gross reduction of Titanfall 2. For starters there's nothing dumb about the core shooting here, which is slick and quick as anything you've played this generation. Being able to triple wall-run down a corridor, while lobbing a grenade at a bunch of enemies and headshotting another, before touching down, knee-sliding under a low-beam, shotgunning another couple of baddos, then leaping into your titan is… look, it just feels really, really good. When you're flowing through Titanfall 2 and you start to chain together your moves it's an incredible sensation.

Doesn't end there, though. See, our big, dumb robot is actually one of the best AI companions you'll ever play alongside. His imperative to "protect the pilot" not only creates a wonderful bond between you and him, but also makes his increasingly warm communications with you that much more honest and endearing. The solo campaign delivers a great mixture of play types, its lauded 'Effect and Cause' level the highlight, and offers enough action to satisfy without becoming repetitive.

It's a hugely accomplished 8-10 hour story. Multiplayer - the sole focus of the original - rounds off the package by being ‘merely excellent' when compared to the single player. An accomplished game, then, with more humanity, warmth, and genuine fist-pumping moments than just about anything else in 2016. Not bad for a big, dumb shooter about a space-dude and a robot.

Titanfall 2 (PS4) site

Titanfall 2 PC Site

2. Doom

Doom isn't just the best pure FPS of the year - or in fact a good many years before this one. It isn't just a blisteringly kinetic, deeply intelligent, hilariously self-aware cavalcade of strategic slaughter, running on a hot engine of pure, player agency and drenched with lightly steaming adrenaline. If it was just those things, Doom would still be the number two game on this list. Its immediate, accessible, but immensely layered action is just that damn good. But Doom does more than that.

Doom knows it has the finest-crafted distillation of FPS values around, and so it sets out to explode, explore, examine and expand those systems in every possible permutation and reinterpretation, to create the greatest celebration (and evolution) of FPS imaginable. Doom knows why the genre was important in the first place, and so it dedicates itself to smashing that into your face and throwing it a parade on a second-by-second basis.

Its vast, 20-hour campaign, typified by incredulous escalation and littered with cleverly themed challenge rooms, is a glorious achievement in itself. But then its multiplayer brings along the console-friendly Quake we all long-thought impossible. And then there's SnapMap, a set of level, mission, and gameplay design tools that are as fun to interact with as the game itself, but which belie an almost dev-level depth and versatility. Doom is wonderful. Doom is stunning. And best of all, Doom's parting shot is to ensure that it never, ever needs to end.

Doom Site

3. Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2 is about taking systematic revenge on a conspiracy of nobles (again), but the real fun is in all the systemic shenanigans you can pull off along the way. Play for a few minutes and you won't notice much difference from the original game, aside from graphics that elevate their stylized figures into nigh-photorealistic grotesques.

Play for an hour or two and you'll see how all of the little improvements to the familiar model add up: lob a bottle of cider at a guard's head then leap down and slam her partner's face into the pavement for a brutal, but 100-percent non-lethal, group takedown. Sure couldn't do that back in Dunwall.

By the time you unlock and upgrade a handful of your first Void powers (assuming you didn't decline the Outsider's assistance), the world is your river krust. Abilities and tactics that are useful on their own can be combined for glee-inducing results, whether your experimentation yields new strategies or hilarious Domino-effect mishaps.

Then levels like the Clockwork Mansion and A Crack in the Slab introduce brilliant new scenarios that turn all of your trusty old tactics inside out. However interested you are in the narrative beats of Emily's quest to restore her rule / Corvo's revenge rampage part deux, the skeleton of metal, steam, and magic underneath is one of the best "mess with people" simulators ever committed to code.

Dishonored 2 (PS4) Site 

Dishonored 2 PC Site

4. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

You can't finish 2016 without acknowledging Nate's final send off - a last goodbye to one of PlayStation's most prominent and beloved characters. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End gave us our most human take on the adventurer yet, filling out his past to explain who he was, while showing us a present that revealed who he had become.

It was an earthy update to the series, taking its characteristic big-screen action and weaving between it the story of someone who was just a man, trying to find a balance between the life he wanted and the one he knew he should have.

But it was still pure Uncharted thrill-seeking at heart, with set pieces and locations that made you lower the controller to take in what you were seeing. While, arguably, it could have been a couple of levels shorter, seeing Nate and the gang through to the ending was a must-play moment of this year and the resolution of that epilogue even more so. Thanks for everything, Drake.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Site

5. Firewatch


Campo Santo's acclaimed debut explores rambling conversations and winding paths in the Wyoming wilderness, as troubled protagonist Henry adjusts to his solitary life as a fire watch guard, with only mysterious supervisor Delilah for company on a handheld radio. Firewatch's grand deception is that it isn't interested in your choices at all: subverting your expectations of the multiple-narrative-path genre pioneered by Telltale's The Walking Dead, almost chiding you for expecting *more* for your myriad, inconsequential, choices.

At one stage *mild spoilers*, it threatens to become a sci-fi detective mystery… before mundanely dashing your expectations to make a powerful point. Video games are narrow, predictable systems, with achievable win states. Life is anything but: complex, unfair, chaotic… and the only ‘win' conditions exist in our mind. Firewatch is a mature game in the truest sense by subverting your own narrow expertise of How Video Games Work, and by lovingly questioning their value.

Fittingly, Campo Santo's rambling tale blazed a trail for two emerging trends: the rise of III games (the blurring of Indie and AAA games); and by recognising the medium's ageing audience, the late 30s to 40s folk weaned on 8-bit sprites, whose tastes are now more sophisticated. The natural, warm dialogue and scenery are sufficient reward for your investment, which feels like a lesson in itself.

6. Hitman

Hitman is every bit of raw potential from the 16-year-old series, delivered in just the right way to emphasize its strengths and minimize weaknesses. Hitman: Blood Money and the Contracts mode from Hitman: Absolution made it clear that 47 is at his best when he has big levels full of people and endless, inventive ways to kill them. But making intricate puzzle boxes like that takes time, and players can't fully appreciate their breadth of possibilities if they only play through once.

Enter the episode: delivered on a semi-monthly basis, Hitman's inventive DLC scheme turned one-shot levels into destinations. Each was given shape by campaign-worthy assassination missions, while stakes-raising Escalations, player-made Contracts, and time-limited Elusive Targets invited players to immerse themselves in the unique depth and personality of every map.

 Players who bought into the episodic model from the beginning were encouraged to keep exploring as new challenges joined the game, but those who joined later didn't really miss out; instead of watching it take shape around them, they just dropped directly into the best assassination game ever made.

Hitman Site

Hitman (Xbox 360) Site

7. Overwatch


There is much to love and praise about Overwatch that you could say about any well-crafted shooter. You get well-executed gunplay, unique character classes, exciting maps, and a variety of game modes. But two things make Overwatch special. First are the unexpected moments. Maybe it's when Genji deflects a McCree ultimate back in the cowboy's face, saving the day. Or it's when all twelve players pick Mercy and have an impromptu dance party. Those are the immediately-YouTubed plays that make you howl with laughter because you've just experienced something totally unique with this group of twelve players.

And that's the second part of Overwatch's magic. It's the people. The brilliance of Blizzard's games has long been centering its work around fans, and the immediate surge of support from the Overwatch community is a testament to how deeply the game resonates with players of all kinds. As a result, most of the people play by the first rule of improv: always say yes. Yes to the unexpected moments, to the teamwork, to the hilarity, to the joy. That's why Overwatch is a happiness machine disguised as a multiplayer game. It's all about the yes.

Overwatch site

8. Battlefield 1

While other FPS games turned to increasingly futuristic settings and gameplay, Battlefield developer DICE looked to the past for inspiration on this year's entry. The result, ironically enough, is one of the freshest feeling shooters in years. The campaign, while short, is drop-dead gorgeous, with some heartfelt drama interspersed with bombastic set pieces like zeppelins hovering over London. Then you enter the fray of multiplayer and find a finely-tuned experience that feels immediately familiar.

Things move a bit slower due to the limited technology of the time period, but that slower pace also makes the experience digestible and keeps it from feeling overwhelming. There's a plethora of unlocks to keep you coming back, and the 32v32 scale is unrivaled by any of its competition. There's nothing quite like a Battlefield game, and with its WWI setting, that's doubly true for Battlefield 1.

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 (PS4) Site

9. Final Fantasy 15

It's fair to say that Final Fantasy 15 is, at the best of times, a wee bit wonky. The story is practically unintelligible unless you've see companion movie Kingsglaive, the back half is an odd shift in gameplay, and there are bugs aplenty.

And yet this is perhaps the most recognizable, relatable Final Fantasy yet. Noctis and his three companions are chatting with gods, fighting magical robots, and renting horse-sized chickens, true, but they're also doing what friends do - comforting each other in a time of great uncertainty, expressing affection in ways big and small, sharing meals, posing for selfies, and always, always having each others' backs.

Final Fantasy 15 is drenched in the stunning spectacle of fast combat and gorgeous visuals (even the toast looks amazing), but at its center is a very human heart. It's not unusual for the characters in a party-based RPG to be pals, but rarely has a game made that friendship feel so authentic by giving the quiet moments the attention they deserve. Bonds are formed in battle, sure, but they're also formed on the open road, sitting in companionable silence as the miles fly by.

Final Fantasy XV Site

10. Dark Souls 3

Unforgiving. Brutal. Sadistic. All apt words to describe Dark Souls 3, but here's three more: completely worth it. Ruined cities and marshy forests surround you as you make your way deeper into the fiendishly challenging world of Dark Souls, and despite the fact the narrative takes a back seat, if you take the time to look around you can piece together what went on before the world became a monstrous hive of activity. Each enemy is distinct from the one that came before both in looks and attacks, so combat never feels repetitive (an impressive feat for a game based solely on bashing blades into your foe).

Dark Souls 3 might be hard, but it's fair. Diligence and perseverance are rewarded not with respite from the ceaseless sense of danger, but with the satisfaction that you overcame a boss at long last, and not through button-mashing either. Master the dodge and roll, time your strikes, and don't let your guard down. Follow these steps and sooner or later you're going to ‘git gud' and realise why Dark Souls 3 easily makes it into our top games of 2016.

Dark Souls III Site


No comments:

Powered by Blogger.