I played a lot of games in 2016, and I had an incredibly hard time putting together this list. A few weeks ago I jumped on the Game Moose Podcast to talk about my favorite games of 2k16 but I had yet to play some of the year’s biggest titles. We were treated to so many AAA games this fall and I just couldn’t get through them all. Now that I’ve had some time this holiday season to do nothing but GVL (Gym, Video Games, Laundry), I feel pretty confident in my top picks of the year.
The amount of incredible indie games this year really surprised me, and I encourage you to check out everything on this list. Most of them you can get on sale right now, for practically nothing. With so many good games to pick from, the harder these decisions are to make, and the more fun the list ends up being. And I sure do like fun.
Despite not really liking shooters, I played and enjoyed an awful lot of shooters in 2016. I also found myself loving everything from sports games to walking simulators to platformers and I even dusted off my ol’ Kinect. And at the end of it all, in no particular order, here are the ten games I enjoyed the most this year.
I’m gonna be honest. The first time I played Stardew Valley I had just popped an edible and don’t think I left my computer for about 8 hours. At about 4 A.M. I came to my senses and forced myself to go to bed. Stardew Valley seems like the work of a massive team of designers, but it was developed by Eric Barone, a.k.a. ConcernedApe. One man. One person put this incredible game together. The indie farming simulator is similar to Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and Zelda but unique in it’s own way. The game throws surprise after surprise at you as you progress. My friends laughed at me when I told them I was playing a farming simulator for hours on end, but after convincing them to give it a try I haven’t seen them since.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4 is the downright prettiest game on this list. Nathan Drake’s latest (and potentially last) hurrah offered a deeply satisfying conclusion to the globetrotting, treasure-hunting saga that began in 2007. Uncharted 4 is an incredibly polished, addictive game that delivered the explosive set pieces for which the series is known and a surprising amount of pathos as family–those who are bonded by blood and by love alike–came to the forefront. It’s an incredible game and one I won’t soon forget.
The multiplayer in Titanfall 2 is good. Really good. Bounty Hunter mode is genius, but the single-player is a revelation. Titanfall 2 has one of the best single-player campaigns of all time. I’ll probably go back and play it again once I’m done with this list, that’s how good it is.
It does everything Dishonored 1 did, but better and with additional playable characters. It also features one of the best level designs I’ve ever witnessed in gaming. How many times did the devs have to test it out to make it playable? I still have to play the game as Emily, and try and be stealthy for once. I almost find myself approaching each situation in the most violent way possible, but 2017 will have be trying my hand at sneaking around.
Final Fantasy XV
I’ll admit I still haven’t beat Final Fantasy XV yet and I’ve played it more than any other game on this list. It’s not perfect, and it’s not as good as The Witcher 3 but it’s an incredibly fun ride, and I’ve never found myself so invested in characters before. It’s been a long time since I’ve touched a Final Fantasy game and I’m glad the wait was worth it on this one.
Also I could listen to that opening song of Florence & The Machine singing Stand By Me all day long.
Also, Also. The automatic driving while listening to old Final Fantasy soundtracks was one of the most pleasing and relaxing gaming experiences of the year.
Forza Horizon 3
If you own an Xbox, this is a must have. I hate racing games, but found myself falling in love with Forza Horizon 3.
You can check out my full review here.
A fantastic 3 hour romp that has one of the best NG+ experiences on the list. If you like supernatural and mystery and you need to kill time until the third season of Twin Peaks comes out than this one is for you.
WTF even is this game. Don’t read anything about it. Go smoke a joint and enjoy. It’s a wild ride that’s going leave you feeling really weird.
2 hours long. No Dialogue. 3 playthroughs later and I think I understand what the game is trying to tell me. The scene you see above is one of my favorite moments in gaming this year. I recommend playing with headphones on because the soundtrack is phenomenal.
Honorable mentions: Super Mario Run, World of Final Fantasy, Gears of War 4, Firewatch, The Witness, Inside, That Dragon Cancer, Ratchet & Clank
Game that finally utilizes Kinect’s capabilities: Fru
Games I haven’t played enough to properly judge but might be contenders for this list: Dues Ex: Mankind Divided, Hitman
Games I haven’t had time to play yet that might be contenders for this list: Pokemon Sun and Moon, Dark Souls 3, XCOM 2, Overcooked, Superhot, Tyranny
Game I’ve spent the most time playing this year: Final Fantasy XV
Game that’s pretty dope but not really my cup of tea: Overwatch
Games I wish had been better: No Man’s Sky, Steep, The Last Guardian, Pokemon GO, Batman: The TellTale Series
Game I wish didn’t have such annoying characters, because it would have been in my top 10 for sure: Watch Dogs 2
Worst game of the year: The Technomancer
I’m wishing you all the best in 2017, and don’t forget, years are just a constant barrage of dead famous people and depressing world news. And on that depressing note, have a great night.