Doooooooooooooooooooooom. In a year when many outside factors made me want to crawl in a hole, the fantasy world of gaming was my safe haven. I’m not anthropomorphizing a year, just saying trying to complete grad school and working at a pawn shop will do things to a person. Changes a person man, you see stuff, you do things you’re not proud of… Anyway! Make a game ultra-violent or make it super cute and that’s my type of game. My top 10 runs the spectrum between these two and managed to make me feel things that wasn’t the despair of the outside world.
10. Rocket League
Yes, Yes, I know this didn’t come out in 2016, but this is my list of my favorite games I played this year. You can pick team orange! Any game that does that is going to at least get a mention on my list. By now it is an ‘older’ game that people have already played, but I was super late to the party on this one. This year they updated it with new modes and arenas that put a fun twist on the soccer-but-with-cars mechanic. Soccer-but-with-hockey-pucks and soccer-but-with-basketball-hoops is just as fun as the original mode.
Firewatch suffers from February-itis. It was a great game, but its lower position on my list is due to being great than forgotten about for 11 months. It is a great story-driven game that kept me guessing about the plot. It felt creepy and voyeuristic at times, and sad, the loneliness felt real. But it was also happy and then it was a redemption story, it was all over the place and that’s a good thing. Firewatch is a beautiful and engaging game and played similar to, but much better than, Gone Home as an exploration and story heavy game.
8. The Witcher 3 : Blood and Wine
Labeling this as just DLC does it a disservice. Blood and Wine added more to this The Witcher 3 in terms of content than there was in some other games on my list. There’s easily 30+ hours that I put into this expansion. I was not bored of the same environment nor by the story. Even the side quests, the little details of this game are so cool, so well thought-out.
Quite simply this 2015 game is Left 4 Dead with a Warhammer skin. It was a fun co-op game with not much in the way of story or looks, but it was neat anyway and gets a solid mid-level mention on my list just out of cheesy enjoyment.
6. Pokemon Go
I’m a completionist. I enjoy the challenge of catching them all. This game motivated me to get out and get to Poke stops or chase Pokemon. I didn’t get into battling, by the time I got into it, everything was powered waaaay above me. I did enjoy catching things, walking to hatch eggs and working to evolve my Pokemon. To date I have caught 121 of the original 151, and I’m still motivated to try and complete the set.
The Witness is a beautiful puzzle game for those who have patience. The puzzle types were a good challenge, not to hard, not too easy, but juuuust right so that when I did solve one, I felt like the smartest person in the world. Each area of the world has different puzzle types. You do a few starter puzzles to learn the rules of a new set and it ramps up pretty quick. There are plenty of puzzle that integrate ideas from past things, or things you didn’t learn, so you have to try to break the rules sometimes. There’s also non-puzzle puzzles that are neat when you first discover them. I didn’t beat the game, but I still really enjoyed my time with it and can see myself going back to it casually. This is also a game I would die for on the iPad as I think it would be great for travel rather than sitting at a desk.
2016 was a year that made me mostly want to hide in a hole, but also to be around friends that made me feel better. Overwatch was the most reliable game this year to find my friends online and have a good time. I liked the variety of characters and play styles that Overwatch offered me. If you liked TF2, and I did back in the day sink 200 hours into it, then Overwatch is a must play. Its got that signature Blizzard polish where things just work and are cool. There biggest thing I didn’t like about it was the lack of modes to play. Push the cart, capture the point and that’s about it. The only thing that saved it is the amount of play styles like support or tank made the repetitive modes a different experience. The weekly brawls also kept me coming back for more as they were often silly, like all support, which is a nightmare to play.
3. Tales from the Borderlands
I will find a way from now until forever to get a Borderlands game on my list every year. I am super invested in the story and rich universe that Gearbox has created. This being a Telltale game, story is pretty much all it has going for it. The game play is like every other Telltale game. Some quick events, choose story-line dialog, move here, that’s it. What made this game great for me was the integration of new characters and well-known characters. The final episode came out in 2015 but I had purposefully been waiting on the final 3 episodes to tear through knowing I couldn’t handle the suspense between final releases. Tear also works as an homograph because I also teared up quite a bit during the gut-punch of these last episodes.
2. Superhot/ Superhot VR
In normal life I’m usually crippled by decision making as I can see the multi-path results of my choices all play in my head. I’m constantly worried about something before it even happens. Here was an FPS game that manifests that into its mechanic. Time only moves when you move, so its a massive chess game of “When I move here, that guy will move here, but if I stay here and then go that way, he’ll be over here”. The beauty of this is that unlike an FPS you have the option of standing still and considering all your options and routes. The guys are still shooting you, but you have the luxury to watch the bullet come at you slow-mo style. Superhot VR is the same thing but now your body is the controller. There is nothing more badass that punching a guy, grabbing a gun out of midair, spinning around, shooting a guy and then ducking out of the way of another guy. It made me want to go practice my gun kata and put on tights and a cape or something.
Most Emotional: Tales from the Borderlands
I don’t need to repeat much that I didn’t already say above, but this game had me in tears more than once.
Biggest disappointment No Man’s Sky
Arguably the reason I lobbied so hard to get a PS4. I’m glad I didn’t have money at the time to buy a ticket on this hype-train.
Funniest : Sausage Sports Club
I need to quote Brady here on one of our previous podcasts “What’s a sausage animal?”
Prettiest: Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture
Another 2015 entry on my 2016 list, but god this was good looking and serene.
Most addicting : Heroes of the Storm
Hey, I didn’t call it HOTS Jon! Again, I craved comfort this year, and this game was like settling down with an old familiar book.
Best early access game : Sausage Sports Club
Ok, it has a corgi in it, what more do you want from me?
The one that got away: Obduction
I remember being super excited for this game, it fell off my radar and then suddenly realized it came out months ago. I’m worried that it flying below my radar means it wasn’t very good? I’ve got it on my to-do list, so tune in in 2017 maybe for the verdict.
Of Course I’ll Rebuy that!: Atari Vault Collection
I own an actual Darth Vader 2600. I don’t know why I’d re-buy these games on PC, but I did. Playing Sword Quest in 2016 or playing multiplayer Combat sounds great. Until you try it, and nothing works, and you go back to HotS cuz those dailies ain’t gonna earn themselves.
Shame :World of Warcraft.
Its not so much the shame that I played this, it was good, I was a Pandaren, I liked my time with it. The shame is that, yes I actually did subscribe with real money for a month to earn the virtual corgi puppy for a game I’ll likely never play again. No regrets, that puppy is friggin’ cute.
That Beat Tho’: Doom.
The guys say I can’t get away with just yelling Doooooom again as my reason. This game was just so frantic, so frenetic, so intense, I didn’t realize how amp’d I was until the fight died down and the music stopped that I realized my heart was racing and I was having an amazing time with this game.
Best MultitaskGame: Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
I think this is slightly the other way around, as this was the game I played when I should have been writing my thesis.
The Future is Bright: Persona 5. Wattam, Syberia 3, Dead Island 2, Cuphead
This category is my brainchild, as games often pop into my head and I need to google “What ever happened to X?” So these are the games I hope actually get released this year and I hope they are good.